Do Not Buy a Toshiba Laptop

If you want to save yourself time, headache and most importantly, a costly investment then please heed my warning: “Do not buy a Toshiba Laptop!”

They have a known issue with the internal charging unit breaking off within the laptop so that you can not charge the laptop. This is faulty manufacturing and we have been told by individuals in the computer repair industry that this is a known shortcoming for Toshiba.

We purchased our Toshiba laptop in the summer of 2008 for over 1K dollars. This is NOT a $200 dollar laptop. Our specific laptop is the Toshiba Satellite model # PSLE0U-00H00J. The first time this problem occurred our laptop had just fallen outside the 1 year warranty by a few weeks. We were frustrated but figured it must have been user error and paid for the laptop to be repaired locally. Less than a month later the same issue occurred again. We paid again out of pocket to have it repaired. We thought we’d be in the clear.

It happened again in January 2010. I was FED up! Our computer repairman encouraged us to call Toshiba since we obviously had a lemon and he also informed us that he sees this in Toshiba laptops regularly. It is a known fault of their equipment. So, I called Toshiba and was happy to find that they were willing to let me ship the laptop back to them and they repaired the laptop and sent it back to me. I was one happy customer and at that point was willing to overlook the obviously faulty design in favor of good customer service.

Scratch that. What used to be good customer service.

Yesterday, on October 4th, our laptop in a complete lack of originality stopped charging yet again. So we got 10 months worth of service from the repair that was supposed to forever solve the issue.  I now have on my hands a $1000 paperweight which is completely useless. Frustrated but confident that Toshiba would pull through again I called their customer service number at 1-800-457-7777. I talked to Roy, explained the situation and he warned me that since my laptop was out of warranty I might be charged a $35 fee just for talking to him. Nice.

I explained the situation, explained it was an ongoing issue and that our laptop had all ready been sent in for a “repair and return” for the same issue. He was polite, filled out his paperwork and offered to transfer me to Customer Relations. He gave me my case # and transferred me.

I was transferred to Matthew, a case manager. He looked up our previous issue and informed me that the program that they created to repair and return laptops for this known issue expired in June 2010. So, at this point there was nothing they were willing to do for me. He would not transfer me to a superior and in fact, wouldn’t even tell me his superior’s name. I was not belligerent or rude. I was mad and firm but polite. However, I was denied any solution other than have fun on that creek ride…too bad your paddle expired.

So Matthew, if you read this at some point. Shame on you. Shame on you for willingly working for a company who disrespects the little guy. We, the little guy, make your job possible. Shame on your for working for a company that serves only it’s best interest rather than admitting fault, correcting a mistake and praying for our forgiveness as the consumers that feed their families. Shame on all of us. Shame on all of us for being willing to accept this type of treatment from companies simply because, “they can get away with it.” Why? Why should they? What happened to being able to naturally expect that a company would stand behind their products without shame and without excuse.

It is a pure coward that can hide behind an expired warranty waving it as if it is some magical get out of jail free card. What happened to quality and honor and reputation? It is both sad and frightening that with today’s technological developments that we can not produce quality items that are made to last.

There is no reason that I can justify that a $1000+ laptop should not be operating 2 years later. Not to mention this is the 4th time within those two years that a consistent problem has occurred.

Please help me stand up to cowards like Toshiba and pass on this information to everyone you know. Maybe it will save them their hard earned money. For now, I am stuck with a $1000 paper weight and a years worth of family photographs and other important documents that I am going to have to pay someone to retrieve from my laptops hard drive.

Please help me with this. Our voice is the only thing that can make a difference. Pass it on and why you’re at it…pass on Toshiba.

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Why you should stop doing Kegels…

and start squatting instead.

I came across this information a few months ago but have not had a chance to post it yet. I find the information to be logical, reasonable and make much more sense than an exercise that does not come naturally or have any applicable relation to real life. Squatting on the other hand used to be (and still is in much of the world) a common and daily practice. I am now trying to squat when I fold my laundry and try to squat as often as I think of it. Join me in squatting won’t you?

I will post the articles on my blog and link to the original source.

Original article here: Mama Sweat

Pelvic Floor Party: Kegels are NOT invited.

You now have permission to pee in the shower.

Recently I met a woman who told me she used to be a runner. Naturally, I asked: Why don’t you still run? The answer: “Because 60 hours of labor with my first child and a forceps delivery ruined my desire to run anymore.”
To sum up for those who still may not infer the problem: She pees her pants when she picks up the pace.
My friends and I joke about sneeze pee, jumping jack pee, trampoline pee, and other bladder challenges. But full blown incontinence is no laughing matter. I’m a firm believer that a strong pelvic floor is the answer to incontinence (although pharmaceutical companies and surgeons often try to persuade people with other remedies). A strong pelvic floor, I’ve learned, not only makes the difference between wet and dry running shorts, but also keeps me running pain-free: I no longer suffer from the back and hip problems that used to plague me.
So today I bring you an interview with Katy Bowman. I have had the opportunity to interview Katy for magazine articles. Since becoming a freelance writer 13 years ago I have interviewed scores of sources. Very few I remember. Katy made an impression. She is a biomechanical scientist who applies her knowledge on the human body. Among other things, she has her own DVD program, “Aligned and Well,” and is the director of the Restorative Exercise Institute. Her blog, Katy Says, is amazing (and she’s as funny as she is smart). I like that combination so I asked her to chime in about the pelvic floor. I had no idea she would rock my pelvic floor world. Even if you’ve never peed in your running shorts even a little bit, you should still read what she has to say about pelvic floor strength.

Mama Sweat: First, a lot of women just assume it’s childbirth that causes incontinence, but I’ve read that pregnancy itself puts a strain on the bladder (so a c-section won’t necessarily save you) and that most women, as they get older–whether they’ve had children or not–will likely experience problems with incontinence. And even men aren’t immune. All this suggests that a weak pelvic floor doesn’t discriminate.

Katy Bowman: Nulliparous women (that’s women who’ve never had a baby) and men are equally affected with PFD (pelvic floor disorder) so while child birth may accelerate PF weakening, it is not a primary cause of PFD. PFD is first caused by slack in the pelvic floor due to the fact that the sacrum is moving anterior, into the bowl of the pelvis. Because the PF muscles attach from the coccyx to the pubic bone, the closer these bony attachments get, the more slack in the PF (the PF becomes a hammock).

MS: So rather than a hammock, you’d rather your PF be more like a stretcher–more firm and able to hold up weight without buckling?

KB: I like to think of the PF like a trampoline–the material is supple, but taut…the perfect muscle length.

MS: And kegels. Everyone on my blog has heard me preach about kegels. I want to make sure all my readers are doing them right. Suggestions?

KB: A kegel attempts to strengthen the PF, but it really only continues to pull the sacrum inward promoting even more weakness, and more PF gripping. The muscles that balance out the anterior pull on the sacrum are the glutes. A lack of glutes (having no butt) is what makes this group so much more susceptible to PFD. Zero lumbar curvature (missing the little curve at the small of the back) is the most telling sign that the PF is beginning to weaken. Deep, regular squats (pictured in hunter-gathering mama) create the posterior pull on the sacrum. Peeing like this in the shower is a great daily practice, as is relaxing the PF muscles to make sure that you’re not squeezing the bathroom muscle closers too tight. Just close them enough…An easier way to say this is: Weak glutes + too many Kegels = PFD.

MS: OK, I had to step away from my computer a moment to fully process this. First of all, you just said it’s OK to pee in the shower, but what really has my head spinning–did I catch this right?–you said: Too many Kegels can cause PFD? Did everyone hear that loud screeching noise? You realize this goes against everything I’ve ever heard or read; that kegels are the be all end all for pelvic floor strength.

KB: I know, I feel like I’m running around saying The Sky is Falling, The Sky is Falling. The misunderstanding of pelvic floor issues is so widely spread, I’m a Team of One right now. But, I’ve got all of the science backing it up and it makes sense, the kegel is just such a huge part of our inherited culture information, no one bothered to fully examine it. Anyhow, your PF is underneath the weight of your organs, and the strength your PF needs is equal to this weight (you don’t need SUPER STRONG PF muscles, just enough to keep everything closed). When you run, the extra G forces (2-3) actually increase the “weight” while running, but the PF should be adapting, just like all your muscles. One of the biggest misnomers is that tight muscles are “strong” and loose muscles are “weak.” In actuality, the strongest muscle is one that is the perfect length – you need Pelvic Floor Goldilocks – it’s juuuuuust right. The Kegel keeps making the PF tighter and tighter (and weaker and weaker). The short term benefits are masking the long term detriments. Ditch the kegels and add two to three squat sessions throughout the day (anywhere). The glutes strengthen and as a result, they pull the sacrum back, stretching the PF from a hammock to a trampoline. Viola! You can still practice opening and closing your PF in real-time situations, but you don’t have to approach it like a weight-lifting session or anything. It doesn’t need to be on the To Do list :)

MS: I am ALL for scratching items off my to-do list! Before we get too carried away with our newfound freedom from Kegels, I want to get back to the role of our glutes. What you’re saying–and I love this–is that there’s a much better reason, besides aesthetics, to avoid the flat butt syndrome found in most older women (further exacerbated in “mom jeans”). Having a booty–as in strong glutes–will not only do wonders for your view from the backside but prevent you from peeing just a little (or a lot) when you sneeze. This is revolutionary. I love what I’m hearing.

KB: Ok, I’m yelling this: YOU REQUIRE YOUR BUTT MUSCLES! There aren’t any extraneous parts on the body! Every muscle is really a pulley that is holding your skeleton just so. When you let your glutes go, you allow the bones of the pelvis to collpase into themselves. The squat is the most effective and natural glute strengthener–using the full range of motion and your body weight. It is entirely more effective than any gym machine or contrived exercise. The hunter-gathering folks squat multiple times a day (or at least once in the morning), so they had a nice routine down over a lifetime. Doing this four to five times a day, every day of your pregnancy will improve the delivery as well!

MS: I’ve also read that squatting during pregnancy helps prevent the posterior position during delivery (when babies emerge face up, rather than face down), which causes excruciating back labor and with it more interventions, more cesarean deliveries. In America, where we tend to sit back and put our feet up rather than squat and sit forward, the posterior position is more common than in countries where squat sitting is the norm. I was a squatter during my pregnancies, but now I will continue: when I’m playing with The Boy, picking weeds in the yard, pulling laundry out of the dryer or getting a pot from the cupboard. Lots of opportunities to squat!

I know you’ve brought up posture as a culprit too. How does posture play a roll and how do we keep good pelvic posture?

KB: You can only have optimal PF function when the pelvis is in a particular position. The two bony points on the front of the pelvis (where you put your hands on your hips) should be vertically stacked over your pubic bone. Most women have become “tuckers” based on their mom or gram telling them to not stick their butt out. Athletes tend to be super-tight through the quads and psoas, which also keeps the pelvis tucked under. Wearing high heels requires women to reposition their joints to deal with the torque at the ankle, and many women will post-tilt the pelvis there as well. For optimal pelvic health, one needs to make sure the posterior muscles (glutes, hams, and calves) aren’t pulling the pelvis under and keep the psoas and groin loose as well.

MS: So, this requires that we stretch out the muscles in front and strengthen the muscles in back?

KB: The muscles are weak because they are tight. More “strength” or tension-increasing exercises are going to make it worse. Instead, muscle lengthening exercises–especially stretching the calves, hamstrings, groin (adductors)–are the best prescription. Also, you need to learn how to hold your pelvis correctly to optimize strength!

MS: Which brings me to your DVD with the awesome title: “Down There.”

KB: The DVD is designed to get the pelvis in the correct position so the PF can work optimally. Typical PF treatment is trying to strengthen the PF muscles with the pelvis itself is in the wrong position, which means the treatments don’t work very well. That’s why once you have surgery, the statistics say you will have to have a 2nd, 3rd, and even a 4th in your lifetime! It is not a permanent fix, so it’s better to not even go down that road. The DVD will teach you to stretch and relax the muscles that are pulling the pelvis out of alignment–and let the correct muscle tone of the PF re-establish itself.

MS: Should we watch it in the bedroom with the shades drawn or is this something we can do with the kiddies around?

KB: Yes! You can keep the lights on and even the front door open. The exercises are mostly inner thigh and back-of-the-leg stretching, so if you don’t tell anyone what it’s for then they’d never know. And it’s also a great program for kids to follow–especially if they are having problems wetting the bed–the muscle tension pattern is the same in the kids as they are in incontinent moms.

MS: OMG! If you were sitting here in front of me I’d kiss you right now! I am forever washing bedsheets. I can’t wait to try it out.

Let’s get back to peeing in the shower. Now that you’ve legitimized it for us (I don’t advise this practice at the gym, however), let me ask this: Why do I feel the urge to pee a little (or, OK, I’ll say it, sometimes a lot) when I hit a warm shower? Wasn’t this covered in a Seinfeld episode? Seriously, what is it about the warm water that makes me want to let go?

KB: When the PF is weak, women start to use the glutes and adductors to keep the bladder closed (instead of the sphincter muscle of the bladder itself). When you hit the shower, those external muscles relax and HELLO! you realize that you don’t have actual control of the deeper, internal muscles of the PF.

MS: OK. I thought my PF was strong, but I see I have more work to do. I suppose it’s like any muscle, strengthening must be an on-going practice. But for someone who is suffering from incontinence, or this friend of mine who is afraid to run, how soon should they expect to notice a difference once they start a “training program”? And at what point should a woman consider pharmaceutical or surgical options? Ever?

KB: I don’t think a surgical option is ever a good idea, as the problem isn’t coming from one time damage, but the accumulation of 1) bearing down a lot and 2) from squeezing the PF all the time. Working on relaxing the PF and keeping it closed “just enough,” stretching the backs of the legs to free up the pelvis, doing regular, daily squats to strengthen the glutes, and ditching the heels (except in special occasions) are things you can do all the time for all-the-time improvement. Also, doing tons of crunches where you are bearing down on the PF will only make PF health worse. It’s better to do transverse abdominal stabilizing exercises – like the plank – that will decrease any bearing down that sprains pelvic organ ligaments. Once you get yourself out of the weak and overcompensating PF tension cycle, you should feel like you have better bladder control within a few weeks. If you are already experiencing organ prolapse (it is way more common that people realize) you need to skip the run and switch to long, endurance walks (minimize G forces), and do your pelvic-aligning exercises every day–maybe even twice.

MS: Wow. This is revolutionary. And it makes sense. I can hardly believe I’m just. now. learning. this. I can’t be the only one who’s feeling a little cheated. Women (and men) need to know all this. Thank you, Katy, for answering my questions and sharing your knowledge. I know this information will change a lot of lives. And if I can stop buying nighttime pull-ups for my girls, the benefits are more far reaching than I thought!

Do you want your own copy of the “Down There” DVD? I have one to give away! Katy was kind enough to send one to me. I just got a look-see and what I love most is that it’s short and sweet, my kids were able to follow along too, and most were multitasking exercises I could do while waiting for the school bus or in line at the grocery store. Efficient!

Leave me a comment–if nothing else admit that you, too, sometimes pee in the shower. Next week I’ll draw a name and announce the winner!

****Due to the popularity of this post (where are all you people coming from?!) I did a follow up interview with Katy Bowman. Check out Pelvic Floor Encore.

Here is her second interview on the subject:

Pelvic Floor Encore

Well, well, well.

By the look of my stat counter it appears I’ve struck a hot topic with Monday’s post: Pelvic Floor Party: Kegels are NOT invited. The comments have been flying and Katy Bowman has been along with us to answer questions. Katy even posted on the topic on her own blog, Katy Says (and the post has cool graphics, so you must check it out). As the conversation ensued in the comment section I had one more question for her–one I thought deserved its own post. Here–thanks to your standing ovation–is an encore question and answer.
And here’s another question for Katy on the Kegels. I don’t think you’re saying we write Kegels completely out of the books, are you? Would Kegels be useful, say during pregnancy and, especially immediately after childbirth when the PF has been directly traumatized? But the difference is we should not go overboard and we still have to build up the other muscles surrounding the PF. Post birth we can go from the Kegel being something we do as an exercise (a few times throughout the day versus 200 times like people have been saying) to something we do in “real time” situations (to hold back urine when we sneeze/laugh/cough/etc.)

Katy, what say you?

I can’t believe how popular this blog has become. Do you know I have friends from elementary school emailing me saying they read this posted on Facebook by people I don’t even know? And I think it is striking such a cord because 80 percent of women are facing this problem, many times silently, and are now really confused. That isn’t what we want either, is it Kara?!

So now you may be wondering “who to trust.” Why would you listen to me? Why am I saying something soooo different than other “experts”? These are all good questions, and questions you should be asking. First off, let me fill you in on the Kegel exercise. Dr. Kegel, an OBGYN, had a device that he invented that he thought would help many of his (caucasian) patients recover from the birthing process.

Before I go any further: It is well documented that Western, modern-living women have much more difficult births than their less-modernized counterparts. During these times (mid 1800’s to the 1930’s) pelvic floor damage and baby-head smashing was a problem for “civilized women,” but not the “Tinkers” (Irish gypsies) or tribal-living women. The only differences in these groups turned out to be the size of their birthing space. The size of the birthing space (the obstetrical conjugate) is created by the bony surfaces of the pelvis. The sacrum (the base of the tailbone) makes up the back side of this birthing space. The cool thing is, the sacrum is not attached to the pelvis, but floating against it. Less-civilized women (like their male counterparts) have squatted to “bathroom” their entire lives. This squatting increased their birthing space by activating the glutes (pulling the sacrum back to open the birthing space). This extra space meant less pressure on their PFs during birth (less tearing of the muscles and tendons) and required less damage to the ligaments in between the bones.

Another way to say this is the life-long habit of squatting is what prevented the PF from being damaged in the first place. The balance between the perfect amount of glute contraction and the perfect amount of PF tone give you what you want. Good pelvic (and abdominal) organ support. [Kara’s Note: read Katy’s post about the Hunter Gathering Mama for more about squatting for birth preparation.]

Back to Dr. Kegel. Now he had all these women who were noticing weakness and invented the Kegelizer, or something like that. It was equivalent to the Kegel-exercisers you see now. Just insert and squeeze. The squeeze improved the lost mental connection between a damaged PF and one that was firing correctly. Firing correctly meant that when the PF was done contracting, the muscles could restore to their optimal length. This part of Dr. Kegel’s research protocol has been left out and the only part that has been passed on is the contracting part.

Science Note: The muscle tissue in your PF is the same as the muscle tissue in your biceps. When you’re done realllly working your biceps, you’d like your arm to go back to its original length, right? What if, when you were done doing your curls, your elbows stayed as bent as they were when your muscles were the TIGHTEST? If you equate strong with tight, then you’d have “strong,” contracted arms with bent elbows all the time. Tight muscles. Unusable arms.

That’s not what TONE is. Tone is having the MOST strength and the MOST length.

Doing Kegels all the time will get you a TIGHT, unusable pelvic floor. This is why people’s ORGANS ARE FALLING OUT OF THEIR BODY.

Probably the worst time to be doing Kegels in the way we think “Kegels” is during pregnancy. If you looked at the research for birthing mechanics it is clear that women (especially Western women) are allowing their pelvic girdle to collapse based on our lack of glute (and calf and hamstring tension). The research shows that PFD isn’t a problem in other parts of the world.

So, all you Hot Mamas-To-Be out there HAVE TO SQUAT THREE TIMES A DAY until these joint motions come naturally. That’s how you tend to your PF before delivery. To all of you Hot Mamas out there with your birthing days behind you: Don’t let your PF gripping become stronger than your glutes.

I came up with the perfect solution, Kara. Gently tense and fully release (shy of urinating) your PF 10 times while you are in a squatting position. That way you know you are keeping all the pelvic muscles balanced.

Garrett turns 2!

Garrett turned two on August 15th. This last year has gone by so fast.

Garrett is such an amazing little guy. I’m not sure how one child manages to be such a melded combination of characteristics but somehow he is able to do it. He is my snuggler and a complete mama’s boy. He still finds his way to my hip or in my lap for much of the day. At the same time he is very independent and the phrase we probably hear most often from him is, “Garrett do!” or “Garrett too!”. Mike has taken to calling Garrett, “Garrett too.” Over the last several months and especially the last few weeks Garrett is developing a deep love for his daddy. He wants to do everything daddy does and is starting to miss him when he is gone. For the last six months or so when Garrett wakes up in the morning he will say, “dada?” wanting to know where daddy is. When I respond, “at work” his usual response used to be a somewhat disappointed “ohhhh.” The last week or so he has started saying “missssss. dada missssss” with a very sad face. He is truly sad and distraught when daddy is gone now.

Garrett is also very stubborn, strong willed and frankly, rebellious. For someone who has just barely turned 2 he is amazing at toeing the line. If you draw a line he will run to the edge of it, look you square in the eye and then calmly put his foot over it taunting you to see what you’re going to do about it. He does this not only with Mike and I but with other adults and children. He likes to provoke reactions, usually just for fun. This has caused me, as his mom, a lot of stress. I have learned to loosen up, to enjoy his nature and to give him a bit more wiggle room.


Garrett is a rough and tumble all out boy. He likes guns, dirt, water and sticks. What he wants is “his”, what he looks at is “his” and what anyone else wants is “his”. He is not afraid of taking it by force even from a child (or adult) bigger than he is. He sometimes takes great joy in snatching things from others even if he has no desire for what he has snatched. He reminds me of a little lion cub looking to dominate anything and everything around him. He will push down little babies that are minding their own business, just to know that is able to do it. It is to the point where if we are with a group of children and one of them starts to cry, I usually have to jump up and remind Garrett that we do not hit, push, take…etc

Unfortunately, his sister receives the brunt of Garrett’s attempts at family domination. She will often comment about how she doesn’t like him much but then carefully add that she loves him but that it’s hard being his sister. Thankfully their relationship has taken a turn for the better in the last two weeks or so and they are beginning to have as many positive interactions throughout the day as negative and are starting to really play together. All of my parenting techniques, theories and patience have been worn thin by this little boy. But despite this, I love him with all my heart. His sweet nature is so apparent and he is a loving and giving boy who’s empathy is really starting to blossom. He is beginning to treasure and love his sister and despite his behavior towards her sometimes, he can not stand when she is not with us. He calls her “nana” (his attempt at saying Camden) and is sad whenever she is not with us. He is beginning to worry and cry when she is upset and tries to make her feel better. He also wants to do everything Camden does. He even decided he wanted to ride a horse despite his initial terror over them because Camden loved riding so much.



Garrett has so many quirks it is hard to know where to start. He has developed a hate of “tags” and will not allow one to be in his shirt or on most objects for that matter. Even during his Birthday party he made his dad cut of a “tag” on one of the gift bags. He is a funny blend of liking “boy” and “girl” things. He turns every available object into a gun (including alphabet letters and veggie booty) yet at the same time begs to wear Camden’s dresses, butterfly tattoo’s and prefers to sleep with pink blankets. He even asks for pink nail polish. Of course Camden and I find this hilarious and often oblige him with his requests. He will hate us for this someday, I’m sure.  His favorite color is orange and he takes great joy in any object he finds or owns that is “ownge”.


Garrett loves musical instruments and especially likes the drums and guitar. He likes to color and paint and his favorite food in the world is candy. Meal wise he loves things with a lot of flavor. He enjoys spaghetti (with rice noodles) and beef stew. Development wise he is really in a big growth phase right now. His expressive language has been exploding the last two weeks and he is repeating much of what we say and is learning new words every day. He is learnings his colors and wants to do everything the big kids do. He learned how to peddle a bike yesterday, on his Birthday. He is fully potty trained now, both during the day and night. We have weaned him from nursing at night but he still wakes up anyway. I am hoping he will start truly sleeping through the night within the next 2-3 months. He is still nursing and though I would prefer to be done with our nursing relationship I am waiting until we can get a vitamix to make sure he is getting enough nutrition.

Garrett continues to have serious allergies to many foods. Though his reactions have greatly reduced in frequency he is continuing to lose foods. He is currently allergic to: wheat, dairy, egg, soy, peanut, nuts, sunflower seed, sesame seed and dogs. Recently he has come up allergic to rice all though we have not removed it from his diet at this point because we are not seeing any reaction from the rice and his diet is all ready so limited. Feeding Garrett is definitely a huge challenge all though I am getting more used to it. What is frustrating is the things he can eat sometimes are quite ridiculous. It makes me mad that he can eat things like french fries, all manner of candy, soda, chips, sugar cereal like Lucky Charms and Cocoa Puffs but I can not give him an egg or a piece of bread. I have had to let go of my concern for many foods not because I have changed my mind on whether or not they are healthy or good for you but out of necessity and a concern for his quality of life. For example I did not have the money, time or energy to find and edible recipe for a wheat free, egg free, soy free, dairy free, seed free Birthday cake. So instead, I made him a rice crispy treat cake chock full of corn syrup, petroleum based dyes and all manner of artificial flavors. But it was delicious, he loved it and it was simple. I’ve just had to learn to let go, some. He eats way too much candy and french fries for a kid his age or for any kid for that matter but you try telling your child day in and day out, “No. Not for Garrett. That will make you sick.” It’s hard and frustrating. I do my best to get high quality whole foods in him but sometimes it just doesn’t work that way. I am so excited to be saving for a Vitamix blender that I plan on using to increase the amount of vegetables in his diet since he refuses pretty much any vegetable besides corn, carrots and potatoes.

For his Birthday this year we had an Elmo themed party. I’m not quite sure how he has become so fond of Elmo since he has never seen Sesame Street but he recognized Elmo in the dollar store the other day and we had leftover Elmo party supplies from Camden’s 1st Birthday. He was sooooo happy when he woke up from his nap to find an Elmo party. He also has Elmo sheets now that one of Mike’s friends from work gave us and he loves having them. We had a spaghetti dinner for him (one of his favorite meals) and I made him a Rice Crispy cake with Dots and sprinkles on top. We also had ice-cream sundae’s for everyone else. To make the cake I used Spectrum Vegetable shortening which is made of palm oil rather than soy based shortenings. You can not tell a difference in flavor or texture and it is delicious.

Despite how challenging these first two years have been for me I would not trade raising Garrett for anything. He has required me to rise above my fears, selfishness and insecurities in order to be a better mom and a better person. I am a less judgmental and more forgiving person because of him. His love, precious hugs and kisses, laughter and sense of humor bring so much joy and entertainment to our family. His presence in our family has given me greater spiritual strength and faith.

Garrett Michael Reid, we love you with all our hearts.

Lullaby Sweet Baby

It’s taken me a long time to find the desire and time to post on the blog again but I am finally starting to get there. On June 14th, 2010 we lost our baby. It was a difficult loss but we were prepared for it when we were not able to find the heartbeat and subsequently nothing on ultrasound. My body finally recognized what was going on and I naturally miscarried around what would have been 16 weeks of pregnancy all though the ultrasound technician believes our baby stopped developing at 8 weeks. We opted to miscarry naturally, and it did happen, but I wound up with a serious hemorrhage due to a retained placenta and was rushed to the ER via ambulance for an emergency D&C. It was a pretty scary experience. The amount of blood was overwhelming. There were times, especially in the ambulance, where I had fleeting moments of worry on whether or not I would make it through…especially when they hooked me up with all the wires and pulled out the defibrillator and had it ready.

This is the second child we have lost and it only gets emotionally overwhelming when I think of the fact that only half of our children are living. It is both a thought that makes me thankful and grateful for the two precious and wonderful beings we’ve been entrusted with and also sad and grieving for the two that we will not get to share this lifetime with.

Spiritually I am doing fine with it all. I trust in God’s plan, his love, kindness and mercy. I am not angry or bitter all though I do wonder “why”? But then I just let go and decide I don’t need to know why.

I still haven’t picked a name for the baby we’ve lost but I would like to share a song that brings me great comfort. During my pregnancy the kids and I came across a lullaby CD that became the one that we listen to every night as they go to sleep. There was one particular song that I really loved and planned on singing to our new baby when it was born. Now every time I hear the song it reminds me of our precious little one that we lost but it gives me strength and peace as well. In my own mind when I sing the song I have changed the words of  “my” and “I’ll” to “His” and “He’ll” referring to our Heavenly Father.

Lullaby Sweet Baby

(lyrics adapted from Michael Poirier’s Tumbleweed CD)

Lullaby sweet baby, lullaby little one

Though our time together has just begun

The wind outside is blowing but your safe now in His arms

Lullaby sweet baby He’ll keep you from harm.

Right outside the window is the new moon on the rise

I can see it’s reflection shining clear in your eyes

Lullaby sweet baby, lullaby little one

Though our time together has just begun

The wind outside is blowing but your safe now in His arms

Lullaby sweet baby He’ll keep you from harm.

Right outside the window is the new moon on the rise

I can see it’s reflection shining clear in your eyes


Lullaby sweet baby, lullaby little one

Though our time together is just begun

The wind outside is blowing but your safe now in His arms

Lullaby sweet baby, He’ll keep you from harm.

Lullaby sweet baby, He’ll keep you from harm.

Oh, lullaby sweet baby, He’ll keep you from harm.


Ironically, it is days like today when the loss is hardest. We had a wonderful and beautiful day celebrating Garrett’s 2nd Birthday today. It was such a perfect day but experiencing joys like this with our kids makes it only that much more painful knowing that the two we have lost we can not share those experiences with. I found myself in tears at the end of this evening just realizing that there would be no joyous Birthday celebrations, that there were missing squeals and shouts of joys and overzealous laughter as all the kids go tromping through the house, even that there would be no tears to wipe away. I know that they are spared so much of this life that is bitter and difficult but I ache for the experiences I can not have with them or that their siblings can not have with them. I am thankful for eternity, for God’s marvelous plan of salvation and the blessing of eternal families.

Land of the Dulldrums

That is just how I have been feeling lately. I am just sort of in a funk. I think there is just so much going on in our lives right now and with the pregnancy on top of that and the stress and worry over this new baby my mind just went into a fog. It is so hard to motivate myself to do anything all day.

I have an ultrasound on Friday to try and determine how far along we are in this pregnancy and I think that will make my mood better. At our last midwife appointment when I was supposedly 12 weeks we were not able to hear the heartbeat on the doppler and my uterus was not measuring 12 weeks. Which isn’t too alarming on its own since I didn’t feel like I was that far along anyway. I think I am closer to 8-9 weeks pregnant. However, last Friday I had some spotting and that was stressful. I have never spotted before in a pregnancy and even though it wasn’t red blood and they say it can be normal it has stressed me out since we haven’t heard the heartbeat yet. So, we’ll find out on Friday.

Mike’s parents are also most likely moving in with us at the end of June. One of them needs to find a job up here with health insurance and so that is what we are praying for right now.  It is also possible that Mike’s sister will be moving in with us in August. It may become a rather full house, but that is okay. The more the merrier. Right? :)

We’re also having a hard time being able to see Mikayla right now and that is frustrating. We haven’t been able to see her since April and she doesn’t even know we are pregnant yet. We’re supposed to have her this weekend so I am crossing my fingers that it all works out.

Honestly what is stressing me out the most is Garrett and this pregnancy. We just found out that Garrett has developed 2 new allergies in addition to the ones he all ready has. He is now also allergic to rice and sesame so all of his allergies include: wheat, dairy, egg, soy, peanut, sunflower, pea, sesame, rice and dog (he doesn’t eat dogs but if he gets licked by one he breaks out in hives).  So far we don’t have to take rice out of his diet (they want us to continue unless his reactions get bad) but I still cried the whole way home. Usually I’m a pretty good sport about his allergies but on Tuesday I definitely had a “why me???!!!” day. I am very worried that this next baby will also have extreme allergies like Garrett and it is frustrating beyond belief that no one can give me an answer on what to do/not do to prevent allergies in this next baby. And it is the same with Garrett, so far people can only tell us what he is allergic to and we have not been able to make any progress in healing his gut or reversing his allergies. I just pray that time will eventually heal his little body and that he will eventually be able to eat most foods. I am interested in visiting a local NAET specialist in Bellingham just to give it a try. Honestly, I’m very skeptical about this allergy elimination technique but at this point we’re willing to try anything. I’ve just got to come up with a way to pay for it since insurance won’t cover the treatments and unfortunately, they’re expensive. I am thinking of doing some fundraising this summer to raise money for a few trial treatments to see if it makes any kind of improvement.

Well, I think that is all for now. I can not wait for this fog to lift so that I actually feel like doing stuff. Right now I just want to sleep all day.

No More Diapers for Garrett

Well, it is now safe to say that Garrett is officially potty-trained for daytime. He’s been going diaper free during the day for the last two weeks or so (even at nap time) but I thought I’d wait awhile to post it here so as not to jinx myself. He is 21 months old. We are still using a diaper at night and he is peeing in those about 40% of the time and the other days he wakes up dry. I’d imagine within a few months or so he’ll be completely potty trained.

Overall, I really loved our E.C. (elimination communication) experience. I took a pretty laid back approach to it and decided we’d try it but that if it didn’t work out for us, no biggie. We had an expected set back around the 11-14 month range which I expected after watching the experiences of my friends. Most kids that are E.C’d go through a phase in which they want nothing to do with the potty because they’re figuring out their own independence, busy crawling/walking, etc. I just diapered him through that phase and waited and it worked out great.

Recently Garrett was potty trained during the day if he was naked (that’s been for the last several months) but he can now wear underwear and clothes and remember to take them off first before sitting on the potty. If he can’t get it off by himself (footie jammies for example) he will tell me he has to go “poo poo” or he will goo “psssss” which I think is absolutely hilarious since that is how we cued him with the “pssss” sound when he was an infant but I have not used that cue sound with him since he was six months or so. It amazes me that the cue sound is still in his memory. In fact, the whole E.C. thing in general is just amazing to me. The amount of control that Garrett has over his bladder and his awareness of it is just really impressive, not because he’s some magical kid or anything but just because we are taught that young children don’t have control or awareness over it when in fact, they do if we don’t teach them to ignore it at birth. Garrett can hold it for hours and hours and hours and he will even tell me while we’re driving in the car that he has to go potty and if I told him to wait for a minute, he can!

Anyway, it’s been a great experience and I’m happy we’ve done it. I realize it didn’t “officially” potty train him that much sooner than kids can potty train anyway but to me it made a world of difference in so many other areas and really he has been potty trained for a lot longer he’s just needed help with the aspects his fine motor skills couldn’t control yet.

I plan on taking the same E.C. approach with our next baby. We’ll give it a go and if it works great, if not no biggie. :)

Climbing Back on the Wagon

My cousin has pleaded with me to start blogging again. So, like I promised, here I am. :)

Part of the reason I stopped blogging is because I really just can’t find the time to do the research and write the articles that I used to write and that was my favorite part about blogging. Really, all I have time for these days is to do family updates and I didn’t figure anyone wanted to read about those or if they did, they could  catch up with us on Facebook. Nevertheless, I will try to do better at keeping this blog active. It was such a big part of my life for so long and I do miss it.

I will start first by announcing that we are expecting another baby! We are due late November or early December from what we’re able to tell. We will go in on the Wed, May 19th to try and listen for the baby’s heartbeat. I am currently 11 weeks along. The first trimester was a breeze. In fact, I had no idea I was pregnant until I was 9 weeks and took a pregnancy test. LOL. I didn’t really start having any symptoms until a few days after the test and didn’t start getting nausea until a few days ago so I’m not completely convinced that I am 11 weeks along. I think it is possible that my uterus is measuring large and that this will be a late December baby like Camden. I guess only time will tell.  I have started to “pop” however. Here is a picture I took today.

Camden was over the moon excited when we announced to her that we were going to have a baby. We told her at a family gathering for Mother’s Day and we let her be the one to announce it to both mine and Mike’s families. She is so excited to be a big sister again and is hoping for a sister.  We have also told Garrett that there is a baby in mommy’s tummy and he will point to my tummy throughout the day and say, “baby!” and then “baby, nee nee!” since we told him that when the baby is born the baby will nurse. At this point, Garrett is still nursing and as much as I’d like to wean him for my own sake with all of his allergies he is just not getting enough nutrition through food and nursing is still the best way to get him the nutrients he needs. I never intended on tandem nursing (in fact, I really don’t like the idea at all) but logically I can not think of a good reason not to since it is still very important that he nurse.

Here is a recent picture of me and the kids at the Tulip Festival. My friend Shilowe took this picture when she was in town visiting in early April. Turns out I was pregnant when she was here and didn’t have any idea. LOL.

I have finally purchased all of the items (well, except for the seeds) that we need for our garden and I’m really excited to get it all put together this weekend. This is our first garden. I decided to go with the square foot gardening method. Camden is really excited to plant some veggies and flowers and I’m looking forward to all of the yummy food.

Garrett has started sleeping in Camden’s room with her. Well, okay, let me rephrase. Garrett has started sleeping in the “kids” room since it is supposed to be both of their rooms and has been sleeping on the bottom bunk bed. I’ve weaned him from nursing at night and he is doing pretty good sleeping in there. It was his idea to sleep on the bunk bed. Sniff. Sniff. They grow up so quick. He is still waking up every 2-3 hours but that is mostly because I am having to retrain him on the no nursing at night thing since he recently had an illness and when he is sick we forget about the no nursing at night rule and he can nurse as much as he wants. I stop nursing him when he falls asleep (I nurse him to sleep) and then he doesn’t nurse again until the sun comes up since time is still obviously arbitrary to him. When we get back to the point of nursing in the morning I have been bringing him in bed with me because I can’t stand having to get up out of bed over and over. Seriously, how moms that don’t co-sleep cope the first year with all the night waking is beyond me. I dislike oh so very much getting out of bed when he wakes up and I can’t stand that panicky adrenaline rush when I am startled awake by his cry. It’s funny though, I am just surprised how ready he is to transition to his own bed. I was also shocked at how well he did nightweaning. I thought it was going to be a really hard process for him because of his personality. Anyone who has met him probably understands what I am referring to. Underneath that amazingly cute little smile of his is a whiny clingy mama’s boy. The good news is that he appears to be growing out of it. I knew that he would someday I just wasn’t sure if that someday was going to be in my lifetime. LOL.

Camden is getting so big too. It’s hard for me to imagine what it would be like to send her off to Kindergarten next fall to disappear for a full day of school. We are homeschooling her, however, so we won’t be doing that anyway but still to realize she will be that old soon is strange. Especially since it doesn’t seem like that long ago that I was pregnant with her. Camden is a beginning reader and read her very first book a month or so ago. It was called, “Stop the Tot!” She really seems to like reading but she does get easily frustrated if she makes a mistake and rather than just reading the particular word over she has to go back and read it from the start of the page and do it all over. Trust me, not my idea…all hers. She is somewhat of a perfectionist unless I’ve asked her to do something (like say, clean her room) and then she is a minimalist. :)

Well that is all I can think of for now.