Thursday, June 27, 2013

Fits & Such

Not to be out done on the blog by her brother, G has been throwing fits of the century in order to obtain some wordage on Letters from Momma.
eating a pb&h like a big girl-not cut into bite size pieces!

I knew it was inevitable. I was surely a terror for my mom. Not the tear the house up, hit other kids, run off in stores kind of kid....but the screaming bloody murder at the slightest sign of authority kind of kid.

And I birthed my own 28 months ago. It's genetic and probably tied to intelligence. My mom and I are not identical, we have our similarities, sure, but we are pretty different in many ways. My husband and my dad are super different. And yet our daughter is miss-temper/miss-feisty just like I was. My mom used to say that I acted like I was smarter than everyone and attributed my fit-throwing and behavior to that. Maybe part of that is true? I think I was just forming my inner-moral-compass and exerting my belief that I could do things on my own. (I know I can't do everything, but I would certainly try) I'm independent and a super-hard worker...Baby I was born that way--and so was my daughter.
recent selfie

I love her to pieces, and she has her sweet moments, but there hasn't been a day in over a week that didn't have at least 2 MAJOR meltdowns.

But I am getting better at handling them, and I know that she is only 2 (but between you and me, the fits will only get worse from now until the time she's...11 or so, because that's when words become more powerful...and if she's like me, she'll wield them like a sword).

on our mommy&me date (first real one since J was born)

Unconditional love is something I am good at, I think, and I really try to set her up for success as far as keeping her fed, well-rested, etc (though we don't live in a perfect world). I'm working on not showing how frustrated she can make me at all, because that only fuels the fire. The past 2-3 days, I really do stuff it down and "kill her with kindness." I know she'll probably make me cry as she gets older, and managing her as a toddler is preparation for all that is to come. I hope it's all worth it, and that when she's a mom herself...she will have this incredible respect, adoration, and love for me... because she will know she treated me like crap half the time, and I loved her through it all, and was always there for her. Thanks mom.

What has she thrown fits about?
The biggest one has been about wanting to turn a light off... and I told her, "sure, go ahead" but then she wouldn't do it & was wasting time, so I said alright mommy will just do it...and I did it. Because, duh, you have to follow through on what you say as a parent. So then for the next 40 minutes she was a big screaming, blubbering, slobbering, fingers-in-the-mouth-crying, mess. Awesome.
She also threw a fit about needing to 'hurry up and get ready for gymnastics.' Yeah...something fun!! What the heck.
I'm pretty sure it's simply my authority that sets her off...I know that's usually what got me mad as a kid too...not being old enough to do my own thing.

She's too big for her britches, I tell you. I know I could let her have her way, and not have to deal with her fits...but that wouldn't teach her about the world and she'd end up like all the kids I see these days that drive me batty. (You know the type...instant gratification, no respect, entitlement, etc,etc). I do pick and choose my battles, though, because it doesn't really matter on some things. I'm just trying to teach her about life and respect and major rules.

I would much, much, much rather have it this way than have a kid who didn't question things. I think she will be a strong-willed woman, just like me, and I'm glad. I just have to help her learn to control her personality so that she uses it for good and not bad. Nothing like a challenge, eh?

I don't really need advice or anything. Between knowing how my own mom handled me, knowing what the parenting magazines say, and knowing how I would have handled myself, I've really got a handle on it. What I do need is a support group that says, "hey, Kaylene, you are an awesome mom and this too shall pass because yeah, she's crazy, and drives you batty sometimes, but she also gives the best hugs and loves you so much that she wants to be just like you."

Here's to hoping that J continues to prove himself as the "easy kid" ;-)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Half Birthday Boy

J is six months old and is doing great. He had his well child check 3 days early, and at it he weighed 17 pounds 2.5 ounces and was 26.25 inches long. His head his staying steady ay 99%, which was 18.1" around. I think that his huge head makes him look a lot bigger than he is. People comment on how big of a baby he is, but his length and height actually hover around 50% for kids his age...which means he is very average. No teeth yet, plenty of hair (he had a hair cut by me!).

about to topple over!

My sweet boy is a rolling fool. He squirms in circles, and has gotten himself into his crib rails or the end of his bed, but doesn't crawl 'for real.' He has kind of sat up, but usually just topples over. He loves books and tries to turn the pages! He also enjoys gnawing them...typical baby.

He rattles toys, rakes things in, recognizes family members, rolls over, transfer things from hands, grabs on toes (or boy parts at diaper changes...eeeek), loves mirrors and music. He's also started some stranger fear...like when my mom showed up this week, he smiled at first, then got kind of freaked out and cried when she got up close. He got used to her and it was fine later on. I think his favorite person is G...they are too freakin' cute together. So glad they have each other.

J has had bananas, green beans, carrots, and blueberry banana puree. The bananas were the only "real food," the rest have been jarred or pouches. He loves food and eating :-)

We'll keep solids as introductory for a while, and stick to nursing for nutrients. He's so great at it :-)

Sleep wise, he has good and tough days. Last night he actually slept amazing, 8.5 hours, eat, then another 2.5 hours. That was awesome. Other nights he'll be up every 3-4 hours. He is solidly on two naps now, so it means he's following in G's footsteps of transitioning early...so I expect to see him on one nap before December. That's both a good and bad thing. Good because then we'll have all morning to do stuff again without worrying about nap times, but it's bad because I lose that time to get stuff done or play alone with G.... oh well life moves at light speed!

I cannot believe how big he is getting. He's SO sweet, cuddly, and smiley. I don't want that to ever change....maybe it won't ;-)

adorable nose, thanks cdpx1

Saturday, June 15, 2013

J's Birth Story

Around 23 weeks pregnant, Lake Tahoe, CA 8/2012
Everyone knows my pregnancy wasn't the most delightful experience. From about 2 weeks on, I felt this....anxiety and fear that something was, or would go, wrong. I can't explain how it came to be, just that it was there and I couldn't shake it. My mom said that being so far from family probably contributed to it. I think that's probably true. But I maintain, and always will, that I had "mother's intuition" that this wasn't a normal pregnancy. I also call it a God thing. I believe everything happens for a reason....His reason. For wordiness' sake, here's how it came to be that I delivered J at the same hospital and with the same midwife/doctor practice as I did G...even though we started out half way across the country.

My seemingly irrational fear that I would die in child birth, or the baby would be lost ---> I nagged my husband every week, if not several times a week, that we needed to get back to the Midwest before November ---> my husband said he would try ---> our 20 week ultrasound showed "abnormal" nasal structure, or lack there of ---> my fears were validated ---> we thought maybe our son had Down's Syndrome ---> my husband requested a transfer back to the home office, though he never said anything indicitive of trouble, simply that we wanted to be closer to family for our son's birth, since he would have been moved soon after anyways ---> we house hunted over Labor Day ---> Moved just before what was considered "un safe" for me to be traveling (32 weeks)

Sometime in there, you might recall, I had blood drawn for a Harmony Blood Test that is fairly new, but also pretty reliable at telling if the baby has trisomies on the 13, 18, or 21 chromosome.  It came back very low risk (1/10,000).... so we were left wondering just what was going on with our son.

My old midwife was happy to have me back, and I was thrilled to be back. I told her all about my fears, and pretty much requested an ultrasound to check on the baby. I convienently measured a tad big, plus they hadn't seen the baby on ultrasound for themselves, so she had me schedule an ultrasound for the following week. Turns out....my amniotic fluid levels were higher than 'normal.' You might recall, I slightly got freaked out because nothing seemed to be normal with this pregnancy. I had so many ultrasounds through the last few weeks of my pregnancy, I forget how many. I think like 5 or 6?

We planned a natural birth and I truly believed it wouldn't happen. Yeah, I wanted it, and I hoped for it, but again with the mother's/woman's intuition. Thus, I questioned my doula/doula's back up a bit harder about their preperation for births that go wrong, I played the what if game a lot more with my midwife, I came up with plans A-D on what to do with G should I go in to labor or have an emergency situation, and I prayed. I talked to my husband and mom about how I was feeling, a lot. I'm thankful to have had the both of them, so that neither of them took 100% of my emotions.

I tried to focus on the positive things. We were back close{r} to family. We had a home. We had all necessary supplies. Our baby was big, growing wasn't an issue. I was uncomfortable beyond all get out, but I could still move and take care of G. I wasn't on bed rest. Alleluia to that. My BFF threw my an awesome baby shower. My birthday was pretty fantastic. Baby boy was free to come any time after that.

I had practice contractions for what seemed like a month, but they didn't do anything. Once I thought things were serious, and even had plans A and C activated (my husband's cousin came over in the middle of the night until my mother-in-law could get here), but it was a true false alarm.

12/15/12 - all the excitement provoked baby boy out :-)

On December 15, we had a full day of Christmas-themed fun with my sister in town. Then my in-laws called (or texted, I don't remember) my husband to say that they were no longer going to come over on Christmas, as had been the plan, but instead were coming TOMORROW. Yeah, I about freaked out. I mean, I am super pregnant, and had plans for Christmas. I did not have supplies or plans for an early Christmas feast on less than 24 hour notice. (I know you guys read this, so don't be offended, but I really was pretty thrown off! Everything worked out, though, obviously) I called my mom to complain about how unprepared I was, and she told me that it'd likely spur the baby to be born, and I agreed that would be nice so that my father-in-law could be here (since he works a retail schedule, it's hard to pin him down). I politely-ish told my husband to inform his parents that we could go out to eat, or order in, but I was not cooking a Christmas feast. We went to bed with plans to go to church, eat out, and exchange gifts with the in-laws.

I slept horribly during both of my pregnancies. It's just how my body operates. But usually my best sleep was around 5-8 in the morning. I woke up at 6 am with this ridiculous urge to go finish the ironing, which was the only thing left on my to-do-list. As I stood in our basement, ironing my husband's work clothes, I prayed a whole lot and talked to the baby. I asked God, St. Gerard, and St. Gianna to let us both live. I prayed that if someone had to die, please let it be me, not the baby, and I told the baby how much I loved him already. I know all of this sounds melodramatic, but you guys, you really have no idea how much anxiety I was trying to suppress the whole pregnancy. Also while downstairs, I messaged my mother-in-law and told her that I felt like today was really the day, and that if she could bring some extra clothes to maybe stay the night with G, if needed...

After I finished up the ironing, I carried it upstairs and crawled back into bed. A bit later, we got up for the day and I told my husband about my feelings. Contractions picked up past the practice-feelings I had been experiencing. These started being painful enough I gritted my teeth and focused on breathing. We all got ready for church, and I had a few more contractions. They weren't stopping with relaxing or moving, so I assumed it was real. My mood around the house was kind of tense, because I didn't want my water to break. Part of having too much fluid is the concern that the baby's cord could come out first, which would basically cut off blood to the baby. It's a pretty risky business.

I am clearly an advocate for natural birth, and don't think people who have home births are crazy, but mothers with extreme polyhdraminos (what I had) are usually turned away by home birth midwives, or atleast they are by the ones who know what's best. Things can go bad really fast....but everyone kept telling me how rare that is, and how I shouldn't be worried, and blah blah blah.

The truth is, with G, I wanted to avoid the hospital for as long as possible, but with J, I needed to be there when my water broke, for safety's sake. My worst fear was that the baby would die waiting for an ambulance to get to my house if my water broke and his cord prolapsed. My midwife, at one point, told me that babies can "survive" like 8 minutes or something before things go "drastically" wrong.... so an ambulance would be almost a gamble too. Knowing all these things, you probably think I should have had a scheduled C-Section to pull J out before I even went into labor...but even now, looking back, I would NOT have chosen that method. I'll tell you why in a minute.
12/16/12 before church. I forgot just how huge I was

Alright back to the story. We all got ready for church. During driving the short, 9 minute drive to church, I had a painful contraction. While in the parking lot, I had another pretty painful contraction, that I'm still able to kind of talk through. My sister or husband, I forget which one, said maybe we shouldn't go into church. I said that we were there anyways, and I didn't want to miss Mass. Plus, it's nice to distract yourself from labor by staying busy or focusing on other things.

Although I had crazy visions of my water breaking during Mass, and screaming "is there a doctor in the house!?" I felt called to make it through mass. The contractions definitely picked up during Mass, and I was kind of patting myself on the back for making it through, without too much distraction to other people. After church, in the car, I informed everyone that this baby was in fact, coming today. There was no going back. My in-laws showed up at our house not long after we got home. I think they were pretty excited, but also unsure of what to do, or so it seemed to me. I requested Panera for lunch, it was the only thing that sounded good. Half a Turkey Bravo and a cup of Sonoma Chicken Stew, with whole grain bagette for a side. {Panera, if you are out there, feel free to send me free stuff as a token of your appreciation!!} A few times during lunch I shot up out of my chair and hurried to our powder room, that's just around the corner from the kitchen / dining room. I didn't want everyone, primarily G and my father-in-law, to watch me deal with increasingly painful contractions. After lunch, we told our doula to head to our house. In between lunch and her arrival, we did the gift thing :-) Then she went down for her nap.

I was super grateful when our doula arrived. She came up to my room with me. I told my husband to stay and chat with his parents, since he hadn't seen them in a while, and our doula was getting paid to help me ;-)
Looking back, I feel like I pretty much rocked labor. I mean, I was breathing through contractions. I was avoiding focusing on the negative. I was "hunkered" down in my birthing mindset. I think there were a few times I questioned whether it was time to go or not...and our doula told me that I would know when it was time. I was also worried that if G woke up from her nap, and I was in contraction pain, she'd freak out, so I kind of wanted to leave before she woke up....but I also didn't want to get there too early (like with G, I got there and I was at two cm dilated, even though my water had broken and I was seriously sure I was dying of pain).

I forgot to say that I started loosing a whole bunch of mucous earlier in the morning. Like a lot. I thought I had lost it earlier in the week. Well, there was a ridiculous amount more. And it kept coming throughout the day, but never amniotic fluid.

So, contractions were pretty regular, but never "by the book." I know they are supposed to get longer, closer together, etc etc... But mine kind of just did their own thing...just like with G. I knew it was real labor, though, because they hurt like a motherbear, and they weren't stopping. They were achy, stabbing, and crampy all at the same time. Some were longer than others, some came closer together, almost on top of each other, some took a 10 minute break. Whatev.

I talked with our doula between them, and tried to bounce/roll on the birth ball as often as possible, but I kept feeling SO much pressure. I was dreadfully uncomfortable, but managing. I had thoughts of, "this isn't THAT bad" and "I can do this" but also thoughts of "ouch, ok, this sucks" and "let's just get this over with." I made myself sit on the ball more often than I wanted to, because I knew it would move things along. I also finished packing. (Things were mostly packed, I just had toiletries/camera/last minute things to add) When the contractions were really bad, leaning over the bed was the most comfortable I could get.

I was much more aware during this labor. During G's I was in HELL from 11 pm until she was born a bit before 9 AM. It was just a full-steam-ahead-train of pain. I think it's became my water had broken. With J, it was a bit easier. It was more mellow, and I was more mellow. My body knew what to do, and I had a large cushion of fluid. That's not to say it didn't hurt. It did. But it wasn't hell.

Around 4ish, we moved from the bedroom to the basement, so that G could get up from her nap, without seeing or hearing us. I remember I had tried to turn on Whitney (always made me laugh), but couldn't focus since the contractions had ramped up, so it wasn't worth it. I think the move down two flights of stairs kicked things up a notch, because we weren't downstairs very long before I officially decided it was time to go.

Here's the most asinine part of the whole story. I had my husband called the midwife office, and God love him, but he got something all screwy, or the call service did, or they both did. I don't know. It took forever to figure out who was on call, that I was in fact in labor, and that I requested a midwife. I think part of the problem was that the doctor on call had the same last name as my midwife, who was not on call (a different midwife was), and my poor husband was probably frantic because we were having a baby. I definitely was at that moment, anyways.

Things got straightened out. The car got loaded. I choked back tears as I tried to tell G good-bye, because in my heart-of-hearts, I feared it could be the last time she saw her mother. She was fairly preoccupied with her new Christmas toys, though, so I was a little bummed about the lack of attention she gave me, but it was for the best.

I felt a lot of relief the second we got to the hospital, because I knew that if my water broke, we were in the right place to handle it if things went wrong. I just felt a lot better.

My husband dropped me off at the front door, which was a nice change from with G...when it was the middle of the night, and we had to go in the ER doors. My husband and our doula got inside, and we took the elevator up to the third floor. I was actually pretty excited at that point. Things were going so well, I allowed myself to feel good.
Triage was a whole different experience this time. First of all, I could talk. I moved without dying, and I actually made light of the whole situation. With G...I swore I was about to have a baby and I was only 2 centimeters dialated. So with J, I about fell out of the bed when the triage nurse told me I was a 6. a SIX. Holy cow. My life was instantly better. I got admited automatically-sweet! We mosied down to the same room where G was born, and I was pretty thrilled that J and G would be born in the exact same place. How fun. Oh, best part, the triage nurse had a Mary necklace on. I asked if she was Catholic, and she was. Another plus for my night.

It was like 6 pm at this point.

The midwife on call was the only one out of the four that I hadn't got around to seeing--she was new from the last time I had been there. Turns out, she is absolutely amazing. They got baby boy on the monitor for a 20 minute strip and then I was free to move around. So different from G. It was soon time for a shift change, and things were slow--although after we came in, tons more moms did and they actually ended up filling up!

My husband, doula, and I went for a lap around the LDR area. We handled a few contractions on our route. Then we got back into the room...things were ramping up. My midwife was actually in the room as much, if not more than our nurse. She helped me through contractions, and was really like the leader of our team. She was all about making my labor easier, and wanted us to achieve the birth we wanted. She was really sweet and compassionate. It was exactly what I needed this time around. My original midwife, who delivered G, is less sweet, and more direct. She was exactly what I need for that birth. Things work out.

At some point, I'm 9 cm dilated, my midwife is rubbing my ankles, and we are pretty much ready to have a baby. But my water hadn't broken at this point. My midwife (And I) didn't think it was possible for baby boy to be born in his amniotic sac...there was 33 cubic centimeters of fluid in there. The most likely outcome would be that it would burst during a push, and a scary situation could happen at that point. So she suggested putting a small hole in the sac to let some of the fluid trickle out, as she guided baby boy's head down...because he was still really "floaty," as she called it.

This midwife is probably the best I'll ever encounter, and if you live in the metro area, I highly recommend her. She did everything right.

She proposed the above plan, but also called the doctor on call from the practice. She wanted to have him on stand by, because it was, at this point, kind of a crap shoot. She was confident we could still have our natural birth, but she said that she is the kind of person that likes to have "her ducks in a row, but not need them, rather than the other way around."

The doctor came in to size up the situation. I have never had a male OB/GYN, and I was bummed the doctor on call was a guy...but oh well.

He was pretty worried about how "floaty" baby boy was. By floaty, they meant that I was basically ready to have a baby, but that baby was bouncing around in his fluid too much for it to be a truly safe delivery. Sometimes he'd be "engaged" and ready to come out, but then a little bit later, he'd be back up high. The midwife and doctor both thought that the water really needed to break. Controlling the breaking of the water was the safest way to ensure J survived. It was a concession I was willing to make at this point (my birth plan had asked to avoid artificial breaking of water).

The small hole that the doctor put into the amniotic sac, allowed some water out, but then basically plugged itself back up. They ended up breaking the water completely, while one of them pushed at the top of my uterus, attempting to keep baby boy down, and the other "guided" his head down. I was fairly out of it at this point, because the pain was excruciating. I think I was crying, and I was definitely yelping in pain. There aren't the appropriate words in the English language to describe just how freaking painful this all was. I don't know how long this went on, but it couldn't have been that long...

The next thing I knew, I heard "emergency" and "now" and "section" and beeping from the machine. I asked what was wrong...and they said that baby boy's heart rate was dropping and his shoulder was now into the birth canal. My midwife looked at my sternly and said the words I had been waiting to hear for months. "Kaylene. We have to get your baby out. now." I was crying, but bit my lip and nodded. I said. Ok. Ok.

Through sobs, I told my husband how much I loved him. I told him he was a great dad, and he could raise the kids by himself. I told my doula that her job was to make sure G knew how much I loved her. I was scared to death. It was the most surreal feeling. I know people have c-sections all the time, and don't die. But the way this went down was so, so fast, scary, and unplanned.

I was wheeled out the door and into the operating room, which was right next to my room anyways. I will never forget the next few minutes, and I don't feel it's necessary to share. But I was subjected to even more excrutiating pain, while I begged them to keep me and the baby alive. The anestiologist assured me they do this all the time, I'm in good hands, blah blah blah. I was alone and I was scared, so thanks but no thanks. I made my peace with God. It consisted of me saying, Lord forgive me for my sins, I tried my best, please let me go to Heaven, bless my kids and husband and family. Then I was out.

It took them 8 minutes to get J out from the time I was wheeled out of my room, my husband wasn't even scrubbed in by the time J was 'born.' He got into the room just as they were getting J under the warmer. There had been a NICU team in the room, but J's apgar's were 8-9-9, so they dismissed him as perfectly fine and went on their merry way.
fairly new
I wish I had a picture of the first thing I saw when I woke up. I know first I moaned in agony, and then caught a blurry/groggy glimpse of my husband who{seemingly} had teary eyes, half under a blanket. I asked how the baby was, they said he was fine, and that his dad was holding him....relief. A few weeks prior I had confirmed with my husband that if we had to have an emergency c-section, that he would hold the baby skin-to-skin as soon as possible. I was so relieved he remembered. That image will forever be etched in my memory. But I was also in horrible pain that no medicine would ever fully take away.
Very shortly after waking up, they brought J over to me to nurse. My husband had been letting him suck on his pinkie until I was awake....I remember the look on my husband's face when he came over to me...it was one of relief and love. He said, "he's hungry!" I did my best to nurse J, but it was not the start I had hoped for. But it was certainly better than the negative outlook my anxiety had prepared me for.
breastfeeding is really important to me, and to J. I'm sure it helped him in those early minutes. I'm extremely proud of this precious photo. Sure, what's implied is personal, but honestly, you see more in certain advertisements these days.

late night snuggles on me 12/16 - 12/17/12

J was with us for a day and a half before being taken to the NICU
We got into our Mother/Baby room and the rest is history.... My road to recovery was quite long, complex, and painful. J was sent to the NICU for monitoring since he breathing was labored at times. He nursed great, though, it was just exhausting for him to eat and breathe....but he has made it great thus far. He was diagnosed with Chondradysplasia punctata based on clinical and radiology findings while in the NICU.

We were all home in time for Christmas.

Headed home 12/22/12
---So even now, I wouldn't go back and do a pre-scheduled C-Section. It is my belief that J benefited greatly from the stimulation that labor and nearly being birthed naturally gives to a baby's lungs. J's breathing situation is already a bit challenged thanks to his small nose and nasal passages, so going through labor is definetly helpful for encouraging his system to mature up to life-sustaining-levels. Things happened just as they were supposed to. Sure, sometimes I get bummed that it didn't go naturally as planned...but my labor was natural and great. J's birth was completely reliant on modern medicine, and without it he'd be dead and I might have been too. God wanted him here, and gave him quite the dramatic entrance.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Cascade Platinum Dishwasher Pacs (#sponsored by Mom Central Consulting)

~I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Cascade. I received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating~

little miss likes to help with everything
For those who follow this blog regularly, you know we moved into our first home this past Fall. I wrote a few posts about it, and in one of them I complained about all of the problems we encountered. One of the problems was a supposedly working dishwasher, that did not get our dishes clean. I know I have really high cleaning standards, but even a moderately messy person would not have been okay with the results of our dishwasher. Thankfully, our home warranty covered a repair. It turns out the water line was pretty much broken and an easy fix. The dishwasher is still not the newest, top-of-the-line dishwasher I'd love to have, but it's average. And that's okay.
We are a family of 4, and use plenty of dishes. By being a SAHM, I think we use more dishes than a two-parent working family since we are using dishes at home all day. Additionally, eating out is a super-rare occasion for us, period. I use our dishwasher every day and a half to two days, but could run it every night if I wasn't trying to be so eco-conscious. I hand wash cookware, like pots and griddles, and other large items like a colander.
I hate the concept of rinse-then-wash. Seems silly! I do it only when the dishes have portions of food left, or if globs of ketchup or the like remains. I think something that helps me not have to do so much rinsing is our use of Cascade dishwasher detergent. I've tried store brands, and love the price, but not the results. I've tried other leading brands too, but none of them work as good as Cascade. Cascade leaves our dishes cleaner, with minimal or no film, and allows me to maintain my no-rinse lifestyle.

For the past 3 years or so, I've only bought Cascade Action Pacs. My favorite had been the yellow Pacs that had bleach in them, because I felt they worked the best. They became really hard to find (I'd usually buy 3 or 4 bags when I could find them!). I used the blue kind (power of Dawn) when yellow wasn't available. In the past few months, I bought Cascade Complete Pacs to see if they made a difference. They were originally on sale and I was tired of some occasional film left on glasses or plates. Turns out there is quite a difference between Complete and the original Pacs. I definitely think Complete is worth the higher cost.

At the same time I was switching to Complete, I saw that Cascade released new Platinum Dishwasher Pacs too. They have an additional feature--they help keep your dishwasher clean! I wasn't ready to commit to the even higher price of the Platinum Pacs in the store, so when I was given the opportunity to review them for Mom Central, I jumped at it!! I feel super qualified to review the newest Cascade product because I've been brand loyal to them for as long as I can remember (a few months after we got married, I think, so around 4 years).

Here's how it breaks down within the Cascade family of Pacs;
  • Action -- contain the grease fighting power of Dawn, fight coffee and tea stains, offers brilliant shine on dishes, and does a good job of leaving dishes virtually spot free
  • Complete -- all of the above including a better job of leaving dishes virtually spot free PLUS advanced tough-food cleaning (24 food dried-on)
  • Platinum -- all of the above PLUS the best film protection for a sparkling machine and dishes
Platinum has 3 different awesome power ingredients, Complete has 2, and regular action Pacs have 1 (not pictured) in addition to the Cascade detergent on the bottom of the Pac

In my experience, there is a big difference between Action and Complete Pacs, but not a noticeable one between Complete and Platinum. I do think there was a small difference in film residue. My glasses do look a little better. I don't notice a difference on my machine though, but as I mentioned above, it's just an average machine. I think if you have a new dishwasher, especially a stainless steel interior one, you'd notice less film from hard water. (It is also recommended to use a dishwasher cleaner to remove old hard water film so that Cascade Platinum Pacs can then continue to prevent hard water film residue.)

Cascade recently partnered with Top Chef Judge Gail Simmons, because they both believe presentation is just as important as preparation when it comes to food. Boost your great tasting recipe with spot and film free dishes by using Cascade Platinum Dishwasher Pacs. By having dishes that are always sparkling clean, you don't have to worry about last-minute guests. Your layered desserts will look fabulous in your film-free glassware and entertaining is easy when you drizzle sauces over sparkling white plates, says Simmons.
Before and After using Platinum for the first time

With super clean dishes, and delicious looking food, Cascade is also helping those of us with food-picture-additions! I love taking pictures of my food, so much so that in public my husband is probably embarrassed (though used to it now)!! Photos of delicious looking food litter my Facebook Timeline and I use Instagram to take artsy shots of my recipes-come-to-life. If you're like me and would love a new dishwasher, enter photos of Cascade making your pots, pans, and plates sparkly! The "My Platinum" contest is a four week Instagram contest with weekly themes. Each week, two people will receive a brand new Whirlpool dishwasher!! The grand prize winner will get a new Platinum kitchen make-over. For details and to enter, check out this site. (You will have to register for Instagram, if you are not already using the app) The themes are Plate, Bite, Clink (glassware), and Table--it runs through the end of June, so head over to enter now! {To win, you must register and upload a photo with #MyPlatinum tag and also tag @MyCascade. If you have not registered, you will be disqualified from winning.}

Finally, there is a 12% price jump (MSRP) from Complete to Platinum, so I personally will be sticking with Complete until we have a new dishwasher that I care about keeping sparkling ;-) I do, wholeheartedly, recommend the Cascade brand...and Pacs are for sure the way to go because it's so easy to just pop one into the machine with no measuring or spilling.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Things to Remember

I want to remember...

That G currently uses "It's dark...!" in a whiny voice as a way to get me to stay in her room for a bit before nap/night time. We chat about our day, and I sing her a song, and finally have to get up and leave despite her protests. She doesn't seem legitimately scared, plus she has a night light and at nap time it's definitely NOT dark. I think it's kind of sweet...though once it goes past 5 minutes, I'm like, "ok, good night."

blurry photo pic of her adorbs church outfit
That G's little voice is the sweetest. She says awesome fun things. "It's lost! We have to find it!" "Ohhh so brrriiigghht!" "Oh no! It's broken. Let's fix it!" "Tanks!" (thanks) "Luhew" (Love you) "Dipping Sticks!!!" (an occasional treat for keeping her bed dry) 

That we've been playing a lot of Dora Match Game. She's pretty amazing at it, especially for a 2 year old, but even just in general. It's teaching her a lot about rules, taking turns, and polishing her spectacular memory skills. I love listening to her say "Mommy's turn!" "daddy's turn!" "My turn!" She has also started using pronouns appropriately...though some still get messed up. The other night she said, "Come play Dora game with us!" This was said to me, in relation to the fact that my husband had set it up in the living room.

.....I mean. Having a 2 year old is super fun. Both my husband and I comment on how she just makes us so happy. Then there's the fits she's taken to throwing. I'm doing a fairly good job of staying level headed. I keep saying, sometimes even out loud, she's just two. She's just two. I sure do wish I could zap her frontal lobe and make it mature. Ha. Then again, there are times I lose my cool more than I'd like. It gets exhausting being with her 24/7...but again, I love it.

helping with the cups.
Oh....then that baby.... I could literally eat him up. He is so dang sweet and snuggly. I've been doing great with him. 

That J smells so amazing after a bath. I don't remember focusing on little things like that with G. I think it was because I was so busy learning to be a mom. And now that I am a mom, J is the baby I get to 'enjoy' a bit more. I guess that sounds bad, but it's the truth.

That he loves books, though he'd rather eat them I think. He loves gnawing on anything. Those dang teeth have to be around here somewhere.

"sit/standing in his go-pod"
That he is doing so amazing. That dang mutated gene will not drag him down. I found out last week that I am, in fact, a carrier. So he "got" CDPX1 from me. No biggie. I expected that....though I did choke back tears when I heard the official news. It's still a punch to the gut. One I assumed was coming, but that still doesn't take away the initial hurt. So...we are done having kids, in our opinion. We will leave it slightly up to God, as in, nothing drastic will be done, but there will not be any intentional procreating for us again. Kinda bummed/kinda glad. Okay, truth time, Actually really glad. We feel complete.

right after I got the genetic counselor call
That J adores G. I mean, that kid loves watching her, slobbering all over her. 

That I FINALLY have legitimate success with NOT nursing to sleep. I tried, pretty hard, with G to teach her to not nurse to sleep. I never really got anywhere, until she weaned. I didn't wanted to follow that same path with J...but it happened... Until this weekend. Since Saturday, J has pretty much been put into his crib wide awake, and fallen asleep on his own. MAGNIFICENT. It's helped him sleep {a tad bit} better at night too.

I also want to remember that date nights are vital to our marriage. We had one a two Fridays ago and I'm still thinking about how wonderful it was. Praised be to God for responsible baby sitters and family too.

in other news. I'm one full week into training for a half-marathon. I got about half way into training for one back in 09, but hurt my self so bad I had to shell out over a thousand bucks for an MRI, and was in PT for months... Here's to hoping that doesn't happen again. Week one was easy, and I'm pumped for... October.... What?! I have 20 weeks left. That's half a friggin' pregnancy. Ugh. At least I have PLENTY of time to increase my mileage. I've got a great training plan from Runner's World that's customized for me.

Next up, I plan to officially type out J's birth story for his half birthday. 
why this is blurry...idk. but its them hanging out in my bed

getting so BIG

sibling love

at the park

date night