Saturday, January 30, 2010

EcoSMART: Home Pest Control (A Giveaway)

UPDATE: Kruger.4, you won!!! Send me and email and I'll get you in touch with the wonderful EcoSMART people.

Many of you know that we have been living with my parents since we moved to Wisconsin almost a year ago. My parents quickly finished off the basement in their new home just in time for us to rush in with stuff, babies and lots more stuff. It's been a wonderful place for us to transition (we'll be moving to our own place at the end of February), and my parents have been so gracious. I mean, imagine it. All of the sudden your house is invaded with toys and baby gear and your once quiet dinners are fraught with screams, chaos and flying food. Oh yes, they've been gracious. Thank you, mom and dad.


Back to the basement. There are bugs. It doesn't matter that my parents house is new. A basement is still a basement, and lots of little insects have been finding warmth in our abode. When I was contacted by EcoSMART, asking if I wanted to try their home pest control products, I jumped at the chance.

Many of the pest control products on the market are not safe to use or store around children, so I had previously opted not to use anything at all, hoping, praying that none of us would get a spider bite while we slept. YIKES. When I received the home bundle sent to me by EcoSMART, I was delighted to find that they use all natural ingredients. I was ready to give it a shot.

I started in our bathroom, which is where I see at least two or three creepy crawlies every day. I sprayed the home pest control around all the edges of the walls, shower and sink. I was a bit surprised at how strong the smell was. It wasn't that it was an unpleasant smell {it smelled of cloves and the outdoors}, it was just strong. After a few hours the smell was completely gone. And the best part? I didn't see a bug in our bathroom for FIVE days. AHH!! It worked. No more bugs for this family.

I'm also looking forward to trying EcoSMART's all natural insect repellent this summer. No DEET is used in this product and with the use of essential oils, insects are kept at bay for 2-3 hours. It's even safe for a baby. Beautiful.

EcoSMART has generously offered one of their safe bundles for me to giveaway. To enter, just go to their website and let me know which bundle you would like to try. I'll pick the winner via one week from today.

This giveaway is only open to U.S. residents.

{Many thanks to EcoSMART for sending me a complimentary Safe Home Value Bundle for an honest review of their product}.

Friday, January 29, 2010


My name is Bri. I like to write.

One of the hardest questions for me to answer is, "How many kids do you have?"

In June of 2007, I gave birth to sextuplets. They were born far too early at 22 weeks and 6 days gestation. Against all odds, they survived their birth, but 5 of our sweet babes were not strong enough to keep living.

Bennet Ryan lived 3 days.

Tryg Brenton lived 4 days.

Lincoln Sean lived 5 days.

Cadence Alana lived 13 days.

Lucia Rae lived 42 days.

And Sylas Christopher, our miracle child? Well, he's living hundreds of days and counting...

This blog is the story of our family and our journey through the murky waters of grief and how we're learning to find Little Green Pastures in the everyday.

Thanks for coming along.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

He Laughs in the Face of It

Our son.

Was born 120 days early.

Weighed less than one pound.

Lost five siblings. Siblings that had been with him since conception.

Was on a ventilator for more than 2 months.

Underwent surgery at 2 weeks old.

Underwent surgery at 2 months old.

Underwent surgery at 3 months old.

Underwent surgery at 22 months old.

Battled pneumonia. Twice.

Spent 124 days in the NICU.

Came home on oxygen, a pulse oximeter and an apnea monitor.

Struggled with crowds, sleep and normal life due to an underdeveloped nervous system.

Has very poor eyesight.

Has a paralyzed vocal chord.

Has cerebral palsy.

Recently had botox injections.

Is in the process of serial casting.


None of that defines him.

Our son is...






I learn a lot from him.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Please Sit Down

This child is going to give me a heart attack at a very young age.

Ivy, if you would darling, please stop your incessant climbing.

Friday, January 22, 2010


Sylas has been wearing his casts for over 24 hours and he's doing famously. Other than asking to take them off for naptime and bedtime, it's almost as though he doesn't know they're on.

When given the choice of blue, purple or white, Sylas chose purple.

And he rocks it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hit Me Like a Ton of Grace

Ryan will soon be home to look after Ivy, and then Sylas and I are heading to Milwaukee to start serial casting. I have been feeling very nervous about it, but this morning I woke up with a beautiful peace in my heart.

It's going to be ok. We'll make it through this.

There's grace. There's so much grace.

Translation: Oh, happiness. There's grace enough for us and the whole human race.
By: David Crowder

Don't you all wish Sylas was at your breakfast table?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

For the Love of Ivy's Necklace

Ten steps.

Twelve steps.

She is close. She is so very close.

Many of you have mentioned that you love Ivy's necklace. I don't blame you. I love it too. It's a baltic amber teething necklace that I purchased from Inspired by Finn. As the necklace is worn on the skin, the skins warmth releases trace amounts of oil from the amber. The oil contains succinic acid which has been used for centuries as a natural pain reliever.

And let me tell you, it works. A couple of months ago, when Ivy was getting four teeth at one time, I knew if I had forgotten to put it on her during the day, because that night she would sleep terribly.

And let's be honest, I also put it on her becuase it looks so darn cute.

Right now, Inspired by Finn is offering 10% off ALL of their products, not just their necklaces {it's where I buy most of the children's BabyLegs}. Just use the code "75" during checkout.

I also just discovered that Inspired by Finn sells adult amber necklaces. I'm thinking I might get one for myself that I can wear during my...ahem.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

So It Begins

Over the last few months, we've had to make some tough decisions regarding the treatment of Sy's cerebral palsy. We are so thankful that CP is not a degenerative disease, but recently it's become apparent that unless some medical intervention {or a miracle} happens, Sy probably won't ever be able to walk without an ambulatory device. His hips, hamstrings and heel chords are extremely spastic/tight, which makes it difficult to balance, and in turn move forward.

Last summer, Sylas' physical medicine doctor recommended we try botox injections and serial casting to see if we could get his heel chords and hamstrings to loosen up a bit and get him walking on his own.

This was a difficult decision. As you may know, botox is a toxin and used in large amounts, can have serious consequences. At the same time, when given in appropriate doses, the use of botox has helped many kids gain more flexibility. {Click here to read why botox and children with CP are often a successful match}.

Oh, we agonized. For months and months. Sylas has been through so much already and we hate to put him through more. As he gets older, we want him to have a say in the treatments he wants to pursue. In how far he wants to go. But for now, those decisions are up to Ryan and me. It's frightening. It's humbling. We so badly want to do the right thing.

So. After lots of prayer and research, we did it. Last week Thursday, Sylas had his first series of botox injections into his hamstrings and the muscle above the heel chord (gastrocnemius). Being that as a family we're conservative when it comes to medicine {could had something to do with me getting pregnant with sextuplets}, we decided to give Sy only half the recommended dosage. It's been five days since his injections and already we can tell that his heel chords and hamstrings have more flexibility.

We'll start serial casting on Thursday and it will continue for 3-4 weeks. Honestly, I'm not looking forward to it. If anyone has any ideas of fun sitting down activities for a very active two and a half year old, I'm all ears.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


As a little girl, I thought every decision made was black and white. Now, as an adult, I've come to know I couldn't be more wrong. My husband and I have had to make so many tough decisions over the past three years. Decisions with weighty consequences.

Three years ago {this month} I got pregnant with six children at one time. Six weeks into my pregnancy, my fertility doctor told me I needed to selectively reduce the number of babies I was carrying. She said this pregnancy wasn't safe. For me or the babies. When Ryan and I told her no, she proceeded to speak to us in a way the was completely unproffessional and unbecoming of a doctor. Pressuring us. Doing her best to force us to do something that went against our beliefs. In that moment, we were confident. We chose life.

But that decision to carry all six of the babies wasn't a one time thing. Almost every day of my pregnancy, I forced myself to choose life for my babies, in the midst of fear, ridicule and morning sickness so terrible that for days I was in a state of delirium.

When I was admitted to the hospital at 17 weeks gestation, we were told that babies are considered viable at 24 weeks gestation. We then had to decide at what gestation we would resuscitate. After praying and trusting God, Ryan and I said that if I made it to at least 23 weeks, we would give our babies a chance. At the same time, expecting to go much further than that.

At 22 weeks and 6 days gestation, when we knew the babies were coming, we had to choose yet again. This decision was so much more difficult than the last. Do we do everything we can to give our children an opportunity for life on this earth or is it more humane to call it a miscarriage and let our babies go peacefully to Heaven where they would be alive and whole?

It's so grey, and who are we to make decisions such as these?

Ryan and I didn't know what to do, but while I was lying on a bed, sobbing and terrified, a most wonderful NICU doctor said to us, "Lets try it. Let's just see what happens." So once again, we chose to give each of our babies every possible chance for a life on this earth.

But two days later when we were told that three of our boys, Bennet, Tryg and Lincoln, all had severe hemorrhaging on their brains and their bodies were quickly deteriorating, we had to decide again. Do we watch them die a slow painful death just so we can have a few more hours or even a day with them or do we allow them to rest in peace? To let them go, because we love them?

We chose to let them go.

Losing three boys in three days. Hell. Complete Hell.

All for love.

{I originally started this post with the intent to tell you about recent decisions we've made regarding the treatment of Sy's Cerebral Palsy. I soon found that I couldn't do it without getting all of this out first. Thanks for listening. I'll post about Sylas soon}.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ciao. Hola. Bonjour.

So apparently it's blog delurking day. Or something like that.

If you've been hiding {or even if you haven't}, I'd be honored if you said HELLO. And I'm hoping to check out your blog, so I can say HI back.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Beautiful Cupcakes

Photo credit: The lovely Crooked Eyebrow

Sigh. Cupcake 10.

There's so much to say, but I can't seem to get my words out in a way that expresses the pure sweetness of it all.

I laughed. I cried. I was inspired. I was encouraged.

Oh, and the stories. The stories that were told. Such beautiful women. All of you.

{I'll share more on my weekend as my thoughts and emotions untangle themselves.}

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Party Like it's 2010

We had a birthday party.

It was cupcakin' good.

My baby turns 1 on Tuesday, and I have a happy-sad feeling in my heart.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

Happy 2010! Did you stay awake until midnight? The grandparents watched our children, so Ryan and I stayed out until 1 a.m. spending time with some dear friends.

Today, we spent hours at the Mall of America. Yikes, it was busy, and I'm tired.

Now for the winners...

BabyLegs - Erin who commented on December 28, at 11:14 p.m.

Pink Rosebud Earrings - Erin

Custom Felt Flower headband - ~love

Aveda Blue Oil - Cassie from FDL

Could the four of you email me with your mailing address? And ~love, let's talk colors.

Thanks to all who participated in my New Year's giveaways. I admit I was apprehensive about giving away one of my handmade headbands. I wondered if anyone would even want one and WOW was I blown away. The headband had the most entries of all the giveaways. Hmmm...maybe I need to start an etsy shop.