All posts by jenniferdein

Jen’s Top Ten

I am so excited about all the interest in the Norwex products since my last post.  I have had a blast telling everyone about them and I keep getting the same question…what are your favorite products? So, since we have a few days left until the fundraiser (**update, since the fundraiser is now closed, I have updated this link to a general site where you can place an order) closes (on Monday at 8PST), I thought it might help to post my Top 10 favorite products!  AND, since I know this is all about Jacob, I will also post the LATEST, GREATEST giggle video featuring Jacob’s new swing!!

Here we go!microfiber

Number 1 – EnviroCloth and Window Cloth

This shouldn’t be a surprise!  I have yet to find a mess this cloth couldn’t handle.  In the kitchen I use it on my counters, cabinets and appliances.  In the bathroom I use it on the vanity, shower, bathtub and mirrors.  In Jacob’s room I use it to wipe down his toys, crawling surfaces and basically anything he touches.  I can have confidence that the EnviroCloth has picked up and locked away any dirt or germs and no dangerous chemical residue has been left behind.  Bryan even uses it to clean his truck.

Number 2 – Floor System

Back in the day, I would spend hours cleaning my floors.  I would vacuum, then steam and then buff to get rid of the cloudiness that seemed impossible to get rid of.  Then I switched to Bona, which saved some time, but  mopping while holding the bottle was always a disaster (I broke many nozzles) and I didn’t like the thought of Jacob’s hands and mouth touching those chemicals, no matter how cute the baby on the bottle is.  The floor system does an excellent job picking up all of the little debris and all I have to do is get the mop pad wet with water and off I go! floor system

Number 3 – Make Up Remover Cloths

I tried these cloths by recommendation of my sister-in-law.  She had been using Proactive face wash and went to a demonstration where she was challenged to wash half of her face with the Proactive and the other half with just the Make Up Remover Cloth and water.  Afterward, she checked her skin with astringent and was shocked at how much cleaner the Make Up Remover cloth got her skin.  She discontinued using the Proactive and her skin has never been better.  I shared this with another friend and she said it helped clear up a nasty breakout and her skin has been clear ever since.  They make makeup removal at night very quick and easy.body cloth

Number 4 – Fruit and Veggie Scrub

I never realized how much waxy yuck is on an apple until I removed it!  Even when we buy organic apples, they have a film on the skin.  I use the Fruit and Veggie Scrub to clean our fruit and vegetables with out peeling off the nutritious outer layer while still getting it nice and clean.  There is a scrubby side for though vegetables like potatoes and carrots and a soft side for delicate produce like zucchini and tomatoes.

Number 5 – Hand Towels

As I wrote in the last post, when Jacob first came home from the hospital, I pulled all hand towels out of our house and bought stock in paper towels.  I probably spent over $50 a month on paper towels and I don’t even want to think of the impact we made on our landfill.  The problem with regular towels is that they spread germs.  The Norwex hand towels grab the dirt, germs and water from your hands and lock it in the towel.  Then the silver goes to work self purifying and the towels are safe for the next user.  I have a Norwex hand towel at every sink!

Number 6 – Kitchen Towels

These are fantastic!  Super absorbent and excellent for drying dishes.  We also keep one hanging in our shower to dry the glass and it even works great when giving a dribbley baby a drink of water without a bib.

Number 7 – Mattress Cleaner

This amazing spray is an enzyme-based cleaner that you spray on spraysyour mattresses and pillows to deep clean the “organic matter” left behind by dust mites.  Yes, its gross…it cleans away bug poop in your pillows and mattresses.  This “organic matter” is what causes allergies.  A friend of mine used it on her bed and pillows and her husband’s allergy symptoms cleared up almost immediately!

Number 8 – Baby Towel and Wash cloth

006This is a super absorbent, super soft towel and wash cloth that Jacob loves.  I use the washcloth to clean his skin without harsh, skin drying soaps and I can be confident that both the washcloth and towel and safe to use between washings as both have the microsilver.

Number 9 – Cleaning Paste

Not EVERY mess can be cleaned with just water.  So, for those extra stubborn messes, you can clean with confidence using the Cleaning Paste.  Just a dab will do ya!  Great to pair with the bathroom scrub mit!

Number 10 – Bath Towels

Don’t get me wrong, number 10 does not mean last.  I LOVE my bath towels.  They are giant and soft and snuggly.  But, they are also very light, super absorbent and last much longer between washes than standard towels…thanks again to that microsilver.  In fact, most of the Norwex products have microsilver…you can identify it with the label BacLock.

So there you have it…my top10 favorite products.   (ok, I have to give a shout out to the dish mat too!  I use it as a pillow for Jacob so he doesn’t sleep in a puddle of drool.  I love the one I use in my kitchen too!) Now I’d be remiss if I failed to mention the new fall products.  While I don’t have any personal experience with them, I am most excited about the floor mat, bottle scrubber and silicon lids.

Again, the fundraiser will close Monday at 8pm PST.  Here is the link for the fundraiser

Party Link

Now here’s what you’ve all been waiting for…Jacob!!!  I promise its worth the wait!!!

A small change; a BIG impact!

When Jacob came home from the hospital after 4 months in the NICU, I knew it was extremely important to make our home a safe, healthy place for him.  I had been turned into a certified germaphobe and was determined to kill any living micro-organism within a 10 mile radius of our house.  I bought stock in Lysol and anti-bacterial hand gel.  I removed every hand towel from our home and alerted Costco of our intent to clear their inventory of paper towels.  I even talked the NICU nurses into snagging a couple containers of the hospital grade super disinfectant to take home with us.  I was ready for my war with germs and bacteria.

And then I found out I had done it all wrong…

My intentions were certainly honorable.  However, my tactics utilized the wrong weapons.  I was sieging chemical warfare on germs in my home.  The problem was that we still lived it, breathing the air that I just filled with chemicals.  I was spending a fortune on paper towels to eliminate the cross contamination of hand towels and, although I didn’t realize it at the time, I was cleaning twice as often because all the cleaners I used left residue on our surfaces that attracted more dirt.

Then, my mom introduced me to Norwex.

Norwex is a company that makes cleaning cloths designed to eliminate the need for chemical cleaners in your home.  By using their micro fiber cloths, I began to clean virtually my entire home with JUST WATER.  But wait…what about the germs??  I HAD to kill the germs!

So, Norwex microfiber is not like just any microfiber cloth you can find.  It uses fibers 1/200th the size of a human hair, versus standard microfiber that is just 1/6th, and it has micro-silver woven in to battle the germs.  The cloth, just damp with water, picks up and locks in all of the grime and germs and then the micro-silver goes to work using its self-purification properties against mold, fungi and bacteria.  It creates an environment where the germs cannot reproduce and they die.  The cloths can be used multiple times and then thrown in the wash.  They even have a 2 year warranty.

When I first heard about Norwex I thought, “Well, isn’t that nice, but big deal.”  However, knowing the importance of ridding my home of chemicals, I went to the Norwex website to find where I could learn more about these products and I asked my local consultant to give me a demonstration.  When I saw this, I was blown away…

Norwex had its newest customer.  I ditched the chemicals and paper towels and was amazed at how much easier cleaning could be.  I even told a few friends and family members about my new discovery.  Just recently a received an email from my mother-in-law in Phoenix about her experience,

 I finally got around to using the green and purple cleaning cloths and only because somehow in one of Bryan and my conversations we got to talking about them.  I think he was telling me how he used them for cleaning his truck and I had, after nearly a year, not even touched mine.  Anyway, I got them to clean mirrors so I wouldn’t have that nasty white streaking.  The past two weekends I have cleaned all the mirrors, tv screens and whatever else was glass and they are fabulous.

The mirrors sparkle with no white streaks, and usually when I clean them, the next weekend they are dusty again.   I cleaned the mirrors a week ago, we are now one or two dust storms later and when I looked at the mirrors  this weekend the dust had not even accumulated.  WHOA this is awesome and instead of cleaning them again I went on to clean other glass items.  Thank you and just sorry it took me so long to get with the program.

So, I decided its time to share the word about this great discovery.  Norwex makes MANY products for your home, car and body.  I started with the Enviro Cloth and Window Cloth, but now I have most of the kitchen and bath products as well, and I am equally thrilled.  If you would like to give them a try and reduce the chemicals and cleaning time in your home, here is a great opportunity.

We are hosting a Norwex fundraiser and 35% of all sales will go to Jacob’s revisit to The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential in Philadelphia.  You can make a big difference in your home and help us get Jacob to his specialists all at once!  Check out the links below to view the catalogs and then follow this link to place your order.

Product Catalog:  2014_Product_Catalog_US_WEB2

Fall 2014 Products

Party link:

(**update, since the fundraiser is now closed, I have updated this link to a general site where you can place an order)

Just click the Party Link above and you will be directed to the site where you can make your purchases.  All purchases made from this link will automatically count towards Jacob’s IAHP fundraiser.  This will be open and active until Monday, August 25th at 8pm EST.

If you would like more information about Norwex, use the following links:

Wall Street Journal assesses Norwex

More Product Demonstrations

30 Chemicals to avoid in your household

If you have any questions or comments, please comment on this post (link below) and I will respond.

Thank you so much for your support and we hope these products make as much of a difference in your home as they have in ours.

A day in the life of Jacob – Part 1

I have written before that Jacob works very hard and that his day is very full.  But what does that really mean?

Jacob’s program, developed by the specialists at The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential, was specially designed for his specific needs and to fill the gaps in his development.  It was also designed to be achievable by a child of his age.  I will say, however, that it takes significant strategy, planning and a little luck to get it all done each day.

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To help with prioritization, Jacob’s program can be divided into 3 parts…Physiological, Intellectual and Physical.  In effort to explain each of these important programs, I will separate them into 3 posts.

The highest priority is Jacob’s Physiological program.  This portion has to do with Jacob’s overall health, nutrition and respiration.  I have written previously about Jacob’s nutrition and the importance of giving him all the building blocks he needs to accomplish all of his goals.  Of equal importance is proper respiration.

Because Jacob was born 4 months prematurely, his lungs were not fully developed.  He was on a ventilator for 74 days.  While this technology was absolutely critical to his survival, it also caused damage to his lungs.

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The brain must have adequate oxygen to function properly.  So, in order to achieve proper brain function, we must improve Jacob’s breathing.  To accomplish this we do 2 therapies daily; masking and respiratory patterning.

Masking is done every 5 minutes throughout the day with a goal of 40 masks each day.  During this therapy, Jacob rebreathes his own air for a short period.  This has 2 outcomes.  First, it utilizes the natural reflex triggered by sensors in the brain to breathe in more quickly and deeply when the carbon dioxide levels increase.  This helps Jacob strengthen his chest walls and it also helps to expand his lungs.  Second, by inhaling a slightly higher ratio of carbon dioxide, the blood vessels dilate and take more oxygen rich blood to the brain.

Recently, many athletes have taken to a similar therapy to improve their performance.  The underlying principle is the same.  Exercise the lungs to make them stronger.

In addition to masking, Jacob wears a respiratory patterning device for 2 hours during the day and all night long.  It is similar to the leg compression sleeves that are used in the hospital to prevent blood clots in patients.  The device consists of a vest that goes around his chest and an air compressors with a regulator.  The vest fills with air at the designated rate, rhythm and pressure to gently suggest how to breath.  This feels wonderful and sends the message to Jacob’s brain, “this is how it feels to breath.”  Prior to using the device, Jacob would breath quite quickly and with shallow breaths.  Now, he breathes more slowly and deeply.

At our last visit to IAHP, we participated in a very impactful presentation.  A parent was asked to play the part of the child.  The instructor, playing the part of the parent, asked the child to take 5 large bites of applesauce.  Once the 5th bite was taken, the “child” was asked to run 5 laps around the auditorium.  When that was completed, the “child” was asked to repeat task of eating 5 bites of applesauce.  This was repeated with participants being asked to sing “Happy Birthday” and write their name on the chalkboard.  The purpose of this demonstration was to show how difficult these typically simple tasks are to our children who are not getting sufficient oxygen.

Breathing impacts all function…ability to speak, swallow, see and hear.  These little bursts of oxygen help all of these functions improve.   Even muscle tone and control improve when the brain receives the oxygen it needs to send its messages properly.  This is why the Physiological portion of Jacob’s program is of utmost importance.

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What is truly amazing is that while doing all this every single day, Jacob is such a happy, giggly boy!  We are so incredibly blessed!  It may be hard to believe that we get SO MANY giant smile pictures, but that’s just our boy.  He has a light in his eyes that is beyond compare and a will to succeed that is certain to get him to wellness!  Thank you, God!!

Remembering our sweet angel

Today we remember our sweet angel, Logan.  We miss him terribly, but we know he is with Jesus and is being an amazing guardian angel for his little brother, Jacob.  They say our time on earth is just the blink of an eye compared to our time in Heaven.  So while our sweet baby is skipping through fields of wildflowers, by the time he looks back to see if we are with him, we will be.

The Brave Little Soul
Not too long ago in Heaven there was a little soul who took wonder in observing the world. He especially enjoyed the love he saw there and often expressed this joy with God. One day however the little soul was sad, for on this day he saw suffering in the world. He approached God and sadly asked, ‘Why do bad things happen? Why is there suffering in the world?’

God paused for a moment and replied, ‘Little Soul, do not be sad, for the suffering you see, unlocks the love in people’s hearts.’

The little soul was confused. ‘What do you mean?’ he asked.

God replied, ‘Have you not noticed the goodness and love that is the offspring of that suffering? Look at how people come together, drop their differences and show their love and compassion for those who suffer. All their other motivations disappear and they become motivated by love alone. ‘The little soul began to understand and listened attentively as God continued. ‘The suffering soul unlocks the love in people’s hearts much like the sun and the rain unlock the flower within the seed. I created everyone with endless love in their heart, but unfortunately most people keep it locked up and hardly share it with anyone. They are afraid to let their love shine freely, because they are afraid of being hurt. But a suffering soul unlocks that love. I tell you this – it is the greatest miracle of all. Many souls have bravely chosen to go into the world and suffer – to unlock this love – to create this miracle – for the good of all humanity.’

Just then the little soul got a wonderful idea and could hardly contain himself. With his wings fluttering, bouncing up and down, the little soul excitedly replied, ‘I am brave; let me go!! I would love to go into the world and suffer so that I can unlock the goodness and love in people’s hearts! I want to create that miracle!!’

God smiled and said, ‘You are a brave soul I know, and thus I will grant your request. But even though you are very brave you will not be able to do this alone. I have known since the beginning of time that you would ask for this and so I have carefully selected many souls to care for you on your journey. Those souls will help create your miracle; however they will also share in your suffering. Two of these souls are most special and will care for you, help you and suffer along with you, far beyond the others. They have already chosen a name for you.’

God and the brave little soul shared a smile, and then embraced. In parting, God said, ‘Do not forget little soul that I will be with you always. Although you have agreed to bear the pain, you will do so through my strength. And if the time should come when you feel that you have suffered enough, just say the word, think the thought, and you will be healed.’

Thus at that moment the brave little soul was born into the world, and through his suffering and God’s strength, he unlocked the goodness and love in people’s hearts.  For so many people dropped their differences and came together to show their love.  Priorities became properly aligned. People gave from their hearts. Those that were always too busy found time. Many began new spiritual journeys – some regained lost faith – many came back to God. Parents hugged their children tighter. Friends and family grew closer. Old friends got together and new friendships were made. Distant family reunited, and every family spent more time together. People checked a website and sent notes of encouragement. People made and brought meals to the family of suffering. Everyone prayed. Peace and love reigned. Lives changed forever. It was good. The world was a better place. The miracle had happened.  God was pleased ….

Thank you all for your support.

Its about to get crazy over here!!

**WARNING**  This post contains the BEST giggle video to date!  Watch at your own risk!

The clock is ticking and we will be heading back to Philadelphia before we know it!  This means its time to get back in to see Jacob’s specialists at Children’s Hospital Oakland and have all of his lab work done.  Its also time to get to work on the reports and videos we need to submit to IAHP.

This is an exciting time because it is when we stop and take a look at all the AMAZING progress Jacob has made.  (Don’t worry, I will share!!) It is also a stressful time because there are just not enough hours in the day to fit it all in!

But, before we get bogged down with the stress, we will reflect on the incredible love and support we have been shown by our friends and family!  So far, we are at 35% of the way there!!!  Only $4200 to go.  If you would like to help us reach our goal, please click this link http://www.gofundme.com/brx8rw .  We are so grateful for everyone who has contributed!

Time to get back to business…we are so lucky Jacob makes it all so fun!

 

Let’s Party!!!

We’ve got an awful lot to celebrate!

birthday boy

Our amazing little man is a whole 2 years old!  How did the time fly so fast?

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We had a wonderful celebration this weekend with friends and family.  Even though Jacob wanted to take a nap, he was filled with smiles, giggles and chatter.  Some of Jacob's patternerspatterners

In other news, Jacob has been doing especially well on his crawling track…but I’ll have to write about that another day.  Time to get back to the party!

Throwback Thursday – 3 NICU’s

Most families haven’t ever set foot inside a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  We certainly hadn’t before “everything happened.”  And, through our journey, we can now say that we are quite well versed in 3 of them.  The three were very different and each had its pros and cons.

Children’s Hospital of Illinois, St Francis Medical Center, Peoria, IL

This is where it all started.  Our first glimpse into this world.  If this all had to happen, I couldn’t have asked to be at a better place.  The unit was brand new and state of the art.  We even had our own room.  There are not words to describe the how amazing the team is.  They cried with us, celebrated with us, held our hands and, most importantly, truly loved our baby. 

Reading Jacob his first story.
Reading Jacob his first story.

There’s the Neonatologist who came in on his day off to check on us and Jacob after his emergency surgery when he was only a week old. The APN’s who came by our room after their shift just to check on us…and I truly mean us, not just Jacob.  The respiratory therapist who told 290jokes to keep us smiling. The cardiologist who came back from vacation early to do Jacob’s PDA surgery and, although reluctantly, agreed to recite the song I had written for Jacob to get through this new obstacle.

Jacob's PDA surgery song.
Jacob’s PDA surgery song.

The Neos, who, every single day, would put up with my million questions as I attempted to get every bit of information into my notes so I could relay it all to Bryan.  The Infectious Disease doctor with his crazy shirts.  The surgeon, who’s gruff shell melted away as he told me what an amazingly strong little boy Jacob was.  The patient support team who worked behind the358 scenes, not only cheering us on, but helping us get home.  Even the unit secretaries who made sure we had a place to stay on the scary nights and made us feel welcome each day. 

A bib made especially for Jacob by one of the Unit Secretaries.
A bib made especially for Jacob by one of the Unit Secretaries.
Our core team of day shift nurses.
Our core team of day shift nurses.

And the nurses.  Oh, the nurses.  They are truly angels on earth.  We had parties when he finally tinkled.

Jacob's first tinkle after his first surgery.  We prayed and sang and waited so long for it!
Jacob’s first tinkle after his first surgery. We prayed and sang and waited so long for it!

They taught me how to change his teeny tiny diapers.  The schlepped countless bottles of milk back and forth as I was constantly pumping.  The lifted me up when I was feeling down.  They prayed with us, were scared with us, cheered with us and cried with us when we left.  The checked on us when they were off or working in another neighborhood or unit.  They left us little notes and never minded my calls through the night to check in. 327 They are our family and always will be. 

The only possible con of this amazing place was its location.  It is 2000 miles from our home and an hour from my parents house.  Bryan had to fly back and forth on weekends and the trips were never easy.  One was such a disaster it took him over 24 hours to get home.  It was incredibly difficult to be separated through this.  I am so grateful to my parents and my extended Illinois family for their support through it all. 

The other NICU’s hardly stood a chance to even compare to CHOI, but they tried.  After 2 months, when Jacob was stable enough, we had to leave…but that’s a story for another day.

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There’s nothing better than a good night’s sleep

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Ahh…sleep. Why must you elude me?

My sweet little man has the most unpredictable sleep schedule. The only thing we can plan on is that as soon as we think there’s a pattern, it changes. Thankfully, once he goes to sleep he’s usually down for 12 hours…unless there’s something that needs to be done. And, when all else fails, there’s our secret weapon…mommy and daddy’s bed. No child shall resist it’s powers for slumber!!

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But just when you thought it was safe to start working on that project…

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A great new option from The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential

The team at IAHP has had one main goal for the last 60 years….to help as many children around the world as possible. This great new online option is a fantastic step towards reaching more families. Check it out…

For over half a century we have been learning how to help hurt kids and how to teach parents what we have learned, so that they can help their own children at home. For the first time in our history we are offering this information online. Join us on the Pathway to Wellness: www.iahp.org/pathwaytowellness

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Please help us share Jacob’s story

Jacob

So you may be asking yourself, “Why share this story?  Why put all of this out there for the world to see?” 

About 18 months ago, I was sitting alone, scared for my baby and searching for someone who knew anything about what we were going through.  I can tell you from personal experience, walking in our shoes was very hard.  And not stiletto, “they hurt but boy do they look good” hard, but really, down to the core, tear your heart out, hard. 

Luckily, or as I believe as a part of His plan, I ran across a mother’s blog.  It was so strange how it happened.  The page was a disaster.  The words were overlapping pictures and I had to strain and stretch the page to make anything out.  I couldn’t explain why I was so compelled to get to message of this page, but thank God I was.

I was searching for information on coritcal blindness, blindness due to a problem in the brain, not the eyes, and I found her story.  Because of her story, I found IAHP, and because of IAHP our baby is recovering his vision. He was blind and now he can see.

I want to give that opportunity back to any other family who may need it.  We’re out here, we understand and we want to help. 

So, please, help us get our story out there.  Share this page on Facebook, tell a friend, follow the blog.  You never know who may need it. 

Now here’s some more cuteness from our impromptu photo shoot!

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