When we went to Ethiopia we some how “lost” both camera chargers and a sd card. Matt replaced his camera charger right away, but forgot to order mine (I am a little scared of all the buttons on Matt’s camera, I am a point and shoot kind of girl). The battery finally died and he ordered one with priority shipping from Ebay, expecting it to be here in a couple of days, not realizing it was coming all the way from Israel! Well my charger finally arrived yesterday morning and I was able to take pictures again. Here are some pics from our afternoon:
Someone got up early from his nap so I made him help with folding and stuffing his diapers
Ezra taking his second super long nap of the day!
Sharing our favorite toy
Big smile for Dad!
Trying teething biscuits
Noah thought it was quite yummy!
Ezra preferred the highchair.
Matt and I have decided to participate in Crunchy Chickens Buy Nothing Challenge for the month of August. Recently we realized our spending had gotten a little out of hand (I am blaming it on the exhaustion, I give in more easily when tired) and had a discussion of reeling it in , and this challenged popped up in my google reader the very next day. Basically we will be buying nothing but the essentials for the month of August.
*Quick disclaimer. Matt’s parents are here next week and we are hoping to sneak out on a date night just the two of us. More than likely we will go out to dinner which is not technically essential, but free baby sitters are free baby sitters. 😉
Recently I ventured into laundry soap making. Stacie posted this recipe on a yahoo board a while back and I finally gave it a try. The cost is significantly less than what I was using before and it was super easy to make. Matt helped me and I think it took the two of us less than 5 minutes. (It might actually take longer if you actually had to heat the water, the water is practically boiling out of our tap right now, it is summer and the pipes run through our attic.) I did some rough calculations on what it cost me to make. I rounded up my calculations to an even $5 for the whole batch, I also use about 3 ounces with each load instead of the 4 ounces she said to use (I have a front load washer and always use a little less soap), the cost came out to about $.03 per load. I was using method before and it was about $.19 per load. A savings of $.16 per load! Considering how much the laundry has increased with the boys home, it is a much appreciated savings. I think it works just as well as any soap I have used in the past. 🙂
Here is the recipe for those of you interested:
- 3.1 oz bar Ivory soap (I used Dr. Bronners all natural/organic and it worked great)
- 1 cup 20 Mule Team Borax
- ½ cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
- 5 Gallon container
- Knife (we used the cheese grater)
- Pot large enough to hold 5 cups of water
- Long stirring stick/spoon (for 5 gallon container)
Shave the soap into small strips and place in the pot with 5 cups of water. Bring the water just shy of a boil and stir until the soap is completely melted. When the soap is just about melted, pour 3 gallons of hot water into the 5-gallon container and let it sit until the soap in the pot is totally melted. Once all of the soap shavings are melted, pour the mixture into the 5-gallon container and stir.
Once the soap and water are thoroughly stirred, add the ½ cup pf washing soda and stir until dissolved. Once the washing soda is dissolved, pour in the cup of borax and stir again until dissolved.
Optional: Essential Oils for fragrance. If you like fragrant detergent, now is when you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oils.
Now you’ve got a huge container of hot soapy looking water. Cover the container, place it somewhere out of the way and let it sit overnight. Once it’s cooled it will gel. It will not gel uniformly so it will be lumpy and watery. It may not be very attractive, but it works. It’s best find smaller storage containers for convenience.
Usage: ½ cup per laundry load is adequate to clean your clothes. This homemade laundry detergent works well in high efficiency washing machines since it is low sudsing.
One word of caution, if using a high efficiency machines: Before pouring the lumpy gel into the detergent receptacle, stir it to break up the lumps. Very large lumps may not fully dissolve, stirring the detergent with a spoon, pencil, or whatever you have available (or your finger), works fine.
This recipe yields 442 oz of laundry detergent, of which 4 oz are required per laundry load. With this recipe you should be able to wash 110 ½ loads of laundry.
So We have wanted to get some fun pics of the boys and their cousin abby. So I set up some hobo DIY style photo backdrop and lights from ikea. Here are some cute ones.
Several of our faithful readers and friends have asked for an update. We are currently appealing the decision of our insurance provider. Ezra was actually declined for no diagnosis. Yes that is correct, NO DIAGNOSIS. We are appealing this decision because in our minds it is ludicrous. I am sure lots of babies are born every day with an undiagnosed health condition and their insurance picks them up no problem. In our minds he is being discriminated against because of potential health issues. He has tested negative twice for the medical issue they are assuming he has. Ezra and I are going in today to have more blood drawn to see if the elevated levels last time have gone down or to see if something else could be the cause. Please pray for the results.
We also learned that the state of Arizona has a law that requires children adopted or born be covered automatically for 31 days. We asked our provider why we were not given the 31 days and they told us they weren’t sure if it applied to us and would give us a decision in 30 days. We contacted the state insurance commissioner’s office and they couldn’t tell us much over the phone and they are currently running 6-9 months out for processing claims. I am assuming we will hear back from them in 9-12 months. Hopefully given the law we will at least be reimbursed for the money we have already paid to have them initially visit the doctor.
That’s all I can share for now. Thanks to everyone for your words of encouragement and your prayers. We are truly thankful to have such a wonderful, supportive community.
Let’s end this boring post with a cute pic!
Ezra sleeping in his exersaucer
Ezra and Noah are 8 months old today! Also tonight marks 4 weeks home. It is hard to believe we were landing at about this time 4 whole weeks ago! It has been great getting to know them over the last month and watch them grow.
The boys have been busy trying lots of new things. Both of them are sitting up now and that is the way they prefer to be, none of that lying on their tummies or backs anymore. Ezra can roll over, but doesn’t like to do it, and Noah has absolutely no interest in it.
Both are very smiley and giggly. Ezra laughs out loud quite often. Noah loves to click his tongue. Ezra taught Noah how to blow juicy raspberries. Sometimes a bit too juicy. Both boys are playing a lot more. Last month toys were for us to play with them trying to entertain them. Now they play on their own a lot.
They have tried all sorts of new foods in the last month. They were only on formula just one month ago, now they are having three additional meals a day. Noah’s favorites are anything we feed him and Ezra’s are sweet potatoes and banana. Avocado is also a big hit, with its gooey green being smashed into our hair, nose and ears as the boys are very into wanting to help with the spoon.
Last night was their first bath in the big tub together. 🙂
Before we left for Ethiopia I had sent off the application to add the boys to our health insurance. Given that they are dependents I figured they would be added or at the worst a pre-existing condition might be excluded for a year. Upon return we learned our health insurance provider wanted more info, so we paid out of pocket to get the necessary doctor appointments and blood test run. Ezra’s test came back and there was one health concern, but I showed the blood test to an international pediatrician and she said she sees this a lot in international adoptions, so I was not concerned. Much to our surprise our insurance is denying him coverage completely.
I am blogging this to ask for help, for prayers, for advice. Has anyone had a similar issue? How did you fight your battle? Did you win or lose? (We are on an individual plan because we are self-employed.) If you do not want to share your story in the comments section, please email me directly.
Happy Independence Day! We didn’t not celebrate the 4th in a traditional sense today. The boys cannot stay up late enough for fireworks and all the people we normally would BBQ with are out of town (we weren’t ready to throw our own BBQ yet), but we still had a great day.
Our 4th started out checking out all the water left behind from last night’s storm. My rain gauge had 1.5 inches in it, which for the desert is a ton!
The baby pool is now disgusting and full! It was clean and only had about 2 inches of water in it before.
Lake Miramar is full! (Lake Miramar is our neighborhood name for the retention basin down the street, it has very deep dry wells at the bottom too, so it is impressive when it fills)
After that, it was time to go to the Farmers’ Market!
As you can see it was met with great excitement.
Our bounty from the market. Most of this is to make more baby food. Look at those giant sweet potatoes, Ezra will be so happy!
Then we took naps, okay the boys did, Matt and I did stuff around the house. When nap time was over cousin Abby came over and we went swimming.
This is fun!
Dad and Noah
Mom and Ezra
Auntie Michelle and Abby
Noah really likes to lick towels, blankets, pretty much anything
Thanks to our neighbors who lent us their pool in their absence! It was a great day for swimming.