Friday, October 3, 2014

Preparing For Another Year Of Blanket Donations!

This will be our 5th year of donating blankets to the Denver Children's Hospital. Can you believe it?  Our boys are turning 5 and sadly, one of our families moved away this summer.  With that in mind, it might be our last yearly donation, although we might do it every few years from now on or during a big milestone. This picture was taken on the 4th of July, when we said goodbye to Chance and his family.  It was so sad, because we are family to each other.  Through all of our struggles and heartbreak and anguish, there have been some amazing times with each other and I wouldn't trade any of it.  I love my heart family!!



So with one month left of collecting blankets, we need your help!!  Please donate a blanket!  The babies, children, and teens at the Denver Children's Hospital ask for so little.  They have hope and positive attitudes and loving spirits. A blanket is such a small thing to us, but it means so much to them.  Having lived in the hospital myself, during all of Kimble's care, I certainly know how drafty and cold those hospital rooms can be during the winter months.  A warm blanket offered is indeed, a cuddle from the heart.

There is no requirement to the blanket donation, other than the fact that the blanket must be new.  It can be handmade or storebought.  It can be fabric, knitted, crocheted, quilted, sewed, knotted, or any other method of construction.  It can be any size, from newborn to teen.

If you email me, (kamyrensmiles@hotmail.com) with the subject line "blanket drive", I will send you my address if you want to mail me your donation. You can even buy a blanket online and have it shipped directly to me.  I promise you, it is such a good cause.


This stack of fleece fabric was made into 20 blankets last week.  A group of women gave of their time and turned the fabric into warm and cuddly blankets.  It was such a fun night of service.

One month left!!  It might be the last donation for a long time.  If you can, please donate a blanket or two.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Should I try to catch up?

I'm not even sure how to begin blogging again.  I feel like I have so much I can talk about from the past 18 months or so, but not even sure what details are important anymore.  I do have lots of pictures (haven't stopped taking pictures!) but they are too many in count to just do monthly catchup posts.

If I just start today, and go forward, I feel like everyone would be lost, like picking up a book in the middle, and not knowing what is going on because you didn't read the first half.  Ugh.  I really like blogging, and feel like I might have the time and focus again for it, but feel like I need to catch up before I can begin.

I'm not even sure who reads blogs anymore.  Since I stopped blogging, I sorta stopped reading blogs as well.  Just got too busy for it.  So I guess if I started blogging again, it would simply be to document our family life, as I did before.  Not really for any other reason.  However, I do have a sorta relationship with you, my readers, and feel deeply regretful that I have stopped documenting.  You all read my blog for one reason or another, and kept coming back, and I owe you that continuation.

At any rate...I had some time this morning, and thought: "I should blog".  So I did, but I'm not sure it was worth anything.  Perhaps a picture will help.



Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Paleo, Running, And Kids!


The kids are having a great summer. We have been going to lots of parks, swimming, hiking, church camps, and a bit of driving around our beautiful state.  We will go camping in a few weeks, and everyone is looking forward to the time away!

In other news, I decided to commit to running.  Again?!?  I know. I thought the same thing.  All the past failed attempts were brought up and dissected.  Why can't I master it?  I'm determined to succeed.  We sold the treadmill a few months ago, and I don't have a gym membership, so I was left to try running outside.  For a few weeks, I ran around my neighborhood...which I've done before and never enjoyed it...and this time was no different.  It was boring and unmotivating. An obligation to fulfill, and no more.

Ah, but then I discovered a sweet trail, nestled alongside a creek, with lovely overhanging trees and little wildlife hopping and jumping around me.  It's perfect, and I'm actually starting to enjoy my training.  My sister inspired me to begin again, and she got me to commit to training for a 10k, as well as agreeing to run the Tinkerbell Half Marathon with her next May.   I'm also listening to an audiobook while running, about a girl who thought she could never be a runner, but decided to run a marathon, and now she is an inspirational motivator for all girls who think they can't run.  That's me to a T. 

I'm really good at following through with a goal, once I commit to it.  So here goes!  Running.

I also decided to revamp my diet strategy again.  I researched Paleo and it is discussed so much in the "thyroid world".  I thought it would help with my symptoms.  I'm on week 2, and I feel fantastic.  So much so, that last night, as I was driving past my very favorite burger and fry place, the very place where I love munching on an endless supply of shoestring fries, big patty burgers, dipping fry sauce and  ice cream desserts, I turned a cold shoulder to it.  It didn't even look tempting.  In fact, the picture in their advertisement looked so overloaded with grease, dairy, and gluten, that I actually shuddered.  Good for me.  I'm sure eventually I'll crave that again, but for today and now, I am doing great.

So that's what I'm up to now.  Also, I'm hangin' out a lot with this guy.  :)


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Results Normal

Well, my bloodwork all came back "normal".  I have studied thyroid dysfunction a lot in the last few months, and I now know that most thyroid tests come back "normal" and that I need to find the right kind of doctor to help me.  So, my journey continues.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Struggle


I've been struggling lately.
Mostly emotionally, due to physical issues.
If I had to narrow it down, it's been due to my inability to lose weight.

"Just do this and you'll lose weight!"
"Refrain from eating (insert food here) and you'll lose weight!"
""Eat small meals throughout the day."
"Drink lots of water."
"Follow a workout plan."
"Do Cardio."
"Do weights."
Or my favorite: "Just keep lowering your calories and it's bound to happen sooner or later."
"I did this (insert amazing plan that worked for them) and I lost all the weight in 6 weeks!"

Everyone has something that worked for them.
But doesn't work for me.

I get the skeptical looks that say "no matter what you say you are doing, I don't believe you; because you would be losing weight if you actually did all that you say".

"You look great.....................for having five kids." 
"You don't need to lose weight!  You are just fine with your curviness.  You have a balanced hourglass figure".

I want to feel healthier. 
I don't have unrealistic notions about what size or weight to be.
I simply want to be at a healthy weight, without fat protruding through my clothing.

I'm willing to work for it.
I've been focusing on losing weight since Kimble was 9 months old.
He is 4 1/2 years old now.
My goal was to lose 50 pounds (which would result in about a size 6).
I managed to lose 35 pounds, and basically had to starve myself to do it, and it took 2 years.
I've gained 12 back.

No matter what I've done the past 4 years, I can't seem to reach my goal.
I've all but eliminated dairy and gluten and refined sugars from my diet, cutting it down to less than one meal a week.

I work out at the gym 4 times a week, with a friend.  
We follow a plan on Bodybuilding.com (Jamie Eason).
I eat less than 1200 calories a day.

So..I'm trying hard.
Even though I'm not seeing results, I don't give up.
However, it's taking it's toll on me.
In other words: I'm struggling.

I've thought that I have thyroid issues for a while now.
Hypothyroidism, to be specific.
I have so many symptoms that correlate.

I'm tired all.the.time.
No energy.
No metabolism.
I'm always cold.
I'm gaining weight despite eating right and working out.
Heavy cycles.
Depressed (although with all those above symptoms, it's understandable).

I went to a doctor a few years ago, and shared my struggles and requested a blood panel.
She told me to reduce my calories to 500 a day and then I'd see results.
I have never been so upset at a "medical professional" and didn't go back to her again.

So I finally decided to go to someone I trust. 
My OBGYN.

I figured he would be the one that could help me figure out my symptoms;
especially because some of my other symptoms (not listed) correlate with hormone imbalances.
Plus, I needed a yearly exam (4 years in the making).

I made a list of my symptoms.
I made a list of everything I was doing to accommodate those symptoms.
I shared with him my struggles.

He agreed that there are things happening that need to be figured out!
He didn't just dismiss me.
He is willing to work through all the options until we find something that helps.

I feel validated.
It's been so long that I've struggled with this, that I didn't fully realize how heavy of a burden I was carrying, until it was released by my doctor simply agreeing with me.

Every decision, every moment, every action always came back to my struggles with my body not responding to what I feel are simple requests, and things that work for everyone else, but not for me.

We are starting with a blood panel, which was done immediately after the appointment.
Even if the TSH panel comes back within normal levels, my doctor is willing to look further and test more.
That is exactly what I need.

I hope we can get my body regulating itself again.
I'm so tired of struggling.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Wife and The Husband

Kennedy wrote me a story one night.  I love it so much, that I wanted to make sure it was documented.  Thus, I come out of my blogging funk once again to make a minute post; however, I would like to begin blogging again.  I have so much to talk about (and apparently not enough desire to follow-through).  That being said, I really do hope to blog again soon.

For now, I will share with you Kennedy's story.  It begins thus:

 "The wife is walking tords (towards) the husbind (husband)."


 "The husbinde (husband) is waving at the wife."

 "The wife sees the husbinde (husband) and drops the floures (flowers) because she is shoked (shocked)."

"Thay (they) are about to get kissed."

"And thay (they) did kiss."

"And got a child!"
"The end."



Thursday, February 6, 2014

Huckleberry Blossom: Hospital Pajamas!

I am so excited to announce that I am now selling Hospital Pajamas!  Some of you may remember THIS POST from about 18 months ago, where my sister and I made sets of pajamas for Mr. Kimble, to wear during his recovery time for his next open heart surgery.

Since then, I have received many comments, and many emails, asking me if I had these in my shop yet; if they were available for purchase; if I had finalized all of the sizing so I could offer them.  Now, the answer is yes!!

About a month ago, my sister Sharon called me and told me she was going to spend a week at my house at the end of January and we would get all the sizing done for the hospital pajamas.  We would make a bunch of sets together, and then list them on Etsy, and that is exactly what we did!
 
In turn, we opened up a new shop on Etsy called Huckleberry Blossom.  We currently have sizes available from 2T to size 7 in childrens.  Within the next month, we'll have sizing done for newborn to 2T, and will list those pajama sets as they become available. Here is a blurb from our "About Us" page, that explains our story and purpose with the hospital pajamas.

My whole world changed in a moment when, during my routine 20 week ultrasound, I was told that my child had complex congenital heart defects, and IF he survived after birth, we would be facing a long and difficult road filled with hospital stays and surgeries.

After many open heart surgeries, and many experiences of living in the hospital for a time, I thought about how I could make the hospital life be as comfortable as possible for my little heart patient.

My sister and I worked together to create hospital pajamas that are intended for those children who need to make the hospital their home for a little while. These pajamas provide modesty, comfort, and joy for the patient. They allow access for the doctors and nurses, while still providing warmth and cover during recovery. They are inspired by our real life. We saw a need, and this is our solution.

All proceeds help benefit our little heart patient, who wears his special pajamas when life demands frequent and heartbreaking hospitalizations.


Here is some info about the pajamas and why they are special.

 These pajamas were first developed for our little heart patient, and we soon discovered (upon talking to other 'hospital moms') that the pajamas would work for all types of patients. Therefore, we created a pattern that would be beneficial for all children who require longer hospital stays and who prefer more comfort and modest attire than what the standard issue hospital gowns provide.

The robe opens in the front and folds close with a tie sash. This front opening provides easy access to the body while still maintaining modesty, comfort, and warmth. The sleeves are wide enough for bulky IVs, arm braces, blood pressure cuffs, and other necessary equipment. The long robe also hides cords and wires that little hands might want to pull and play with, allowing the connection wires to be kept 'out of sight out of mind'.

The jammie bottoms are equally roomy and comfy. They have an elastic waist to easily slip on and off. They also have wide pant legs for the same reasons as we have the wide sleeves.

Once the child is mobile, the child can freely move about the hospital while staying modest and warm, without the drafty backs that the hospital gowns offer! Little buns are cute, but not for public display!

These hospital jammies can be worn as a set, or individually, as needed. Cute prints make it fun for the child, and bring a sense of comfort from home during their time in the hospital. Even better, this pajama set is so cute and comfy, that it can continue to be worn as regular pajamas at home.

Here are some pictures we have taken of some cute kids (including Kimble!) modeling our pajama sets.






Please feel free to 'like' our Facebook Page Huckleberry Blossom, and check out our Etsy store for current listings.  We know that these hospital pajamas are near and dear to our heart, and we hope that they can offer some comfort to those who wear them.  Please share this info with those you know who may be in a similar situation.

I know that this endeavor won't make me rich.  This isn't the point. I'm not out to make money with this. It takes a lot of fabric and a lot of time to make these sets, but it is something that is very special for me.  From my standpoint, as a heart mom, I know what it is like to watch my child have life and death moments.  I know what it is like to see them come out of anesthesia and cry in pain and lack of understanding.  I know what it's like to sit next to their bed and want to trade places with them.  I know what's it's like to want to offer all the comfort that you can during their time of recovery.  This is my way to offer my love and understanding, straight  from my heart, and straight from the broken heart of my sweet baby boy.  Thanks for all of the support and love we have received from all of you over the years.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Sweet Kennedy

When Kennedy brought home her backpack on the last day of school before Christmas break, there was a lone piece of paper with a paragraph written in her handwriting, labeled "Thankful For".  As I began reading, tears welled up in my eyes.  I was so proud of how she expressed the things that mattered most to her.  I also experienced a sweet feeling of understanding that she has for her baby brother's heart defects and how such a complex situation can be made simple in her eyes.  This is what she wrote.



Thankful For
Thanksgiving is a time to think about the things we are thankful for. First of all, I am grateful for my baby brother's heart surgery. The surgery makes his heart get better.  The heart needs to grow bigger and stronger.  I love him very much. I'm also glad for my home. My home keeps me safe from danger and bad weather.  Last, I love my family.  Kamy, Kimble,(Kolby...written on the rough draft but missing in the final copy) and Keaton.  All my family is special that I could almost cry with joy because I love them so much.  Thinking of all the things that make me happy makes me thankful everyday.
Kennedy
11-19-13


Dear Santa

The kids wrote letters to Santa this week.  Kamy and Keaton played along, even though they don't believe in Santa anymore.  Kolby, Kennedy, and Kimble (with encouragement) were all excited to share their deepest wishes in a letter to Santa.






Dear Santa,
I would like a kindle or a great tablet of some sort.  Also, I would like a computer as another option, or an Xbox.  Either one would be fine.  From Kamyren.

Dear Santa,
This year, overall, I think I got a B+ for good behavior.  I don't really want much. I would really like a good tablet, and if you can still do better, a convertable laptop that can change into a tablet, and a computer, then surprise me with my other stocking suffers.  Love, Keaton.

Dear Santa,
I hope you will come this year and get lots of cookies.  This year I would like a pair of scuba and snowboard goggles and flippers for swimming.  Have a very nice Christmas Santa.  P.S. Nice work, Elves.  Sincerely, Kolby.

Dear Santa,
I hope that you can be warm, and hello, my name is Kennedy.  First, I would like some sparkly makeup.  Second (I am not saying 'want' because I know you do not like people greedy, so that is why I'm not saying 'want'), I would like a desk with my name on it. I am 8 years old. I would like a desk because I would like to do my homework on it.  Third, I would like toothbrushes for my family (and my mom agrees with that).  I love Christmas!  Love Kennedy.

Dear Santa,
(Spoken by Kimble; written by Mom) I want a big car that is so tall.  I want presents. I want woody.  I have been good.  Thank you for the car.  Kimble.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

I Will


I will blog again.  I will!  Right now I'm done with all my markets.  All my out-of-home responsibilities.  Sigh. I can enjoy time with the family.  Last night, I made a delicious dinner and we re-arranged the kids' rooms.  The Husband turned to me and said "I could get use this again.".....meaning that I had time to make a good dinner and clean and organize (which I really like doing but haven't had time to in a LONG time).  I agreed with him.  It's good to be back.  So I repeat...I will blog again. Soon.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Blurb Coupons

If you are still looking to buy my cookbooks, there are two coupon codes that blurb is offering.

The first one is BETTER25 (Buy two or more books and receive free shipping plus 25% off your order...great to buy extra copies for presents!). The second coupon code is BOOKEND20 which gives you 20% off any order under 75 dollars.  These codes are good only for the printed versions of my cookbooks ( I receive 10 dollars for every cookbook that is purchased, which goes into Kimble's 'heart fund'.)  You have until Dec 3rd to buy them and receive them before Dec 24th, if you are overseas.  If you are in the States, you have until Dec 13th to ensure delivery by Christmas.  (Both of these codes expire Dec 2nd.)

If you want a .pdf or an ebook, they are each 25 dollars through blurb, and I receive $20 of those dollars.  There are no coupon codes for an ebook or .pdf but they work great on your ipad or tablet and you get it instantly, and we get more money that goes directly to us to benefit Kimble.