Thursday, December 18, 2014

Merry Christmas Love the Suttons!!!

Hello Everyone!!
Merry Christmas! We can't show you pictures of our foster kiddos but we can tell you about the whopper of a year we've had!

We had the twins we fostered go to a distant relative, and are now getting adopted by that amazing relative!!! We were so heartbroken to lose them, but are so happy they have a forever family!!!

Then we got 3 new foster kids, all siblings! They are very cute and very fun!! We aren't allowed to show their faces but maybe you can see their cuteness from the blurred photos!!!




This is for the baby's first birthday!

Here the baby is with cousins and auntie Carrie! Thank goodness I'm sometimes blurry with taking pictures because I can post this!!!


Then we had 2 pregnancies which ended in miscarriages. Our baby would be due any day now, and I'm surprised that the grief has returned. I guess once you experience grief it can become a constant silent companion. But with the help of the Lord we can get through it.

Here I am excited at Easter knowing our baby would be coming around Christmas. Only a few days later our dreams were crushed.
But life of course goes on, and we have tried to press forward, figure out how to fix my endometriosis, and are trying to get the paper work ready to adopt!
We started a charity called Sutton Station! People donate gently used toys and clothes and then foster families come and get what they need! Check out our facebook page!!! If you have toys or clothes you'd like to donate, just let me know!!!!

                              Ken and I have grown closer together through this very trying year.

I had surgery to remove my endometriosis and try and find the cause to our infertility.
We can't have children, so like I said, we are trying to adopt!
This year Temples have been especially huge blessings in our lives. We go there for guidance, comfort, and to serve.
Our new phoenix temple!!!
The Gilbert temple where our friends got sealed!
A trip to serve in the Phoenix temple!!
Ken and Me with the oldest at the Phoenix open house. Sorry you can't see her cute face!!!
Ken and I serving at the Phoenix open house!
Our 2 year wedding anniversary! Here we are getting married in our Superman Shirts!!!
Our 1st year Sealing anniversary!!!!
Up next for us! Trying to adopt- taking forever. Fostering- tiring, frustrating, and the best job in the world. Our dog Rylee is doing amazing. Our Christmas tree is decorated with paper ornaments colored by the foster kids!!
 Rachel is seeing an amazing physical therapist and making huge strides overcoming the issues her body has been dealing with. She's lost 42 pounds and is still going strong!! Getting off fertility medicine was the best thing! We think we have figured out why her body decides to be difficult, which is exciting, and we love herbal medicine!!
Ken is a stay at home dad and full time student! He is doing amazing in the pathway program and is now a BYU Idaho online student! He built an amazing swing set for the kids, built shelves for the charity so Rachel could organize, built a mudroom station as a nod to Rachel's love of the East coast, built shelves for food storage, learned more about happiness, morals and economics and ancient American history from his favorite books and speakers, and is the best dad and husband in the world. He mastered the art of homemade onion rings, and spiced ketchup.
We hope your year has been filled with Love and Peace and that you have an Amazing Christmas! Sorry we can't do a family photo!! Hopefully your trials and sorrows will be more light and the amazing gift of our Savior will light up your holiday season and throughout the year! Love to you all!



Thursday, November 13, 2014

Time out for women

             The amazing Hilary Weeks! I love this song! She sang it at Time our for Women!!!

Time out for women. I know, at first I thought it was kind of a rude title, but it's actually very fitting. This is an amazing event where inspirational speakers come to uplift and strengthen women in all the roles we fill. It really is a Time Out from the rest of the world, from the every day struggles we all face, and it is a place of learning. Whether you are a Mormon or not, this event happens yearly, and it truly is life changing. My lovely friend came with me, and I must say I may have learned more from her than any speaker there!

Something that really struck me from this weekend was a quote saying "the vision is true, but the time may be long to get there" ( Emily Watts). I'll elaborate a little more on this in a moment.

The theme for this year was Inevitable Light. I wasn't sure what that meant until the speakers said different phrases and reminders that triggered in me a remembrance of strength, self esteem, and courage. The inevitable light they spoke on was  the light of Christ which is in each of us and stirs a yearning to do good and grow closer to the Savior. They also spoke on how each and every person has spiritual gifts. And they spoke on what kind of gifts we may have and not even notice. The personal growth and journey this past weekend was amazing, and I can't wait to go next year.
                                                 Hillary Weeks singing on the big screen!

The beautiful backdrop behind the speakers

You may be thinking, how can a conference of inspirational speakers inspire those feelings in you? Easy! By teaching truths I already know and rejuvenating my spirit! We heard talks from John Bytheway, Elaine Dalton, Hillary Weeks, Emily Freeman and others. The weekend was to remind us how special each and every one of us is to our Father in Heaven. Spiritual gifts are unique to each person, and how we chose to use, grow and develop them is up to us. As we develop these spiritual gifts and talents, our light shines to others who look to us as examples, for help, love and support.

So, the vision in true, but the time may be long to get there. What does that have to do with spiritual gifts or allowing the Light of Christ of the Light of your personal example shine? It reminded me to have hope in the promises of the Lord, and not to get discouraged when the things we have prayed for don't happen on our time table. I never thought being patient with the Lord's time table was a spiritual gift. I'm not very patient, when I want something and feel it to be right, I want it right now. But through trials and tears and waiting and waiting for different miracles or blessings (which always come) I realized that the Lord was blessing me to develop the gift of being patient with Him.

The weekend pointed out traits and attributes that come from trials and adversity that make us better, stronger, and grow closer to the Lord. Some examples were the gift of long suffering, the gift of empathy, the gift of rediscovering yourself, the gift of seeking what is righteous, the gift of caring for others. Some may seem obvious to you, others may be puzzling. How are these spiritual gifts? Well, with the Lord's help we grow these gifts and they act as a beacon of hope to others and ourselves as we traverse through the rocky and sometimes dark nights of life.

 These gifts bring us closer to the Lord, they make us better people, and as we work on developing them and seeking out new gifts and developing those, we will be greater beacons of hope and service to the world. Our spiritual gifts are as much for the people in our close circle of connections as they are for ourselves. Think of a time when someone called you when you were having a rough day, and they said the very thing you needed. Or when you just had an idea to go help someone, or talk to someone suffering. Perhaps you were an answer to their prayer.

I can think of countless times the Lord has used angels in my life to cheer me up, help me through difficult times, and when He has allowed me the privilege to do the same for someone else. I know He always answers our prayers, maybe they aren't when we want or expect them, or how we want them. But the answers we NEED always come when we need them.

Over the weekend I found a renewed desire to pray and discover what else the Lord has been trying to teach me, and how I can grow these special gifts I have, and how I can help serve those around me. This is a life long pursuit for everyone, and we can always pray for spiritual gifts we feel we may need, like patience with a difficult child or having our hearts easily forgive.

I know the Lord and the Savior love each one of us very much. I'm so grateful I got to go to this amazing event and learn more about myself. I can't wait for next year's Time Out for Women!
Me by the sign, maybe just a little too far away from it though....

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Surgery, Endometriosis, and Answers!!

Ok so if you don't want to know about my internal organs, check back for the next post!

So we did have surgery. Not a hysterectomy, because the doctor said my endometriosis is so aggressive it would still grow back. Weird that that can even happen. So instead he used this really cool robot called the da Vinci.

So our pelvic pain specialist is like the top specialist in the nation which is really cool! So he gave us a bunch of options which was really nice, and he treated me like I was his own daughter. It was wonderful and this kind of surgery is booked out 6 months! But we were the first patient early in the morning and late the previous afternoon they had someone cancel for the following Tuesday!

Off we went for surgery! With this cool robot it's a lot safer and the recovery time is much faster. I've had surgery for endometriosis before, but not like this. He cut out each and every endometrial implant, and sent them off to biopsy just to be sure there isn't anything else to be concerned about. He said actually cutting them out instead of burning them is more effective and we can wait longer before we have surgery again to do the same thing.

Last year we had surgery for this and it was at stage 2, and they only burned it out so it was already at a stage 2 a year later, even with 2 pregnancies ending in miscarriage. So basically my endo is crazy!

But he said there are better ways to manage it and that I'll only need this surgery about every 2 1/2 to 3 years and it will be much safer to leave most of my organs in!

That weird thing I'm holding is a mini heat pack. I'm wicked swollen from surgery but happy to go home!!!

This is about 24 hours after surgery and Ken is going to take me home. He's a little worried about me, but I did great!
Ken's mom stayed the night with me so he could get back to our foster kids, and a big THANK YOU to our amazing friend A.M. for watching them for a few hours for us so Ken could be there when I got out of surgery. I was really in and out, obviously, but when I saw Ken come to see me as I was waking up my heart monitor started going crazy!!
And a huge thank you to Ken's mom! She was amazing! She helped me get around and keep my spirits up! I'm so grateful she took the time off to stay with me and take amazing care of me! Thank you momma N!
And, probably the best thing that brought the most peace was the big ANSWER! I can't carry a baby past 6 weeks due to the lack of blood flow to my uterus. So I do have pelvic venous congestive syndrome but the Dr couldn't get to any of the varicose veins. They seem to be hiding where my upper thighs meet my pelvis. They injected some special dye to see where my blood flow was having issues. In a normal person the dye dissipates into the blood vessels in 20 seconds, after a minute and 30 seconds, I had almost all of the dye just sitting there!
Knowing what's actually wrong is very comforting. It brought us amazing peace and we finally felt really ready to just move on. We are trying to adopt through the foster system! I'm making tutu princess dresses to sell here on the blog for our adoption fund! When I get several made I'll post the page, so keep an eye out!!!
We have been so blessed by our Heavenly Father. Sometimes people with infertility get mad and bitter seeing other people who don't make the best choices able to have children at the drop of a hat. But Ken and I don't feel that way. We are so grateful for the mothers who decide to put their children up for adoption, and for the opportunity for us to adopt and bring a child into our eternal family!

We went to the gilbert temple to see our friends get married for time and all eternity!!!
We love being Mormons and we love having the Savior at the center of our lives!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Cloth Diapering and my homemade detergent!!!!

So we cloth diaper. Some people might think it's gross or a hassle, but for all the money we save, let me tell you, it is SO worth it! So here is how we do it, lots of pictures on this post and my homemade detergent and even a big foamy mess where my husband came to the rescue!!!

We also know what the on and off peak hours of our power company are. We wait for the off peak hours to wash the diapers and it saves even more money. We also wash all the dishes and clothes during the off peak hours. Our on peak hours are from 12pm-7pm. By using most of our electricity during off peak times we keep our power bill down. Contact your power company to find out what your peak hours are and save money!!

The diaper brand we use is bum genius. I am not advertising or getting paid to say that we use them, I just prefer how easy they are.

Where we put the diapers. It's outside on our back porch and stinkyness isn't an issue. We do use regular diapers overnight because our babies pee a TON for some reason at night so we put those there to go to the big trash can. My husband does that, I mean it's not a LONG walk to the big trash can but its all rocks and he's so nice to take them out for me.
Actually, he does most of the diaper stuff. I make the detergent and sometimes put them in the washer and I change the kids, but he cleans out the diaper pail and refills the wipes and lays the diapers out to dry after they are washed. You do not dry your diapers or cloth wipes in the dryer.
You can lay them on the floor with the fan on over night to dry them out, or if it's nice and sunny, lay them out in the sun, it bleaches out stains if there are any :)
We forgot to pull the diapers out last night and it wasn't super sunny so my husband laid them out to dry on the deck. I know this seems like a lot of work, but it's not that much more when you get a system and seriously the money you save is AMAZING!!!!

Here is where we store the diapers, I know, classy and hidden right?

Next to my hot pink shoes is the first style of diaper. It's stored in the brown bin, stuffed and ready to go, totally unsnapped because our kids are in what is a normal size 4 now.

These are the 2 sizes of inserts, they both come with one exterior diaper when you buy a diaper. So you don't have to buy all the inserts and shell separately, make sense? But they do need to be removed from the diaper before washing. (It's easy, you hold the clean part of the diaper exterior and shake the inserts into the bucket)

The larger insert comes with 2 snap options to make it smaller or one segment to be thicker for more absorbency

For our kids, we don't snap the insert. We stack them like so for maximum absorbency.

Here is the empty diaper shell with the inserts set up how we want it to be absorbent for our baby girl(lots of absorbency in the middle)

And here is how you stuff it, easy! Just grab the top and shove them in the hole and straighten out how you like.
Remember I was talking about shaking out the inserts into the pail? You want to grab that nice clean yellow part on the left side of the picture and hold it over the pail and shake and the inserts will fall our of the place where you stuffed them in! Easy and not gross or dirty.
Now, if your baby does poo, you just take the diaper to the toilet and tip the mess out before putting the diaper in a pail. It there is a blowout, which does happen, we tend to hose off the diapers outside and spray shout on the diaper so there aren't stains or residues.
Here is a regular full size diaper snapped up to fit a smaller kid and snapped on the side to show you how easy it is once you've done the diaper stuffing, its just like changing a normal diaper!
We choose to use cloth wipes because we can just throw those in with the diapers and it also saves a ton of money!
I buy the fabric at goodwill on their half off Saturday sales, its the kind of fleece that doesn't fray so you don't need to sew them, just cut up a cute cheapo blanket and you are set!
Recipe for wipes:
2 squirts of baby wash, 1/2 inch COLD water in wipes container, and about 2 teaspoons olive oil, mix it up in the container and take stacks of wipes and stick them in the solution, squeeze them, then do some more stacks until all the solution is absorbed. Then stack your wipes back up like Ken did here!
Ken also mentioned that he puts the wipes container into the dishwasher once a week to keep bacteria away!!!

This is the other style of diaper we have, stored in the blue bin 

Instead of stuffing this diaper, it has two inserts that are attached on one end each as seen here. The only problem with these is that lint gets into the opening of the insert flap and there have been a few times I thought it was poo. Never fear, Ken came to the rescue and it was only lint. Thank goodness!

This diaper is nice because it has seams that you can fold, as I have done here. I folded the first flap that will be in the front of the diaper in half then just pulled the other insert right over. This folding system is great because this is set for great absorbency for boys, or I could fold both flaps/wings/inserts whatever you want to call it in half and have maximum absorbency for girls.

It has the same snap system as the other kind. These diapers can go from newborn up to 35 lbs
 so they are great for our foster kids! especially because we mainly do babies!

Now, how to clean them!

Mix equal parts washing soda and borax in a container. We use an old Gatorade container.
I'm about to make another batch, I only have to do this maybe once every 3 months. And it makes this soooooo cheap!!( as in $5-10 dollars a year detergent. AWESOME!!!!)

You only need a tablespoon of the powder for each load.
Now for the wet ingredients, these go in an empty detergent container.
Now I just kind of eye this part because I've found it works just as well when you eye it as when you measure it. But you need Original Dawn blue Dish soap to strip diapers.
Stripping a diaper means that it's not as absorbent or a bit crusty, so you just wash all the diapers and inserts and squirt dawn original dish soap in for about 6 seconds. ( I know, I measure in squeezing seconds, I'm awesome like that)

This is the level that I put the special dawn soap in. I know sorry, not a real measurement, but that's how I role.
(Seriously I didn't follow the directions to the T in my organic chemistry class and I got the highest percentage of actual aspirin out of everyone else in the class who measured to the T, so there you have it. I had an 85% yield while most people got around 47%)
REAL rules for this recipe are:
For every 1 Liter container, use 3-4 tablespoons original dawn dish soap
1 tablespoon shout- I like the free and clear but I don't know if it really has less intense ingredients or not, I just know it works.
Then fill the rest of the liter container with water.
But I'm not using a liter container.... so I just guesstimated.
Maybe you can see a huge mess coming.... I did not:( 
Now I'm adding non concentrated soap. This is a bit of a new experiment because I haven't used this powerful special dawn but I'm excited, I think it will make a difference. Also I basically got it for free because I coupon.
Here is the level of both the dawn soaps.
Here's where I made a big mistake.
Ken said it would have been better to put water in first, instead of soap..... but that was when I yelled for help as I was watching a volcano of my awesome new soap explode all over the sink!
So here is Ken, using a slow water flow to not lose all my soap. He's a life saver. You should have seen the sink before he stepped in.....
And here is where I stopped the water level.
This is obviously highly concentrated soap, so you just use the lowest line for small to medium loads of diapers, and if you have a really big load, use the medium line.
Then put the tablespoon of powder solution inside the washer.
Wash the diapers in hot water on a double rinse in super heavy duty mode.
Here is how we store our chemicals since we are foster parents, and our laundry room locks.
And here is my Gatorade container full now with the tablespoon on top next to my newly mixed diaper solution. We also have regular detergent for normal clothes, but sometimes I will wash the kids clothes with the diaper combo and it seems to get rid of grease stains.
About once a month we wash our washer with hot water and bleach. Just to be safe and get rid of any odd smells that could creep in.
Full Recipe:
For a 1 liter bottle:
3-4 tablespoons ultra dawn dish soap, 1 tablespoon shout
For powder mixture:
equal parts borax and washing soda
To wash the diapers:
Take the pail and dump the diapers in the washer
 (make sure they are mixed around and not on one side of the washer or your washer will make a scary banging sound)
Put the dishwasher level one higher than what you have.
(example, if you have a small load, put it on medium water)
Put the settings on Super Hot
Add Second Rinse
Put setting on heavy doubly duty if you can
To dry:
Lay flat all diapers and cloth wipes on the ground with the fan on, or dry them outside in the sun on a line or on a table or something
To Strip the Diapers:
Use a 6 second squeeze of blue dawn dish soap with no other detergents or powders. Dry the same way.
Wipe Recipe:
1/4-1/2 inch water in your wipes container
2 squirts baby body wash
 2 or so teaspoons of olive oil
swirl around mixture, put small stacks of wipes in, squeeze out the excess and repeat until you have used all the solution, then put your mini stacks of wipes back in.