Wednesday, September 28, 2011

the decision about preschool

Nathan has been asking us to go to preschool for at least a month now.  He is 3 years old so technically he is ready to go, he wants to go, why not just sign him up for preschool already?

It's a tough decision for us, mostly in terms of Cystic Fibrosis and of course in terms of money.  The preschools around here that we would be able to afford (which we still can't really afford) are also day cares.  I am a stay at home mom instead of a public school teacher to avoid some of the day care illnesses in the very early years of lung development. He will be going to public school eventually but I wanted to minimize early lung infections as much as possible.

Then we got to thinking, does Nathan even know what "preschool" is?  We are pretty sure he thinks preschool is the equivalent of a McDonald's PlayPlace or any play time with other kids.  He is really intelligent and as a former teacher, I feel confident that I can equip him with the early knowledge and skills he will need for kindergarten at home.  Colors, numbers, letters, we are working on all that already.

The past couple of days I have been feeling extremely overwhelmed at home with my two young kids.  It is probably no different than any other stay at home mom feels from time to time.  Sacrificing the self to ensure happy kids.  Skipping showers, throwing "me" out the window and focusing on them.  Staring at ants marching around tiny chunks of food thrown from the high chair onto the floor with really no time to really clean them up.  Tripping over toys because there are too many, that really aren't even "played" with very often.

So I became very depressed because I realized that by ignoring all the things I love to do, I lost myself.  I love to run.  Problem, I don't have a double jogging stroller, I can't afford a double jogging stroller, I don't want to listen to the kids whine while I am jogging, I don't want to wait until 7 in the evening when my husband gets home to jog (when I am practically ready to go to bed).  To me this sounds selfish and perhaps it is but don't we all, as individuals, deserve to have some things that we desire?  Won't that essentially make us happier people?

Then I seriously thought again about the preschool idea.  Three days a week of preschool for Nathan (a few hours each day), then throw in some day care for Teagan, it could be possible.  I really could try to pick up another couple of photo shoots and then I would have like six hours a week to do something, anything else.  On my way to the supermarket with my mother in law, I popped into the preschool to grab some information and when I got back to the car she gave me the best idea EVER.  A little discussion about exploring other options lead me to checking into the YMCA located not too far from our house and the preschool I was looking into.

The family membership at the YMCA which we can utilize 7 days per week is not only cheaper than the 3 day per week preschool, but it also includes family activities, programs for the kids, some much need "ME" time in the gym, pool, hot tub, shower, etc.  Teagan and Nathan can be in Child Watch for 1 1/2 hours at a time.  Once Teagan is 18 months old, they can be in Child Watch for 2 consecutive hours.

This morning I decided to give it a try.  I signed them into Child Watch and then grabbed a treadmill and a stationary bike.  At the end of my workout, which was only 30 minutes, the very nice woman from Child Watch informed me Teagan had been crying the entire time and was trying to reach for the doorknob to open it.  I told her I was done but wanted to rinse off real quick.  And she said it was fine as long as I didn't mind her crying.  I was determined to get my shower!  5 minutes + shampoo + conditioner + no kids grabbing my ankles = 1 very happy mama!

I signed Teagan out of Child Watch where she was sitting in the corner of the room near the door, which I believe was a closet, puffy eyed crying for me.  Poor thing will get used to it.  The room looks like a lot of fun but she is so very attached to me.  Nathan, on the other hand, was perfectly fine staying there while Teagan and I signed papers to become YMCA Family Members.  After that, it was still difficult to get Nathan to leave.  He wanted to stay at "preschool" and wants to go back to "preschool" very soon.  I told him if he listened to me we could go back again tonight with daddy.

I am so excited to sign Nathan and Teagan up for some programs.  I am definitely going to sign Nathan up for soccer and swimming, very good exercise for his lungs and see some dance and music program that I think Teagan would enjoy.  Oh and family swim time, that will be fun too!  I love the YMCA!

Ah, a sense of relief.  Happy mom, happy kids, happy family.


My mom used to always tell me I need to do sFor once I felt like I found a solution that would work for ME

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A little more from NJ Photo Expo 2011

Teagan on the floor with her hand on my friend's foot...

BergenCountyCameraPhotoExpo-03 copy

...and a model...

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...that's all.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


I went to a photo expo today with a friend and my little buddy Teagan who clung to me the entire time. I sometimes get frustrated when she won't let me put her down but of course, now that she is in her crib I am thinking about how the day will come when she may not want to be in my arms.

I am reminding myself to cherish the moment, enjoy the stage of dependence. Sometimes it feels good to know someone depends on you especially when that someone is a precious and innocent pig tailed baby girl.

I am so sensitive.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Never Grow Up


Hooray for Friday! I can't wait for Jay to get home from work so we can spend some quality time together as a family this weekend.  I heard the song below, Never Grow Up By Taylor Swift, this morning and it was like a sucker punch in my gut.  I don't cry much but if I did, I would have cried listening to this song.

I always feel guilty about not spending enough quality time with my children.  I could play with them all day but if I take an hour to do work or type up a blog post or anything other than giving them 100% of my attention I feel guilt at the end of the day when they are tucked under their covers and asleep.  I know self care is important but... it is so hard to fit it all in, which is the reason why I don't shower every day and the reason why my hair has been in a constant ponytail for the past 3 years.

So in the moment I think, will I ever get anything done?  I feel like I neglect them when I fold laundry in their presence.  Congratulations children, mama is going to grace you with her presence while you play.  Being a mother is such a difficult thing in life.  Then I hear a song like this and I really could lose my marbles.

Taylor Swift - Never Grow Up Lyrics

Your little hand's wrapped around my finger
And it's so quiet in the world tonight
Your little eyelids flutter cause you're dreaming
So I tuck you in, turn on your favorite night light
To you everything's funny
You got nothing to regret
I'd give all I have, honey
If you could stay like that

Oh darling, don't you ever grow up
Don't you ever grow up
Just stay this little
Oh darling, don't you ever grow up
Don't you ever grow up
It could stay this simple
I won't let nobody hurt you
Won't let no one break your heart
And no one will desert you
Just try to never grow up
Never grow up

You're in the car on the way to the movies
And you're mortified your mom's dropping you off
At 14, there's just so much you can't do
And you can't wait to move out someday and call your own shots
But don't make her drop you off around the block
Remember that she's getting older too
And don't lose the way that you dance around in your pj's getting ready for school


Oh darling, don't you ever grow up
Don't you ever grow up
Just stay this little
Oh darling, don't you ever grow up
Don't you ever grow up
It could stay this simple
No one's ever burned you
Nothing's ever left you scarred
And even though you want to
Please try to never grow up

Take pictures in your mind of your childhood room
Memorize what it sounded like when your dad gets home
Remember the footsteps, remember the words said
And all your little brother's favorite songs
I just realized everything I have is someday gonna be gone

So here I am in my new apartment
In a big city, they just dropped me off
It's so much colder than I thought it would be
So I tuck myself in and turn my night light on

Wish I'd never grown up
I wish I'd never grown up

Oh I don't wanna grow up
Wish I'd never grown up
I could still be little
Oh, I don't wanna grow up
Wish I'd never grown up
It could still be simple
Oh darling, don't you ever grow up
Don't you ever grow up
Just stay this little
Oh darling, don't you ever grow up
Don't you ever grow up
It could stay this simple
Won't let nobody hurt you
Won't let no one break your heart
And even though you want to
Please try to never grow up
Don't you ever grow up
Never grow up
Just never grow up

It doesn't help much that it is a rainy day and it is easy to feel a little depressed when there is 100% cloud cover and no rays of sunshine in sight.

I really want to strap them into the stroller and take them on one of our 3 mile walks with a pit stop at the park at mile 2.3.  But then I see the rain pouring down steadily and I think maybe that's not the best idea I've had today.  I have the same reason against walking and playing in the rain as I do against going to the mall, the only place I can think to go on a day like today.  People go to the mall on rainy days, sick and healthy.  Nathan has been on such a great "healthy" streak since his hospital admission in February/March.  Even though he is on maintenance antibiotics all the time now (azithromycin, bactrim, and every other month Tobi) I don't really want or need a pulmonary exacerbation at the moment.  Maybe playing in the rain and getting your feet wet causing you to get sickness is only a myth?  Anyone know?

So instead of going to the mall or playing in the rain, Nathan demanded, or asked very nicely if we could make "bake pops".  I write "bake pops" in quotes because he has seen the commercial on TV for Bake Pops and calls them by that name.  Yet this name irritates me because I know these creative and yummy treats only as Bakerella's Cake Pops.  So even though today is the first day of my Herbal Cleanse, I am inhaling the mouth watering smell of confetti cake cooling on the counter.

This is going to be the greatest test of will power.  I didn't lick the cake batter off the spoon or from the sides of the bowl, I didn't grab a chunk of warm cake, I am being tortured.  And to think, Nathan probably won't eat a single cake pop when I am done.

So excuse me while I go guzzle 3 large glasses of water.

Water is an important part of AdvoCare's Herbal Cleanse but seriously I've consumed so much water today that I feel like I'm going to float away in a stream.   Every time I feel hungry I drink a glass of water so basically that means I've had 10 glasses of water and it is not even 4 pm yet.  I am very hungry.  Darn I should've skipped my last supper binge on pineapple and pepperoni pizza. I am sure tomorrow will be a much better, less hungry sort of day.

I know that if I stick to the cleanse guidelines, I will be feeling much better in 10 days, and perhaps even lose some weight.  *The main purpose of the cleanse is to rid the body of toxins, wastes and impurities, and to improve digestion.  Weight loss is just an added benefit.

To be completely honest, I am a gagger.  The Citrus fiber drink is rough for me.  The texture is much chunkier than the peaches and cream version but I've learned that mixing it with half a cup of water and chugging very quickly then swirling a little more water in the bottom of the glass and chugging the remaining fiber drink gets the job done.  Quick is the key word, let the fiber drink sit too long and it will thicken.  I prefer to let it thicken on the way down.

Anyway, time to urinate for the 100th time today and distract myself from thinking about cake.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

turning my back on my little boo

Recently I feel like I am playing a game of Super Mario. I am Mario and Teagan is a Boo. Every time I turn my back on the Boo, the screaming (whining and crying) begins
Image from

I am sparing you the photo of Teagan sobbing because that is just heartless.  Although I have done it before.  But Teagan, come on, give your mama a little break.


Cake smash photos coming soon, I promise, but these two kids...I am not going to complain because I know these days don't last long.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

buzz cut

I did it, I cut his hair off all by myself. Well, I successfully buzzed it for the first time.


I only bribed him a little bit since almost every previous attempt made was complete failure. My dad managed to buzz his entire head once before. Entire is the key word. There was one incident when we left with half a hair cut because he loved his hair so much. But when his caulick bounces up and down as he skips along something has to be done.


I think he looks so grown up with his hair freshly cut, and cute too. I think Nathan agrees.



Don't know what's up with the fascinations with tongues today. 


Interesting to say the least.



Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Today Teagan Smashed Some Cake

Her beautiful cake came from The Flour Basket.  Maria is wonderfully talented.


Teagan's reaction to the cake was hysterical and nothing like I had anticipated.


I will share the photos from her 1 year cake smash session but first I have to take both kids to their annual visits at the pediatrician.

UPDATE: I posted a few of the photos of Teagan with her cake.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Daddy's Little Girl

A photo of Jay and Teagan. She has her daddy wrapped around her finger quite literally.


My mother in law just showed me this picture she found of Jay when he was about a year old. I think Teagan looks alot like her daddy, a little less chubby in the cheeks, but almost a little clone. Do you see the resemblence?


Friday, September 16, 2011

Peanut Butter & Jelly French Toast

If you are anything like me, you can survive on PB&J.  Jay loves peanut butter so much that he eats it right out of the jar with a spoon and even lost weight eating peanut butter on the AdvoCare 24 day challenge.  I love scooping out with celery sticks.  Teagan has loved peanut butter since before she was supposed to.

We also love french toast, well Nathan used to love french toast.

French toast-14-2

So why not may the perfect union by combining two favorites, peanut butter & jelly and french toast!?


It is super easy to make. As easy as it takes to make a peanut butter & jelly sandwich or a slice of frence toast. First, make a peanut butter (or almond butter, or any nut butter) and jelly (we used strawberry jam) sandwich. 


Then make the french toast mixture. Today I used two eggs, a splash of milk, vanilla, cinnamin, and some squash which is super easy to hide in french toast (and pancakes) and makes it just a little bit more nutritious.


Dip the peanut butter & jelly sandwich in the (mixed) french toast mixture, flip, let the excess mixture drip off and then fry it in a pan.  I almost always use the cast iron skillet with coconut oil, but you could use any skillet, olive oil, butter, or pan cooking spray. 


Teagan and I thoroughly enjoyed the PB&J French Toast this morning.


And I am super happy that Nathan let me feed him one piece. He didn't want any more but he did ask for one forkful.


Try it sometime, it is deliciuos.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Make Every Breath Count

You may have noticed several changes to the blog and you will most likely continue to see some changes to the design over the next couple of weeks.  But don't worry, even though the name of my blog has changed and the colors and design are always changing, the content will always be pretty much the same.

I love blogging.  It gives me a voice, it gives me an outlet, it opens up the door to an entire community of people who care enough to read what I have to say no matter how interesting or boring.  I love sharing photos and documenting our family adventures, I love being a voice in the Cystic Fibrosis community, and I also love talking to you all, my readers.

I began blogging in March 2009.  Here is my first blog post from March 15, 2009.  Nathan was almost almost 7 months old and we had been living the Cystic Fibrosis lifestyle for 6 months already since he was diagnosed with CF at one month old.


Initially, I created this blog because of Nathan, for Nathan, for me to share about what our life was like having a child with Cystic Fibrosis.  Completely naive about Cystic Fibrosis ourselves we were constantly being asked questions.  I wanted to respond with the  right answers but I didn't always know what to tell our family and friends on the spot.  The blog made it that much easier to communicate to family and friends.  I am and always have been a written word person, communicating better in writing than orally on the telephone or in person.  I like to think about what I want to say before saying it.  I can delete and rewrite as many times as I need to.  My blog has pretty much saved my life.  Since I am more of a shut down and close my mouth under stress and pressure type person, blogging has allowed me to spill my beans and know that somebody somewhere will be reading.  I may be judged and have been judged in the past but that is something I am okay with.

So why the change from Nathan's Fight to Make Every Breath Count (  It is probably quite obvious but there are actually several reasons for the change in domain name.

First, I have been throwing around the idea of changing domain names very early on as a blogger.  Nathan has Cystic Fibrosis but it is not only Nathan's Fight it is our entire family's fight, he is not alone.

Also, Teagan could very well have been born with CF.  Since CF is a genetic disease, there is a 25% with each conception of inheriting both CF gene mutations.  We thank God Teagan does not have CF, although we are still not sure if she is a carrier of either mutation.  We are also still uncertain as to whether or not we will have more children and if we are to have more, whether they will be conceived naturally or through IVF/PGD.  I know I have spoken out in the past against IVF/PGD but am know unsure about how I feel.  If Teagan had been diagnosed with CF this blog would have had to change to Nathan and Teagan's Fight, or like I said previously The Skretkowicz Family Fight.

Another reason for the domain name change is that it is a nice reminder, to Make Every Breath Count.  God has our each and every breath numbered.  Breathing is something that most take for granted, it just happens without us thinking about it.  But for some people, including Nathan, breathing is hard work.  It takes a lot of dedication as a CF parent to administer all the medications and a minimum of 2 hours of daily airway treatments to make sure that your child can breathe like everyone else.  One day this will become Nathan's responsibility but for now it is on our shoulders.

Our time on Earth is short, I am not trying to be morbid but I want to be reminded to Make Every Breath Count, as a wife, as a mother, as a daughter, as a sister, as a CF advocate.  I want to make each of my breaths make a difference in my family and in the world.  This means I may have to spend more time sword fighting with lincoln logs and spoons, playing Captain Hook with hangers, reading Party In My Tummy at least of hundred times a day, having root beer floats past bed time (the root beer with the dog of course), building blocks and knocking them over, jumping in puddles, staining our clothes, eating crayons and finding out in the next days diapers, etc.

Make Every Breath Count!!
My blog is now accessible,

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

three years ago

Nathan was a newborn who still napped.


I love him.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Space Farms

We met up with some friends at Space Farms this past weekend.  I would describe it as a zoo but it also has a pretty interesting museum with alot of antique cars, trucks, guns, arrowheads, minerals, etc. 

It is interesting how this entire group of friends came to know each other, the girls at least since husbands are part of the package. So the group of girls consist of: the girl I used to teach with (also my mentor), my maternity leave replacement, and a mutual friend.

SpaceFarms - 01

It was a gorgeous late Summer, early Autumn day.  It was hot, humid, and sunny.  Too sunny actually, we all got a little bit of a sun tan.  If you look at the photo of my husband below you can see why I don't schedule photo shoots midday. Squinty eyes and harsh shadows make for great memories but not for great portraits.


Nathan had a little partner in crime for the day.  John and Nathan enjoyed running, wrestling, and chasing eachother around all afternoon.


I'm shocked Nathan did so well with the bright sunshine.  It usually bothers him so much and hurts his eyes that he would rather stay inside.  Good thing he was wearing his VMI baseball hat.

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And Teagan, well she was just happy being in our arms while we walked the path to see all the animals.  Jay and I swapped back and forth between holding Nathan and Teagan.  Nathan walked most of the time but wanted to be picked up to see the animals over the fence.  Teagan was carried pretty much the entire time.  I kept trying to put her down because I am still experiencing a lot of back pain.

SpaceFarms - 09

The goats were so cute and pretty darn hysterical.  See the goat squeezing his neck in the fence below?  Well, that goat was trying to squeeze himself into the next enclosure but could only get his head through.  I am pretty sure it is the goat in the lower right corner of the photo that was repeatedly trying to ram him through with his head and horns.  The worker had to come unlock the gate to push the goat back into the appropriate enclosure.  I asked if this was a usual occurence and the man kinda sighed as if this goat was always getting himself stuck.

SpaceFarms - 08


John was being so adorable below.  He knew I was taking his picture and he kept acting like he was about to jump from the picnic table.  He kept repeating "one...two...three" and was bending his knees like he was going to go but then he hesitated and started over.


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Teagan who never really drinks much from a sippy cup, must have been so thirsty that she guzzled most of the water in her cup, even though it was warm.  My silly little contortionist.


I absolutely LOVE this photo of John giving his mother kisses.  He wasn't even prompted to.  When we arrived at Space Farms in the first place he ran over to give Teagan a kiss. 

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Does anyone else find that you use the stroller more often to carry your bags and coolers than to carry your children?  This isn't my stroller but remember when we were at the airport in Florida?  What will I do when I no longer have an excuse to push a stroller?

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And the highlight of my visit to Space Farms...the (honey?) badgers!!!

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I'm not sure about the honey part but they were badgers and the sign said they ate honey so for all intents and purposes they are honey badgers to me!  And they are so cute and nasty.  Seriously, every time I snapped a photo I got hissed at.

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You know what else, they really do run backwards. not even kidding.  And eeww gross, look what they eat, larvae.  Just kidding, I think it is actually some ground up road kill, vegetable, grain combo.  I am pretty serious about the road kill part.  What a great use of meat that is just going to rot and get picked apart on the side of the road!

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Baby jail!

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Sweet little baby girl.

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Rows and rows of antique cars and trucks.

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And the coolest thing ever, the world's first snow mobile!

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Another sweet little snoozing baby girl. 

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And can you say the best pack and play ever!  Well perhaps not so portable but very durable to say the least.

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