Sunday, December 28, 2014

Merry Christmas


Merry Christmas from our family to yours.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Our Christmas Tree 2014

This year, choosing our Christmas tree was almost a complete disaster.  The day couldn't have been any colder.  The kids were freezing cold and did not stop complaining.  Teagan did not dress appropriately and honestly I would have ditched the whole affair if it were up to me.    


We have a smaller artificial tree from our apartment days that is always a backup.  This year would have been a perfect year to go that route but Jay was determined to get a real tree.  We quickly walked up and down the rows of trees and picked one.  We called Nathan over and put Teagan in front of the tree for a very quick picture.  


Once Nathan realized that we chose the tree for them he became very upset.  He wanted a tree that cost an additional $20 and was half the height and double the width.  I honestly didn't think he would ever get over the meltdown.


That evening he had no problem cutting the netting off the tree and now at least a week later he seems to like our tree.





It took over a week to decorate the tree in stages.  The kids broke a half dozen Hallmark ornaments while they waited a couple of days for Jay to get the lights up.  I think I am just going to buy Krazy Glue in anticipation of Christmas.  Hallmark ornaments are cute and don't shatter but they break, ALL THE TIME!

Once we got the lights up, then the ornaments went up.  Then another couple days passed and the star went up.  Another couple of days passed and the garland went up.  Another couple of days and we found our bubbling lights.  I think whatever the tree looks like now is good enough.  I'm too tired for this.







I'll have to post an updated photo of our decorated tree.  The ornaments move on a daily basis, and I'm sure that little lady dressed in pink above is the culprit.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Knit Bloomers for Baby

I knit these bloomers over the summer but just finally finished adding the ribbing around the leg openings.  I used Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino yarn and followed a pattern by Jordana Paige: Bottom of My Heart Baby Bloomers.  It was very easy to follow and even though I'm far from expert with this style of knitting, I'm very pleased with the finished product.  The only thing I would change would be the main color.  Next time I knit a pair of these I will probably use a darker yarn for the main color so I can see the contrast of the hearts.  


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

DIY Wall Art: Every Brother is a Superhero



I know when I was a little girl my brothers were my superheroes and I am sure Teagan considers Nathan to be her superhero.  One thing is certain, Nathan, regardless of beinng a brother, is a hero to many with super powers.  With all that he has been through (blood work, hospital admissions, procedures, tests, unpleasant tasting medications, treatments while on vacation or with friends, treatments in general...) he rarely complains.

As I was flipping through a Pottery Barn Kids magazine about 6 months ago, I was inspired by a piece of wall art and tore out the page.  It has been tucked inside my idea book ever since that day but I finally tackled this project now that  I am beginning to nest.

I purchased a pack of Whitewood Wainscot Panels.  They came in a pack of 12 - 32" panels for about $11 -- I only used 6, which leaves 6 panels for me to do something fun for the girls room.  I cut each of the 6 panels down to the width I desired and then locked them together.



Next, I flipped the panels over so I was looking at the back of them.  The vertical pieces of wood were scraps from the garage.  I don't know if they are considered furring strips but basically you want slightly shorter than the height of the assembled panels and not too thick otherwise the wall art will stick out far from the wall.  When I was about ready to drill the screws, I put a small strip of wood glue behind each of the two strips, probably a little overkill but I am good at that.

As far as the screws go, just make sure they are short enough that they wont poke through to the front of the panels. I had 3/4 inch screws in my tool chest but had to get 1/2 inch screws so they wouldn't go all the way through. I didn't have to pre-dill holes because the whitewood was so soft and the screws drilled in no problem. I used 12 screws, 6 in each panel on each side.



I lightly sanded the front of the panels and the edges and purchased a sample of paint.  I chose Pantone - Mood Indigo which cost about $3.  It didn't take much paint at all, I have basically the entire sample remaining.  I used two coats but ended up sanding it to give a slightly distressed look.


Once the base color dried, I outlined the words using a white paint pen.


I had some high gloss white left over from trim touchups so I used that to fill in the letters.  It was a little thick so I added a little water.


This step took the longest as I painted at least 2-3 coats of white and then had to touch up the blue and then I ultimately sanded and distressed the blue.


I am sure you could use any hardware to hang but I chose small D-Ring Hangers.  It is not a heavy piece of art so I didn't overdo it with heavy hooks.


The finished product:



I have a few more fun projects in mind for Nathan's bedding and decor, but I am trying to completely finish one thing at a time.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Baby On The Way

I never really wanted to write this post.  Close friends and family knew early on but it took quite some time to make it "FB official".  I held off announcing pregnancy as long as I could.

Even though I thought I was hiding my baby bump very well, Jay told me that I was basically delusional.  So at 18 weeks pregnant I posted this ultrasound of Baby #3 at 13 weeks to Facebook:


I waited until after what I call "Birthday Season" in our house because I didn't want to take any attention away from either kid.  

When I found out we were expecting the first and second time, we shared the news almost immediately.  And while we always wanted more than two children, we came to the resolution that our family was complete, for the moment or perhaps forever, until we were less overwhelmed, until we could afford to conceive a healthy child through IVF/PGD, etc.  The list goes on and on.

Well, God's plan for our family was different than the plan we made for ourselves.  Although I was very happy with our Pug puppy, Baby Felix won't be the youngest for long.

The hardest part of an unexpected pregnancy for me was the fear of more disease.  How would I handle two chronically ill children - double the appointments, double the hospital admissions, double the treatments, double the medications and medication refills, etc?  I spoke very early on in the pregnancy with CF parents who have more than one child with CF who assured me it wouldn't be easy but it would become our new normal.  Although I felt somewhat relieved, not knowing the health status of Baby #3 was going to consume me.

My husband and I decided we would not terminate pregnancy but we agreed that we had to know in advance, the health status of our third child.  Only our close friends and family knew about our inner turmoil.  So at 13 weeks, the same appointment we received the above ultrasound photograph, I underwent genetic counseling for the third time and had a CVS (Chorionic Villus Sampling).

The CVS test itself was not pleasant but then again it wasn't the worst pain I've experienced.  Basically a long needle entered through the skin in my abdomen, went through my abdominal muscle, and through the uterine wall to collect a sample of placental tissue.  The sample had to contain a certain amount of tissue to be able to test for Cystic Fibrosis and other genetic conditions.  We made it very clear that if the sample was limited, we wanted the tissue to be tested for Cystic Fibrosis (it helped that we knew the two mutations) before any other conditions.

I don't remember exactly how long it took to receive the news, the estimate was 7-14 days.  I knew there was nothing I could do to change the results so I tried not to think about it.  I believe it was after about a week that I received the call.  I could barely speak to the geneticist knowing that she was about to give me the news we had been waiting for.  I remember the silence, it was probably only a few seconds but it seemed like an eternity as I waited...and then I heard the best news...."She does not have Cystic Fibrosis, she is not even a carrier."  I could have kissed her.  Our third child is a healthy baby girl, expected to join our family February 2015!


It only took 2 trimesters to feel comfortable sharing this news with the world.  And I don't want to drive anyone crazy trying to do the math, so I'll make it easy for you - I am 27 weeks pregnant.  But I swear if anyone says to me at 40+ weeks "oh you are still pregnant?", my head might explode.  Nathan and Teagan were born at 41 weeks, #3 may wait until 42 weeks, she will come when she is ready.  

*****

Why did I not want to write this post and put my feelings out there for the world to read?
I feel ashamed that I was not instantly excited after finding out we were expecting.  I know there are many loved children that were not exactly planned but I still feel like I would never want #3 to know that it was a surprise, a shock, and an adjustment.  But now that I am over that I feel that there must be more women out there that are feeling the same way.  Sometimes it is nice to know you aren't the only one.  

 Why did I not want to announce?
I was afraid of how the news would be received.  We already have one child with a life threatening genetic disease and the chance of having another child with Cystic Fibrosis is 25% (with each pregnancy).  Of course we would prefer to have all healthy children, but we wouldn't change the way things are (unless of course a cure is found).  We took a chance with #2 and lucked out.  We didn't want to press our luck a 3rd time even though we always wanted at least one more child.  I thought the news would be accompanied by judgement from others thinking that we were being irresponsible.  I know some family members were filled with our same fears and were less than excited upon hearing the news.  

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Nathan lost his first tooth!


Nathan lost his first tooth yesterday.  It's been loose for weeks and yesterday I noticed him playing with it alot.  I don't think he liked how the loose tooth was rubbing against his lip because he had a look of concern on his face all morning.

He did mention once that he was worried it was going to hurt when it fell out, I assured him it wouldn't.

So before we left the house for a day at one of his specialist doctors, I asked if I could take a closer look and it was barely holding on.  I basically just grabbed it out of his mouth and handed the tooth to him as he did a happy dance around the kitchen.

We were too busy yesterday to remember to leave it for the tooth fairy but we will for sure remember tonight.

I wish I could freeze childhood.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Real Life Superhero


I was going to write something to go with this photo, but life is busy.  Nathan just finished evaluations in Manhattan and although we made the most of every trip into NYC, I am happy not to be paying the expenses associated with traveling to and parking in the city.


Monday, May 26, 2014

Baby Felix 5 months


I can't believe our baby pug is already 5 months old.


Monday, May 19, 2014

It's been a while...


I've had a lot going on this past month with Nathan.  I'm not going to elaborate but he has been healthy and I have been busy.  Gaining weight has been a priority and is never easy for him.  His doctor took him off the periactin, appetite stimulant after I began noticing some horrible side effects, with his mood especially.  Other than that, we've been enjoying spring weather, FINALLY!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Laundry is My Nemesis

It takes me an entire week to wash one load of laundry.  I am serious...an entire week!

This includes  three to four complete wash cycles with detergent and then after I finally remember to switch the clean laundry to the dryer it takes one week for me to dump the clean pile into the larger clean pile on my bedroom floor and then two to three weeks to fold that laundry and put it away.

This is mainly because our puppy attacks my arms and the clean laundry as I attempt to fold it.  If I locked the gate and kept her downstairs with the kids she would ultimately be making them scream as she tries to teeth on them.  And the kids, they are an even bigger obstacle, they knock the piles over and unfold them faster than I can fold.  

Not to mention, when Teagan gets dressed, she pulls out at least 6 outfits every day until she finds one that she sees fit to wear and the rest remains jumbled in the drawers or on her floor.

So from this point forward I've decided I'm just going to treat their drawers like clean hampers and I'm going to shove the laundry in right from the beginning.

Enjoy the clean wrinkled unsorted clothing, family!

Monday, March 31, 2014

12/52 {Skater Pug - 13 Week Old Baby Felix}


I think we are having too much fun with my weekly photo memes but to be honest Baby Felix is just in it for the treats.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Nathan's Upper GI Series

First thing this morning Nathan had an appointment for an upper GI series to be followed at some point by an endoscopy.

I wasn't worried about him complaining that he wanted to eat while fasting because, well, that never happens.  I fasted out of solidarity because how much does it stink to have someone eating right in front of your face when you are not allowed to eat?  In retrospect, I think he only would have complained if I had been eating something "gross" like bacon and eggs.  

I was most concerned about getting him to drink the barium solution, but he gulped it like a champ when directed to.  I am sure the strawberry syrup helped the cause.  He smiled and joked around all morning.  I especially appreciated him making loads of noise in the waiting room which drew attention to the fact that we were still waiting and it would probably only get louder with time.

The actual unofficial test results looked fine, with the exception of reflux (no surprise) and inflammation in the stomach.  Everything is anatomically correct and the liquid was going where it was supposed to go.  

I am not eager to have him go under anesthesia for an endoscopy so I will probably go for a follow up GI visit before scheduling that.  Ideally, I'd be able to have the endoscopy at the same time as his next PICC line placement.  I always love killing two or more birds with one stone. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Recipe - Sweet and Sour Chicken (Gluten Free)


I ate this dish at my father in law's house several times and he emailed me the recipe.  This is currently my favorite meal to cook and eat.  I make it once a week and besides being extremely easy, it is so tasty.  My father in law makes it better than I do but each time I try it gets better.

I don't know the original source of the recipe but please try making it,  because it really is delicious and is a good alternative to Chinese take out.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Ingredients
3-4 boneless chicken breasts
1 cup conr starch
2 eggs beaten
Oil
Salt
Pepper

Sweet and Sour Sauce (double or triple the amounts)
3/4  cup sugar
4 Tbsp. ketchup
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 Tbsp. soy sauce (**update - for gluten free recipe make sure you use a gluten free variety**)
1 tsp. garlic salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Rinse chicken breasts, pat dry, and cut into cubes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Dip into cornstarch to coat and then dip into eggs.  Heat oil in a large skillet and cook chicken until browned but not cooked through.  Place the chicken in a 9x13 baking dish.  You can grease it but I have always skipped the grease.

Mix the sauce ingredients with a whisk.  I double or triple the measurements because I don't like the chicken to get dried out and I also like extra sauce for rice and broccoli.  Pour mixture evenly over the chicken and bake for one hour.  I set the timer to turn the chicken every 15 minutes.

After I get the chicken in the oven, I set the rice cooker up with some brown rice and then add the broccoli toward the end of the steaming cycle.

10/52 {The Pug Princess and the Pea}

I made it 58 days into my personal challenge of documenting a photo each day for 365 days and I am proud of that accomplishment.  But ain't nobody got time for that so I am adjusting my goal to be one photo per week, a 52 week photo challenge, less stressful, more fun.

I am also going to be doing a series of Baby Felix themed photos that may or may not coincide with my weekly photo project.  For week 10 - The Pug Princess and the Pea, the pea is under those layers, I promise.  I have so much fun planning my sessions.




Thursday, February 27, 2014

58/365 {Snug}

Snug as a pug in a rug!


57/365 {8th Passenger}

When your van only seats 7, where do you put the 8th passenger?  Sorry, Jay.

56/365 {Watchful}

Ever have that feeling you are being watched?


55/365 {Doggie Daycare}

Baby F's first full day home happened to coincide a newborn session  I already had scheduled.  So, she went to doggie daycare and had a blast.


Photo stolen from Baby F's other mommy.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

54/365 {The Felixes}


Baby F came home today!!!!! We are all in love with our little pretty pug puppy.  Pugs of the world unite!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

53/365 {Imagine}


"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.  I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will be as one."  -John Lennon.


51/365 and 52/365 {Phone}

These are the only photos I took Thursday and Friday, aside from client photos.  I would not have taken any Thursday if Nathan didn't ask me to photograph the toys on the windowsill.



The photos are straight off the phone, no edits.  Honestly I'd like to just move past these two days.  Moving on!

50/365 {CF Clinic}


I'm getting behind in posting my daily photos but that's the least of my worries.  This week has been horrible -  Jay has been sick, there has been snow upon snow, and then we had to travel all day wednesday for Nathan's CF clinic appointment.  He has been very resistant to getting sputum cultures this past year and we have been working with him to cough but he doesnt want to allow the swab anywhere near his mouth.  This appointment was no different, he was terrified and was screaming and crying almost the entire hour and a half drive to clinic.  Once we arrived, he continued to whine that he was very scared that sticks (culture swabs) hurt more than needles.  

Even the respiratory therapist wanted the nurse to do the culture because Nathan's reaction is traumatizing.  After coming back from his PFT's the nurse was checking him over on the table (eyes, ears, nose) and then when she got to the mouth the RT came with the swab said cough and he did!  He cried for 5 seconds until I blew up an exam glove into a balloon and then he stopped.  This was way improved over the previous meltdowns that could be heard across the entire floor and would last the remainder of the appointment. 

The good news: despite exhisted solely on pediasure 1.5, he gained 2 pounds and grew.  He is  now 42.5 pounds and 44 inches.  

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

48/365 {Love} and 49/365 {Friends}

My days got a little bit mixed up, this first photo was supposed to be from Saturday, the day after Valentine's Day.  There was a snow storm on Valentine's Day and my friend got married in a small, intimate ceremony that evening so we exchanged our cards and goodies Saturday after Teagan came home from ballet.  I loved my roses, our florist always make the nicest arrangements and even thought to make Teagan her own vase with a single rose.  Mental note, celebrating Valentine's Day the day after makes alot of sense financially, clearance holiday stuff!!!


This next photo of Nathan and Charlotte playing should be after our shopping trip for Baby Felix.  These two kids "get" eachother.  Charlotte's mom and I always joke that we should start saving for their wedding now, a wedding where we will serve sliced apples and....not much else.  It would probably be a Fall wedding since apples are in season.  Anyway, Nathan is sometimes tough to play with because he likes to set his toys up in a certain way and wants everyone to play with the toys in a certain way.  Charlotte must either "know" his method of play or maybe he is super tolerant of her.  Either way I love it and I love them!


Saturday, February 15, 2014

44/365 {Snow Day Fort} and 45/365 {LOVE}

These snow days are killing me.  As a student I lived for snow days, as a teacher I adored snow days (unless they interfered with my summer), but as a parent I am forced to be creative.  Creativity isn't typically a problem but when the snow days have already exceeded the amount allowed, I am trying to hold onto whatever sanity I have remaining. Enter Snow Day Fort, which kept the kids from fighting for a few moments. 


I am fortunate though, that my children displayed a few ounces of LOVE toward each other on Valentine's Day.