We’re having a Daisy!

Recently we had an abnormal blood test come back for the baby, so we had to have a few more screening blood tests done. They all came back great, and I finally did get back the baby’s gender. I wasn’t going to find out, but when they called with the results and everything was fine, I was so excited I didn’t really care if I knew or not so I just let the nurse tell  me. We are having a little girl! I was so happy that everything was OK and my baby girl is coming I just started crying and had to hang up the phone. Then I headed to the craft store to get some daisies.

We always said if we had a girl, we’d name her Daisy. I bought a bunch of daisies from Lowe’s and set them up on our kitchen table with my Daisy figurines around it and “Daisy Cutter” on loop. I told Matt there was a surprise at home for him, and as soon as he saw the daisies he knew we are having a girl!

Daisy Reveal 1

I decided since I majorly disappointed my mom with my fake gender reveal, I’d do a smaller, real version for her. I bought a tiny round wooden box and painted it yellow and green with pink and blue polka dots. I printed out a simple tag to tie to the lid to open for the reveal. I left a giant pink fabric daisy inside. Had Daisy been a boy, I’d have filled it with blue confetti.

Reveal Box

Everyone was so excited for another little girl in the family, especially the kids.

Gender Reveal

Today we had the 20 week ultrasound, and everything looks great! We can’t wait to meet our little Daisy!!

Daisy

My New Favorite Kitchen Gadget: Pineapple Corer and Slicer

We have a small red hutch in our kitchen that houses what Matt likes to call UKGs, or Unnecessary Kitchen Gadgets.
Some gadgets he just doesn’t understand, like what a baster is.

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Or why we need a happy face pizza cutter when we already have a regular one (because the kids like it, and sometimes I use a pizza cutter to cut dough and the regular one is in the dishwasher 😜)

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Other gadgets I can’t deny have little use. I don’t really eat grapefruit, so a grapefruit spoon isn’t necessary (let alone 4). But then again one who knows. I might use them to scoop out citrus fruits for a salad or dessert or something.

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But for real I found an extremely necessary gadget this time. It is a pineapple corer and slicer. It does exactly that, cores and slices pineapple.

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So easy!

OK, so in all honesty I could take or leave pineapple. But you know I’ll be eating a lit more if it with this! My first time using it I accidentally went all the way through the pineapple, making a hole in the bottom.

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It wasn’t really a problem, but this summer I’ll need to avoid doing that. I see myself filling the cored pineapple with some frozen drinks (virgin drinks for me for this summer).

I saw this at Bed Bath and Beyond for $20, but then I checked online and Amazon Prime had this one for $6.99! I obviously went for the $6.99 version.

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I’ve gadgets and gizmos a plenty, and I love them all, necessary or not. I don’t know why, I just do. If you have a favorite gadget, let me know about it!

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We Haven’t Found Out the Gender Reveal

Happy April Fools! It’s no secret that I like to bust my family’s chops. I’m kind of surprised that they didn’t see this coming. Every since my family found out that the baby’s gender could be determined by a blood test much sooner than an ultrasound, they’ve been hounding me about finding out if Giacomo will have a brother or sister and having a gender reveal party.  They have been convinced that I already know the baby’s gender. At my last visit, my mom came to the Dr with me only to be disappointed. The results weren’t in yet. She convinced herself that me and my Dr are in cahoots and we do in fact know the gender. We don’t, but because it’s April Fool’s Day I had a gender reveal anyway, only we used white balloons instead of colored balloons to reveal…nothing.

Now I’m not so mean. I did call my Dr. today to see if the results came in, but they still haven’t. We didn’t find out about Giacomo, and I still don’t know if we are going to find out about baby #2, but we did have fun pretending we would.

 

Jack’s Big Announcement Photoshoot

Announcement

 

Jack finally spilled the beans! He will be a Big Brother in September! We tried to let Lilu be part of the announcement pictures also, but she was just eating the jelly beans.

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Oh well. I made the signs with some paint and my Cricut. The eggs were from Target, and I just used crayon to write on them. I had a great time making them even though I don’t know what I’m going to do with them now, maybe put them in the new baby’s memory box.

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When I found out, it was during one of the few snow storms we had this year. Matt was outside shoveling, so I left a note on the door that said “You make me sick!” He came in saying “What’d I do? and I told him to open the note. Inside read “Because you knocked me up.” He already had a hunch that I was pregnant anyway, and we celebrated with him drinking some wine and me having some ginger ale.
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I’m 14 weeks along right now. It still feels surreal, and I am a bit nervous still.  Jack is and this baby will be a Rainbow Baby, a term I only recently learned.  A Rainbow Baby is a baby born after a family has suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death or infant loss. These babies are rainbows after terrible storms. Even though I am passed the “safe zone,” I am still worried. (I have gone through two miscarriages, and it was terrible. I cannot imagine the pain that accompanies full-term loss). I have been trying not to worry too much though. I believe that keeping in a positive state of mind and thinking good thoughts while pregnant will mean a happy thinking baby, so here’s to optimism and wonderful thoughts. We can’t wait to see who has been growing inside me all this time!
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Still Sick

I have officially been sick for three weeks. Antibiotics did nothing. I was told by my doctor’s office that this illness could last five weeks! At least I’m over the hump. My nose is stuffed, I’m coughing constantly, my ears are clogged, my head is throbbing, and I’m exhausted.

The worst part is poor Jack is sick now, too. He’s not as bad as I am, and antibiotics are working for him, thank goodness! Chicken soup is always best for a cold, so I figured out a way to get him to have some soup. Broth in a bottle. He loves it! Pretty clever if I do say so myself.

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Giacomo loves his chicken soup!

Let’s hope we get healthy soon! I’m pretty mad that there’s been such beautiful weather and I’ve been stuck inside, miserable.

Glittered Wine Glasses for President’s Day Weekend

After a break of a few years, we finally resumed our annual President’s Day weekend family reunion ski trip (or, for many of us, sit in a cabin in the mountains and hang our trip). My sisters, parents and cousins rent two side by side houses so we can bounce back and forth from the houses.

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I used to go snowboarding with my husband several times a winter, but I haven’t been able to since I hurt my knee. I’m so glad that this year all my gear was finally put to use; Matt took my niece Jenna out to try boarding. She had a great time with her dad and uncle on the mountain.

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To celebrate the re-start of our festivities, I made some pretty wine glasses for all the ladies in the trip.

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The glasses are pretty easy to make, and as with anything with glue, the hardest part is the waiting between layers. I used the Cricut machine to cut out everyone’s initial and name in vinyl lettering for the wine glasses. I also glittered the stems of the glasses. If you don’t have a Cricut, you can still make glasses with glittered stems. We had a great time, and the glasses were a hit!

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For the monogram glasses:

  • I wanted contrasting fonts for the monogram letter and the full names, so I went with a full, swirly monogram and a thin, hand written font for the names.
  • I applied the whole name on the glass in gold vinyl in MV Boli (a system font already on my computer).
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  • I applied the first initial on the opposite side in purple vinyl (to match the glittered stems) in a monogram font I found on dafont.com called Monogram kksc . You can download the same font here. 

 

 

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For glittered stems:

Note – you want all of your coats of glue, glitter, and sealer to be thin. If your layers are too thick, they will eventually crack

  • First, wash and dry your glasses and use rubbing alcohol on the surface of where you are going to apply the glitter.
  • Apply a thin coat of Mod Podge to the stem and base of the glass.
  • Sprinkle on superfine glitter.

Purple Glitter Stems 1

  • Allow to dry for several hours or overnight. You will know the glue is dried by looking at the underside of the glass. If you see any white, the glue is still wet.
    Purple Glitter Stems 2
  • Apply another thin coat of Mod Podge and reglitter.
  • Allow to dry again.
  • If you need to, repeat the glue and glitter layers until your desired coverage. I only needed two coats of glitter, but you shouldn’t need more than 3 or 4.
  • When your last layer is dried, apply a very thin coat of Dishwasher safe Mod Podge*** and allow to dry. If you think you need to, you can apply a second coat after the first has dried.

Purple Glitter Stems 3

 

***Many people seal their glitter glasses with Triple Thick. I tried it with my glass, but it reacted with the dark purple glitter I used. I wasn’t sure if I did something wrong, so I asked about it on a crafting group page. Apparently certain glitter brands/colors will muddy and react the way mine did. I really like the feel of the triple thick sealer (it feels more like glass) so I will try to use it with another brand/color of glitter in the future and post if there’s a difference.

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Don’t Chew on Jesus, The Joys of Stock Photography, and Other Reasons to be Grateful

2015 was a difficult year. I suffered more than one loved one having passed, I had terrible separation anxiety from Giacomo, my father had a serious health scare, and the year ended with a such devastating loss for my young niece. I am still too upset over some of these to really talk about them openly. I realized though, that these tragedies really didn’t define the whole year. A lot of them happened so quickly together and at the very end of the year that they overwhelmed my memories of 2015. The reality is that 2015, like most years of our lives, had its ups and downs. It was actually a wonderful year. We got to see Giacomo grow and learn (I am only beginning to understand how wonderful it is to be his mom), we celebrated an the amazing birthday of my beautiful cousin (a milestone many did not think she would make), we took an amazing vacation, and we spent a lot of time with family and friends making beautiful memories. There are some things that will never have a bright side, like the loss of a child or a dear friend, but if I never stopped to appreciate my son’s smile, my nieces and nephew’s humor, or the memory of a friend’s laughter, I would be in a much darker place.
All the ups and downs of the year made me realize it was time for me to make a change. I saw this quote, and realized how completely  true it was.
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So I am ready for a new chapter. I decided I want to focus more on my teaching. I want to do something that empowers and helps people, and at this point in my life the best way I can is through teaching. Today was my last day at my marketing job. I was everything at once. Scared, nervous, happy, and excited. This was not a decision I took lightly and it was not easily made. It’s done now and I can’t help but think I did the right thing.
When I realized that I forgot the joy of my year, I decided to make another change, a new resolution. I hope it will remind me to appreciate all I have been blessed with throughout the year. I got the idea here. The point is to document something you are grateful for every day. Obviously, we are all grateful for our family, our home, our opportunities, but for me the point here is to try and see the little things. For example, I am grateful for over hearing conversations with a one year old “We don’t chew on Jesus.” (He was actually chewing on St. Jude, but whatever).
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Don’t chew on Jesus

Today, on my last day of work, I was grateful for stock photography. I left this gem in my drawer for the next worker to find. I only wish  I could be there to see the reaction.
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Rawr

It’s not something I plan on publicly sharing, but I still encourage everyone to try this exercise. I write my private journal with Penzu, and I made a separate journal just for my once a day grateful posts. Even if a daily journal is too much, try a regular journal (it doesn’t even have to be a “grateful” one). I hope you all have a wonderful year, and I hope I can make you smile at least once this year!

Grinch Ornaments for Giacomo’s 1st Birthday

It’s crazy to believe a whole year has gone by since my Mr. Man came into the world. I always say that the day he was born it felt like an explosion, that my heart grew 3 sizes that day like the Grinch. So for his first birthday, we had a Grinch themed party. Giacomo had such fun playing with his cousins, family, and friends.

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I would have just had pizza and subs, but my sisters and mom took over and insisted on cooking a feast of antipasto salad (Truffula Salad), chicken cutlets (Roast Beast), sausage and peppers, kielbasa, pierogies, baked beans, pasta, potatoes and peas (Who Hash), and a 6 foot sub.  For I took over and went crazy.I couldn’t have done any of this without their help. I definately have the best family!

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For dessert nieces made chocolate dipped marshmallows and decorated sugar cookies, while I went nuts making cupcakes, chocolate pretzels, Rolo pretzels, Oreo balls, pumpkin cheesecake, Rice Krispie Treats,  a regular cake and a smash cake for Jack, and Who Pudding. The kids even enjoyed a Hot Cocoa bar.

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To thank everyone for celebrating, I made Christmas ornaments of the Grinch and his heart.

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For the Grinch ornaments, I swirled green paint inside the ornaments and left them upside down to dry. After two days I had to recoat. I let them dry about a week before adding the Grinch face.

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I layered yellow vinyl over black vinyl cuts for the ornament. Using the Cricut Explore, I cut the Grinch face by uploading  as a simple image. (I uploaded it twice, once for the face and once for the eyes). grinch clipart

I’ve made glitter ornaments with Glitter-It in the past, but I finally decided to try the mop & Glo method I’ve seen on craft sites and Pinterest. It does work, and it’s super quick! Just swirl the M&G in the ornament, drain out the excess, add in glitter, shake it up to coat, and tap out the extra glitter. Glitter-It works great, but so does M&G, and the giant bottle is way cheaper.

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I feel like the heart ornaments went with my whole year’s theme. All year I’ve been writing about the joys of the heart as well as heartache. The year started with my heart growing with Jack’s birth, and since then I’ve written about the joys of being a mom, the heartache of leaving baby, The Mighty Quinn’s Heart surgery, my dad’s heart attack, and now again, the joys of being a Mom.

Jack s party 1

I was driving home from the party, I was thinking how it was the first time I did something really “Mom,” and it was the first time I felt like Mom. Feeling like mom is subtly different than feeling like a mother or a mommy, and I’m not sure how to explain it, but giving my son a fun birthday made me feel like a Mom, and I loved it.

Know ALL the signs of a heart attack (Not just the typical signs)

This Thanksgiving, I didn’t realize how thankful I really would be for my family. I was prepared to feel blessed for my new baby, but not prepared for the overwhelming relief and thanks that my father is still alive today. The day after Thanksgiving, my father suffered a massive heart attack. He had to be airlifted to Deborah Heart & Lung Center for an emergency procedure, but is now resting and feeling better.

My dad did not have typical heart attack symptoms, so I want to spread as much awareness as I can about what to look for if you may be at risk for a heart attack.

I took this from the American Heart Association’s website. You can also get information here.

Some heart attacks are sudden and intense — the “movie heart attack,” where no one doubts what’s happening. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected aren’t sure what’s wrong and wait too long before getting help. Here are signs that can mean a heart attack is happening:

  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain. 
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach. 
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort. 
  • Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

My dad did not have the “movie heart attack.” He had the other, sneaky kind. I wanted to share my dad’s story of atypical symptoms because if he would have ignored how he felt, he would not be here today. My was driving himself into work when he started having jaw pain. He tried to ignore his symptoms thinking it was a bad toothache, but he began to feel weak and started sweating profusely. Assuming he had an infection and a fever, he called out of work en route, but the person on the other line recognized the symptoms and told him to get to a hospital.

Being my dad, and not the average person, he drove himself to the hospital, parked a quarter mile away, and walked into the emergency room while having a heart attack. While in the ER, he suffered another attack, worse than the first, and the decision to transfer him was made. All the while, my dad was making jokes, teasing my mom, and laughing. Even now he thinks more about making everyone smile instead of worrying about him.

The doctor told him that if he would have just went home and gone to sleep, he would not have woken up. If he didn’t talk to that particular person when calling out, who knew jaw pain and sweating was a sign of a heart attack, I would not have my father today. He had two stents put in, and will have another in a few weeks. In the meantime, he’s trying his best not to be over active and just resting.

My post-Thanksgiving blog was supposed to be about apple pies and corn cake, with a nod to how thankful I am for my family. It is amazing how life can completely change in an instant. One second you are in your p.j.’s writing a blog while texting funny memes to your sister, and the next second you’re throwing on whatever clothes you can find so you can get to the hospital in time to see your father before he is airlifted to Deborah Heart and Lung for an emergency procedure.

We’ve all heard it before, we’ve lived through it, we’ve learned, but once the dust settles we will always forget that our lives are fragile.  I am so thankful that my dad called that particular person, that he had the sense to go to the hospital instead of to his comfortable bed, that he is alive. We all feel so touched by the outpouring of support and prayers so many people have given us. Thank you all so much! Be thankful and be blessed, and kiss all your loved ones!

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Children with CHDs: Teeny Tiny Superheroes

I want to make a note here that my post has some pictures that might be upsetting for some people, but I wanted to show just how brave Baby Quinn really is, and I feel that his pictures really show that.

A few weeks ago, I posted about my visit with to my cousins’ to meet our newest family edition, Quinn Daniel. What a sweetheart! I had already forgotten how small a newborn baby is! At the time, Quinn was having some breathing troubles, and a few days after our visit we learned he had ventricular septal defect (VSD) and patent foramen ovale (PFO), or more commonly known as a hole in his heart.

Look at those eyes!

The idea of a hole in your heart sounds horrifying, but it actually refers to a large gap between the main pumping chambers of the heart (not an actual hole in the organ itself). VSD is a separation in the lower chambers, and PFO is a separation in the upper chambers. VSD is the most common type of congenital heart defect, and it effects about 1 in every 500 infants. The condition can over work the heart and cause blood to flow around the hole. This causes fluid to get into the lungs, thus causing respiratory failure.

Sleeping Quinn

Respiratory failure is very common with VSD and happened to Quinn. There are many ways to treat VSD, and at first medications were used to try to help Quinn. He took the IV like a champ and let the medication do its job. However after some time passed it was finally determined that the medication was not enough, and he needed to have open heart surgery. Open heart surgery, on a newborn.

Taking his IV like a champ!

Quinn had no idea how strong and brave he really was. Quinn let doctors fix his tiny heart in a 5 hour surgery with 2 hours for the procedure. Because Quinn had to go on bypass, the surgery took longer than average. A Gore-Tex™ patch was used to close the VSD and PFO. Gore-Tex™ is a very strong woven fabric material that will eventually be grown over by Quinn’s own heart cells and become part of his heart. The surgery was the most frightening part of his experience, but it was far from over.

Just out of surgery

This is Quinn just out of surgery. It’s an image that still haunts his mom, but she wanted to share to completely show his journey to health. He’s come a long way since this photo!

In order to check if Quinn was getting enough oxygen after surgery, he had 3 IVs: 2 lines and 1 arterial line to draw blood to check the gases several  timed a day.  All the blood drawing caused Quinn to become anemic. His ventilator tube inflamed his throat. He needed to be intubated twice because his swollen throat caused the first attempt at extubation to fail. Because of the complications with the first failed extubation, he was sedated and on narcotics for so much longer than expected, and thus he had to be on methadone for three weeks to ease his body back to normal.

All that testing is exhausting!

All these complications prolonged his stay at the hospital. Quinn bravely recovered, and for over a week without being allowed to have his parents snuggle him for comfort.

Resting up

Most of us will never have to go through that kind of procedure, but if we do, we are fully aware of the procedure, the potential effects, and what exactly is happening to us. We know that having any kind of surgery, especially one on our heart, would be terrifying. But Little Quinn had no idea. All he knew was that he came into this world and breathing was a bit hard. He went to the hospital with his Momma and Poppa, and because they was brave enough to allow it, Doctors administered IV medications to him,  hooked his tiny body up to a ventilator, and eventually performed a surgery I know many adults would rather avoid than deal with themselves.

Quinn

He did it all and is now getting stronger and healthier every day. Most people will never have to endure heart surgery, and yet Quinn has endured it within 2 Months of his life! That kind of strength should be celebrated!  He has no idea of his strength. He is everyone’s teeny tiny superhero!

Tiny Super Hero

He isn’t the only superhero though. My cousins Maggie and Ryan also have no idea how strong they are.  Quinn was in the hospital for 20 days, but they comforted their baby while he was poked, prodded, and monitored. I asked Maggie how she was doing, and she told me she could barely keep it together and stop crying because she was so nervous.

I can’t imagine what she was going through, but to be anything but on the verge of breakdown is incomprehensible. It’s so easy for to say “it’s a common procedure” or “the doctor’s have seen this so many times.” But when your baby is sick, it doesn’t matter. Your mind instantly goes to the “what if” part of your brain, and you will give anything to take the place of your baby.

Quinn and Jack

So I told her it was her job to be nervous. It’s everyone else’s job to be calm and comfort you. It works two ways. On the one hand, how bad would it be if everyone else was a nervous wreck? It’d make Mommy’s nerves 1000x worse! On the other, it’s great to be reminded of how everything is going to be OK, even if the mommy part of your brain will worry anyway. A mom’s job is to worry on the inside while kissing her baby to comfort him.

Quinn’s parents did keep it together, and they have nurtured and loved him to the point of healing. He has since visited us twice, has gained lots of weight, and rocks a really bad ass scar.

Chicks dig scars

He still has some hurdles to jump, but with parents like his, I know he’ll soar.
Cousins

VSD is just one type of congenital heart defect (CHD), but CHDs are the most common birth defects in the USA. According to The Children’s Heart Foundation, a child is born every 15 minutes with a CHD! That’s 1 in 100 births. As common as the conditions are, there is little funding for research. Visit http://childrensheartfoundation.org/ to learn about the conditions, the foundation, and if you can, to donate.

Quinn's Christening

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