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Monday, January 20, 2014

It’s a . . .

healthy baby!!  I think I took those two words for granted with my first two babies, but we learned this time around how so important they are.

On Friday, December 20th, we loaded up the van with our bags packed for Peoria but took a detour to our 18/19 week appointment first with both kids in tow.  The ultrasound felt a little long, but I chalked it up to trying to wrangle two kids while in that small room.  Owen was pretty into it!  EPSON009EPSON008-001And then came the shocker. . .It’s a BOY!EPSON009-001I wasn’t sad in the least but, I guess I just had really thought it was a girl because of how sick I was.  Seeing how excited Owen was made it very real instantly!  I immediately started imagining opening all of Owen’s tubs of clothes and getting to use them again.  Ohh the cuteness!IMG_1525So then we headed upstairs to my midwife’s appointment and the nurse said Ellen would be right in.  But then we waited.  And waited.  And in my heart I just knew.  Something wasn’t quite right. 

Several days after I found out I was pregnant, William had a very vivid dream that we had a baby who had down syndrome.  He told me about it immediately but we hadn’t really talked about it since.  Maybe it was simply a way of preparing us for this appointment and all the emotions that came with it.  When Ellen finally came in, she informed us that our little man had choroid plexus cysts.  It is one of the “soft markers” they use for downs and trisomy 18.  She reassured us that the chances of there actually being something wrong were very very small.  And we actually left the appointment with a lot of peace.

We drove to Peoria for Christmas and had planned on having my mom open a big box of balloons the next day when we all opened gifts.  She didn’t know we had our ultrasound moved up.  But when Owen was playing cars with Grandpa, he made a comment about having a brother and with a few more probing questions, my dad had it out of him and us.  So much for the surprise. :)  Oh well. EPSON MFP imageOn January 7th, we went back to Carle and met with a Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor.  She tech did a much longer ultrasound and then the doctor came in a basically did the same thing again.  Then we went to her office and chatted with her.  While she was nice, you could tell immediately she fell on the conservative side of medicine (a sentiment that has been verified by several people who have dealt with her and a midwife).  The detailed ultrasound showed no other markers or growth issues, so she felt we were pretty much in the clear. Picture 1737-001Picture 1737
Picture 1738-001 Picture 1738She did offer us a newer blood test which is a 99% accurate screen for chromosomal issues.  William said he was fine without out.  But being someone who just likes information, and since it only involved me giving blood, I went ahead and did it on the way out.

The only super annoying thing that she was looking back through my charts and made me explain all the crazy that happened after Owen’s birth with my heart (see here).  After reading and listening, she said she was going to recommend me going back to the cardiologist.  Which I had already done after Owen and before Ellie’s birth.  She asked if she could schedule that and I said no but I’d be happy to chat with my midwives about it.  It just felt like she was looking for things.  Ugh.

But less than a week later, my blood results came back great!  While I know we could have handled what ever challenges this little man brought us, we are so so thankful that we are having a healthy baby!  Now to compromise on a name.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Alyssa's shower

My cousin, Alyssa (and her hubby Nate) is due any day with her first little girl.  This weekend I got to help throw her an adorable shower.  Her nursery is navy and  pink so that’s what I went with for the decor!  Navy is almost always associated with boy decor, so I had to get a little creative.  I grabbed some fabric at Joann’s and with my rotary cutter, cut them into 1 inch strips.  I simply tied them to a ribbon to make a little banner.  (I didn’t get a great shot of this in action, so here it is in the making).Picture 1908I also make a simple 2 tier diaper cake (directions here).  I tied some tulle around the bottom to make a “tutu” skirt.  The flower piece around the top layer is headband for baby K!Picture 1901Here’s her gift from my mom and myself.  She registered for the pink baskets which I filled with some of my favorite things for baby.Picture 1927Here’s a few beautiful shots from Erica.  I took the leftover pieces of fabric and sewed them together for a table runner.

The pink lanterns were just bought from Hobby Lobby.  I found a small embroidery hoop at the IDEA store for $.25.  I took it apart and covered both parts with more strips of the pink and navy fabrics to make little “mobiles”.  These all hung over the chair where Alyssa opened her gifts.It was such a sweet shower with cute games and yummy food.  Here’s a few of the ladies with my cousin Alyssa (who’s in the black and white striped dress).  Cannot wait to hear the news of this little girl’s arrival and finally learn her name!!


Friday, January 17, 2014

Pinned It, Did It {file tubs and recipes}

pinned it
I’ve done quite a few projects lately so I’m feeling the need to resurrect my Pinned It, Did It Mondays.  Yeah yeah I know it’s Friday.  I’m working through a huge list of blogs to catch up on and this was an easy one to write today.  Pinned It, Did It is where I actually take some of the things I’ve found on Pinterest, put them into action, and then review them for you.
pin #1
Oh how I love January organization.  I’ve been itching to start on the little man’s room but right now the entire contents of our basement are in there, so I can’t do anything.  So I’m just working on a few small projects until I can go organizing crazy!  I pinned this a year or so ago and finally just did it!  Memory Boxes - Great idea to organize kids paperwork, school work, pictures, etcSource: Baby Boxes from Destination of Domestication
My pictures:IMG_0845 My review: I bought 7 of these tubs from Wal-Mart. 3 for kids and 4 for some of my school/home files.  I bought several large packs of file folders (yes this took my entire “home” budget for several months.)  For my kid’s boxes, I made folders with the labels:
  • Baby Information
  • Health Records
  • Documents & Certificates
  • Age 0-3
  • Age 4-5
  • Kindergarten through Twelfth Grade
  • Lots of extra blank ones for things I didn’t think of
Then I just cut their names out of vinyl and done!  Now no more searching through all my piles files to try and find something.  Each kid has their own tub where I can throw everything pertinent to them!
pin #2While I’ve made it known that cooking is not my forte, it has been nice to finally feel well enough to make something for my family.  Here’s a few recipes that we’ve enjoyed the last month:Prepare a delicious holiday feast with inspiration from our 20-plus Christmas dinner menus. Each menu features a main course paired with two or three side dishes to jump-start your Christmas meal planning.Source: Coffee Crusted Beef Tenderloin from Better Homes and Gardens
My review: Sad, no picture, but this was fabulous!   I made this for our Christmas dinner and it got rave reviews from myself and William (kids wouldn’t touch it).  Now, I did try it later with a not-so-good cut of meat and I learned my lesson not to do that again.

pin 3
Eat Yourself Skinny!: Better-than-Chipotle Bowl...yummy
SourceBetter Than Chipotle Bowl from Eat Yourself Skinny
My picture:Picture 1708My Review: I love Chipotle so I can’t say this was better than Chipotle.  It doesn’t have quite the kick that they get into their salads.  But this was really good!  I love cilantro so this was right up my alley.  William ate it with chips like a salsa and I just ate mine right out of the bowl like a salad.  Definitely worth keeping this 4 IMG_5395
Source: Mongolian Beef Broccoli from Blessed Eichelbergers
My picture: Picture 1665My review:  yummy!  It’s definitely a little sweet and I only used about half the brown sugar.  Next time, I’d use only about 1/3.  But served over rice, William definitely approved.  And as you can tell by my pictures, I threw in a few extra veggies into mine.

Happy cooking!

Advent Activities

This was the first year that Owen really “got” Christmas so I wanted to make it a special month.  Also, I’d been doing a lot of laying on the couch so I wanted to try and redeem his October and November months of TV time.  :) 

The first thing that we did everyday was open one holiday/winter/Christmas book.  I had a large stash from my classroom, but I plan on adding one or 2 new ones each year we do this.  Yes, I’ll re-wrap the books every year.

Next, I hung up two red ribbons using command hooks.  I glued red numbers onto white paper crafts bags for en easy Advent countdown.  Inside each bag was a piece of paper with an activity on it.  Many times, I didn’t fill the bag until that morning so I could adjust our activity depending on our schedule.  In 3 or 4 of the bags, there was a small treat or present too but I tried to focus on activities.  I had bought some game/toy things last year on clearance and I did the same thing this year so I have a few things ready to go when December rolls around again.Picture 1709I made my own little decorated papers for inside, but here are two cute printable sheets of activities to save you time if you want to do this next year.  HERE and HERE.
Here is a list of everything we did for the 25 days.  Some have pictures. :)
  1. Make a Christmas paper chain countdown.
  2. Decorate our door like a snowmanPicture 1717
  3. Decorate little trees for each of your roomsPicture 1729Picture 1732
  4. Make an ornament for your tree (beaded candy cane)
  5. Decorate a gingerbread house (this was a big fail)Picture 1742
  6. Sing and dance to Christmas songs
  7. Christmas ring toss game (bought last year on clearance)
  8. Make a bird feeder
  9. Watch a Christmas movie
  10. Go to the live nativity
  11. Go somewhere new – Soccer Planet!
  12. Have hot cocoa with whip cream and sprinklesPicture 1785
  13. Make a paper nativityPicture 1777Picture 1776
  14. Make salt dough ornaments
  15. Decorate the windowsPicture 1757
  16. Play outside and make a snowman
  17. Bake Christmas cookies
  18. Make snow ice cream
  19. Choose three of your toys and give them away.
  20. Date night with Mom!
  21. Deliver gifts to neighbors
  22. Drive to Grandma and Grandpa’s house!
  23. Open presents!
  24. Go to Christmas Eve Service and drive by lights on the way home.
  25. It’s Christmas!
Each day we also had a little advent calendar (that we got from my in-laws) that has a little part of the Christmas story.  We’d read the little book and hang it on our tree.  As we took down our bags, we hung up the Christmas cards that started to roll in:Picture 1765-001 Let me know if you have any other good ideas for our advent countdown next year.  It was such a fun way to get them excited for Christmas!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

My Word for the Year ~ 2014

I do enough.
I have enough.
I am enough.

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