Monday, January 30, 2012

Baby Shower Gifts

I finally finished a gift that I was working on for some friends of ours that are having a baby very soon.  I was excited to make a few things and also buy a bunch of stuff.  These friends took great care of us when our son was on the way and I had a lot of fun trying to repay the favor.  My husband brought the gifts to work today to give to the daddy-to-be, so I can finally share what was included!

I started by making a tote bag personalized with their daughters initials.

I made a lovely blanky too.  It's minky fleece dot, backed with flannel. (coming soon to the shop)

Then I got to fill the rest of that bag up with some of my favorite baby products.

A fleece jacket suit with adorable little ears, like the one Evan used to wear (only his was blue)

A version of Evan's favorite book. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
I couldn't actually find the exact one he likes best anywhere, so I picked up the advanced version.  Evan has this one too because some of our friends got it for him for his birthday!

A Car Seat Mirror to keep an eye on the little one in that rear facing car seat.

A Bright Starts Teether Pal. I thought this was like the one Evan used to love, and it is similar but not quite the same.  His has something inside the belly that makes a crinkly noise.

Boogie Wipes!  Mom's best friend.  I should be a spokesperson, seriously. I just love them.  I picked up two packs so Evan could try the grape kind too.

My favorite type of MAM Pacifiers, and the clip set to keep them handy.  These are the only type I buy. They are cute looking and also don't have that obnoxious little handle.

And of course, a little sleep and play outfit. It's a lot of fun buying (and making) stuff for little girls, since my house is SO BOY!

And the finished product.

A little tissue paper and a card, and it was good to go.  I'm really happy with it, and I hope they are too!  Can't wait to meet their little girl soon!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Mom's Group - The First Meeting

Yesterday was the first meeting of the Mom's Group that I am putting together.  It ended up being quite intimate with only my sister in law and a friend coming each with their two children.  Although I have hopes for large gatherings in the future, I was actually a little relieved that the first one ended up being just a few of us.  

I didn't really know what most people do at Mom's Groups besides talking because I had never been to one.  I just wanted a nice friendly gathering for us moms.  

I decided to plan a brunch.  I made (and bought) a whole bunch of food, and put it all out on my enormous dining room table.  

I found a recipe for a breakfast egg casserole.  Once I perfect it I'll share (It was really good already though) 

I put out some Vanilla Greek Yogurt and Maple Granola

I made these banana crumb muffins, and bought the cheese danish, and mini cinnamon rolls in the back. 
I made a fruit salad and picked up some cream cheese fruit dip (so yummy)

I had plenty of water, juice and milk on hand for the kids, and coffee for the mama's.  

I wanted to make sure that the kids would have a good time too.  I recently picked up a bunch of art stuff so Evan and I can use it together, so I went and picked up a bunch more and put it all out for the kids. 

Fingerpaint, coloring books, play doh, and lots of other fun stuff!
I didn't want to take photos of the ladies and their children because I wanted everyone to relax and not worry about being on the internet! But my kid is excluded, he's already famous on my blog.  And he stuck a crayon up his nose so...

We ended up playing with some bubbles too, and some of the party favors I had left over from Evan's first birthday.  We ate, and chatted and had a swell time.  I can't wait for the second meeting! 

Friday, January 27, 2012

How To Cut a Pineapple

My family is a bunch of pineapple lovers, even my mom who is allergic!  There was a time that I could have looked at this beautiful fresh fruit and not had a clue where to begin attacking it.  That is no longer the case.  I have become fairly crafty in the kitchen.  Fear of the unknown is what I find to be the biggest setback when it comes to exploration in the kitchen.  

So, I thought I would show you a quick and easy way to get into that lovely fruit.  I would eventually like to do a "vlog" about it.  You know, so you can all see my smiling face and silly expressions while wielding a knife.  I'll get there, soon I hope.  I would like to run a series of short "how to's in the kitchen".  So feel free to let me know of anything that you would like to know how to do!

Here we go.  

You begin with your whole fresh Pineapple.  You want to look for a fruit that is on it's way to being yellow. When in doubt don't get the greenest one, and don't get the most yellow, go right for the middle.  Note the color of the one above.  The green top is prickly (if that isn't obvious) so you are best to handle the Pineapple from the base.  Start by laying the fruit on it's side. 

With a large knife, slice the top of the fruit off.  take some of the fruit off as well, because you want to get rid of the rind.  

Then turn the fruit around and cut the bottom off. 

Stand the Pineapple back up. 

The next step is to cut the rind away from the fruit.  You want to cut in far enough to get all the prickly parts off.  Slide the knife down the side of the fruit

Work your way all around. 

Now you need to locate the core.  In the center of the fruit there will be a circle that is a slightly different color.  It's hard to see in these photos, but you will know it when you see it.  

Now you want to cut the fruit away from the core. Slide you knife down along the fruit. You should make four cuts in this step. 

You will be lift with four pieces of fruit.

And you can cut it up as you please. 

I find this method to be quick and easy.  It took me less than five minutes to cut this one, and that was with taking pictures.  

What would you like to learn how to do next?? 


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thankful Thursday

I've really been enjoying the Thankful Thursday thing so far.  It really gives me the opportunity to look at things from a new perspective.  I can get a tad negative sometimes, and it always helps to have a little boost out of the pits.  

This week I am thankful for perseverance.

per·se·ver·ance  [pur-suh-veer-uhns] 

1. steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.
2. Theology . continuance in a state of grace to the end, leading to eternal salvation.

I was supposed to have my first day of class for the semester on Monday, but I ended up being too sick to make it there.  I emailed the professor the following day to ask that he send me whatever I needed to be on schedule for the following week.  He responded that unfortunately I had been dropped from the class because I missed the first day.  He said I would need to re-register before proceeding.  

I pondered for some of the day.  I wondered if this was a sign that I shouldn't be enrolled this semester.  I have a second class online that I could easily drop.  I could focus on the million other things I have going on right now.  I finally made the decision, and called the registrars office and re-enrolled in the class.  I'm in it to win if folks.  I can't give up now! 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Catching Up With Evan - Two Months

I am feeling a little blue today.  Just one of those days I guess.  I was in the middle of making a baby gift for a friend and I decided to take a computer break.  I saw all the Wordless Wednesday posts coming up and it reminded me that I was going to use my Wednesdays instead to catch up with my postings on my little guy.  Here is Evan at two months.

And when I was looking back at the pictures, I found a little video too. 

It's been a really rough week for me.  With Evan having his seizure on Thursday and all three us of in the house being sick, I'm exhausted.  I hadn't had an appropriate cry over the seizure situation until I viewed the little video, I like to build it all up for a little while and really have a good cry, so I just spiraled into sobbing.  

Anyway, now I'm good for a while.  

Evan is 13 months old now, as of Saturday! 

Here he is snuggling with a stuffed moose in his pack and play.  This was yesterday morning, he was so tired he took a little nap before we left for daycare and work.  I wish I was in there with him!

Monday, January 23, 2012

I Want To Be A College Graduate

Recently my husband and I were discussing some things and it came up that he didn't understand why I was in college.  I was annoyed surprised by this.  

I know the reason that he can't wrap his head around it, and that is because I tell him constantly how much I want to be a "Stay at home mom".  He knows that, and thinks I don't need a degree.  

What I know is that I enrolled in an Associates Degree program in 2006.  I started full time, and then things changed, jobs changed, and life changed.  I started part time again this past Fall.  Today I begin my final two classes, and will get my Associates Degree in May.  

I said to my husband "Well I'm not a stay at home mom am I?"  in a heated fashion.  He didn't want to talk about it from the start, because he knew I would get upset. "Someday our kids will be in school, and I'll probably want to get a job again.".  And I concluded my argument with "Plus, I started this and I want to finish it!"  

That's the biggest reason.  I started this and it seems silly not to finish it.  I'm so close I can taste it.  There's a chance that I will never need an Associates Degree in Business Management in my future job endeavors, but I need it for myself.  

I will hold my degree with pride, because the road to get there hasn't been easy.  

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Green Thumb

I have never been much of a gardener.  I have always wished I was though.  A few years ago, I lived in a second floor apartment that had a balcony.  My mom, who is incredible with plants, helped me to set up some window boxes to hang on the balcony.  It didn't take me long to murder those plants. I didn't have a good understanding of the light that came into the area, and I was terrible with keeping up the watering.  This is no different than how any plant that has come to live with me has been treated.

Well it looks like something may have changed.  My mom brought me some flowers for a dinner party on January 7, which is now more than two weeks ago.  Look at the flowers now.

It's really hard for me to believe.  I have actually taken pretty good care of them, so it's not just a fluke.  Multiple times I trimmed the stems and changed out the water.  Last weekend I thought it was pretty awesome that they hadn't died yet, and this weekend I started wondering if they were a mutant breed or something.  But I think it's really just that I've been actually putting in effort to keep them as long as possible.

They are above my kitchen sink and it makes me happy every time I see them , which is a lot!  It's not really the best timing for me to wish to take up gardening but I'm really hoping to get something going in the Spring.  

I have a great mentor in my mom.  It would be so excellent to grow some vegetables and herbs to use fresh. And some flowers to brighten things up.  I considered making a garden last year, but since we rent our house, it didn't seem wise to make a large investment, since we would like to purchase a home soon.  I think I will do it anyway this year, even if we are still here.  

They just make me happy!


BBQ Pulled Pork

I have been obsessed with using my Crock Pot lately.  There are so many reasons to be so fond of cooking this way.  It makes your house smell good all day, it's usually pretty easy, and you can have a home cooked dinner waiting for you even if you weren't home all day.  I am really just getting acquainted with my Crock Pot now.  


Previously I would only use it to keep things warm for parties, and the occasional Pot Roast.  I've been getting a little bit more creative and I am so glad.  Here's the latest.

BBQ Pulled Pork

2-3 lb. Pork Shoulder.  
1 yellow onion, chopped
2T olive oil
1 bottle of BBQ sauce.  I used Sweet Baby Rays, Hickory and Brown Sugar
12 oz. beer.  I used Budweiser because that's what my husband drinks!
1/2c ketchup

Add your olive oil to a skillet and heat to medium high.  Quickly brown all the sides of the roast.  Place the roast in the Crock Pot.  Reduce heat in the pan to medium. Add onions to the pan and cook for about 3-5 minutes until they start to soften, and then add the onions to the Crock Pot.  Mix together the remaining ingredients and then pour over the roast.  

Cook on High for 2 hours, and then reduce to low for 6 hours.  Remove roast and pull apart with two forks.  Add meat back to Crock Pot and mix with sauce, keep on warm setting until ready to serve.  

We had ours on wheat buns with American cheese.  Not terribly creative, but it's what I had in the house.  After the pork cools the sauce will thicken so it's even better the next day. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

My Child had a Febrile Seizure

I mentioned on Thursday that my son had a seizure.  A Febrile Seizure to be more specific.  It was a horrific experience, but I have a lot to be grateful for.  Evan had been sick last week and we stayed home together on Wednesday and Thursday.  We resumed normalcy on Friday, and things were going fine until this Thursday when I received a call from his daycare to come pick him up because he had a fever of 102.  I got there as soon as possible and loaded him into the car.  He didn't seem right but I just thought he was tired.  We live on the same road as the daycare a few miles down. About half way home I glanced into my rearview mirror where I can see the mirror in the backseat that points to Evan.  His eyes had rolled back and he was shivering.  I immediately pulled to the side of the road and jumped over the seat to make sure I wasn't hallucinating.  I was certain that he was having a seizure.

I righted myself in the front seat, and picked up my cell phone and dialed 911.  My hand was shaking so much that, at first I dialed 9-1.  I realized the mistake and tried again.  I also began driving again because I realized I didn't know exactly where I was to tell somebody how to locate us.  The 911 operator told me to pull over again though and to tell him the closest cross street or house address number.  I edged up further until I could see the number on the front of the house I was closest to.  The operator asked me to tell him when my son took a breath.  I can't explain to you the feeling of someone asking you if your child is breathing, and having to check, fearing that he may not be.

Evan was also sort of whimpering at this point, but luckily breathing at the same time. Of course my son was bundled in a winter coat and hat as it was probably 27* outside.  The operator told me he was going to call for an ambulance.  I asked if I could go to my son.  He was pale and his eyes were blank.  He told me to get off the road and into a place where it was safe.  I pulled into the driveway of the house I was in front of and took my son from his seat.  The operator told me to lay him on his side on the seat of the car.

Moments later a police officer arrived, he was incredibly kind and reassuring.  Shortly thereafter I saw the ambulance come.  I don't even know how many men came towards us, but they all introduced themselves or each other.  One of them instructed me to get into the ambulance and get us out of the cold.  In the ambulance I sat on the bed and held my son.  We took off my sons coat and hat, and his pants.  They needed to take his temperature which was now 103.8.  They checked the rest of his vitals and gave him some Tylenol.  They said that his eyes were even and responsive, a good sign.  In a few minutes we were en route to the hospital.

I tried to call my husband from the ambulance to let him know what was happening but couldn't get him on the line.  Throughout all of this my son was slowly gaining color and looking around a little.  The medic that was beside me was keeping him from falling asleep.  We arrived at the hospital, and were brought inside.  I am so grateful for the emergency response people, from the 911 operator to all the men that were in the ambulance.  Their training must be amazing, and they were just wonderful.

In the hospital I was finally able to get in touch with my husband who came immediately to the hospital from work.  The nurse gave my son some Motrin and took his temperature again in 20 minutes and it was down to 99*.  My son was now responsive and gained his color back, and was clearly exhausted.  They said he could sleep, and that he did.  He slept most of the time we were there, on me, in the hospital bed.  We waited for about 3 hours until the doctor came in.

The doctor said he had an ear infection which caused his fever.  A sudden spike in fever can cause a Febrile Seizure.  She said that 30% of children will experience another seizure in their lifetime, but that there was no other cause for concern.  He received Amoxicillin, and a prescription for 10 more days at home.  They instructed us to give him Tylenol and Motrin rotated every three hours for the rest of the night, and that Evan's doctor wanted to schedule a follow up in the morning.

When I called our doctors office I was informed that our Pediatrician does not work on Fridays, so the nurse would speak to one of the other doctors to see if they needed us to come in, as they sometimes don't need to follow up with Febrile Seizures, if they know the cause.  I didn't get a call back for more than two hours, and we didn't need to go in.  They want to see Evan in three weeks to follow up.

Evan has been a complete champ.  He takes his medicine without fussing for the most part.  He has been a bit off, but I wouldn't expect anything different.  This morning I woke up to him screaming.  I brought him downstairs, and he had a temperature of 105*.  Before I even took his temperature I knew he was too hot, I brought him right into the kitchen and sat him on the counter and gave him Tylenol.  I had my husband call the doctor.  This was at about 5:00 am and it's Saturday, so a doctor was paged.  I had to answer the phone because my husband had left the room, but my son started crying so when my husband came back I had him talk to the doctor.  Apparently, the doctor was not too concerned.  He said to give him Motrin if the fever didn't go down within a half hour.  I gave Evan the Motrin, and his fever did go down, quickly.  He has been really fussy today, but in my eyes he can do whatever he wants, I'm just glad he's okay.

There is potential that I may have overreacted a bit.  It seems like most of the reading I've done after the fact  makes this sort of thing seem like not much of an emergency at all.  If you have ever seen your child in a situation like this there is no way you wouldn't think it was an emergency.  I am pleased with how I handled myself and how I handled this situation, I wouldn't change anything.  It makes me realize that I am not in short supply of motherly instinct.  I would have done absolutely anything to ensure my son was alright.  At the same time, I did not compromise safety or sanity.

Every time my son twitches even a little bit over the last few days, I think it's going to happen again.  I hope that feeling goes away soon, but I know I have what it takes to get us through pretty much anything.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Tonight I am thankful for an awful lot.  I have been wondering which thing I would pick to write about.  And this is it.


I am thankful that I have a mirror in the backseat of my car.  The mirror allows me to see my son in his rear-facing car seat.  I got a call from his daycare today to come pick him up because he had a fever.  I loaded him in the car and about two minutes down the road, he began having a seizure.  I could see him in the mirror and knew right away what was going on.  He didn't make any noise so I may not have known there was a problem otherwise.

Evan is doing just fine, but it has been a long day.  I will share the full story of exactly what happened as soon as I can, but if you have a little one in a rear facing seat, and you don't have a mirror I recommend you go and get one as soon as you can.  Thank you back seat mirror, Thank you.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Catching Up With Evan - 1 Month

Last week I tried to weasel my way into doing a Wordless-ish Wednesday post.  I don't think I liked it, and I'm over it.  What I did like is that I posted a picture of my newborn son.  It makes me wish that I had started my blog earlier so that I had been able to document his first year so much better than I have.  

I bought a little journal when Evan was a few weeks old that I intended to write in periodically so that I could remember when he did what, and share the awesome emotions and experiences I had being his momma.  I wrote in it one time.  I think he was seven months old or so.  I don't even know where it is.  

A few months ago I was at my nieces fifth birthday party.  Some of my sister-in-laws girlfriends were in attendance with their little ones.  One of the women, whom I'd met a few times before, asked me when Evan started walking.  I stared at her blankly until my sister-in-law answered for me.  Are you kidding me?  Obviously I knew when he started walking, but it had been a month and half and I couldn't answer.  Clearly I need to document these things better.  I also realized the other day that I don't have photos from the first time I fed Evan solid food.  He had pureed carrots when he was four months old.  I took pictures with a cell phone that I don't have anymore.  Oops.  

So I have a little catching up to do.  Evan is almost 13 months old.  My husband loathes it when people label their babies age by the month after they hit a year.  So I keep doing it to annoy him.  

Here are a few photos from when Evan was 1 month old.  

In his swing.  He loved it in there
His first (of many)  Monarch's Hockey games.
In his carseat.  
The first smile captured on camera.


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