Tuesday, September 27, 2011

DIY Week, I Guess!

Well I got one more project under my belt this week. I honestly don't know what's come over me! But this one was super cute, cheap and easy. I have these really old IKEA frames that I keep re-purposing, and an old Scrabble game (that has now been replaced with the much cooler Scrabble Deluxe) so here's how it looks now:

I felt like I was playing a competitive game of Scrabble all day trying to make different words work. My brain is kind of tired. But on frame #1 we've got LOVE YOU, ALWAYS SMILE, BE BRAVE and frame #2 has ONE HEART, JUST US, LAUGH HARD.

Me likey!

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Most days are good. I want to preface this by saying that. But knowing that my itty-bitty baby is having open heart surgery in just a couple of weeks is very anxiety inducing for me. I've had a few rough days this month. Where I just can't stop crying and I'm scared. My emotions are up and down, back and forth, and inside out. I mostly try to stay positive, and I think I'm pretty good at that. But once in awhile the bad thoughts creep in and I feel very overwhelmed and helpless.

I am not the type of person who's ever asked "Why me?" I know things could be worse. But on the hard days, I have found myself asking "Why him?" It's not fair. He didn't get the same start as everyone else. He doesn't know any better and he's so strong and brave, but he's so little. He's so innocent. He's got these cute little crossed eyes with droopy eyelids and I find the adorable scrappiness of it all very endearing, but I know people look at him differently and wonder what is wrong with him. Does it matter? No, of course not. But sometimes it makes me a little sad. Most people who take the time to meet him and ask about him, fall in love with him instantly and see his happy spirit and compliment his beautiful smile. He has a lot of people praying for him. We have a lot of people praying for us. And for that, I'm so grateful. That's all I can ask for at a time like this.

I just want him to be OK. He has become my bestest little buddy, and there's no looking back now. He has to be OK. We simply can not have it any other way. Period.

You know, people say things like "You were given a special child because you are a special person who can deal with it." or "God won't give you any challenge you can't handle." or "Wow, you guys have been so brave. I could never do something like that." But honestly? I never imagined I'd have to do something like this either. I never imagined that at 2 weeks old, my baby would be taken from my arms and sedated and put on a breathing machine. I never imagined that I would see him wheeled past me with his chest cut open in between heart attacks. I never imagined I would see him laying there, almost lifeless, swollen and puffy and looking so much older than he was supposed to. I never imagined that he'd have to live with a heart condition the rest of his life. I never imagined the pain I would see my husband go through. I never imagined my mind could go to such places of hopelessness. And I never considered myself brave.

We only handle it because we have to. What choice do we have? As a mother, what choice do I have? We could mope around all day and feel sorry for ourselves, but it wouldn't do anyone any good. So yes, we will have rough days and crying days and sad days. You need those days. You need to feel that grief to process difficult challenges. But we have to be tough too. Not only for our child, but for ourselves and for each other. Stephen doesn't understand any of this yet (heck, I'm not sure how much of it understand, either.) But it has taught all of us some things about how precious life is and how important family and the support from people around us are. It has taught me to draw strength from a place inside of myself that I never knew existed. It has taught me that people's problems are all relative. And while I never imagined the horror of almost losing my first child, my beautiful boy, I also never imagined the joys I would feel. I never imagined I would consider myself so lucky. I never imagined...

I saw a quote on Pinterest the other day (yeah I'm waaaay addicted) and I thought it was so fitting for Stephen and our family. This will not be his last surgery, you know. He will need several more as he grows. And as he gets older I think it will be more difficult. But I know I will tell him this:

"You have to be brave with your life so that others can be brave with theirs."

I know people who live their lives this way. And when I read this to myself, it brought tears to my eyes. I imagine explaining it to Stevie when he's old enough to understand. Good words for any of us to live by.
We all have challenges.
But we will be strong anyway.
Because we are brave to someone.

Friday, September 23, 2011

9 Months Old

Baby: One of my favorite noises he makes is a little howl, just like a hound dog. So I couldn't resist getting him this -

It has been a fun month with him. We had a lot less doctor's appointments and that was a nice little break before his upcoming surgery. He is finally sitting up and we didn't have to go to physical therapy (yay!) He can't get himself in the sitting position, but he can sit there for a long time if I set him up. He is getting in position to crawl, just needs to figure out where to put his hands when he pushes off with his feet. Mostly, he's doing face-plants right now, but he's making progress. He can't seem to resist practicing in the middle of the night too. We just see his crib shaking as he rocks back and forth. He is eating lots of new foods and seems to enjoy them all. He's showing a slight interest in toys every once in awhile. Loves to bounce on my lap, but not in the jumper. When he's grumpy, he basically grunts and growls all day long. Tooth #3 is making an appearance.

Parents: Trying to breathe. My husband is working his tail off before taking a hiatus after Stevie's surgery. We enjoyed a wonderful 5 year anniversary together. We are in love with our little family. It's the happiest of days when we have time to just hang out with each other.

Mommy's Thoughts: I am more in love with Stephen every day. I have lots of thoughts lately, as I have had some hard days this month. But I'll save that for one big ol' sloppy blog entry.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I have this one wall. It's hosted a bookshelf and a painting or two. But I never quite knew what to do with it. So after Pinteresting around, I realized immediately that I should do the gallery wall that I've often thought of.

I knew it didn't want it too matchy.

And I knew I did want some pops of color.

So I first started hunting for frames. I quickly built up my collection, and even bought a couple too many (those are going back tomorrow) None of the frames I used were more than $10. And most of them were closer to $5. Thank you Marshall's and TJ Maxx! So this was a cheap project with a big payoff.

The first thing I did was create a photo that would be eye-catching and right in the middle of the pack, to anchor the whole thing. So I spent about 3 minutes in PhotoShop making this and had it blown up to a 16x20:

100% my original

Cute, right? Then I got inspired by (read: copied) a few other wordy things I've seen around the internet to throw into the mix.

100% not my original

The hardest part was choosing the pictures I wanted to display.

So. Many. Pictures.

So I decided to keep them within this last year. As Stephen grows, I can change out the pictures for that year maybe? Or I can add to the wall, since there's a little room to expand on top and bottom. But for now 2011 was all I could deal with. Also choosing what pictures would go in which frame took a good amount of time. Once I decided, I uploaded all the photos that needed to be printed to Costco.com and they were ready the next morning (and only cost me about $25)

Then I googled "How to make a gallery wall". This tutorial was my favorite. There were a couple tips that were quite helpful. I will share them with you, lucky! Like using masking paper instead of butcher paper (so much cheaper!) Also, once you trace all your frames, label them with the photo/size so you get an idea what you're looking at when they're up on the wall. All that brown paper and blue tape start running together after awhile. The tutorial also recommends a laser pointer, but my frames didn't need to line up perfectly, so I did that part by eye.

Stephen napped as I nailed the frames in (unbelievable) and woke up when I crumpled a piece of masking paper (unbelievable) but about $100 later and within just a couple days... VOILA!

My gallery wall is a reality. Hooray! It really adds so much to the house. I can't stop looking at it. And I'm going to hug my wall before I go to bed.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Parental Advice

On Saturday, I went to one of my oldest friend's baby shower. Not old as in she is old, but old as in I've known her since the 7th Grade. It was awesome to see her all glowing with pregnancy.
We participated in an array of activities, like guessing the belly size, taking a quiz on how well we know mama-to-be, and eating fresh tacos. We also were supposed to write down a few words of advice on parenthood. I don't usually give people advice on parenthood. Because each parent and child are so different and I know sometimes it drove me nuts that everyone seemed to know more than me! As I have learned, I can now take that advice in stride and I am also someone who will give advice, but only if you ask. So here are my tips on parenthood - 8 months into it, I'm a real expert. (Haha!)

1. Make the bath water a little warmer than you think it should be.
2. Don't buy a bottle warmer, but do get a wipe warmer & plenty of binkies.
3. No matter how many cute outfits the baby has, onesies are the best and easiest; they'll be worn 90% of the time.
4. Make time for each other, even if it's 5 minutes during baby's nap.
5. Don't compare your baby to other babies and don't compare yourself to other parents.
6. Invest in a good electric double breast pump.
7. Any arguments after midnight should not count towards your marriage.
8. You will probably end up owning 3 strollers. Accept that and find storage space for all of them.
9. It's OK if you don't use that beautiful nursery right away.
10. Be flexible. Almost nothing goes the way you expect it to.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Swimming Pools and Cheese & Crackers

Those were my favorite things from our weekend getaway.

We took a quick trip to Palm Springs. We reserved our hotel at the last minute and decided to just GO! It was the only weekend we had available before Stephen's big surgery in October, so we had to jump on it.

Palm Springs is hot. But it's perfect for lounging around.

We spent Saturday doing just that. Our first trip to the pool wasn't great. The munchkin was a big ol' grouch. So we left and got ice cream and went back later. Take 2 was so much fun.

This is me annoyed that we're not having fun.

Ah, that's better!

Back at the room, I gave the little guy a bath while hubby set up a table of cheese and crackers and olives.

We ate and ate and ate. (And then went out to dinner!) (And then we ate oreos!) That night we all slept pretty good. We had the leave the next morning and made a quick run to the outlets on our way out.

Too short, but so so glad we went.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Of course we all remember where we were and what we were doing 10 years ago today. The past 2 weeks I have been watching tons of shows recalling the events of 9/11 and talking about heroes and victims of the day. After so many years, it still takes my breath away seeing the second plane strike the building. It makes my heart sink thinking about all those people who thought it was just another day at the office.

Ground Zero from our trip in Dec '08

This morning, MSNBC played the news report from that day in real time. We heard again the shock as the buildings fell. And saw firefighters running for their lives. People crying on the phone talking about how they could see people jumping from the buildings. Citizens covered in ash and debris. So intense. It was shortly after that when GW made the announcement that we would be going to war. And cheers were heard throughout Times Square. Regardless of how you feel about our former President and the state of war now, he did what he had to do at the time. And people knew that and were in support of it.

Watching the footage in real time made me remember where I was and exactly what I was doing that day. I can't help but reflect on my life at that time too. Much like the US on that day, I was in a state of limbo. I felt unsettled and confused about where I was going. Paul was in my life, but we were living far apart and not sure which way we would go. Shortly after, we had our own little war so to speak.

Man, I'm glad things have changed!! 10 years has flown by and while I still have moments of uncertainty, especially in regards to my son's health, I still look forward to the next 10 years with hope and excitement. I've got my rock and that sure helps.

My favorite of all the 9/11 documentaries was called Rising: Rebuilding Ground Zero. Not only is it an amazing story but its about looking forward while still paying tribute to the past. "Never forget" is the perfect motto, not just for our country, but our lives in general. Never forget what happened. Never forget those we've lost and those who have helped us. Never forget where we came from; our roots. Never forget how far we've come. Learn from our experiences. Continue looking and moving forward.

Never forget how resilient we can be.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


So I've been doing a little experiment. As everyone knows (because I always complain about it) Stephen isn't the greatest sleeper. He's been getting a LOT better as he gets bigger, but we still have a little ways to go.

In order to rule out that this might be my fault because of something in my diet, I have cut out all caffeine. I had very little to begin with, but I just want to make absolutely sure. This means no Diet Coke and no dark chocolate.

So far, the experiment blows.

Also my computer is down again. Stupid Dell.

The End.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Mommy Faux Pas #5

Has anyone ever tried taking a baby to a movie and it was successful? I came so close today. SO CLOSE!

I had it timed perfectly. The movie started at 2:50pm. Stevie would go down for his longer nap at about 3. That would give me just enough time to enjoy The Help, right? I mean, we would cut it close toward the end there, but there was a chance this could actually work!!

I showed up late, ensuring that I would see less previews and more movie. They put us in Theater #3. Stephen fell asleep right when we settled into our seats. YES! So far, so good.

But...the previews hadn't started yet. At about 3:15, they moved us all to Theater #6 because of technical difficulties. Dang. This was now cutting it REALLY close. Then they proceeded to play literally 12 previews. TWELVE. So the movie didn't start until like 3:45.

Then just to really rub it in, and make sure this wasn't going to happen - about 20 minutes into the movie, it just stopped playing. And took about 10 minutes to get up and running again.

Sure enough, Stephen was awake by 4:30. I fed him and he stayed quiet for a good little while as he woke up. Then the babbling and spit bubbles began. There were only like 6 other people in there and I was loving the movie so much, I almost stayed. But I felt guilty being THAT mom. So we left. During a really good part too!

But, I tried. And failed.


P.S. I miss going to the movies so much.
P.P.S. At least they gave us our money back.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

I Want to Ride My Bicycle

After several years (and I'm not exaggerating about this) of pleading with my husband to get bikes, I just finally just went and got one. This encouraged my husband to get one also. So now we have bikes. Just like that. Sometimes mama needs to take matters into her own hands.

I, of course, had to include Stephen in the excitement. He got a little seat that attaches to the front of my bike and helmet so he can ride along. I have been getting great joy from this. Last night as we rode our bikes down Chandler Path for the first time, I had a big grin on my face and just enjoyed our first little family bike ride so much. The little booger seemed to enjoy it (and the baby did too - hee hee)

The only problem we've run into is Stevie gets sleepy and can't really nap, since there's no headrest. Then he just gets mad. So our two rides have started out well and ended in tears, and we've had to keep them relatively short. But I still love it. A lot.