Saturday, August 30, 2008

I had forgotten...

...what it feels like to get more than 3 or 4 hours of sleep in a row! The last 2 nights, Brooke has slept from 10pm to 5am! Then she drinks about 2oz. and is sleeping again within 20 minutes. I shouldn't even be posting this because I'm pretty much guaranteeing that it won't happen again for a LONG time! LOL. It was nice, though. Well, except the heart attack I had yesterday morning when I awoke at 4am for a potty break and realized she hadn't woken up yet. I checked to make sure she was breathing. I am just *that used to her being up by 3am anymore. Not sure what happened because there for awhile she was sleeping until 4:30 or 5:30. Actually, come to think of it, I think she started drinking her last bottle of the night a little earlier. The last 2 nights she's had it closer to 10 (vs. 9:00), so we'll have to try to keep that up and see if it helps!

Ryan and I had some one on one time last night. I took him to the mall with me (yes, he *wanted to go...LOL). I had taken him and Brooke last Sunday and it was interesting to say the least, but *he was the "good" I told him I would take him again sometime, just me and him. I had to exchanged some sleepers my sister got him for his birthday because he needed a 5T instead of a 4T and I also took something back to Gymboree that I had gotten for Brooke. He was pretty well behaved except for one mini meltdown while we were in line at Wendy's at the food court, but a threat of leaving and going home was enough to get him back on track. Then he jumped the whole time we were in Gymboree. LOL. He thinks he's a kangaroo or something...the sales lady thought he was cute, though ; ). Then he really shocked me. This kid has been afraid of rides (like the ones they put in malls, Walmart, Chuck E. Cheese, etc.) for over a year now. No idea why...he used to LOVE them. I think he's getting over his fear, though. Last night he sat in all 6 of them at the mall! Didn't get to ride any because I didn't have any quarters, but it was HUGE for him to actually sit in them. Normally he practically runs in the other direction if you even ask him if he wants to. LOL.

After the mall, we stopped at Walmart to get a few things. He loves Walmart. Asks to go all the time. Little nut ; ). We now have a Super Walmart and they have an arcade. He always wants to ride the bike/motorcycle with Daddy. It actually leans from side to side. He LOVES it. Ryan does, too. LOL. Last night I helped him on it. What a joke. I suck!

With that, I leave you with some more basket pics that I just had to take today! The blanket was over her isolette in the NICU and we got to keep it (I LOVE the colors in it) and she just so happens to have a diaper cover that coordinates perfectly with it, thus why I *had to take these pics ; ). Enjoy!

August 30
Look at all her new hair growing in! It's coming fast now! She's still got these long wisps right in the front that are starting to look ridiculous, though...the only pieces on top that didn't fall out : P.

August 30
No smiles. She just looks at me like, "Who's the idiot holding the little shiny thing that flashes at me??"

August 30
Could she get ANY cuter?

August 30
Looking so innocent!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Food For Thought Friday

One of my favorite recipes! Very easy to make....wait, who am I kidding? I don't make anything that's NOT easy : X.

Tomato Chicken Stir-Fry


From: Campbell's Kitchen
Prep/Cook: 20 minutes
Serves: 4


2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into strips
3 cups cut-up vegetables *
1/2 tsp. garlic powder OR 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) Campbell's® Condensed Tomato Soup
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. vinegar
4 cups hot cooked rice


HEAT 1 tbsp. oil in skillet. Add chicken and stir-fry until browned. Remove chicken.
HEAT remaining oil. Add vegetables and garlic powder and stir-fry until tender-crisp.
ADD soup, soy and vinegar. Heat to a boil. Return chicken to skillet and heat through. Serve over rice.

TIP: *Use a combination of broccoli flowerets, carrots cut in matchstick-thin strips and red or green pepper strips.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen THINGS I Love
(in no particular order)

1. Getting lost in a good book. I love love love to read. When I'm in the middle of a good book, I have trouble putting it down until I'm done!

2. A hot shower, especially when I'm cold.

3. Spending time with my family. We always have a good time!

4. Hugs and kisses from Ryan and when he says "I wuv you." ; )

5. A clear, crisp, fall day.

6. Chinese food!!

7. Giving gifts to people, especially when it's something I know s/he will love.

8. Sleeping. I have a 5 month old that still wakes in the middle of the night...need I say more? LOL.

9. Shopping, even if it's just window shopping. I love the mall! Wish we had a bigger one, though.

10. Baby smiles, coos, and laughs.

11. Praying and really feeling like Someone is listening.

12. Praise and worship at's so uplifting!

13. Root beer : ).

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Happy 5 Months, Brooke!

August 26

Check her out just a month ago!

July 26

Monday, August 25, 2008

Ryan's Birthday Party

Like I said before, we had it on Saturday at my mom and dad's (because they have more space). We decided to do a cookout this year instead of just cake and ice cream. It was a beautiful day! It was on the verge of being HOT, but not too bad. Yesterday was hotter, so I'm glad we got somewhat of a reprieve. There were about 20 people there (6 kids including Ryan, plus Brooke). Everyone seemed to have a good time. The kids played ball and with various other toys of Ryan's. No catastrophes happened during the party. We ate first, then Ryan opened presents, and then we had cupcakes (made by me) and ice cream. There wasn't really a theme this year, other than the cupcakes were made to look like basketballs. I wanted orange balloons, but didn't find any, so we made do with blue. Here are some pictures!

August 23
The deck.

August 23
A canopy in the yard.

August 23
Ryan playing with his buddy, Zach.

August 23
Present time!

August 23
He's such a sports freak. LOL.

August 23
His very own laptop, lol. (It has games on it.)

August 23
Cake time!

August 23
Getting some help blowing out candles.

August 23
Silly boy.

August 23

August 23
He insisted on eating it with a fork!

August 23
She was mesmerized by the balloons blowing around that were tied to the deck!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

My Poor Baby :*(

Ryan ended his birthday party last night with 7 staples in his head : (. It was about 7:30 and the party was over. We were getting ready to go home (the party was at my mom and dad's). Ryan was sitting on a family friend's lap playing his Gameboy on one of those plastic patio chairs on the deck. I was coming back from putting something in the car and heard a HUGE crash and then Ryan screaming bloody murder. I went running to the deck and saw Ryan and the friend and the chair in a heap on the deck. The chair had basically shattered underneath them! Doug was grabbing Ryan up and blood was just pouring out of his head. He cracked it off the 2x4 on the deck railing. Someone grabbed a rag quick to hold pressure on it and then Doug looked at it closely and knew he needed to go to the ER. My mom got him an ice pack and off we rushed to the ER. Ryan had already stopped crying by then.

We got to the ER and they did the intake stuff and I got him registered and they took us back to a room. Ryan was sitting on the bed, calm as can be, like nothing even happened. He had some blood on his arm and hand and was all worried about it, so Doug got a wet paper towel and cleaned him up. So then Ryan started saying he was all better, his head didn't hurt, and he was ready to go home. LOL. We kept telling him the doctor had to see him first.

It took the doctor 20 minutes to come in! He was really good with Ryan. He had him lay on his belly, so he could look at it. He said staples would be better than stitches because they go in faster and are much easier to work with on the head because of the hair. I was trying not to look too closely at what the doctor was doing, so I didn't even know he was about to start putting the staples in and BAM! Ryan started SCREAMING and trying to get up. Doug mostly held him down. It was fast, but boy did it suck! Ryan was fine as soon as the doctor was done.

He sat and ate part of a popsicle while we waited for discharge papers. The nurse gave him like 25 stickers...seriously! LOL. He was such a trooper. We went back to my mom and dad's to pick up Brooke and the rest of our stuff afterwards and he was acting like nothing ever happened. The friend whose lap he was sitting on felt so bad and kept apologizing, even though we told him over and over it wasn't his fault and not to worry about it!

Ryan slept fine last night. We woke him every so often because of him hitting his head. This morning he says his head doesn't hurt. He'll be getting a bath here soon to get his hair washed out. Doug will be doing that, lol.

Another bad part of yesterday....about an hour before his party, my uncle called my dad and asked him to go check on my pap because he'd been trying to call for an hour and a half and he wasn't answering and my dad lives much closer than my uncle. That happened awhile back and it turns out my pap just wasn't hearing the phone. Well, my dad went out there yesterday and found that my pap had passed away in his sleep sometime during the night :*(. I feel so bad that my dad had to be the one to find him.

Aside from all that, the party itself went well and everyone seemed to have a lot of fun, especially the birthday boy! Pics coming soon : ).

Friday, August 22, 2008

New camera!

I got a new camera this morning! The battery is charging as we speak : ). I ended up with a Casio Exilim instead of a Kodak Easyshare. My SIL (totally unrelated, but please say a prayer for her...don't want to share details) has one and so does my aunt and now my mom and dad and they all really like it. I had borrowed my mom's last week and I really liked it. I also borrowed Doug's mom's Kodak Easyshare on Tuesday to take pics of Ryan on his first day of school and I hated it : /. So that's why I went with the Casio!

Our internet on our desktop is also back up and running!

So this means you can expect new pics sometime soon! I don't know if it will be before Monday because today I'll be getting things ready for Ryan's party tomorrow and tomorrow is his party. Then Sunday I'm not sure what we're doing, but I'm usually not on too much on the weekends. But *hopefully I'll have new pics up by Monday at the latest!

P.S. Like I said, my SIL could really use some prayers right now. I don't have permission to post any details, so I won't, but I'm sure just a general prayer would really help her right now! Thanks!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Thursday Thirteen

I decided to start doing Memes. If you don't know what those are, I like Gena's explanation...hehe. I doubt I'll keep up with them every day, but I'll try to do a few a week, especially if I don't have other news to blog about. And some days I may even blog more than once (general news AND a Meme), so be sure to check! ; )

Today I decided to blog about 13 things that I'm thankful for, especially since lately I've been having some difficult moments with Brooke being so needy/fussy and not being used to that. These are in no particular order.

1. FAMILY - I seriously have like the best family ever! And yes, my in-laws are included in that. My parents have been through a lot, especially my mom...she had a very rough childhood. I am so proud and thankful for the upbringing that my sister, brother, and I had. No, it wasn't perfect, but who can say that? But we had unconditional love and support (still do!). And I'll tell ya what...after some horror stories I've heard about other people's in-laws, I am especially thankful for mine. They treat me like one of "their own" and have since day one : ). And of course "family" includes Doug, Zachary, Ryan, and Brooke!

2. MY KIDS - I am so very blessed to have my 2 miracles here with me, Ryan and Brooke. And yes, I even feel thankful to have had and lost Zachary because he taught me so much in such a short time.

3. A HOME - Yes, I yearn for a bigger house with another bedroom and more storage space, but I know how lucky we are to have a roof over our heads!

4. FRIENDS - I really only have one "in real life" friend that I'm close to and talk to on a regular basis and that is my best friend, Jessica. She ROCKS! She's always been there for me, even through the hard times (like losing Zachary) and I am so happy she's in my life and I know she always will be. I also have a good number of 'net friends, 2 groups in particular - the December loop girls who I shared my pregnancy with Ryan with (we were all due in December) and the June/July loop girls who, you guessed it, I shared my pregnancy with Brooke with. I don't know what I would do without all of them!

5. FOOD - Yes, I love to eat and that is catching up with me lately. I don't think anyone would call me fat, but I've gained 20+lbs. since graduating H.S. 8 years ago and I'm not proud of that.

6. INTERNET - Because I don't know what I would do without being able to keep in touch (easily) with my girls mentioned above!

7. HEALTH - For me and my family, especially for my 2 miracles who could easily not be doing as well as they are!

8. BOOKS - I LOVE LOVE LOVE to read!

9. TRANSPORTATION - I know we're lucky to have a reliable car to get us from point A to point B.

10. FREEDOM - So many in other countries don't have it as good as we do even though our government can be so screwed up.

11. BEING A STAY-AT-HOME MOM - This may change soon with the rising costs of everything, but I'm enjoying it while I can!

12. MY SISTER - Yes, she falls under the category of "FAMILY", but I have to give her special mention since we almost lost her in February '05 due to a drunk driver (her best friend who was driving - no, she wasn't the DD - wasn't so fortunate). My sister was in critical condition for what seemed like forever (over a week) and in not-so-great shape for even longer than that. Today she's doing very well and I don't know what I would have done if she would not have made it :*(.

13. TV - Yes, sometimes I watch too much of it, but it's so nice to just sit down and get lost in a show after a long day. (This isn't so easy lately with Brooke being a terror in the evenings alot of the time.)

I could keep going, but that was 13, so I'll stop. Besides, Brooke will probably wake up and start screeching any minute, lol. As it is, the only reason she's sleeping now is because I'm bouncing her bouncy seat with my foot as I type this. LOL.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Happy 5th Birthday, Ryan!!

Ryan was born 5 years ago today at 10:03am, weighing 1lb. 6oz. and measuring 12in. long. I didn't even get to see him in person until the next day because the spinal block didn't take full effect for my c-section and they put me under as soon as they got him out because I was freaking out so bad.

The next day, I was transferred to the hospital he was at 15 minutes away because the one I delivered him at does not have a NICU. It was so hard going in there to see him after losing Zachary only 14 months prior. Talk about deja-vu. I tried not to let myself get attached to him, not knowing if he would survive, but that was next to impossible. He didn't do too bad for about the first 3 weeks. Then his belly started getting distended and hard and he was needing the ventilator to do more and more work for him. His belly x-rays didn't look right. On September 21st, he was transferred to West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh 2 hours away.

They couldn't figure out what was wrong with him right away. He hadn't had a good bowel movement since he was about a week old, so they suspected a blockage. Judging by a barium study they did, it didn't look like much was left of his intestines. He went in for exploratory surgery on the 24th and we were prepared for the worst. You just can't live without your intestines and they didn't have much hope for him. He was SO sick....barely hanging on by a thread.

It turns out he did have a blockage, but only a very small portion of his intestines were lost. He had an illeostomy for 4 months. Basically, the end of his intestine poked out through his belly and he pooped in to a bag. He had trouble gaining weight due to how high up it was in his intestinal didn't give his body much time to absorb the calories. Because of that, he needed to be reconnected before going home and in order to do that he had to be 5lbs. That didn't come until January!

Between September and January he also went through heart surgery, laser eye surgeries, numerous infections, a brain bleed, struggling to get off the ventilator and stay off (which finally happened on December 3rd, right before his due date which was the 12th), etc. It was a loooong, rocky road, but he finally went in for his surgery on the 22nd of January and was able to come home February 13th, one week shy of 6 months old.

Of course the next 8 weeks were spent mostly in Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh (first for congestive heart failure and then for pnuemonia), but he finally came home and stayed home on April 15th.

He's now a healthy, though small (33lbs., 40in.) 5 year old who started his 3rd year of preschool yesterday. This year for the first time he is with typically developing kids as well as special needs kids, which I know will be great for his development. We just didn't feel he was quite ready for kindergarten. He is still delayed in some areas, like speech and fine motor and gross motor and socially/emotionally he's not at a 5 year old level, but he's catching up more and more every day. Academically, he is really excelling so far. He's also visually impaired (most definitely legally blind in his right eye and he's very nearsighted in his left), but so far that is not affecting him too badly. Heck, the kid can get hit a whiffle ball that's thrown at him about 80% of the time!

Okay, before I blab on too much longer, I just want to say that we are SO blessed and SO thankful to have our miracle here with us today and doing so well. We never could have hoped that he would grow and thrive and develop as wonderfully as he has. I thank God every day for giving me this miracle (and now Brooke, too) and wonder what I did to deserve him (and her) :*).

Monday, August 18, 2008

Internet problems

Friday morning our phone/internet went out. I called and they said the soonest they could send anyone was Tuesday @@. Doug called and complained and they said they would "try" to have someone out sooner. Well, when he came home from work they already had someone working on them. That night around 9:30 we noticed we had a dial tone again, but the internet wasn't working. Saturday morning I called my mom and they have caller ID. A different name and number came up than ours when I called. The same thing happened months ago....our phone number somehow got switched with someone else's @@. It just so happened that this time it was a neighbor across the street. Doug called the phone company and they fixed it w/in a couple hours. Still couldn't get the internet to work. So he called the phone company again and tried to get tech support. He was on the phone with someone for like an hour and a half and it's STILL not working! They're trying to tell him now that it's our browser that's messed up, but it was fine before the phone went out. He hasn't had time to call them back again or whatever he's going to do. Goodness knows *I can't fix it. LOL. We're able to get his parents' (who live next door) wireless internet signal at times on the laptop, but it's unpredictable (even for them). Hopefully it will be up and running again soon because I plan on revamping my blog (or at least trying to).

I should be able to buy a new camera this week, too. I sold our Nintendo DS to someone I know online...actually her son bought it, so now I have almost enough for the new camera. I'm probably just going to get another newer Kodak Easyshare in the $100 range. I don't need anything fancy. My parents have a Casio Exilim that I really like, but it's around $150 and I'm not sure we can swing that right now.

The kids are doing good. Ryan starts school tomorrow and turns 5 on Wednesday! Waaaah! Where did my BABY go? I talked to his new van driver this morning and she is very nice. It's hard for me to send him off in a vehicle with someone I don't know, but seeing as how we only have and can only afford one car, I don't have much of a choice. Please send some good vibes Ryan's way for tomorrow that he adjusts well to the new school/teacher/classroom/kids after 2 years in the same school/classroom with the same teacher and a lot of the same kids. I hope it goes smoothly for him.

Brooke seems to be getting more and more out of the unconsolable fussy spells in the evenings. She still has her moments, but they aren't every night and they don't usually last for hours like before. Of course last night Doug went to play bingo with my mom and dad and she had one of her worst nights in awhile. Then Ryan had a cow because the idiot neighbor across the street was revving up his motorcycle (which was right outside Ryan's bedroom window) shortly after I put him to bed, so he was downstairs laying on the couch until Doug got home. I tried taking him back up to bed once and as soon as I went to leave, he sat up and started crying. He's not one to do that very often at all, so I brought him back downstairs. Of course with Brooke crying, there was no chance of him falling asleep, but at least he wasn't up playing and at least he slept in about an hour later this morning (Doug didn't get home until about 10:15 and Ryan goes to bed at 8).

Tonight we have to go get Ryan new shoes for about procrastinating! And we're also going to look at a 2-wheeler bike at Walmart for him. Doug's mom and dad said they go halves on it with us for his birthday. His party for my side of the family is on Saturday at my mom and dad's. Not sure when we're doing Doug's side yet. Well, Brooke's starting to fuss, so I'll end this now! : )

Monday, August 11, 2008

Fun weekend!

Before I forget...sorry, I never updated on Brooke's doctor appointment Thursday : /. I took her in because I thought her Zantac needed increased for her reflux due to her starting to have painful episodes again. He actually doubled the dose and she hasn't had any bad episodes soon : ). She weighed in at a whopping 9lbs. 12.75oz.! That's a tiny bit over an ounce a day weight gain, which is perfect. So I'm sure by now she's hit 10lbs. : ). He also gave me a new formula to try on her. Right now she's on Similac Sensitive. He gave me Similac Sensitive R.S. It actually has rice in it and is a little thicker for babies with reflux. I haven't tried it on her yet, though. She may not even drink it.

Saturday was Doug's work picnic at the park. We went last year and only stayed about an hour because Ryan was not listening at all and kept throwing tantrums. He was MUCH better this year (Brooke was easygoing and good, too). We ended up staying about 5 hours! They had a huge inflatable slide, a bounce house, this other inflatable thing (not sure what it was called) that I took Ryan in and he did NOT like, a bungee/trampoline thing, a live band, a "bird guy" (rescues birds and gives shows to entertain and inform people on how to care for a bird as a pet ~ i.e. parrots, cockatoos, etc.), train rides, etc. etc. Ryan loved the train. The food was good, although not a big selection.

August 9
Ryan's treat bag he decorated.

August 9
Daddy and Ry on the train.

August 9
Mommy and Brooke on the train.

August 9
"That Guy With the Birds" (that's what his van says, lol). He was singing with the cockatoo, lol.

August 9
Some of the parrots.

After we left the picnic, we took Ryan to a small playground for a little while. The playground at the park was way too crowded. We were the only ones at the small one : ). He had a blast and kept posing for me for pics! LOL
August 9

August 9

August 9

August 9

Yesterday afternoon, we took Ryan fishing for the first time. Doug's brother and his family went along, too. Ryan was doing good at first, with his Spongebob fishing rod (no hook, just a rubbery Plankton on the end of it). He seemed to get the hang of casting. Then I don't know what happened. He kept letting go of the button too soon and Plankton would drop to the ground. Ryan would bend over to pick him up (so he could just throw it in the water and then reel it in, lol) and almost fell in 3 times! The third time, my camera ended up going for a swim while I was trying to save Ryan. It was already acting up and I could barely get it to turn on. Now it's really fried and I don't know what I'm going to do : (. Anyway, here are some pics from before it went totally kaput.
August 10
Lake Shawnee.

August 10
Daddy giving Ryan lessons on how to use his rod.

August 10
Reeling it in. He was good at that part!

August 10
Casting it out. Down here is where he kept almost falling in!

August 10
Cheesing for me. LOL.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Pictures and Videos

August 4

August 4

August 4
Batting practice at my mom and dad's.

You can see him in action here:
and here:
Last year he would only hit the ball off a tee. If you threw the ball to him, he wouldn't swing. What a difference a year makes!

August 4
Getting ready to go get ice cream!

August 4

August 4
Wondering where *her ice cream is...hehe.

August 5
After getting her 2nd round of bloodwork. You can see her bandaid on her arm.

August 5

August 5
Doug's mom picked these overalls up at the 2nd hand store where she works "for" Doug since he hunts. They say "Daddy's Little Deer". They have a ruffled butt and everything. LOL. I had to get some pics of her in it before she outgrew it (it's size 3m)!

August 5

August 5
Getting tired of posing.

August 5
Ryan is like, "What's your problem, chickie?" LOL.

August 6
This bow is like ridiculously huge (no offense to those who like them this big on babies), but I had to put it on her and take a pic since it matched her sleeper ; ).

August 6
Love this dress! (Thanks, Katie...if you're reading this!)

August 6
Such a hard, hard life, lol. I love this outfit, too. The bottoms have a strawberry on the butt. There's a matching bib, but I didn't have it on her. The one she's wearing matches, too, I guess!

And here are some that are over a month old! Not sure why I never posted them! We took Brooke to Sears for 3 month pictures. They turned out great!







On Daddy's hand/arm.


Okay, that's it! I'll probably post another update later today after her appointment and let you know how much she weighs : ).

P.S. Finally got the bloodwork results and they were NORMAL. Whew!