Saturday, November 26, 2011

Meowy Christmas

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I forgot how much the cats love the Christmas tree (and judging by the amount of cat hair on the tree skirt. . .they loved it last year too.)  I don’t know about you, but watching a cat snoozing under a Christmas tree makes me feel all warm and cozy.  And, yes, all three cats have stockings. LOL.

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I even caught Autumn enjoying the tree. 

Christmas gift for kitties?

This is what the kitties are getting for Christmas.  I just hope they enjoy it as much as the tree. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Friday, November 25, 2011

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Our Christmas decorating began today and Olivia was beyond excited.  She was giddy all day long.  Christmas is going to be so special this year for Olivia.  She is asking lots of questions about our nativities and we are doing an advent calendar that tells the Christmas story.  We have a total of three. . .count them three. . .Christmas trees in our house.  LOL!  We decided to let Olivia have one in her room this year.  It has pink lights and a pink star on top.  After we did it, we realized that we will probably never get it taken down.  So, don’t laugh if you come over in July and my daughter still has a tree in her room.  We also didn’t realize that she would steal all of the ornaments from the big tree to put on her tree.

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I love Christmas trees.  I love Christmas tree ornaments.  Here are a few that are really special to me and my family.

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Remember Olivia’s pony?  Her grandpa carved her a pony ornament a few years ago to remember the special bond she shared with it. 

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We received this special ornament to remember Logan by.  You can’t tell in the picture, but his footprints are about the size of fingerprints. 

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We have another special one for Olivia with her tiny footprints as well.  What a cherished gift!

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I’m a sucker for anything personalized.

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Olivia’s special giraffe ornament for her first Christmas.  More special pictures of our Christmas trees to come!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

We spent Thanksgiving with Ryan’s side of the family this year.  We alternate each year between our families.  Olivia was really looking forward to Thanksgiving. . .especially after she heard that she’d get to see Kaleb and the rest of her cousins.  (They moved to Arkansas last year.)  Kaleb and Olivia are only 4 months apart and Olivia thinks the world of him.


Kaleb and Olivia


Pulling the wishbone. . .Olivia wasn’t quite sure what she was supposed to do.  The two of them are just too cute together.


After lunch, we had our annual leaf party.  Olivia was all about the leaves this year. 


I think after this picture, I took her glasses off after I thought about how hard it would be to find them in the pile of leaves.




I’m going to get you!



Olivia and grandpa running down the hill together


She loved being tossed into the leaves.



She adores her older cousin, Alex.  He has always been soooo good with her.  It’s as if they just understand each other.


What Alex does, Olivia does. 




Watch out for that big pile of leaves, Julia!


Olivia being dumped on!



Let me tell ya, it’s not too fun having a pile of leaves dumped on your head.  What exactly do the kids like about this?


Really. . .Olivia. . .this is not fun for mommy. LOL!


And, nothing like a mouthful of leaves while trying to take a family picture.


Ready, set. . .




Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!

What a great morning! Watching the parade with Olivia while finishing up her Santa countdown. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

One thing Olivia has struggled with is her fine motor skills.  While other 4 year olds are writing their letters and coloring and drawing pictures and signing their names, Olivia just refuses.  She will try to write her name, but when she gets to the v, she gets frustrated and will not continue.  Then, she just stops trying altogether.  Well, last night we had a breakthrough and Olivia discovered how to make a v!!  You should have seen how excited she was!! Then, she made a whole page of v’s!  Hopefully, we’re on our way to having Olivia sign the Christmas cards this year!  I was beyond proud.

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Then, at grandma and grandpa’s house today, Olivia drew with her cousin, Izzy.  Izzy is her cousin and best friend who is exactly one week older than Olivia.  Izzy pushes Olivia to try new things which is very good for her.  Because Izzy plays soccer, Olivia wants to play soccer and has gotten really good at kicking a ball.  Izzy wanted to draw today and so that made Olivia want to draw as well.

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And she drew a picture of her kitty, Kelsey.

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Olivia is so blessed to have Izzy in her life.  Their friendship is really amazing to watch.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011




I think I’ve mentioned before how I went in to the doctor for some blood work a few weeks ago.  I’ve been suffering with horrible RLS for quite awhile now and I was being tested for deficiencies in magnesium, iron and B12.  All of my results were normal, except my B12 was on the low side of normal.  The range is about 200-1000 and mine was 425.  I’ve read that it’s  recommended, however, that people be treated for a deficiency if their levels are under 450. In Japan, the minimum number is 550.  If you are under that, you are considered deficient. 

Well, I went ahead and started on a B12 supplement.  I’ve been on B supplements before, but I think I was taking 10 mcg or something like that.  These are 2500 mcg and the liquid sublingual kind which are better absorbed.  The first few days I noticed nothing different.  Then, a week went by and I found I was better organizing myself and my time.  I actually felt like cleaning and cooking.  I didn’t find myself laying down at every opportunity.  I was still tired, but I had motivation.  For years I have been tired with NO motivation.  It took all I had to get through each day.  I concentrated all of my energy on Olivia with no time for cleaning, cooking, weeding the garden, hobbies, etc.  Honestly, the difference has been amazing!  I cook ALL the time.  I’ve put together a new cookbook of new recipes.  I’m writing poetry again.  I have everything on a schedule. . .cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping.  My family stopped eating out.  I sold some items in a consignment sale and made almost $70.  I’m updating the blog regularly.  I purchased a book called Organize Now and it takes you through 52 weeks of organizing yourself, your life and your home.  Now, I know my B12 wasn’t that low, but apparently it was too low for me.  I’ve seen an amazing difference.  Seriously, it brings tears to my eyes.  I feel “alive” again for the first time in many years. As an added benefit, I swear that my blood sugars have been lower too.   Unfortunately, the B12 does nothing for my RLS.  But, hopefully when I go to the neurologist they can sort it all out.

And Olivia is LOVING school again.  No tears when I dropped her off this afternoon.  Apparently, she’s an “afternoon” child.  This morning when she asked if she had school today, I told her that she did.  No tears.  Then, she asked if she had to go in the morning and I told her not until the afternoon.  “Is the afternoon in the morning?” she asked.  No, not until after lunch.  She was completely fine with that.  She really loves to play at home in the morning in her pajamas, watch some tv and take it easy.  She never likes to rush around and go somewhere in the morning. . .no matter where it is.  So, I’m completely thrilled with school and how well she’s doing. 

We’ve also been doing our skill sticks activities every day.  The other day, she had to do an activity with scissors.  She wanted to make a ghost.  I drew one and she cut it out and drew the face on it all by herself. Yeah, she doesn’t want to admit Halloween is over.  So proud of her ghost, though.

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Cheddar Bay Biscuits and Pineapple Marshmallow Salad

So, tonight I made salisbury steak, corn on the cob, cheddar bay biscuits and my grandmother's pineapple marshmallow salad.  Yep, just call me Betty Crocker.  Ha ha!  I'm actually going to look for a different salisbury steak recipe.  Ryan liked it, but I thought it was a bit too salty.  The cheddar bay biscuits (aka Red Lobster biscuits) were delicious, however.  I highly recommend!

Recipe for: Cheddar Bay Biscuits
To prepare: Preheat oven to 400 degrees
      2 ½ c Bisquick
      4 T cold water
      1 c cheddar cheese
      ¾ c milk
     ¼ tsp garlic powder

      Butter Glaze:
      3 T butter
      ½ tsp garlic powder
      ¾ tsp dried parsley flakes

1.       Lightly grease cookie sheet, set aside.
2.       Combine Bisquick with cold water in medium bowl.
3.       Add cheddar cheese, milk, garlic powder.  Mix by hand until combined, but don’t over mix.
4.       Drop ¼ c portions of dough onto cookie sheet.  Bake for 13-14 minutes until tops are brown.
5.       While biscuits are baking, melt butter in small bowel in microwave.  Stir in garlic powder and dried parsley flakes.  Use brush to spread over tops of biscuits.  Sprinkle a little kosher salt on top.

And I finally got my grandmother's recipe for her pineapple marshmallow salad.  Yes, it has cheese on top.  As a child, all of us cousins at the kids table wouldn't touch the stuff, but there it would sit every holiday just waiting to be eaten.  One by one we started tasting it and realizing it was very good. Now, it's become one of those special things about my childhood. 

(I accidentally took a bite before I took a picture. . .Oops.)
Recipe for: Pineapple Marshmallow Salad
1 pkg orange jello
1 c boiling water
½  c mini marshmallows
1 c cold water
½ c drained, crushed pineapple
½ c Cool Whip
Grated American Cheese
1.       Dissolve 1 pkg orange jello into 1 cup of boiling water.
2.       Immediately mix in ½ c mini marshmallows.  Stir until softened.
3.       Add 1 cup of cold water, mix all together.
4.       Refrigerate (while stirring) until partially set (about 40 minutes.)
5.       After set, add ½ c drained, crushed pineapple.
6.       Add ½ c Cool Whip.  Stir.
7.       Refrigerate until firm.
8.       Add grated American cheese on top.

Monday, November 21, 2011

We had a really rough 12 hours at our house. Let me back up a bit and explain.

When I was originally pregnant with triplets, I searched the Internet for anything having to do with triplets. I came across a site called Got Triplets about 24 weekers Cole, Paige and Kaylee. At the time I knew nothing about premature birth or the fact that some babies don’t survive. I read their blog and I bawled and bawled and bawled. Everything I knew about prematurity came from their blog and as I was in labor at 23 weeks, I kept thinking, “Cole and Paige were born at 24 weeks, they were born at 24 weeks.” Honestly, that’s one of the reasons that Olivia’s middle name is Paige. It was almost as if discovering their blog was an eerie foreshadowing of what was to come. It left me with a really uneasy feeling.

As you know, my dear friend Amanda found out on Halloween that her 2 year old son, Ben, has retinoblastoma. He recently underwent surgery to have his eye removed. And although it saddens me that he had to lose his eye, we are so grateful that the cancer did not spread beyond his eye. Naturally, I’ve done some basic research on retinoblastoma so that I would understand what was going on. And I’ve bawled and bawled and bawled over the whole thing. I haven’t cried like that over a child who wasn’t my own since I read that triplet blog years ago.

Two main signs of retinoblastoma are 1) eyes that don’t align and 2) leukocoria, an abnormal white reflection from the retina of the eye seen in flash photography. Anytime leukocoria is seen it should be treated as an emergency with a trip to an ophthalmologist. Because Amanda got Ben in to be seen, his life may have been saved. It’s serious business. Before all of this happened to Ben, I had no idea about any of it.

As you know, Olivia’s eyes do not align due to strabismus. She has, however, been closely followed by an ophthalmologist since birth. I know that. However, last night I was working on our yearly calendar and reviewing old pictures when I came across this picture from July:

As you can see. . .one of Olivia’s eyes is white.

I freaked out! I mean full blown hyperventilating, full body uncontrollable shaking. I knew she had just had a dilated exam a few months ago, but the more I read online, the worse I got. I have a tendency to panic about things. . .especially about the health of my family. I’ve always been like that, but losing Logan and almost losing Olivia has only made it worse.

I slept 2 hours last night. . .that’s all I could do. First thing this morning, Ryan called our ophthalmologist and they agreed to see us today. They told us that she did have a dilated exam in August and they monitor for things like retinoblastoma. That was enough to calm my husband’s fears, but not mine. You see, I was also told that I wasn’t in preterm labor and we know how that ended up. I have trust issues, I guess. So, we went in first thing this morning. First, they did her usual eye exam where she had to read a picture chart. They covered up her left eye and she had to read the pictures with her right. Ben, as you know, had gone totally blind in his eye due to retinoblastoma. Olivia started spouting off all these pictures that weren’t there. . .like doorknobs and movies, etc. I got really uneasy. Could she not see the pictures? But, you have to remember that sometimes she is a goofball and acts silly. Her other eye she did fine with. They dilated her eyes and when we went back to see the doctor, we showed him the picture. He was a little concerned to say the least. Luckily, he examined her eyes and saw no sign of a cancerous tumor. Her doctor believes that the angle of her head and her strabismus caused her eye to turn slightly inward and made her eye reflect the white. He, however, never once made me feel like a crazy mother and said that if he had found a picture like this. . .he would have had it checked out as well. He said that they take this very seriously. He actually asked to keep the picture. I could finally breathe again. And life is back to normal. And I’m grateful. So very grateful. Not everybody gets that sigh of relief. Retinoblastoma is a rare cancer, however, many times it is the parents who first discover it. . .through a white eye reflected in a photograph. I would love for Amanda at some point to write a guest post on my blog to further bring awareness to this. I know that she’s really busy right now, but whenever she is able to. . .I’d love for her to share Ben’s story with you. It just may save someone else’s life.

Please keep close to your hearts all the children who are fighting cancer. My friend Libby’s little girl, Paxten, who is fighting leukemia. Olivia’s fellow 23 weeker, Tripp, who is fighting neuroblastoma. There are so many more who need our prayers and love and support. Reach out to someone and let them know that you care. Overwhelm them with your love and kindness. That was the #1 thing that helped us after losing Logan and throughout our NICU journey. . .just knowing that people care.

Never Before

by Jodi Glunt

Never before have I known such love

As that which I feel in my heart.

My beautiful daughter, although physically petite

Fills up an enormous part.


Never before have I seen such strength

From a person who weighed but a pound

And yet she’s a fighter through and through

With very little that gets her down.

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Never before have I heard such laughter

With an energy and zest for life.

She consistently shows me the wonder and joy

While overlooking the pain and strife.


Never before have I felt such mercy

From a God who has allowed me to raise

This miraculous, amazing daughter of mine

On earth, throughout all of my days.


A micropreemie shattering every prediction

About the life she had in store.

Teaching us all about the miracles within us

That we never quite realized before.