"Yes, we did produce a near-perfect republic. But will they keep it? Or will they, in the enjoyment of plenty, lose the memory of freedom? Material abundance without character is the path of destruction"-Thomas Jefferson

Monday, December 31, 2007

HAPPY NEW YEAR! (and a fantastic chili recipe!)

Only a little over two hours to go! Reagan has been asleep since 6. Josh and I have made dinner, watched Pirates III all the way through (finally!) and now that I have a headache from crying (yes, I cry at all sad movies) I decided to jump online to post (a very sad commentary on the status of our romantic life I'm afraid--but really, we ARE new parents!)

Josh and I did decide to start a new tradition this year and make chili for every New Years Eve--I can't wait til Reagan can join us! In the grand old southern tradition, we will be having black eyed peas tomorrow! However, if you're interested in making a killer chili recipe any time soon (since those of us here in the northern midwest will be stuck in a snowstorm for the next couple of days, this is a great opportunity!), here is the one we came up with for this year! Enjoy!

1 to 1 1/2 lbs of good lean ground beef
1/2 lg onion, diced
2 tbsp butter
2 15 oz cans of red kidney beans (we like the dark red)
1 can of tomatoes and green chilies
1/2 7 oz can of diced green chilies
1 can of tomatoes, crushed
1/2 to 3/4 cup salsa, mild
shot of blended whiskey
the following, to taste:
black pepper
red pepper
chili powder
garlic powder
parsley flakes
*we also added a bit of Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipolte seasoning blend
toppers (optional):
shredded cheese
sour cream

Brown beef with onion. In the meantime, open the kidney beans, drain and rinse. Place in large stockpot with enough water to cover, add butter. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add beef and onion mixture. Add tomatoes, chilies, whiskey and all seasonings to taste (we rarely ever use exact measurements in this house!). Simmer on med-low heat for 30-40 minutes. The whiskey gives it a wonderful mellow taste and the seasonings really add some intense heat!

Serve warm with corn muffins or crackers and toppings! Enjoy!


Ok, I gave you a chance!

Seriously, did they HAVE to kill Will?? And what is with Elizabeth playing hard to get through three movies??? ENOUGH ALREADY! What a moron..hello???? ORLANDO BLOOM???? Marry him already! Ok, those of you who watched the movie know she DID marry him in this one. And I have to admit I couldn't think of a more romantic setting...swords flying, fishmen, a rotting ship.................*sigh* just what every girl dreams of. Anyway, back to Will/Orlando.

Josh thinks I just like him as Legalos in Lord of the Rings. In fact he gets great enjoyment out of poking fun at my fantasy. And I have to admit the green tights and long blonde hair were really doing the trick for me...............buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut.....that pirate garb really does wonders for him too. So, Orlando, if you're out there *and you KNOW you're reading this blog* do yourself (and ME) a favor and stock up on the eye patches, open neck shirts and breeches..hello? Is it getting warm in here or is it just the chili?

Alright, enough is enough for me. I'm going to enjoy a glass of champagne, celebrate the New Year early and hop into bed with my new best friend..my heating pad! YOU try lifting a 22+ lb child every day all day!

Happy New Year Everyone! May God bless you richly and may this year hold much joy for you all!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Happy Belated Birthday Baby!

Since this blog didn't exist on Reagan's birthday, (her birthday was actually the 18th--exactly one week before Christmas!), I'm taking this opportunity to say Happy Birthday to my beautiful child!! We celebrated on the 15th--see photos below and had such a great time celebrating her and the joy she has brought to our lives. We had breakfast with Santa that morning and later on, her frog princess birthday party...these are a very slim selection of the pictures..most are on Grandma's camera! On her actual birth DAY, Josh and I took her out to lunch, shopping and for rides on the carousel!

If you weren't around for Reagan's birth or you never heard the entire story, here is her birth story, well, in part. Many details have been left out simply because there is so much that happened.

I had been having a lot of complications with my pregnancy. The last fews months that I was actually pregnant, my doctor had been having me come in twice a week (Mondays and Thursdays) for non-stress tests, bloodwork and various other things. I went in Thursday, December 14th and everything was as fine as it could be considering the circumstances.

Monday, December 18th, I went in and Reagan's heartbeat was extremely low...in the 80s...I started getting really upset but my doctor thought perhaps it was my heartbeat they were hearing. So they had another tech come in and find Reagan's heartbeat...it was really sluggish still but much higher..into the 120s and 140s. My doctor decided it was sluggish enough to warrant a bio-physical (ultrasound).
I thought everything was fine because the tech even took pictures and was smiling and talking to me...but then she sent me into the hall to wait for my dr. My dr. said there were some problems...Reagan had developed fluid around her lungs. She was going to admit me then but I didn't have bags packed or anything..so she told me to go home and prepare myself for a possible C-Section while she spoke with some specialists in Indianapolis. I received a call later saying I definitely had to get in for a C-Section, it was an emergency at this point.

Josh and I arrived at the hospital and were put into L&D for monitoring. Someone from the NICU came up to talk to us and said they weren't sure what was going to happen, but Reagan was having some serious complications and they had Riley Children's Hospital and Samaritan (the helicopter) on standby and they were waiting on the pediatric cardiologist to arrive. I went into hysterics and the NICU representative was asked to leave by my nurse. I was completely unprepared for what I was told.

A little while later, I was wheeled into surgery and at 8:39 p.m. Reagan was delivered. She wasn't crying..it was so quiet in the delivery room...and the NICU nurses, cardiologists and neonatologists started working on her immediately...as soon as they stabilized her they showed her to me for about..literally a second..holding her up as they wheeled her out. Josh went with Reagan. As soon as they left I started having a lot of heart problems, I was violently throwing up so they couldn't get me sewed back up, I was losing too much blood--I really thought I was going to die--I heard my doctor and nurses arguing and I heard my dr say something about she couldn't do anything because I was shaking so uncontrollably..I actually heard her say oh no, so Iwas really scared at that point. But, long story short, my dr is incredible and she and the team working on me did a great job getting me back together.

I was really out of it for the next several days though..Icouldn't even really get it through my head that Reagan was my child. Reagan spent almost a week in the NICU, -I was in the hospital almost as long-she seemed to get healthy so fast at first in light of all the problems. The drs said that if my OB hadn't been so vigilent, that if Reagan had been allowed to go just a few more days, we would have lost her. She had so many problems, a virus--we don't know how she got it because I tested negative for it...it was Parvo/Fifth's Disease..fluid around her lungs, heart problems, PDA, apnea, severe reflux, pretty bad jaundice. I can't remember if there was anything else wrong..as I said, I was really out of it. T

The last night in the NICU we were allowed to sleep with her in the NICU family room, she had a bililight (I think that's what it was called...the large one). Well, it lost it's wheel and almost crashed down on her...if it would have hit her, she would definitely have not survived. Luckily, I thank God, Josh was right beside her and caught it. I'm soo soo thankful..if it had been just me there, there is no way I could have have caught it because my reflexes were so off.

They finally allowed us to go home with her. We were home for 6 hours..the monitor kept going off, her heart rate coudln't stay high enough...back to the hospital. We were admitted into a regular hospital on a regular ward. The next day we were transferred by ambulance to the main hospital she had been born in, this time into the pediatric ward (once you leave the NICU, you can't go back in due to the fact that it is a sterile ward only for newborns).

In the pediatric ward they began tons of testing. We were there a few hours, and yet another nurse came in to do testing. Reagan was so still and quiet in my arms and the nurse kept saying she didn't like how unresponsive Reagan was, that she was too quiet, too still, too pale. I kept telling her Reagan was fine because I was watching the heart monitor and I knew as long as it was over 100 she was fine. I guess it didn't register (again, I was still recovering from the medication I was on) that the monitor was ONLY showing 100.

And then she started crashing. That was the worst moment in my life. Alarms were going off. Reagan wasn't responding. The nurse was frantic, Josh was running into the hallway...I just kept watching the heart monitor go lower and lower and I was sobbing and shaking reagan and the nurse had to yell at me and snatch her away from me because she said I was shaking her so hard I was choking her. And then so many doctors and nurses were running in with equipment and they started working on Reagan. Oh God. You can't even imagine. Our poor baby and all these people around her, working on her and we were helpless. I couldn't do anytihng for her, just sob. And then they were telling me they were getting her out of there and she was going into the PICU, and the nurses were carrying her down the hall with oxygen and monitors attached to her.

And we got there...I think it was Christmas Eve at this point. Her pedi had people lined up around her room waiting to do tests and scans on her heart, brain, lungs. He said he ran almost every test he could on a newborn--then he perfomed a spinal tap. He stayed with us almost all night until the preliminary results came back. I thank God they were negative. She stayed in the PICU for several more days until they could rule out further viruses, they pumped her full of antibiotics. Finally they felt she was well enough to go home, but on a monitor, tons of medication and on oxygen.
She came off the oxygen when she was almost a month, the medication at seven months and the monitor at nine months. Now she's a healthy, happy, beautiful and smart baby. And i am the luckiest mom in the whole world to have her.

Below is a picture of Reagan at two days old I believe, before she had more wires and oxygen attached. The second picture is of her now! As you can see, I have a very strong willed and determined child to make it through everything she went through!

Happy Birthday my sweet baby. You are the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to me. I love you more than anything in the world. Mommy

New Years is upon us!

New Years 2008 is literally just around the corner...exactly where does the time go? I swear, every year time goes faster and faster and the big 3-0 looms ever closer. (Which Josh repeatedly reminds me of every time I turn around...why oh why did I ever marry someone younger than me?? Granted, not by much..but still!)

Back to New Years. Like so many of us I've made resolutions and broken them, made them and broken them, but this year I'm hoping I actually complete my goals. And I'm hoping you guys, my wonderful friends and family, will hold me to them. Here they are, laugh as you wish!

Lose 30 lbs by June 30, 2008. (As a reward I get to purchase myself a firepit for the back patio and some great outdoor furniture..FINALLY!)

Become a more assertive mom...I'M the mom and I'm going to stop taking directions from everyone else! Back away! WOMAN ON THE RAMPAGE HERE!

Attend Church more regularly. We had started attending a Church here in Auburn and I really do like it, but I think I'm looking for something a little more traditional. I hope to coerce Josh into trying a different Church here that I'm really interested in and *BONUS* it is affiliated with the private school we hope to send Reagan to in the future (once she's homeschooled for a couple of years of course!)

Start Reagan's college fund. (Shame, shame, shame...yes, she's a year old and we've neglected doing this.)

Start a Christmas club!

Save more money than we did last year!

Get ahead of the cooking and laundry for once by purchasing a freezer and downsizing the number of outfits Reagan wears in a day..currently it's somewhere around 4 or 5......yes, yes, those of you who have been moms much longer than I have are currently shaking your heads in disbelief!

Well the munchkin is now awake from her very *short* nap...which means mommy's computer time is over...Love to all!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Just another Saturday night...........

My wonderful husband just pointed out that I spelled our daughter's name wrong on this, yes, THIS VERY blog! No, no, don't go searching for it now..I've already fixed it before the rest of you could laugh at me! I maintain it's "mommy brain", that wonderful disease that plagues the best of us after becoming a mom and being forced to wolf cookies on the sly for lunch, forgo showers for the sake of catching a few extra minutes of sleep, and well, you know the rest. I guess cookies aren't very good brain food, now are they?

Speaking of cookies, I have YET to find a decent sugar cookie recipe..maybe it's just me. But I swear I cannot make sugar cookies for the life of me...now an oatmeal cookie, I'll knock it out of the park. Chocolate chip? You've got it. Peanutbutter? Just hand over the blue ribbon now. But sugar cookie? They mock me as they stick like hardened criminals to my favorite cookie sheets.

So, you're asking, when did this blog turn into my own personal forum for griping about sugar cookies? Hmm...I don't know. And since I'm not exactly sure what you're supposed to write about in blogs, this will have to do. For the time being. Until Reagan does something super cute (she's in bed now but I'm sure she'll do something tomorrow!) that has me shouting it from the top of the roof, and well, the innards of my computer.

In the meantime, hopefully you'll just enjoy the pictures I've posted and maybe check out some of the exciting websites I've posted below.

Kisses and Hugs to all of you!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Thoughts now that Christmas is over...

I cannot believe I'm actually happy Christmas is over..that is so unusual for me! I spend the entire year getting prepared and psyched up, but not this year...I was so excited about EVERY holiday for once and I'm really looking forward to the new year and celebrating New Years Eve..it's all changed since Reagan!

But don't get me wrong! Christmas was incredible! Reagan was absolutely and completely spoiled rotten..in fact she still hasn't finished opening all of her gifts. She now owns what Josh affectionately calls 'the Little People Empire'...thank you to Fisher Price for making this possible! Seriously, I should have purchased stock in Pampers and Fisher Price--oh! and Enfamil before Reagan was born!

My favorite parts of Christmas had to be the early morning wake up, courtesty of one Reagan..eating breakfast together (mmmm..bacon, eggs and waffles!), opening a few gifts, and then Josh and Reagan passing out together (they were both sick, poor things!) I fell asleep too, which completely caught me off guard since I can NEVER go back to sleep...but fortunately I did because I was able to catch this adorable Daddy-Daughter moment (see below!).

Let's see, another favorite thing was Reagan's "Bah Humbug" comment on Christmas Eve right as mommy was griping about the holidays and all the stress....ah yes, out of the mouth of babes! A few days before Christmas, Reagan learned to say "Christmas Tree"...but it was more like "cwisma twee" and she hasn't said it since...she has a habit of doing that!

And of course, I would be remiss if I didn't mention her first ever unassisted step on Christmas Eve....she stood up....locked eyes with mommy, took a step....mommy SCREAMED and she promptly fell on the floor! I couldn't help it! I was toooo excited!!

So that was our Christmas! Next year I'm seriously considering having the meal catered so I can spend the entire day playing with Reagan's toys...shh, don't tell her...she really has a thing against me messing with them---as though I don't play with them correctly...does she remind you of anyone??
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