Sunday, October 16, 2011

Le Photo Bomb #2!

 Hanging out with Uncle Ben after his graduation

 Met his Mammo (who he calls 'nemo')

 He decided this was the most effective way of getting around the hotel ;)

And Mommy's most effective way to keep Parker occupied.  It lasted for more than 100 miles on and off!!!
 The Paint needed to be stacked ;)
The column needed to be painted!  He did a pretty good job, but needs some work.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Le Photo Bomb #1

Well, here's a WHOLE SLEW of pictures from my "Colors of Fall" collection

Monday, October 3, 2011


And boy are we EXHAUSTED!! Parker has been sleeping 12-14 hours overnight and 3-4 hour naps!! He also lost out on a good deal off sleep with this crazy virus he had. Beyond that, it was a GREAT trip!! We miss Uncle Ben very much, but our life doesn't stop!! We're onto working and finishing up the porch, but for my own sanity, I'm only devoting 3-4 hours a day. Beyond that, I'm spent.

Few other projects that I have going on this month:

Starting to dye the pompons for Parker's rug
Contemplating how to assemble said rug

Also contemplating how to organize and move Parker TOTALLY out of his room after we finish the downstairs and porch. After that, everyone moves UPSTAIRS to do Parker's room!!! Our goal- Have it done by his birthday. This will be a PUSH. I'm hoping for it to atleast be painted by then, to be honest. All the other 'adornments' and decor can be added at a later time and as we go.

Need to MAKE PJs for me and Parker. We are both so leggy that it's hard to find things that FIT just right. At the very least, I need 2-3 pair that are appropriate for 'society' ;) It's good to have comfy days, even at Target!

Get back to Weighted Blankets. Zach is first up! Who's next beyond that?

Finish French and Diplomacy classes.

Think about Christmas. Get decor out once we get the rooms done!!! Ben is coming, Beka's Graduating, Thomas will show up-- I'm sure, and we are going to have a BLAST! I'm baking my first cookies tomorrow that are a rum raisen :) YUMMY!

How is this going to happen? SCHEDULING!!!

We typically get up, get meds and treatments.
--- During this time, I make breakfast and get dressed myself.
We eat and get Parker dressed and ready to go
Then we'll clean up and get our schedule for the day.
(this slot is usually when we have therapy or go to Target... Which I still consider therapy ;) )
Snack and TV show/free play for Parker (sometimes more meds)
--- this is where I'll do a craft for me like cut the fabric for crafting later on, or assemble our craft for later in the day, or do general house cleaning (if he's doing really well this will last until lunch time)
LUNCH, Meds, Nap.
--- I usually jump on this time like a HAWK! This is MY time. I start off with school work and try to knock out 1-2 assignments a day. Afterwards I'll craft, though lately I've been doing the house repairs that need to be done. Today I spent about 3 hours painting and priming the porch. I'll do this again tomorrow also.
When he gets up, it's typically almost dinner time. We'll do our craft for the day, or run errands we need to get done. Afterwards, we'll make dinner together. Eat, and SOMETIMES we'll make dessert! He loves to help make things :) I've considered making a cook book for kids :)
After that, we'll snuggle in for some mom/parker time or playtime in his room. Followed by getting ready for bed, therapy, meds, and sleepy time!!!
-- Sometimes, depending on how spent or awake I am, I'll finish what I started earlier. Be-it, crafting or school work.

But tonight, I'm DONE. Goodnight world :) Picture BOMB tomorrow!!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011


... we start a very crazy day! ROADTRIP!!! We are driving to see my older brother, Ben, graduate from Captain's Career Course in the Army. Both Parker and I are VERY excited as he LOVES uncle Ben :) And, Uncle Ben is pretty crazy about him too! However, there is a damper on the entire thing as Parker is sick. Yep, the first illness of the winter months has STRUCK! No idea exactly what it is, but he is one miserable baby... I will be posting pictures and tips as we go through this trip. I have some pretty awesome organizational ideas that I'm excited to share! But in the meantime, enjoy this picture from the other day as Parker was learning to paint with water colors :)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Holy Busy-ness batman!

SO, I've been one VERY busy little beaver :) Here's the rundown:

1. Started home-preschooling Parker. We spend 1 hour a morning (before snack) working on coloring or little fine motor skills. About 1-2 times a week, this is replaced with OT or ST, which I agree is an appropriate substitute :) So far, he can successfully count to five, but counting objects and toes are still coming ;) He can also draw and recognize circles and squares. His favorite activity are puzzles!!!

2. I've begun to sell Scentsy ( and make weighted blankets!!! It began with making Parker one, and it turned out so nice that I had orders begin pouring in! I'm loving this new creative outlet, though I need to make some Fleece PJs for us as its getting rather chilly!

3. Parker's new favorite activity is going to the zoo. He wakes up every morning saying one of two things, "where Steamer go?" (refering to his GeoTrax train) or "see Am-nals". The latter usually wins and we've been visiting the Zoo about once a week! Below are some pictures from our most recent visit.

4. The fits aren't as frequent with Parker, but they are getting bad again. He's also begun to consistantly tip-toe walk. All of things put together are not great signs, but the Doc's are keeping an eye on his psychological development.

5. Denver- oh Denver. The insurance company came back and denied everything. They are allowing us to consult with a doctor out there, but they are not allowing any proceedures to be done. So, we are in a full appeals process, and it is going soooo slow!! I will keep you posted on any developments.

Beyond that, we're doing ok :) Progress on Parker's room has been haulted as we need to finish the downstairs rooms and the porch before it gets too cold. So, that's the skinny :) Lover you!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Dun Dun Dun! The construction begins!!

Wow, what a week! And it just zoomed right past!! I have several 'must do' projects before we go to Pittsburg and getting this room done is #1! I'll be working on house clean up tomorrow as I axiously await my Scentsy order from my dear friend Lesley! (shoot me a comment, I'll send you her website. She rocks!) I've really let this place go to crap as I finished these last two weeks in school. Now that I have the week off, I'm going to get this place back in order and ORGANIZED. Y'all know me and my incessant organization... I have a 6 inch thick pile of papers to be filed.. this must be done before I loose my mind! Here's what Parker's room looks like right now:

These are the colors as they will be. The white is the woodwork, a semigloss, this will also be the clouds in the sky over the blue. That's the ceiling. And the "Aged Parchement" is the walls. Its a very pretty LIGHT creamy brown. I'm tempted to go a shade lighter than that, but wanted the room to be 'warm'

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

More Parker Room Pictures

Some more preview pictures :) The Green Wall is what I'll be working on today. His floor screen is acting as a 'containment' for his toys right now!

And Preview of what his room will look like from the door. I set it up to see how I would like it :) And I do!!!

Parker's Room-- IT BEGINS!!!

So, I got a bug up my shorts yesterday and decided this was it. I'm starting on Parker's room regardless of if the other rooms are done. Personally, I think he has priority ;) So, I will be creating an abaitment enclosure later today within his room to start on his West wall, which is the worst shape. Stay with us... this is going to be aweseom :) The pictures are what's done so far... Including Painting of the milk crates which are ultimately toy storage. I bought the first of the citrus trees, there will ultimately be a 'grove' of dwarf citrus. His room has THE BEST light in the house. I've grown many things in there :) And even gave the hallway some love!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

We're going to Denver!!!

So, I should probably blog about this... and keep you abreast of what's going on :)

In Denver, is National Jewish Health which happens to be the #1 pulmonary hospital in the NATION. And they want to see Parker. As is the tune of no one has any clue what's going on with him, they want to figure it out! So, we are going out there for a two week (or more!) diagnostic adventure at the beginning of October. Right now, I just got a call back from the Coordinator and they are sending his file from the main team (which they accepted him) to the Pulmonary department (kids, that is) where they have an intense review of what the heck could be going on with Parker! In this time, they will go though his chart and decide which diagnostic treatments they are going to do, and how long we are really going to be there. So, that's what's going on now :)

On our end, I'm waiting for my Felt to get here so we can start Parker's felt book for our trip!! That should be fun. I'm also gathering all the medical records and having them sent out there. Oh so much to do...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Vest. The craziest medical contraption I've ever seen for home use, and the one thing that's kept Parker so healthy!!

We got the vest back in May 2010 and have been using it twice daily since. Parker has gotten used to it by now, but at first it was a battle that usually ended in me holding him in some awkward position that would rival most professional wrestlers. Sometimes this still is the case, especially when having to give predisolone! Uh, that stuff is NASTY.

The Vest has been an intricate part in keeping Parker's lungs clear of stagnant mucus and building up on his lung walls. In normal healthy lungs, you have cilia that function and 'beat' many times per second as you breath in and out. You also have cilia in your ears and sinuses. They also assist in the coughing reflex. In Parker's lungs, or any child with Primary Ciliary Dyskenesia, these cilia either have limited function or a paralyzed completely. It is unclear yet how Parker's function, but they aren't functioning adequately at this point. So, the Vest 'beats' for him! It pulses air in and out of this vest at a very high frequency and squeezes his chest some to allow the 'beating' to work more effectively. Parker is on a ramp system, meaning he starts out on a low pressure/low pulse rate (level 1 pressure and level 10 pulse rate) and then ramps up to level 4 pressure and 16 pulse rate over the course of 10 minutes, and then he stays at this high rate for another 10 minutes. This is called a Michigan style if I remember correctly, but this also allows Parker's chest to get 'comfortable' before the real work begins!

We have noticed a significant difference in Parker's ability to cough during this process, and its a good 'huffing' cough that allows him to clear his lungs. During the day and between treatments, he is coached to 'cough' if he starts to sound junky. He does a pretty good job of getting some good coughs out, and if that's not enough, then we go up for another quick treatment. This is also Parker's time to watch TV during the day, or his favorite movie. This morning, we finished Tangled that we've been working on for 2 days. I think he just has a thing for Repunzle ;)

During the initial ramping process, Parker gets a DuoNeb treatment (albuterol/atrovent). This opens the airways (albuterol) and breaks up the mucus (atrovent) to allow the high pressure to work efficiently! After his vest treatment, he gets his long acting brochodialator (Advair 230/21) to keep him open and clear, along with a cocktail of other medication for the day or night. This happens twice a day at minimum. And this allows him to be able to run and jump and play like a normal kiddo for the rest of the day :)

He is definitely coping very well with all this medical crappola he has to go through, and hopefully someday we can back off some of the medication and treatments necessary as we get closer to finding out what's caused this and continue to fight for a cure for PCD. The only known cure right now is a lung transplant, and this only happens in the most severe cases. I hope and pray Parker is not included in this category, but we take it as it comes. Until then, the Vest is a permanent fixture on our routine :)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Productivity :)

I LOVE lists :) They are what keeps me on track through the day. There was just one thing left on my list, and it'll have to wait for a rainy or another chilly day. Today was chilly (58-62) all day, so we stayed inside. Ran errands most of the morning, and got lots accomplished!!! We also got our new GroVia's in the mail today as well as our GroVia TESTER!!! I'm so excited about it :) I'll stock on this one! I have SOME reservation, but when we are able to talk, I'll give you my full run down! Rented "Baby Signing Time" from the Library as well as a kid's cookbook! Tomorrow it will be very warm (high 80s) and I plan on making a few loaves of bread with kiddo. These pictures were from making biscuits a few weekends ago. Kiddo LOVED it. He's so funny when we bake. No matter what it is, when I put it on the cookie sheet or before he puts it on the cookie sheet, he MUST take a bite from every single thing!!

Tomorrow we have a DR appointment in the morning (Kind of a well child check and recap of the month, but there are some minor things to discuss and get an action plan), and will try to play for the remainder of the day. I will be setting up his new sand and water table tomorrow. Still trying to keep an eye out for a kids umbrella set or some kind of shade/shelter that's collapsible. Anyone have any thoughts?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Spraying Paint??

So, on Wednesdays, Parker gets play therapy and breakfast with his visitor- Judy. Judy is like my second mom at this point. Her oldest son is my age, and she 'gets it' with the stresses of being a young parent (she was, but married). She has so many great ideas about crafts and interactions, and just how to chill too! She keeps telling me I need a vacation, and ya know, if SSI ever comes in, I just might take that cruise I needed to!!!

But today Judy came and we had cereal and bananas outside at the picnic table. Parker LOVES bananas and is learning how to peel them. And then she said we were going to try painting. OK, I thought... How's this going to go over with him and his not wanting to touch anything messy. She had some ideas!! First, she watered down paint and put it in a spray bottle. We know from previous times of cleaning windows and using air freshner (no, not using, dousing EVERYTHING in air freshner!!!) that Parker is good at this!!! And he is!!! She also did bring brushes and he did very well with those too. This is what transpired. Tomorrow, I'll post on how to put up a revolving art display!!!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Beer Cheese Soup!!

Tis the season of BRATS!! I've recently requested a meat grinder so I can start making my own sausages and what not. I LOVE brats! And homemade brats are the best! But what do you do with all the liquid (mine is about 1/2 beer and 1/2 water) you initially boiled the brats in? Do you realize this is a pseudo-stock (or cooking liquid)???? Well, here's whatcha do. DON"T DUMP IT!!! Take the brats out. Then add an onion (rough chop), garlic, mustard seeds, peppercorns, and bay leaves. Let it reduce!!! Reduce it down to 4 cups of liquid. Go ahead and strain it out. You can either use it hot, or save it for a later time.

1/4 c butter
1tsp fresh garlic (or the jarred stuff)
1/4-1/3 c Flour
Melt butter, add flour in small batches stirring constantly
~~ This is what Parker helps with. He's gotten VERY good at stirring.

It will become a thick paste, alittle looser than playdough. SLOWLY add the liquid from above. Continue to stir to avoid lumps. When you got about half of it added, pour in 1 bottle of beer. I prefer a dark brown ale, and the soup will taste MUCH better if you use the same beer as you boiled the brats in. Pour in remaining liquid to desired consistancy.

6-8 oz SHARP cheddar cheese, shredded (I use a good 1-1.5 year aged cheddar, however this gets very sharp in the soup and does not melt well. Still tastes VERY good!)
Slowly add the cheese. Be sure to give some to the curious kiddos on hand :)
~~~ Parker adds the cheese, he also eats quite a bit ;) But now that we are dealing with hot liquid, I take over the stirring and he does the adding.

It will be semi thick, add more liquid to loosen it up. If you have no more liquid, use a touch of cream. No, this was not intended to be a low-fat soup :) After you have it to the right consistancy for you, add some chopped brats for texture. Enjoy!!!


Alright, I started this blog awhile ago and just now have the time and ability to get it back up and running. I have a few goals in writing this blog-

1) Encourage parents to include their kids in EVERYTHING! From cooking to cleaning, to gardening, to organizing. How can we expect our children to learn these valuable life lessons unless we encourage them to practice them on a daily basis!!

2) Share Recipes. As most know, I"m a former professional chef. While I'm going back to school to be a teacher, that doesn't mean my love for creating recipes and inspiring people to go further with food is lost!!! In fact, I think it's only enhanced because I'm cooking for me, and by extention, FOR YOU!

3) Be real. I have so many freaking hats. Some days are great, others not so much. But I'm a part of a tight-knit group of women who share a common thread- We're Preemie Moms :) With that being said, there may be posts about hospitalization, there will probably be post about DR appointments and therapy. Frustrations with Insurance companies and lacking development.

But, I'm a mom. Moms talk about their kids--ALOT. And Parker is the ultimate reason I'm writing this. I hope that in following us, you'll be able to get to know us more, and be encouraged to be a better parent and even teach me a thing or two as you comment on our days :) Take care! We'll see you soon!!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snowed In

... we just made it through almost 36 hours of snow. Blizzard with winds of 50+ miles per hour. 18 solid inches of snow. Drifts 4+ feet tall!

But I've decided to get back to the basics of life. The simple things, like grace. Defined as "elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action," or in a more religious sector, "the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God." Hey, I'll take it. In the last several weeks as the events of the previous year have come to a close, I have been encouraged to begin writing down and journaling my life. I probably should sell our story at some point. Never-the-less, our story has been laced and trimmed and FILLED with grace any way you slice it. And that's what makes our story amazing. I'm no one special, but we are incredibly rich for we've been saved by grace from the filth we walked through once before. So, here we go. Thus starts our story of being a ragamuffin and the grace that abounds regardless of the circumstance.