Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tea and Toes

I went for a lovely afternoon tea with my Mom and sister in law, Jackie.  Cinnamon~Chocolate tea with scones, desserts, and tiny tea sandwiches.  Just delightful.  I should have taken more pictures of the shop and tea room.  Next time I will. 

cup


desserts

And the the "toes" part... on Saturday morning I woke up with the strangest looking right foot. Several of the toes and the side of my foot were all black and blue. When I stood up the toes were completely numb. I could barely feel them at all. I hadn't dropped anything one them, bumped them, nothing! Strange. I spent the weekend trying to walk on the numb foot which was now beginning to hurt; a lot! I told Scott it felt like my foot was thawing from frost bite.

After a few doctors on Monday I was told I had Raynaud's disease. It's nothing really but a nuisance. Except for when you get a flair up (which was what happened on the weekend) I'd never heard of this condition before and quickly learned that much warmer socks, cooler showers, and bundled feet at all times would be my "medicine". Apparently abnormal spasms of the blood vessels occur causing a diminished blood supply to the local tissues (in my case being my toes). I walk mostly barefoot in the house or with just some thin socks. So off to get warmer socks I'll go. I think the hardest part will be getting used to wearing socks in bed.

Here's hoping that this Raynaud episode goes quickly... it sure makes me feel like an old lady! And there are no pictures (thankfully) of my blue toes; it's not pretty! 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Favorite Photo Friday ~ A Motherhood Moment

This is me.  Not dressed up.  Not looking at the camera.  Not holding the baby propped up just right for a picture. This is just plain, ordinary me in the midst of motherhood moment; and I love it. 

me with girls

It shows my life all wrapped up in my two girls.  It shows crowded hands, and bending down to reach Anna's level.  I don't know what was going on in that moment.  But I'm certain that I was doing what I do every day with that little girl, helping her through a moment.  A bit of compassion in my eyes; a bit of stiffness in her stance.  That's us; mother and daughter on just an ordinary day. 

So it's not a new photo for sure.  It's not even a real "photograph" ; more of just a snapshot.  But a "Favorite Photo" for sure! 

the long road

Thursday, January 26, 2012

If You Like Gumdrops

then I suggest Spicy Gumdrop Cookies

gumdrops

You'll need:

3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter or "abigail margarine"
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups uncooked quick cooking oats
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped gumdrops

Heat oven to 375. Lightly grease cookie sheet. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine sugars, butter, shortening, egg and vanilla. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until light and fluffy.

Add flour, oats, coconut, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Beat at low speed until soft dough forms. Stir in gumdrops

measuring

(I guess to a 4 year old it's easier to take everything off at this point)

Drop dough by heaping teaspoons 2 inches apart onto prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Let cool for 1 minute before removing from cookie sheets. Cool completely before storing.

done

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Weekend For

Playing in the snow

anna in sled

And napping in the afternoon

abi napping

It was lovely to wake up Saturday morning to lots of snow coming down, canceled activities, (art school) and a day at home together.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Favorite Photo Friday ~ G is for...

1

"G is for our really great principal." 

I really want to do a longer, better post, but this will have to do for now as I wait for some video to go along with it.

On December 19, 2011 Scott was named

Connecticut State First Year
Principal of the Year

On December 20, 2011 his beautiful school (all of the teachers and students) surprised him with an amazing assembly. Anna, Abigail and I were invited, and I was blown away. The outpouring of gratitude for his hard work, the pride, the love was so evident as each grade level performed in front of their school in Scott's honor.

It was hard to take pictures through the tears; and I couldn't figure out what was wrong with my video camera, so all I have are some quick shots, not nearly enough, and the possibility that one of the teachers taped part of the program. 

Anna and Abigail were beaming during the assembly as they sat in a special front row seat next to their daddy, the honored principal.  I was so proud of him, his dedication to education, his love for children, and his caring ways with teachers.  I know for sure that he is right where he is supposed to be; putting children first in education in one beautiful, little, Connecticut school. 

the long road


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Winter

snowflakes 2

snowflakes 1

"I have learned to quit speeding through life, always trying to do too many things too quickly, without taking the time to enjoy each day's doings.  I think I always thought of real living was falling in love, or when I got my first job, or when I was able to help somebody, or watch my baby get born, or have a good morning of really good writing.  In between the highs I was impatient - you know how it is - life seem so Daily.  Now I love the dailiness.  I enjoy washing dishes.  I enjoy cooking, I see my father's roses out the kitchen window, I like picking beans.  I notice everything - birdsongs, the clouds, the sound of wind, the glory of sunshine after two weeks of rain.  These things I took for granted before." 

~from Mitten Strings for God, Reflections for Mothers in a Hurry ~
by Katrina Keninson

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Butterfly Garden

I love 3 day weekends.  We ventured up to the butterfly garden.

bench

The girls were so hoping that a butterfly would land on them like last time, but only mommy had luck!  Anna waked around like this with her finger raised waiting for a butterfly to land on her. 

anna with finger up

abigail

This was as close as Anna got.

on leaf


A day together with my little family is always lovely. 


with daddy

Check out our visit to this same place back in 2008!!!  Oh how I wish they were babies still...

Maybe Anna should have had half on purple nail polish like she did when she was 6...

1


Or perhaps blue is the lucky color.  Love this face!

2

Abigail was in her little sling.  How she loved being in there!

3

I love how Abigail is reaching for the butterfly here...

4

And as soon as I saw this picture I could hear Abigail saying, "ish, ish, ish!!!"  (fish)  I can hear the sound of her little voice and how excited she was! 

6

5

That's it!  They have to STOP growing!  That's enough! 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Father Bob

There are so many special people in our lives that have helped to shape and guide Scott and I.  Our parents of course.  And then there is Father Bob.  I wrote about his influence in our lives back HERE but I just can't help it again.

Being in the same room as Father Bob stirs up all kinds of sweet emotions, and I just feel happy.  Blessed to know him and know that we are special to him. 

father bob with us

father bob with girls


Thank you Bret and Megin for inviting us to your lovely home.  Thank you for gathering us all together once again.  Thank you for reminding us that our faith will always be the glue that holds us together.  You have a precious family.  (4 babies ~ 5 and under) and we are better for knowing you.

(Anna took the picture of Scott & I with Father Bob... I've got to hand her the camera more often)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Favorite Photo Friday ~ Good News

This photo was taken around the time Abigail was diagnosed.  I just did a little photoshop fun...

Abigail portrait

Here's her good news story:

When Abigail was a baby I breast fed her.  She wouldn't take a bottle (and I was happy with that).  But when it came time to introduce baby food she wouldn't have it.  I'll never forget her face when I held up a spoon to her mouth.  She swished to one side and then the other.  This went on for months.  I continued to breast feed her for a long time.  She wouldn't eat baby cereal even if I made it with breast milk.  She wouldn't eat a single fruit or jar of baby food.  She didn't like those baby zwibec toasts things... nothing. 

I kept telling her pediatrician at each appointment and eventually they sent me to 'The Feeding Team' at CT Children's Medical Center.  We brought her in, they watched her not eat, they made suggestions that sounded like they would work.  After all this was a group of about 5 or 6 feeding specialists and doctors. 

Nothing worked.  She fell way below normal on the growth chart, so the feeding team sent us to a GI (gastroenterologist) doctor.  Dr "H" (I'll call him) was very familiar to me.  My mother worked with him for years and years as a GI nurse doing many of the procedures that Abigail had done then.  We were in good hands.  Dr. H is the head of the GI team and known all over for his work with GI issues. 

At the first appointment they decided to do a first endoscopy on Abigail to rule out anything wrong internally.  The first one was scary.  We were admitted to the day surgery floor and Dr. H assured us that "they probably wouldn't find anything."  We were convinced that she just didn't like to eat yet. 

And we were all wrong. When Dr. H called us from the waiting room he said, "yes, we did find something.  She has Eosinophilic Esophagitis."  And then he went on to explain what it was.  I didn't hear a word he said.  I was completely shocked.  We met with a dietitian that day while my Mom stayed with Abigail in the recovery room while she slept.  In one quick morning I had to completely change everything that I was feeding her.  At 22 months old, never having baby formula I was to put her on an elemental diet called Elecare.  It's a powder similar to a can of infant formula.  She was to have no foods with wheat, soy, fish, nuts, dairy, or egg. 

Over the next 3 years Abigal was introduced to one of those food groups at a time.  And then after 8 weeks, back to the hospital for another edoscopy.  Each time she had an IV, they 'put her to sleep', and stuck a tube down her throat to take a look and to take a biopsy.  Over and over and over her lab results showed eosinophils in her esophagus even though she shouldn't with the "formula" and no soy, wheat, eggs, milk, nuts, fish.  Basically eosinaphils in her make it difficult to eat or perphaps painful, although Abigail never complained. 

Since the 6 food elemination diet wasn't working over these years Dr H decided to put Abigail on several meds that he assured us would work.  Why not in the first place?  Well, they are just not optimal for a child to be on for any length of time.  Finding out what foods through the elimiation diet is just better.  But since we weren't getting any good lab results be opted for the meds. 

So  last Friday Abigial was admitted for another (now routine for her) endoscopy.  And the results came back.... positive.  There are no eosinophils in her!  No sores, no pain, nothing.  And we are thrilled1

Yes she still has and will always have this digestive disease called Eosinophilic Esophagitis.  Her lab resuts were only postive because of the meds.  She still can't eat soy, fish, nuts, dairy (milk, cheese, and a million other foods that have a trace of milk) but we have something to go on.  And we are happy and oh so grateful for her kind doctor, the nurses that are sweet to her at the hospital and our families for their support. 

Tonight Abigail asked her daddy something she never has ever brought up.  "Daddy, since I have no 'phils' in me, can I have some of the food I'm allergic to?" 

"No, sweet girl.  Not yet." 

"Oh, okay."  And off she went with a little ballet twirl. 

She is our happy little girl.  She never ever complains of not getting the birthday cake, not having icecream, having special meals for her, not having the something pretty someone else is having.  She just accepts it.  Boy, I could learn a lot from her.  I love you Abigail Mei!

the long road

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Before School

Anna had a few minutes before school this morning.  She's always writing in this notebook.  It's filled with fairy drawings, stories, and such.  An  eight year old girls world...  

anna

And I found this in the early morning. When I came out to start the day before waking the girls I noticed that both doors were open a bit, and Abigail was fast asleep on Anna's chair. She must have sneaked in there last night after we went to bed.  She told me when I woke her up that she has a scary dream that our whole family turning into monsters.  I think it's sweet that she went into Anna's room to feel safe.  Usually it's the other way around in our house.  Abigail makes Anna feel safe in this world.  Sweet.

abi sleeping

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Last of Christmas Pictures

I can't skip Christmas Day.  We spent a wonderful morning at home and headed to my parents house in the afternoon.  It was a super fun afternoon for the girls.  More gifts, more stockings, more fun! 

opening 1

opening 2

opening 3

And after the day was through and jammies were on I snapped some silly but loving pictures of Anna and Abigail with their cousins (and Grandma and Grandpa) on the couch.

everyone1

everyone2

everyone3

everyone4

everyone5

everyone6

anna

My favorite gift at Christmas (and ever) was a gift my father made me, a painting of Anna on her First Communion. It's 'take your breath away beautiful' and I will treasure it always. He worked and worked and worked on this for months.  He first came to me with this idea in the summer and of course who could say no to a painting of their daughter, especially of their First Communion?  His inspiration was from a photograph that was taken the day beofre her First Communion in a tulip garden.  The print that I gave my parents back in June became this amazing painting.  I am so lucky to have this treasure. 

painting 1

painting

The next day we had Scott's family over to visit. I was tired of the camera by then and barely picked it up that day or any day on vacation week. Only one good shot of Abigail with her Aunt Cindy and a new toy.

baker2

It sure was a sweet Christmas; one to tuck away and keep all year long.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Back to Normal

I've got nothing but happiness for January.  No spring fever here!  I LOVE it.  I love the organizing, the cooking, the coziness, the non-Christmas rush, the baking, the organizing (did I alreay say that?)  Something about new toys the girls have, unpacking the normal decorations again after Christmas is away, all of it I love.

One huge walk in basement closet is done.  I stuffed things in there too long.  The girls and I cleaned out our family game shelf.  We started by saying we'd play every game to decide it we had all of the pieces, if we liked it, if it was worth keeping.  I was hoping to make some room those shelfs for my decorating ideas.  We only tossed a few games out of what seemed like over a hundred!!!  But I still made room for some new bins with all of my cake stands and lovely tea pots that were getting smashed in the kitchen cabinets.  I've decided to only have a few things out at a time and really use them rather than have everything I love out.  I thought it would be fun to go through the bins again each month.  (kinda like shopping without spending the money) 

Anyway, it feels so good to be back to normal around here.  Back to baking cookies.  I know that sounds weird since Christmas is the time for making cookies.  But to me Christmas cookies are mandatory, rushed, overtired, etc.  Everyday cookies get ohhs, and ahhs over here.  They are for lunch boxes, after school treats, and great with a cup of tea at night.  Yesterday Abigail and I made basic jam thumbprint cookies.  Don't you just love my new little glass dome that fits right on top of my cake stand from Scott's Mom?  Adorable.

cookies 1

cookies2

Back to normal means a tea party with Anna after school.  And this pretty little tea cup from my Mom always out and ready for a tea party. 

tea

tea2

Back to normal means I try to redecorate each little corner of my house.  Scott brought these home one night from our local grocery store, (remember my birthday when the car broke down?)  and I thought they looked lovely in the dining room. 

flowers1

flowers2


Hope you're all enjoying your back to normal.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Weekend

On Friday Abigail had to go to the hospital for another endoscopy. I always think since it's routine for her it's easy (emotionally) for me. I'm always wrong. It's exhausting. Watching her get put to sleep for this procedure is not a fun thing to watch. Comforting her while the IV gets up into her arm is never fun. But she was brave and I was oh so proud of her. Her GI doctor said that it looked good (for the first time since 2009) but we still have to wait for the lab results that will come in the middle of this week. Anyway, a few shots from our morning in the hospital...

with baby

with daddy

And the rest of the weekend was a bit of
cleaning out a closet that I'm in and out of constantly, car broke down on my birthday, Anna and Scott announced that Saturday would be my "birthday redo day", so we went out to lunch, opened presents, spent the day together, had yummy apps for dinner, and just spent time together, Sunday church, played with cousins, had a friends birthday party, and got organized for the week. Oh, and the girls with Scott made Cake Pops for my birthday. Messy but fun!

cake pops4

cake pops3

cake pops 1

cake pops2

Here are some pictures from a dinner my Mom had for me last week the day before my birthday. Lobster casserole, and chocolate cake, yum!
(please excuse the grainy photos... I've been carrying around my 'point and shoot' and loving how light it is, how I can always have it with me, and how nice it is to sometimes have a break from my heavy camera. But is doesn't do well in low light)

moms 5

moms4

moms 3

After bathtime at Grandma and Grandpa's Abigail had to get her bitty baby in her jammies too...

moms 2

Anna with Grandpa and Duffy

moms 1
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