Month: March 2013

03-17-2013-web

When to write a Thank You Note?

I had written on Facebook a month or so  ago (I was a little miffed that day) that I had not received a thank you from someone I had given a gift to. It got a big response and so I decided to vlog about it today.

To thank you note or not thank you note. That is the question…

Another day in my life.

belle2

Beauty and the Beast Hair for Delaney!

I finally got an iPad (thanks Ellen) and we have had so much fun with it. One thing I like to do is watch hair tutorials and try them on Delaney. She has gotten into watching them to and she actually asks if she can watch them. Our favorite YouTube channel is Cutegirlshairstyles . This mom has all kinds of cute styles to learn and she makes them all really easy. We go on the site the night before and Delaney picks what style she wants to try. Today she wanted to try Belle (her favorite princess-duh).  She was excited when I picked her up from school last week with a new yellow ribbon (it doesn’t take much to excite Delaney). We are ready!

belle2

Another day in my life.

T-NICU

My Baby Boy is 7 Today!

 

Wow, I can’t believe it has been 7 years. I have had the privilege of being this little guy’s mom for the last 7 years! What a joy it has been. He is so funny and sweet. I am sitting here thinking back to the day he was born and how crazy it all was!

I started having contractions on the 13th. It was Monday and I wasn’t due for 4 more weeks. I remember thinking, “If these Braxton Hicks contractions keep hurting this bad I am not going to make it another 4 weeks”.  I called the nurse and told her they were about 20 minutes apart and she told me that I wasn’t in labor and that it was false.They would see me in the morning at my regular non stress testing. I had been on bedrest for about 3 months because I had extremely high blood pressure and they were worried about me and the baby. I had to go for testing 3 times a week to make sure everything was going well. My next test was in the morning.

I remember not sleeping that night. I was too busy having contractions and they hurt (I have a high pain tolerance but these suckers hurt!). I also had purchased a medical grade fetal doppler device and I had used it the night before. I was a little worried about my baby when his heart beat would drop to 50 beats per minute when I would have one of these “false” contractions. I had told the nurse on the phone this and she told me not to worry about it because those “home dopplers” were not always right. I tried to tell her it was the same doppler they use in the office (my doctor offered to buy my doppler from me because it worked so well, home doppler my butt!) but she just talked over me and told me they would see me in the morning. I guess this would be a good time to tell you… If you think you are in labor and there is a problem, go to the hospital. Don’t listen to the nurse on the phone, just go. She hears the same thing from every pregnant woman and she treats everyone like they are over reacting. It might have been normal for other people, but not me.

When I got to my appointment the next morning ,they hooked me up for non stress testing. When they saw my babies heart beat was only 50 beats per minute (normal babies should be up over 120-160). They whisked me into a birthing room. They told me they had to induce me and get the baby out, he was under duress.

T-isolet

Poor Brad, he didn’t know what to do. I started calling my mom and in-laws, telling them we were having a baby. My mom thought she had plenty of time and barely made it there. About 2 hours into it, the heart beat was dropping too low. My blood pressure was sky-high and they didn’t want me to have a stroke. They decided I needed an emergency C-section. My mom had only been there an hour and she was a little shocked. They dressed Brad in blue scrubs and started prepping me. They gave me a spinal block and I remember feeling them start to cut into me (that was super gross). I remember the nurse and anesthesiologist talking (arguing) about my height and why the amount they had given me had not worked and that I could feel it. I said out loud, “I am here and I can hear you.” They then asked me again how tall I was and they were a little baffled as to why it wasn’t working. I told them I had always had a high tolerance to meds and that it always takes a little bit more than the normal person (I told you I had a high tolerance).

Then it was time to get this baby out. The only problem was he was so far down the birth canal he was stuck! I saw the video. The one doctor says, “Doctor I cannot get him out, I need some help”. The other doctor is pulling and pushing (I still cannot believe how crazy it all was, he was pounding on me) and he finally came out with the cord wrapped around his neck twice! His little hand was under the cord against his neck and this is what saved his life. Every time I had a contraction it would squeeze him and that is why his heart rate was dropping. My little miracle baby! All 4 lbs. 2 oz. of him. They brought him over to the side of my head and showed him to me (I could barely see him out of the corner of my eye) and they whisked him away for testing. Time to sew me up!

T-NICU

The baby was small but he was completely healthy. Perfect. He needed to stay in the NICU to make sure he was breathing properly and staying warm but he did not need the ventilator and he was doing just fine.

 

Ok, this is where it gets scary. When most normal women deliver their babies , their high blood pressure goes back to normal. Not me. My blood pressure stayed high for 3 days. They put me on Magnesium (MAG for short) for 72 hours. 72 hours of hell. I don’t know if you have ever been on MAG but it makes you feel like you want to die (the nurse from the first night came back on the 4th night and told me she was happy to see me because she wasn’t sure I was going to make it)! You are not allowed to eat or drink because your lungs can fill up with fluid and you will drowned. I couldn’t see my baby (he had no name, I can’t name a baby I have never seen) and I was so sick I couldn’t get out of bed. Finally after 2 days of not seeing my newborn, my friend Marci convinced the NICU nurse to bring him to me. I finally got to hold my sweet baby.

I remember looking him in the eyes and saying, “Hi, I’m your mom.” He was the sweetest thing I had ever seen. I had wanted to name him Cashton Richard Pennings (Cash Rich Penny- you get it?) but I took one look at him and he looked like a Teagan (Brad had picked that name out, and I did like it, but Cash was my first choice. At least until I saw him). He didn’t look like a Cash at all. Teagan was it. Finally after 2 days the poor baby had a name (they had been calling him baby Pennings because he didn’t have a name). Words cannot express how it felt to hold my baby boy for the first time. I am thankful that Brad had been taking such good care of him. He had changed his first diaper, given him his first bath, fed him his first bottle. He was and is a super dad!

I finally started to get better and by day 3 I could take short trips to the NICU. They made me stay in the hospital a full week and Teagan came home after 10 days. Once we were home we got into our new routine. The only challenge after that was breast feeding. Teagan was so small he had a hard time latching on. I was determined to make it work so we saw the lactaion nurse twice a week and it took almost 8 weeks to get him to nurse on his own. I am glad I stuck it out.

This is how small Teagan was. Those eggs are regular size plastic eggs. I love this picture

So now, 7 years later. He is not a preemie any more. He is a whopping 42 lbs (my nick name for him has always been skinny) and he is getting taller every day. He is a natural at sports (got it from his Dad) and he is so loving and sweet with Delaney. He has a tender sweet spirit and he is always considerate of other’s feelings (well most of the time he is). He loves to play practical jokes on everyone (especially me because I fall for them easily) and he is very sarcastic like Brad. It is fun to see what the future holds for my little skinny.

Happy Birthday Teagan. I love you!

Another day in my life.

hearts

Lost Wax Jewelry Making.

I have been taking a jewelry making class at Foothills Adult School. My friend Pam is the teacher and she has been telling me for years I need to take her class. Pam, why did I wait so long? I love it. I am having so much fun. I want to show you what I have been making and a little education on how it is done (not a tutorial because that would be too in-depth).

wax

The first thing we do is sculpt or carve our piece of jewelry out of wax. I decided sculpting is my “thing”(I got a little frustrated with the carving). I finally got the hang of it. I sculpted these hearts and I also did a necklace for Dude. After you get your piece made into wax, you attach wax picks or “sprue” to the piece.

plaster

Then you mount the wax piece onto a mound of paster and wax called the “button”.  This gets put into a metal tube that is sealed with a rubber gasket around the bottom. Plaster of Paris gets mixed up and poured in (you have to do a lot of shaking and mixing and there is timing involved and shaking out the bubbles, but I won’t go into that) and then you wait for it to set up. After it is hard, Pam (my teacher) puts it in the kiln and fires it up to a bazillion degrees (not really , it is more like 1300 and then you bring it down to 800 or so).

kiln

After it is fired (which takes 4-8 hours) you can see the hole in the bottom of the plaster. The wax hearts (or whatever you made) melts out of the plaster, out of the hole and is gone, bye-bye. Then you take the plaster and get it ready for torching. The centrifuge arm is wound up so it can spin. I will tell you about that next.

melting-silver

When the metal is completely liquified, we release the arm and it spins, forcing the liquid silver into the mold. As soon as it is done spinning you take the tongs and submerge the whole thing in a bucket of water. It sizzles and pops and steams (it looks and sounds pretty cool when it does that) and when it is cool enough (about 30 seconds) you can put your hand in the water and pull it out.

pickled

The water melts away the plaster and you are left with a dark pewter look. Then you submerge it into an acid we call “pickle” and it eats away any impurities on the surface and give is a white powdery look. Then the real fun begins (not really). First you have to cut off the sprue. I used the grinder to file off any sharp edges. I like the grinder but you have to be careful not to grind your finger or grind away too much silver. You have to use tiny dentist like filing tools and get it clean and smooth. Then you buff it and polish it. Then (I know, there are quite a lot of steps here people) you take “silver black” and paint it so it looks dark (aged or gothic looking) and then shine it up with steel wool. Then put it in the tumbler and lo and behold you are done!!! 

hearts

Ok, so this was the condensed version (you would have to take the class for the long version). These little babies are my pride and joy. They took me hours and hours but it was very rewarding and I learned a lot (plus it was fun). I looked on Etsy and similar pendants are selling anywhere between $60 and $160. Not bad but I am not getting into another business (can you say hole in the head?).  I just thought you would all like to know what I am up to when I say. “I have school on Tuesday nights”. This is the thing I do for some adult, “me” time. Plus I get to hang out with Vikki, Naomi, Sandy and my classmates (who are all very interesting and I enjoy them so much) and my wonderful teacher Pam.  I do have to say Pam is very talented and a little hidden treasure. She is a wealth of all kinds of information and she is very patient with all of us (especially me, believe it or not I am a little slow sometimes- don’t comment on that! ha!). If you are interested in doing this kind of thing you can go to Foothills adult education. The class is on page 40. The next one is Jewelry, earrings galore.

If you are interested in more info on Lost Wax Casting, Sandy at Mountainscenejewlery.com has a very nice website with more information (he has been doing it a lot longer than me). He breaks it down technically and has great pictures.

Another day in my life.

adding cookies

Today we made Brookieos (cookie, brownie, Oreo cakes)

Brookieo??? I think I have heard them called chocolate chip brownie with Oreo cakes but Brookieo is much more fun! I have also heard them called “slutty brownies” (because when you break up with your boyfriend you eat everything in sight and go all slutty-just repeating what I have been told) but I didn’t want to answer of any Delaney’s questions on that one. heh heh.

These really are the easiest things in the world (I don’t do anything but easy, trust me). Marci has made these before (she has the best baking ideas for me to steal) and I just think she is a better baker than me because hers came out really good (mine were good, but they stuck to the paper and hers did not) and didn’t stick to the papers. She also told me she baked them for 15 minutes at 350 but when I tried that they were still soupy when I took them out.I had to bake mine for 25 minutes.

This is what I did:

  • 1 bag of Betty Crocker’s choc chip cookie mix. Make them according to the instructions and put a scoop of batter in the bottom of your muffin cup (I used the papers in mine because they stick).
  • Then put  a Oreo on top of the cookie batter and gently press down.
  • 1 box Betty Crocker’s brownie mix. Make that according to the instructions and spoon a little bit over the cookie. Don’t fill it to full or high because they will puff up a little and could spill over.
  • Bake at 350 for 20-25 mins. I looked at other recipes on-line and they all said 20-25 mins (Marci must have a magic oven).

adding cookies

Check out the rubber gloves I made Delaney wear because she had a runny nose! She loves wearing gloves. I didn’t want germs in the food (aren’t you happy I am such a safe baker? haha) and I kept watch to make sure she didn’t touch her face (you can never be too careful you know).

Brookieos done!

 

Wahhh laaah! Brookieos.

Now we are off to Vikki and Ryan’s for dinner. We are going to have Brookieos for dessert and top them off with ice cream and whipped cream. YES!

Another day in my life.

This is what I want from a babysitter.

playdough

You know I work from home and that I have a couple of college girls that come over and help me with the kids, the house cleaning and the chores. I call them my “mother’s helpers”. I have been so blessed to have wonderful girls that work with me. They help me keep my sanity so that when I am not working I can be the best mom I can be. Once in a while when they are not available, I have to hire a babysitter.

Now, the babysitters I have found have not been like my helpers (those girls are amazing and can run circles around the babysitters) but it is probably because they are usually young highschool girls and they have not been taught what to do. So, I have made this video to show what I want in a sitter. I hope you find it helpful and not to scary (I was a little ticked off about how I had to clean up after the babysitter left one day and this kind of set my mood! ha!).

Another day in my life.