Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Trip To the Park and Halloween!

This morning we ventured to the park and decorated for Halloween!  We usually attempt to wear AJ out by taking him to the park before nap time and bed time.  He loves it because he gets to run, jump, climb, slide, play with the wood chips and do all things boy.  Mom and dad love it because it makes nap time and bed time so much easier!  

I have been holding back decorating for Halloween, but at first sight of a neighbor's witch hanging on her door this week, it was only a matter of time before decked the house for Halloween!  Halloween is my favorite holiday with Christmas following close behind.  

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Stressful Follow Up Appointment

As you know we had our 20 week ultrasound last Friday.  Yesterday was our follow up appointment where the doctor goes over the measurements and makes sure everything is okay.  I was a bit nervous going into the appointment because this was the appointment where AJ measured small and we were referred to a specialist...and I proceeded to gorge myself on any food within my reach...thus having a 8 and a half pound baby.  As I waited to be called into the exam room, a faint uneasy feeling was tugging inside, but I was not prepared for what blindsided us that afternoon.

The first question the nurse asked was if Genetics had called us.  That was an odd question.  Then I realized something was wrong.  Why else Genetics contact you after an ultrasound?  My heart sank as my breathe was suspended in the air.  I only half heard what she said after she explained that Abby had two abnormal spots on her kidneys...possible indicators of Down Syndrome.  Your world comes crashing down inside your mind and heart when you are referred to a genetics specialist.  

I held it together until I left the doctor's office and then the flood gates opened.  I couldn't even fully process what had just happened.  Shock was consuming all rationality.  We would love a baby with Down Syndrome just like any other child, but I was overwhelmed with how my life seemed to change from one question...Has Genetics called you?

I was fearful of the health complications and the impact on Addison's life.  The rest of the day just drifted by as I imagined every hardship Abby would go through.  I researched pyelectasis, Down Syndrome, uropathy until I couldn't even comprehend what I was decoding on the screen Wednesday night.  

As I was beginning to plan out how my life would change, the phone rang.  It was 7:30 at night and the confident voice on the other end of the phone was not familiar.  "Chance, this is Sandy from Genetics," she said.  It was 7:30 at night and a complete stranger called to reassure me that everything would be okay.  She was out of the office that day, but promised to call me by 7:30 the next morning after looking at my blood work to recalculate the probability of having a child with Down Syndrome.  I fell asleep with red puffy eyes from crying and nervous anticipation for the next morning.  

Just like she promised, at 7:30 on the dot Sandy from Genetics called back to confirm that we could safely rule out Down Syndrome.  I let my breathe out as I thanked God.  

Abby may have some complications with her kidneys after she is born or she may be perfectly healthy.  We can just pray in the mean time and make sure we get an ultrasound of her kidneys once she is born.  Being a parent can catch your breathe in the most profound fear one second and the most profound joy the next.  What an amazing blessing it is.  

After two abnormal ultrasounds at 20 weeks, I will never take a child's health for granted.  Children are miraculous and keep life in perspective.  What an incredible blessing.    

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Fave Box and Getting Out The Crib

Today I completed my final touches for my favorites swap box (just under the postmark deadline), started shopping for baby girl stuff, and supervised the beginning stages of putting together Abby Cat's (Abigail Catherine) shabby chic nursery.  I'm exhausted and can't wait to get started again tomorrow!  

Friday, September 19, 2008

And Baby # 2 IS.....

A girl!!!!

Fall Flowers

I have been wanting to try this arrangement out for a while and finally got around to it.  I'm not sure if I am in love with how it turned out...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

To The Moon!

Last night on our nightly trip to the park AJ quickly forwent the slides, tunnels, wood chips, and rope ladder that usually entertain him for a much more appealing adventure in a 2 year old's mind...the kid sprinted past the park leaving his parents in his dust.  He spotted the moon and was going for it!  The crazy kid went sprinting down the sidewalk, up a grassy hill well beyond the park and nearly scaled someone's fence trying to get to the moon!  "MOON, MOON, GO TO THE MOON," he gasped as he pointed into the sky and headed toward...well...someone's backyard that happened to appear to be in the direction of the moon.  I love that kid's sense of adventure and passion to go after what he wants with such fearless enthusiasm.  So, today when I was at Target...I just couldn't resist making sure my little astronaut had this t-shirt.... 

A Couple Fave Fall Recipes

Easy Corn Chowder

2 medium unpeeled red potatoes
1 cup cubed cooked ham
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup coarsely chopped celery
1 teaspoon butter or margarine
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 can (14 oz.) chicken broth
1 can (12 oz.) fat-free evaporated milk
1 can (15 oz.) creamed corn
2 tablespoons sliced chives
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Cooked crumbled bacon (optional)

1.  Cut potatoes and ham into 1/2 inch cubes; set aside.  Dice bell pepper.  Coarsely chop celery.  Heat butter over medium heat.  Add bell pepper and celery; cook and stir 3-4 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender.  Stir in flour; heat until bubbly.  Gradually add broth, evaporated milk and corn, whisking until blended.

2.  Add potatoes; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cook, uncovered, 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender.  Stir in ham; heat through.  Remove from heat; stir chives into soup and season with salt and black pepper.  Top with bacon and enjoy!  

Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Frosting
(not exactly an easy recipe...but delicious!)
makes 6 dozen 

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
11 ounces (2 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin (14 oz.)
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon evaporated milk, plus more if needed
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 cups confectioner's sugar; sifted

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.  Fit a pastry bag with a large coupler and a 1/2 inch plain round tip (such as an Ateco #806); set aside.

2.  Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in medium bowl; set aside.  Cream 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter and the brown sugar on medium speed in the bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment until pale, about 3 minutes.  Mix in eggs, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.  On low speed, add pumpkin, 3/4 cup milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla; mix until combined, about 2 minutes.  Add flour mixture; mix, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl as needed, until well combined.

3.  Transfer 1 1/2 cups batter to pastry bag.  Holding tip close to parchment paper, pipe 1 1/2 inch rounds 1 inch apart.  Repeat with remaining batter.  Bake until tops are springy to the touch, about 12 minutes.  Let cool on sheets 5 minutes, transfer to wire racks to cool completely.  

4.  Meanwhile, put confectioner's sugar in a large bowl; set aside.  melt remaining 10 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes.

5.  Immediately pour butter over confectioner's sugar, scraping any brown bits from sides and bottom of pan.  Add remaining 5 tablespoons milk and remaining 2 teaspoons vanilla; stir until smooth.  Spread about 1 teaspoon icing on each cookie.  (If icing becomes stiff, stir in a little more evaporated milk until spreadable.)  Cookies can be stored in an airtight container up to 3 days.  

Sunday, September 7, 2008

8.5 Acres of 12 Foot Tall Corn and A Funnel Cake

Over the meadow and through the woods...or through the corn.  We truly got into the fall spirit this weekend as we braved the 8.5 acres of challenging twists and turns of the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield Annual Corn Maze!  We put on our sweaters and loaded up the car with the BOB sport utility stroller, ready for an authentic autumn toddler off-roading experience.  Thank goodness Aunt Jess has a sense of direction that I lack because she guided us through the maze like a pro...we were in and out in 40 minutes.  I was still wandering aimlessly thinking...where is the compass rose on this so-called "map" when walked out of the exit (and not the emergency exit).  Highlight of the day for AJ and momma:  We celebrated our navigation success with two huge funnel cakes!  Nothing brings back memories of the county fair as a child like the familiar smell and taste of a funnel cake!    

A Crafty Couple of Days

I have been crafting like a mad woman with my sister in town and loving every second of it...even if we have to stay up till 12:30a.m. to finish a project!  I have made totes, made cards, and learned how to make a new super easy fray flower that I am nuts about!  Here are my latest creations!  I can't post everything not to spoil any favorites swap surprises!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Grilling Hot Dogs In The Mountains and Blowing Chunks on I-70

Well, we had an adventurous day with Aunt Jess in the mountains.  We always plan a rustic day trip up to the mountains...secretly hoping to win her heart over and convince her to move out to Colorado.  

I'm pretty sure this trip did not help our case.  

We started out with a nice drive up to Echo Lake with our water bottles in hand and smores fixins all packed in back, spotting several deer along the way.  Once we are at the lake, Andy grills some hot dogs to enjoy with our juice boxes, we eat, hike a bit, take pictures, let AJ feed the ducks, and head back down the mountain deciding to have our smores back at the house...Jess has a head ache and AJ seems tired and not really into the mountain hiking experience.  

About 30 minutes down the mountain, Aunt Jess and AJ are passed out in the back seat...I'm thinking about enjoying some gooey, chocolatey smores when we get home...and then this awful sound from the back seat lurches me out of my day dream.  As I turn around the sound just intensifies and everyone in the car is alert now.  Poor little AJ woke up from his nap throwing it's even coming out of his nose...Andy swiftly jerks the car from the far left lane of the highway to an abrupt stop on the right shoulder...AJ still projecting vomit at the back of my seat...I fling off my seat beat, fly out of the car, grab him out of his vomit soaked car seat and we lean into the ditch.  AJ and I are covered in AJ's last two days of semi-digested food and he still has no idea what just happened to him.  At the young age of 2, he had never thrown up before.  He just laid his head on me, looking up at me with his big blue eyes in misery, pleading momma what just happened?  Eventually we get him changed into fresh clothes, wipe down the car seat...and are back on the road.  Thanks goodness for packing an extra set of clothes and deciding to take the entire box of wipes just in case.  

And that was that...he was back to his happy, happy go lucky self.  By the time we got home he ran in the house enthusiastically shouting choo-choo as he grabbed his trains.  Daddy's car required some serious clean up, mom headed for a shower after helping dad disassemble the car seat that may never be the same & doing an emergency load of laundry, AJ ended up getting a mid-afternoon bath, and Jess retired to her room for a nap.  Needless to say...we have now postponed our smores till the weekend and I'm pretty sure Jess isn't moving right out to Colorado.