Friday, August 13, 2010

Elmo Cupcakes

I must admit, I did not come up with this idea on my own (see this website for my original inspiration) but I did tweak it a little due to lack of supplies and what I thought would work better. N loves Elmo, although mostly from books and little from the actual Sesame Street. So we're throwing him an Elmo party tomorrow for his second birthday. I decided to make these cupcakes myself just to see if I could. (I'm not very artsy and I'm definitely not a good cook).

I made the cupcakes out of red velvet cake.

For the eyes I took kitchen shears and cut large marshmallows into thirds. (I originally looked for Necco wafers for this step but couldn't find any, anywhere.)

For the nose you need orange gumdrops. But they don't sell just the orange... I picked them all out and gave the rest of the bag to the hubby.

You also need black decorating gel, black licorice and red sprinkles. And red food coloring.

Sierra waiting patiently for me to drop something. She eats licorice, BTW.

Take white icing and add enough red food coloring to get a good red icing. I pretty much killed an entire bottle of food coloring and still only got a really dark pink.

After icing the cupcakes heavily, add enough red sprinkles to finish the red coloring and give Elmo his furry look.

Place two marshmallow thirds on top for the eyes with a gumdrop for the nose.

Then use your black decorator gel to make the pupils on the eyes. I started using the gel for the mouth as well, b/c I couldn't get the licorice to "smile" enough. (Elmo looked kind of perturbed.) However, I started running out of gel and was forced to use the licorice. With Robert's help, it works best if cut into a thin, thin strip and curled around your finger for a moment before placing on the cupcake.

He's going to be so excited! What do you think?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

When to stop being a baby?

Robert and I are struggling with N right now being very attached to his paci. We keep it mainly for nap times and bedtime, but lately he's been demanding to keep it in after he awakens. I try to put my foot down about it but I've been struggling with work/fatigue/housekeeping/etc etc to fight him over it. This morning was the last straw.

He refused to sit in a chair to eat breakfast, wanting instead to carry a banana around with him and take out the p-a-c-i in between bites. After battling to get him to eat half a banana in a chair in the kitchen, he immediately got down and screamed for his paci. (Which I had hidden, although not well, on top of the refrigerator.) I just got angry at this point, took the paci and cut the rubber part off with a pair of scissors. Hmmm, want to guess what happened at this point? Total meltdown ensued...

I'm tired of this battle over the pacifier. When he wakes up at night with his paci on the floor, he cries and cries until I get up and hand it to him, thus ruining my sleep at some point most every night. If he gets hurt or falls down, he asks for it IMMEDIATELY. I really don't know how much he gets it at school or at my mom's, but at home it's a constant struggle.

Am I being too hard on him? Should I let it go and let him be a baby longer? He's fixing to have his second birthday and I'm afraid he'll be that kid I see at 3, 4, 5 years old with a binky still hanging out of his mouth. Eww. Any suggestions on how I can handle this or get him to let it go?

(BTW, I have more paci's other than the one I had Robert cut up this morning. An emergency stash. Do you think I'm attached to it more than he is??)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Summer in Kindermusik

Here are some pictures from our latest semester of Kindermusik. To find a class near you, visit their website here...

Friday, July 9, 2010

Thoughts on Miscarriage

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, James 1:2

Dear potential readers:

*Long post warning* This will be a hard post for me to write, and probably for some of you to read. But I've thought about it, and I think it might be a little therapeutic to say some of these things that have been on my brain as of

After we went to the first doctor's visit, the ultrasound showed the baby to be a little small, but with a definite, faint heartbeat. So they took blood to check my HCG levels and scheduled me for another ultrasound two weeks later. Nicklas was all excited to "see the baby" again. I don't know how much he really understands about babies, and mommies having babies, but we took him to the follow up appointment with us anyway.

The second ultrasound technologist was not the same one we'd had our first visit. To put it mildly, she is quite gregarious. Didn't really hold anything back.
I am now, by my math, almost 10 weeks pregnant. But I was startled to see almost the same image on the screen above her head that I had seen two weeks before. Worse, when she turned on the Doppler to listen for the heartbeat, there was...silence. Nothing. My brain suddenly went numb.

I'm an imaging professional. I generally can tell what I'm looking at on an ultrasound, especially in OB/fetal imaging. Our formerly very talkative technologist was suddenly very quiet, poking me all around (you know...down there) trying to get more angles on the uterus. She clears her throat, asks me again..."how many weeks are you?" My numb brain responds, but I don't remember what I said. "Well, I'm not seeing what I should see" she replies. Inside I'm screaming I know what you're trying to say, now say it! She shows us a chart on the wall, pictures of some random fetus and what a 10 week baby looks like. She shows me more numbers on the machine's monitor. I don't care that the baby hasn't grown at all, just say it before I choke you. "What about the heartbeat?" I manage to squeak out.

She puts her hands on mine. "There isn't going to be a heartbeat".

At this point I break down. Robert, struggling with Nicklas, is silent. I'm not really paying attention to what they're doing. The technologist leaves to get a doctor, who promptly returns and confirms what the lady has already told us. The pregnancy is no longer viable, the baby hasn't survived his or her first trimester.

Now my brain is screaming: What did I do wrong? Doesn't this sort of thing happen to other people? What went so right with Nicklas and so terribly wrong with this one? What do I do now? The ultrasound lady is trying to say things to console us, but it's only making me angry. Yes, I know I have a beautiful son. Yes, I know I can try again. Will you shut up???

The doctor sits us in another brightly lit, sterile, impersonal exam room and explains our options. One, wait and see what happens. Two, take some medicine to speed up the...uh...miscarriage. Or three (her recommendation), take me to the OR and use suction to remove the mass of tissue. A mass a of tissue. What had been my soon-to-be second born child was now being referred to as this: tissue. If you're like me, and believe that life begins at conception, then you too might see why this disgusted me so.

We decide to come back in a week (which was yesterday) and check again under ultrasound to confirm. Now, I wasn't expecting anything to change. Yes, I was hoping for a miracle. Yes, I was praying that my math/dates were way off and the baby was still alive. Yes, I was counting on some human error... but not really expecting one. By this time I had started bleeding, in small amounts. The new ultrasound showed no baby at all, only a sac remaining. It was a blessing in a way, a bit a closure that God had given us. He had worked His miracle and kept me from having to go to the OR, being put under anesthesia and not fully remembering my last moments with this child of mine. I had that time, fully awake, to say goodbye to this child who I will meet in Heaven one day.

It's been a hard hard week, but we're getting better. My sweet brother reminded me that in one of my former posts I had written about the woman I'd met who had the miscarriage that affected me so. He said "it looks like God was preparing your heart for this even before you knew about it" and he's right. God did lay a foundation in me, gave me the strength to smile and play with my son and eat and sleep and do all of those normal things again. He would never test me with more than I can withstand. Every day feels a little more and more normal. Please keep us in your prayers as we are struggling with His timing and all the disappointment.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. Isaiah 55:8

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Good News!

Drumroll please...

We're expecting again! Baby T #2 is due in late January or early February 2011. I went to the doctor today for the first time and I'm measuring a little small, according to my dates, so I'll need to go back in two weeks to have another ultrasound done. We're so excited to make N a big brother!

In other goings on, we spent last week on the beach at St. Simons Island with my parents and R's mom. We had a great time relaxing and generally doing a bunch of nothing. Here's some good pics from our trip...

Relaxing in the shade by the pool

I had to convince him to get dirty in the sand. It took some getting used to but he came around.

Going down the slide at the toddler pool. This place was awesome for kids.

Chillin' at the pier near the St. Simons lighthouse. I love this pic.

Bubbles...a great distraction gimic for meltdowns. We kept a supply handy.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Joy, Part 2

I had a patient today who told me a story that made me cry (I didn't cry in front of her, I waited until I discharged her then I cried). When I asked her if she might be pregnant (which I ask everyone before I radiate them) she told me that she and her husband were trying to get pregnant. We chit chatted and she ends up telling me that she has one living child, and had one miscarriage and one stillbirth. Her still birth had been carried to full term and passed away due to a knot in the umbilical cord.

I ended up saying something to the effect of "let's not talk about anymore sad things" before I moved on with her exam. She stopped me and said "no, I don't feel sad. It's not a sad thing for me anymore. God has a plan for all babies and he had a plan for my son as well". Wow. We discussed our relationships with God a minute or two, and I was overcome with the joy she had and the peace she felt about her loss.

I have never had to go through the pain of losing a child, (thank God) but I'm close to a couple of people who have lost children. I don't know how anyone could get through that kind of pain without the support and love that comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ. This woman amazed me, not because she was telling me something that I didn't already know, but that she was actually living what she said. It's so rare today for Christians to do both the talk and the walk, it's why many people turn their backs on God. If you believe and have a relationship with Jesus Christ, pray daily for his will and then listen!

Sunday, May 2, 2010


In the midst of all our trials and tribulations, it's easy to forget all of God's blessings on our family. I'm watching one of these "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" where two of the family's four children are little girl with both legs and one arm gone. Yet she has so much joy and generosity to give to others, even her old prosthetics she donated to Haitian children with amputations. It's a wonder how we, as Christians, get caught up in worldly desires and issues that we forget God's real blessings.

After our discussion in Sunday school this morning, it got me thinking about how easily we forget about our source of eternal joy. How easily I forget that my child is healthy with all four of his limbs, he's developmentally on track and has no serious health issues (unless a big personality counts). How easily I forget that I have a roof over my head and I'm protected from the wind and rain when I find myself longing for a bigger house with more space. How easily I forget that I've never truly known what it's like to be hungry when I complain about missing a meal. How easily I forget that my bills get paid (nearly) on time every month and we have a steady paycheck when so many families are out of work and suffering around the country. Our happiness wavers day to day, but our joy is a constant; that is, the joy that comes from our faith and hope in Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:1-3 says "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance".

Rejoice in the hope of the glory of God! And rejoice in sufferings? It's because through the suffering we "persevere" and grow closer to God. Sometimes it takes being in the pit to realize we can't do everything on our own and that we NEED God. We can't do it on our own!

That's my rant for the week...have a blessed one!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Some Recent Pics...

Photos by Photographic Creations in Snellville, GA

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Aches and Pains

For about seven months, I have been having chronic shoulder pain, ever since my father-in-law's funeral. I can't remember actually doing anything to my shoulder, as far as an injury, and I'm typically one to put off going to the doctor for as long as possible. Every now and then I would get a new twinge, and then nothing. But pretty soon I was having a hard time doing simple tasks, like driving my car, handing things to N in the backseat, even pulling up my pants when getting dressed. Of course, it would be my right shoulder, which made matters worse.
At work I do ALOT of work with my arms, especially with my hands above the level of my shoulders. I also help move patients, push wheelchairs, operate heavy equipment, etc. and my job had become more and more difficult. More than once I've had a little old lady grab and pull my right arm for support and the pain was so intense I would almost slap her. So Robert and my coworkers talked me into going to see an ortho doctor. I went to Resurgens Orthopedics in Lawrenceville and met Dr. Hui (very nice man). He told me I had a bad case of bursitis, gave me a steroid injection and told me that would take care of it.
Sweet relief! I was my old self again...for about 3 weeks. Then the pain returned around Christmas time, even worse than before. Then I went to several weeks of physical therapy, which I thought was a load of nonsense and only made the pain worse. So Dr. Hui sent me for an MRI of the shoulder, (which I knew the tech and had full access to the report once it was read by the radiologist). There was no tear in the tendons or rotator cuff, just inflammation. How could that be causing all my pain?
Another shot came and went. This time I only got two weeks relief. I was running out of options; do I just grin and bear it or let Dr. Hui slice me open? I really did not want to do the surgery, and Dr. Hui told me he thought maybe it was a bone spur and thought maybe my shoulder was loosened from years of competitive swimming and overuse playing cymbals in Redcoats, etc. But what if he got in there and found nothing? I didn't think I could bear it if he told me there was nothing else he could do. Steroid shots were no longer effective. And I almost couldn't pick up N anymore without screaming in pain.
So I gave in. On March 23 I went in for a laproscopic procedure called acromial decompression with capsular shift. He did indeed find a large bone spur and told me that my shoulder was "loosey goosey", which I guess is pretty loose. He couldn't test my shoulder's instability while I was conscious, b/c of the pain, so he had to check it while I was under anesthesia. I have this mental image of the surgeon and his assistants trying to literally pull my arm out of the socket while I'm asleep on the table. Yikes. So he stapled my shoulder tendons up nice and tight and sent me home with four stitches.
My arm was in a sling constantly for about the first week. Recovery is going well, I'm able to do pretty much anything (besides styling the back of my hair and throwing N up in the air). I stopped taking the Lortabs after the first week. I've got back to work, with the condition that I CANNOT use my arm for any reason and I HAVE to wear the sling at all times while working. At home, I don't wear it too much, it's mostly as a reminder not to use my arm and serves as a deterrent to those who might give me a friendly punch on the shoulder. It's been especially tough at home b/c N was sick with a fever after getting his vaccinations last week and wanted to be held constantly. My mom was wonderful, taking Nicklas for me so I could rest of just coming over to take him in and out of the tub while Robert worked late. It will be a solid month in the sling before I even start physical therapy, bummer. I'm hoping to get back into shape soon, been back at the gym already and am considering training for a half-marathon in October. Please pray for me to have the patience needed to rest my arm so it will heal properly and get back on my "feet" soon!

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Nicklas took his Mommy, Nana and Papa for a whirlwind trip to the GA Aquarium today. Slept for nearly fours hours this afternoon....totally worth it! Check it out!

I want in there with the fish!

So cute!

Chillin' with Papa at the entrance window.

The waterfall was one of the biggest hits of the day.

Whoa! What was that slimy thing?? Thank goodness for hand sanitizer!


Great picture

Our Trip to Blue Ridge

So Robert and I decided months ago that we needed a weekend away, together, with no kiddo. Not that we don't love him, but weeks and weeks of busy weekends and Robert being out of town and Sunday afternoon rehearsals have left us lonely and burnt out. I was recommended by a friend from work to stay at this place called the Last Resort in the mountains of Blue Ridge, GA. We headed out of town after work last Friday to make the loooooong drive uphill (actually, it wasn't too bad of a drive).

We got there late, but found out key tacked up to the bulletin board outside the office. The roads up to the cabin were all dirt and VERY bumpy (I got car sick riding up there one time).

We stayed in the Ottowah. It's listed as a deluxe cabin, which basically meant we got a gas fireplace instead of wood-burning and gas grill (which we didn't use) instead of charcoal. The fireplace was great, I'm not big into building fires indoors.

Our 5 person jacuzzi. We had problems getting it to heat up properly; you had the push the button, like, 6.8 times and dance a jig before the water would get hot. But we made it work.

The view out the back of our cabin from the living area.

Our back deck, very nice. I sat outside and read my Kindle with my coffee while Robert slept on Saturday morning.

Downtown Blue Ridge. We couldn't do the Scenic Railway tour b/c they don't start until next week, oh well. I guess we'll have to bring N back to ride the train soon!

On Saturday night we went to a drive-in theater called the Swan Drive-In. It was really cool, I've never been to a drive-in before in my life. We froze our butts off in the car b/c we were afraid to keep it running the entire movie (our gas was low) and the sound came through our radio speakers. The Swan is one of only 4 operating drive-ins left in the state of Georgia.

Sunday we took a drive over the mountains towards the Sautee/Helen area. Hwy 384/Richard Russell Senic Highway. It was beautiful, and the tops of the mountains were still covered in snow and ice. We saw people out with their rock-climbing stuff. Crazy.

More snow and ice on the mountain.

Outside of Helen, we HAD to stop at the Nora Mill Grainery. They sell the BEST stone-ground grits in the entire world, I must stop and buy some if I'm ever in the vicinity.

The Chattahoochee behind the grainery, which powers the mill and grinds my grits for me!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Watch What you Say

Taking our first carousel ride at the Mall of Georgia

I know, I know...paci is for naps. But he doesn't feel good today and that's a battle I'm not going to worry about right now. :-)

You know how they say "children are like sponges". That has never been more true than at my house lately. N's vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds, and I've never been more sensitive to the things that I say and (regretfully) listen to on TV. He will repeat something so fast you don't even have time to blink. It's really made me think about the stuff that comes from my I modeling a Christ-like attitude for my child? No one is perfect, but it's something I never really gave enough thought about in the past. Here are some of our latest words, out of the mouth of N:

"Tee tee"..............self explanatory
"See-A".................Sierra (our dog)
"Nana"..................Banana/My Mom
"Beep Beep".............Car
"Nigh Nigh"..........Goodnight/Naptime
"Ah ont tha"............I Want That
"Ow".........................Out (as in immediately, right this second!)

Good man....takes his reading material to the toilet, which happened to be in the living room.

Nosy boy rummaging through my mom's cabinets