Thursday, July 28, 2011

Winnie the Peanut Butter

Even though Jenavieve and Journey have only been living as sisters for a few weeks, they've already got the sisterly mischief down pat!

The other day, I gave both girls a bath. Their skin gets dry easily, so I got them both out and dried off, then I sat in the bathroom and lotioned Journey while Vivi ran around. Then they switched. My back was facing the house, Journey was just crawling around right near me, and then I heard this sound that reminded me of nothing so much as Winnie the Pooh eating honey right out of a pot. I turned around and sure enough, Journey was sitting there eating peanut butter out of the jar! It had to have been a joint operation, Vivi must have either put the peanut butter on the floor or knocked it off somehow, and I must admit I'm guilty of not spinning the top closed all the way.

Of course I had to get a picture! By the way, this is homemade peanut/almond butter that I made in my new Blendtec blender. It contains only peanuts and almonds, and is sooo good!

Posted by Picasa

A Day at the Gardens

We went to the botanical gardens in Ann Arbor last week while babysitting Vivi's best friend Amira for a couple of days. My mom rode with us, and we also met up with my sister. We had never been there before, it was really nice! We pretty much stayed in the children's garden area because they had so much for the kids to do. They even had child-sized picnic tables in the picnic area! Playing in the dirt was a big hit, all 3 kids were filthy by the time we left, and you should have seen the bath water that night, gross! The outdoor part of the garden is free, so even though it was a drive, it was definitely a 'worth it' outing.

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Well that was pretty traumatic!

Since I have a husband who is very squeamish and I can't even tell him this story, I'm going to warn you, if you're at all squeamish about blood and needles, do NOT read this! I warned you!

Journey had a blood draw today, some routine stuff (although not exactly what I asked the pediatrician to do...I asked for genetics and she didn't put that on the script...but hopefully Eric is getting that figured out now) Rather than going to the closest hospital, Eric requested that we go to one of his hospitals so his company gets the money for it. No big deal, just a 20 minute drive. Eric is working from home and Journey and I got up early and left while Vivi was still sleeping. We got there and checked in pretty fast, and only waited about 3 minutes before getting called back to the room. At that point I was pretty optimistic that we'd be in and out in no time. Boy was I wrong!

I sat with Journey on my lap, and she held her stuffed seal, which has become her best friend, and we had 2 nurses to help hold her and change the vials and everything. It took them a few minutes of each of them prodding to find a good vein, they checked her right arm, then her left, and finally found a small one. They got the needle in and Journey didn't even flinch. Again, I was feeling optimistic, my brave little girl! Unfortunately they couldn't get the blood out fast enough and it started clotting in the tube and not letting more out. So they had to stop and throw that vial away and start again. They decided to try her other arm, and thought they had a good vein, but after poking around with the needle, weren't able to get anything, so they had to pull it out again. At that point Journey started getting a little annoyed, and when they decided to try the other arm again and wiped over her first poke hole with the alcohol cloth, that was the end of being compliant!

She ended up getting poked at least twice in each arm, maybe more, I lost count. She was gripping me with one arm, and her seal in the other, and was quite unhappy. Finally they decided to give up and call someone from pediatrics in who was better at smaller veins. She checked each arm, tried the needle in one arm, didn't work, and then she spent a few minutes trying to find a good vein somewhere else on her body. They checked her wrists, backs of her hands, fingers, and eventually found a good one on top of her foot. Once they got a good one, the draw was over in about a minute. Phew! Poor baby has a bandaid on each arm and one on her foot, and I'm pretty sure all 3 areas are going to be sore for awhile after all that poking.

She cried for a few minutes afterwards, but then calmed down and even waved goodbye to the nurses as we were leaving, which is way more forgiveness than the eye doctor got from her!

We stopped at Dunkin Donuts on the way home to get a treat for her and one for Vivi (with sprinkles of course!) and then she played with her sister, and is now taking a well deserved nap.

My lesson for the day is that next time we'll ask for a pediatric nurse right away!

Here's a picture from right after the appointment of Journey with Sealy the seal :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Decoupage Letters

Since the house is taking For.Ev.Er...I've started working on the inside of the house, mostly ideas for the kids' rooms. Jenavieve and Journey will share a room, and their theme is garden/outdoors/cutesy nature. I found some cute stencils that will make trees, picket fences, flowers, frogs, etc, and can't stop finding adorable craft ideas to decorate in their room. Stools that look like mushrooms, a butterfly 'chandelier', mini birdhouses that the girls can decorate and then hang...

But, one project at a time! If only our contractor understood that concept... Anyway, I found this cute craft and thought it would be just perfect for in their room!

Simple! So, I used a Michael's coupon to buy a pack of pretty scrapbook paper, then checked every craft store in a 20 mile radius for the kind of letters I had in mind. Couldn't find them. So I settled for these letters from Joanns, and took advantage of their coupon mania promotion over the weekend to get them. I picked pieces of paper from the pack that I liked and put them in an order that evenly distributed the colors, then traced the letters, cut them out, and used a decoupage glue to stick them on. After they dry, I'll trace and cut out the other side of the letter (I got excited and wanted to see what they looked like glued on!) and then I'll put hooks on them and find a nice branch. Vivi's branch is going to have to be pretty big!

I didn't do Journey's yet because the store ran out of J's and Y's, but I'll post more pictures when I get them done.

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Goodies from our garden!

We picked these yesterday in our garden. This is the 2nd strawberry we have gotten to eat, something was nibbling them before we could get to them, but we managed to find this one first!

Next year we will definitely need more of each plant, we ate it all right away and Vivi was asking for more of everything.

Posted by Picasa

Journey and popsicles, take 2

You can see take one here!


Soo cold!


Posted by Picasa

Homemade healthy popsicles

As you know, we try to be a health conscious family. We try to buy as few packaged foods as possible and try to avoid excess sugar. This summer, Vivi discovered that popsicles are just the coolest thing around, and started asking for them a lot. She gets them at Nana's house occasionally, but she started asking for them at home too. I don't mind an occasional sugary treat, but I'd rather not keep them in the house. So, I decided to put my popsicle molds to good use. For my first recipe, I was using my only so-so Magic Bullet Blender. The following week was my birthday, and Eric surprised me with a Blendtec Blender, woo hoo! So now I can blend anything!

To make healthy popsicles, just throw whatever fruits you want in the blender, blend to your desired consistency (I do it smooth since I have little mouths still, but chunky fruit would be good too), and pour into popsicle molds. When they are frozen, I put them into labelled freezer bags so I can make more. My mold makes 8 popsicles, which fits just right in a quart sized freezer bag, and now the girls can pick their flavor!

To make sure the kids don't miss the sugar, make sure your fruit is really ripe, so that it's sweeter.

Our recipes so far:

Peach Banana
3 ripe peaches
1 ripe banana
splash of lemon juice to prevent browning

Strawberry Cantaloupe
equal parts strawberry and cantaloupe
I actually threw a raw carrot in this one too, but most blenders can't do that

Blueberry mango
1 ripe mango
2 handfuls blueberries

We also had leftover peanut butter chocolate banana milkshake one day, so I poured that into popsicle molds and made ice cream pops!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Journey's eye doctor

Today we had our first visit with Journey's eye doctor. The news isn't as great as when we went to the hand surgeon, but the doctor was really nice (although Journey wouldn't share that sentiment). The first thing he did was have her sit on my lap in the exam chair while he looked in her eyes with a light. Then he flipped a switch on his desk and a tv on the other side of the room came on with some annoying sounds and a hopping robot-bunny thing. The idea I believe was for it to catch her attention and he could see how she focused on it. Unfortunately, she didn't. It took a minute of me pointing and Eric standing by the screen calling to her before she even looked at it, and I don't know what his observation was, but he did say at that point that he didn't think she could see well at all in her left eye (this is the one that is underdeveloped, so we expected that). Then I held her while he put drops in her eyes to dilate them, and we were sent back to the waiting room for awhile to let that kick in.

When we went back in, he looked at her eyes again, then held some clear discs in front of each eye while looking through a tool. Then he took a bright light and tried to look into her eyes. Apparently since her eyes were dilated, it was very uncomfortable, and it took the doctor, a nurse, and myself pinning her down, and he still wasn't satisfied with her left eye.

For her right eye, he said she is nearsighted, and will become more nearsighted as she gets older. She'll need glasses, which they usually start at age 2. He wasn't able to get much reaction, if any, from her left eye, so he scheduled a short exploratory procedure where she'll be under anesthesia and he can get a better look. He wants to check her eye pressure and suspects she may have a cataract, but if that is the case, it would have been there too long for him to do anything about it. Or, he could remove it but it wouldn't help her vision, so he doesn't want to do an unnecessary procedure.

So we go to Children's on August 10th for eye surgery. It was funny, when he brought up the subject of anesthesia, he said it very gently and gave me all kinds of facts about how many kids he's done surgery on and he's never had a problem, and the procedure will only take a few minutes, etc, and it's understandable to be worried but she'll be fine. While I was thinking "Cool! A practice run for her next 2 surgeries!"

As you can see, she was less than thrilled about the experience. She has since gotten over it and is back to her normal self though :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Our morning

This is what the girls were doing while I was folding and putting their laundry away. They're making hot tea, if you couldn't tell ;)

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Vivi has been saying some pretty cute stuff lately, I thought I'd share a few, maybe more for my later reminiscing ;)

We went out to eat at a restaurant for my birthday, and my parents came along too. Vivi was sitting on my dad's lap looking around, and saw another guy with similar hair as my dad, wearing the same type of clothes my dad wears. She pointed and said "that's another Bapa" The more she looked, the more sure of it she became, and she started saying That IS another Bapa!" and making sure we all saw him.

At that same dinner, she also picked a big calamari ring off my plate and said "I want to wear this bracelet!" and proceeded to try to wear it.

She likes to take a song she knows, and put in different words, so the other day at nap time she was singing "patty toe, patty toe, baker toe" while tapping her feet together.

Vivi asked for a cup of money. I asked what she would do with a cup of money and she said "put it in a credit card, put it in a wallet..." then she lifted her shirt and patted her belly and said "and put it in a pocket!"

She uses the word 'too' to describe things, like 'too all gone' or when she can't get her pen to work she says "too not work"

When she puts on a hat, necklace, dress, or anything she thinks might be pretty, she runs to the mirror and says "ha-dee-dah!" in a sing-song voice. When she gets a new outfit and we try it on, she says "I need a mirror!"

And of course there's the cute way she says some words-

Her 'f' sound comes out like a 't' sound, so she asks for 'toot' salad and helps make Journey's baby 'tood' bottles.

Her 'L' sound comes out like a 'y' sound, so she looks for the 'bayoon' section at the grocery store

And the way she says 'berry' sounds like 'beya' so she loves strawbeyas, bluebeyas, and wabeyas, and loves story time at the libeya ;)

I know there are tons that I'm missing, and there will be many more to come. This will probably become a regular feature on the blog.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

apparently I left the sugar jar open...

and my resourceful daughter siezed the opportunity and even got a little tupperware out of the cabinet to use as a scoop!

Of course I ran to get the camera before stopping her ;)
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Journey's hand doctor

We met Journey's hand surgeon today, the #2 in the country! When we first called this office, we were told that he couldn't see us until mid July. Then we found out that we have a connection through a family friend and were able to get in sooner! To recap, Journey was born with fused fingers on her left hand (stuck together with pieces of skin-not completely joined, you can see that she has all of her fingers, but they don't all work independently because of the skin) and on her right hand, she has a thumb, ring and pinky fingers, and then sort of a bulge where her other fingers should have been. It seemed to me that there was bone in there but I'm no doctor.

We got to the office early, like we were supposed to, and got checked in and sat in the waiting room just in time for the Casey Anthony verdict. I didn't follow closely, but I was pretty surprised when they kept saying 'not guilty'. I understand that a lot of people are upset about that, but the jury couldn't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she did it, which is how our justice system works. They aren't saying she's innocent, just that they can't prove she did it. It's what we get for having a fair legal system, and I'm glad that you can't just be executed because everyone is 'pretty sure' you killed someone. I have other thoughts about justice but I'll save those for another post :)

Anyway! We were taken into a room pretty quickly, and an intern for the surgeon came in first and checked out her hands and took some notes, then the dr. himself came in, talked to us, checked out her hands, and said he was going to order x-rays for her right hand only since the left is just skin, and come up with a plan that would work best. I asked if he could just snip the one piece of skin that is keeping her left pinky bent and causing her pain as her finger is growing, and he said "that would be cruel." I hope he didn't think I meant just lop it off! I was hoping they could use just a light anesthetic to numb the area, but he said he'll do it all in the operating room. Another guy came in with a digital camera and got some pictures of both hands.

We went down for x-rays, which she was surprisingly cooperative for. They weren't able to put the tag on the x-ray sheet because she kept grabbing for it, but they took 3 pictures and they all were clear enough that we didn't have to do any re-takes.

We walked back to our exam room and within a few minutes, they came back in and told us that she does in fact have bones in her right hand, up to the first knuckle. She will have 2 surgeries, the first one to take off the extra skin on her left hand and to separate 2 of her fingers on her right hand, and the 2nd surgery to separate the other 2 fingers on her right hand. They are outpatient surgeries, her left hand will just have the dressing on it while it heals, but her right hand, being more of a surgery and possibly requiring a skin graft, will have a cast that starts above her elbow and go down past her fingers. The second surgery will depend on how the first surgery and healing goes and will probably be a couple of months later. Her first surgery will be September 12th. I'm so glad we got in for this consult so quickly and they have an opening for surgery so soon! God is really taking care of us :)

I'm not looking forward to her first couple of days with the cast, she is a pretty stubborn little lady and if you try to tell her she can't do something, she gets pretty angry. It will be hard to get used to. Maybe she'll be walking by then though and it won't slow her down as much...the other thing I'm dreading is not being able to feed her the morning of the surgery. We won't find out until a couple of days before, and they start with the youngest patient, so hopefully there aren't too many babies ahead of us. She is a hungry bear when she wakes up and doesn't like to wait for her breakfast.

However, this is the best case scenario for her. She will have 10 working fingers, although some will be shorter than others. He will also take care of some cosmetic issues with her hands, so her hands will look pretty close to normal, and will all move independently! They said they will refer her to a physical therapist, but that she probably won't need it since she's already so good with her hands the way they are,  they think she'll adjust fine. I think so too, she's a quick learner and a smart cookie :)

We did have an offer to be sponsored through the Shriner's for free surgery, but since it is so minor and an outpatient procedure, we decided to stay here. We are so grateful for the opportunity to go to Shriner's but our insurance won't require us to pay much, and we'd have to go to Chicago for the Shriner's surgery, which would mean Eric would have to take more time off to travel. Not to mention the possibility that he could be in Ethiopia getting Little Boy, so being close to home would be wayy more convenient. Our lives are never boring!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th!

Journey is pretty excited about her first 4th of July as an American citizen, and Jenavieve can't wait to see more fireworks. Have a fun, safe 4th!

Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 1, 2011


Vivi has discovered popsicles this summer and thinks they are just the coolest thing. Nana always has them at her house, and we even got one from the ice cream man once. But being the health and natural conscious family that we are, I didn't want to keep them in our house, instead letting them be more of a treat. Then I remembered that I own popsicle molds! Here's the 'recipe':

Peach Banana Popsicles
3 ripe peaches
1 ripe banana (for both fruits, the riper, the sweeter, and you don't miss the sugar)
a splash of lemon juice to keep the banana from browning

Blend together, pour into popsicle molds, and freeze!

And I have to share, Journey isn't sure what to think about popsicles, she kept looking at us like "you want me to put this in my mouth??"

Finally she tried it...and that was the end of that!

Vivi showing off her popsicle too :)

Posted by Picasa