Friday, July 31, 2009

Our Family in Crisis

My sweet, beautiful, 16-month old nephew (Eli) has been diagnosed with a congenital heart defect. OPEN HEART SURGERY is required, and sooner rather than later. He is in the early stages of heart failure. At almost 17-months old, the cardiologist was shocked that he had made it this far and was as "healthy" as he was. It isn't uncommon for babies to die by 3 or 4-months of age if the condition goes undiagnosed.

WE ARE IN SHOCK, no one more so than my sister and her husband. In hindsight, all of the signs and symptoms were there, but b/c they presented individually, each could be attributed to something else. At a recent weight check (Eli is very tiny...all makes sense now) his pediatrician heard a loud murmur undetected before. A pediatric cardioligist confirmed the worst...

Eli is very sick. He has been diagnosed with Atrioventricular Canal Defect. Basically, he has a large hole in the center of his heart between the upper and lower chambers. In addition, his tricuspid and mitral valves that normally separate the upper and lower chambers of his heart did not develop normally. Instead, he has one large, single valve forming over the area of the hole.

This heart defect is repairable, but from the research I did at the American Heart Association website, he will also need valve repair and possibly subsequent surgeries. At this time we do not have a surgery date. My sister must first meet with the sugeon and get on his surgery schedule. We do know will be required before the end of August.

Since I began blogging, my sister and I have been shocked at the number of families whose babies/toddlers/children have been touched by crisis whether it was heart defects, cancer, accidents, etc. We constantly call each other to say, "have your read so and so's blog? Oh my gosh, how is their family coping?" Now, we are that family.

I plan to travel to St. Louis to be with my sister, her family, my parents, and her in-laws. I will travel without my own little ones so that I can focus on Joy, Jeff, Alister and of course, Baby Eli. I ask you for your prayers on behalf of Eli. Thank you.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

We're Home!

After our whirlwind tour of the southeastern portion of the United States, we made it home safe and sound late Sunday night. Managed to get the mountains of laundry under control and upload the 500+ pictures we took! (I promise to only post the highlights of our trip!)

Looking forward to visiting with those bloggers that I regularly follow! Just need a day or two to catch my own breath and get caught up!!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Blogging Break!

I've been on a bit of a blogging hiatus! We are on vacation in sunny Florida and having a ball visiting family and friends. Looking forward to reconnecting with all of my blogging buddies upon my return, but in the meantime, enjoying a break from technology!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

4th of July Picnic Indoors

Being married to a fire fighter, one becomes accustomed to celebrating the holidays on different dates. This year, Daddy is on duty today so we celebrated on the 3rd. Due to the rainy morning and afternoon, I had to go to my backup dinner plan...picnic in the dining room. We still enjoyed a traditional American barbecue dinner...just inside!

Tonight the little ones and I have been invited to a 4th of July celebration. We are excited to share the evening with good friends and good food. May you all have a wonderful 4th of July. Stay safe and, if you have the opportunity, thank our men and women in uniform (including your friendly fire fighters)!

Place setting for the little ones.

I can't remember whose blog I saw that gave me this idea to use mason jars to hold the silverware (or plasticware) for individual place settings. The pic I saw used bandannas (how cute is that?!) stuffed inside each mason jar. Of course, I didn't put bandannas on my shopping list and forgot them. I had to make due with paper napkins!

Friday, July 3, 2009


Last weekend, Mimi came to visit from St. Louis. To celebrate (and beat the heat), Mary, Ben and Mommy made homemade strarwberry SHORTCAKE. It was delicious! We had so much fun following a recipe from a delightful story called Cook-A-Doodle-Doo! Big Brown Rooster decides to follow in his great-grandmother's footsteps (The Little Red Hen) and master the art of baking.

"Rooster rushed into the chicken coop. 'It has to be here,' he said. He looked high and low, and there it was at last, hidden under a nest-her cookbook. The Joy of Cooking Alone by L.R. Hen."
"Rooster carefully turned the pages. 'So many recipes-and I thought she just baked bread! Look at the strawberry shortcake!'"

The unexpected surprise (we were doing a farm theme for our summer learning) was the recipe at the back of the book:

Great-Granny's Magnificent Strawberry Shortcake
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1 egg, beaten
2/3 cup milk
3 to 4 cups strawberries, washed and sliced
1 cup whipping cream, whipped

Preaheat overn to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Sift flour, then sift together dry ingredients. Cut in butter unitl mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add egg and milk, sitrring by hand just enought to moisten. Spread dough in greased 8 X 1 1/2-inch round pan, building up edges slightly. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes. Remove cake from pan; cool on rack 5 minutes. Split into tow layers; lift top off carefully. Alternate layers of cake, whipped cream, and strawberries, ending with strawberries on top. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Our "Little Mermaid"

Okay, so I've got a princess theme going on here...can you blame me?!!!

The last week of June and this first week of July found us at the pool each morning for Mary Catherine's swimming lessons. This was a bitter pill for little brother to swallow, as siblings not enrolled in lessons, are not allowed in the pool. While this policy completely makes sense to my rational adult brain, the two-year old was having a hard time processing this "absurd" rule (in his little mind)!




Resting after such a courageous jump!

"I did it, Mom...I jumped off the low dive!"

She really does love Ariel AKA The Little Mermaid the best of all the princesses!

"The Beast" The little ones are only allowed to go down this slide during swimming lessons; otherwise, there's a height requirement.

Another accomplishment!

Waiting for the others to finish.

Mary with her swim instructor, Miss Sara.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Our Very Own "Tinkerbell"

We've had a busy and exciting summer so far. Thus, the lack of posting over the past week!

The second week of June, Mary Catherine particpated in a week-long ballet dance camp that had a "Tinkerbell" theme. With only 5 girls in the class, she got a lot of one-on-one attention from her instructor. On Friday of that week, the girls performed a dance routine to "Fly to Your Heart" from the Tinkerbell movie soundtrack. It was delightful to watch!

Being silly at home on recital day.

Practicing her arabesque.

Working on ballet positions with Ms. Tauna.

In her "Tinkerbell" costume after the recital.