Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Looking back...C meets bat.

From time to time, I randomly scroll through our albums on Snapfish and reminisce.  Today, I found the photos from 2007 of the time that C got hit in the head with the baseball bat.  Obviously, he's okay since this happened almost 4 years ago to the day.  Let me tell you what happened...
B, a few months from turning 7, had played t-ball that summer and on this particularly warm November evening he was outside hitting balls off the tee with his aluminum t-ball bat.  C, a few months from turning 2, was running around the yard.  Their dad was with them and I was cleaning inside the house.  I looked out the backdoor and C was running with his dad hot on his heels.  I had no sooner closed the screen door when I heard a "thwack" followed by a wail.  I opened the screen door again and Barry had C scooped up in his arms heading for the house.  I asked what was wrong and B said, "I hurt my brother!"  Barry sat C down on the table and he had a huge goose egg forming.  I mean HUGE.  I called the pediatrician's office and they told me to take him straight to the ER.  By this time, C is fine, no tears at all.  B, on the other hand, is a complete wreck.  He sobbed the entire 35 minute ride to the hospital.  I called my parents in the event that we were kept overnight for some reason.  Barry's parents were on a plane to Las Vegas, so they didn't find out until the got home.
We got to the hospital and C was being his typical self--running, jumping, climbing.  Barry stayed outside with B until he could get himself together.  We were seen immediately by the triage nurse and then taken to the back.  After being seen by several doctors we were sent for an x-ray and told that he would probably need a CT scan also.  It took me and two nurses to hold him down enough for the x-ray.  The CT scan didn't happen because he was too agitated.  The ER doctors told us that they didn't feel it was necessary since he didn't seem to have any real trauma.  We were sent home several hours later and told to give him Tylenol for pain and to ice it if he would let us.  He didn't let us.  He also didn't let us give him any Tylenol.  It really never seemed to bother him.  Here are the photos.  Caution--they are a little, uh, gross. 

First, let's take a look at C 4 days before this happened.  What a cutie patootie!

These next two are from the night it happened.  I took them as soon as we got home.  It was about 4 hours after it happened. You can seen that the swelling goes from the arch of one eyebrow to the arch of the other eyebrow and how far out the swelling went.

The next two are from 4 days later.  At this point, the swelling was receding and his eyes were turning black.  Yes, they told us that would happen so I wasn't completely freaked out!
Even with his black eyes and bruised head, he was still the cutest little fellow!

I love looking back and periodically I'll share the things that happened to us before I started this blog!  Hopefully the next one won't be so graphic!  We have three sons though, so I'm not making any promises!

Peace and Love, Jen

Monday, November 14, 2011

Taking a Bite

D turned 4 months old on November 11!   I consider this a miracle milestone, since living with three older brothers isn't exactly easy.  Especially when you consider that one of them is almost 3 and has a crazy need to hug her multiple times of day in that typical 3 year old "hug until I tackle you" fashion.  I spend a fair portion of my day saying things like "Easy!  Easy!", "Slow your roll!", "Be gentle!", "She's sleeping!", and "Get off of your sister before you squish her guts out!"  Occasionally, I go for the dramatic effect!
But back to D.  Four months in our family generally marks the introduction of solid foods!  You can read more about introducing solids by clicking here and reading the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics.  We go in this order:  cereals, vegetables, fruits, meats, combinations.  So, D got a bowl of rice ceral for breakfast this morning.  I'll let the pictures tell the story!

D is having a pre-breakfast snack of bib and thumb.  You know to hold her over in the 4 seconds it took for me to snap this picture.  ;-)

After the first bite.  She's looking at me like, "What in the world is this?  And where is my bottle?"

3 bites into it and D still looks like she's trying to decide if this is going to be acceptable or not.  I'm waiting on the princess seal of approval at this point!

And...she likes it!  She really likes it!  And she wants to thank...oh wait.  Wrong speech.  Um...she actually did like it!  Her enthusiasm could probably be best described as "piranha after fresh meat" anytime the spoon would get close to her mouth.
Shout out to best baby feeding helper.  A did a great job...of telling me how gross she looked with cereal on her face.  HA HA!  He was waiting for me to clean her up so that he could give her one of those tackle type hugs I talked about earlier.

Full belly = happy princess!

And so we add another eater to the table!

Peace and Love, Jen

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Great Flood of 2011

If you happen into our home and have a need to use the restroom, you will be greeted by "Lou", a bright, shiny, brand spankin' new toilet.  Why Lou?  You know as in "the loo" as our friends across the pond would say.  We also thought Lou could be short for Louis as in King know since it's the throne?  Hardy har har!  Okay, Ill stop now...maybe.
The title of this post combined by the fact that we have purchased a new toilet has probably led you to believe that our toilet flooded.  And you would be half right.  Let me explain...
A few months ago, A went through a phase where he wanted to throw things into the toilet.  Of course, they were usually things that shouldn't be thrown into a toilet...plastic bathroom cups, toothbrushes, toys.  You name it, we've retrieved it and chucked it.  No, no one was forced to use any of the retrieved toothbrushes.  We're thrifty, you know, not nasty.  This led to my brother-in-law's plumbing snake spending an extended vacation here.  Eventually, he grew out of this phase and things were fairly uneventful...until last week.  During the last few moppings, I noticed that there was water by the toilet.  It was never a lot of water, which led me to believe that someone had missed the toilet, which is a real possibility when you have a herd of boys using the potty.  Last week, however, I mopped by the toilet and a piece of the caulk from around the toilet came off.  I didn't think much of it.  Caulk doesn't hold the water in, right?  Wrong, at least on our toilet.  A few hours later, I walked in and found a puddle of water around the toilet.  I cleaned it up and then put a towel down to catch the water.  I made a trip the next morning, Saturday, to Home Depot to buy a new wax ring.
As soon as I got D down for a nap, Barry and started disassembling the toilet, which was no easy feat!  We got down to the ring and discovered that it was a rubber gasket, not wax, under the toilet.  And it was so worn that it was about the consistency of Silly Putty.  Silly Putty is fun to play with and yet not so awesome to hold in waste water.  Or maybe keep out waste water?  Whatever that thing does, it was not doing it well.  New bolts placed, new ring set, toilet put on--check, check and check!  I hear something coming from the kitchen.  It sounds like something frying.  But we aren't frying anything.  And here's where half of the great flood comes in.  I groan just thinking about it.  Before we had started on the toilet, I put a bag of frozen spinach into a bit of water in the sink to thaw.  At some point, A had turned the faucet on.  The sink overflowed onto the floor.  Yes, he was unsupervised for a few seconds.  He had spent most of the time we were working on the toilet sitting in the bathroom.  I suppose he did it as soon as I left the kitchen because when I turned the water off there was about 1/4 inch of standing water in the kitchen.  Possibly even more than that.  It's not like I broke out my ruler or anything.  I'm cleaning the water up when Barry calls me back to the bathroom.  Apparently, when we set the toilet, one of the new bolts moved out of the slot.  So we take the toilet back off, fix the bolts and re-seat the toilet.  I go back to cleaning up the water in the kitchen and finally get that taken care of.  Let me just interject at this point that we have never once taken on a project in this home that was easy, even if it should have been easy.  And while I prayed that we'd hit all the hiccups we were going to hit, it was not to be.  It was at this point that water started seeping under the wall between the kitchen and the hallway.  I cleaned that up and then cleaned it up again.  And again.  And maybe one more again.  There was a LOT of water.
Barry finished up the toilet with B's help and I fixed dinner.  We ate and I got ready to bathe the children.  I noticed that there was water around the toilet.  Barry told me that it was probably just water left on the floor and that he would clean it up.  We went to bed that night thinking that the toilet was A-OK.  HA HA HA HA HA!
But it wasn't.  I'm going to keep the rest of this pretty short and sweet since it mostly consists of trips to HD to get stuff that didn't work.  Sunday's trip was for a new tank to bowl gasket.  It was a universal round and we needed a hexagonal gasket.  Monday's trip was for a hexagonal gasket that ended up being too small.  Tuesday's trip was for an appropriately sized hexagonal gasket, which they don't make any more.  Wednesday, we bit the bullet and bought a new toilet.  During the install of the new toilet, we noticed that the manufacture date of the old toilet was June 14, 1979.  I wasn't even a year old then!  Keep in mind that Barry was working during the day and the stopping for supplies on the way home.  He'd eat dinner and then work on the toilet, because he is awesome like that.  Otherwise, this saga wouldn't have taken days. 
As it wore on, our carpet took on more and more water, even though we tried to stay on top of the issue.  It was never a lot of water that leaked out, but cumulatively it was enough.  The carpet just got wetter and wetter and no amount of cleaning and Shop-Vaccing (I totally just used that as a verb!) made any difference.  We had hoped to let it dry, but it ain't happening.  It probably would, eventually, but seriously, if I stepped in water one more time, my head would have probably started spinning and a young priest and an old priest would have been called.  It wasn't pretty, people. 
Soooooo...long story short, Lou is now gracing us with his presence and we have no bedroom carpet.  I'm not sure what I want to put in there because I had not planned on removing the carpet.  So for now, the floors are "nekkid" and probably will be for a while.  That is just super-fantastic since winter is coming!   At this point though, not stepping in water is the most super-fantasticest thing ever.  Remind me of that when my feet are freezing in a few weeks!
By the way, Lou is an Aqua Source toilet with Water Sense to cut down on water usage and is considered to be of comfort height at a 16" seat height.  He was under $100 at Lowes and came with everything you need for install.  And we kinda love him.  Or at least like him a lot.  Every time one of us walks out of the bathroom, we say, "That's a nice toilet."  It's the little things, you know.

Peace and Love, Jen

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Tori's Birthday Cake

Tori's mom requested a Halloween themed birthday cake.  I suggested a haunted house.  Barry and I sketched this cake out the other day, we determined that it should be wonky.  Everything should be crooked, the shutters should be falling off, the grass should be tall, etc.  It's the wonky part that got me.   Tori's birthday cake quickly became"The Hardest Cake Ever (said in my best announcer voice)."  For me anyway.   If you know me personally, then you know that I have some, uh, let's call them issues.  My sister would say "OCD tendencies". I don't do crooked or wonky.  It makes me feel as though I'm breaking out in hives.  About halfway through it, I thought I might just scrap the whole idea and make a perfectly straight haunted house.  Surely there are OCD ghosts out there who would live in perfectly straight house, right?  Anyone? 
Eh, well.  Barry was right.  The house did need to be wonky.  Gah.  I still wasn't sure until I added the tall vines climbing up the side of the house.  Then I loved it.  It's so cute.  Definitely haunted house in that whole non-scary kind of way. 
The cake was yellow cake with purple and orange swirls throughout with vanilla buttercream frosting.  The cake was covered in marshmallow fondant and decorated in a combination of marshmallow fondant and colored buttercream.  The ghosts and bats are made of gumpste.

Peace and Love, Jen

Friday, October 28, 2011

Lisa's Birthday Cake...

Lisa is 40.  If you saw her you'd probably tell me to hush my lying mouth.  She must have some sort of killer skincare/workout regimen or fantastic genes.  Her sister-in-law Leann, who also happens to be one of her BFFs, asked me to do this cake for her.    Purple was a must, as it's Lisa's favorite color.  Leann asked for some sort of purple flower topper, either tulips or irises.  Initially I thought I'd do tulips, until I found several gorgeous photos of an iris opening. 
The cake was chocolate with buttercream filling then covered and decorated with marshmallow fondant.  The flowers were made of gumpaste.

Happy birthday to Lisa!

Peace and Love,

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Baby Shower Cake

I took a bit of a sabbatical immediately before and after Baby D's arrival.  This is my first cake since being back to "work".  It was designed to match the invitations.  The blue and white polka-dotted cake is yellow with buttercream filling.  The "gift bag" is lemon with lemon filling.  The round cake is chocolate, per the expectant mom's request.  All cakes are covered and decorated in marshmallow fondant.  The sweet little teddy bear and his gift were hand-formed from gumpaste.  I just loved that little guy!
Best wishes to the expectant parents and to the big brother anxiously awaiting baby's arrival!

Peace and Love,

Friday, August 26, 2011

Baby D is HERE!

(I wrote this 10 days after D was born, but didn't publish it.  Sleepless nights=rattled brain.)

She's here!  And she's gorgeous!  She's seven pounds, nine ounces, and nineteen inches of L.O.V.E.  Here's her birth story.
Sunday, July 10 was my mom's birthday.  Barry and I started the evening off by taking B, C, and A to my parents' house for the night.  We had birthday dinner with my family and then came home for showers and last minute packing.  Lesson #1 for those of you who have yet to deliver a child--EAT!  Once you get to the hospital, ice chips become your BFF.  They aren't filling.  They just make you have to go to the potty quite often...more often than you normally have to go in the last few weeks of pregnancy.  It may be HOURS before you eat again.  Lesson #2--take a shower before you go to the hospital.  It may be HOURS before you get to take one once you get there.  Are you noticing the HOURS theme?  Yeah, hang in there.  It comes back around later on.
We arrive at the hospital and use the emergency room entrance.  I always find this a little embarrassing.  I've been induced for the last three deliveries and it goes a little something like this:  First of all, you get the "you better not get to go back there before me or I might go postal" stink eye.  So I usually loudly tell the admissions clerk that I am just using the entrance to get up to Labor and Delivery.  Insert collective sigh of relief from those who just gave me the stink eye right here.  "Are you in active labor, ma'am?"  "Oh no, just being induced tonight?"  She gives the belly the once over.  "Are you sure you aren't in labor at this time?"  "Noooo...just being induced?"  "I'll get you a wheelchair."  "NO!  I'm good."  "Are you sure?"  "I'll walk myself up to L & D, thankyouverymuch.  Just, you know, using this entrance."  Or something like that. 
We get up to L & D and I'm the only patient on the floor.  SCORE!  A million questions, 8 needle sticks, a hospital gown with my rear end exposed and I'm good to go.  And so it begins...
Or so it doesn't.  I had cervadil which is supposed to get things going.  It didn't.  6 hours later and I'm not any further along in the process than I was when I started.  At 6:30 a.m. on July 11, I was given pitocin.  That got things going but it was SLOW, even though my nurse pretty much had that bad boy on full blast.  
I had Nubain and Phenergan at around 11 a.m. and went into zombie mode.  I slept off an on until the afternoon,  except for when a contraction would hit.  I would wake up for that and then go back to sleep.  It's a strange thing.  Sort of like you hurt but you just don't give a rat's patootie.  By late afternoon, I was only at 4 cm, so I consented to the epidural.  My doctor and the nurses were worried about how much longer it might go on and at this point, so was I.
The anesthesiologist came in around 4 p.m., asked me a million questions and got me to sign some papers.  I will NEVER understand why you'd ask someone in labor to sign something because I couldn't honestly tell you what any of it said.  Something about it could kill me?  I don't care.  All I know is that they stick you a few times, the pain goes away, and all is well in delivery land.  Except when it's not.  The first attempt, he couldn't get it, so I had to get stuck again.  I don't know if it was the alternate location (which is not the "preferred" location) or some other unknown reason, but it didn't take except in my legs.  Well, it took in spots which would change depending on location and my legs were like lead weights.  The nurse called the unaffected areas "hotspots".  That's actually an excellent name since the spots that were unaffected felt like white hot searing, stabbing pain. And maybe some other adjectives.  It was bad. 
At 5:30 p.m., I had finally made it to 5 cm and there were more hotspots than medicated spots.  By 6 p.m., I still couldn't feel my legs, but I could feel EVERYTHING else.  My nurse asked if I wanted her to call the anesthesiologist.  I told her to check me first.  Now, here's where I will say that I had awesome nurses who actually listened when I told that when I get to 6 cm, they need to be ready.  I mean ready!  I go from 6 cm to ready to deliver within an hour.  I know this about myself.  Blessedly, I was at 6 cm, and I knew that I could hang that long.  Okay, so I didn't KNOW that I could.  I've never delivered without an epidural before.  I hoped I could hang that long.  I prayed I could. 
Here's the rub...shift change was occurring at this time.  YIKES!  My mother came in at around 7 p.m. and asked if I needed anything.  I told her that I was starting to feel a lot of pressure and I needed Barry.  She also suggested that perhaps I needed a nurse as well.  Mother knows best, of course.  The nurse walked in and checked me and told me that she would call my doctor, who was only about 5 minutes away.  She almost didn't make it.  I needed to push in a bad way and I was trying to hang on long enough for my doctor to get there.  I started crying when she walked in.  D was crowning and I was focused on the task ahead.  Push for the head...push for the body and she was HERE!  I'm not a believer in love at first sight, except when it concerns my babies.  The second they lay that sweet little thing on my belly, it's like the heavens open up and the angels begin to sing.  Everything up to that point is 150% worth it.  EVERYTHING.
Remember that HOURS theme?  For those of you keeping count, I was stuck in that room for 22 hours, hence my advice about eating and showering.
Without further ado, here is the lovely lady herself.  She was less than 10 minutes old at this point.
Sweet Baby Girl!
With her very exhausted mother!
Peace and Love,

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Free Artwork? What what!

Okay, so most days I don't run over here and blog, but let me tell ya, this is good stuff right here.  Good.  Stuff.  So, you know how artwork can be pricey, right?  And you know how I get my head stuck on something and then can't find what I really want, right?  Well, hold on to your socks here peeps.  The Sensational Sarah over at Thrifty Decor Chick blogged last night about the digital gallery that the New York Public Library has put together.  There are over 700,000 images.  Yes, that's a 7 with five zeroes behind it (and also a comma, but who really gives a hooey about the comma?).  The best part is that if you are printing images for your home/personal/educational use, they are free.  FREE!  As in, they don't cost you a penny.  Consider my socks rocked.  They can also be used for commercial purposes for a reproduction fee, so if that's how you roll then make sure you pay for it.  Don't cheat the NYPL!  Mmmkay? 
I have been looking for some artwork for D's nursery for quite some time now.  I knew what I wanted but couldn't find it.  Guess what?  I found it, thanks to the New York Public Library.  I'm not going to show you what I decided to go with just yet.  You'll have to wait for the finished nursery photos (insert evil laugh here).  Here are a few that didn't make the cut.
Godey’s Paris fashions America... Digital ID: 802230. New York Public Library
Godey’s Paris fashions America... Digital ID: 802236. New York Public Library

Godey’s Paris fashions America... Digital ID: 802267. New York Public Library

Godey’s Americanised Paris fas... Digital ID: 802292. New York Public Library

 Turns out that I am a sucker for prints from the Godey's Ladies Book, particularly those from the mid to late 1800s and those of Americanized Paris fashions.  Fancy that!  Now, bear in mind that there are 7 categories to choose from plus a search bar.  You want a magnolia?
Magnolia glauca = Magnolia gla... Digital ID: 1108856. New York Public Library

Mardi Gras, anyone?
Scene during Mardi Gras Carniv... Digital ID: 74284. New York Public Library

Be prepared to spend a LOT of time there.  Just go ahead and make a pot of coffee and settle in.  You're going to be there for a while.  This site would also be amazingly awesome for homeschooling parents who are looking for historical photos.  If you can dream it, it's probably there.  I kid you not!
Speaking of D, I'm scheduled to be induced tomorrow (Sunday) night.  Here's to hoping that little darling comes quickly!
Now, get on over to the New York Public Library's digital gallery and find something amazing!

Peace and Love,

Friday, June 24, 2011

Racetrack Cake

My cousin's son is turning 2 and they've asked me to do a car-themed cake for his birthday.  His sweet grandmother (my aunt) drove 3.5 hours one way just to pick up the cake!  The cake we decided upon is a racetrack cake.

Racetrack Cake

The flavors are yellow and chocolate pound cakes with butter cream fillings and covered and decorated in marshmallow fondant.
Close-up of the in-field (is that what you call it??).
The crowd is simply candy sprinkles.  The hubs said that from now on when he looks at an aerial view of a sporting event, he'll think of sprinkles!  The tiny cars are hand-made of gumpaste.
The view from the side.
I knew that I wanted the cake to look like a checkered flag.  We even carved in the sides a bit to look like a waving flag.
We all loved it and hope that he does too!  Happy birthday, Jr.!

Peace and Love, Jen

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Graduation Cake and Matching Cupcakes

Look "Whoos" Graduating!

Yellow cake with buttercream filling, covered and decorated in yummy marshmallow fondant.
Of course, you need cupcakes!  These matched the cake colors.  White frosting was red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.  Pink frosting was either chocolate or vanilla cupcakes with buttercream frosting and blue frosting was either chocolate or vanilla with cream cheese frosting.

Congratualtions to Kacie on her Kindergarten graduation!

Peace and Love, Jen

Saturday, May 14, 2011


So...long time, no see.  It sure is nice to get back to the blog.  If you were here, I'd hug your neck and kiss your cheek.  That's how we roll in the south.  Things have been very busy around here.  For those who are unaware, we found out in October that we are expecting Baby #4.  We've never found out the sex of the baby before, but Mighty B begged asked if we would this time and we agreed.  Baby #4 is a GIRL.  A girl!  I still can't fathom it, although I guess I better start fathoming it, because she'll be here in about 9 weeks.  Holy guacamole!
I have lots of cakes to post.  That's coming.  I promise.  It's in writing, so I have to do it (or I have to delete this post).  ;-)
Home improvement projects have been put on hold, for the most part.  This pregnancy has not been kind to me.  I had horrible nausea and heartburn, then my pregnancy-induced sciatica kicked in.  Compensating for that, I pulled my groin.  Rolling over in bed at night is so painful that it actually wakes me up.  Not that I'm doing a lot of rolling over at this point.  I'm pretty sure that it's like watching a beached whale try to get back into the water.
Just before we found out that we were expecting, I had this crazy idea to repaint the living room and hallway.  I loved, loved, LOVED the basil green color (Dutch Boy Dry Basil N023) during the winter.  I hate it now that it's so sunny and warm outside.  It cozied up the room but now it feels oppressive.  I'm currently on the prowl for a new paint color and think I've found it.  I'll repaint after Baby Girl arrives and let you know how it goes.  At that same time, we also installed board and batten wainscoting.  I promise you, it's how you spell LOVE.  It's still unfinished (see list of pregnancy complaints), but when we get it finished, I'll post a tutorial and photos of the finished project. 
What else?  Ummmmm...oh.  We're about to wrap up the school year.  Can I get an "AMEN" from the choir?  As soon as we're finished, I'll post reviews of our curriculum.  Some things have been great...some things have been eh.  I didn't thoroughly despise anything though.
And I think that's it for now.  Until next time... 

Peace and Love,
AKA The Mommy