Virtual Christmas Card & New iPhone Apps

The awesome girls of SITS are having cheery little Holiday card link up, so I whipped up this to contribute.


This won't be the actual card we will be mailing out this year, but I think it turned out cute for what it is. This photo was taken in September at the Utah State Fair. I love Sookie's smile. I adore the bright colors; can you tell I'm an 80's child? ;)

Exciting news! R has two new iPhone apps in the Apple store. How wonderful is that? Cartoon Hairstyles where you can put, well, cartoon hair on any of your photos. Here is a silly one he made with Sookie's photo.




Monster Studio is the other one. This one is so much fun and is for all ages. You can build your very own monster with hundreds of different combinations! You can choose all different kinds of body shapes, colors, eyes, mouths, and accessories. The adults and the kids seem to love this one equally. It is addicting and I like that you can make cute, cuddly monsters, or scary ones if you feel like it.


I saw this adorable bib on Zulily today and I just think it is too cute for words!





And how cute would this bunny dress be for Easter?




This post is random isn't it? Oh well. That is what happens when you have a sick babe. I don't want to dwell on how rough of a weekend it was, so I will talk about Christmas cards and iPhone apps...you know, the good stuff. I think we will be taking a trip to the doctor tomorrow though. Not how I wanted to spend her 10th month birthday but maybe she will be feeling better in the morning. I'm crossing my fingers because I have so much I want to share with her during this magical season.

Some Tuesday and Wednesday Blog Hops below, check them out! I am loving meeting all of you through this fun idea! I'm behind on catching up with following you back since S has been sick, but I promise I will. Give me some time. Thanks!

PhotobucketTo-the-TOP Tuesday


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Hope you all had a magnificent Tuesday!







Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving had new meaning this year.

And it wasn't because of my Dad's brilliant stuffing with cranberries and pine nuts, or the entertaining quotes that spilled from my sweet 5 year old cousin's mouth throughout the afternoon and evening.

The biggest reason it had new meaning is that there was a new person involved in the prep for the big meal. Well, not really involved exactly but happily growling at her toys who just happened to be the little people lions, camels and birds. Yes, she growls at the birds too. All while the mashed potatoes, turkey, yams, rolls, and stuffing were coming together.

I'm thankful for the the fact Sookie arrived safely. I'm thankful for the fact my transplanted kidney survived labor. I'm thankful for the fact I survived labor. I'm thankful for the entire team of Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialists at IMC who put up with me as a patient; because we all know I am a nightmare patient, questioning everyone and everything. I'm thankful for the support of family who truly gets it. I'm thankful for my parents unwavering ability to remain my rocks day in and day out. I'm thankful for Rory, who gives me all the love in the world (and then some) but never encourages me to be sad or angry.

I'm thankful for a million other things too.


I have been a grateful girl throughout this entire year, there is no doubt about that. Each day I wake up and soak in all that is here and real. I wish that everyone would let the overwhelming gratitude of Thanksgiving Day carry on throughout the rest of the year. Wouldn't the world be a much more beautiful place if that happened?
 
"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them"     (JFK)


I saw this quote on Twitter and had to retweet it immediately. It is one thing to rattle off a list of things you are thankful for at the dinner table on a Thursday in November, but it is something entirely different to wake up each day and find those nuggets of hope and sheer bliss up against the day to day frustrations like the weather, a flat tire, a red light, a bad hair day, or someone unintentionally hurting your feelings. Being a grateful person each day does take work, I am still learning that myself.

This girl? Well, she had her first fall, complete with blood all over in her mouth; cue Mama having a freak out. (We are both fine now.) But, before that? Before that she was happy as can be with her cheerios and her bow covered in sequins.


It doesn't take much to make her happy.

And I love that about her.



Holiday Traditions; Festival of Trees

I couldn't resist participating in this fun giveaway and holiday meme hosted by Jen from Tatertots and Jello and Beckie from Infarrantly Creative. They are giving away a Mint Cleaner than cleans your hardwood surfaces. I need one! With a busy as a bee 9 month old (I can keep saying that for a few more days, ha) everywhere, I want to have clean floors for her. Something like this would really help me out! Especially on the days when my health is less than stellar.

One of the topics for the blog post is "What is one holiday tradition that you treasure that you hope to pass down to your children?" and I picked that one because honestly, I probably would have wrote something about it anyway.

There are a few traditions I would like to pass along to Sookie, but for this post, I will talk about our annual visit to The Festival of Trees. In short, it is a fundraiser to benefit Primary Children's Medical Center. Volunteers purchase and decorate trees to be auctioned off.


But to get into more detail, it truly is such a magical experience. The above is a photo of an I Love Lucy tree. Every year I am inspired by the sheer creativity of everyone involved and how imaginative they are with their decorations and themes. In addition to tree, there are also wreaths, gingerbread houses, and of course the feature that always gets me into trouble; the sweet shoppe, where there is every kind of sugary treat you can dream of. We have been going ever since I can remember and I would love for Sookie to keep this tradition with her children as well. It really helps to get in the holiday spirit if I am having a hard time that year, but it also just reminds me of everything (and everyone) that I have. Many of the trees are dedicated to loved ones that have been lost, many of them babies who for some reason or another, lost their battle at Primary Children's.


Oh, I'm giddy just looking at these photos and thinking about going this year. I can't wait to see it all through Sookie's innocent and curious eyes.



No doubt this year will be extra emotional with me toting along my miracle while silently weeping in a crowded room for those sweet angels celebrating Christmas in heaven.

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I am  participating in Infarrantly Creative and Tatertots and Jello’s Blog Hop for a chance to win a Mint Cleaner. It is the revolutionary machine that cleans your hard floor surfaces for you.
Click here to join the blog hop and a chance to win!Mint_cloth2
The Mint Cleaner is  available at the following places:
Amazon
The Mint Cleaner


My Amazing Mother

My mother gave me the gift of life not once, but twice.

I decided to repay her by giving her a miracle grand baby against all odds and despite the fact she did not think she would ever get to be a grandmother.

I still owe her, don't you think?

Well, you see she not only gave birth to me, but donated her kidney to me. Some people are surprised to find out the surgery for the donor is much more difficult than the surgery for the recipient. Most of the time they have to break a rib or two in order to access the magical kidney that is being removed and transported to a new body. See? You learned something new today. 

My mother spent her birthday this year traveling to ASN Renal Week in Denver so that she could pass along much needed information and support resources to adult nephrologists with Cystinosis patients. My mother stopped by today to make bottles for me and made my day. (My energy lately is completely zapped, I have nothing.) My mother understands the importance of a good purse. My mother watches Sookie for me when I need a breather, or must run errands, or both. My mother is constantly teaching me lessons. My mother made me realize what is the epitome of a mother who goes above and beyond. My mother advocated for my health for several years and passed on a fierce knowledge to me in the process. My mother went to every single OB appointment with me throughout my pregnancy; I had so many, I lost count. My mother bought Sookie her first pair of jeggings. ;)

Her birthday was last week (on the 17th) and as previously mentioned we spent the majority of the day traveling. I meant to have this post up earlier, but you know me and when I try to plan things.



{Mother's Day 2009; little did I know this would be my last Mother's Day that I wasn't a Mama! ;)}


I know it is a week late, but Happy Birthday Mama! I hope Sookie and the Utes joining the Pac-12 can guarantee that this is a wonderful year ahead for you.



Miss Personality

My heart swells each time I catch a glimpse into a new facet of Sookie's personality. Lately this seems to happen daily, if not multiple times throughout the day. Nearly 10 months into this adventure of motherhood, I still get goosebumps as I mentally scan her precious ears, nose, lips and contemplate the enormity of the fact all of this developed inside of me. Such a baffling truth in this world and yet at the same time so wondrous and magical. Her perfect little hands that grasp a cheerio so expertly, throw toys (her newest favorite past time), and splash in Jack's water bowl. I think back to seconds after she was born, placed on my stomach, her tiny little body still covered in vernix, as I held her hand. Daddy cut her cord and I held her hand. I couldn't think of anything else to do.


I'm going to be honest here; I used to find myself really angry with mothers who complained and whined that their children were growing up too fast. I used to think, well at least you can have children, be grateful you are healthy enough to have them, be thankful they are not sick, growing, and yes getting older. And now? Yes it is bittersweet to pack away yet another size of clothing into boxes, your memories associated with all that fabric somehow get tangled in the fibers and rest there until you come across photos later on. Yes it is so hard to miss that small, helpless newborn you brought home from the hospital. I get it now, but I remind myself I am blessed with the chance to go through these stages with her, these new growing pains; when so many moms out there don't because their sweet ones are now angels. I loved her newborn stage. We both took endless photos. I wrote spastic journal entries composed of short thoughts, spectacular little moments of those blurry few months on my iPhone. I savored sleeping in two hours blocks because I was riding sky high on the adrenaline she was here, she was thriving, she was ours and we were able to bring her home against all odds.

This age now is so challenging but so fun! (And I am sure I will say this for every upcoming stage we go through!) She really is just showing us how full of life she is, how much she loves everything and everyone, and her never ending zest for simply existing. I literally cannot turn my head away from her for more than two seconds or she is trying to climb out of her high chair or banging her head with the toilet seat.



The holidays are fast approaching and I can't help but think back to last year at this time; the mounting anxiety, the overwhelming worry, the times between of endless hope and dreams. It was such a strange time in my life; I was so consumed with each end of the spectrum, it is no wonder I felt emotionally drained every second of every day.

I worry constantly about everything I could be doing better, obsess over the areas where I could be doing more. But is there a mother out there who at the end of every day thinks she excelled in every aspect of not only her parenting life but her life as a professional, and her life as a wife? But, Sookie is happy. So happy. I lose count of how many people tell me what a happy baby she is. And she's affectionate. Really, could I ask for more?




Here is a video showcasing just how much she loves music and when Daddy sings to her. And how funny she is!



Here is another one that shows how silly and hyper she becomes when she is exhausted beyond belief! This was from our recent trip to Denver last week.



See? She is just too much. She makes me laugh. She reminds me life is good.



Monday Blog Hops & Jet Lag

Just Married with Coupons
B&B ButtonPhotobucketSippy Cups and Cloth Bums






 

I adore meeting new bloggers and the various blog hops always going on are such a great way to get to know people who are out there! Especially if you are a new mom, you need all the support you can find. If you are interested, check out all of the above hops going on, you'll have fun and maybe make some new friends.

I feel incredibly jet lagged today even though our flight was only from Denver, and I didn't even have to deal with a time change. Maybe it is more of going on a trip with a 9 month old that I'm drained from. She did so well though; I'm so proud of her. Today I'm a tired zombie, but we are being lazy and just catching up on house chores, laundry, and unpacking. I can't believe I haven't seen Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows yet. This is the first installment since Chamber of Secrets that I haven't been to the midnight showing. Does this mean I am officially an adult? ;)

Please check out the incredible Holiday Fundraiser for Cystinosis I started. I found out a few days ago that another brave woman lost her battle with this frustrating disease. As you can imagine, it is difficult to keep hearing about people younger than me passing away from the same obstacle I've been fighting all my life.

Hope you are having a wonderful Monday! :)





Guess What?!

Quick little post, because I must finish packing. I loathe packing. This is Sookie's first trip involving a plane and oh my, I'm overwhelmed with everything I need to bring for her. Taking deep breaths so I don't have a heart attack.

But anyway!

Guess who has the #1 iPhone entertainment app in Italy?

We do!

Men's Hairstyles


I'm so excited! :)



What's On Your DVR?


I'm jumping into participating in Friend Makin' Monday hosted by All The Weigh. The topic this week is "What's On Your DVR?" Fortunately, I could talk about T.V. shows forever and a day. Although I'm conflicted lately because I don't let Sookie watch because I don't want her to be a toddler who watches hours upon hours every day. But that is another blog post entirely. I do believe there are some quality shows for little ones out there that really can help them learn thing, but I digress.

Oh goodness, my DVR is in need of organizing like a lot of other things in my life/house. For example? I currently have 30 episodes of Ellen waiting in there for me. I can barely find time to go to the bathroom by myself without Sookie and Jack wanting to join me, when am I going to find time to watch 30 episodes of Ellen?





Rachael Ray;
I go through phases where I adore her and then sometimes I can't stand her. But I've been watching her since the days of $40 a day. I don't watch her very much anymore and yet still have her show set to record every day. I'm not sure why this is. Perhaps it is a mental thing where I have to have a billion options for shampoo, just because I like to know the other choices are there?



The View;
I admit it, The View makes me happy. I don't know why. Maybe I secretly enjoy watching women argue over the sound of each others voices? I think the days without Barbara, are the best ones. Elisabeth Hasselbeck drives me insane, and yet I still watch. Whoopi is great!






Days Of Our Lives;
Wow, I shouldn't even be confessing to this, but oh well. I'm obsessed. There's something freakishly satisfying in watching someone being poisoned by their mother in law to make you realize maybe your problems are not the end of the world like they seem to be. Yes, it's silly. Yes, it's ridiculous. But you know what? There have been multiple occasions when I feel particularly down and I say to myself, "Well, you know, at least your ex-husband didn't hire someone to kidnap your daughter because he wanted revenge."


Ellen;
Ellen makes me laugh. Ellen makes my seemingly endless piles of laundry less tedious. I love what she does for families who are struggling. She is such a light; so at peace with herself and that really radiates through on her show.





Dancing With The Stars;
I wasn't strong enough to resist the temptation this season. Kyle Massey is ADORABLE. (And I had never heard of him before this season.) Love him. Their dance to "Good Golly Miss Molly" was so much fun to watch.


How I Met Your Mother;
This season has been interesting but I'm eager to see where they go with this whole Marshall and Lily baby making story line. NPH is brillaint.

We also watch The Middle (love Brick...so cute!), Modern Family, Big Bang Theory, The Office (of course) and a few others. Our T.V. time has seriously declined since Sookie joined our family and I really don't like to have it on when she is awake, but we try to watch a little after she goes to bed. 




October Goals Revisted/November Goals

(My fabulous friend Clare is the inspiration behind these goals of the month posts.)

Recap: My October Goals were...

* Make my own baby food for Sookie. Even if I fail, I must at least try this once. I know homemade baby food is so much healthier for her. & maybe I can get her to eat peas. Ha!
* Get organized.
* Realize I am an amazing mother; even with gallstones and possible hip fractures.*
* Don't waste energy on situations and/or people who do not deserve it.
* Go to bed earlier.
* Give myself a little me time to work on projects, read, write, daydream, nap.


Well. I definitely did not go to bed earlier. Maybe I did a couple of nights. I have smashed up avocado for Sookie; that is the extent of my adventure in making my own baby food. R organized the hall closet for me a few days ago...does that count for getting organized? ;)

I definitely didn't give myself me time to emotionally recharge. I'm still really hard on myself that I'm not doing enough as a mother, but I think society has set women up for failure in that area. It is impossible to be perfect in every facet of your life.

So, since I failed so fabulously at every single one of those October goals, and in addition November is already half over. My November Goal is...to be happy. Yep that's it. I'm not stressing about pleasing everyone for Thanksgiving, I'm not obsessing about how clean my house is, or how much laundry I have to get done. I'm stealing smiles from my little girl. I'm not going to worry about my health. I'm just going to be happy, dang it!




9 months

Sweet babydoll, you are 9 months old.


{Your shirt says "All I need is love and my Daddy." It is so difficult to get you to stay still these days, I had to distract you with Skittles leftover from Daddy's Halloween costume.}


Unfortunately you celebrated on the actual day by confronting your very first stomach virus. (Which is why I am so late with writing this.) Then you caught a cold, which you are still getting over. It was a scary ordeal all around and I am just glad it was only a bug because I was worried it was much worse. You were doing so well! You haven't really been sick at all up until this point. Daddy and I were even talking the other day how lucky we are that we haven't had to take you to the doctor for sickness. Ha! We shouldn't have celebrated that victory out loud. It ended up being one of the most challenging weeks I've had in years. All three of us were so sick and yet still trying to take care of each other. I struggle when I feel helpless and I definitely felt it for several days there. You reminded me of so much though; you were such a trooper and so strong. After you recovered from the initial shock of vomiting and the fact Mommy and Daddy couldn't do anything to stop it, you actually had some smiles for us. Your contagious joy and delight in the simple things is really what kept me sane throughout the whole mess. Daddy had infected spider bites while all of this happened too, so it was difficult not to wonder why everything was being thrown at us all at once. I kept reminding myself no matter how sick we all were, it was only temporary. And that in the big picture, we really are so lucky. There are few things more difficult than trying to take care of someone else when you feel so weak you can't get out of bed.

You reminded me how stubborn you are, which I always knew you would be if and when you survived the pregnancy. That is a good thing when you need to find your way in this world and when you are sick! :)

It fascinates me that even with your very limited vocabulary (Mama, Dada, Papa, Baba) you communicate and express your feelings and wants so perfectly. Sometimes a little too well. You are already throwing temper tantrums...yikes! You growl, clench your fits and grit your teeth. It is adorable now but I can't encourage it too much. I'm hoping this means you are going to be an angelically well behaved two year old. I can dream, can't I?

You adore Jack so much just watching him jump into bed with us makes your day! You love to tease him, sneak him cheerios when you think I'm not watching, and sometimes you like his toys better than your own. I'm even contemplating buying you dog toys so that you can play with them and not get germs from his. You love to reach out your hand to him for kisses. His water and food dish is one of your newest obsessions; you laugh happily as you splash your hands in his water and your busy little fingers grip tight to chunks of his food because you know you are not supposed to be playing with them.

You don't like to cuddle much anymore, unless you are tired or sick. You are always on the move, crawling everywhere, pulling up on every surface that will allow you to; you don't hold still much at all. It's exhausting albeit so fun for me to watch you explore your world and discover new and mesmerizing things like door stoppers, tissues, scales, empty 12 pack diet coke containers, and teeny tiny specs of dirt on my otherwise clean floor.

We are having a tumultuous time with sleeping, but you did so well for so long I suppose it was bound to happen. Mommy believes in the benefits of co-sleeping, but also that you need some crib time too. We are trying to find a balance between the two. You are so busy I think most of the time you are completely drained and ready for sleep, but you just don't want to miss out on anything.

You love your veggies still, I am so grateful! Everything but peas. You recently have tried mashed potatoes, cheerios and yogurt for the first time. Not all together of course. You still aren't quite sure what you think of the yogurt, but the mashed potatoes and cheerios are big hits. The other night I let you have a taste of a bread and butter pickle and you loved it so much you were upset when I took it away. You are a petite little thing, like we thought you would be, but you are physically strong and have a wonderful appetite.

Your development is so normal and yet such a thrill and tiny miracle to me. I can't believe you are pulling yourself up. In the past few weeks you have really started to take more of an interest in your books. I'm so pleased with this; we started reading to you right when we brought you home because I want you to appreciate how amazing books can be. You are gaining the ability to pay more attention to stores and you love to turn the pages and kiss every character on each page. Every day you grow more and more into a little person full of her very own spark and zest for everything and everyone.


Sookie's First Halloween

It is hard to believe Halloween has come and gone. Although today I had this sudden burst to decorate my whole house for Christmas already. (Is that insane?) This year was so special because of course it was our first celebrating with Sookie. We spent the Saturday before running around for last minute accessories to complete our costumes. It was fun to have a little random date in the afternoon rain. We were able to enjoy lots of time with family over the Halloween weekend; I was even a bad mom less strict than usual about food and let Sookie have a taste of a dum dum sucker! Her costume has been in my head for months now; that swimsuit was actually mine when I was little. It added a sweet touch to her whole ensemble and made me feel overly emotional and cry thinking about the little version of me who wore it all those years ago. (But then again, everything makes me cry lately.)


Allan (from 'The Hangover'), Wilma, and Pebbles - just hanging out. R didn't think he would make a good Fred, so he ruined our theme. Just kidding! We are destined to be random. Last year when I was pregnant, I was Santa and he was Tobias from 'Arrested Development'. Maybe we will just agree to be mismatched and see how random we can get it! Ha.





 That is a real chicken bone in her hair. That's how we roll around here. ;)