I'm so glad that this past month has been crazy busy, because I have been completely oblivious to the fact that our ultrasound is quickly coming up...THE ultrasound that determines whether we (I mean I) push for the amnio to determine how our baby really is. This last week though, I've been finding the whole ultrasound to be looming in my mind (probably due to the fact that Ryan leaves in the next few days for training, and we only have dance to fill our days next week). So here I am, wishing for the days to fly by so that I can get some answers, while also wishing the days to slow down so that I can enjoy every last minute of living expecting the best because I don't know any different. It's quite the anxiety inducing conundrum...but for now, I'll content my days with reading endless books of stories for my sweet girls enjoy each tiny nudge from our sweet one.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
In the past four years I have learned so much about you, how your heart is full of compassion for others, how you have a strong desire to avoid conflict, and how you want to please those around you. You have taken to saying that your "job is to make sure others are happy" and that you really had to look out for Anna.
All my love and Birthday Wishes,
Mom (it still feels weird to sign my name like this)
-Your friends Rory, Catherine, Makenzie, Kiyre (your BFF from Oklahoma), and Anna (you also mention new baby)
-Stories during nap while Anna is sleeping
-Popcorn with M&Ms, Pickles, salad, soy beans, rice, soup and Pepperoni!
-your pink blanket
-To have your legs/arms tickled while you fall asleep
-Welcoming Dad home at the end of the day
-Sports *soccer* and riding your bike!!
-Blowing Daddy a kiss in the morning, one for his pocket just in case his day is bad and the other for his butt because you think that's funny.
Things you can do
Count 1-100 using a chart and being prompted on the tens change (only 30,60,70,80, and sometimes 90)
Count 1-26 occassionally skipping 14/15
Adding simple sums (using manipulatives)
Writing your name and all your letters!
Sounding out words when asked to
Sing rhymes, retell stories and nursery songs
Hop on one foot, stand on one foot in a dance pose, run, jump, leap and skip
Teach Anna how to say new words
Days of the week, tell the hour on a clock
Posted by Brandie at 1:21 PM
Monday, April 19, 2010
Or atleast some decently priced easy to make at home Mexican food!
So this week's menu is yet another Money Saving Meals with Sandra Lee!
Monday- Lunch- Ballet Class Play Date
Dinner- BBQ Chicken (left over from last week) with corn on the cob
Tuesday-Lunch- Leftover (Chicken on top of salad, Salmon on top of salad, you get the idea)
Dinner-Out in Philly for my Sister-in-Law's Birthday...she's turning 25 and spending the day
traveling across the country to come help out while Ryan is gone...what can I say...she's pretty awesome!
Dinner-Fish Tacos with homemade Guacamole (the add the packet to mushed avacado kind)!
Thursday- Lunch- Leftovers or Corndogs
Dinner-Bean and Cheese Tamales although I forgot to purchase parchment paper...hope I remember, with Cinnamon Churros!
Friday- Lunch- Tuna Fish Salad with crackers and fresh fruit on the way home from the Y (since Aunt Brittany will be able to take the girls to their swim lessons)
Dinner: Squadron Picnic... I must find a good side recipe for this!
Saturday-Lunch-Chuckie Cheese...it's Kaelyn's 4th Birthday Party (two days early!)
Sunday-Lunch-Bean and Cheese Chalupas
Dinner-Breakfast for dinner...complete with Pumpkin Waffles!
So that's our week in a nutshell for more menus go here!
Any BBQ friendly side suggestions for a large group? I was thinking a 7-layer salad....suggestions???
Friday, April 16, 2010
At a loss for what to do this next week, I visited the Kindergarten website of the local school where Kaelyn will be attending in 2011. I know I've been lacking in Science, so I decided to look at their science requirements and use it as a jumping off point for my lesson planning...
This week Kaelyn covered
States of Matter *we are doing Gas next week because Solid and Liquid were enough of a concept for this week)
started officially working on her sight words as part of our daily routine (a, at, be, can, do, each, for, go)
introduced the concept of vocabulary words (water, ice, liquid, solid,l)
This week Anna covered
Hot and Cold
Colors-reviewed Pink, introduced Blue
I hoping to establish the following as our "daily routine" of Counting 1-100 using our chart, Calander Time, and Observing the Weather with Kaelyn. Anna and I sing our ABC's using her chart, Days of the Week with Kaelyn's help, point out the shape of the week and the color. I notice that if we start the day off the same way each day it's very beneficial to us being productive and in the right mindset. Waking up at 6 also helps seeing as I can start the day AHEAD of the kids/house instead of behind.
Science: States of Matter
For the following experiement I used this website. I loved the step by step process as well as the follow up questions to discuss with your child. I also love how, if Kaelyn gets it I can increase her grasp on the concept by proceeding to the next level with the experiment.
Math: Counting (we are only missing 14 and 15 sporadically with her counting!!!), Patterns with Pom Poms and our Calander, and Telling time!
Writing: F, G, and H page, Copying our vocab words and sight words.
Although, we haven't copied the sight words yet...we are doing that this afternoon.
Reading: We went to the library and got a bunch of GREAT free books! We are starting Junie B. Jones series during my reading time with Kaelyn, and reading Poetry at breakfast from the Robert Louis Stevenson book we found...for free, at the library! I've never seen so many great books just given away! I really felt like a criminal.
Anna: 18 months
Collage work with pre-cut circles and glue
Collage work with Blue paper, shades of blue, painting with blue, eating blueberries for snack.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Ryan has gotten word that his official papers for his waiver to return to flying status will be coming in towards the begining of next week AND he has a flight scheduled very soon! Thanks to those of you who have been praying about this for us! We really appreciate the support.
So, let the fun of deployments and quasi-single parenting begin!
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
So, after discussing our options...Ryan and I are both VERY excited to FINALLY have some help coming in. My lovely sister in law, Brittany, will be joining the family for awhile to help out with the girls and the housework. She couldn't come at a better time with Ryan leaving for training at the end of this month, being gone for the month of May and returning early June. The chance of an amnio following our next ultrasound (all in May) results...you get the idea.
Can I mention that the Procardia medication for contractions is slowly killing me....yes, I know that's a bit of an exaggeration, but I've NEVER had issues with this medication in my prior pregnancies, but this time around...it's really doing a number on my blood pressure (bottoming out) causing me to be exhausted or in a fog, my heart will race, and there are moments when I truly feel on fire. On top of all that I am starting to notice my contractions about an hour prior to my pill and an hour afterwards. With Brittany here, I won't be sweating the details of who will watch my chlidren should I have to return to the hospital.
Monday, April 12, 2010
So, I'm going for quick, easy and out of my cabinet since I spent last weekend in the hospital for preterm labor. Grocery shopping and cooking long elaborate meals is not an option.
Monday- Lunch at Chic fil la with the ladies of Ballet
Dinner Chicken (leftover) Nachos with Guacomole and Salsa!
Tuesday-Lunch will be ate out again due to Mops, or possible a picnic at the playground
Dinner: Pan Fried Tilapia (from last week, it never happened!) with Corn Pudding (a left over recipe from last week)
Dinner-Indian food with homemade Naan from a box with the kids being offered Corn Dogs should they choose it (only because Indian food can be hot, we generally do NOT offer options to our children)
Thursday-Lunch-Salad topped with leftover Tilapia
Dinner- Spaghetti with Salad and Garlic Bread
Friday-Lunch-is pita and fresh veggies with White Bean Hummus (here's the recipe! it turned out delicious and I am actually making it again with Black Beans!) And just for you information, the Corn Salad from last week was DIVINE! And the Blueberry Scones were equally divine and EASY! I will be making them again...and trust me when I say EASY...this chicka can't even bake cookies properly!
Dinner: Dirty Rice with Trinity vegetables and Red Kidney beans
Saturday is a BIG QUESTION MARK because it's my husband's 30th Birthday and I'd like to have friends over (pending the behavior of my uterus), or perhaps have friends over on Sunday and let him use his new grill to entertain (that is if I can steal his car for an evening without him catching on! no way a grill is going to fit in my tiny hybrid trunk!).
So for now, let's assume that Saturday will be date night and that I will be hunting up an easy Cheesecake Recipe (to triple) to take to Ryan's work on Sunday for his Birthday followed by hopefully an impromptu BBQ Sunday night with a few friends and neighbors. That way Ryan can show off his new Fire Pit and Grill (you only turn thirty once!).
For more Lovely Recipes/Menus go to Meal Plan Monday
Saturday, April 10, 2010
So, here are some of my favorite shots from Easter (hunt at the Squadron, hunt at home, hunt at the White house). We don't have a lot of shots on our Camera from the White House due to the fact that our camera died shortly after our arrival (perfect timing right?). Thankfully, our iPhone's came quickly to the rescue! I'll post those pictures much much later...
Sneak Peak of DC!
WWII Memorial, after we explained the importance of the memorial and why you didn't play/throw money in the water. The girls and Ryan were really absorbing the moment!
More to come later!
Friday, April 9, 2010
So, I guess I've finally "broken in" the new doctor and hospital with an overnight stay for contractions. Thankfully, it doesn't appear that my contractions (1 every 1-2 mins lasting 1 min+) were very productive, but they are causing some "cervical change".
Here is the run down
-The baby looked and sounded great! Although it didn't like the monitor which meant I had a nurse at my bedside repositioning me or the monitor every twenty minutes or so.
-My contractions are slowed, but not stopped. They aren't as strong and I am very comfortable, unlike earlier.
-I'm on Procardia, which normally doesn't carry any side effects for me at all, but I'm definitely feeling the sluggish/flushed/on fire aspect with this pregnancy.
-I won't be on bedrest until my cervix starts to show more significant change. Bedrest doesn't show any indication of stopping contractions but it can slow down dialation. My activities are definitely limited (no more swim lessons for the girls), no more strenuous activities (mopping and vaccumming) and no more hanky panky.
So, now we are faced, yet again, with some tough decisions. Though, I am not on bedrest, I am asked to simply asked try and "take it easy" which is hard to do with two kiddos. So, Ryan and I are considering sending Anna to stay with his family(Kaelyn was the same age when she went away to stay while I was pregnant with Anna) and keeping Kaelyn here with me.
Why keep Kaelyn?
-She's pretty much self sufficient...unlike Anna who requires lifting/carrying/changing
-She has her birthday and friends, and while I realize she's only four, these are some pretty important things to her. She's only four, and has very few important things.
-If I should have to go to the hospital while Ryan is away or at work and my friends are unavailable, Kaelyn can come with me. I can trust that she will be perfectly content at my bedside with snacks and goodies and games and movies...Anna is so not at that point.
Thanks for your prayers! Sorry for the absence...now I'm off to make a snack and watch a movie with the kiddos.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
I was just curious, since all I've ever really known is Tricare (the military healthcare), as to how healthcare issues work for everyone else out there.
Tricare is great---in that it's free and if I'm willing to fight for certian things, then I can manage to navigate the red tape, push for a referral or prescription, and get what I need done.
So...my question is, how does your healthcare work?
If you need to see the Ob, do you have to go get a positive blood test from the lab, see your primary care doctor, get them to write you a referral, call you insurance and find a list of OB's who accept your insurance, insure/inform your primary care doctor of who you want to see, and then finally call the OB to make the appointment (upon which you must bring a copy of your referral that you will get in the mail about two weeks after it's submitted?).
Or perhaps you need a medication, Do you have to call your main pharmacy and see if they can fill it (the base in my case, which couldn't) and then are directed to your insurance company, do you have to contact your insurance (who will then send you to an off shoot branch who is contracted out to deal with pharamacutical information), contact the contracted company who tells you to try Walgreens, which can't do it, then have walgreens attempt to have the contract pharmacy who directed you to Walgreens fill your prescription, get a rejection letter WITHOUT the prescription attached advising you to find a local pharamacy but never stating which one, find a pharmacy that accepts your insurance on your own, contact that pharmacy and see if they in turn can fill said prescription. Find one that does fill said prescription and get AMAZING service (I LOVE WHEN CAPITALISM WORKS, people who want your business, like civilian or private pharmacy's go out of their way to get it!), get your prescription, but realize that you are charged the FULL AMOUNT and not your general $3 copay. Call insurance, get directed to contract company, call contract company, get told it was never filed, call pharmacy, they did file and gladly refile (with a smile I'm sure), call contract company, get told it was due to the pharmacy's improper entry into the system (you couldn't tell me that the first time?), call pharmacy and give them contract company's number and hope for the best.
Have a headache yet? No more minutes left on your cell?
Is this just something military families deal with or is it this difficult for those of you in the "real world"? And I did simplify the above events for your mental sanity.
So, now that I've had a chance to let my family know what's going on with the baby, I thought I might share with you guys. We had our 20 week ultrasound (Ryan knows the gender) and everything seemed to be normal at first, except I realized she was spending a LOT of time measuring, but thought that maybe this is just how NJ does it. Then I notcied her focusing on the baby's brain and measuring something INSIDE the brain. I didn't think anything of it, didn't panic, she never made any indication that there was anything to worry about so I didn't let my mind wander, but enjoyed watching my little one. She and Ryan stepped out to reveal the gender, and this was when I really started to put things together...they were gone a LONG time. But, there was a new tech working on her skills so I was still distracted. Ryan came back in and didn't make any indication to tell me anything, until I mentioned how this might be our last ultrasound unless something is wrong, and he simply stated that something was.
They found Choroid Plexus Cysts (here is the link) on the baby's brain. Multiple ones (3 on one side, 1-2 on the other) on both sides. This alone is nothing to raise real concern since the baby showed no other malformations at this point. Choroid Plexus Cysts are generally benign and disappear on their own. With that said, they can be a "soft marker" for Trisonomy 18 (another link), which is a genetic disorder in which the child has an extra chromosome on every 18th chromosome in it's body. T-18 is not compatible with life, in fact most baby's are still born, and those that are born alive pass within the first week of life. Less than 10% of those that remain make it to their first birthday.
The good news is that my early screening tests (Nuchal Fold Test, which I highly reccommend and is very new) indicate that I am at extremely LOW risks for genetic disorders, particularly T-18. However, Ryan and I have discussed it, and we've decided that if the cyst remain at our next ultrasound (May 6), we will push for the amnio which is the ONLY way to diagnose and rule out a diagnosis of Trisinomy 18.
All this to say that I have a few prayer requests...
-For no Cysts come our May 6th Appointment
-For me to have the strength to make the demand for an Amnio since I will be going to that appointment without my husband
Not to belittle the powers of our God, but rather to show that he is still in control, I have had an overwhelming since of peace with this whole situation, and it's not even a result of me being an optimist, it's more of me being a realist. I'm ready for either diagnosis, but praying for the cysts to dissapate on their own. I was already living this pregnancy and trying to enjoy every moment of it since it's our "last" baby and now I find myself with even more reason to find things to be joyful for...like tiny kicks, little flutters, and being allowed to wear pants with elastic waistbands like my toddler/preschooler.
Thank you for your prayers/
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
So, I don't watch Dr. Phil, but sometime during my homeschooling blog search last week I ran across an angry-ish mom who was discussing one of his recent episodes where he featured a "time-focused" scientist who stated that stay at home moms have anywhere between 30-40 hours of leisure time a week. Although this irritated me at first, because I definitely feel busy, I do seem to make time for myself (when the girls nap, after they are in bed while my husband is sleeping). You get the idea. So, out of morbid curiousity, and before I could rightly get angry with Dr. Phil's show, I decided to "log" myself. For those of you who aren't interested in my very "mundane" life....I'll just recap the results.
I logged a quasi-normal Wednesday...I didn't have any pressing appointments or lessons outside of the home so it was your average day (although we are out of our home about two-three days a week for swim/dance/Mops). I've also just started a new volunteer position as a Key Spouse (similar to an Obudsman or FRG member depending on the branch).
From 7:30- when I went to sleep at or around 10, I totaled 3 hours and 25 mins of leisure time. I choose not to include weekends in my "work week" even though they are pretty much EXACTLY the same as our week (only exception is we have Daddy time for about two hours on the weekends, but we homeschool on weekends due to hectic weeks). So on average that's about 17.5 hours of leisure a week! I would say that's a fair amount of time..I'm not complaining...but I do want to point out that I work (without my husband who would normally be there full time on the weekends) 7 days a week from 7 am- 8pm....and sometimes longer. That's a 91 hr work week (including weekends, and I would just had two or three hours of leisure time when I'm being a LAZY mom and letting my kids veg out infront of the TV).
**Please note that my husband is generally very hands-on, but seeing as he is in the Military, his schedule can be somewhat unpredictable, long and demanding depending on the world situation. Normally my weekends would be "Mine", but since he's working this new job, his hours are crazy and I, in no way, am going to complain about my measly 17.5 hrs a week when he has near to NONE**
After having found the Washington Post article, the scientist isn't out to paint mom's as bad (although that may be how the episode appeared due to Hollywood injecting their opinion or their attempt for ratings, again I DID NOT SEE THE SHOW), he just simply calculates what he views as "leisure time" which includes drive time/wait time at appointments, dental appointments, basically anytime you aren't actively involved in duties pertaining to your job as a parent. I think he might be right for some parents, but I always view statistics as broad genralizations and not as FACTS.
730- Wake up! We had a late night, so this was our late morning.
740-8 Breakfast (although Anna is STILL eating at 830)
8-815- I ate my breakfast infront of the TV watching the Duggars (I try to show my kids that they don't "own" the TV while also keeping what I watch very kid appropriate. My first 15 Mins of "leisure"time)
815-830- Folded a load of towels and did dishes while the show finished, Kaelyn decided to eat AGAIN
830 -930 Cleaned kitchen (counters, tabletop, floor, but didn't manage to mop), Changed diapers, Cleaned Anna up, finished baked goods, started dishwasher
930-Shower (out by 945)
By 10, I was dressed, had done a load of laundry and started getting the girls dressed
10-1030- We were all dressed with hair done (three heads of hair is a LOT of hair to do), loaded up the food for the guys, and loaded the kids in the car
1030-11 On our way there. According to what I've read this WOULD be leisure time, except I made phone calls for my volunteer position the first 15 mins and then contacted my mom the last 15 mins to get an update on my Grandma who is in the hospital.
11-12 Delivered food, met with some of the people in Ryan's Flight, hopefully boosted morale then went out to lunch with dad...we will call the 30 mins of lunch with dad Leisure time
12-1230: "leisurely" drive home and getting girls unloaded
1240-1 NAP TIME for Anna, and story time for Kaelyn (about thirty mins). Since I'm contracting I'm SOOO taking nap time today for me (starting at 1)!
I wanted to nap...but ended up getting two volunteer position related phone calls, so I would say I ended up with about 30 mins of leisure time.
230-Anna is awake, going to go downstairs and prep for our homeschooling afternoon
240-3 I entertained a surprise visit from the FBI (security clearance) and fielded yet MORE phone calls from my volunteer position. Had I known the FBI was coming, I would have spent MORE time cleaning
3-4 an hour of craziness between fielding family phone calls, volunteer phone calls and husband phone calls I did manage to pick up, play with Anna, build a SUPER cool tower and finish prepping for our homeschool lesson.
4:45-listened to worship music and played with playdough until 530 when I started cooking...
530- Anna's having a meltdown and I cave to FB for 10 minutes...yep, while she's having a meltdown and after what seems to be an endless stream of phonecalls!
Kaelyn requested breakfast for dinner....I start prepping and cooking
6:40- girls start to eat and finish eating,
7-Girls are in the tub, Ryan calls and is on his way home
740- Girls out of tub, dressed, in PJ's and going to bed
8-Tub cleaned out, clothes put in laundry room, towels hung up and Ryan and I sit down to watch V
2 hours of leisure time...you know the real kind, that involves TV, Facebook and reading before I crash...not the 30 mins driving.
Posted by Brandie at 5:11 AM
Monday, April 5, 2010
So, I'm definitely finding myself to be a more concientious spender when I have only cash in my pocket and that money has to last 7 (or more) days! Here's this week's budget friendly menu. I will post my cost at the grocery store at the bottom for those who are curious as to how I'm doing with my $100 budget.
My goals for this week's menu are
-to make our Lunches more nutritous
-find some delicious snacks that I can prepare ahead and have the girls enjoy
-cut out one night of "meat" because my husband is complaining about his expanding waistline (happens EVERY pregnancy, I get nice and pregnant while he just gets the other "p"....plump).
* I know those of you who are frequent visitors often see me use Sandra Lee's Money Saving Meals recipes....I love her for MANY reasons!
-her recipes DO save money
-She has "round two recipes" where she recreates her leftovers...and for people who don't like leftovers (ie me) this is GREAT
-if you go to her site, and select an episode (which can usually work for an entire week) there is a great shopping list feature! See! It's beautifully organized and you can just mark off what you already have!
Monday- On the road from the White House...
Lunch- Will more than likely be fastfood (I know...way to start the week off right), maybe with hubby at work!
Dinner- Making dinner for someone in Ryan's flight who just had a baby...they are more traditional in taste so I'm doing a whole Roasted Chicken (the whole chicken broken up for you already at the meat counter), with Roasted Potatos, Carrots, and Celery, and salad.
Lunch-Leftover chicken on top of spinich with leftover roasted veggies on side
Dinner-IF there are any leftovers, we will have chicken fajitas, if not then we will have
Cucumber and Tomato, White Bean Hummus Sandwiches with Corn Salad
Lunch- leftover hummus with pita and veggies dipped in it, if none is left, I'm going to use black beans and the same recipe for the White Bean hummus and see if I can make our favorite hummus from Whole Foods
Dinner- Pan Fried Tilapia, Green Beans and Corn
Lunch- Sandwiches with chips
Dinner- Chicken Cutlet Sandwiches with Cucumber, Tomato and White Bean Salad
Dinner- Quiche with Asparagus with blueberry scones
Lunch- Corned Pudding and Left overs
Dinner- Salmon if there is money leftover or a Red Lentil something or other which we have in our cabinet. Or maybe even Dirty Rice...all depends on how our money is looking as I reach the end aisles!
For More Menus go here!
Posted by Brandie at 4:37 PM
Saturday, April 3, 2010
First and foremost, I must appologize for "disappearing"...it's been a crazy week, and I do have other posts sitting waiting to be edited and published...but I'm hoping to spend the rest of the weekend in a semi-drugged stupor to stop these contractions.
Here is what we managed to do despite my stubborn uterus:
We went to Dance and got to see the bunny...sorry there aren't any pictures, but
Anna is beyond afraid of the bunny.
We did some "volunteer" work at Ryan's and brought him some baked goods for the flight since they will be working over Easter and then went to stuff eggs for the Squadron Easter Egg Hunt.
We did lots of "fun" worksheets
Hard boiled Eggs and Raw Eggs (also taught them to spin the eggs to figure out which was which)
How the eggs shell is similar to our teeth and can be stained (Also reinforced the importance of brushing)
We dyed the eggs and talked about how teas/certain foods/coffee dye our teeth.
There are about five other "egg"speriments that I wanted to do, but didn't get to because the girls enjoyed being able to handle the eggs and eat them! So, you'll probably be seeing some more egg-science over here at our household!
More Preschool fun over here
Posted by Brandie at 10:51 AM