Saturday, July 31, 2010

1st Success...2nd Challenge

Ok, so we finished our first Green Challenge...yay us! Here's a breakdown of our stand-by power assessment & our changes:
  • Living room- The only things plugged in all the time are the floor lamp (we use every day) & our electronics. The TV cannot be unplugged since it hangs on the wall & you have to take it down to unplug it. I cannot unplug the DVR...just ain't gonna happen. That only left the DVD player, which we put on a power strip & now we only turn it on when we are going to use it, and the laptop, which I already unplug when it's turned off.

  • Kitchen/dining room- In the kitchen the only thing plugged in all the time is the major nothing to change there! In the dining room we have our small candle we use as a nightlight at night (I don't want to run into things when I get up in the middle of the night to get the occasional bottle) and we now unplug it during the day rather than just turn it off.

  • Playroom-The only things plugged in are the small TV & DVD player which were already on a power strip that we turn off when Julianna isn't watching her Laurie Berkner Band DVD for the bazillionth time.

  • Bathroom- Just a small candle for a nightlight & now we unplug it during the day.

  • Kid's bedrooms- We unplugged their lamps, since it's still light when they go to bed right now, those lights very rarely get used. They both have actual nightlights, but they are LED & on sensors.

  • Our bedroom- Yikes! We had our cordless phone charger plugged in, 2 cell phone chargers, several lamps, an alarm clock, our TV, & a fan. Now we only have 1 lamp, the alarm clock, our cordless phone & the TV plugged in all the time (I watch it nearly every night Joe is on shift). Much better. But I still want to put the TV on a power strip that can be turned off when we're not using it.

  • Garage- The only thing plugged in was our freezer. Nothing to change there!

  • Basement- Other than the dryer the only other thing plugged in was our desktop computer, which we never use so we unplugged it.

All in all, we really didn't have to change much...we were already doing pretty good!

Challenge #2 Reusable Bags

This one is going to be tough for me. I am such a fan of plastic grocery/store bags. I use them for line our small trash cans, to pack Joe's lunches (he brings them back home & uses them multiple times), to occasionally wrap a terribly smelly diaper in (I KNOW this is really bad...that's a whole other challenge), and so much more.

Not only am I going to try to switch to reusable bags, but I am gonna go one step further & make some of my own reusable bags! I have a super easy bag pattern & some scrap canvas so why not make a few. And besides by making my own I can easily personalize them using some of my other fabric scraps and they can't be mistaken for someone else's.

I am actually hoping to start making these today because my sewing machine is still sitting out from when I made Julianna some dresses last weekend (I really should have put it away...but I knew I as going to make bags...yeah, that's it). I think a bigger challenge than me starting to use reusable bags is going to be getting Joe to use them as well. Well, I guess it wouldn't be a challenge if it was easy.


We took the kids to the annual hot air balloon launch last night. Oh my gosh! Julianna loved it! I was so surprised by how excited she got. I really thought it would hold her attention for 30 seconds, but she clapped for every balloon that went up & waved to the people in the baskets. She was so cute!

Will...not so enthralled.
She needed a higher view.

There were more than 40 different balloons.

Julianna loved the ladybug balloon.
She just couldn't stop watching them all take off.

This has to be the creepiest hot air balloon I've ever seen!

Will just loves anytime he gets to go away...which isn't very often.

Julianna was not happy daddy made her stop watching the balloons to take a picture with mommy.

We had so much fun and Julianna has not stopped talking about the balloons. I can't wait for this evening and hopefully we'll be able to go outside & see them from the house.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Things Are A Changin'

As all of my avid readers (yes, I mean the 10 of you that consistently visit my blog...haha!) have I'm sure noticed, Our Ordinary Stories has been having a sort of an identity crisis. I think I have changed the look of the blog about 20 times in the last few days. I just can't seem to find something I like. I still don't like how it looks, so I entered a giveaway at Webbisodes to win a blog makeover. I didn't win the makeover, but I did win a custom header, blog button & text box! I am so excited to finally get something totally unique & professional (you know, not made by un-techy me using a basic paint program)!

Also, I have been thinking about starting to do reviews. I wasn't sure if this was a direction I wanted the blog to go in, but thought I would give it a try and see. I am very excited to say that I have my very first review in the works! AND the "soon-to-be-announced company" offered several of their products for a giveaway! I am very excited about the review, not only because it is my first, but because it fits in so nicely with our attempts to become a greener family. I know you will all want to stay tuned for details.

I want to assure everyone that despite the fact that Our Ordinary Stories will soon have a new look & be joining the ranks of mommy reviewers, you will still be able to get your daily dose of our family's ordinary stories (Have you noticed I'm back to blogging more regularly? Of course you have!).

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Details

There really isn't much to report on Will's cardiology appointment yesterday. Did you hear me??? NOT MUCH TO REPORT! That means nothing bad! That is the first time that we have seen Dr Awesome since March that we have nothing bad to tell everyone about. Sigh.

But here's the details. Will is now a whopping 13lbs 6oz...just 2 ounces shy of my goal for him (13.5 lbs). He is still eating pretty well & Dr Awesome was really happy with his weight gain. His coloring looked very good and although his murmur (the noise made when blood moves through the spot where his aorta is still pretty tiny) was still pretty loud, Dr Awesome said Will's clinical exam was so good he didn't even do an echo. Another first! The first time we have seen Dr Awesome and not had an echo!

I am so thankful for all this improvement...words cannot even begin to describe how happy I am over it. I know I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it a million more times, but his little heart is totally a miracle! I know things may not always be so great, but I am going to bask in this moment of my little man's wonderful strong heart working.

**Please keep 2 of Will's little heart friends in your prayers...Jacob is on track for his second OHS to happen in about 6 weeks (he's 9 days older than Will) and Baby Hannah had her second surgery today to get a pacemaker, her first OHS was at just 5 days old (she is now 3 weeks old).**

Woohoo For Tummy Time!

Will is finally allowed to have tummy time! Which works out so nicely since he can now roll onto his tummy (I would spend 90% of my day turning him over if he still wasn't allowed on his tummy). Dr. Awesome felt his heart is working well enough for tummy time to no longer be too much of a strain on it. Yay!

Now to start building up those arm muscles, gotta get some guns to make all the girlies swoon.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pizza Night

Tonight was homemade pizza night. Julianna loves to help cook, and tonight she had a blast.

Cheese on the pizza...

...cheese in the mouth.
Pepperoni on the pizza...
...pepperoni in the mouth.
Caught sneaking pizza toppings.
And what's a girl to do while the pizza is baking? Play with Mr. Potato Head parts of course! Daddy also got into the game, but I was nice and didn't post the picture of him with the bright red Mrs. Potato Head lips. Heehee!
Yummy goodness!
Will had fun too, despite not being able to enjoy the yummy pizza!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Rollin' Like a Tumbleweed

Ok, so not quite like a tumbleweed, but Will decided today would be the day he'd finally roll from his back to his belly...and I missed seeing every time he did it. I sat next to him for almost an hour while he layed on his side...but he never rolled. I went into the kitchen to get a drink and when I came back he was on his belly. He rolled over about a half dozen times and I never saw it. Maybe tomorrow I'll see it...and this time the video camera will be right there with me (that should pretty much guarantee I don't catch him doing it...ha!).

Will has a cardiology apointment tomorrow. If the remaining section of his coarc is the same or worse (as seen on the echo) then he will get scheduled for a cath. Please say a prayer tonight (or tomorrow morning) for improvement. I'm not ready for another hospital trip yet.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

And the Thunder Rolls

I'm the weirdo outside watching a storm approach...last night's storm clouds caught my attention and the lens of my camera.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Found It!

Since having Will, I have commented multiple times about the lack of cute boy clothing in stores. Buying clothes for Julianna was always easy, there are so many cute girl things. Everything for baby boys has puppies, and trucks, and sports all over it.

Over the past few days, my love for Etsy has been re-kindled (Erin & I had a short lived Etsy shop a few years ago). I started browsing some of the kids clothes & I found it! I found something cute for baby boys. Check out this hat...

Isn't it adorable! It's from We Choose Joy, which makes unique and environmentally friendly(fits into my goin' green phase) kid's clothes. Seriously, are these onesies not the cutest ever??

And even better, you can buy sets that include matching shoes!

I am thinking that come fall Will just might be sporting something from We Choose Joy.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Someday She'll Realize

Just how lucky she is that her mommy can sew her adorable little things.

I made Julianna 2 reversible pinafores (which I am going to blog about later today) and matching ruffled bloomers yesterday. I got her to put one on just long enough to snap some pictures with my cell phone yesterday. Today, I asked her if she wanted to wear her new pretty dress that mommy made her. Her answer...

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! No pretty dress!!"

And she proceeded to run away from me and the pretty pinafore (in just a pull-up) as fast as she possibly could and continued to scream "No pretty dress! No pretty dress!"

Someday...sigh...she realize how lucky she is that her mommy can sew her adorable little things,but by then I'm sure she'll look silly in a pinafore and ruffled bloomers.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It's Not Easy Being Green...

Or is it? Our family is about to find out. We've been talking about becoming "greener" for quite awhile now and have made some basic easy changes. We only use recycled paper towels, I try to buy green cleaning products, we use energy efficient bulbs in some of our lights (sorry, but candle bulbs cannot be replaced), and we recycle everything we can. but we'd really like to do more.

We decided we need to take baby steps (drastic changes scare me & I think they just set you up for failure sometimes). And so we begin our "Green Challenge".

I saw on another mom's blog, that they choose one eco-friendly challenge to do each week, in the hopes of becoming greener. Well, I'm not sure we could handle 1 a week right now, so we're going to do one every 2 weeks. If you'd like to join us in this journey to green, feel free to use the "Green Challenge" button on your blog, and then blog about how you do with the challenges. Also, if you have a suggestion for a green challenge, please e-mail it to me (e-mail address in side bar).

Challenge #1 Stand-by Power

Stand-by power is the power that electric devices use while they are not turned on, things like lamps, radios, chargers, toasters, etc... 1 device may not use up a lot of power if left plugged in, but if you have 20 things plugged in when not in use, the electricity starts add up (and so does your electric bill).

Our challenge is to assess every room in our house (including the garage and basement) for stand-by power suckers. Then, we'll decide what things can actually be unplugged and which ones need to stay plugged in (I am so not unplugging our dvr!). I'll let everyone know how we do. Let me know if you take the challenge too!

*If you join the challenge & blog about it, please link back to my challenge post. Thanks!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Computer Mayhem

My lack of posts since last Wednesday has actually not been entirely my fault. Joe was off for several days (which always means I am on the computer less), but our laptop has also decided it is finally reaching the end of its life.

I know I overworked it this past year (I may, or may not, have neglected to turned it off for ummm, the several months I was on bed rest). It's performance has slowly been deteriorating. And this weekend it decided it had had enough. On Friday, it just completely froze up. On Saturday, we got it running again, but it kept shutting down randomly. On Sunday morning, not all the keys on the keyboard worked. By last night, it was working again, so I wrote a post just catching up on what has been going on lately, and then it shut down again. ARGH!

We have *gasp* started the search for a new laptop. It's kind of sad for me, I love my computer (it was the first credit card purchase I ever made!). But I know it's time to move on. It's been a great little laptop for the last 5 years, and has put up with a lot of abuse, including toddlers spilling things on it, being dropped on the floor, and being yelled at a multitude of times.

So, before it shuts down again, I'll do a quick update on us. We finally bought all our plants for the landscaping in front of our house (ooh, exciting stuff, I know). We went to our second heart group get together. It's always nice to talk with parents of other heart babies & see how well their kids are doing. Joe & I were going to attempt a night out alone, but that didn't happen. Will is doing great. Julianna is SLOWLY potty training, but that's going to be a post all in itself!

Does anyone have any suggestions for a good (but not too pricey) laptop? I'm not an apple fan (being in education I've used them plenty & just don't like them).

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Why I Still Go To Preemie Parent Meetings

Ever since Julianna was 2 months old, I have been going to the monthly meetings for parents of preemies at the NICU she was in. Sometimes, the topics aren't really relevant to me, but I go anyway (partially because it's its one of my few nights out alone!). Tonight's speakers were the two OT's that Julianna saw, Mary was her OT while in the NICU and Stacy was her OT for 9 months once she was home.

After the meeting, I spent quite awhile talking with Stacy about Julianna and then about Will. She was so excited to hear how well Julianna is doing, but said she was disappointed Julianna didn't get PT intervention sooner than she has (she has yet to have a PT session since qualifying over a month ago). She also gave me several things we can do with Will, since he isn't allowed tummy time, to help with his development. She also told me that I can get Will into the "Yes, You Can" program for therapy, which means he could possibly see Stacy for his OT once he's cleared for it. That would be great, because we already know her and loved having her work with Julianna.

She and Mary are also talking to the social worker in the NICU about some other programs Will might qualify for to help with getting him therapy and other things. I was surprised that the social worker at AC's never mentioned it to us, so either she knew Will wouldn't qualify so why bother with it, or with everything going on it was just "missed". Either way, I am willing to do whatever I need to to get him all the help he needs.

This isn't the first time I've gone to a PPC meeting and come away with some important information. Last spring, the director of Julianna's early intervention school spoke and that's how I found out Julianna qualified to go there and should have been since she came home from the hospital. Because the meetings have people that have had preemies and dealt with medical issues, they can also be filled with really useful information.

Leaving the meeting tonight with all the information I did, that could help my non-preemie kid, is the reason I still go to the preemie parent meetings.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I know moms shouldn't compare their kids. I'm talking about comparing your own kids. But with 2 kiddos that both have had medical issues, weight, feeding and developmental issues and whose due dates were only a day apart, it's hard not to. I often find myself looking in Julianna's baby book to see what she was doing by this age.

I compare what milestones they each hit at this age (Will is behind, but since he's still not allowed tummy time, I'm not surprised). I compare how much they were eating (Julianna was a little piggy compared to Will, but he's only about an ounce a bottle behind). Julianna was sleeping all night by this age (Will is close, some nights he actually sleeps all night...wish I could).

I also compare their weight. Since Julianna was a preemie, she was often far below where she should have been on the charts. Will is also not where he should be, however he was in the 17th% as of his last appointment with Dr. M! Will's 11lbs 10oz was actually a few ounces more than Julianna at the same age. He is about 1/2 an inch longer. But looking at pictures of each of them I would never guess he weighs more than she did!

Will and Julianna at the same age (hers adjusted)...and he weighs more than she did!

I think he just looks so tiny compared to her! Once Julianna started to put on weight, she did it very quickly, so I am kind of expecting the difference in weight to start to widen. In order for Will to keep up, he has to be at least 13lbs 7oz by his appointment with Dr Awesome the end of July. I am hoping he can manage it! But he has to start eating better again!
Eat boy! Eat!

Monday, July 12, 2010

It's Hard When You Remember

Will is such a typical baby. He is eating well, growing, talking up a storm, and smiling and laughing constantly. Even though he gets meds twice a day and sees his cardiologist every 6 weeks, it's still so easy to forget sometimes that he has Shone's. I mean, it's always in the back of my mind, and it makes me a much more mom, but still, there's times I can almost forget.

Since the day Will was diagnosed a week before his birth, I have been in touch with other families with little ones (& big ones) with CHD's. It is so helpful and reassuring to hear the input of parents of "older" kids and hear ideas that worked for them. It's also been helpful to meet parents with kiddos Will's age. We've met Jacob who is just 9 days older than Will and has already had several heart caths and his first OHS. And I met Amy, who was still pregnant with her little girl. This past week Hannah arrived and today, at just 5 days old, is having her first OHS.

I find myself, although not knowing these families for long, checking my computer frequently for updates and the good news that the babies are doing well on surgery days. Will did not have to have OHS, but that doesn't mean it has been completely ruled out as of yet. It will all depend on how well his heart does as he grows. And so far it is doing AMAZING!

It is so very very hard when you remember what could happen and that although Will seems so typical in many ways, he will always be a heart baby and therefore not be typical.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Pictures of My Mean Children

I am trying so hard to get back into my daily blogging (ok, I'd be happy with every other day again), but it's just so hard to find time most days. And then the days I do have time, I often find myself at a loss for things to write about. I mean I'll start writing something and then re-read it and think "who the heck would care about this?". So I delete it and decided that having no post that day is better than the gibberish I had just typed.

Today is one of those days where I have time to write, but just don't have any interesting topics. So, instead I will just distract you from my lack of witty interesting to read posts with adorable pictures of my ADORABLE children (seriously, I just typed "chickens" instead of children and had to fix it, pretty sure pictures of chickens would not be the way to go here).

Julianna asleep during lunch while camping over the 4th.

Attempt #1 to fit his entire fist in his mouth.

He is a persistent little man!

This is what happens when you take away daily TV, and then let your daughter watch old Mickey cartoons...they are AMAZING to her. She didn't move for almost 40 minutes!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Routine Maintenance

I started putting together a daily routine when Julianna was 6 months old (3 months adjusted). I had a daily routine for both her and I which included her feedings, my eating, her naps, my housework, free time for me, playtime for both of us, and much more. Well, that all went to heck in a hand basket when I went on bed rest (OK, so maybe it went south a lot earlier in the pregnancy). Will is now about the same age Julianna was when I stared a daily routine, so I have begun the process of getting back into a daily routine ad tweaking it until I find one that works for us.

Things I am trying to fit into our routine:
~Will's feedings and naps (we've started having nap times...and so far so good!)
~Daily household chores (dishes, cleaning, laundry, etc...)
~Crafts, activities & lessons for Julianna
~Time to bake, cook & make some of our own foods (salsa, jams, etc...) again
~Time to blog more frequently again
~Time for exercise (yuck)

Things I am trying to cut out of our daily life:
~TV (I got really relaxed with TV time while on bed rest, but it's easy to cut out in the summertime!)
~Wasting time (I often come to the end of my day and realized I accomplished only a fraction of what I wanted to simply because I just didn't do it)

I am getting back into a routine slowly, I don't want to deal with either kiddo having a completely breakdown over a massive change. Will's feedings and naps are the first thing I've been working on since it will determine how everything else goes. So far he has drastically improved his sleeping habits! Instead of 6 or 7 random short naps during the day, the last 2 days he has taken 3 longer naps, which makes for a lot more time to accomplish other things!

Although this is a slow process, I am hoping to have a routine in place by the end of July. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Hot Weather = Dumb Me

I think this hot weather has melted my brain and made me dumb.

Here's an example, twice, while doing laundry, I forgot to start the dryer and went down an hour later to still wet clothes. I also left the lid open on the washer once, so it filled, but didn't run, and I had to wait another 30 minutes till I could start another load.

Another example, I wrote a blog post before we went to the camper for the holiday weekend and I forgot to post it (it's no longer relevant so it won't get posted). It was good, I was happy with it and now it's been junked, because it should have been posted last Friday.

The saying "you'd forget your head if it wasn't attached to your shoulders" TOTALLY describes me these days. I must find a cure for this new onset of ignorance. I'm thinking just don't leave the safety of my AC.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

My Guest Post

I wrote a guest post for Hall of Fame Moms and it is today's post! GO CHECK IT OUT!! This is the first guest post I have done and am very excited that Tracey decided to use it. It's about the "baby binders" I make for my kids. I didn't have any pics for it before, so I decided to add some here.


Table of Contents

Example page: Will's med schedule (he's on 3 less now)

Make sure you check out Hall of Fame Moms, Tracey covers a variety of subjects in her posts.