Friday, September 30, 2011

Good news for a change!

When Jayce and I arrived at his Orthopedic appointment Tuesday morning, we were prepared to get a full plaster cast that extended above his elbow.

Instead, we got one of these:

No, not the Dr. Evil-finger-to-the-mouth smile. That comes free with Jayce. :)

The doctor said that buckle fractures were no big deal. And that in the past 30 years of him practicing bone healing, he'd never seen one that needed a cast. He even told Jayce he could still play soccer! :)

Was Jayce happy? No, he was not!

Jayce wanted a plaster cast. One that all his friends could sign. He ordered the doctor to go get him one.

He finally convinced Jayce that plaster casts were heavy and smelly and he would only like it for one day. Then he showed Jayce how to do all the velcro straps on his brace.

"I can take it off whenever I feel like it?" Jayce asked, amazed.

I was worried that he wouldn't keep it on. I was worried for nothing. Jayce doesn't even like to take it off during his bath. He never complains about his arm hurting him unless his brace is off. Then he holds his wrist in his other hand and asks me to hurry with his bath.

Hopefully he'll only have to wear it about 3 weeks or so.

Me, on the other hand?

Not such good news.

I probably didn't mention it weeks ago, but around 19 weeks pregnant or so, I hurt my left foot. I have no idea how I did it. One morning I woke up and it hurt. It was about the time when my morning sickness stopped and I started walking in my neighborhood again. Coincidentally, I also got shin splints the exact same time. My body sure showed me what would happen if I took an 18 week break from exercising!

So, I just ignored the pain in my foot. I mean, seriously... even if it was broken, what is a doctor going to do about it?

I was in Vegas (pictures to come soon, I promise!) when I realized that I was going to have to take this foot thing more seriously. Every night it was swollen and throbbing.

Finally, I get in to see my family doctor. She thinks, "Stress fracture", takes x-rays, and tells me to keep my foot iced and elevated for a week. I just laughed at her. Then I asked her if she was married with kids. She said, "No." Figures. Only an unmarried woman would assume that a husband would clean, cook dinner, and take care of the kids for a week. My own husband would clean, but that's about it!

So, I leave the office and go on my merry way. Honestly, the pain is only bad at night now. I tell myself that I'm going to try to rest a little more and at least stop playing baseball with Jayce outside. I can't tell you how many times I've been in pain after running bases!

A few days later, my doctor calls. "Um... its not a stress fracture. The hospital radiologist says you have several fractures that showed up on your x-ray. You are going to need a cast."

A cast, with crutches? Not gonna happen. I keep an almost 11 month old in  my house. Not to mention run a photography side business that is booked up for the month of October.

We compromised with a walking boot.

When I came home with it Thursday afternoon, I told Jayce, "Look! We match!"

He looks at my seriously and says, "No, mom. You broke your foot. I broke my arm. That does not match."

Okay, fine.

Now Jaina just needs to break something! :)

just kidding!!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Before and After Blog Hop: Newborn

I'm so sad to hear that one of my favorite Blog Hops on the internet is going to be closing down. I can't say that I was a faithful participant, but I certainly did enjoy it when I found the time to link up! Thank you, Monica, so much for hosting this for the past 18 months.

This is my Straight Out of Camera Shot (SOOC):

What an adorable baby! I appreciate my friend trusting me to do her newborn's portraits.

But here's what's wrong with this picture....
- I broke the cardinal rule in Newborn Photography. I did not over expose this image. Overexposing is crucial to minimize the red splotchy newborn look that so many babies have. As an added challenge, this newborn was also jaundiced. See all the yellow and red skin tones in her face?

-But I loved the fact that this super tiny newborn (I believe she was only 5 days old?) was staring straight into my camera. Open eye shots of newborns is always hit or miss. Newborns tend to look cross eyed or unfocused when their eyes are open. And there's no telling what they'll be doing with their mouths :) Its too early for smiles at this age, too, which is why 95% of newborn portraits are taken while baby is fast asleep.

At first, I tried to fix skin tones by adjusting exposure in Curves. Then I adjusted color balance by adding blue and cyan and green to compensate for all the red and yellow. Then I adjusted saturation and lowered the yellow and red.

I still wasn't happy. Maybe it was just my eyes or my monitor, but I couldn't get the yellow cast to go completely away. So, when all else fails.... Black and White baby!


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Its a Greek Tragedy

It must really be Fall now in our town since the Annual Greek Fest was this past weekend!

The Festival was rained out last year, but the kids remembered how much fun they had the year before and they were very excited to go again!

It started to rain immediately after we had spent all our tickets at the Bouncy Houses, so we hightailed it into the dining room to eat some excellent greek food! As an added bonus, we even got to sit with our good friends, Dodi and Vince :)

The rain had stopped by the time we'd finished and we were all set to go see the Greek dancers. The kids saw the church's new playground and wanted to stop there instead for a minute.

The kids started playing a game that involved jumping off of those "rock" steps. I was watching them do it the whole time and didn't think anything of it.

Then Jaina decided to jump off the very top step. She landed just fine.

Then Jayce decided to copy her. Um, his didn't end up as well.

3 hours later, we were home from the ER with a temporary soft cast/splint, prescription for tylenol with codeine, and copies of x-rays that showed a buckle fracture in his left arm.

Jaina made him a get well soon pumpkin :) With bandaids and everything!

We're just headed out here in a bit to see the Orthopedic doctor to get a more permanent cast and some new instructions. Not quite sure what this means for piano lessons, soccer games (there's only 5 weeks left!), or our big Universal Studios Trip scheduled for November.

Only time will tell :)

Saturday, September 24, 2011


It pretty much rained here all week.


I'm the first to admit that I can't stand stormy weather. I like my sunshine, thankyouverymuch. I know we need the rain and all, but I could honestly do without it.

Gotta hand it to the teachers at school, though. They thought of creative ways to do "recess" indoors. Jaina told me she learned how to play "Heads Up, 7 Up". I used to love that game when I was in elementary school!

Jayce came home and said, "I played CHECKERS today, mom! I loved it!"

I responded, "I didn't know you knew how to play checkers, Jayce! That's great!"

He said, "I don't know how to play! Can you teach me?"

Well, actually, I can't. I never learned how to play checkers. We don't even own a checkers board in this house.

But I do love me some chess :)

My brother Jeff taught me when I was 7. I bought a board for Brian when we were still dating and kidless and we'd spend many nights playing a game or two. He always won, though!

So, I convinced Jayce that chess was SO much cooler than checkers.

We started out learning about pawns and what direction they can move in. And why they can only take another piece out diagonally. 

He kept saying, "This is easy, mom! Why do people say chess is hard?"

Then he learned how all the other pieces move.

It took some careful thought to figure out what to move next.

He quickly learned that the Queen was the most powerful player on the board. And he loved the idea of "Check" and "Check Mate". 

We've played every day since then. I think I've created a monster :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I Heart Faces: A Touch of Sun

I seldom have a recent photo that meets the requirements for the weekly theme. Normally, I scramble to find inspiration during the busy weekend right before entries are open to the public on Monday. This time I'm glad I didn't have to scramble because there was not a scrap of sun at all this weekend!

This photo was taken last weekend of one of my favorite families. Those of you who know me in real life will recognize the  baby immediately, but in the interest of privacy, I won't be posting her name :)

She certainly is a "touch of sunshine" :) I am so lucky to know this wonderful family!

Check out all the other entries (there were 700 last time I checked!) over at I Heart Faces.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Its so hard to say goodbye

It was hard to do, but sometimes things in life just aren't easy.

When the vet talked to us at 6:30, she said Alli had not moved on her own for hours, barely even lifting her head when someone walked in the room.

For the entire hour we were with her, she kept her head held high and seemed to enjoy the petting and attention we gave her.

This new activity gave Jaina a renewed sense of hope, which honestly made it harder for her to accept that we had to put her down. Even though Alli put on a brave face the last hour of her life, lab work showed that she was just not going to get better.

Today has been hard. Shaggy, our other dog, does not know quite what to do. Brian tried to encourage Shaggy to stay on the couch with him to watch TV, but that's just not Shaggy's personality. It was Alli's. When Jaina went to feed the dogs tonight, there was only one cup of food needed in the bowls.

She's sleeping with Alli's collar in bed with her right now. I know its going to take some time.

Jayce is processing this completely different than Jaina. I have to be honest and say that I've never been as embarrassed about his autism as I was yesterday at the Vet's office. He was being SO inappropriate. He berated Jaina for crying. He said he wasn't going to miss Alli at all and he'd only cry if she got her leg chopped off. He was completely fascinated by the medicine they would use to put her to sleep. He kept asking when her heart would stop and when would she be dead? When the time came, he was way too excited about watching. The worst part? We thought he wanted to pet her one last time, but all he wanted to do was to lift her head up and watch it flop back on the exam table, lifeless. I think he managed to do that 3 times before Brian and I dragged him from the room.

Sigh. Luckily Brian and I had taken separate cars and he took Jayce home with him so Jaina could cry in peace in my van.

This morning, Jayce kept reminding Jaina that Alli was dead now. I've already emailed his therapists about creating a social understanding story about a pet's death. He has been working in an Emotions workbook for a year now. He does great with it.... at our kitchen table. Generalizing into every day life? Not so much.

Anyway, thanks to everyone who has been so wonderful and supportive both here on my blog and on my FB account. Your kind words mean so much.

In the mean time, Jaina and I are making a photo book of our favorite photos of Alli. If I can share the link when we are done, I will do so.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bittersweet homecoming

We returned last night safely from our week long trip to Las Vegas. When we arrived home, we found a sick child and a sick dog.

The sick child ended up with a sore throat and a fever. Just a virus, the doctor said. She was better this morning and even played in her soccer game.

Our sick dog didn't have the same prognosis. Alli has long since suffered from chronic pancreantitis. She must have gotten in the trash at some point this week and had another flare up. In the past, this has been easily treated by limiting her food and giving her some extra fluid via IV.

This time, she went downhill fast. By the time we rushed her to the weekend vet, she was already in kidney and liver failure. 6 hours of IV fluid did nothing to replenish her electrolytes.

We had talked about transferring her to the big Emergency Animal Hospital in Greenville so she could continue to receive treatment. But by the time we got to the vet's office, she was showing signs of nerve damage. Our vet cautioned us that she would probably not make it through the night. Or not even the ride to the next town over.

We chose to put her down, much to our 9 year old's dismay. Jaina still doesn't understand why we made this decision. As soon as I heard that Alli wouldn't make it, I drove the kids up to the vet to see her one last time. It was very very hard on all of us.

I have pictures, but haven't uploaded them tonight. I'll post them later this week. For now, here's how we'll remember her:

Monday, September 12, 2011


I'm leaving my babies for five straight days. I'm leaving my friends, too. I'm leaving my blog, email, and Facebook world. I'm leaving laundry, dishes, and alarm clocks. I'm leaving car pool lines, packing school lunches, soccer practice, and piano lessons. I'm leaving my van. I'm leaving my dogs.

I'm leaving my life, as I know it, for the better part of a week. I won't be leaving my husband, though, since he's the one taking me!

We are off to Las Vegas, Nevada this morning. I'll be leaving my life in the care of my mom. She's raised four kids; she knows what she is doing. (at least, I think we all turned out okay!).

Jaina cried tonight when I put her to bed. Jayce claimed that he wasn't going to miss me at all.

I found out today that our posh hotel does not have free internet access. That kinda blew my mind! I mean, you can go down the street here to the nearest motel and have free Wi-fi. I'll be taking my laptop just in case, but chances are I won't get online during our trip.

This is my first trip West of the midwest. Missouri, Kansas, and Iowa are as far as I've been across the country. I'm excited to see a new place and experience this so-called "dry heat" that is supposedly very different than our southern humidity.

I am more excited than anything. The excitement has eaten away at the nervousness and guilt I've felt at leaving my kids. I think the truth of this matter is, "Mommy needs a break". And I recognize this. I wouldn't be leaving my children if I didn't think it would do us both a world of good. My kids could do a week without my constantly nagging them. "Did you practice piano yet? No, you may not have a snack 30 minutes before dinner! Go feed the dogs, NOW, like I asked you to three times already!"

This new baby coming in January will change everything. It will change my marriage, my relationship with Jaina and Jayce, our family dynamic as a whole. It will change even my role of Mommy. I will not just have my two independent school aged kids to think about. I will welcome the newborn stage of sleepless nights and constant nursing, but I also realize the deeper commitment I am making to this new son or daughter for the next 2 years. Or, really, 18 years. Being a mommy to a baby is completely different than being a mommy to older kids.

And that is why we are taking this opportunity to sneak away from our every day life. Because soon, I won't be able to. Honestly, I won't want to. I will relish in the fact that my new baby will only want me. Will only be fed by me. Will only drift off to sleep in my arms. I am anticipating that bond with my third child.

But until then, I'm going to take this opportunity to refresh my stores. Hopefully when I come back, Jaina and Jayce will have a refreshed mommy, a less impatient mommy, a less tired mommy, a mommy that doesn't nag quite so much.

Have a wonderful week, my blogging friends! And know that I'll be doing the same!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten on 10: September

ten on ten button
I remembered!!!! Thanks to my Google Calendar Reminder on my computer! Now why haven't I thought of doing that before?

The project has since grown to be a fun and interactive way for blogger's from all around the globe to document a snap shot of their lives too, once a month on the tenth taking a photo an hour for ten consecutive hours. Finding much life and beauty among the ordinary things of our day!

(yes, the pregnant woman ate a leftover Subway sandwich for breakfast. Don't ask.)
 Anyone else super excited about SMG's return? I was reading EW instead of cleaning the bathroom like I should have been doing!

Getting ready for soccer while reading "I Wish That I Had Duck Feet".

Let the first game of the season begin! The kids played at exactly the same time on different fields.

Both Jaina and Jayce received stickers for Best Effort.

We always head to McD's on Saturday for lunch!

Its hard to find the "beauty" in a messy playroom that is about to be cleaned, but I tried!

Amazingly, the kids played together quietly all afternoon while we cleaned.

There are two things wrong with this picture. First, my husband the beer snob, is drinking a Coors Light. Secondly, he's watching the UGA vs. USC college football game. Neither thing has ever been done on a Saturday afternoon before at our house.

My mailbox flowers are all but dead. Except for these hardy impatiens.

Want to do your own Ten on Ten next month? Link up at A Bit of Sunshine! Don't forget to put October 10th on your calendar!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

And It's A.....

Healthy Baby :)

Sorry for the "picture of a picture" quality, but we don't own a scanner. Hubby has one at work and that's good enough for him. Honestly, my HS and College friends are probably glad I don't own one at home :)

Anyway, we got to see "Baby J #3" yesterday. Everything looks great! The maternal/fetal specialist had no concerns whatsoever. I don't even have to go back for the rest of my pregnancy! That's how awesome things looked.

My first thought when I saw the baby's profile on screen was, "I really hope that's a boy in there. That's a big nose! I think it would look funny on a girl!" When comparing u/s pictures to that of my other two....


And Jaina:

I realized that the noses weren't that different between kids. But I'm still thinking BOY. What about you??

The tech just had us close our eyes any time she scanned the lower part of the baby. As soon as a leg or foot would be on the screen, she'd tell us it was safe to look. I asked her if SHE was able to see the gender and know what we were having and she said, "Not gonna say."

As soon as the doctor walked in for the consult, the first thing he said was, "And no, I don't know what your baby is. Its not even written down in your chart."

With Jaina, I expected a boy. Girls are a rarity in both Brian and my families. I was very surprised when she was a girl at her 18 week u/s. With Jayce, I knew from the first trimester that he was a boy. I just knew. Not surprised at all when that was confirmed at 19 weeks.

I am feeling boy on this one, but not 100% like I was with Jayce. Here's the thing that's messing me up.... with Jayce, I couldn't eat anything sweet. No cake, no ice cream, no cocoa pebbles in the morning. With Jaina, I craved sweet stuff, especially fruit. Well, if I went on my cravings alone this time, I'd be so quick to think "Girl". But I'm just not sure.

All I can tell you is that I'll be driving myself (and my blog readers and friends IRL) crazy for another 19 weeks. I don't know if I can do this!!! But what choice do I have? If I was going to find out, it would have been yesterday. I think I missed my chance!

So, based on the profile picture alone.... what are you guys thinking? Boy or Girl?

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Happy Adoption Anniversary Shaggy!

Okay, so I know I'm late with this, but I didn't want to just skip over this very important anniversary. It was just a little over a year ago when we first found Shaggy in our yard after coming back from our neighbor's Fantasy Football draft.

(If you want, you can read about our first day with him here and read about his broken leg here. )

Shaggy has definitely found a place in our family.

Even Alli has benefited from Shaggy's presence. The vet claims that Shaggy's youthfulness has helped keep up Alli's exercise.

We all love Shaggy, however, Jaina continues to have a special relationship with him.

I have to say that without ever being professionally trained, Shaggy's a pretty good dog. He's eager to please and has thankfully stopped chewing on all of our shoes.

He got a clean bill of health at the vet's office last week. His leg has healed nicely.

We love you Shaggy!