Easter Fun | Celebrations

Our church is amazing.  This last Sunday was palm Sunday.  Palm Sunday is very important for us as Christians.  It represents the start to the holy week before Easter Sunday.  Jesus entered into Jerusalem a week before his crucifixion knowing that he was going to be making a sacrifice.  When he entered Jerusalem, the people waved their palm branches symbolizing goodness and victory while shouting Hosanna which means save, rescue, or savior.  On this particular Sunday every year, the children in the nursery at our church wave their palm leaves around at the beginning of the big church service before the preaching starts.  Of course the children don’t quite understand the meaning behind it, but it is still important for the adults.  Drew carried Reagan while she waved her leaf (more like stared blankly at all of the people looking at her), and I carried Sadie.  It is really great for all of the elderly members of our church to get to see the children.  They really love it.  After, the children waved their leaves they went back to the nursery until church was finished.

Now, every year the weekend before Easter, we have a huge Easter egg hunt for the kids.  They create little areas for the different age groups that way it is pretty fair.  Reagan and Sadie were both in the two and under section.  I held Sadie while she hunted eggs.  It was pretty windy so she pretty much just stayed bundled up in her blanket the whole time.

Drew watched Reagan run around. Last year, she only wanted specific colors, but this year she understood that eggs have candy in them.  Needless to say, she was grabbing as many as she could.

She very quickly filled her basket, but when we went to give her sister’s basket to fill she was not very happy. She wanted her green basket.

We also had some very nice members bring a bunny rabbit for all the children to pet.  Reagan kept going to touch it, and when she would finally make contact she would jump back and squeal.  She melts my heart!  img_1311-1

Her best friend came so of course we had to get a picture of them together!  Myia is always very stylish.  She is a little Diva.  I love her. She even managed to get the special prize egg for the second year in a row!  You see, Myia loves img_1281-1sparkly things, so if the prize egg is wrapped in foil she will definitely go for that first!  She is so very special and precious to our family.  Her and Reagan always have so much fun together.  You may wonder what kind of fun and trouble can 2 two year olds get into, but let me just say they keep us on our toes constantly.  We will sometimes hear them in the living room.  You see, we have a few electronics.  Reagan knows she is not supposed to touch them, however, when Myia comes over we will often hear Reagan telling Myia that she should touch the buttons and turn them on….Yeah, my kid is a handful.  Anyways, I love that they are able to partake in this tradition every year with our church.  It’s very special.

After the kids hunt all the eggs, our church has a huge lunch for all of the members.  The church provides the fried chicken, rolls, drinks, and desserts while each family brings a side dish.  It really is such a fun time of fellowship.  We are blessed by having such a strong and generous church family.

I love that we do all of these fun things the weekend before Easter.  This allows us to actually focus on the true meaning of Easter, which is celebrating the resurrection of our savior Jesus Christ.  Hunting eggs is so much fun and we all love to see the joy on our children’s faces (or husband’s) when they get so much candy, but Easter is meant to celebrate so much more.  Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice so that our sinful hearts could be saved by God’s grace.  Hug your family members and share in God’s love this Easter, but don’t forget who we are really celebrating and why.  Happy Easter!

 

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Sadie Bug | Little Princesses

Whew! What a week it has been.  I know it has been so long since I have posted anything, but I’m back.  Last Tuesday, we took Sadie to see her geneticist.  Her appointment was earlier in the day so we thought we could take Reagan with us and then go to the zoo afterwards.  So, we loaded up in the car and made the big trip to Ft. Worth.

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Yes, she is showing off her abilities to blow bubbles.

 

Sadie’s appointment went great!  Her geneticist is so impressed with her development that she said she won’t need to see her for a whole year.  That was amazing news to us as I am sure you can imagine.  She was happy and smiling all morning for the doctor.  Sadie is very much a happy baby.  Not much upsets her.  Her basic states of mind are happy, hungry, playful, and did I mention happy?  Now don’t get me wrong, she definitely has her fair share of tantrums, but for the most part she is a very easy to please little girl.  After her appointment, my husband and I went to a nearby lab to get our blood drawn because we are getting our genetic testing done.  This will let us know if Sadie’s syndrome was a fluke thing or if one of us was a carrier for it.  Either way, she is still amazingly beautifully perfect!

After we were done with our lab work, we took Reagan’s temperature because she was acting off.  Turns out she had 102 fever.  So, instead of the zoo, we gave her some Tylenol and ate lunch.  We went to El Fenix because they have the absolute BEST chips.  Of course Reagan wanted some hot sauce, so what did we do?  We gave it to her, but it was after we told her that it was really hot and she kept insisting that she get some.  Now, for those of you that don’t know my two year old….well she is two and she is the queen of our household so she demands a lot from us.  We are working on that.  But anyways, after she got her hot sauce she immediately stuck her tongue out and looked at me like “Mom, why didn’t you tell me it was hot?”.

Sadie, enjoyed our lunch just as much as we did.  That was until a very sweet older grandma that sat next to us decided that she wanted to hold Sadie while I ate my lunch.  Talk about having a little freak out (On my part).  I had no idea what to do, and before I even had time to react she was holding Sadie.  That was the fastest lunch I have ever eaten.  I mean I didn’t even eat half of it because I was concentrating so hard on the fact that this sweet little lady (which she was incredibly kind and nice) whom I didn’t know was holding my child.  Now, some of you are probably thinking “Why the heck did you let some stranger hold your child?”  Let me tell you why.  I have absolutely no boundaries.  It is horrible really.  I feel awful when I tell people no.  If I feel like I am disappointing or letting someone down, I won’t tell them no.  Now, that doesn’t mean that if I felt like this woman was going to do harm to my child I wouldn’t have told her no.  I promise I would have, but she was very kind and completely harmless.  She even told me that she has three grandbabies of her own!  Anyways, let’s move on.  After our lunch we took Reagan to Academy and Best Buy because her fever was gone.  You will be shocked to know that she arrived home with a brand new pair of sparkly blue flip flops (or “sip sops” as she used to call them) and the movie The Good Dinosaur.  All in all it was a fantastic day and a great little family adventure!

Life’s Little Moments | Mommy Help

 

Life can be tough.  I have learned that many times over.  My pregnancy and delivery with Sadie taught me some very valuable lessons about faith, love, and grace.  Our lives are tough enough as it is, but when we add the filth and evil that the world loves, it makes life even harder.  There are many obstacles in our future that we are going to have to face (especially regarding our children), but what I have learned is to not dwell on that.  Like I said, life is tough.  Enjoy the little moments that you have where you don’t have dinner to cook, work to be done, or bills to pay.  Don’t worry about what tomorrow will bring because you have been given plenty today.  img_1221-1I have struggled with worry for many years, but one day I just realized that life is way to short to constantly worry.  You know what else I learned?  I learned that life also has plans of its own.  So enjoy the time you have with your family, playing outside with the kids, baking a cake (if you like to bake), or watching your little girls watch Frozen together! It gives life hope and happiness in a world that is full of nasty.  I came into the living room one evening last week and found these sweet girls watching Frozen together and it made my heart happy.  I am so blessed to be their mommy.  I thank God for choosing me to have the honor of being their mommy.  I love these girls to the moon and back with their sticky kisses and all!

Wedding Bells | Celebrations

   

  
Last night my baby brother (I guess technically he is Drew’s baby brother, but I call him my brother none the less) got married. When he was standing up there waiting on his bride, it was hard for me to imagine him married. I mean I can still remember when they would call his name over the intercom at school to go to ISS (In school suspension). So, imagine this same little boy getting married 😳…..Yeah, it was hard for me too. Anyways, as I watched him say his vows I realized I was very proud of him. I am proud of his morals. I am proud of his independence. I am proud of his stubbornness. I am proud of his love for his wife. And I am proud of his relationship with God. His momma did an outstanding job of raising him and he has done just as outstanding in keeping to her and the bible’s teachings. I loved looking at his three brothers’ faces while he was talking. You could see how proud of him that they were. It is such an amazing gift to witness. The bond they all share is truly something special.  

  

  
Now, I haven’t known Stacey (the bride) quite as long as I have known Isacc (my brother), but I will definitely say that he chose very well. She is kind, funny, smart, and faithful. Her strength is amazing to see. She is a nurse in one of our local nursing homes, and that job suits her exceptionally well. Her kind heart allows her to care for others, while her strength allows her to set boundaries. I admire her for having those abilities. 

  
I was honored enough to be chosen as one of her bridesmaids. It was so special getting to share in this blessed time with her. I was extremely grateful for being chosen, but I was also wondering what I was going to do with my girls since Drew was also in the wedding. You mothers out there can imagine the stress that comes along with that worry. Thankfully, we have some pretty amazing friends that took that worry from me! They were absolutely amazing. My good friend Laura watched Sadie and Reagan the whole day while I got ready for the wedding. Her husband was the photographer so she came early with him. This was not an easy task for her. First of all, she is pregnant and due in June. Again, those of you mothers out there can relate to the frequent urination, exhaustion, and uncomfortableness of being pregnant. And secondly, my two year old is two. I repeat, my two year old is two. She has got her momma’s charm and her daddy’s energy. 

  
During the ceremony it was a group effort with our lovelies. My best friend D’Lancye and her husband Jo came so when Reagan didn’t cooperate (because let’s face it, what two year old is going to stand up in front of a crowd for an entire wedding?) D’Lancye took Reagan for a walk. Before the wedding started and at the beginning of the ceremony, they helped Laura out by giving her arms a little bit of a break. 

 
My friends are huge blessings in my life. I am so thankful that God gave me such loving, giving, and kind people that love Jesus to call my friends. And yes, I’m a horrible mother because I didn’t get any pictures of Reagan on my phone. We were so busy I didn’t even get a picture of my little family!! I was pretty bummed when I realized that.   We did get a picture with the bride and groom though and I guess that’s the most important part anyway right? Congrats Isaac and Stacey! I’m so proud of you both and I pray you have such a blessed marriage. 

  

  
   

   

Cereal for Breakfast | Little Princesses

   
 Let me preface this by saying that Sadie is still not sleeping through the night. She likes to wake up at 12am, 2am, 4am, and 5am. It’s exhausting so we talked to her pediatrician about starting her on some cereal. Being that she is now 4 months old, her pediatrician thought that would be a great idea. She told us we could start feeding her some cereal and then graduate her to some sweet potato and carrots whenever she gets the hang of the spoon. So in a desperate attempt to get some more sleep at night, we have started her on cereal! Sunday morning was the first attempt. It took her awhile to realize what she was supposed to do with a spoon, but once she figured it out she really liked it. She is also a super messy eater. Yes, it is her getting cereal all over her face and not me 😁.  

 She is such a big girl! I love that she is gaining weight so well. We take her back to her back to her genetic doctor tomorrow and I know they will be impressed with her progress. God is good! I cannot say it enough. You can weather any storm with Him by your side. Four months ago Sadie was 4 pounds and in the hospital because she couldn’t eat, and now here she is 12 pounds and eating cereal with a spoon! Her progress is amazing and I am so proud of her. 

Faithful Planning | Little Princesses

 

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Those of you that know me know that I am a planner.  I plan everything, but sometimes God throws us a curveball and our plans absolutely don’t go according to how you would like for them to go.  When a plan gets thrown off, we become fearful, angry, or even sad.  When I got pregnant with our second daughter I had a plan.  The plan was simple.  It wasn’t anything extravagant, but it was a plan none the less.  My plan was to have her at Ennis Regional Medical Center, everything would go smoothly, and we would get to bring her home to her sister two days later (I say two days because I already knew she would have to be a C-section due to the fact that Reagan was a C-section).  My plan did not happen.

I found out I was pregnant in March of 2015.  My pregnancy started out great.  I had a little nausea but never threw up.  I kept my weight gain in the range it was supposed to be, and I exercised to stay healthy.  We had a trip planned for July of 2015 to Disney World (Those of you who know me also know that I am a Mickey Mouse fanatic.  I mean like I could live at Disney World and my life would be complete).  Two weeks before we were supposed to leave to go on our trip, I had a normal check up with my doctor.  As she was listening to Sadie’s heart rate with her little handheld thingy (yes that is a technical medical term) we both noticed that her heart beat sounded really funny.  It wasn’t the normal thumping that you hear.  I watched the doctor’s face to see if I was just hearing things or if it was abnormal.  She told me that she thought Sadie had a heart arrhythmia and that we needed to go see a specialist to get her looked at.  Before I had left the doctor’s office they already had me an appointment for the following week to see the maternal fetal medicine specialist.  Everything happened so fast that I didn’t quite have time to process it.  One moment your baby is fine and healthy and the next you are being told to see a specialist because her heart isn’t normal.  I got into the car and started driving to Corsicana (which was about 30 minutes away) to meet Drew for lunch.  I called him and told him what the doctor said.  Of course he was scared but trying to be positive.  I called my mom because well let’s just face it, even though I’m 23 I still want my mom when I am scared.  She told me she was going to meet me in town for lunch with Drew because she needed to see me. As soon as I hung up the phone with her I cried.  I cried for a good 10 minutes because I was fearful, angry, and sad.  My plan was not going according to how it was supposed to go.  In my fear I cried out to God.  I asked him to place His comforting arms around my family and myself and for us to not worry about this issue but to hand it over to Him.  Now, this was a big deal for me because not only am I a planner, but I am a worrier as well.  I mean I worry about the smallest thing to the point that my husband gets annoyed with me.  I worry about things that could happen in 10 years.  It is extremely unhealthy.  But you know what?  The strangest thing happened after I got done praying.  My tears dried up and immediately I felt at peace.  I knew without a shadow of a doubt that God was there with me.  He was holding me and reminding me that this was out of my control.  So I met Drew and my parents for lunch and we talked about the appointment, and I never felt alone.img_0013

The next week we went to the specialist and she informed me that Sadie did in fact have a heart arrhythmia.  She said it wasn’t anything to be too worried about, and that most of the time they fix themselves before the baby is even born.  This was a huge relief for me as I’m sure you can imagine.  She also told us that she would want to see us once a month until the end of the pregnancy just to monitor everything.  So, what did we do after we got this good news?  We went to Disney World of course!

After our trip, life resumed like normal until my next check-up.  I went to my doctor expecting to hear the weird heart noises, but we couldn’t find the heartbeat.  She spent a good ten minutes trying to listen to her heart, but she only kept finding what she thought was my heart rate.  She took me into another room and did a sonogram.  img_0022Once she found Sadie’s heart beating, she manually counted the beats.  It turns out that she found her rate every time she was looking, she was just confusing it with mine because it had dropped so low.  Most of the time doctors like for a baby’s heart rate to be at least 120 beats per minute.  Sadie’s was 60 beats per minute.  My doctor called the specialist and she wanted me to go to their hospital in Ft. Worth to be hooked up to monitors.  I left her office and called Drew.  He left work and met me in the parking lot.  We drove to the hospital where they hooked me up to a monitor for about 45 minutes.  The doctor did a sonogram and said that because Sadie was not in distress that we would just need to come in once a week to monitor her.  She also ordered us to get an echo done and have a cardiologist look at her.

We had the echo done and the cardiologist was not worried about her low heart rate at all.  She said that Sadie was handling it very well and that we could still deliver in Ennis if we wanted, but that we should still go to the specialist once a week just be safe.  We were overjoyed to know that she was safe and that she was going to be okay.

So once a week from that point on I went to the specialist’s office in Mansfield to be monitored.  The good thing was that we got a sonogram every week and got to see Sadie.  Life went on.  When I was somewhere around 30 weeks we noticed that her growth had slowed down.  It had gotten down to the 35 percentile (for those of you who don’t know what that means let me enlighten you.  It means that she was bigger than 35% of babies for that gestational age).  The specialist wasn’t concerned about it.  She said they really only ever worry about it if it drops to the 10th percentile and she didn’t think that would happen.  So again, we lived our life.  When I was 33 weeks along, I went back and Sadie’s heart had fixed itself!  We were so incredibly happy.  IMG_4808I thought my plan had gotten back on track and everything was going to be so good.  But then we measured her.  She went from the 35% to the 13%.  Now this wasn’t below 10% but it was a drastic drop and the doctor wasn’t comfortable with it.  Three weeks later, she dropped even more into the less than 10% range.  At this point, the specialist had already assumed my care and I wasn’t going to my doctor in Ennis anymore.  She decided that at 38 weeks we would be doing a C-section.  You see, when a baby stops growing or getting adequate nutrition, the longer they are in the womb, the higher chance they have of being stillborn.  She went ahead and saw me twice a week those last two weeks just be safe.

On November 4, 2015, we loaded our little family up in my car and drove to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Ft. Worth to bring our sweet little girl into this world.  Both my parents and Drew’s parents came at the same time as us.  img_0020We were at the hospital by 7:45am.  I got my gown on and hung out in the room with my family until they came to get me.

My sister came and saw me as well as two of my cousins.  Everyone was so excited to meet this precious girl.  They wheeled me back into the OR and began to get me ready.  I was shaking with nerves and excitement!  Once I was ready, they brought Drew in.  He was so amazing.  The second he saw me he was making sure I was okay and holding me.  I can still remember when they said, “Okay, a lot of pressure.  She’s here!”  My heart was  beating so fast.  They didn’t tie my arms down, so they immediately gave her to me.  As I held her, I just couldn’t believe how amazing she was.  She was a little fighter and so strong.  God had given me such an amazing little gift.

They were taking her temperature and fixing me up, and that’s when my plans got even further out of whack.  The nurse informed me that they would need to take her to the NICU because her temperature wasn’t high enough.  I immediately was like “Take her!”  Of course my heart was hurting, among other things, but if there was a chance that she needed help then I wanted her to have it.  My husband looked at me and we had a moment where we were just comforted by each other.  I told him to go with her and not to worry about me.  When they were both gone and I was feeling extra good courtesy of my pain medication, they took me to recovery.  Once I had been in recover for an hour, my husband came in.  He was still wearing his scrubs, but he had brought some visitors.  Our families along with our best friends had come to see us.  We talked for a little bit and then I made my family leave to go eat some lunch.  Reagan went with them.  Our friends had brought us lunch, but I couldn’t eat anything.  Everything was just so overwhelming.  Drew got to see Sadie in the NICU, but he couldn’t hold her.  Our family members got to go back one at a time and see her.  I got to look at lots of pictures, but I didn’t actually get to see her.  After our families and friends had left and I was in my postpartum room, they finally brought her to me.  It was 6:00pm when I finally got to hold my little girl. It was the most special moment.  She was so tiny.  She weighed 4 pounds 6 ounces and was 17 inches long.

We had her in our room that first night.  We set alarms every three hours for her to eat because she was so small, but we couldn’t get her to even eat 2 ml.  When morning came, the nurse called the on call pediatrician to come and look at her.  My mom was on her way up to the hospital to help us with Sadie when they called.  I told her she better hurry because I didn’t know if Sadie would be in our room for long.  My mom got there and held Sadie for about 5 minutes when the pediatrician came in.  She determined that Sadie needed to go back to the NICU and be admitted.

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Once they took her, I went into the bathroom with my husband and we cried.  We cried from fear.  We cried from heartache.  We cried from confusion.  We cried because we didn’t know what was going to happen.  Our plan was to have her and everything go great and then we bring her home.  It was never supposed to come to her being in the NICU.  The neonatologist came in to see us and told us that she was thinking she would be in there about 3-5 days.  The problem was that Sadie wasn’t eating and her body temperature couldn’t be maintained without her having some kind of fatty insulation on her body.  She was skin and bones.

We spent much of our time in the NICU when I was in the hospital.  We would wake up for every feeding and go see her.  It was without a doubt the hardest thing I have gone through in my life.  We could only hold her when she was being fed.  She stayed in her incubator when she wasn’t eating.  If we held her for too long then her body temp would drop.  Three days came and went and by the fourth day I was being discharged.  Leaving the hospital without Sadie tore my heart in half.  I literally felt like half of my heart was being left behind.  I cried the whole way home and prayed for comfort.  I would see other women who had their babies after me going home with their children and it hurt my heart immensely.  I wondered why I couldn’t bring home my little girl.  I felt like maybe I didn’t do something right when I was pregnant wit her.  I had only gained 20 pounds during pregnancy so it had to have been my fault, right?  All of those thoughts began to cloud my mind.  It was hard to stay positive, but God reminded me of His love and grace.  He showered us with love and he reminded me that Sadie was His child and that whenever He was ready for us to have her that we should be ready.  I found comfort in His promise of love and compassion.  I began to see that He was still working on her, and it helped me to see things in a new light.  I was thankful for Drew.  Without his support I would have fallen.  I would not have wanted to go through that with anyone else.  We grew stronger as a couple.  When I was weak he was strong.  When he was weak I was strong.  Day by day our faith grew.  Now, I am not going to say that it wasn’t hard and I didn’t have my dark days because I definitely did, but God restores your soul and He gives you peace.  He healed my broken heart and literally pulled me through it.

After the first week, the doctor was convinced that maybe she was just early and I wasn’t really 38 weeks along when she was born.  She said that Sadie was acting like a 35 week old baby.  They tested her hearing, did a head sonogram to check her brain, and even had speech therapists come and look at her mouth.  She checked out in everything.  She just wouldn’t eat on her own.  She had a feeding tube going through her nose into her stomach giving her the food that she needed.  As a parent, it is heart wrenching to see your baby hooked up to so many monitors and tubes, but then I would look around and realize that she was alive and breathing.  There were many other babies there that needed much greater help than her.  She just couldn’t eat.  Her lungs worked and she was healthy otherwise. While we were there the doctor went ahead and sent off some genetic testing just to make sure everything was okay.

Drew had told me that our goal would be to have her home before Thanksgiving.  That gave us three weeks.  Surely that would be enough time for her to make it home.  Everyday for three weeks we drove to Ft. Worth.  We tried staying the night one night thinking “Oh, this will be good.  We can make it  for the midnight feeding and then get some sleep.”  Oh, how wrong we were.  We got caught in traffic at midnight and were up from 11pm-2am.  So in other words, we got no sleep.  Plus, us being up there was very difficult for Reagan.  She didn’t understand what was happening.  All she knew was that mommy and daddy were gone.  She was acting out at school and she missed us.  We couldn’t bring her with us because she wasn’t aloud in the NICU.  So everyday we would wake up and take her to school then drive to Ft. Worth to be there by the 9am feeding.  We would stay until after the 3pm feeding and then get Reagan from daycare and head home to be with her.

Now, I tried to breastfeed Sadie, but she had a very difficult time so I would pump every 3 hours to make sure she had enough milk.  I would call the nurse at my 3am pumping to check on her.  The goal was to have her drinking 45 ml every three hours from a bottle in order for her to go home.  Now I will be honest here.  I did not think that was going to happen.  It seemed impossible, but one day something just clicked in her brain and she began to eat!

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On November 23, 2015 we got to bring our little girl home from the hospital.  It was the day before Thanksgiving.  She was 5 pounds 2 ounces.  I sat in the backseat with her the whole way home.

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Life was getting back to how I had planned it to be.  I stayed home with Sadie and took care of her while Drew went to work and Reagan went to daycare.  I had just put Sadie down for a nap when the phone rang a couple of weeks later.  It was the doctor calling with her genetic testing results.  Now, like I said earlier, I am a little bit of a worrier, so of course the testing had been in the back of my mind since the day they sent it off.  But Sadie was doing so good.  She had put on some weight and I was convinced they weren’t going to find anything with her testing.  So imagine my surprise when they told me that they found an abnormality with her testing.  Talk about being blindsided!  I felt like the floor had been ripped out from underneath me.  They scheduled us to come in the next day for a consult.  Of course I had another crying moment when I was talking to my husband, but we reminded ourselves that God had gotten us this far.  He knew what he was doing and His plan happens for a reason.

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So we went the next day to the consult.  We found that Sadie has something called 8P23 Deletion Syndrome.  Yes, it is a very confusing name.  But basically, she is missing part of her 8th chromosome. This can lead to learning disabilities, behavior problems, impulsiveness, and possible heart problems.  Everything began to make sense.  Her heart arrhythmia, her feeding difficulties, and her low birth weight were all caused because of her syndrome.  Her geneticist ordered another echo to be done on her, so a couple days after our consult we got her looked at.  Turns out she has what is called an ASD (Atrial Septal Defect).  Basically there is a hole in the wall of her heart.  This is different from a murmur (because she also has a small one of those), but don’t ask me how.  Her Cardiologist has said that he isn’t quite sure what type of ASD she has because the placement is strange, so in June we go back to get it looked at again.  Once a   week a very nice woman who works for ECI (Early Childhood Intervention) comes out to see Sadie.  She is doing very well!  You will be happy to know that cognitively and socially she is scoring well above her age.  Her motor development has been lagging behind, but she is catching up quickly.  When she was born she was in the less than 1%.  Now, at four months old, she is in the 12%.  She is growing so fast.  She smiles and coos at you.  She has rolled over twice!  And she can sit up so much better and control her head.

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It has been a long difficult road, but God remained faithful and strong the whole time.  He constantly comforted us and showered us with His love.  He showed us his mercy and that He has a plan, but more importantly, He showed us that His plan is the one that matters.  I had a plan.  I was going to have a healthy pregnancy, deliver a healthy baby, and bring a big strong baby home from the hospital.  What I got instead was heartache, difficulty, and the biggest blessing I could have ever gotten.  God transformed my heart.  He helped me to see that control isn’t everything and that I needed to give up control of my life.  He taught me the value of faith and perseverance, and he taught me that sometimes things in this life are blessings and we don’t even realize it.  God has a deep faith in us.  We are the ones that are slacking.  He offers a promise of hope and grace we just get so clouded in our own minds that we miss it.  Sadie has problems, yes, but she has never been more perfect in my eyes.  She is living and breathing and that in itself is a major blessing.

 

 

 

One Pan Skillet Chicken Fajitas|Dinner

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Last night I made a very delicious dinner.  I had a doctors appointment after work, and I didn’t want to spend a ton of time in the kitchen.  I love cooking, but after a long day of work I wanted something fast.  Some of you may ask, “Well, Briana, why didn’t you just bring something home”?  Well, my lovelies, the answer to that question would be because I live in the middle of freaking nowhere.  So alas, I must cook.

Now, I love a good crock pot meal or casserole, but every once in awhile I like to do a skillet meal.  This recipe is great because it only requires one skillet! If you are like me then I know you loathe doing dishes so this meal is already piquing your interest.  It also requires  only a few ingredients!  It is fast and easy and it packs a big flavor.

Those of you who know me know that I am a sucker for some good Mexican food.  Authentic, tex-mex, you name it I love it.  This recipe falls more on the tex-mex side, but it is oh so very delicious.  I didn’t even think about posting it until after it was simmering on the stove top so please forgive the fact that there aren’t any pictures.  I do so solemnly promise to post pictures in the future of each step I take.

So, for the ingredients you want chicken breasts (I just use the Walmart or HEB frozen chicken breasts).  I defrosted them in the microwave on a defrost setting and then trimmed any of the fat off of them.  Now I made this meal for Drew, Reagan, and myself so we had enough leftovers for lunch, but if you are making it for a larger crowd I would increase your amount of chicken.   I used 3 large chicken breasts.  You also want olive oil, bell peppers (Now you can get creative here.  I used one red and one green pepper.  You could also use a yellow or orange pepper.)  You can also use an onion if you so desire.  My husband doesn’t like onion so it makes cooking very difficult, but he literally won’t eat it if he can taste an onion.  Yes…it’s annoying.  Moving on.  You also need taco seasoning of your preference, your favorite salsa, corn or flour tortillas, and whatever fixin’s you like on your fajitas (guacamole, sour cream, cheese, refried beans, etc.).

While you are cutting of the fat of the chicken heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet.  Once it is heated, throw in your chicken.  I like to let my chicken cook down a bit.  Any of the excess fat that I wasn’t able to cut off kind of cooks off.  Once you have your chicken cooking good (by good I mean you want some of the oil to be cooking down and the chicken to start to saute instead of just boil in the oil and excess water), add in your bell peppers (and onions).  While those cook in with your chicken, measure out your salsa so it is easy to add.

Once the chicken is cooked through and the bell peppers are soft, add your packet of taco seasoning (about 2 tablespoons), your salsa (about 1/2 – 1 cup), and 1/2c water.  Mix everything together and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.  You want most of the water to have evaporated and you want the salsa and taco seasoning to have thickened a little.  The meat is that easy!

Take your corn or flour tortilla add your beans, chicken, peppers, sour cream, cheese, and guacamole.  Serve it with some rice, beans, or chips and salsa and enjoy!  You could also just eat the meat like Reagan does.  She loved it!  I will tell you, it is a little on the spicier side depending on the brand of taco seasoning that you use so use caution when serving to little ones.  Excuse how terrible the picture is.  I am still working on my photography skills!  I promise it is very delicious.

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One Pan Skillet Chicken Fajitas

3-4 Chicken breasts

2 Tablespoons Olive oil

2-3 Bell Peppers (your color preference)

Onion

A packet of taco seasoning

1/2-1 cup of your favorite salsa

1/2 cup water

 

Heat your olive oil in a skillet.  While it is heating, cut off the fat from your chicken breasts and discard it.  Once the oil is heated, add your chicken.  When the chicken is starting to cook through and some of the oil has cooked down, add your bell peppers and onion.  When your chicken is cooked through and the bell peppers are soft, add your taco seasoning, salsa, and water.  Mix everything up and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.  You want most of the water to have evaporated and the sauce will have thicken a little.  Serve in a corn or flour tortilla with sour cream, cheese, beans, and guacamole.  Enjoy!  It is also delicious with some rice or chips and salsa on the side.

 

Paint and Praise | Celebrations

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Sunday afternoon I got to have an amazing afternoon with some pretty amazing young women.  My brother-in-law Isaac is getting married this upcoming Sunday to a fantastic woman named Stacey.   They have been together for several years and met at a young age much like Drew and I.  I am so excited to celebrate their marriage and love.  Sunday we got to celebrate Stacey and have her bachelorette party!

I’m sure many of you have heard of painting with a twist?  Well, what we did was very similar, but we got to study the word of God while we did it.  It made for a fantastic afternoon.  Living Love with Kelly Paint and Praise is where we went.  Kelly taught us how to paint a beautiful scripture painting and shared some of her favorite scripture with us.  We learned some new painting techniques and got to have an awesome time of fellowship.

If this looks or sounds like fun to you, check out Kelly’s website at http://www.livinglovewithkelly.com.    She is such a fantastic woman and she is very good at turning a mediocre artist into a professional.

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Sunday Donuts | Adventures

This morning we woke up in enough time to go to Sunday school, however, for some unknown reason we just couldn’t quite get there.  Anyone ever have one of those mornings?  I’m sure most of you with children can relate.  You set your alarm for at least an hour earlier than you need, but you just can’t quite get it together.  Well, this last Sunday was one of those mornings for us.  So what do you do when you have a while before church but not enough time to make it to Sunday school?  Why you get donuts of course!  Corsicana happens to have THE BEST donut shop ever.  I mean it.  You will never find another donut shop that tastes this good.  Ever.  We walk in and Reagan immediately informs me that she would like a donut with sprinkles.  Well Donut Palace just so happened to have pink, blue, green, yellow, and chocolate.  So which one did she get you might ask?? Well green of course!

Sadie Bugg also enjoyed the donut shop.  She didn’t actually leave her carseat, but I know she definitely enjoyed it.   Probably as much as her daddy taking photos. (I told him to smile and this is what he gave me.)

Reagan had a really fun time and we got to eat some pretty amazing donuts.  I myself am a pig in a blanket kind of gal, but Drew does enjoy a good glazed donut.

Camp Ripley | Celebrations

My brother, Cody, and his wife, Courtney, are expecting their first child in April.  Well, April 1st to be exact.  They are going to be bringing a sweet little girl into this world.  Her name is going to be Ripley Happ and she is going to be extremely adorable.  All the little boys better watch out because my family is becoming overrun with girls.  Anyways, on February 27th we had an amazing baby shower to honor them and the upcoming birth of Ripley.  What originally started out as a forest creatures theme quickly changed into a camping theme.  Now, you have to understand that my family kind of goes all out when it comes to parties.  I mean like cut down trees and put them in your living room crazy.  Yes, you heard me right.  My dad cut down two trees and put them in their living room to hold a hammock.

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We had a diaper raffle, in which each person had to bring a box of diapers to get their name in a drawing for $25.  The diapers were placed under the hammock (those are only a few of the diapers).  My dad made the “Camp Ripley” sign.  My sister actually hand painted the “ripley” sign.  My mom saw a picture on Pinterest that gave her the idea for the table decorations.  She did such an amazing job.  They hung a sign over all the tables that said “Dining Hall”.IMG_1168

The main dining table was decorated to display the cake.  I actually made the cake.  I layered yellow cake with a vanilla buttercream frosting.  My mom found some plastic deer toys and we placed them on top with a banner that she made out of scrapbook paper.

My mom found some fabric online that had a colorful tent scene, so my grandma surged it together and made a tent for all of the children to play in.  My dad made a “fire pit” for show and it added so much to the overall look of the party.

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We had a table set up with a picture of Ripley from the movie Alien.  There were also pages stacked up.  Each paper had a letter from the alphabet on it.  Each person from the party got a paper and had to draw a picture that corresponded with the letter.  For example for the letter “A” someone might draw and apple.  My mom is going to take these pages and get them made into a book for Ripley.  And while we are on the subject of books.  My dad took a tree stump and carved it up to hold some stuffed animals and books.  It was a major centerpiece on their bar.

My sister and I were camp counselors so we helped to keep the games running smoothly.  Guests came in and registered at the registration table where they received a wristband that corresponded with their team for the games.  My parents turned their kitchen into the “Mess Hall” where brunch was served. ( yes, my husband is creeping in the background on one of these pictures….what a weirdo, right?)

Cody and Courtney got so many amazing things!  They had such a great time opening gifts.  It was amazing to see how much they are loved and blessed.

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We had such a great time showering them with love and gifts.  I CANNOT wait for this sweet baby girl to get here.  She is actually projected to be around 8 pounds!  She is super strong and healthy and she got some great things to keep her parents busy for awhile.