Eight years ago we were waiting for the phone to ring. Waiting for our CNMW to call us back.

The afternoon before Tim's co-workers had thrown a little shower for us at Chili's. But I knew something was off. I had an ultrasound scheduled for the 26th, but called and begged to be seen the 25th instead. The tech started the scan. Stopped abruptly. Left us on the table for about 5 minutes. Came back, and put us on monitors while we waited for the doctor that oversaw our midwife to call back. About 30 minutes later Nancy Jo came in and told us that the baby's fluid was pretty low and they needed me to go home and take it easy. They'd call us in the morning.

Yeh, we slept GREAT that night! Anyways, when the midwife called the first words out of her mouth were, 'When did you eat last?' Ugh. I knew right away this meant a c-section. My bag was packed and I was actually very calm. I think I had known for a day that the baby was coming very very soon. Tim came home from work and out the door we went. (Tori was shuffled off to Aunt Kate for the day since Nana was having her eye surgery.)

Doctor Decker took one tiny peek via ultrasound and said 'It's baby day.' Fluid was way too low and baby was footling breech. (Can you say, "ouch," when he kicked?! OY!)

Lalo beat us to the maternity ward. So funny.

When TJ was born I remember he was so quiet. And I remember asking over and over 'Why isn't he crying?' In the OR Dr. Decker had Tim come around the curtain so he could see my twisted funky uterus. We ended up with a classical (vertical) incision due to the weirdness. Whatever!!

When we got back to my room I held him up to the nurse and said 'something is wrong with the baby.' Little TJ was whisked off to NICU and we didn't get an update for what seemed like hours. I'm sure it wasn't that long. It's funny, I can remember Tommy's NICU stay with vivid detail (I think I was determined to remember it?) but TJ's is just random flash memories.



He was only in for 5 days. His blood sugar had been really low. And he had issues keeping up his temperature along with jaundice and minor feeding problems. But he was home in no time at all.





I've had total strangers walk up and inform me since he was itty bitty that he had 'an old soul.' The first time it happened I was slightly wigged. Now I just smile and nod when someone says it.

He's grown into such a great kid. A bit of a silly monkey man, but all TJ.





Yesterday we went of for an early birthday dinner to Outback. This morning we all got up early and had French Toast and let TJ open his gifts. This evening we'll have his Chicken Cacciatore that he loves. We serve it over cheesy polenta. Oh heck, we live in the South... we have it over cheese grits for goodness sake!

Happy eighth birthday, TJ! Hope your day is great!!!

Chicken Cacciatore
Real Simple

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 3 1/2- to 4-pound chicken, cut into pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 28-ounce can plum tomatoes
1/3 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley,roughly chopped

In a shallow bowl, combine the flour, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper. Rinse the chicken and pat it dry with paper towels. Working in batches, lightly coat the chicken with the flour mixture, shaking off any excess.

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat. Add some of the chicken to the pan and cook until browned, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate; set aside. Repeat with the remaining chicken.

Add the onion to the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Add the carrot, celery, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.

Crush the tomatoes in the can with a large spoon and stir them into the vegetables along with the wine and the remaining salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer. Add the chicken, reduce heat, and cover. Simmer for 45 minutes, turning the pieces occasionally. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Stir in the parsley.

Oh yeh... Tim rocks. Today he totally helped me get the house clean. He did tons of laundry, serviced the vacuum (getting enough hair from the beater bar to make a blond wig...ewwwwww), vacuumed the house, then later did the yard. I did help... honest!!! I got the bathrooms in shape and then dusted everything. Climbed up on the bookshelves and removed all the nick nack stuff and CLEANED. And I've been doing a little bit of work on the side as well. But really... Tim rocks. Just face it.

A couple of years ago I found some chopsticks in the dollar spot at Target. The kids LOVE these things. They are connected at one end and 'springy' making them super easy for the kids to use. Tonight we had stir fry since we ended up with some tasty fresh snow peas fresh from a friend's garden. (Yummmo!) So, of course, the chopsticks came right out.









And then I thought I'd include some pictures of the front porch area these days. We have some gorgeous potted bougainvilleas Tim got us recently at Home Depot. Love those. And the potted hydrangeas are coming back fairly well. Next Fall I will send them to the greenhouse to winter over I think. Less trauma to them.







Okay, it is not technically the first day of Summer as per the calendar. But it is for us! The kids all got out of school yesterday. I'm happy to report that Tori and TJ both were on the honor roll. And Tori was very very close to having a straight A average for the year. Phew!!!!!


Today has been what I'm sure most of the Summer will be like. We slept late, the kids played Wii, played outside, a few light saber battles here and there, we had some friends over, ran some errands, I yelled a bit while I tried to work (hahahaha) and now dinner is on the grill.


A good day.

Hope everyone has a safe holiday weekend.







Thanks to my handy dandy SD card it was much easier to pull the video off the digicam today. :)










Look pictures from me AND Pop Pop. Woo hoo!

Gator Pictures










Tim loves watching this show. A funky little shop in uptown Fairhope was recently on there. We go there every so often. It is YUMMY.

Panini Pete's.

Have fun watching.

Come visit us and we'll take you by one day! :-)

Oy.

Tommy had his graduation program. (Super cute pictures and video coming later!) Then he had a reception at the park. Then he had a pool party.

TJ had a regular school day. But went out to the Alligator Bayou for Boy Scouts. They enjoyed seeing a gator eating a goat. Ewwwwwwwwwwww. (Tim said the goat was dead, but still... ewwwww!) And then the kids feasted on fried alligator. TJ loved it, according to Tim.

Tori had talent show practice after school. Then ran to church to drop of a form. Then had a pool party from 6-8. She just walked in the door with a horrible stomach ache.

What. A. Day. Oh, and this was one of Tim's 'vacation' days. I'm sure he's totally rested up now, don't you think?

Like I said, Tori has been going to Kaylee's Church Wednesday night program. She's really had a good time. Tonight there was a service at the church and the girls got their badges for GA.



Tori and Kaylee after their concert Wednesday.




J called today to let us know Tommy's class picture (from the infamous no epi pen, hey let's give him ice cream while we're at it fieldtrip) was in the paper today.



This afternoon the boys played croquet. While Tori went to the pool at the Grand Hotel to be a mother's helper for our next door neighbor.
Nice pool, eh?



Later Tim cleaned the van (thanks!) and did some errands with the boys. I worked.

And now it's lazy afternoon.

And that is our so totally interesting and entertaining weekend. Hope you enjoyed! ;-)

PS Check out Becca's blog The Z-Pack for some darling pics of the newest family members.

The babies are here safe and sound.

Phew!

Busy Busy

Hi all. Sorry for lack of posts lately.

Been a bit busy.

Tori had a choir concert tonight. She has begun going to Wednesday Church with Kaylee. This Summer we are letting the girls do activities between both churches. Anyways, she was part of a trio and also played in the bell choir. It was really nice.

Big news...

Becca is having her c-section in the morning. Finally the ZPack will be here!!!! We're so excited on our end. Can't wait to hear the big news that they have arrived in the morning.

Lots of prayers for a 100% complication free totally boring birth. Well, okay, no birth is ever boring! ;-)

But we're so excited.

But me... I have to get back to work now! Catch you later.

What a nice morning. I slept late.... shhhhhhhhhhhh! And when I got up there were pancakes and hot coffee. Yummy. And such sweet presents from the kids.

Tommy did a portrait of me and then they did a pseudo framing (too cute) up at Lyon's Share.

*Picture of Tommy portrait later on, I promise!

Tori made a book of poetry at school. So funny.

If I had a Pig...

If I had a pig
Her name would be May
She would eat figs and
Swim in mud all day.


And TJ made a super cool flower pen with a painted pot.

And THEN the kids got together and raided my scrapbook supplies and made me my very own scrapbook!!! Oh yeh, you know I am loving that one!




And then... drum roll please.


Tim got me a new lens for my camera. Now I have my 18-55. Woo hoo! :)



And now... now, I am getting ready to get dressed so we can all go to LULU'S for fish tacos.

Yummy!

Have a happy day everyone!

One less thing to worry about.



I was VERY happy to find KozyEpi through Peanut Free Mama's blog. I'm so glad you posted a list of epipen carriers. I was having a difficult time finding a small single belt one we liked. So THANKS!

Finally. Finally things are sounding better.

I am just thankful that it didn't take a trip to the ER or worse for them to FINALLY get it about the severity of Tommy's allergies.

Oh, and Becca, thank you for helping me edit that note to the teacher. I really appreciated you reigning in that raw emotion.

I spoke to the Principal for a long time today. She admitted that communication had fallen through and that drastic changes needed to take place.

She had done some excellent brainstorming last night and had some great ideas about checks and balances to implement for 2008/2009. This will not only keep Tommy safe, but other kids as well.

Then the district nurse called me as well. And we came up with a few extra things we'd like to see done.

She point blank said 'we dropped the ball and it could have had disastrous consequences.'

I don't know what I said for them to finally get it. And I must have sounded pathetic when I called Dr. D's office yesterday afternoon. This morning his nurse faxed a letter directly to the Principal. I have yet to see his note, but the Principal and nurse both assured me that he 'let them have it.' Thank you Dr. D!

The ball is rolling. And he's going to have a much safer set up for next year.

I have finished working, had a beer... and I'm getting a long hot soak with my bath salts soon. And going to bed early.

Ahhhhhh...



I do not usually post commercials. But, as C knows, I love this commercial. I'm a sappy mom, I know. But I love love love this commercial.

Hope it made you smile if you have never seen it before.

Today I got some decent work in. And went for my haircut. Even got Starbucks on the way. Mmmmmm, thanks Tim! ;-)

By the time my haircut was over I was in a wonderful relaxed mood, ready for the rest of the day. Nothing like Aveda to make a momma happy.

Picked up Tommy and his friend, P, from school and then did the usual dash over to pick up Tori and TJ. On the ride over Tommy informs me that the 'ice cream I had today was safe, Mom.'

Uh... what?

What ice cream?

Oh yeh, they walked up to the bookstore (after the secret Mother's Day trip to the art gallery) and had hand scooped ice cream. He is NEVER allowed hand scooped ice cream. EVER. The cross contamination issue is HUGE.

So, I am so angry about this. Oh, you can't imagine. I leave the counselor a message where my voice is cracking and I'm trying not to bawl.

Ten minutes later I get a call from the teacher. Get THIS. She is really upset telling me it's 'ALL HER FAULT' (I'm thinking... duh, you think?) and then she says 'Do not blame anyone but me. I left his epi pen.'

Yeh, let's all take a second and re-read that last line.

I left his epi pen.


Not only did they feed him unsafe food, they did not have the means (literally) to save his life if he did react. The time to get to the school... oh gosh. I can't even think about it. His big pistachio reaction was FAST.

I called Dr. D and asked, no begged, for a 'right to carry' for Tommy. Dr D agreed wholeheartedly and said he'd 'kick their butts for Tommy.'

Now my baby's last line of defense is... himself. :(

And I'm so not happy about it.

Today

I seem to be dwelling on the 'what if' today and that is never a good thing. I read once that it's okay to think about it. But dwelling on it, rehashing it over and over, was a form of selfishness. And I really do believe that.

I mean gracious, he's FINE! And yet in line today I was close to having a panic attack. That is SO not cool.

So, other than work I am cutting myself off of the internet for a few days until I can stop all this already. It's seriously really unhealthy and so not good.

So I'm ending on five good things:

1. I have a haircut appointment Thursday. Sweet. (I did wimp out of highlights though... maybe next time B!)
2. Becca and ZBabies are still hanging in there. Hooray!
3. I got to see some pictures of Baby R today. Tori started crying when she saw her.
4. I cleaned the toilets. I know, weird, but they are done and it makes me happy.
5. Ummmmmmm.... hmmmmm... uh.... my headache went away.

Ha! I may need to work on number five there. ;-)

See you all in a few days.

Last night my parents had the boys while we went to Tori's awards banquet. When we got to the Green House to pick them up my mom told me that Tommy had had an 'accident' at the park. The child is 6. He doesn't have accidents. I knew (and so did my mom by the way) that he had reacted to something.

He was fine... no anaphylactic reaction (thank goodness!) which makes me suspect it was a mild peanut reaction*. Luckily, thus far, peanuts have only been GI type reactions. (It's the tree nuts that get him so bad!) Even though I told her Subway was FINE (and is as per their website!) I really really feel it was some cross contamination issues with the cookies they bake on in the store.

:(

*By the way, I do know that many people may not understand that you can indeed have a less severe peanut allergy. In many ways, I think all the press peanut allergies have gotten over the years has not helped food allergic persons. Most people blurt out things like 'WOW! I heard a peanut allergy can KILL you!' And trying to explain to Joe Blow that his peanut allergy is mild gets all confusing too.

Thanks to the peanut press, most (not all, but most) people get that tree nuts are different than peanuts. So all the other parents hear is 'peanut allergy' and they send in trail mix with cashews instead of peanuts, or cashew butter.... well, you get the idea. They go out of their way to 'help' and actually send in something that is tons more dangerous for him.

And don't get me started on the fact that the peanut allergy press has caused the public to not even be aware of dairy or wheat or all the other allergies. You can be allergic to any food. You can have an anaphylactic reaction to any food...but I don't see people trying to make the schools milk free, or wheat free, or soy free. So, then I feel REALLY bad for others struggling with food allergies and know I have it easy with just peanuts/tree nuts.

So, the press on peanut allergies has been both a blessing (people GET it sort of) and a curse (people THINK they get it) for us.

And thus ends my rant for the day.

Have a wonderfully allergy free kind of a day. :-)

PS I wanted to add that Subway is REALLY off limits now once I realized that Emily Vonder Meulen died from cross contamination from peanut products at Subway. :( So sad. Read Emily Vonder Meulen's story here if you want. But you may want to grab tissues. It's slightly terrifying to me as a mother of a pn/tn allergic child. :(

Today Tori (and her best 'peeps') got the President’s Award for Educational Excellence at an assembly. It was probably about 1/3 of the kids in her grade. The teachers really made a big deal about it.

Tonight they will be honored at a banquet and get a certificate and lapel pin.

It was REALLY funny to see the faces when they filed in for an assembly. They all kept turning around asking with 'WHY ARE YOU HERE?!' It was fun to keep a secret like that.

Anyways, pictures will be up later. I really have to get to cracking on work.

Oh, and by the way... HAHA! I don't have to cook AGAIN tonight. ;-)

______________________________







The banquet was nice. Food was, well, what you would expect from a not-quite-middle-school awards banquet. (Meaning we stopped at Subway on the way home, more on that later.)

I came home and worked until about 11:45 pm Yeh, I am SO not a night owl. Ughhhhh.

And thus ends Tori's big award day. :-)

TJ's day was wonderful. He opened his cross from Nana and Lalo. (PERFECT by the way. He absolutely loved it.)



Then, after missing his group photo *oooooops we enjoyed a wonderful Mass. I really liked how they made sure each child had a role, be it helping with the prayers, or bringing up gifts. It was really nice. And afterwards there was a reception in the gym. Full lunch. So, no need for me to cook! WOOOOO HOOOOOOOOO!









Then this afternoon we had a neighborhood party. They had a bouncy house for the kids as well as craw fish, hot dogs, desserts and bottled water. Look, I didn't have to cook AGAIN! All we had to bring was the kids, something to sit on, and a drink... or two. ;-) Oh, and the epi pen since it was, after all, in a pecan orchard...oh well, what can you do?





We had a nice time. And now everyone is getting cleaned up and ready for bed.

Night all.

****Edited to add: OH NO!!!!!!!!!! TJ has the barfies. :( And Tori is getting her surprise at school in the morning and I need to be there. Sigh, it's always something, isn't it?

Night all.

Recital Videos





Enjoy!! And yes, the ballet started a smidge late, had some technical difficulties!

I managed to get Tori's hair up and her makeup on without us fussing at each other for ONCE!

She did wonderful in dress rehearsal and I'm sure she'll do beautifully tonight as well. I got pictures and video this morning. I'll put on the pictures now and the video later when Tim is done programming his highly technical remote.





Tori and her best friend, Kaylee.




Can you believe the girls will beginning true pointe work next year? I can't!!!!!

The near the end of the school year insanity... has begun.

Tori and TJ both had field day today at school. Tori was too cool to give me any good pictures, but, hey, at least she looked at me, right?!



She DID let me reapply sunscreen when I came back up, thank goodness!

So, TJ was having a blast when I got there. They were dancing to the song below when I arrived. Obviously this counts as PE here in Alabama. Seeing as how super shy TJ TOTALLY knew this line dance VERY well. WHO KNEW?!!! It was so funny. Wish I had the camcorder on hand. As soon as he saw me he quit dancing. :( Sigh.



Anyways, he had a great time as well.





By the time I picked them both up from school they were FILTHY and stinky. Oh yeh, it was straight to the tubs for them both. Of course Tommy was disgusted I didn't demand he get a tub as well, so he ended up getting one as well.

Movie Night Friday became Movie Afternoon Friday.

Everyone was put to bed early.

Tomorrow: full dress rehearsal for Tori. Tim is helping set up the reception at the church and then taking TJ to a skating party. Then that night we have the big recital!

Sunday: TJ's First Communion, Reception, Neighborhood Party

Monday: surprise something I can't say, Tori Kaylee party for dance after school

Tuesday: Retainer check up

Wednesday: Tori Kaylee Girls in Action/Church

Wow. I am getting tired thinking about it all!!!!!

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