Thursday, December 22, 2011


Whew!!!  Writing this post is the last thing that I had on my "To Do" list for today/tonight- tomorrow we are heading up to Syracuse to spend Christmas with the Sheldon side of the family.  I can't believe how fast December just flew by- it seems like yesterday I was preparing for Thanksgiving dinner.  Considering it was 60 degrees today as well, it just doesn't feel like Christmas.  My last week though has been filled with baking, catching up with friends, finishing up Christmas shopping, and wrapping presents.  Not to mention keeping CJ entertained when he gets bored.  Poor kid got plopped in front of the television today in his exersaucer and surprisingly enough a DVR'ed Pixar Shorts Special and Charlie Brown kept his attention for a little while.

Well, I'm happy with house our house looks this year, although we got some work to do next year if we want to catch up with some of our neighbors' houses.  I am content with our pretty doorway though.  Next year's tree may have a gate around it, we'll see.  
I have also done a ton of baking this year- but oddly enough with having friends over and going to a cookie exchange there is nothing left!  Maybe that's all for the best- I haven't had as much time to work out the past couple of weeks and I don't want to back track on the headway I have made on my weight loss (10 more lbs since October, woot!!!).  
Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sugar Cookies

Stuffed Mushrooms

Gingerbread Cupcakes

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bark
The recipes come from all different places- the mint choco chip cookies recipe is a variation of premade mix use, the sugar cookies are cookies my grandma used to make every year that I now make, the stuffed mushrooms are from a blog that I am pretty addicted to now, the cupcakes are from another blog , and the bark is from Martha Stewart Living.  Let me know if you would like the recipes to any of these- they all came out great.  

Of course CJ does not let me get most of this stuff done while he is awake- I can sometimes sit him in his bumbo seat for him to watch me, but that only works for so long.  So, I have to rely on good naps from him.  He still takes 3 naps a day with no signs of needing less sleep.  He is rolling around like crazy and now sleeps on his stomach (sorry "Back is Best" people, he rolls over right when I put him down.) 
I cannot wait until he can sit up on his own because I feel like he is getting extremely bored laying down, even though he is pretty happy on his tummy now.  I honestly think he will be crawling before he is sitting up. CJ will be getting some toys for Christmas that are best played with while sitting, and although I can sit with him propped up against me for a little, he still needs to learn how to balance by himself.  I guess we need to do some core strengthening!  Maybe some AbRipperX!  Over the past few days CJ has developed a cough with a runny nose which surprisingly enough I have found out can be attributed to teething.  He does not seem sick otherwise and there is no fever so I'm not too worried.   If it is indeed a cold, I guess we'll just have to let it run its course.  I feel like he has shown so many symptoms of teething for the past few months now, I'm ready for one of those bad boys to break through!  

My last random thought (and today's picture) has to do with a wrapping idea.  I ran out of gift tags, but then remembered something I recently read somewhere in a magazine or a blog (how big of a dork am I???) on reusing old Christmas cards as gift tags.  We do keep the cards we get in the mail, and many of them are really pretty!  No, I'm not going to use your family's picture from 2008 as a gift tag.  We keep those intact.  Here's an example of how I used one today-
I just punched a hole, threaded the ribbon through, and then wrote on the back of the card.  Some of the bigger cards you have to cut up- but it's this reusing of something that otherwise would just be stuck in a box that makes me giddy!

As the preparations and anticipation wind to a close, I want to reflect on this past year and how blessed I am with wonderful friends and family.  There always is a lot to do this time of year, and even though I have been home I still feel just as busy (and even less on the ball) as I have in the past.  However, I feel like I have been able to enjoy celebrating the season with all of my friends, and look forward to seeing family during the next week.  And even though he has no idea what is going on, I especially have loved celebrating Christmas so far with my very special little boy.  I hope you all have a Merry Christmas! 
Super Baby! 

Monday, December 12, 2011


I blame it on my Dad.  And Chevy Chase.  I get so geeked up at Christmas it's laughable.  I am one of those people that will turn on the radio station that plays Christmas music 24/7 before Thanksgiving.  I am also one of those people that is very big on tradition.  Sometimes I feel sad that we do not celebrate Christmas in Sterling anymore and my grandma is not around to be with us, but I know that lives change and we just have to make new traditions! 
So of course with a new baby, we're already starting new traditions- or CJ just becomes a part of old ones.  Every year one weeknight in December, the Leesburg fire company drives one of the trucks around the neighborhoods with Santa, Frosty, and Rudolph waving to everyone standing out in the cold waiting for them.  We all waited in the living room until we finally started hearing the sirens get louder...
We waited outside with our neighbors and I am embarrassed to admit that I got choked up when that truck came by!  Even though CJ has no idea what is going on this year- having a child still adds a whole new dimension! 
This past Saturday we had 3 parties to go to and CJ did great.  I made sure that he still got his naps, and he made it until 10:00 before a meltdown.  Such a proud mommy of a party animal!  One of the parties we went to was something that I've done almost every year since 1998- and that his watch "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" with my VA PepBand friends.  CJ was pretty into it for at least the first half-
We also have bought one of those "Elf on the Shelf" kits this year.  From what I understand, you name your elf, and set him in different places around the house during the season to show your children that he's "watching" you.  I know some people who think it's more creepy than cute.  Not to mention it's similarity to Big Brother.  I think it's a cute idea which doesn't have to be menacing.  We haven't picked a name for our elf yet- I know Kevin would like Squeedabo but I think it might be just a little TOO ridiculous. 

One of Kevin's favorite traditions is having an advent calendar every year- you know the cardboard ones that have the crappy pieces of candy?  I decided to get him one that we can use every year, and I fill it with different types of candy.  Maybe some year he will let CJ open the doors and eat the candy!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mr. Mom

The Holidays are upon us; you can tell by my iTunes Christmas playlist on continuous play, and the green and red bins still scattered downstairs.  I have been lame and not updated my blog for almost a month- not that I haven't had plenty to write about!  So many different subjects come into my head during the day, yet sitting down in front of the computer has not happened.  I will spare you every picture from the last 20 some days, but I will have to admit that I did forget to take a picture one day!  I guess it's a 364 Day Project now.  Anyways- my biggest excuse for not blogging at all since November 13 is that we bought a new computer.  Not just any computer, by the way, but a MAC!  We have heard so many places that Macs are supposed to be better, especially when it comes to managing and editing photos.  I haven't been convinced of that yet, as I am still low on the learning curve for learning all of the Mac nuances.  After over 20 years of using PC's, this has been quite an adjustment and it certainly is not easier yet.  It has taken me forever just to figure out how to rename files.  But, the Mac Air is a lot lighter than our old Dell...
Thanksgiving came and went.  This year we had both families come to us in Leesburg, and I again cooked a Holiday meal.  I was in charge of the turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and cranberry sauce.  I'm going to pat myself on the back and say that my turkey and mashed potatoes as usual came out damn good.  The pumpkin pie was good, but I do need to practice making crusts.  Winter project, anyone?  I had never tried cranberry sauce before, so I thought I would give it a go.  I believe it turned out the way it was supposed to, but considering there is still some in our fridge, I don't think it was a hit.  Here is our family picture from the day, notice who is sitting at the head of the table...

This past weekend I spent my first night away from CJ.  I had signed up for the Washington DC Hot Chocolate 5K on Saturday and stayed Friday night in the city with my friend Sumner who also was running the race.  I didn't leave until we put CJ to bed, but it was still hard to to know that I wouldn't be seeing him until well into Saturday.  The race was probably the most unorganized race I have ever run.  The location was at the National Harbor which was too small to accommodate 20,000 runners.  There was a ton of traffic, and we started the race 45 minutes late (not fun when it is 35 degrees out, but it could have been worse).  There were parts of the race that were so narrow that we HAD to walk.  We even ended up running the course backwards!!  Because I'm so slow right now to begin with, I knew there would be no personal record happening, so the conditions ended up being a fabulous excuse for my embarrassing time.  And, the chocolate was pretty good at the end.  Here are me, Sumner, and Sumner's friend Adrienne with our hot chocolates. 
After the race, I went back to Sumner's apartment and got ready to drive down to my friend Kathy's house for her baby shower.  It was nice to see many of my UVA friends and celebrate yet another new addition to our Pep Band family.  Sunday I got to see more of my UVA friends again; unfortunately, though it was for a more somber reason.  Jon Hukari, a member of the Pep Band, passed away on Thanksgiving and Sunday was his memorial service.  Even though I was not close to him, I remember that he was a hilarious guy and will definitely be missed by many.  Kevin got to be Mr. Mom this weekend and I appreciate him taking over so I could attend these events-  (and have a bit of a break myself)

So we have less than 3 more weeks until Christmas.  How did this happen?  I really try to stay on the ball with things, but it never happens.  These past few days I have been trying to take good pictures of CJ for our holiday card and he is just not cooperating.  He is such a smiley kid, how come he can't do it when I'm trying to take a picture of him??  Today I spent a whole hour taking pictures of him in an uber-cute Santa suit and while he was content until the very end, he never smiled.  Only when I took him out of the bumbo seat and lifted him up high would he laugh.  Grr.  Here are some of the types of pics I am getting of him- still cute, but not as good as I would like...
Well, maybe when the Little Man wakes up from his nap we will try again.  The poor thing has a very persistent mother.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Some "Me" Time

There have been a few days since I started the 365 day project where I realize that it's 11:00 at night and I still have not taken a picture yet.  These are where some of my most random pictures come from.  One night I actually had already gone to bed when I realized I did not take a picture- so here's Kevin sleeping with Izzie laying on top of him- 
So this week has been pretty busy.  We voted-

We learned how to roll over (CJ now does it quickly, but at first it took awhile and he would have to contortion his body)-
We watched Curious George in the mornings-
and CJ played in his ExcerSaucer for the first time.  We need something to break up the monotony of the playmat! 
We also went to storytime at the library and CJ met up with his friend, Case.  I met his mom, Caroline, at the last Mom's club meeting and we found that our sons are only 2 days apart in age! It was so nice to meet another new mom with a son who is the same age.  It also helps that we are both around the same age and have a lot of the same interests.  And, (I love this small world stuff) both of our husbands went to RIT!  We're looking forward to lots of fun times.

With all of these activities of the week I was so looking forward to Saturday.  How sad is it that I now can't wait for a hair appointment!  I also took a cupcake baking class at Cookology at Dulles Town Center.  For a nice few hour break and if you like to cook, I would definitely recommend taking a class here.  We made vanilla, chocolate with peanut butter icing, and pumpkin dipped in caramel and pecans cupcakes-
As much as I love being with CJ all day and night, I definitely need to make sure I get some "Me Time" like I did on Saturday.  Kevin was very happy to stay at home, but I did feel guilty.  I have talked to other moms who feel the same way when we leave our children home with our husbands.  Why do we feel this way?  Us moms deserve some time to ourselves as well! 

We ended Saturday with attending a party at our new friends Chris and Caroline's house.  There were 4 babies there, all around the same age.  We had some wine, and we all made even more friends.  Kevin and I couldn't remember the last time we were able to get home from a party in 5 minutes!  We are so lucky to have such a well-behaved baby that lets us enjoy ourselves- we need to cherish this time before he is running around all over the place! 

Monday, November 7, 2011


First, I want to lead off this post with CJ's Halloween picture-
how cute is that?  Halloween took on a new dimension this year with having our own cute one to show off at the Halloween parade. (Leesburg's is the oldest Halloween Parade on the East Coast!  Who knew?)  Then Kevin took him around trick or treating for about 20 minutes so our neighbors could see the duckie (read: get us some candy ;) )  Halloween is Kevin's favorite holiday and it seems like people in our town really know how to celebrate it.  About a block from our house stands an old mansion that is professionally turned into a haunted house.  This year was the second year it was done, and man did it scare the crap out of us, especially in the basement!  There are also a lot of people that decorate their houses like Christmastime as well.  I think we may have to add a little bit more than pumpkins and mums next year. 
CJ agrees. 

CJ had his 4 month well-baby appointment this week, he is getting so big!  He is about 14lbs, 11 oz and 25 and a quarter inches.  His last urine sample came back negative, thank God!  We still need to follow up with the nephrologist, but we are thinking more and more that the culprit were these urine crystals.  It's nice to rest easy, but we still our anxious for full closure.  What a month!!
We probably aren't giving him enough tummy time (it seems to trigger a massive spit-up) but he is lifting himself higher and higher.  I think he soon will be rolling over.

After what seemed like forever, the leaves have finally all changed as they started falling off the trees.  A street in our neighborhood usually is just lined with red in October- and I finally noticed the change while on a walk this week. 
Speaking of leaves, bring on the raking!  I guess I can't use the pregnancy excuse this year and have to help.  But first, I decided to do a little photo shoot with the baby out in our yard.  He didn't smile for any picture because he was too enthralled with looking up and eating leaves- but I did get some great shots.  I'm sure one of them will end up on our holiday card.  

 Kevin was away in Chicago speaking at a conference the latter half of the week (way to go Kevin!) so I was definitely looking forward to having some adult time during the weekend.  We saw a bunch of our friends from UVA, hung out, ate, and watched football.  We got a great shot (although I am not liking my phone's camera) of Pete and Alison's kids Liam and Ann-Marie and CJ.  Notice how CJ is sporting the orange and blue.  Go Hoos!!!  Yay for being bowl eligible!  
 Finally, yesterday we went to Pumpkinville at the Leesburg Animal Park with some more friends.  CJ didn't really know what was going on, but it was a great time anyway.  I'm looking forward to him getting excited about seeing the animals and wanting to jump in the moon bounce and ride down the slide in a few years.  I guess for now I'll be amused by Kevin's excitement about riding down the slide.  :)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Out of the Loop

I was right about one of the aspects of my job that Iwould miss when staying at home- and that was the people I worked with.  After going to two happy hours with two different groups of friends and then hearing about college friends congregating in Charlottesville for a wedding I feel more out of the loop than ever.  Yes, I did attend some happy hours.  But I attended them with CJ in tow and of course it just wasn't the same.  While everyone was chatting away and planning their weekends I was trying to find a good place for CJ's car seat so I could rock him to sleep.  Or, I was listening behind everyone as I gave CJ a bottle.  As cute and well-behaved as the little man is, he does have a limit and will inevitably start to fuss.  I don't want to be a downer and make everyone feel uncomfortable when my baby starts to cry, even when the happy hour is at a family friendly restaurant.  So maybe these aren't great outlets to catch up with friends.  Again, I knew things were going to change, but I still thought I would be able to have a sliver of cake and eat it too.

CJ and I have already started making friends through the MOM's group, so even though the environment of the outings will be different (i.e. instead of bar area of restaurant, storyroom at the library) I will still get some of the adult interaction that is really needed.  The bonus is that these women also will be able to empathize with being a new mom and the many many joys, but also difficulties and life changes that it brings. 

Here are many of the pictures I have taken for my project in the past week or so- by the way, CJ's last urinalysis was negative!  Still need to talk to the nephrologist about the results, but it's looking more and more like the pink in the diaper was caused by urate crystals.  Phew. 

CJ facing front in the Baby Bjorn
First time in the bumbo seat

What little color change we have had

Candy Corn Popcorn Balls I made for the Mom's Club Halloween party

Loving the bumbo seat and Curious George

Chicken and ham sandwich with artichoke sundried tomato spread on pumpkin focaccia


Saturday, October 22, 2011

We would like some answers please.

So it all started the Saturday after we returned from the beach.  We found something pink in CJ's diaper in the morning that looked like it could be blood.  There wasn't a lot there, and it looked like it could have been caused from skin irritation.  Decided to just wait and see.  A week later, I changed his diaper in Pennsylvania at my grandparents' 90th birthday party-

and we found some more.  It looked like it came from his urine. CJ was not feverish, and was his happy self.  Monday and Tuesday we saw more, and finally I decided to call the doctor on Tuesday (after of course I found out from the dentist I needed a tooth pulled.  Not sure if I'm convinced this needs to happen, but we have put this situation on the backburner.)  They told me to bring him in that day, so begins our first trek to the doctor's office.  Of course I had already googled blood in the diaper and was sufficiently freaked out.  After waiting forever to collect a urine sample, the doctor told us there was some blood in his urine and that I should get his blood pressure taken at the hospital (Seriously?  A pediatrician's office does not have a blood pressure cuff small enough for a baby?) and then make appointments for an ultrasound and a nephrologist visit.  
Does this little man look sick to you?  I didn't think so.  Neither did the doctor.  I don't think he ever was.  Anyway, we did need to check his blood pressure to be sure, because if it was high he could have some major kidney issues.  So last Wednesday we headed to the hospital.  We needed to be quick because we were planning on heading to Syracuse on Thursday for CJ's baptism.  About 1:00 that afternoon we find that his blood pressure was normal and I call his doctor from the hospital to let her know.  She too was happy with the numbers.  We breathe a sigh of relief and I try to start preparing for our trip.  Around 7:30 that night the doctor calls me and says that she just looked at some blood pressure chart and realized that his blood pressure was on the higher side of normal and that we should get some blood testing done to make sure his kidneys were functioning.  This would require ANOTHER trip to the hospital.  We wanted to leave at 8 AM the next morning, so she made some calls and we were able to get it done that night.  Maybe she felt badly when I made it clear that I called her from the hospital earlier and that it sucked that we had to go back.  Little Man was such a trooper getting blood taken from his heel and dealing with his crying mother again (I was so good until I got to the hospital and realized I had forgotten my wallet...) by 10:00 a call from the doctor let us know that his blood test came back fine.  We were able to have a nice weekend in Syracuse, and even found that CJ's urinalysis came back negative- aside from the little bit of blood that was found.
Kevin's grandmother meeting CJ

Mom and Mary Beth in Skaneateles

CJ in his baptism outfit

CJ and "little" Anthony

Breakfast with our friend Debbie

Okay, back to reality.  Keep in mind that we were still finding "blood" in the diaper here and there and CJ still seemed perfectly fine.  Tuesday I took CJ to get an ultrasound, and from that we learned that there was a part of CJ's kidney that was minimally enlarged.  Both the pediatrician and the nephrologist the next day stated that this is fairly normal, but it could also mean a couple of things.  So onto the nephrologist visit.  I took in the ultrasound disk, blood test and urinalysis results, and a diaper from that morning with some blood.  First thing he said when looking at the diaper-"I don't think that's blood."  WHAT????  Then he looks at the urinalysis results and shows us that there were no red blood cells in the sample.  Are you kidding??? Shouldn't his pediatrician be able to read these????  He wanted to do another urine sample so of course we had to wait for some peeing.  In the meantime, he said with the enlargement CJ could have what is called reflux (not acid) and that this was something he would grow out of, but we had to protect him against infection.  So, we were seeing if the urine culture came back positive.  Or, CJ could have uric crystals or "pink diaper syndrome."  This is could mean he is not getting enough fluid, or again it could be something he will just grow out of.  Funny thing is, I asked his pediatrician about this because I read about it on google, but she said that it really only occurs in very young babies.  The nephrologist said that it could start now at 3 months.  Ugh.  Finally, CJ peed (and pooped) and the doctor went to look at his urine under the microscope.  He came back and was not happy because he found some white blood cells (still no red).  He wanted to send it off for a culture to see if CJ did indeed have an infection.  I was supposed to call back on Friday.  
Fast forward to Friday.  Basically, the urine was contaminated (ummmm he did poop!) so they wanted us to go to the pediatrician to get ANOTHER urine sample with a catheter this time.  This poor little man still was happy as can be and they wanted to stick a catheter in his penis?  The pediatricians agreed that they should never have sent the urine from the poopy diaper in the first place and that we could try a bag one more time and see how that comes out.  2 hours there, no pee, ended up getting the sample today at home.  Still no answers.  

I know this has been a long update, but it's been a long 2 weeks.  First of all, I have been an emotional wreck, especially during those first 2 days before our trip.  I think I have cried more than CJ!  How can I hold it together when he sick later down the road and he actually can tell I'm upset?  All of these contradictions have been bothering us as well.  We were recommended this pediatric group by several people so we definitely want to trust them.  I am one who will listen to whatever a doctor says; after all, they are the ones who went through years and years of schooling for their degrees.  It really is painful to not know who to believe.  Plus, poor Little Man has been poked and prodded so much- he still may need a catheter for either another urine sample or a test to see if he has the reflux- do we really need to put him through all of this?  This question has been a cause of stress and debate between Kevin and I- but we need be able to cross things off of a list.  

We don't have an end to this story yet- but pray that we can get some answers soon and that these answers will make most of the running around and stress of the last few weeks a waste of time and energy.  We need to get back to my continued enjoyment of being at home (and, well, I guess I need to take care of this bad tooth- let's bet on how many differing opinions I can get on interal resorption.  Start your googling now.)

Friday, October 7, 2011

It's October!

Have I mentioned how much it's rained in September?  Well, to refresh your memory, we've had a whole lot of freakin' rain.  This did not used to bother me much since I would be stuck in a classroom anyway during the week and welcomed the opportunity to be lazy and read on the weekend (provided we had nothing outdoorsy planned of course).  Now, the weeks of gloominess just got down right depressing.  Errands kept getting put off because who likes to take a baby out in the rain?  Not this chick.  However, I made the best of the crappy weather by using it as an excuse to truly get into the fall spirit.  I was so busy on these rainy days getting stuff done around the house along with taking care of the baby that I felt I was accomplishing more than if I was working!  Too bad I don't get paid for decorating the house and entertaining family! 

We invited Kevin's cousins over to meet CJ and I made Pumpkin Orange Cake.  It looks pretty here, but once we cut into it the icing slid off.  Weird.
I even dressed CJ up in a cute Halloween onesie.  Unfortunately, we have learned the hard way that he is ready for Size 2 diapers because he is now in the habit of pooping up and out.  This majority-white garment has been a victim twice now. 

Sunday only made it to a damp 48 degrees, so we spent the day watching football in front of the first fire of the season.  Kevin also got me a pumpkin tree (who knew???) to round out my fall decor.  I have it sitting next to a candy dish full of candy corn that I also think is very decorative- but with my dad here working on one of his properties it is not lasting very long...

Finally!!! Tuesday the sun came out and the weather was mild.  For the first time in what seemed like a month, CJ and I could take a walk outside.  We even noticed more signs of fall- the leaves have started to turn. 

We even picked out some mums and pumpkins at Meadows Farms.  Yes, I did prop him up on some pumpkins, and yes he did almost fall over into the hay.  Yes, his cute Peanuts Great Pumpkin onesie had poop on it so that's why CJ is sadly not dressed in Halloween attire.  Next year these pictures will be so much easier to take and I won't look like such an idiot and bad mother trying to pose the baby.  Unless, of course, CJ won't sit still for 10 seconds.  Then I'll just be a bad mother for yelling at him to plop his rear end down.  :)

This past week I even found time to attend my first MOMS Club event- Cooking Club- with the theme of apples.  I met some really nice ladies, and am excited to get more involved.  One of Kevin's worries about me staying at home was that I was going to get bored, but I definitely am not.  I am busily enjoying fall more than I ever have.