Monday, January 31, 2011

par-tay: the details

In being completely honest and in the spirit of full disclosure, I'm crazy. When the pictures from Reagan's party didn't quite turn out the way I had hoped (never realized how much I don't like flash on a camera now), I re-staged her birthday the way I had pictured in my head so that I could get the pictures and memories I had originally hoped for. I had all of these grand decor plans for her party, but Regan in true princess form refused to take an afternoon nap the day of to let Andi and I set up the party, so many of the things I had wanted to do didn't get done. Such is life with a one-year-old.

I took the opportunity to recreate her party as best as I could to show all of the details that I thought were important. Let me also say one more important factor to this party: I had to throw a party that included dinner for approximately 50 people for $100 or less. Many of the things that I would have ordered or had someone else do I had to figure out myself. This was a DIY affair all the way. I definitely think I need to give credit to those who inspired me; as someone once said, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." The TomKat Studio definitely inspired all of the party printables; had I been working with a bigger budget, I would have ordered from her in a heartbeat. It would have saved me hours of staring at my computer screen! Also, The Polka Dot Market has so many adorable party products (for boys and girls!) that I would have loved to get, but I had to settle for my Tar-jay napkins. Picky Palate had this amazing recipe that I was dying to try out and Reagan's party was the perfect opportunity.

We served a simple dinner of sub sandwiches and chips, but I definitely was way more excited about all of the desserts. The dessert table included cupcakes with pearly sprinkles, white and pink chocolate dipped pretzels knots and sticks, yummy cake made by Andrea, and the previously mentioned brownie covered Oreos. I had an entire bag of tiara-shaped sugar cookies to put out with frosting and sprinkles, but that was one of the first things that was put on the back burner in the midst of Reagan's no-nap afternoon. The idea was that each kid (and adult too...let's be honest; the grown-ups like to get creative too!) would get to frost and decorate their own cookie. Instead my husband was able to take a bag full of sugar cookies to the guys he worked with the Monday after.

I really do love how Reagan's party turned out. Is it sad that I've already got the wheels turning in my head for  her second birthday? I told you--I'm crazy.

bathing beauty

It seems like a miracle to me that Reagan is finally enjoying bath time. Instead of an insane screaming baby, I now have a happy, splashing pre-toddler. I love it!

Monday, January 24, 2011


Although no one out there is probably sitting on the edge of their seat waiting for Reagan's first birthday posts (let's be honest, there will be more than one), I wanted to get this out there so that someday when Reagan looks back at this blog book, she doesn't think that I forgot her birthday or simply put off writing about it. I'm already three days late posting and I didn't want to let this slide any longer.

In all honesty, I'm sick. Really sick. I think the crazy amounts of stress from the past month finally caught up with me and my body couldn't defend itself anymore. Between the holidays, Randy's hospital stay, Reagan's poo issues, ending my time breastfeeding, Luke's sickness this past week, Reagan's birthday and party, and just being a mom and wife, I just don't think I could handle one more thing.

So my dear Regan, when I am feeling a smidge better, I promise I will write all about how much this first year of your life has meant to your dad and I, how fabulous your party was, and how much I look forward to the years to come.

Until then, happy birthday my sweet princess. Momma and Daddy love you.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

a little bit trashy

It was about time that Keith started the white trash routine with Reagan. I really was hoping he'd let her pass through life without having to experience this, but being Keith, Reagan wasn't so lucky. So I present to you, my princess, Miss Reagan Rose straight out of AJ.


I love these babies and their sweet kiss-y cheeks. Love.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

how the tables have turned

Over the course of the past week (really since I stopped nursing Reagan), the kids have completely switched places in the 'easy' category.

Reagan is now solely on table food and devours whatever we put in front of her. Yesterday morning Luke had yogurt and a handful of blueberries for breakfast and it took him nearly 45 minutes to eat that much. Reagan on the other hand downed her breakfast in less than 30 minutes. You'd think that a nearly-one-year-old would eat considerably less than a nearly-three-year-old, especially one that is as giant as Luke. If you assumed that, you would be sorely mistaken. Our princess downed the same yogurt and blueberries as Luke, but also ate an entire cereal bar, a handful of Cheerios, and a handful of puffs. The best part was that Reagan fed everything to herself. I still had to feed Luke some of his breakfast so that he'd finish.

Sleep in our house has also become quite different. Luke puts up a valiant effort every night to delay his bedtime and then proceeds to play in his room or beg for us to come in for the next hour or so after that. Last night he even woke up at 1:30 in the morning crying. When I went in there he asked for me to lay down next to him. I did for a little bit, but as soon as I left he started crying again, which now woke up Miss Reagan. We had a crazy time until around 3am when I finally got them both to sleep.

Completely reverse of her norm, Reagan has been a champ in the sleep department. She has slept from 7:30pm until between 6 and 7 each morning. She might cry every now and then, but she's able to put herself back to sleep which is a very welcome change from what we were used to. She's even happier during the day and has maintained the two hour naps that she took before. I really think that her horrible sleep habits can be attributed to the lactose intolerance.

I know this comes with the mom-territory, but I'm curious to find out if they will ever both be lumped into the 'easy' category. Like, at the same time. Man, that would be so great.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


A few random thoughts that don't necessarily make a whole blog post, but added together, make for a nice random mix of stuff.

1. Although there are so many positives to breastfeeding, I've found one more of the few things I hate about it. Late night feedings and that first painful month have nothing on the pain of quitting cold turkey. Ouch to the tenth degree. I'll spare you the gory details, but its safe to say this past week has been hard. Literally.

2. I wish the doctors had some clue as to why Randy is having such a tough time. Its really difficult to know where to go from here without knowing why he's even there in the first place.

3. My baby is growing up way too fast. She's going to be a year old in 10 days. Crazy!

4. It really felt good to be back in the gym again today. I missed working out and feeling that burn when you're pushed hard.

5. I appreciate my Highlander more than I ever thought possible after today. I had to get both kids into the Focus today and man...that sucked. Bending down and strapping Reagan into the infant car seat without the base while Luke is wreaking havoc in the car was just a little more than I could handle on a daily basis.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

slow going

But at least its going.

Randy continues to move through the phases typical of someone coming out of a coma. These parts of his recovery are particularly hard on my parents. I won't go into specific details to respect their privacy, but it has had its ups and downs the past few days. I can share that my mom and dad were very excited today when Randy gave them both kisses on their cheeks. I was even lucky enough to get one tonight when I was with him!

Randy is scheduled for another MRI tomorrow, so hopefully we get more of an idea of what caused his seizures in the first place. The doctors still don't know why this has all happened and I find it hard to know what the outlook or prognosis is and where to go from here. If you don't know what part is broke, how do you fix it?

We just keep putting our faith in God and trust in his doctors hoping for the best.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths.
When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger

You know, for as sweet and docile as my brother is, he has certainly proved to be quite the fighter over the past few days. He managed to flutter his eyes open a few times today and they actually had to restrain him to the bed because he kept trying to sit up. Now, he seriously dislikes being stuck to the bed and from what I've been told, he's constantly moving and thrashing his legs around. He apparently even tried to kick my mom a time or two. That's my boy!

Reagan has had the fight in her too. She loves to fight when that bottle comes anywhere near her and I really can't blame her for it. Other than the bottle though, she has made a miraculous turn around in the past 48 hours. I'm just amazed at how much better she's been eating and pooping. It's almost like the past month or so never even happened. It was so nice tonight as I was shopping for food for her to not buy bananas or yogurt. She can still eat both of those, but after solely consuming those foods for over a month, I purposely avoided them because I could. I think her and I both needed a break and a change of pace in her food options.

I'd also like to think that I might be able to consider myself a fighter. I know I've said it before and I'll more than likely say it again: this week has sucked. Sucked. It has literally been one of the most difficult that I can remember, but with that being said, I've tried to maintain a positive outlook as best I can. In Randy's case, I like to focus on each day's small success rather than dwell on the set backs or lack of big progress. As for Reagan, I'm already starting to physically hurt less and the emotional aspect of the abrupt end to our nursing time together is healing too. I look so forward to her bedtime where I now rock her to sleep and I cherish the extra time we get to play together during the day.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


I'm not going to lie: yesterday was tough. With the reality settling in of Randy's condition and dealing with Reagan's prognosis and how to help her, I was really overwhelmed yesterday. Poor Keith had to bear the brunt of my breakdown. I really appreciate him letting me let it out. I needed to unbottle all of the emotions I had kept contained.

And you know what? I feel better. A lot better.

I realized during that time that all of what's happening isn't about me. I need to be strong and think about what's best for Randy and Reagan. Randy still hasn't woken up, but the test results show that he hasn't gotten worse. His motions have improved a lot since yesterday as well. Instead of the jerky movements from yesterday, he's starting to be more fluid. He'll turn his head when you say something that seems to interest him and he'll pull away when you try to do something that irritates him. And Reagan has done a complete 180 in the past 36 hours. Since the last time I nursed her, Reagan has had multiple regular poops. She also eaten more and been less fussy. As much as I'm sad to be done with nursing, especially in a cold turkey fashion, I am a hundred times more happy that she's feeling better.

I know we've still got a long road ahead of us, but the future seems to be a little more bright today.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

wearing out

I think the shock of the past few days is starting to wear off and I'm feeling like the hard reality of what has transpired is really starting to hit me. I've really tried to remain positive, keep the brave face, but its getting harder and harder to be like that. Between Randy's current situation and Reagan, I feel like I'm unraveling. The lack of sleep and such great concern for those that I love most is starting to take its toll.

My brother is making improvements, but he's still in a coma. A coma. It just didn't seem real until today. His whole body is swollen and puffy because his kidneys can't process the fluids being pumped into his body quickly enough. My poor sweet brother is in a coma. That sentence just seems to keep repeating in my head and its finally now starting to stick.

Tonight after returning from the hospital, I held a screaming Reagan who was obviously hungry, but I wasn't able to give her what she wanted. As I struggled to feed her a bottle, which she absolutely refuses, she kept turning in to eat what she is used to and finds comfort in. My chest was literally aching, and as I sat there crying along with her, I felt like I was failing my poor daughter.

Its probably the serious lack of sleep talking, but I could use some serious brightness at the end of this tunnel I seem to be stuck in this week.

it's all my fault

Remember the post dedicated to Reagan and her poo problems? Well, the results came back today. And her problem is my fault. It turns out that Reagan's poor body isn't able to process lactose right now. That's not to say that she is for-sure lactose-intolerant; time will tell for that. But for right now, her body is lacking the enzyme to process lactose.

Sure, most may say that's not a big deal. Sure, for most it's not. But when my solution to her whole poo issue was to nurse her more to make sure that she was getting enough calories, then it becomes a big deal. I learned today that the only real source of lactose in Reagan's diet currently is breast milk, so the six times a day I was nursing her was just hurting her six times a day. The solution? I have to stop nursing her and start her on a special lactose-free formula. Her pediatrician recommended pumping and storing the milk in case there was the chance I could use it later but with her being so close to a year old, I'm taking this as my cue to bow out of nursing gracefully.

I really have a lot of crazy emotions about this right now. I feel absolutely horrible for hurting her for the past month. I know I didn't do it intentionally and I shouldn't blame myself; my head understands that. But my heart aches for my poor girl. Every time she was in pain, what I considered hunger pains, I was hurting her and now that hurts me. I'm also really sad about being done with nursing. Sometimes it was really rough: all of the late night feedings, the times when I was super sore, the times when I felt like I couldn't go anywhere because I had to feed her. Now that I'm abruptly done, I miss the good times: the times when it was just her and I, the times when she would smile at me with her big milky grin, the times when she would fall asleep while nursing and just snuggle into me.

The hardest part is now realizing she really isn't my peanut baby anymore. With Reagan turning one in a few weeks, she really is turning into a little toddler. This is just one more part of her infant life that I have to let go of and I really don't feel like I'm ready for it yet. I feel like I'm having to let go of her baby time without getting the chance to say a proper good-bye. I know this sounds absolutely crazy. I get that. But I'm going to miss that special bond with my girl and I don't feel ready to let it go yet.

Such is life.

the full story

The past few days have been some of the most difficult that I can remember. After church Sunday morning while shopping at Wal-mart, I got the phone call from my dad. I automatically knew something was wrong because my dad never uses his cell phone on the weekends. He hates the thing. And when I answered the phone, his voice was soft and shaky, not his usual tone.

At 6:30am, my dad had gotten up to let their dog, Tex out to go to the bathroom. He heard a strange noise coming from my brother Randy's room. He went to inspect thinking he would find Randy's TV on, but instead he found Randy in the middle of a giant seizure. Randy's whole body was convulsing and he was spitting foam from his mouth. He wasn't conscious and was making soft grunting noises. My parents immediately called 911 and he was rushed to the nearest hospital. He was in that same seizure state for over three hours. He was still like that when my dad called me.

It took the medical staff another two hours to get him stable enough to transport to a hospital that was better equipped to handle his situation. My dad called again when he was on his way driving to the next hospital. He was trying to get to the hospital before my mom arrived with Randy in the ambulance. The last time I heard my dad so upset was when his own father passed away when I was seven. I rushed down to the hospital to be with him. It was absolutely heartbreaking. I don't think I could've understood his pain before becoming a mother. You never want to see your child hurt in any way, shape, or form and would gladly trade places with them in an instant. I have to say, I would've gladly traded places with my dad at that moment to take away his pain.

After a short while, Randy and my mom arrived at the hospital. My mom came and updated us on his situation and then took my dad back with her to see him. Eventually I was able to go back there with them to be with him. I knew his situation was bad, but I was not mentally prepared for how I saw him. Randy was now in a medically-induced coma. He was still constantly shaking, having minor seizures. The ventilator he was on was breathing for him and he had tubes draining the contents of his lungs, stomach, and bladder. There were large bruises up and down his arms where various IV's had been attempted to no avail. While I was there, the medical staff finally had to put in a central line (an IV in his neck) to draw blood and administer medicines and fluids. He was placed on a cooling mat to bring own his fever. Between 6:30am and about 1:30pm, he had already had a CT scan, an EKG (to test his heart), and an EEG (to test his brain waves), not to mention the various blood tests. Yesterday he even got an MRI.

This whole situation is absolutely heartbreaking. Randy is seriously one of the absolute sweetest and most caring people that I have ever had the chance to meet, and I'm not saying that because he's my brother. He's been dealt a rough set of medical circumstances over the course of his short life and its so hard to see him have to face another hurdle like this one.

We have seen improvements though. After the MRI yesterday, he was taken off the medicine that was inducing the coma and today he'll wiggle his toes a little if you ask him to. My mom says you can tell he's struggling to do it, but he's trying nonetheless. He's also being given the opportunity to breathe on his own. I consider each of these developments small miracles in his recovery. Sunday morning we weren't sure if he was going to survive and now he's showing signs of coming back to us.

I truly and whole-heartedly believe that God was watching over him through all of this. Our Uncle Fr. Jack was able to come give him the Anointing of the Sick on Sunday when he was still fighting the seizures. Through the power of our families and Facebook, there are people all over the world praying for his recovery. We have had many people stop by to give well-wishes and my cousin Kelly even brought my parents snacks and water yesterday. I am so truly appreciative of the out-pouring of kindness shown and I know that my parents feel the same.

To Randy: Keep fighting buddy. We love you more than you know and I'm not ready to lose my baby brother. Keep fighting. Please.