Tuesday, September 29, 2009

School Days

This year I have 2 little ones in school. Megan is in Kindergarten, and Kyle is in preschool. I can't believe how quickly my kids are growing up, but you know, at 3(4 in just a few weeks) and 5 they really still are just babies! Anyone who is a mom understands that! Going to school isn't just a big step for them, it's a big step for mommy too. I'm not a worrier, but I have to admit that I fretted a little bit, especially about Megan's first few days.

We have all adjusted very well to our new fall schedule. Things can be a little hectic, especially in the morning, but we are falling into a nice routine. Megan and Kyle both enjoy their classmates and their teachers, which makes me feel good. They are always excited to show me their little projects when they get home, which, of course, I proudly display on the fridge.

Caleb and I spend our mornings running errands, cleaning, organizing, and even just relaxing sometimes! It's amazing how quiet it is around the house when only one little one is home. I hope I don't sound like a terrible mommy, but as much as I love having them home, I am enjoying my quiet mornings!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Introducing Caleb, AKA Trouble

Turn your back for even a minute and you can guarantee that this little guy will be into something. He's about a cute as they come though. He has a smile that lights up a room, a beautiful head of wild curly hair, and amazing blue eyes. He's as happy as they come and I believe he's going to be the life of the party one day. He loves his brother and sister, though sometimes he drives them a little crazy following them around, but there is no sweeter sound than that of the 3 of them giggling together! <3

Sunday, September 27, 2009

My Favorite From-Scratch Brownie Recipe

This is my most favorite brownie recipe ever! Very chocolaty but not too sweet. I don't care for my brownies to be too sweet. I also prefer dark chocolate, or semi-sweet chocolate so I guess it makes sense. Anyway, these brownies are very chocolaty but not too sweet like so many homemade brownies are. I have also recently found that they taste even better when using the Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa, as opposed to using the Nestle's Cocoa which I have always used in the past. If you prefer a sweeter brownie you can add a cup or 2 of semi-sweet chocolate chips to the batter and the brownies will come out a little more fudge-like and sweeter.

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease an 8 inch square pan or line with foil.
  3. In a medium bowl combine melted butter and cocoa and stir until cocoa is dissolved.
  4. Add sugar and mix well.
  5. Add eggs one at a time and stir until well combined.
  6. Stir in vanilla, flour and salt until you no longer see any flour.
  7. Spread in pan and bake for approximately 25 minutes. Do not overbake or they become rather dry.

My CVS and Walgreen Shopping Trip

So lately I've been getting into couponing in conjunction with CVS Extra Care Bucks (ECB) and Walgreen's Register Rewards (RR). There are some people who are really good at it and manage to figure out ways to do it so they are getting most everything for free. Now I'm not that accomplished yet, but I have seen some incredible savings.

Here is a picture of most everything I purchased in today's shopping trip.

I purchased a total of 113.26 in products, but only actually spent 39.79 after coupons, ECB and RR. Plus I received 13 dollars in ECB and RR to use next week. I bought 51 items, which comes out to be .78 per item. Definitely couldn't do any better shopping at a dollar store, plus everything I got is name brand items that usually aren't cheap. So needless to say, I'm pretty pleased! I think I'm pretty well stocked up on household supplies and toiletries now. Next week I'm planning to use my ECB's and RR's on food if they have some decent sales. If not I'll probably use them towards Kyle's birthday presents, cake, etc.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Back to the Blogosphere. . . An Update On Our Mayhem

It has been a long time since I've had the energy or the time to put into my blogging, thus it has been on hold for a while. I'm sorry to all you galls who were reading it. I should have posted about the goings on in our family quite a while ago.

This past year and a half or so has been a time of growing and changing. In 2008 I started a part time job working at the Gymboree, as you all know. I loved my job. Around Christmas time I was putting in a lot of hours due to the Holiday shopping season and was experiencing quite a bit of exhaustion. I chalked it up to putting in 20 or more hours at Gymboree in the evenings, usually working late, and being at home all day with 3 little ones, 4 and younger, including my little baby Caleb. We all know that being a mom is exhausting. However, instead of getting better after the Holidays it just continued to get worse, and I continued to feel worse and worse. I couldn't keep up with the cleaning at home, I didn't have the energy to cook, and I barely had the energy to keep up with my children. Finally in April things got so bad that I just couldn't ignore it anymore so I went to a walk-in clinic. They took some blood work and said that my liver tests were not great. So I went to some specialists and had more blood work done, and finally on May 5th I was admitted to the hospital. My diagnosis: Liver failure due to my genetic disease called Wilson's disease. My liver had basically been poisoned by copper (which my body could not get rid of like normal people's bodies).

The first evening at the hospital, the GI doctor came in and said that my blood work had gone from bad to much much worse in just a weeks time and that I was going to be transported to another hospital specializing in liver transplants that night. That was pretty much the last thing I remember, because of medications they were giving me and the liver failure I really wasn't in my right mind after that. However, my family filled me in on everything. I was taken to Rochester's Strong Memorial Hospital where I underwent many tests to make sure I was eligible to be put on the transplant list. I passed all the tests and on Thursday was officially listed as a status 1, meaning I pretty much had the first liver available if it would work for me. My family called family and friends and I was put on prayer lists and prayer chains all over the country. The doctors said that I had about a week to live if I didn't receive a liver. However, 2 days later, on Saturday, prayers were answered! A liver became available, passed all the MANY tests that it had to pass and I went into surgery that morning. Since I'm here now, posting this blog you can assume the rest is pretty much history. I'm alive! Thank God! I have now been saved twice! He has saved my soul, and now my life.

My recovery has been fairly uneventful. I wouldn't call it easy, but I'm feeling pretty much back to normal now. My blood tests are normal again, and after 4 months of no lifting, I am again able to lift my precious little boy again! That was probably the hardest part of the whole thing. I was away from my kids for over 3 weeks and it seemed like an eternity, then when I was finally able to be home with them, I couldn't lift Caleb, well at first I could barely hold him at all because I was just too sore to hold a wiggly 1 year old. I now take anti-rejection medications everyday and I have transplant induced diabetes and high blood pressure. I'm losing my hair because of one of my medications, but really, I'm just thankful to be here. I'm thankful to have energy again to do little projects with my kids, and clean my house, and not be so tired that I'm miserable.

I can honestly say that through it all God was GOOD! He took care of me, and he took care of my little family while I was unable to do so. All our needs were met, every bill was paid; diapers, childcare, and meals were provided. And the sweet encouragement that we received from fellow believers still overwhelms me. WOW!

I'm not back to work yet. I do plan to go back, but right now I'm enjoying my medical leave spending the time with my family, making up for the lost opportunities of fun and love that I missed last year because I was just so miserably exhausted all the time.

Well, that's it for now. I'll post some more pictures and updates on my little ones and the fun little things we have been doing together soon.