Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday's Seven Things I Love


After seeing this idea on Pinterest a few weeks ago, I decided to make one and put it on the table on our outdoor balcony.  I also found yellow chair cushions to match and it turned out really cute for the summer months.  (Especially since the rest of our balcony is plain, color-wise).

Source: via Dana on Pinterest

I am loving blue nail polish this month.  Right now my toenails are blue with tiny white polka dots.


Source: via Dana on Pinterest
I just have to make this one day.  (Isn't that what we say about everything that we find on Pinterest?) Our maps would be of Florida (our wedding and Barry's home state), DC (where we met), and Maryland (where we live now and my home state).


I would like to create a colorful canvas using this technique.  My only question is where to make it, because I feel like it would be extremely messy.  Maybe somewhere outside, but then where would I plug in the hairdryer?


Ryan "made" this for Barry for Father's Day this year.  He actually sat still and let me trace his little hands.. barely.


I absolutely love the gray couch, the old time telephone, and the pillows for pops of color.  I'm not too sure about the chandelier though.  Our living room is similar in that we have dark furniture with bright colors to accent the room.


Source: via Dana on Pinterest
I had to add my Nikon D3000 camera to this list because I just got a new lens (as a late birthday present from my hubby) that I am really excited about.  It is the Nikon 24mm F/1.4G wide angle lens. I can't wait to start taking pictures of my favorite 11-month-old with this!!

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Since it has been over a week, I figure that I owe you an explanation for my lack of blog posts:

I have been busy enjoying this blessing called life.  Simply because I can. 

My energy levels have returned to very close to normal, and my days are filled with the excitement of keeping up with a pre-toddler and other mommy responsibilities.  I don’t spend hours in front of the computer anymore because I have the energy and health to be active and to do so much more.  This is definitely a good thing.  

But I have noticed that every time I do sit down to consider writing, my mind goes blank, as if I have nothing to say.  I wonder, does it even matter what I have to say?  I started this blog as a way of communicating with my family and friends about how I was feeling during treatments.  Then, my goal was to reach out to other breast cancer patients and to focus on spreading awareness to young women.  I believed that my unique experiences would be useful and helpful to someone out there. 

Now that I am no longer a patient in active treatment, I realize that my current life more closely resembles that of a typical young mommy.  While I personally love feeling healthy and normal, I wonder if anybody else will care enough to read about my adventures in playdates, mommy and me classes, changing diapers, cooking, and grad school.  (Yes, I will be starting fall classes in just three days!)      

After much reflection, I came to the realization that it doesn’t matter how many readers I have, or where I rank on the top baby blogs.  (Although I do greatly appreciate those of you who vote regularly… thank you!)  What really matters are the personal reasons that I write:  to express myself, to share my interests, and to document a very special time in our son’s life.  This is essentially his “baby book”, since I never filled one out for him.  I will later get this blog made into an actual book from Blog2Print.  After all, everyone needs baby stories to look back on twenty years from now!  I pray that I will still be around then, but whatever the case may be, at least Ryan will be able to read this and know how much I love him with all of my heart.  That is my purpose.

I found out that my exchange surgery will be on Wednesday, October 12, which is a lot sooner than we expected.  I am so thankful that I have not had any infections and that I have recovered from the worst part of this process.  The tissue expanders aren’t exactly comfortable, but at least they don’t hurt anymore.

In addition to having an earthquake and hurricane this week, we still managed to go on several playdates.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of all of them except for this one:

When it comes to food, Ryan continues to assert his independence in his high chair.  He requires two spoons to eat non-solids, and usually just licks the handles.  I wonder how much food he's actually getting in his mouth this way?

He also insists on making the experience as messy as possible, with dinner ending up all over the highchair, floor, himself, the dogs, mommy, daddy, etc.  (As you can see from the following pictures of us, he definitely takes after me!)

When we are out and around people, Ryan usually acts very differently than he does at home with just mommy and daddy (and grandparents).  Most people see him being shy and cautious.  This video is for those of you who don’t believe me when I say that Ryan is energetic and loud

Told you!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Fifteen Friday Confessions

15. I’m addicted to my iphone and wonder how I ever lived 26 years without it.

14. Sometimes I'd rather eat spoonfuls of Nutella instead of having a real meal.

13. I think that TV is a waste of time but can easily waste hours on Pinterest or reading a book.

12. Before I was pregnant, I thought that I wanted a girl. Now my dream is to have more little boys.

11. I listen to county music and slow songs while I exercise and run.

10. I avoid carrying cash because I always seem to lose it or spend it.

9. I am running late 99% of the time.

8. I can't fall asleep without a blanket on top of me, even when it is really hot.

7. Pink wasn't always my favorite color. I used to hate it.

6. Sometimes I wish that I could escape everything and just lay on a field in the middle of nowhere.

5. I often think about what heaven will be like.

4. I tend to expect the worst in situations so that when something good happens I am pleasantly surprised.

3. I have very vivid dreams that repeat themselves.

2. I care more about handbags than I do about cars.

1. I love to keep Ryan in his pajamas because I think that he looks more like a baby that way:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ryan's Professional Photo Shoot

We just received these pictures that we had taken at the beginning of the summer by J. Otte Photography.  I think that Jodie did a wonderful job of capturing Ryan's sweet little 9-month-old spirit.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

11 Months Old

Ryan is eleven months old today, which means that this time next month we will celebrating his big ONE YEAR.  I am so excited to start planning his birthday party!  It’s hard to believe that our baby has already turned into such a big boy. 

Of course, I still remember him like this:

Taken at the hospital~ only a few hours old.  We had to roll up the sleeves on his "preemie" sized baby clothes.
Taken with my iphone~ 3 days old.

What a beautiful, innocent, perfect blessing from God.  I am forever thankful that we were chosen to love, teach, and take care of this little boy.  I've enjoyed every single moment and stage of his babyhood.  Ryan James, you are loved more than you will ever know!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Handle With Care, by Jodi Picoult


I just finished reading Handle With Care, by Jodi Picoult.  I have read many of this author’s works, and they all seem to leave me thinking about the story long after I close the book. 

As parents, we say that we will do absolutely anything for our children.  We want to give them the best life possible.  Of course, this means that we might have to make our own personal sacrifices for their best interests.  But would you give up your marriage, destroy your best friend’s career, lie under oath, and say that you wish that your child had never been born?  What if, by doing these things, you could greatly improve your child’s life and reduce his/her suffering?

This book explores these ethical issues, as they arise in a family with one child born with OI (brittle bone disease) and another child who is secretly struggling with bulimia and cutting.  It focuses on a mother who is desperate to show her daughter how much she loves her, no matter what the cost. 

This is definitely not a light read.  I was engaged throughout the entire story, but I found a few things frustrating.  The main problem, for me, was that the ending was not creative or satisfying.  I would still recommend this book because it is interesting and makes you think about some heavy issues and consider your own ethical beliefs.

Jodi Picoult books that I have read so far (from my most favorite to least):
The Pact (1998)

Nineteen Minutes (2007)

House Rules (2010)

My Sister’s Keeper (2004)

Keeping Faith (1999)

Handle With Care (2009)

Plain Truth (2000)

Perfect Match (2002)

The Tenth Circle (2006)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Feeding a Pre-Toddler

Friday’s dinner started off the same as most nights.  We sang Ryan’s mealtime song (“It’s time to eat, eat, what a treat…”), strapped him into his high chair, and made silly noises to keep him from crying while we got his food and bib.  Ryan is very impatient when it comes to food, and will usually fuss right up until the point that it is in his mouth.  Then he quickly gobbles it down and opens his mouth wide, wanting more. 

Yet this time, as I fed Ryan a big spoonful of sweet potato puree, he began to cry louder.  He shook his head back and forth, turned away from the me, kicked his feet, and screamed.  “But you like sweet potatoes,” I said as he dodged the spoon.  I continued to try to squeeze the spoon between his quivering lips.  After all, I thought, he needs the nutrition to grow and a full belly to sleep.

Ryan kept crying hysterically and his little body was practically shaking from being upset.  I felt so bad for him that I just had to stop and try to soothe/comfort him.  Maybe he doesn’t like sweet potatoes anymore.  

We mashed up a banana and tried to feed it to him with a spoon.  The same thing happened. 

Why was he refusing foods that he loved just yesterday?  I considered letting Ryan come down from his high chair to play, but I really wasn’t comfortable with skipping his dinner.  Then, I thought of something.  I put the banana into a baby safe feeder that we had, and sat it on Ryan’s high chair tray.  Then I simply walked away, pretending as if I didn’t care what he did with it. 

Almost instantly, his cries diminished and I looked back to find Ryan happily chewing (gumming?) on the net and eating the banana.

When I gave him some pieces of whole wheat spaghetti (left over from our dinner), he eagerly reached for them.  Ryan spent the next thirty minutes trying to figure out how to use his fingers to get the pasta pieces into his mouth. 

It was clear that the problem had not been about the particular foods, it was that he didn’t like the way that he was being fed.  Ryan was letting us know that he is ready to start learning how to feed himself.  He was asserting his independence.  (I have a feeling that we will have many, many more of these moments ahead of us to look forward to.)

Yes, it took us a long time to finish dinner with Ryan picking up the pasta one. piece. at. a. time.  But he enjoyed this dinner, and ate the whole bowl of whole wheat pasta plus the banana and his milk. 

I am so proud of our baby for letting us know what he is ready for and what he needs.  I think that as parents, we sometimes get used to doing things a certain way, and our children are here to remind us to look at things differently.  

On Saturday, we took Ryan out to dinner with some of our friends and he loved experimenting with all of the different foods that we put in front of him. 

Ryan wants to do it all himself, but many of the foods are hard for him to pick up.  Also, he only has two little teeth.  I found some ideas about how we can start Ryan with “independent” feeding:

1.  Give a variety of foods on his tray at the same time, so that he can choose what to eat and when

2.  Let him hold his own spoon and attempt to use it himself, while I feed him mouthfuls between

3.  Crush rice krispies and pour them over pieces of sticky foods (like bananas or avocados) to make them easier to pick up

4.  Spread pureed baby food over pieces of toast that he can pick up himself

Does anyone have any other suggestions/advice about what works for babies who are ready to start self- feeding, but don’t have many teeth yet?  

Friday, August 5, 2011

Summer Pasta Salad & Grilled Eggplant

Summer Pasta Salad

I came across this recipe while I was grocery shopping today at Trader Joe’s. They were giving out samples of this pasta salad in little cups. As soon as I tasted it, I knew what I would be making for dinner tonight. Yum!


rice vinegar
shelled edemame
green onions
shredded carrots
whole wheat spaghetti
wasabi mayo


Cook the pasta and the shelled edemame. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. (The wasabi mayo is very spicy, so add as little or as much as you like). Put it in the refrigerator and then serve chilled.

Grilled Eggplant with Goat Cheese

I found this recipe on a blog called Grilled Vegetables. The grilled eggplant can be served as a meal or as a side, depending on who you are cooking for.


3 eggplants, in 1 inch wide slices
⅓ cup fresh basil, chiffonade cut
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 oz crumbled goat's cheese
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
½ cup toasted pine nuts
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon salt


Toss the eggplant in half the olive oil and grill it over a medium hot gas or charcoal grill for about 4 minutes on each side or until grill marks appear. Arrange the grilled eggplant on a serving platter. Sprinkle the basil, pine nuts, and goat's cheese over the top and drizzle the balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and remaining oil over the salad.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

5 Bouncing Baby Boys

I recently joined a mommies group so that Ryan can learn how to be a little more social around babies his age. They are at the age now where they are beginning to notice each other and take interest in watching and communicating via baby talk. This is the perfect group for us because all of the babies are between eight and eleven months old. They also all happen to be boys (although there are supposedly girls in the group, we just haven’t met them yet).  One little boy actually has the exact same birthdate as Ryan and was born at the same hospital.

I am so glad that we found this group, because the mommies are friendly and the babies are just adorable. I enjoy watching them interact with each other and have so much fun. It’s cute to see their different personalities emerge.

We had one playdate last week and another one yesterday. Ryan was super shy at first, and then he warmed up to everyone and was nothing but smiles. He crawled, cruised, and made his presence known though loud and happy squeals. We even treated the babies to “rides” on the rolling chairs and raced with them up and down the hallway. I think that everyone had a blast! I truly have never seen Ryan smile so much around “strangers”. He usually saves his smiles for close family members only. I think that this group might be helping his social skills already!

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