Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Winter Wonderland

Maddie, Keith's mom Darlene and I drove out to Gresham this afternoon to go to Target and Walmart and it was a perfectly dry, uneventful drive out there. When we left Target I thought I saw 2 snowflakes, but brushed it off as nothing. When we were in Walmart, we kept hearing people saying, "It's snowing, it's snowing!" but I figured it was just Portlanders freaking out over a few flakes. Well, we get outside and BAM! Hello sideways-flying snow and sleet! And they weren't kidding...it was really coming down! Now, I'm a bit winter-phobic and H.A.T.E. driving in winter conditions, so I was ready to high-tail it out of there as fast as I (safely) could. Apparently everyone else in the city had the same idea because it took us at least 1 hour and 30 minutes to make it 25 miles back home! UGH!! Of course, that also included an emergency pit stop and getting off the freeway when I heard from the backseat, as I'm inching along at 5 mph on I-84 with big fatty snowflakes blanketing the city, "Mommy, I need to go potty!" (Normally I'd be all, "Yay Maddie! You're such a big girl for telling us! We'll find a potty right away!" but instead I was thinking, "Dang it--why didn't I just have her wear Pull-Ups in the car?!")

Since it was getting late, I called and asked Keith to order pizza and he said, "Oh, do you want to stop and pick it up?" Um, NO THANK YOU! Isn't that the whole reason you order pizza on a snowy night--so that someone else can drive on the snowy roads and deliver it to you?! :-)

Maddie was commenting all the way home about how beautiful everything looked with the snow and I couldn't agree more! While we waited for our yummy pizza, Maddie and I ran around in the yard, chased Lucy who loves to act like a spaz in the snow, and built mini mommy, daddy and baby snowmen. What a precious night! :-)

He Did It!

James has become a lot more alert and interactive this week, which is such a joy to see! I'm not sure if he's feeling better now that he's had a blood transfusion and adjustments to his fluids/nutrition, or if this just happened to be the week that he blossomed, but we sure love watching him develop! Now we're seeing lots of smiles and cooing and physical activity. We've gotten a bit more brave this week, giving him more time on the activity mat and trying out the Exersaucer and Bumbo seat for the first time last night.

Last night Keith put James on his tummy on the activity mat and this is what I hear from upstairs: "Hon, come here quick! He just rolled over!" WHAT?! Surely this must be a fluke. I ran down and watched as James promptly flipped over from his tummy to his back about 5 more times in a row! I guess having all kinds of tubes and bags and bandages on your abdomen is BIG motivation for learning how to roll over and get in a more comfortable position. :-) We're so proud of you, Litte Buddy!

Whoa! What just happened?!

Lots of good snuggle time with Grandma & Grandpa!

Lots of time around here spent playing with new Christmas toys...baking sets, cooking outfits, Leap Frog phonics games, books, Polly Pockets (which Maddie literally played with for hours on end) and new dolls with the cutest outfits handmade by my mom!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Slow Cooker Night

I really need to take more advantage of my slow cooker. Tonight I made Cuban Braised Beef and Peppers (from Real Simple's website). Deee-licious! And talk about easy...throw it all in the Crockpot and forget about it for the day! About 30 minutes before you want to eat, cook up some rice (I bet this would also be yummy over mashed potatoes) and a side of veggies or a salad and you're good to go! I'm betting the leftovers will be fantastic too. :-)


  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes (regular or with diced green chiles), undrained
  • 2 red bell peppers, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 onion, cut into 8 wedges
  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes (I used my Mom's home-dried ones!)
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds flank steak, cut crosswise into thirds (or chuck roast, which is what I used)
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • lowfat sour cream
  • Sriracha sauce, if you like it hot!


  1. In a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, oregano, cumin, 1½ teaspoons salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Nestle the steak among the vegetables. Cook, covered, until the meat is tender and pulls apart easily, on high for 4 to 5 hours or on low for 7 to 8 hours. (I doubled the recipe and couldn't fit it all in my crockpot, so I made half the recipe on the stove in a heavy stockpot. Brown the beef in a bit of olive oil on med-high for a few seconds on each side, reduce to low and add all other ingredients and simmer over low heat for 2.5-3 hours.)
  2. Twenty-five minutes before serving, cook the rice according to the package directions.
  3. Using two forks, shred the beef and mix it into the cooking liquid. Serve with the rice and top with the avocado, sour cream, cilantro and Sriracha sauce, if desired.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas, Round 2

Tonight was the first time we've actually gotten a photo of the FOUR of us as a family! :-)

Keith's parents, Ron and Darlene. I was tempted to crop out the IV pole in the photo, but then decided to leave it in, to document our reality right now. Hopefully within the next couple of Christmases it will be a thing of the past!

I bought Maddie a new set of foam stringing beads...and they immediately turned into this mess! I should have known!

Nana & Miss Cheeseball

Baby's First Christmas

James' favorite new spot, on Grandpa's lap. He falls asleep with Grandpa for hours at a time! He'd probably stay there all day if we'd let him! :-)

Dancing the night away! :-)

Merry Christmas everyone!
(see post below for more photos and an update on James)

I'll be home for Christmas...

Thankfully, everyone WAS home for Christmas, but it almost didn't turn out that way! On Tuesday afternoon we took James in for his weekly checkup and, long story short, were in the doctor's office from 1pm-4pm, then sent to another doctor across the street until 5pm, then sent back to the hospital for James to be admitted. The doctors were concerned because the output from his ostomy has been really high volume, which means he wasn't absorbing enough nutrients/vitamins/minerals and was likely leaching water from his bloodstream in order to keep up. They thought he may be getting dehydrated and may have caught a virus, so they took blood samples and checked us in to a hospital room on the pediatric floor. (Can I just say, THANK GOODNESS that Keith's parents are staying with us for 3 weeks and could be there to watch Maddie!) We ended up staying with James at the hospital from Tuesday evening thru Thursday morning (Christmas Eve) and pretty much just got really frustrated at the fact that everyone seemed so disorganized and, aside from plugging in a tube for IV fluids, we were in charge of all his care while we were there. One nurse even said, "This is all the normal stuff you could just be doing at home, right?" Yep! Exactly! The only thing they needed to do at the hospital was the blood draws and giving him a 4-hour blood transfusion, but we could have just brought him in for that procedure. I have a feeling this will be just the first of many stays at the hospital for our little guy. Thankfully, he's doing better now and seems to be feeling just fine. Please continue to pray for James, that his body would regulate the fluids so that he can absorb as much as possible and continue to grow new intestine in preparation for his re-connection surgery (likely in March). The surgeon has said the surgery is a "one-shot deal"...I've been too scared to ask what that actually means.

Since we've been fairly home-bound lately, Nana and Papa have been pitching in and taking Maddie on fun holiday adventures, like visiting Santa downtown! Hopefully we'll be able to go as a family next year...I'd love to see Maddie's reactions in person. :-)

Maddie couldn't wait to see the train--especially since she saw the video on Alli's blog!

Writing a letter to Santa: "I want a blue bouncy ball and a red wagon for my dolls."

With all our hospital drama, my mom was kind and gracious enough to schlep all the Christmas Eve food and presents over to our house so that we could stay put. We had a wonderful evening full of laughter and great food and making memories together.
Enough of my talk--bring on the photos! :-)

Telling Grandma one of her "Princess Madeline" stories.

(Okay, Blogger is freaking out...I'll put up another post for Round 2!)