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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

15 days old...

A quick update on Connor... I'll post more pictures later.

Since developing NEC last Friday, he continues to have regular x-rays that monitor his progress. So far, there's been no worsening of his condition... no change really at all. He's been stable, which is good. His metabolic acidosis has resolved itself. He continues to receive blood and platelets transfusions, which is directly correlated to his body's efforts to fight the NEC.

The IVH in his brain has shown some signs of improvement - the left side which was a Level I is now a questionable Level I, possibly nonexistent, and the right side which was a Level III has shown no change... but no worsening. He'll receive another cranial ultrasound next Monday.

One of the hardest things about his current condition, and being on the ventilator, is that we've been unable to hold him (since Christmas Day). It's also hard knowing that because of the ventilator, no one can hear him cry... to comfort him when he needs it. While we're there visiting, we're able to tell by his furrowed brow that he's upset, and can comfort him then, but my heart breaks thinking about the times when we're not there.

Connor is still receiving his nutrients intraveneously... they've stopped his feeds for the duration of the NEC. Despite all of that, he's grown 0.75" and gained 5 ounces over his birth weight. He is one strong and amazing little boy!

Meanwhile, I'm continuing to recover from the C-section. Everyday I get a little bit stronger... and a little more tuckered out! I had no idea recovery would be this difficult (of course, we've had all kinds of stress compounding the issue). Having my mom here with us has been such a huge help and blessing... we don't know what we'd do without her! It also helped immensely having family visit over the holidays - thanks for traveling long distances to spend time with us and Connor.

Brian's employer has been so supportive, caring, and understanding during this time. Plus, they've provided us with the amazing insurance policy that allows Connor to receive the care he's been getting. We feel blessed that Brian works for such a great company with such incredible people... and he really enjoys his job - a double bonus! After this week, he'll be easing back into things, as we develop a schedule to manage our new normal.

Words cannot express how much we appreciate all of your support and love! We apologize that we've been unable to respond to all of your messages individually, but we'll definitely try to keep you updated here on the blog. Your support, our faith in God, and our love for our young son are all that keeps us going right now. Please continue to remember little Connor in your prayers.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday Sustenance

"As the teachings of the Savior
are consistently obeyed,
life will be beautiful,
the future secure,
and there will be capacity
to overcome the challenges
that cross our path."
- Richard G. Scott

Saturday, December 27, 2008

12 days old...

Connor with both eyes open on Christmas Eve - December 24, 2008

Friday was not a good day for our little boy. Early in the morning, we received a call from the NICU saying that Connor had developed NEC during the night. Brian and I rushed down there, and learned more of his prognosis from the doctors. They told us that they caught it early, before any damage was done, but that he was very, very sick. Such a change from the day before! When we got there he was so pale and weak. We authorized a blood transfusion, and slowly saw him pink up. We watched him for several hours, and over time noticed that he would stop breathing periodically, like he was holding his breath every time his belly hurt. Mid-afternoon, his doctors determined that it was time to put him on a ventilator, so that he wouldn't have to work so hard at breathing... allowing his tiny body to rest and heal. For a little one who had been doing so well at breathing on his own, this was a difficult step backwards. As treatment for the NEC, he's received several x-rays and is now on 3 different antibiotics, they've stopped his feedings, and they're monitoring his fluids. It may be 7-10 days before we know how he's progressing through the illness... which we hope and pray that by then he's well on the road to recovery.

Meanwhile, Connor had several visitors throughout the day... Grandma & Grandpa Sprik arrived from Michigan, and Grandma & Grandpa Rogers and Uncle Scott all got to spend some quality time with him. The NICU nurses were great to allow us to bend the visitation rules just a little to allow everyone some time with Connor.

At this time, we ask if you could please continue to remember Connor in your prayers. He needs your prayers now more than ever.

Connor after being put on the ventilator - December 26, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

9 days old...

Uncle Scott & Connor holding hands - December 22, 2008

We're happy to report that Connor continues to do really well! They have taken him off the CPAP machine, and he's currently breathing warmed and humidified room air (no more than you and I breathe) through a cannula. He's also been tolerating his feeding increases very well and is up to 7mL per feed (a 2mL increase in the last 24 hours alone). The other night, he surprised Brian and Grandma Rogers by rolling over - he started on his stomach, then he was on his side, and before they knew it, he was flipped over on his back! Thankfully, all of his tests (bloodwork, spinal tap, etc.) have come back negative - none of the infection that plagued me after delivery was transferred to him.

The biggest issue facing Connor right now is his IVH. On the left side of his brain, he has a Level I bleed, but on his right, he has a Level III bleed. IVH is a common occurrence in premature infants of his age, and may manifest later in life as a minor disability. The doctors will continue to monitor him with weekly ultrasounds and head measurements to track his progress. While the situation concerns them, they also are somewhat confident that the impact on Connor's life, as a result of these bleeds, could be fairly minimal and maybe even nonexistent. We are trying to remain positive because we don't know what the future might bring, and we're comforted by the many other areas Connor is doing so well in.

One of the hardest things I've ever had to do was leave my baby behind in the hospital, while I went home. That's not how I imagined childbirth at all. Coming home with empty arms each day after visiting the NICU, is not getting much easier, especially as I watch other moms being discharged from the hospital with their babies. As I held Connor this morning during one of his feedings, my mind couldn't help but fast forward to that joyous day, when we'll bring our little boy home!

I was released from the hospital on Monday morning. There's something to be said about sleeping in your own bed... uninterrupted! Hospitals are not exactly conducive to getting rest... vitals have to be checked, IV drips changed, blood draws taken... around the clock. I never had any idea how rough recovery from a C-section would be, though it didn't help matters much that I pretty much didn't get out of the hospital bed for a week - further lengthening my recovery time. But, I'm finally on the mend, and that's all that matters.

Slowly, both Brian and I are recovering from the last 2.5 weeks of health drama, and adjusting to our new normal. We're both completely exhausted - physically and emotionally. But, so incredibly grateful for the wonderful Christmas gift we've received this year in Connor.

Meanwhile, we're celebrating Christmas this year with a much fuller house than we had planned... and we couldn't be happier about that! My mom is here for the duration, and my dad and brother Scott are here for the week. We also hope to have Brian's parents here with us over the weekend.

Thank you again for all of your support! We couldn't have gotten through all of this by ourselves - your love and prayers have helped to carry us. While we know Connor has a long road ahead of him, we're confident that Heavenly Father and the talented team of doctors and nurses at Rush-Copley are looking out for him.

While this isn't how we planned to celebrate Connor's first Christmas, we are grateful for our many blessings, including a very tiny boy with a huge will to live and grow strong.

We wish you a...


Have a wonderful, happy, and safe holiday
with your family and friends.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Guess what?!

I'll be home for Christmas...
starting TODAY!

My doctor just woke me up to tell me that she's sending me home today. (Of course, the NICU will become my home away from home, as long as Connor is here, but I don't mind one bit spending all of my waking hours here with him.) PICC line is coming out, and they'll send me home on 2-weeks of antibiotics. I have to call if my temperature spikes again, but they think they've figured out how to treat the bug that was ailing me.

Just in time, too... Dad and Scott arrive this afternoon from Phoenix!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

When he's this precious...

I'm pretty sure I'm going to love
this whole motherhood thing!

Connor is still doing really well. He's lost a little weight since birth, but that's to be expected. He's still breathing on his own, and getting stronger every day. Today he even opened both eyes for us. One doctor mentioned to Brian that all we have to do now is fatten him up, and he can go home. He looks a little bit like an old man... lots of skin and wrinkles that he needs to grow into... kind of like our own Benjamin Button. :)

I finally got to hold my little boy today, and words cannot express how amazing that hour was! We'll go back to the NICU tonight to do it again.

Meanwhile, today has been my best day here so far! No fever for me since 11pm last night (knock on wood!), and I've had a lot less pain today. I've been able to get out of bed by myself (which is huge), and my appetite is coming back. Things are looking very promising that I'll be in my own bed by Tuesday night (and back here Wednesday morning to spend time with Connor)!

Sunday Sustenance

"Of all the things for which I feel grateful, one stands [above all the others]. That is a living testimony of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Almighty God, the Prince of Peace, the Holy One...

Jesus is my friend. He is my exemplar. He is my teacher. He is my healer. He is my leader. He is my Savior and my Redeemer. He is my God and my King.

Gratefully, and with love, I bear witness of these things."

- Gordon B. Hinckley

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Best. News. Ever.

Today was shaping up to be a pretty crappy day. By 4pm, I had run my second fever for the day, further pushing back any chances I had of making it into the NICU anytime soon. Lots of stress and drama over finding a new vein for an IV (I'm a hard stick, with tiny, deep veins that like to jump around, and I'm completely bloated from all the fluids they've been pumping into me). Lots of apprehension on my part over the PICC line insertion... I felt like I was committing myself to a long hospital stay, as the lines can remain in place for months on end. (Only bright spot... with a PICC line, that means no more IV movement, no more excruciating sticks for blood draws.) With each fever, I'm knocked flat on my back, glued to the bed, with an incredibly low tolerance for pain. Doesn't do much for the spirits or my mood. I'm lucky that Brian and Mom love me so much, to put up with my cranky weepiness!

Right now, we're hoping I'm home by Christmas, no more than 9 days after Connor's birth. I don't mind that I'll be spending every waking hour back here with him in the NICU, I just really want to sleep in my own bed, and enjoy the comforts of home. (And do you know how wearing regular clothes would boost me?? I'm so tired of it being Naked Aimee week again... I'm dying to have some modesty back!)

This evening, the infectious disease specialist came in to consult after perusing my chart. He's still not quite sure what's wrong with me... but believes he can adjust my antibiotics a bit (I'm currently on 3 different ones). He also thinks the fevers will start to wane from here on out, and just drop off. Potentially, he'll give me a CAT scan to rule out any sort of pelvic infection... but right now, not everything points to that.
But then, he also made my week...

Tonight, on his 4th day of life, I will finally have the opportunity to see and kangaroo hold Connor. Fever, or no fever (and currently it's above 101), he determined that I'm not a danger to my son, or any of the other preemies.
Less than 60 short minutes from now... and I.can't.wait!!!!

Didn't get a chance to actually hold Connor tonight... he was a little over-stimulated and having a hard time keeping his temperature up... but seeing him and touching him was beyond wonderful! We're going to try again tomorrow afternoon.
Here's his tiny little hand, as compared to his mom's swollen hand:

Welcome, little one...

His birth story

Doctors finally released me from the hospital on Saturday, December 13th, after an 8-day stay. We were given plenty of instructions... strict rules for bedrest (stairs once per day, bathroom and shower privileges, etc.), some new Rx to keep the contractions at bay, instructions for a potential diagnosis of gestational diabetes, along with when to return to the hospital. Things were going really well, and aside from being weak after lying in bed for 8 days, I was feeling pretty good.

Shortly after dinner on Tuesday evening, I started noticing some back pain, in addition to a few regular contractions. Sadly, it was enough to force us to make a return trip to the hospital... one of the most depressing moments of my entire life.

We arrived at Labor & Delivery, and the docs and nurses began checking me out right away. Sure enough, the back pain was back labor, and I was definitely having contractions. Now dilated to 4-5 cm, the doctor ordered an ultrasound where she noticed that a portion of the amniotic sac was pushing through my cervix, and above that was one of the baby's feet. She contacted the high-risk specialist, and they decided that I was to have a C-section that evening, while they could keep everything controlled. As she broke this news to us, sure enough my water broke then, too. Now, it became an emergency C-section, and within 20 minutes I was all prepped for surgery. At only 27 weeks pregnant, we were terrified of the outlook for the baby.

Luckily, I had already received the steroids to help his lungs develop the week prior... so that offered some comfort. Brian offered me a blessing that brought great peace. Having my mom there with us, was also a special treat.

Connor Alan Sprik
Born December 16, 2008 at 9:43pm
13.75 inches long
2 pounds 6 ounces

Miraculously, he emerged crying and breathing all on his own! He scored a 9 on both his 1-minute and 5-minute Apgar tests. (Our nurse told me that she's only ever given a 10 to one full-term baby before... that a 9 is the most common score.) He's definitely a fighter, and has been doing remarkably well over the first 3 days of his life. He's still breathing on his own, with a little assistance from a CPAP machine. His heart rate, respiratory rate and sats have all been consistent and very high. He can be a little feisty, but isn't too fussy, and tends to quiet down very easily. So far, he's been impressing everyone, including all of the medical professionals, with how strong he is. There are other babies in the NICU right now, born less premature than Connor, that are doing much worse. He still has a long road ahead of him, and may have to spend the next three months here in the hospital. We feel so blessed to be the parents of such a strong little boy!

On the other hand, I haven't been doing so well myself. Right now, the earliest I'll be leaving the hospital is Monday or Tuesday... and that's what I've been praying for. Unfortunately, I've developed some sort of blood infection, and my body has not been responding very well to all of the combinations of antibiotics they've been trying on me. About twice a day since the surgery, I've spiked a fever higher than 103, and the doctors are having a hard time figuring out why I'm so sick. When my fever is down, I'm actually feeling pretty good The worst part is that this has kept me out of the NICU, and I haven't been able to really see or touch Connor since the night of his birth. That means I've also been unable to hold my baby boy. Until I haven't spiked a fever for 24-hours, I won't have those privileges. My last fever began at 12pm today, so the earliest I'm looking at is sometime Sunday, provided there are no more fevers today. This morning there were 2 nurses, an anesthesiologist tech and doc, trying to find a new vein for an IV line for 90 minutes... with no luck. Shortly I'll be receiving a PICC line to solve this problem, since I still have to be on IV antibiotics. As you can imagine, unable to be near Connor, I'm an emotional wreck.

Not to leave you on a total downer, Brian has been able to spend a lot of time bonding with Connor. He's been able to feed him, change his diaper, soothe him, and hold him. Connor responds really well to the sound of dad's voice, and loves to squeeze his finger. We're just both so happy he's been doing so well!

Thank you so much for all of your prayers, phone calls, e-mails, gifts, visits... for everything! It's all done wonders for our spirits and has given us so much strength. We're incredibly blessed to have the family and friends that we do.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday Sustenance

"We all enjoy giving
and receiving presents.

But there is a difference
between presents and gifts.
The true gifts may be
part of ourselves--

giving of the riches of
the heart and mind--

and therefore more
and of
far greater worth

than presents
bought at the store."

- James E. Faust

Friday, December 12, 2008

They say it's your birthday...


We hope you have a fantastic day!

And, we're looking forward to seeing you over Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Celebrating Our 3rd Wedding Anniversary at Rush-Copley

Starting Monday evening, our situation took a turn in the wrong direction and Aimee began having contractions again and dilated even further. It was a long, long night and a druged-up Tuesday into Wednesday. Luckily the magnesium, which sent Aimee into the fog, helped stop the contractions and we could celebrate our 3rd anniversary together knowing we gave Sprik Sprout another day in the comfort of mommy's womb.

To all our faithful readers, please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers. At times like these, it is amazing to realize the enormous support and love from co-workers, friends and family. As we take it day-by-day, we view each day as a blessing. Although we can't wait to meet this little boy, our son, a grandson, a nephew, a cousin, we are putting all our anticipation and excitement into doing everything we and all of the wonderful, caring doctors and nurses here at Rush-Copley can to ensure his health and future.

With our deepest gratitude,
Brian & Aimee

Three wonderful years...

Kami posted the following fun tag on her blog a few weeks ago. And, since today is our 3rd anniversary, I think it's only fitting to play along and reminisce about our special day!

1. Where did you and your husband meet? As mentioned previously here and here on Sprik Space, we met online in March 2005. I made him wait until mid-May before meeting face-to-face... In fact, the day he was coming to Phoenix, he ended up catching an earlier flight than planned. I had already mapped out my day, which included leaving work early to run home to freshen up. I think he had landed, already at the airport, by the time I was ready to leave work, but I still made him wait until I was able to run home quick. (So glad he was patient, though he was told that I had to "work late"!) When I picked him up curbside, I was so dumbfounded that he was normal, I couldn't stop saying "I can't believe you're here!" I drove us straight to In-n-Out Burger, because I was so nervous and knew that was one of his favorite places. There we immediately began our first official date (all for less than $9)... romantic, huh?

2. How long before you kissed?
Ummm... just a few hours after meeting face-to-face! It was later that night at my apartment. Of course I made sure he bought me dinner first. ;)

3. Who kissed who first? He kissed me... naturally.

4. How long from the time you met until you were engaged? How long from the engagement to the wedding? We were engaged on July 1st of that same year (3.5 months after meeting online, 1.5 months after meeting face-to-face)... and married on December 10th (5 months from the engagement).

5. How did he propose?
I had flown to Denver to see him over the Fourth of July weekend. That Friday, I had scheduled time with my friend, Andi, for her to cut & color my hair, and for us to sneak over quick to a local bridal shop. We were running late leaving downtown to get to Andi's, but Brian insisted we stop by the temple on our way. I was completely oblivious to what he had planned, but decided to be kind and indulge him, even though I was a little annoyed and didn't want to be late. We pulled up to the temple, which was closed at the time for renovations, but one of the gates was open for the workers and Brian barreled on in. We parked and got out to stroll around for a minute, when suddenly he was down on one knee. I was caught so off guard, that to this day, I still don't remember the words he said, just the emotions I felt.

6. Did he pick out the ring or did you?
He picked out the ring, all by himself. He knew I wanted a solitaire in white gold, and he had my ring size, and that was about it.

7. Do you still like the ring?
Yes, I love it! It's very simple and classic, but set in an interesting way. I just wish it fit a little better right now! (ahhh, pregnancy)

8. Where was your wedding and reception? We were married in the Denver LDS Temple, and had a small luncheon reception at Il Fornaio with 30 of our closest friends and family (who either lived in town or had traveled to be with us). Our wedding was practically a destination wedding, with both sets of parents and many friends having to travel in from Arizona, Illinois, and Michigan. We kept the luncheon small and intimate, just the way both of us wanted. It really couldn't have been more perfect.

9. How many bridesmaids did you have and who
was your maid of honor? I didn't have any bridesmaids at my wedding, though I suppose technically you could say Andi was my maid of honor (she got stuck with hair and make-up duty the morning of the wedding).

10. What did you do at your reception? Besides having lunch together, we also held a small ring ceremony officiated by the bishop of the ward Brian was baptized in. It was a really special way for us to have the opportunity to say how we felt about each other, in front of everyone present. The bishop said a few words, and we also had toasts offered up by siblings and close friends as part of it.

11. What was your bouquet made of? Just white calla lilies (and a few fronds of green grass), all bundled together with ribbon.

12. Who gave you away?
I suppose you could say that both of my parents did. It was a temple ceremony, so there was no walking down the aisle, persay.

13. Did you cry during your wedding?
A tiny bit before, during, and after. I'm pretty sure I was a little teary all day long.

14. What style was your dress? I actually almost didn't buy a wedding dress... but then I found the one perfect for me. It was a very simple A-line style which I had altered from cap sleeves to 3/4-length sleeves, with satin banding the neckline and hem, and a small amount of beading detail at the empire waist.

15. Was your wedding kiss sweet or sexy?
Short and sweet.

16. Who caught your bouquet?
I actually never threw my bouquet. I think my sister was the only other single girl in attendance that day. Pretty sure the flowers spent the weekend at Andi's while we were on our honeymoon.

17. What flavor was your cake? My memory on this is a little fuzzy... I think it was a white chocolate cake with a strawberry or raspberry filling and buttercream frosting. It was small, only 2 tiers, but we had plenty of leftovers, which we devoured on our honeymoon.

18. Did you smash the cake onto each other's faces or feed it to each other nicely?
We fed each other in a civilized fashion, of course! We hadn't talked about it before, so I was relieved we were both on the same page.

19. What was "your song" that you danced to at your wedding?
We didn't have dancing at our wedding... middle of the day, small private room at the restaurant... no room for it really. If I had to choose a song that was "our song", especially at the time, I would say that it was "I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever" by Stevie Wonder.

20. What did you serve your guests to eat? If I remember correctly, we chose this menu for our guests, along with a couple of appetizers. It was most certainly delicious!

21. What did your friends or family do to decorate your car?
They didn't... thank goodness! Given the fact that it was below freezing (yet blue skies and sunny) that day, I don't think anyone was inclined to do the dirty prank.

22. What was your favorite wedding
gift? We mostly received cash and gift cards for our wedding, which was a huge blessing. We had just bought a new house, so we were able to purchase accessories, accent furniture, and even some exercise equipment, thanks to everyone's generosity.

23. What was the worst wedding gift you got?
I don't really remember a "worst" wedding gift. If there was something we received that we didn't really need, we were able to return it.

24. Where did you go on your honeymoon? Breckenridge. We drove up into the beautiful mountains of Colorado, and stayed in a condo for a few days at the Mountain Thunder Lodge. It was snowy, cold, and absolutely gorgeous up there. Afterwards, we traveled back down to the Denver area to pick up my things, and drive on to Chicago... stopping for a night in Nebraska, to tour Winter Quarters the next morning.

25. Looking back, is there anything you would have changed about your wedding?
The wedding day and luncheon were absolutely perfect - I don't think there's one thing I would change about it. (Sure not everything went according to plan, but those details are trivial and don't really matter.) What I would change is the amount of stress we had circling around us at the time... I moved to Denver in August to be closer to Brian, but then he left for a job opportunity in Chicago just 2 weeks later - so we were long-distance, again! Just about every other weekend was full of traveling to see the other and taking care of the loose details we couldn't handle long-distance. September was spent house hunting and Brian was adjusting to a new job; October was all about buying the house. In November, I was trying to coordinate the movers and getting everything settled (all while finalizing wedding plans and attempting to do some freelance work). Then, the wedding in December, and finally being together. Things were so crazy and stressful, I'm honestly surprised we survived! Without the support of good friends and family, I'm not sure we would have made it through all of that. (But, in the end, it was all worth it, and we became stronger because of it.)

Thank you, Brian, for the past three, very wonderful, years!
You were definitely worth the wait! ;)

Like Kami, I'm opening this up to everyone I know that reads this post... I'd love to see your answers! Come on, play along!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The looming duration

So... still here. At least until Tuesday.

Sprik Sprout seems to be doing fine, and is even measuring about a week ahead of schedule. He's all pumped up on his 'roids, to help him as much as we can if he has to make an earlier appearance. Meanwhile, I'm still dilated, no change since yesterday. Hopped up on magnesium... (the exact definition of not.fun.) and hoping to come off of it tomorrow. Was able to begin my diet of clear liquids after 24 hours of nothing (cruel and unusual punishment for a pregnant woman!)... chicken broth and jello never tasted so good... for lunch AND dinner. Hoping to add crackers to the menu tomorrow. Broke up with the bedpan this morning (we had a hate-hate relationship going on) and fell in love with my catheter (TMI? Too bad... that's how exciting it gets around here.) If all goes well, I might be able to go home on Tuesday.

That's the good news.

The bad news? I think we're looking at bed rest for the remainder of the pregnancy.

So we're digesting all of this, and trying to figure out what it all means for life moving forward, at least short term.

The last 10-14 weeks of this pregnancy are going to fly by, right??

P.S. I'm still going to try to stay up on my blog reading, at least for the short term. Can't say the same for commenting, but know that I'm enjoying every delicious word and fun pic you post. I have B's work laptop here in the hospital, but the WiFi is weak and sketchy. And at home, it's a desktop... will I be able to sit at the desk for short periods? Don't know yet... but I'm hopeful!

P.P.S. Don't know how much posting I'll be doing myself, under this new set of circumstances. I have a few in the can, and I'll try to publish updates as we have them for faraway friends and family... and anyone else who wants to read them. Thank you for your prayers, comments, e-mails, and calls thus far... it's appreciated more than you know!

Sunday Sustenance

"It isn't as bad as you sometimes think it is.
It all works out.
Don't worry.

I say that to myself every morning.
It will all work out..."
- Gordon B. Hinckley

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Not what we had planned this weekend...

Nope. Not even close.
We had fun plans, too. We were going to attend this downtown, and I was really looking forward to it.

Instead, we had a little scare this morning, and decided to come in to the ER. The scare turned out to be inconsequential, and then I started dilating. Apparently, I've even had a couple of contractions, too... but I didn't notice them. Sprik Sprout seems to be doing just fine, we're just trying to get my body to cooperate now.

So, we're here. At least for tonight. Not enjoying the side effects of the magnesium and hoping things slow down and come to a stop.

Prayers, as always, are appreciated.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Frosty made yummy

Here's another one for your files...

I LOVE the White Fudge Covered Oreos that come out this time of year. I have to hold myself back from buying it by the case whenever I'm at the grocery store.

Check out this cute idea at According to Kelly... so very, very clever!

OK, I think I can justify the case now... neighbor gifts, right?? ;)

Something to look forward to...

New in Town will be a must-see for me, come January 30, 2009!
(B - heads up... DATE NIGHT!)

Do you remember how adorable Harry Connick, Jr. was in Hope Floats and Little Man Tate?? I get the impression he won't disappoint in this flick either.

Hopefully Minnesotans won't get offended by the movie... looks like cheeky good fun to me! (Their winters are just barely more brutal than ours... at least I think so.)

Check out the trailer here:

Thursday, December 04, 2008

"Have you no decency?"

Here's the third installment of "The Outburst":

Really hoping that tonight's episode doesn't disappoint!!

Looking for tips...

It is truly overwhelming how many "must-have" baby products are out there! I really don't want to spend a fortune, or end up with a bunch of clutter that we don't or hardly use.

So, I turn to you, my faithful readers, what baby products turned out to be "must-haves" in your experience? I would LOVE specifics if you have them!

Thanks in advance...

Bodacious buttons

That Martha!
She can sure be clever sometimes!

Check out these two easy,
and kid-friendly ideas for
handmade Christmas ornaments.

Button wreath

So cute!

"I'll keep my distance, but you still catch my eye..."

If you're a fan of Wham!'s quintessential holiday hit, "Last Christmas", then you'll la-la-love this website. Now in its 3rd year, they've collected over 325 covers of "Last Christmas". I think I only knew of 2 before I checked out this site. Amazing... had no idea it was so popular!

Here's one of my favorite versions, of course:

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

"Shake it like a Polaroid picture..."

This will make you smile. Promise.

(As seen on Word to Your Mother.)

My oh my!

Mindi's got it goin' on!

She's hosting yet another superfantastic blog giveaway this month...

Check it out:
2 Christmas books, a stocking leg lamp, AND a $25 restaurant gift card
I love lamp.

Does her generosity ever end?? Go enter yourself here.

I'm thinking...

Go here and sign up for Arby's Extras to get a coupon for a FREE Mint Chocolate Swirl Shake. This offer is for new sign-ups only and the coupon must be used by December 28.

Do it now. This way, you and I will be having the same lunch today, even though we're miles apart. ;)

Few things in life are as delicious as the combination of mint and chocolate together. Here's hoping Arby's does it right!

Their latest commercial might make you chuckle...

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Memory books

If I weren't already done with my Christmas shopping, I'd be all over making these fun and oh so simple books/journals for my loved ones. With all of the choices available in scrapbooking supplies these days, the possibilities are endless! (These would even make really neat baby books and photo albums.)

Check out the tutorial at Little Birdie Secrets.

So clever!

That's it...

...we're trying out for next year's SYTYCD!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Make one of yourself here.

One for you... and one for you...

According to all of the latest news reports, I was apparently under the false impression that it's difficult these days for consumers to apply and receive credit. It seems that credit card companies still think I'm a good risk, because I receive, on average, 4-5 new credit card offers every week.

I've recently discovered a new way I can give back to the credit card companies, by taking advantage of the Postage Paid mailers they send with each offer. And, since it is now officially the season of giving, I'd better get cracking!

Go here to learn how you can use those prepaid mailers to send return packages to the oh so generous credit card companies and other junk mailers. I'm thinking rocks... or bricks, even. Maybe I'll just collect the offers from each company for a little while and return them back to their creators for recycling (with some additional weight, of course). The heavier the better, I always say! Plus, it'll help keep our postal costs low (with more money going to USPS from the offending companies)... which is what we need in this current economy. Do it for America.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Countdown to Christmas

Lately, I've been a little obsessed with Holiday Advent Calendars.

I recently spotted this crafty and clever idea for Advent Boxes on {A}, and I think I could pull it off, too. See her tutorial here and here. I don't think I would be as brave as she was in pinning them to a wall (too much spackling afterwards!), but I can definitely envision them on an embellished corkboard.

Or, there's even the Stocking Garland Advent Calendar idea, as illustrated by Martha here. Fellow blogger, Dandee, pulled it off with great finesse as seen on this post.

I also adore the Advent Calendar Pockets that Jenny of Allsorts created and described here. No sewing machine necessary... that's my kind of project!

Wondering what you'd put in your advent calendar (besides treats, of course) if your family had one, too? Send me your e-mail - I have a couple of lists of ideas, activities, and scriptures to fill them with.

Having an advent calendar is one of the many family holiday traditions I'm planning for in a few years.

One tradition I've already begun collecting for is a Christmas Book A Day. The idea is to collect various holiday storybooks to read as a family for each of the days before Christmas. The Flowering Dogwood suggested here to individually wrap them, to make them even more fun.

Another tradition I'm gearing up for is the Christmas Elf. The idea is to invite an elf into your home prior to Christmas, for him to keep an eye on well-behaving children for Santa. The elf might leave surprises for the family, and each day the children will find him in the morning after his evening adventures. My mom introduced this idea to her fellow church ladies last year, and I've been collecting more information I'll want to use as part of our family's tradition. See more details online here and here. I picked up the perfect Christmas Elf at Tai Pan Trading while I was in Utah, and he's just waiting for a little one to interact with.

Brian and I have already been talking about how fun and more meaningful the Christmas season will be when we have a little family of our own. We can't wait!

Since I'm collecting ideas, do you have fun family holiday traditions you want to share? Tell me! Tell me!

Birthday Boy


May your day be full of
thought-provoking conversation
and professional haircuts...

"You do not gossip in small towns."

Here's Part 2 of the latest Webisode, "The Outburst":

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sunday Sustenance

"Never let a
problem to be solved
become more
important than a
person to be loved."
- Thomas S. Monson

Birthday wishes...


Thanks for being
such an amazing friend
and example to me
over the years...

Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

That's a relief!

Had another ultrasound yesterday...
He's definitely a boy!

Good thing, because that's pretty much
what we've been planning for the past month.

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