Behind the Author

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

WW: It's Tough Learning to Share!

This face says it all. lol.

Monday, September 17, 2012

18 Months!



Sweet Giovanni, 

You turned 18 months yesterday!! How did the last year and a half pass so quickly?! It seems like yesterday you were in my tummy, but now you have grown into a toddler!

You weigh 23lbs 2 oz & 30ins
Still rocking 12 month clothes & some 18 month
  You where size 4 shoes and size 3 diaper (when not in cloth)


You're such a little ham! We can already tell you have a great sense of humor, as you enjoy making everyone smile with your funny little expressions and jabber. Which by the way, your vocabulary has exploded just in the last couple of weeks! It's like one day all your jabbering just clicked into words. You are saying a ton of little phrases. Not to mention you have started using your please and thank yous. 

You are still a great sleeper. You take between one and two naps a day and sleep through the night like an angel (most of the time). You are also a great eater, but you do dislike jello. We are still breastfeeding! We made it to 18 months and still going strong. Although, I'm thinking we will begin weening in the next couple of weeks. 

Your favorite things in life are cars, books, and any toy from Toy Story. We can't take a nap without cars or books in your hand. You have also started to pretend play, especially cooking. Maybe a future chef? :) You also enjoy learning with your big brother. You know several animal sounds and body parts, and we are working on counting.

Oh little Giovanni, what a joy it is to see you and Dominic interact. You love your big brother and vise versa. You want to do everything he does. And I'm pretty sure he is the only one that can understand all that jabber you speak. ;) You two are the biggest blessing in our lives for sure.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Monday, September 10, 2012

Old Friends & Zoo Trip!

We had the most gorgeous weekend around here. It was 75 degrees and sunny!  Which happened to be perfect, since an old friend of mine and I were already making plans to get together, we just decided to make it a zoo day.

It was a little reunion of sorts. I haven't seen Abby since high school! We had so much fun catching up and swapping mom stories. She has a cute little man, baby Carter, who is 4 months old and such a cutie pie!









We've been to the zoo several times this year (4 so far!), and yet this was my favorite trip. Tony was able to come with us, which made it so much more special (and it's much easier to manage two kids with two adults..). But really it was the boys. Giovanni was so excited to see EVERYTHING! Every animal he saw it was, "wow" or "whoa". His face lit up like it was Christmas.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

"Crashing" into the Unexpected- Our Life Changing Journey of Learning to Hold on and Look Up

Six years ago yesterday, was one of the scariest moments of Tony's and my life.  It was also a day that God showed me that sometimes blessings come in all shapes and sometimes when you think you've lost it all, you've gain a lot more. 

Tony and I were young, engaged and so care free.. (those were the days!) We were at the mall window shopping for the perfect wedding band, when my dad called needing a ride, because his car broke down. My car was at Tony's so we headed back there. We were a mile away, at a stop light waiting to turn across traffic and Tony's little neon had randomly started over heating. It was a hot humid September afternoon. We had no choice but to turn the ac off and roll the windows down. It was not even 20 seconds later that the light was yellow when we made that turn..

And it happened.

A red mercury 4-door didn't slow down. Some girl thought she could beat a red light too. She was going over 55mph toward our little Dodge neon. I remember my last words to Tony, "We're going to get hit."

In that instant, life changed for me. 

It's all slow motion. A blur of time. 

Tony, recalls the impact better than I can. He can still see the car hitting, t-boning my side and glass shooting up from inside the door. I imagined it looked pretty cool. But I don't remember that. I remember the sounds. The horrific sounds of metal hitting metal and the tires popping as our car spun around. And I remember praying to God to take me to heaven if it was my time. Seems ridiculous now, but it was what it was. I must have passed out from shock or the impact. But when I came too, people had gathered around our cars and I heard someone ask if I was alive. (What horrific words to awaken with.) I couldn't move, it hurt to breathe, and pain consumed me. I was trapped in the car. I waited what seemed like eternity for firemen to use the jaws of life to cut me out of the car.

If you have ever been close to death, it is so surreal. God awakening is all I can describe it. That time trapped in the car, as scary as it was, I have never felt closer to God. I remember singing over and over "Jesus loves me." It was a comfort to know I was not alone.

I was sent by ambulance to a local hospital about 20mins away. It was there that they learned my injuries were too severe to be treated there. So they air lifted me by helicopter to a bigger hospital in the city. I don't remember any of it, except them pulling me out of the helicopter.

It turns out I had broken my pelvis in 3 different places, I broke a rib, which partially deflated my lung, I had a massive hematoma on my liver (eternal blood blister basically), bruised bone in my leg (it took a year for that to heal) and fractured my back in 3 different locations, including my C-5.  Here's the kicker.  I dodged 3 surgeries, paralization and or death. Doctors couldn't believe it, some of them called it a miracle. They kept preping me from surgery only to realize I was stabilizing. My pelvis breaks were mind blowing. I was just a tiny, a centimeter, off for getting a major pelvis surgery. The c-5 in your neck, if broken all the way through, causes parilization from the neck down or instant death. I had fractured it. The hematoma on my liver was growing so big and the slowed to a stop. This isn't coincidences. This was God's amazing grace.

The best was yet to come. Recovery was brutal. I spent many days in the hospital, followed by many weeks in a rehabilitation center, followed by 2 months home bound at home, with another 6 months in the physical therapy. I couldn't walk for months. Because of where my breaks were, I couldn't walk or bare any weight until after the home bound period was over. I went from a wheelchair, to a walker, to finally using a cane (which I used for almost a year).  After all that, I can sit here today and say, that that accident was a blessing. A huge amazing blessing. God let that horrible thing happened, but transformed it into a life changing gift!


Blessing after blessing trickled out of this "horrible event." 

-What if Tony's car didn't randomly over heat... the window would have been rolled up and who knows what would have happened. 

-Tony and I grew closer than before. Before I had horrible issues of trust (from my past), and then I was thrown into this situation where I grew as a person. I had to trust. I had to tear down those walls I built, in order to move forward.  And it truly did save our relationship.  

-We were not financially ready at all to tie the knot. Both of our cars were about to hit the dust. With a settlement I received, we were able to replace and pay off both cars. The accident also put a strain on his job and soon after he found a great one, at the place he still is now. We were then able to buy a home of our own and furnish it.  


-Our parents had never met. They met at the hospital. It wasn't what we had planned, but it was in God's plan. This was a great stress reliever, as there were some conflicting impressions of each other before hand. 

-This truly made me appreciate the things I take for granted.  Each step I easily take now, I am reminded of how hard those first steps were.. 

-I was told I should have c-sections because of my pelvis injuries. I found a doctor that allowed me to try natural, but was prepared for surgery if needed. They called a c-section early with Dominic and good thing too, since his cord was wrapped twice around his neck. If I didn't have the injury, then they would have continued the labor and who knows what would have happened to our Dom.


The list could go on... This event changed my life. It was my God awakening moment. I realize life is just to short to dwell on the misfortunes. Sometimes you just have to ride out the storm to witness the rainbow on the other side. 



"...In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28"

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Disney Planning Part 2: Building the Excitement!

Planning our Disney vacation was only half the fun; building the excitement for the boys was the other! At the ages of almost 3 and 18 months, our boys are still little and didn't know all the characters or even understand what "Disney World" was. However, it was important to us to make sure they got the best out of this vacation. So that meant some prep work in preparing the boys for this magical adventure. 

Three things helps us do this. Lots of Disney movies, YouTube, and their special Mickey Mouse Disney trip countdown.


1. GET TO KNOW THE CHARACTERS

Before planning this trip, the boys weren't real familiar with all the Disney characters. They knew who Mickey and Minnie Mouse were, the Toy Story characters and of course Lightening McQueen, but as far as some of the older ones, they had no clue. So, the last couple months we've have "movie nights", where we've broke out some of our favorite Disney classics (Peter Pan, Beauty & the Beast, etc). They've enjoyed the movies and got to know some of the less familiar characters at the same time.

2. BOYS, THIS IS DISNEY WORLD!

Along the same lines as the characters, the boys had no concept of what this "Disney World" was. They didn't understand theme park or rides. But, like I've said, I was determined for them to have the best experience possible for their age. So, I went to my trusty friend, YouTube. I searched Disney World, and came up with thousands of results. Many of them were totally not what we were looking for, however,  several were perfect in building that excitement and showing what Disney World was about.  

This video(found here.) did the trick. It's adorable and full of the Disney magic and really got both boys excited for the trip. And I mean EXCITED!  


3. MAKE A COUNTDOWN! 

A lot of people like the "surprise" factor when going on a trip to Disney. But the boys are so young and full of the magic, we didn't want to miss out on watching them get excited! And plus, I'm horrible at keeping secrets. ;) So, I decided to make my own countdown.

Let me start off by saying, I have a bit of a confession. I am in love obsessed with paint swatches. Seriously, I'm one of those people you see stuffing their pockets full those things at Walmart. I could do a whole blog post about how many uses they serve (and their free!) They really come in handy for fun art projects, learning tools, and wouldn't ya know it countdowns. ;) 

Here's our countdown..


The Supplies needed:

-Poster board
-Hand full of paint swatches
-Sticky letters
-Markers
- 2 Foam sheets (Used for the big Mickey head)
-Tape

I like my craft projects to be cute, simple and easy. HA! 

I simply cute out mickey heads from the paint swatches. I then stuck the sticky letters onto the black uncut paint swatches. Rearranged all the pieces and taped it down with scotch tape. And lastly, I counted down the days with a marker. And voila our one of a kind Disney Countdown! 


Truth is, getting them excited isn't a problem. It's the waiting for the trip that's the struggle! ;) 

If you like it,!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Holy Ear Pain!

It's been an interesting week so far. If you've been following my blog the last week or so, I mentioned I had a cold. Well, as everyone got better, I got worse. Then on Monday morning I woke up with the most horrible ear ache ever. I pretty much didn't get any sleep. And of course this had to happen on a holiday, when no doctors are open. I tried to wait it out, even tried a couple of home remedies, but the pain kept getting worse..and let's face it, I'm a big baby. So into Urgent care we went.

After a semi-awake receptionist screwed up my paper work, I found out I had a bulging eardrum, from a bad ear and sinus infection. And if that's not fun enough, while waiting for the prescriptions and discharge papers, I was struck with the most intense pain ever.

My ear drum ruptured!

(NOT FUN)

It was a tough few hours. I pretty much cried like a baby. Seriously, I was begging for my mama..  Thankfully, a big pop came, and soon after so did relief. However, in it's place was drainage, buzzing, and deafness. I still have some pain, but not as bad.

Please keep me in prayer and thoughts. It's not easy caring for two active little toddlers when you don't feel well and can't hear good. Not to mention, with the days to our dream vacation to Disney are dwindling down, I can't help but worry about flying. Oh how I am looking forward to this trip, but I am now terrified to fly with the pressured during take off and landing.

Has anyone ever had a ruptured ear drum?
How long did it take to heal?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Miles For Myanmer- 5k Race

Every year our church hosts a 5k race, to raise money for medical units in the country of Myanmar.  This year's race happened to be this weekend, during the dreaded hurricane Isaac, which was making his rain debut in IL. Thankfully, even though the forecast called for 100% chance of rain, not a drop fell during the mornings events!

Having worked on some of the behind the scenes office stuff for the race, I was even more excited for race day, as I was asked to photograph the days happenings. It was so much fun capturing it all!



Here is a slide show of some of the pictures.
 My friend Jenn & I put this together.


We weren't even going to hold a race this year, but at the last minute we were asked to by the coaches at the local schools. With just three weeks to prepare and organize, this event ended up being our biggest one to date! Isn't it amazing what God can do? He isn't bound by our time restraints. His plans are ALWAYS best.