3 little Miracles

3 little Miracles

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Night

We all imagine such amazing fun FICTIONAL things when it comes to what our Halloween with children should be like. The REALITY is with kids is never really goes as imagined, HA.

For instance . . . . I never imagined that Jon would wake up from his nap in the most horrible of moods and that his mood and willingness to follow directions would remain poor all the way up until the moment of going out the door . . . . . even with threats of loosing his t-o-t privileges.  I also never imagined that I would still be sick and not really feel like going out, but not want to miss Rachel's first time going out with her big brothers around the neighborhood on Halloween night.  I also never imagined that I would be fussing and in a horrible mood, literally until I crossed the threshold into the cool crisp night time air and I would finally feel my body temp cool off and my mood lift.

BUT we did make it out the door after taking some cute pictures of the kids in Mom and Dad's living room and we all survived the hours leading up to Trick-OR-Treating.
Our little girl is finally learning how to sit on her own, a skill she just gained this Halloween weekend :-) 

 Out into the night our little pirates went, knocking on doors for their very first time with great glee saying, "Trick OR Treat" at the top of their lungs each time the door opened to their summons. (We normally only go to our church festival and don't do the door to door thing)
 It really was fun seeing how happy they were Trick-OR-Treating, something I hadn't done since I was a little girl and at times it was funny watching them race to try and be the first one to the next door.
  In the dark of the night we managed to find friends and neighbors, these are the three little girls that live next to us (you actually saw their Dad back in the first house we visited for the night). 
 Rachel was awake most of the hour we were out Trick-OR-Treating, but as we turned back onto our street we noticed she had gotten very quiet and discovered she had drifted off to sleep.
Good Night Little Lady Bug, don't let the other bed bugs bite!
Happy Halloween Y'all!

Master Bedroom Idea

I am wanting to make a headboard for our bed, and although this room does not have our bedroom colors, there are many elements about this room that I do like and I just had to share it here.

Even though this room is small, it has a great visual balance with the open leg style side tables on either side of the bed.  In addition, although a large amount of space is not available for a larger scale chair, they gave the feel of of one by using a wing back style only in a smaller size and still provided the extra seating that a master bedroom needs.  Finally the monochromatic color scheme allows for each element to visually speak for itself as you look around the room without one thing or another stealing interest.

Love it and will use this to inspire updates to our bedroom, specifically the headboard.

You can see more spaces and things that inspire my design tastes HERE on Pinterest.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

What's for Dinner Tonight from Pinterest

Tried another great recipe today from Pinterest and we loved it.  It's called Honey Sauced Chicken and believe me I needed an easy crock-pot recipe for Sunday afternoon lunch because I have been sick with a very bad cold and really wasn't up for a lot of cutting, chopping, and stirring over a hot stove, and this one was easy.  So the Pinterest recipe box came to my rescue.

Honey Sauced Chicken

(I doubled the following ingredients)
3/4 pound chicken (of your choice)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/8 cup chopped onion (or 1/16 cup onion flakes) *I left out the onions because of the boys
1/8 cup ketchup
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper, put into crock pot. In a small bowl, combine honey, soy sauce, onion, ketchup, oil, garlic and pepper flakes. Pour over chicken. Cook on low for 3 hours or on high 1 1/2 hours. Chicken into bite size pieces, then return to pot and toss with sauce. Serve over rice or noodles.

To bake chicken as a 30 minute meal:
Dice chicken and season both sides with salt and pepper, place in 8x8 pan. Pour sauce over chicken and bake at 350 for 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes.

Serves 2.

So while my husband was at church with the boys and Rachel was taking her morning nap, I managed to get myself off of the sofa and S&P the chicken and mixed up the rest of the ingredients for the sauce and poured it over the chicken, then turned it on low and went back to my prone position on the couch.  At 11:53 I woke up and realized almost immediately that although my sniffer was way off because of the cold, I should have still been able to smell something.  I went to the kitchen to discover that although I had turned on the crockpot . . . . . I had not plugged it in.  10 minutes later my husband walked through the door expecting that dinner would be ready . . . . . SURPRISE!  Lucky for us this recipe has an alternate 20 minute cook time in the oven, which is exactly the time it takes to cook the rice, so Sunday lunch just had a 20 minute delay, HA.

The only thing I would do different with this recipe the next time I prepare it is try it with cashews in it AND I will actually cook it in the crockpot because I think the meat will turn out more tender.  But even with the cooking mistake, the whole family loved it, including my most picky critic Jon.   

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Celebrating Turning 1!

We have marked each of our children's 1st birthday's with a big celebration of family and friends, but with Rachel the year seemed to have passed even faster and the meaning of the celebration seemed to have taken on greater significance.  I have literally been thinking about this party from the day I found out I had a baby inside of me for a third time and when I found out that our little miracle was a girl BOOM the planning was ON.  However, our little Rachel came into our lives a little earlier then planned and under the umbrella of a little bit of a medical crisis that we just had to trust God with . . . . . and as always He came through.  So with this celebration of Rachel turning ONE, we wanted to celebrate her life but we also wanted to honor those who truly got us through a difficult pregnancy, Rachel's stay in the NICU, and spent time on their knees (and still do) on behalf of our little girl and her future.

Sadly Birthday Girl was a bit under the weather due to having her physical and shots the day before, in fact a few hours before her party she was running a temp of 102.  So to say the least, we were very careful to keep her out of the chill as much as possible and we decided to save the eating of her first sugar" for another day when we would just fake the photo session for the pictures we want.  So her cute little birthday outfit that I suffered so long to pick was covered under a hat and sweater most of the party, and she was inside the house the rest, LOL.  This is the one great picture I got of her where she didn't look sad and sick, she is with her cousin Calli.
As always I am not fancy when I plan a party, I want it to feel comfortable and easy for everyone including the kids at the party.  So I designed the theme around Halloween since Rachel was originally due to be born just a few days before and ran with the colors of Purple, Green and Orange, with touches of Black of course. We planned the party for outside and set up our 10 by 10 party tent and I talked by sweet hubby into moving our dining table outside for the party, HA.  Then because he was going to be working all day of her birthday party and arriving at the house just as the party kicked off, I decided to throw one more quirky project at him, a branch chandelier to hang under the tent.  (I wish I had taken pictures of this project in progress, but after giving the sweet man instructions and arranging the branches they way I wanted them, I trusted and walked away)  So this is how things looked all pulled together.
 I had one cupcake done in pink for the Birthday Girl.  Of  course we ended up having to put it back for us to do her special cupcake and birthday candle pictures when she is feeling a little better in a couple of days.
I picked up this cute cupcake stand on clearance two years ago for like $1 and decided it was a perfect addition to Rachel's party decor.
 I used the adorable stamps that came with Rachel's custom birthday invitations from Tom Kat Studio to create lollipop sticks to put in a few of the cupcakes as decoration.
 Here is the only view of our branch chandelier, it really looked great when it was darker.  I wish I had other views but I really did get a lot of complements on how it turned out.  It was easy to make, but I suggest you consider the shape of the table your putting it over before you assemble your chandelier.  We have an oblong table, so I took that into consideration, and I arranged my branches to go with the length of my table and still have some width, then after twining them together we wrapped them with orange twinkle lights.
 Apple Pineapple Coleslaw, perfect "design"choice for the party because it had Purple, Orange, & Green, HA . . . . . plus it was totally YUMMY!
 I should have bought more Candy Corn, because it seemed to be a bigger hit with the kids over the cup cakes . . . . . go figure.
 I picked up these cute felt Peanuts buckets at Michaels and used them to hold the pre-wrapped plastic cutlery.
 I wish I had gotten some better pictures of this area where I had the drinks set up, but I did get my beautiful Savannah Beverage Server filled with Sweet Tea looking OH SO PRETTY with my custom Halloween tag and ribbons.  In one of my other pictures above you can kind of see this area in the background with the ice bucket, water pitcher, sweet tea server, and the large pot of hot cider.
Finally, I added to the decor with these cute little lanterns that I picked up at Target for $2.50 each and had them around the party on the picnic tables and side tables, they were just to stinkin cute.
We felt so blessed to be surrounded by the first faces we saw the wonderful night this beautiful light named Rachel Elizabeth-Marie came into our lives.  Some of the people hardly knew us because we were brand new to the church, but they still arrived within hours of a phone call and stood outside of the nursery praying for our little girl OR in the corridor outside of my room waiting unsuccessfully for a chance to speak with me and instead just stood there and prayed.  Others waited until things had settled down and were there for that brief moment they rolled Rachel into my room and I got to touch her through a portal of her incubator before she was life flighted to another hospital and they got to be there for that intimate moment between mother, father and daughter where we prayed with her and I sang to her in case it was our last time.  We felt overwhelmed to know that our neighbors that we have known for years, once again saw us through the birth of another child and helped us celebrate each moment of her life from the announcement that SHE WAS to the announcement that SHE WAS HERE were among our guests.  Finally, we felt our cup overflow that once again our family loved us through a major moment in our lives and will be the very foundation of support in the life of our special daughter and they were there to help her celebrate her 1st birthday, and even though some family were absent we knew they sent their love across the miles and wanted to be there.  We had new and old friends, and family to celebrate this day and we had the peace of knowing that it was perfectly the way God would have it and Rachel had the most amazing 1st birthday sick OR not that a little girl could ever have.      

Ghost Feet

So with all of my SPARE time getting ready for Rachel's 1st birthday party, I decided to add a craft project to my list, HA.  I saw this adorable project on Pinterest that inspired me and I just had to do it because ONE it was cute and TWO I thought it was an adorable way to see the kids growth, plus I wanted to add something else to our fall decor.  Here is the inspiration photo from Pinterest (this project was original pinned from this sweet blog called Miner Moments)
Source: None via Laura Ann on Pinterest

And here is our finished reproduction:
Very fun craft project to do for Halloween with the kids and super easy to do.  Just get a blank canvas from Walmart or a local craft store, spray paint it matte black.  After it drys use white acrylic paint to create the ghosts and writing.  I recommend that if your not steady with your painting skills that you lightly write your children's names and other wording with pencil and then use a small tip brush to write in white paint over the top.  The best way to create the ghosts is to put a small amount of white paint on a plate and spread it out  for your child to step in, make sure the bottom of their foot is covered well. Then gently help them place their foot where you want it placed on the canvas, in our case I wanted my oldest sons foot in the middle and the other two on either side, you may choose a stair step design.  After the white paint has dried fully, go back and add black eyes to each ghost, and if you have a little girl add a little ribbon.  I wish I had a tiny orange ribbon to make a bow but all I had was pink so that is what color bow ghost Rachel has.  

I love how this project turned out and it will probably be something I do each year while the kids are young.  I think this would also be great for a Babies first Halloween project.  I hope you had fun seeing our Saturday craft project and that you will give it a try with your kids or grandkids.

Happy Halloween Y'all!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Night Before and READY to Party

Tomorrow is Rachel's 1st Birthday and all the preparations are in place and we are as ready as we can really be.  I have organized, cooked, cleaned and all I have to do is set up the tables tomorrow and enjoy the day.
Theme:  Halloween (Rachel was originally due to arrive on the 28th via c-section, so we really see her as a Halloween girl)
Colors:  Purple, Orange, and Green
Menu:  Hot Dogs
Apple Pineapple Coleslaw
Mom's Potato Salad
Baked Beans with Ground Turkey and Onion
Sweet Tea, Water, and Hot Cider
and then Cupcakes in our party Colors with ONE Pink one for the Birthday Girl.

Now for some rest and we are ready to Party!

One Year ago Today

Well Rachel, it's finally here, your 1st birthday!

It really is amazing how much you have grown and changed over the past year, we were so unsure of what development we would see over this first year but we are happy to say to us your growth is beautiful and perfect.  You are now sitting up and beginning to play with toys while in a sitting position, one of those things we weren't sure we would see in your first year.   We have tried our very best to make sure that we don't hold you back, but encourage you to stretch you abilities and keep  trying to manage the next developmental goal.  A year ago I wasn't sure I would get a chance to do more then brush my fingers upon your check and touch the tips of your fingers, but with God's grace and mercy you survived that first night and the three weeks to follow and you have thrived and become such a bright beautiful spot in our lives that we could not image being gone for even a second.  You truly are our Miracle!
*Note from October 22nd - We celebrated your birthday with family and friends here at home with a backyard Halloween themed party with Purple, Green &, Orange being the main colors we decorated around.  We of course had a little touch of pink with your personal cupcake and of course your 1st Booday outfit.  Sadly, you were a little under the weather because you had your 1 year physical on your birthday and the side effects from the shots were leaving you with a fever.  You had about 35 guests come out for your party, we asked everyone to consider bringing gifts for the Ronald McDonald house to be donated in your name in place of a personal gift for you, although you still managed to get some cute things.  Our family and friends blessed us and we gathered over $100 in gift cards and 4 large grocery bags worth of items to take to the McDonald house.  Your party was wonderful and we truly felt the blessing and love once again of all of those that supported us the day you were born and the weeks you were in the NICU.

You Currently Weigh: 16 lbs 2 oz.
Length:  27"
(This puts you in the 50/50 for weight and length on the DS growth scale.  
You Wear: size 9-12 month's clothing and a size 3 diaper still AND you can still wear some of your 6 months clothes depending on the style.  
Feeding:  (3)  8 oz bottles of whole milk which we started about 3 weeks before your 1st birthday only because we were almost out of formula and we didn't want to buy another container when we were so close to being able to switch you to milk anyway, HA.  Your normal feeding schedule is the following
AM - Baby Yogurt (and 1 fruit if your really hungry) along with bottle
Lunch Time - 1 Fruit and 1 Protein along with another bottle, sometimes I replace this with juice
PM -  Whatever the family is eating OR Protein Jar and a Fruit Jar
You have your final milk bottle while in your Daddies arms as you drift off to sleep drinking about 8:30PM.

We held off on your cupcake birthday candle ceremony until you were feeling a bit better from the bad cold you had and the side effects from your shots during your physical on your birthday.  BUT, when we finally did it you had a blast with your hot pink cupcake!
You are still doing physical therapy and it has been increased to once a week to help you develop stronger sitting and pulling up skills.  Ms. Kathy comes to our home and she works with you for an hour, you are an amazing trooper and you work through the hour with little complaint and over the past month you actually seem to enjoy it.

Taking a few steps with Daddy
We are excited to watch you grow and begin to take your first steps.  We wish sometimes we could keep you small forever, but our gift from God was to raise you up in His ways and watch you become the young woman He guides you to be.  Already it seems He is guiding you to be a very bright STAR!

You can read Rachel's pregnancy testimony Here and her birth testimony Here

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

What's for Dinner Tonight from Pinterest

Chicken Bundles


  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1-13 oz. cans chicken
  • 1 Tbs. sesame seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. parsley
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped onion or dried minced onion
  • (Optional - chopped mushrooms, I did this and it was fantastic)
  • 2 cans Pillsbury Crescent Rolls - leave in fridge until ready to use!
Combine the first five ingredients (minus the crescent rolls) and mix well.  
Open one 8 count package crescent rolls. DO NOT divide into triangles. Keep every 2 triangles together, forming 4 rectangles.

Pinch the seams closed and pat each one out into a larger square.
Put a spoonful of chicken/cream cheese mixture into the center of each square. Fold the corners up into the center, layering like flower petals so the roll is sealed. (Don't stress too much on the technique, fold them up press seams together to make a bundle.)
Repeat with all 8 rectangles. You're going to worry that you're doing this wrong, but you're not, just do it, I promise they'll taste delicious.
Sprinkle top with extra parsley, salt, and sesame seeds.
Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.

This recipe was easy to prepare and truly delicious!!  Even better, I made enough that my hubby has some to take to work tomorrow and they are perfect for a little hand held hot meal (like a hot pocket).  Check out more recipes that I am wanting to try on my Pinterest recipe box.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Our very first Buddy Walk (Down Syndrome Awareness)

This weekend our family traveled to Greensboro for their 8th annual Buddy Walk supporting Down Syndrome Awareness (Buddy Walk National Organization).  None of my family had ever attended a Buddy Walk before, so for all of us this would be a brand new experience, and for hubby and I it would be an emotional one.  We started out our day meeting in the parking lot of our hotel with the rest of the family so that we could all "pin up"with our Team Rachel support pins that I had made and then to follow one another over.  This is my SIL Kelly getting a squeeze off of the girl of the hour who because of a really bad cold seems to have her tongue out in almost every picture I took, HA
 My Parents and brothers Ted and Jimmy
My second big cry of the day, I had my first one back at the hotel while getting ready, this one starts when I see the Welcome to the Buddy Walk sign.  It's real and we are here, we are going to be at our first Down Syndrome event, we are going to be surrounded by other parents that have walked in our shoes, felt what we have felt, and have had the overwhelming feelings that we have.  Each one of us handles our feelings in different ways but each one understands the silent language and welcomes the newest member with open arms, we are and extended family and this is our reunion.  When we got to the parking lot I just stood at the back of the car hiding for a moment, finally David came around and said it was going to be OK, gave me a quick hug and said, "lets go".
 Our Team Rachel ribbon, her colors (brown, pink and aqua).  I simply took plane brown satin ribbon, pink harlequin glitter ribbon, and embroidered them together with an aqua R.

 This is my brother Jimmy, my parents and my cousin Cynde
 Both of the boys got painted like pirates, of course Jon said he wasn't a pirate he was "Davey's Mate"
 Rachel had a bad cold and she fell asleep right after her lunch and just before the walk began . . . . . she slept through her very first Buddy Walk.:-(
 My brother Jimmy and SIL Kelly
 My funny Love takes a turn on the big slide
 Jon being brave enough to try the climbing wall
 David Jr. and his Dad on the larger climbing wall
OK this was a hard moment for me but also a joyful moment, it's one of those things that God gives us as parents.  I felt so blessed to be standing there with such a beautiful little girl who is so healthy and has a bright future ahead of her.  But I was also standing there at the beginning of our FIRST Buddy Walk . . . . . the first of what I know will be many.  Excited that it was our first . . . . . but overwhelmed that it was the just the first of many years.  
It was so amazing to look back over my shoulder and see my family supporting us and loving us through this moment.  I have no doubt they will be there for Rachel and us for the many years ahead.  The Buddy Walk is much more then finding awareness or being a part of a cause, it is about being a part of a family.  On October 15th, we found ourselves in a park in the outskirts of Greensboro having a family fun day and walking to support our daughter's right to have the BRIGHTEST future that she wants to have.