Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Piquant Chuck Roast

My cook book "Fix-It and Forget-It: Big Cookbook" arrived today. This is what I made for dinner tonight:

Piquant Chuck Roast

3 lb. chuck roast
1/2 cup orange juice
3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1. Put the meat in the slow cooker. Mix the remaining ingredients together and pour them over the meat.

2. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hour, or high for 5 hours.

I served this with snow peas and Potatoes Poupon.

We all liked it. If you try it out, let me know!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Bubba's back... and a Magoo update

Bubba is a bottomless pit. So much so that I can officially call him Bubba again. He's sick right now, so he literally only nursed twice yesterday. BUT this has not stopped him from eating anything and everything. I am a lot less nervous with him than I was with Ellie. When I was a first time Mom I waited until she had an appointment with her Early Intervention Service Coordinator before I tried "real" foods with her. I remember the first time I gave her peanut butter a little before a year old (I know that's early, but it has a lot of fat and protein and she needed it) my mother shoved some in her mouth while I held the phone in case I had to call 911. (Do you remember that Mom? LOL) With Charlie I just throw food at him and see what happens.

He's a little over 7 months old. He has been eating Cheerios for a few weeks now. In the last couple of weeks I've gotten daring with him. I knew some day he would eat more than Ellie, which isn't hard to do since she's my sweet little bird, but I had no idea it would be so soon. The other day while grocery shopping Ellie wanted pepperoni. I got a little bit from the deli and she ate it through the store - so did Charlie! He had at least four slices while in Wegmans. It was spicy! He loved it! He has eaten ham and cheese for lunch. The other day at Panera he ate some of Chris' cheese and broccoli soup AND some of both of our rolls. I gave him graham crackers a couple of days ago. He devours them. They are very messy though so I'm not sure how much longer I (the girl who usually doesn't mind a messy kid - so you know they are MESSY) will be giving them to him. I am trying to find some Mum Mums for him. They are an organic baby teething cookie that Ellie use to like. I found the toddler ones at Wegmans, but not the baby ones. I'll keep looking.

Ok back to our future foodie, this morning he ate two stage two's AND a waffle! Ellie didn't even eat her entire waffle. While pieces of his ended up on the floor I'd say he ate a good 75% of it! I think at lunch I am going to give him a slice of wheat bread and see what happens. I just love this age. He is so much fun and I'm starting to enjoy the two of them together again.

Magoo, as most of you know, has had some MAJOR regression issues as of late: potty accidents, acting out against Charlie, not sharing, being a BRAT! Enough that it has tried our patience as parents and Chris and I were beginning to wonder where we went wrong... but I am happy to report that she went all day yesterday with no accidents. She has been waking up in the morning, making her bed and getting dressed for the day, in big girl undies, all before she comes into our room in the morning. While she did kick her brother in the nose this morning, it was an accident. She is like a new kid and I'm really enjoying it. I'm sure now that I wrote about it I have jinxed thing, but I'll take it for as long as I can get it!!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) Awareness Quilt Project

Ellie has a quilt block on quilt #50 as part of the The Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) Awareness Quilt Project. They had a showing this morning in Fall River and since we're five hours away and I just found out about it this morning, my fabulous sister and mother went to see it in person for me. I've seen a picture of it before, but was so happy someone saw the REAL quilt!!

Her block has her name, birthday and CHD. They put princesses on there because she LOVES her princesses! And ballerinas because she use to dance all around the house when she was a toddler. The caterpillar is from "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," by Eric Carle, which is still one of her very favorite books to this day. "Good Night Moon" is another favorite and we use to read it to her every night at bed time. I recently started reading this to Charlie on most nights. The turtle is from a Disney movie, but we put that on there because Ellie's cousin Kenny brought her the stuffed version when she was in recovery in the hospital after her Glenn.
I am sad I wasn't there to see it myself, but so happy someone got to see it!!!!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Talked to the folks in Boston...

I had a "conference call" with Dr. T and his nurse this evening. They agree that Ellie needs a cath. He is on vacation for the next two weeks so they are sending in the paperwork to get Ellie scheduled for a cardiac catheterization (cath) the week of August 10th. He said he can't say she won't need surgery, but he hopes she doesn't... so the cath will tell us what the next steps are. It was so nice to hear his voice. How weird is that?

He said that he'd prefer we go to Boston because they know her there and if they do one in Philly they'll basically be starting from scratch with her. We've been through too much to start all over, so Boston it is!

When I told him we were expecting again he laughed and told his nurse we obviously don't have TV! Ha ha!! He's so cute!

I'm glad that we finally have a plan... Now I need to hit up the stores to fill her "surprise box" again for the pre-cath day when they do all the testing (blood work, chest x-rays, EKG, echo). We usually get away with not having all of this done, but since they haven't seen her since January I am sure they'll want it all. The "surprises" she doesn't get in between tests will keep her busy in recovery and if we have to stay the night. I'll plan on an overnight stay, but sometimes if you're first case you get to go home that evening. I'll keep you all posted when I hear from them with a date!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My lovey...

Ellie fell asleep watching TV while I was on the phone with my MIL for an hour. She is so cute! We thought she was awfully quiet while we were talking! Ha ha!! She didn't even pee her pants!! I was so happy!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

10 things that make me terribly happy...

Christy posted what makes her happy and asked that her friends to the same... so here goes!

1. Ice cream - pretty much any kind, but especially Mint Chocolate Chip, Vienna Mocha Chunk by Friendly's, Peanut Butter Cup (made with chocolate ice cream though!) and New York Super Fudge Chunk by Ben & Jerry's.

2. Being near the ocean. I just love the smell and sounds. It doesn't have to be warm and I don't have to actually go IN the water. I just like being near it.

3. When my kids smile at me. They are just so damn cute. I can't get over it.

4. When Ellie is in a good mood. The terrible three's are tough.

5. Chris - anything and everything about him.

6. When Chris has days off/weekends. I just love when we're all together. Even though I find it easier to handle the kids when I'm by myself.

7. Soft pretzels. They are a newly discovered love of mine. Especially with yellow mustard.

8. Getting unexpected mail. I just love to know that someone was thinking about me enough to get a card and put it in the mail. It seems like an easy task, but it takes time and thought.

9. Being able to listen to MY music in the car at a very loud decibel and sing a long. I don't really get to do this that much anymore, so when I do I cherish it.

10. Pedicures. Manicures are always disappointing after I get them... but NEVER a pedicure!! They are heaven on earth!

Leave a comment letting me know what makes YOU terribly happy!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

When does your luck run out?

As far as I'm concerned, I live a pretty charmed life. I'm not trying to brag. I'm just really grateful that I have so many blessings in my life. I have a so close to perfect husband it's sort of disgusting. I have two amazing kids that I get to say home with and one more on the way. I have a great family and so many wonderful friends. So my question is... when does your luck run out?

I never thought I'd be able to stay home with my kids. Chris and I both always WANTED it that way, but what you want and what you get aren't always the same thing. Scary to think that Ellie being sick as a baby is what lead us to have to make it happen. The sacrifices we made at the time aren't even a big deal now, but at the time they were life changing. How lucky to have a miracle child that has successfully made it through three open heart surgeries with only a few bumps along the way?

How lucky were we that just when we feel like we're going no where financially Chris lands an awesome new job?

Chris and I have always been that kind of couple. Our life together has never been boring. For us, when it rains it pours, but after the rain the rainbow is truly amazing. Everything always happens all at once, for example... last Fall I was 7+ months pregnant, Ellie had her third open heart surgery and we were selling our condo to make the big move to Philly. All very big things in their own right, but I never flinched. I always just "know" things will work out, because they always have for us, but what if some day we aren't so lucky?

I hate that nobody can tell me what the future holds for Ellie. I hate that she probably won't be able to carry children of her own some day. I hate that Chris and I will never be able to let go of the fear we always carry around inside of us, even if sometimes it's buried so deep we think we're fine. I don't really know what my problem is. I don't really have a problem. I am just so ANGRY and scared right now! I wish I had spare dishes to throw on the ground. I think that would make me feel better. Ya know, I think what I hate the most is that even if she never needs another surgery or intervention of any kind in her entire life it won't stop me from worrying. I will never again in my life be 100% okay. The fear and worry will always be there and quite frankly, it makes me tired.

Where to begin...

Ellie's cardiology visit wasn't bad, but wasn't great. They did an echo and couldn't see all that they wanted to see. They want to get her in for a cath in the next few weeks. Dr. A came to this conclusion because Ellie has remained blue and her stats don't normally get out of the 70's since her Fontan surgery 10 months ago. She is also extremely out of breath and tired after just a few minutes of playing. Basically, he hasn't seen any improvement since her surgery and that shouldn't be the case. He is sure that it has something to with the stent in her fenestration. Dr. T (our HLHS god) said after surgery that the fenestration was "generous" allowing a ton of blood flow to the small non functioning left side of her heart. Now, my worry is that when I asked Dr. A if a fix could be made through cath, avoiding another open heart surgery (don't we all agree, three is enough?), he basically made a funny face and was like "Weeeeeelllll, not necessarily." This does not sit well with me. I thought we were done with surgeries, at least for a LONG while. I can't really wrap my head around it. I have put an email in to Dr. T in Boston to see if he thinks we should travel to Boston for the cath. Bottom line - if we ever need another surgery she is going to Boston, so if this cath could lead to that would it be more beneficial to Ellie to have the cath performed at CHB?

On a positive note, there are no glaring issues with Ellie's heart. That damn fenestration just has never, and will never, make things easy on us. Ughgh!

Honestly, the thought of the mere possibility of another surgery scares the crap out of me.

My appointment last night was boring. They wouldn't tell me anything so I either have to ask the perinatologist I meet with tomorrow or when I see my regular OB next week. The tech wouldn't even check the heart for me. I thought that was just plain mean.

OMG... the great news of the day - No DIABETES!! For anyone who hasn't heard yet, we're just dealing with a little girl with some obvious toilet regression issues :) LOL

Take care and I hope I haven't freaked any of you out too much. If I did sorry, but this is a great way for me to vent so I can function again!

Monday, July 20, 2009

And our week of doctor's appointments begins...

We just got back from Ellie's GI appointment. She gained a pound since we last saw them three months ago. She made a giant leap from the .4% to 1.6% on the growth chart!! WOW! (That's me being sarcastic!) I always thought she was on the 3rd? Oh well! She was 25 pounds 9 ounces, but they weigh her with her clothes on, which will only start to bother me if they go back and forth and don't consistently weigh her with them on. I think now that she is on the "big girl scale" they will. She is doing well gaining without using her feeding tube and she gained in height as well. Over all her BMI is at about 3% when they'd like her at 10%. No doctor we've ever been to has said a thing to me about BMI so this is new to me.

Dr. M was very pleased with her progress. We are going to go back in three months. The current plan is to continue on a high calorie diet. Once we have this Diabetes Insipidus thing under control, if she does indeed have it, we will start her on "Magic Milk" which is basically her whole milk mixed with a 1/4 cup of non fat evaporated milk to increase calories and protein. She doesn't want us to start it until the doctor calls with an all clear regarding her DI. We should know by Wednesday whether she has it or not. If she does, we'll have to see an Endocrinologist and there is one at the satellite office we currently go to, so we won't have to travel into Philly and go directly to CHOP. I wouldn't mind, but it's awfully convenient having the office right down the road.

In three months if Ellie is still doing well we are going to wean her off of her Prevacid! I never thought I'd see the day, never mind the meer mention of it. I am eager to get her off of any meds she doesn't need so we'll see! She is what they call a silent refluxer so we'll only know if it works once we get her off and if she starts complaining of pain or her eating slows down.

As far as her mickey button, we will keep it in until she's weaned off of her Prevacid and get the all clear from Cardiology that she won't need any surgeries in the near future... which we don't plan on, but who the hell knows, Ellie keeps us on her toes as far as her medical situation! We're looking at next year now. I'm totally okay with this. It's a nice little crutch if we need it and once it's out it's out and there's no going back unless things get really bad.

I was going to put up some pictures since we spent the last two weekends in Philly, but I can't seem to find the camera. You'll see more at some point this week.

Charlie is doing well. We are waiting on a call back from CHOP with a Urology appointment to let us know once and for all that he has no kidney/bladder issues so there is one less thing we have to worry about. He's sitting up and eating finger foods now. He still misses his mouth most of the time, but it's a work in progress and so fun to watch!

Chris is great. Still enjoying his job. Nothing new to report there.

I'm good. A little over 12 weeks along now. Tonight we go for my first trimester screening to make sure #3 is healthy and doing everything he/she should be doing. I'm excited to get another ultrasound. My OB here is awesome and I've had one at every visit! We go to the hospital where I'll deliver tonight though so that should be neat. OK enough blabbing. I'll update more tomorrow after Ellie's cardiology appointment. That's the one I'm anxious about!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Soft Taco Bake Pie & Stuffed Pepper Recipes!

Here they are!! I substitute a lot of the ingredients for FF or LF so I don't gain a million pounds with this pregnancy because I can't seem to STOP eating, so feel free to improvise as you'd like!

Soft Taco Bake Pie
4 tortilla wraps
1 can of refried beans or kidney beans
1 jar of salsa (16 oz)
1 cup of shredded cheese (I like the taco blend!)
1 lb. of ground meat (you can make this with turkey, beef or chicken)
1 packet of taco seasoning (or you can just make your own - google it)
sour cream
shredded lettuce

1. Heat your oven to 400 degrees while you are browning and seasoning your meat.
2. In a 2 qt. casserole dish layer your: tortilla, beans, salsa, meat, and cheese
3. Top your casserole with a little extra cheese
4. Place in the oven for 20 minutes - or until the cheese is melted
5. Garnish each individual serving with shredded lettuce and a dollop of sour cream.
Serves 4-6

It's really a quick and easy recipe. You can buy a kit from Old El Paso that contains the tortillas, taco seasoning and some cheese sauce, but the amount of sodium you'll be consuming when you're done is nuts!

When I make this I use FF sour cream, FF refried beans, whole wheat tortillas and reduced fat cheese. I either make my own seasoning or buy a packet of the reduced sodium taco seasoning.

Stuffed Peppers
4 green bell peppers
1 cup of brown rice
2 cups of low sodium chicken broth
1 small can of tomato sauce
1 lb of hamburg or turkey (I use turkey)
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp Italian seasoning
2 tsp garlic powder
a little shredded cheese
salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook your brown rice using the chicken broth
2. While your rice is cooking, brown the meat with the onion
3. Clean the seeds and ribs from your peppers, (you can just cut the tops off or cut them in half), blanch 2-3 minutes, don't overcook
4. Mix meat mixture, rice, seasoning and tomato sauce.
5. Place peppers in baking dish and fill with stuffing.
6. Top each pepper with a little bit of cheese
7. Bake at 350 for 20 or so minutes.
Serves 4-6

You can just make the rice in water, but I like the extra flavor the chicken broth gives the dish. Again, you can make this with turkey or hamburg, but turkey is the healthier option. The peppers are even better the next day! I'll try to take a picture of the Stuffed Peppers tonight if I remember and I'll post it here later!

Let me know if you try either of the recipes! Enjoy!