Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Crawling Forward, Finally

Melana is crawling!! Forward that is. She has been crawling backwards and backing herself into corners and under furniture for a while now and even doing some Army crawling on her tummy but she just started crawling forward!!! Too bad Daddy is in Iowa and missed it, but luckily I got it on video. Isn't she just a genius?! :)
video

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Melana's Adventres

Life has been keeping us busy and I'm so frustrated with myself for not updating here more. I'm so sorry, especially to my Texas family who like to see pics of Melana. Well, here she is.


LOVES tubby time!!

She has been a busy girl lately. She rolls EVERYWHERE!!! She rolls across the living room, she rolls to where the dogs are and she rolls around in her crib. A couple weeks ago Darian set her on the floor with her toys and was doing some work on the computer, after a few minutes he looked down and saw Melana had rolled over to Junie and was sucking her paw! Junie just lay there like nothing was happening. When Darian told me about it he laughed and said, "Just don't tell your mom!" haha


Roly Poly Girl

Until this week she really hasn't even tried to crawl at all, but the last few days she gets up on her hands and knees and actually stays up for more than two seconds and gets her booty in the air. She is scooting more than crawling and always backwards so far, but I'm sure it won't be long. She is so cute and fun to watch.

video

She has also been busy sprouting her two bottom teeth in the last two weeks. She has been a little more on the chewy side, but other than that and a runny nose, she has been just fine. And adorable of course.

Chewing the strap of her cart cover on a shopping trip at Babies R Us.

She is doing well with her baby food and has even started using her sippy cup, well more for a chew toy, but still, it's progress. :) I tried to feed her a mashed banana but she just looked at it and touched it. Didn't even try to eat it. I don't get it. Everything else in the house she tries to put in her mouth, but not a banana?


Givin' Momma some lovin'

She is just tickled when watching the dogs. If they are fighting, she just laughs and sqawks and if they are near her she does whatever she can to touch them and then giggles. Spanky is kind of skittish around her, I think because of his age and his bad hips, but she seems to sense that and just looks at him and smiles. However, when Junie is around she gets grabby and giggly.


"Hey Junie, your paws look delish"


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Nice Rug!

So anyone who knows me knows I have an obsession with all things home decor. Floors, cupboards, paint, furniture, art, vases and rugs. Yes it's a healthy obsession. I usually just window, ahem, I mean cyber-window shop and rarely will I fork out the money for the lovely things I find unless I find a sweet deal. Let me warn you though, as soon as I win the lottery (after I start playing of course) my Pottery Barn, West Elm, Restoration Hardware etc. shopping carts will be full to the max. Maybe obsession is not the word.....fetish?? Here are a few awesome finds from my "shopping" this week.






I think this one is my fave





or maybe this one is my fave....
oh, what the hay, I'll take them all!!

Pciture Memories

Grandpa and his first born, my dad David




Grandpa and Grandma with from left my aunt Sue, Uncle Tim, Uncle Rick and my dad, Dave




Grandma and Grandpa-so stylin'




25th Wedding Anniversary


On the lake with friends. Grandma on the left

-Four Generations-
Grandpa with my great grandparents (his parents) with my dad, Dave and his first grandchild, my brother, Jason


On a cruise. Looking classy as always.




Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Blessed are those that mourn...

We spent this last weekend with family celebrating the life of my Grandpa Fred and saying goodbye. Darian got home from a week in St. Louis just before noon on Friday just in time for Melana to have a relapse with the vomiting from last week. Oh joy. My sister in law Sheryl was here watching her while I ran out to pick up dry cleaning and she found Melana in a puddle of vomit just after waking up from her nap. Darian got home just after that and called me in a panic. "Where are you?" I was in our neighborhood so within a few minutes we had the mess cleaned up and I was snuggling our sweet girl. Thank goodness Sheryl was here because apparently only those of the female sex are qualified to clean up vomit. Wow. Menstration AND puke cleaning, aren't we lucky? Haha.
We hurried the luggage to the van and sped up to Kalamazoo to make it to the funeral home for visiting hours. I don't normally give many compliments to funeral homes, I don't know, just seems weird, but this one was awesome. They were so caring and gracious in their hospitality. They even have a therapy dog!! She is an amazing golden retriever named Holly who was trained as a therapy and, boy, did she ever do a good job. When my step-grandma was having a hard time, the dog was at her side. When we said our final goodbyes that night, she was right beside us all. Amazing! The funeral home also made the viewing a true celebration of life. We were able to bring pictures to post on poster boards and they made a wonderful DVD of pics and grandpa's life story. They set out an appetizing buffet for the family and visitors. There was free wine and beer, soft drinks, coffee and sweet tea. All very classy with the intention of lightening the mood and promoting story telling and reminiscing instead of the usual hushed tones of mourning. The family was very pleased and we all knew it was just like Grandpa would have liked. Wonderful.
That night Melana was four times through out the night. Unfortunately, Darian was also sick, so it was my turn to be up with her all night. We determined it must have been her tummy because she was fine as long as I held her with her tummy on my arm. I sat in a chair for four hours that night holding her in that position so she would sleep. Needless to say I slept very little that night.
The next morning we dropped Melana off with our niece, Emilee and headed to the church for Grandpa's funeral. It was a solemn Catholic service, but filled with memories and a wonderful eulogy given by my cousin Christy. Each grandchild had a part in the service. I presented "the gifts" for the communion, my sister read scripture and Darian even had a part and was a pallbearer with some of my other cousins and cousins-in-law (there are alot of girl grandkids) . :)
I thought I was ok until the end of my cousin's eulogy and then I kind of lost it. I usually can keep my emotions under control and then will sometimes fall apart after the fact, but something came over me and I almost had to leave. I think it was more the pain of seeing my dad and my aunts and uncles and cousins in tears than anything else, but it all caught up with me. Luckily the priest was near the end and then asked everyone to turn to the person next to them and give them the sign of peace. ?? My Catholic cousin quickly filled me in. You are supposed to turn and shake hands and say "Peace be with you". I was confused and tried to give her the peace sign. Just kidding! It did cross my mind though. All in all, he was honored and remembered well and his life celebrated. He was loved and will be missed.
After the funeral we headed to the cemetery where my grandpa will be buried next to my grandma. There was no graveside service (he is being cremated first), but my step-grandmother wanted to see where he would be buried. (She is from KY and FL and will be buried next to her first husband) I was glad to see it because I've tried several times to find my grandma's gravesite with no success. I picked a yellow rose out of one of the floral arrangements from Grandpa's funeral and my sister and cousins did likewise and we laid it on grandma's grave. It was good to finally see the headstone. Morbid? or Sentimental? I'm not sure either.
We spent the rest of the afternoon with our family and my step-grandmother's family, hanging out at my Uncle Rick and Aunt Maureen's house. It was overall a good day, funeral aside.

Melana was fussy and up again that night, but my parents volunteered to get her some gas drops and soon she was feeling better. I think I may have overcompensated for her diarrhea from the week before by feeding her too much rice cereal and bananas. Ugh, Momma fail. She was still up a lot that night (for her) and we were exhausted Sunday morning. Grandma and Aunt Michele volunteered to baby sit/entertain Melana and Darian and I were able to get another four hours sleep. He woke up feeling much better from his bug and I was able to think clearer. Yay for sleep! Since then she has been sleeping just fine and back to eating well. Gas drops are awesome! We enjoyed the rest of the day visiting with my parents and my sister Michele, who was in from Texas. Melana got spoiled as usual. But she's so cute, how can you not?!
Melana with Auntie Shell

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Good News, Bad News

Well, it seems we are possibly FINALLY on our way to a healthy household! Knock on wood! Melana's virus from last week ended up getting worse than my previous post and we actually ended up in the ER last Saturday afternoon. She was still not eating, even fighting our forced Pedialyte feedings and had not peed in almost 24 hours. Not cool. I called the Dr. on call and gave her my assessment findings, (oh yes, just like at work :) ) and she agreed that she needed to be seen. I was sure they were going to start an IV to give her fluids and Darian was already queasy about it, but I was in favor of a poke if it meant getting some color back in her cheeks. I had my game plan and everything. I was going to insist a Neonatal nurse start her IV rather than let the ER RNs dink around (yes, a technical term). When we got there though, they decided to give her oral Zofran (an anti-nausea med) and do a fluid challenge. After the Zofran she took a nice long nap ( I think she had been so uncomfortable from the nausea) and then we were able to force some Pedialyte down her enough for the Dr. to be satisfied that we could continue this routine at home. So home we went with our Zofran and kept her on a clear fluid, basically Pedialyte diet for 24 hours. It's taken her a good 3 days to get back to drinking most of her formula and she still isn't eating solids, but the diarrhea and vomiting have stopped and she is smiling again. Wahoo!
In other news, we lost my grandpa Ives yesterday. He had been sick for a while and in and out of the hospital since last spring or so so it didn't come as that much of a shock, but he was loved and will be missed. Goodbye Grandpa.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Kitchen Adventures- Chicken Parmesean

I don't mean to brag, but I make THE BEST Chicken Parmigiana EVER!! Ok, so I guess I do mean to brag. Ha! Thought I'd post my recipe though it's not written down, it's all in my head. So here goes.

Stephanie's Chicken Parmesan

4 chicken breasts, tenderized ( I place mine in a large ziploc bag and pound to 1/4 inch thickness with a meat tenderizer)
1/2 cup of flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/8- 1/4 cup milk
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (I like Parmigiana Regianno or Parmigianna Regianno and Asiago mix)
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp Pizza seasoning
sprinkle Oregano
1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 TBS dried Parsley (I crush the parsley flakes in my hand to release the oils of the spice)
Olive Oil
1 large Onion, diced
3 cloves Garlic, crushed
1-2 15 oz Cans of Tomato Sauce (depends on how thick you want your sauce)
1-2 cans of DicedTomatoes (depends on how chunky you want your sauce)
1/4 cup White Wine ( I use Pinot Griggio or Pinot Nior)
1/2 cup Chicken Broth
Sprinkle of Red Pepper Flakes to taste

1. Tenderize chicken breasts.
2. Place flour on place or in bowl.
3. Whisk eggs and milk in separate bowl.
4. Mix together bread crumbs, cheese, and garlic powder, onion powder, Italian and Pizza seasonings, Oregano, pepper and Parsley.
5. Dredge chicken breasts in flour first followed by milk and egg mixture, and lastly the bread crumb mixture.
6. Heat olive oil in large skillet on medium heat. Brown chicken in skillet, about 5-7 minutes per side.
7. Remove chicken from skillet and place on plate.
8. Add chopped onion to skillet and saute until sweating.
9. Add crushed garlic and finish sauteing onions and garlic, careful not to over cook onions and garlic.
10. Turn off burner or remove skillet from heat and add white wine to skillet, deglazing the pan. 11. Place back on medium heat and add chicken broth, tomato sauce and diced tomatoes to pan. Add sprinkle of red pepper flakes and stir.
12. Bring to boil, add chicken breast back to pan and reduce heat, Let simmer for 20 minutes or so to finish cooking and to allow flavors to mix. Stir occasionally.
OR
alternative to #12. -Bring to boil and reduce heat simmering for 5-10 minutes to allow flavors to mix. Place chicken breast in appropriate sized casserole dish and cover with sauce. Cover with aluminum foil. Cook at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove foil. Sprinkle with more Parmesan cheese and/or shredded Mozzerella cheese. Place back in oven, uncovered, until cheese is melted.
13. Serve over pasta sprinkled with fresh parsley or with side of garlic toast. Enjoy!!
The Finished Product!!

Thinking Healing Thoughts



My poor sick baby a few nights ago with Daddy trying to get her to play. Notice the mouth breathing :(

It's been kind of a rough week around here. Melana has been really sick. I almost hate to comment because I know there are a lot of kids who are sicker and going through rougher physical ailments, but this is MY baby and I hate to see her like this. We started the week with the snotty, runny nose, cough stuff again, but by Tuesday she was vomiting and having diarrhea. I worked Wednesday night but Darian ended up staying home on Thursday so I could sleep and she wouldn't have to go to the sitter's house. She took maybe a total of 7 ounces of formula the whole day and vomited much of that. I gave her a couple of teaspoons of Pedialyte last night that stayed down and then she ate 3 ounces of formula at 4 am and went back to sleep. She has vomited once and is still having diarrhea, but she has kept more Pedialyte and 5 ounces of formula down this morning. So hopefully, that means we're on our way to being better. She slept all day yesterday and is more alert and awake today. I was really getting worried last night. As a nurse, I kept assessing all the things that could signal dehydration and she had them all! She was pale, almost grayish, lethargic, had a dry mouth and mucous membranes, only had 1 wet diaper in like 8-10 hours, and had a sunken fontenelle. I called the Dr. but they didn't seem to worried. I, however, was ready to take her in for IV fluids. But instead, I decided NOT to be a neurotic mother and just give her lots of TLC and force fluids as much as possible. Again, she is looking much better though still not well, and I'm hoping that my sweet momma lovin' and my prayers for healing had something to do with, that because I've got lots more to give. :)
Here she is this morning with a little more color to her cheeks and actually being playful. So sweet.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My Life with Snot

These first few weeks of January have been filled with our basic everyday activities. Business as usual you might say. Melana had her six month checkup last week and is growing quite nicely. She now weighs 18 lbs and is 27 inches long!! She is over the 90th percentile in everything. She also got her very first vaccines on that Dr. visit. I have done quite a bit of research and have made up our own alternative vaccination schedule. Melana will be getting select vaccines and only two at a time. The doctor didn't get pushy about the vaccines this time. I think she was just relieved that we were starting some. Melana did well, cried after the shots for a few seconds until I picked her up and then she was fine.
Health wise, we had a few good weeks, but starting yesterday she now has another virus or something. :( This is probably the fourth or so one since the beginning of December. I haven't taken her to the doctor the last few times because I just figured they are viruses and there is nothing to do but wait it out, but this time she is having some diarrhea, not eating well and having so much nasal drainage that I'm afraid she may have a sinus infection. I'm taking her tomorrow morning to the doctor. The Tylenol and saline drops work well, but I wish there was some sort of decongestant for her. She is also teething bad again which might have something to do with it as well. Any day that front bottom tooth is going to poke through. I just hate seeing her so miserable breathing through her mouth, watery eyes and runny nose. I HATE having to suction her nose out so much. She looks so pathetic looking up at me as if to ask "why Momma?" I wonder too. Why me? Why do I have to be the nose sucker outer? Why do I have to be the bad guy? Oh yeah, cause Darian would probably puke. haha.
Here is a video I took last week before her bath. We found out she is ticklish on her back.



LOVE IT!! video

She continues to be our sunshine and our joy. She is almost always found smiling, even when sick and we are so thankful for our blessing from above.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Six Months


On Christmas Eve Melana turned six months old. I can't believe it's been six months! In some ways it feels like it was just yesterday and in others it feels like she's always been a part of our family. I weighed her on Christmas Day and she is already 20 pounds! She goes next week for her six month checkup and we'll see how long she is getting. I think she is very tall for six months, but we'll see. I decided to update about how she's been progressing, but there have been so many changes and new things that I'll just put it into list form. Besides, I'm a sucker for a good list. :)

New Activities
-sits by herself for several minutes
-scoots herself around on the floor while on her back
-rolls from back to tummy (just three days ago for the first time!)
-very verbal: Favorite word "Eeeeee" and it's said a lot
-jumps up and down in her exersaucer
-slept in her own room for the first time this week

Likes

-
eating cereal, squash, carrots and peas
-
bathtime
-loves to stand any chance she gets
-her toes, still
-her exersaucer, pink ball, books, lullaby puppy "Violet", purple bunny "FooFoo", yellow stuffed puppy, and LINKS (the links are our best investment as far as toys, she loves them)
-loves to be sung to
-likes when I sing "I I I I I LOVE you!" she laughs and laughs
-watching the dogs
-bouncing in her exersaucer
-peek a boo
-holding our finger or thumb while eating her bottle and moving them back and forth (she's done this since she could grab it, we don't know why)
-likes to watch TV although we try not to let her, whenever it's on, she is watching and seems particularly drawn to football (thanks Aunt Michele!) :)

Favorite People

-Mommy and Daddy
-Grandmas and Grandpa
-Auntie cousin Emilee
-and her little cousin Jenna who calls her My Laney or My Lana :)

Dislikes

-
carseat
-sometimes naps
-green beans, sweet potatoes, bananas
-her face washed
-getting dressed

Monday, January 3, 2011

Post Holiday Update

It's been way too long since I've updated this blog and I am at a loss of really where to begin. *Sigh* So here goes. Since my last entry in November, Darian and I celebrated 11 years of being married by taking Melana and our niece, Emilee on a road trip to Philly to visit our best friends Adrian and Kristie. Romantic, I know. I worked on Thanksgiving but we celebrated the Saturday following with my parents, aunt and uncle and my grandpa. Here we are celebrating Melana's first Thanksgiving.
We had alot of fun getting ready for and celebrating Melana's first Christmas as well. In early December we drove to Plain City, OH for Christmas with the Hostetler's, my mother-in-law's family. Melana got passed around from various aunts, uncles and cousins and got a little overstimulated but it was fun. It is always good to catch up with our Ohio relatives and this year we got an extra day of visiting due to bad weather. Thanks for putting us up, Aunt Alma! Our holiday celebrations continued the weekend before Christmas when we spent Saturday with Darian's family at his parent's house where Melana experienced her first taste of gift opening. She was scared of the wrapping paper tearing sound, but fascinated with the tissue paper. She also enjoyed all the goodies she got from Grandma and Grandpa Miller as well Uncle Loren and Aunt Trudy and Aunt Sheryl and Auntie Cousin Emilee. She LOVES "auntie Em".

On Sunday we had dinner at my Aunt Sue's house for Christmas with my dad's family. It was great to see everyone and Melana again was the belle of the ball and got lots of attention from my relatives.
Just before Christmas my brother, Jason and his wife Rachael and their family as well as my sister Michele and her husband Paul flew up from Texas to spend Christmas in the great white north. We enjoyed six days of pure fun and chaos as we all invaded my parent's home. 8 adults, 2 kids, and 2 babies!!!! We took this rare opportunity of us all being together to get a family potrait done. (can't wait to see them!) Here is Melana in her holiday finery with my sister Michele.
We spent Christmas Eve at my Uncle Lee and Aunt Karen's house and my niece Jordyn, 7, made her first snowman. We took turns riding the four wheeler and petting my aunt's horse, Rose. Darian took his turn as a horse himself for my nieces who named him "Rodie".

On Christmas Day we had a wonderful brunch and enjoyed opening gifts together. The girls were such a joy to watch and Melana was spoiled by her aunts, uncles and my parents. Her favorite gifts seem to be a pink ball from my parents and a puppy named "Violet" who sings lullabies from Uncle Jason and Aunt Rachael. One of my faves for her is this awesome alphabet art of Melana's name that was photographed and framed by my sister Michele.


Overall our favorite part of the holidays was enjoying the company of family and hanging out with our Texas family. We spent hours doing crafts with our nieces Jordyn,7 and Jenna, 3 and snuggling and playing with sweet Juliette, 4 months. We shared stories and laughs and eating and talking about "snow bundles", right Rach? ;)
We thought it was especially cute that our niece Jenna seemed especially taken by Melana. She would come up to her face and smile or touch her cheeks and say "Oh, MY-lana, you're so cute!" Pretty soon I found myself called her MY lana. Too cute.
The few days after Christmas was spent at the mall, the movies and just being lazy and visiting.
Here are cousins Juliette and Melana in their cute matching outfits. So cute.
Grandma and Grandpa loved having all the kids and grandkids together and I'm afraid they may still be in shock.
Unfortunately all fun must end, so we are back to our old routine. But we have sweet memories of a wonderful, fun filled Christmas and are so blessed to have spent all that time with our loved ones.