Wordless Wednesday

Can't think of a creative title

I apologize that I haven't blogged in about a week. I can't believe it. I am so thankful for this pregnancy, but it has been tough on me. My hardest one yet. Maybe because 3 years have passed since I was pregnant with Sydney and I am not a spring chick anymore. I don't know, but I am just so tired I don't want to do much of anything, including blogging. I've had some nausea which I've never had before either. I'm thankful that for the most part that has subsided.

I'm feeling guilty. Guilty that my house is such a mess, that I've snapped at my children more than once, that I don't feel like cooking so I call up Brian on his way home from work to pick something up, that I've been too tired to blog and upload my pictures from our vacation to Disneyworld and the list goes on and on. I know this is only for a season, but I am a doer by nature and when I don't feel like doing anything I feel lazy. I have to remind myself that the most important thing is to take care of myself and the baby.

Speaking of baby, I go to my high risk OB for the first time on Wednesday. I'm hoping he will do an ultrasound so we can take a look at the little peanut. I saw a high risk OB after I had the 2 early miscarriages, one in June 08 and the other in Jan 09. After a ton of blood tests it was discovered that I had a gene mutation called MTHFR. Basically this gene mutation can cause a blood clot which sometimes can cause miscarriages. Before I got pregnant this time I was instructed to take a baby aspirin at night and 4000 extra milligrams of folic acid on top of my prenatal vitamins. I was also on Progesterone at the time we conceived which I think made all the difference. I will write more about that tomorrow. If you have been dealing with infertility sometimes a lack of progesterone is the cause for it.

Well I am going to go watch Cinderella III with Sydney Kate and enjoy some family time today.
I hope you all are having a wonderful weekend.

Playing Catch-A Father's Day Story

Happy Father's day to my amazing husband and incredible dad. Oh I am so blessed. Blessed indeed!

Yesterday after church we went to P.F. Chang's for lunch, which is always yummy. Borders is close by and Brian loves to read so we took the girls over to Borders so they could help daddy pick out a book. By then it was nap time, not only for the girls, but for mommy too. This first trimester is kicking my tail and I just can't seem to get enough sleep. I was so thankful to get a nap. Then we went to Moe's for dinner and Sweet Cece's for ice cream. We ended a wonderful day at the pool. A good time was had by all.

This was Brian's first Father's Day without his dad who died in January. I have to say it was bittersweet. I know it was hard for him not to be able to pick up the phone and call him up. In honor of his dad he wrote an article and I surprised him by sending it to a couple of our local papers. One of them picked the story up and ran it. I was so happy. I wanted to share it with you because I think there is a lesson in it for all of us.

Never miss a moment to do something with someone that you love that you've always wanted to do. Don't forget to tell them you love them. You never know when their last day may be. I hope you enjoy it.

Playing Catch- A Father's Day Story

As I approach my first father-less Father's Day, I've come to appreciate second chances and the great things that can come from making tough but good choices to change. My parents got divorced when I was 6, and for about a 10-year period, we didn’t have much interaction. But one lesson my dad learned is that no matter how long things are a certain way, you can change them. After my dad survived a near-fatal car accident late in my high school years, he really started to come through, helping with my college and then getting to know my kids, my wife, and me.

Those changes in my dad inspired me to do something I’d missed out on doing as a kid. I have a foggy memory of one time throwing a tennis ball with my dad when I was a little kid, but never with an actual baseball and a glove. I remember I’d have friends who’d complain about their dads making them go out and play catch with them, and I just wanted to tell them they were idiots! They were so lucky. If you ever wanted to get me choked up, show me a dad playing catch. Every boy’s favorite scene from The Natural was when Roy Hobbs hit the ball into the lights and they exploded. Mine was at the end when he got to throw the ball with his son.

One day, well after I’d gotten married and started my own family, I decided I wasn’t going to whine and feel sorry for myself about what I’d missed as a kid. I was going to make something of what I had. My dad was coming into town, so I bought him a glove, and a baseball, and planned to play catch with him sometime that weekend. It was a cool and windy fall day in late October. We were dedicating our two-month-old daughter Brooklyn at church, and several family members had come down to Nashville from Indiana to celebrate with us.

We'd all come back to our house from church, and my Dad and his wife were getting ready to leave. To be honest, my plan almost didn't happen. I was so nervous about suggesting it that I waited till his trip was over, the car was packed, and everyone was saying their goodbyes. I grabbed Dad as he was heading out to the car, told him the idea. He said, "I reckon I can do that", and we all went out to the back yard. My brothers Frank and Eddy were there, too, and I had gloves for all. My older sister Kelly, who'd played softball in high school, came out to throw as well. It was pretty much a Norman Rockwell painting all around, with Dad standing about even with the Bradford pear tree, and us kids about even with the garage side of the house taking turns throwing the ball to him. And then for reasons unknown, Dad decided to attempt what might justifiably be called assisted suicide.

"Hey, Eddy!" he called out. "Why don't you throw it to me as hard as you can!" Not even a question, really, it was more of an order. Eddy had been brought up to obey his parents, but in this case, he should have just forgotten Commandment #5 and said no.
My 6 foot - four inch brother Eddy has, if not a world-famous, at least a family-famous, arm. One time during a church league softball game he was playing the outfield, and threw the ball on a line to home plate. The ball came in so hard that even though it hit the catcher in the glove, it still knocked the guy over on his back. That was from about 200 feet throwing to a 220 pound college kid. This was from about 30 feet throwing to a 185 pound grandfather of four who probably hadn't played ball since high school. Also, we had a baseball, which travels a heck of a lot faster than a softball.

"Are you sure?" Eddy asked. "Yeah, throw it on in here." the old man replied. I started to mentally go over my EMT training for handling blunt head trauma. Eddy, not one to under-do things, reared back and let the ball fly with all his might. Time slowed down. The ball turned a bright blue flame color. Dad seemed to slowly raise up his glove about shoulder high. Would the glove get up to ball level in time? Would it matter? Could the ball actually break through the glove's webbing and embed itself in our father's chest cavity? Or would he amazingly lean back, Matrix-style, while the ball rippled through space and time as it passed over him, creating its own sound wave tunnel? Then...SMACK! The ball crashed safely into the glove, and Dad rocked back, ever so slightly. He was still alive, but I'm guessing a little bit shaken. We joked that next time he should do something a little safer and let my nearsighted brother Frank throw knives at him or something.

On January 15 of this year (2010), I got a call that my dad had passed away suddenly and unexpectedly from heart disease that none of us knew he had. I'm so thankful that we'd both changed enough to not miss those second chances, those memories, and those opportunities to be father and son.

Happy Father's Day, dad. We miss you.

I am so proud of my husband and so thankful for the amazing father that he is to our girls. The girls love their daddy and love being with him. They love to tackle him and pounce on him when he comes home from work. They love to go swimming with him and loves when he reads to them at night, especially when he reads to them in french. Brooklyn loves to study maps with daddy and Sydney loves to show daddy her signature ballet move. She can pull her foot to the back of her head. Most of all, they like to cuddle up to daddy and watch a movie.

Last but not least. I am thankful to have an amazing father. He has given of himself and has always worked hard to provide for his family. Most importantly, he is a man of God and a man of his word. He has taught his 4 daughters how to love and how to live a life according to scripture. I would not be the woman I am today without the love and guidance he has shown me over the years. It's invaluable and I will always be thankful to him for it. I love you dad very much. I am so thankful my girls have such an amazing papa in their lives.

Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there. I hope it was a great one for you.

Show Us Your Life-Proposal Stories

It's Friday and that means it's Show Us Your Life day. Thank you Kelly for hosting. I love my proposal story because I was completely caught off guard and surprised. I knew that we were going to get engaged, but I just didn't know when.

My poor hubby had everything planned out until one of his brothers ruined it. Here's what happened. I was at Brian's apartment and his brother Frank lived with him at the time. We were all sitting on the couch together watching a movie when all of a sudden, Frank blurts out, "Dad got film in his camera to make sure he can take pictures of you all this weekend when you propose". What? I pretended like I didn't hear, but that was a long shot because he was less than a foot away from me.

I felt so bad for Brian. I learned later that he had to come up with a different plan. It was Thanksgiving week and we were going to be heading up to Indiana on Thanksgiving day. Originally Brian had this elaborate set up in his grandparents backyard that is like a garden, but after Frank ruined it, he thought it was more important to surprise me than go on as planned.

Wednesday night we were having Thanksgiving with my family since we were going to be gone. As tradition in the Darin family, we all go around and say what we are thankful for and pray. We all stood around and were holding hands and Brian asked my dad earlier if he could pray. My dad said yes. At the end of his pray Brian said, "And Lord give me the strength to do what I am about to do". He dropped to one knee in front of my family and asked me to be my wife. Of course I said yes.

Before the proposal he asked my brother-in-law Bill to have his camera ready. I am so glad he asked Bill and not any of my sisters or my mom. He already knew my family. You see when he dropped down on one knee, my sisters all went running to find their cameras. A few of them were saying wait, wait. Like he was going to hold off on the proposal until they found their cameras. Yeah right.

I would like to note that I obviously was not expecting this or I would have dressed up a little more for the occasion. He had come from work so he looked really nice. I can still remember that moment almost ten years ago. It all worked out perfectly.

Tuesday's Tip-Yummy and oh so good for you pops

Summer isn't officially here yet, but man it is hot. Here in Nashville the temp is 90 with a heat index of 100. I am not a fan at all, but what can you do except try to stay cool.

We've been going to the pool alot and eating popsicles like no tomorrow. I don't let the girls eat the popsicles you buy from the store because there are full of dyes and corn syrup. I make mine from scratch and the kids love them.

Yesterday I made a huge batch of coconut smoothie and after the girls were done drinking it, I poured the rest in my popsicle maker. The kids love these popsicles and I don't mind if they have 2 of them a day. I know the only sugar they are getting is in it's natural state from the fruit. I add no other sweetener.

Here is one recipe that is so simple and has just 3 ingredients. It's my take on the classic Pina Colada.

1 can of coconut milk
1 cup of frozen pineapple
1 banana (I like to peel and cut my banana and freeze the chunks)

That's it. Put it in a blender and then pour in your popsicle maker.

I ran across the coconut milk ingredient by accident. I usually use coconut kiefer (it's like coconut yogurt and contains no dairy) but I didn't have any. I wondered what I would use for my liquid base and then I remembered I had cans of coconut milk in the pantry. It worked perfectly. I actually will continue to use the milk because it's cheaper than the coconut kiefer.

Here's my healthier version of the above:

1 can of coconut milk
1 tbsp of New Chapter Berry Greens (LOVE THIS brand! You can get it at Vitamin Shoppe or Whole Foods)
1 tbsp of ground flax seeds (I buy whole flax seeds, it's cheaper, and grind them in a coffee grinder)
1 scoop whey protein powder
crushed pineapple
crushed mango
frozen bananas

I guess on my frozen fruit. The kids like to help and throw it in the Vitamix. I always taste it and if it doesn't taste sweet enough I add more fruit. This is the best way to hide veggies. They get all their greens in for the day in the smoothie and popsicle and they have no idea.

Try experimenting with your smoothies. I throw all sorts of things in it and to my amazement, it turns out great. I stock up on alot of organic frozen fruit. It never goes bad and it makes your smoothie instantly cold and drinkable.

What is your favorite smoothie or popsicle to make? I'd love to have the recipe. Stay cool out there.

Show Us Your Life-China Patterns

Kelly is hosting "Show Us Your Life" and today it is China patterns. When I got married 9 years ago Brian and I decided that we wouldn't register for China. We just didn't think we would use it that much and there was other stuff that we wanted more. There are times that I wish we would have, but I know practically speaking we probably wouldn't have used it all that often.

For everyday use we use plain white plates from Crate and Barrel that 2 of my bridesmaids lugged all the way from California with them on a plane. Bless their hearts. Those things were heavy. Thankfully they stayed in tack and 9 years later we're still using them. These are from Crate and Barrel and they are almost identical to what we have. Love them.

If I were to get married again to my wonderful husband, I would love this China. It's from Kate Spade and it's called Belle Boulevard and you can find it at Bed Bath and Beyond. I think it is just so timeless and beautiful.

This makes me want to go throw a dinner party. Who's coming over?

What a week

I can't believe I haven't blogged in a week. I really haven't had the time. We've been having a good vacation so far, with one unexpected twist. My dad has been pretty sick. We arrived in Orlando on Sat. night and he got sick on Sunday morning. If you know my dad he is rarely sick. He's a health nut like me and if he does get sick it's a minor cold.

This was different. At Epcot on Sunday he just walked around and sat all the time. He didn't go on any rides. He just didn't have the energy. The next day we went to Hollywood Studios and he stayed back at the condo. Thankfully the next day my mom took him to an urgent care who told him to go to the ER.

We thought he'd be in and out, but that was not the case. They admitted him for further testing. They did a CT scan to rule out a stroke, chest x-ray, lumbar puncture and tons of blood work.

All tests came back normal except for the chest x-ray. They determined he had pneumonia. So thankful it wasn't a stroke. He had to stay at the hospital for 2 nights. Not really the way we all had envisioned our vacation would go.

Thankfully he is out of the hospital and feeling better. We are on our way to Magic Kingdom for the day. I will post pictures soon. I have 450 pictures to go through so far so it might take me awhile.

Happy Friday everyone.

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