Wednesday, May 29, 2013

My sweet and amazing little...four eyes!

For those who don't know, Parker was diagnosed with an eye condition called Posterior Staphyloma last year. The easiest way to explain it is that he is extrememly nearsighted. He was born this way. We took him to a pediatric ophthalmologist last year b/c I had a sinking feeling that he needed glasses since he was always pulling things really close to him to see it and he would go really close to the TV. My suspicions were correct and Parker has been wearing glasses since April 2012.

this was last April when he got his glasses for the first time! he looks so little!

doesn't he look so smart and completely adorable in his glasses?

by June he was wearing his glasses pretty regularly. it was tough getting to wear them at first, but i just started to insist he wear them anytime he wanted to play, read, or watch a show. i would have him wear it for a bit then let him take it off. pretty soon he was insisting on wearing his glasses and asking where they were. this was right before we went to see Madagascar 3 at the theater...his first movie in the theater, which he loved and I was thankful he could see clearly!

Parker had an appointment with his ophthalmologist on Wednesday 4/15/13. The last time he went to an eye appointment was a complete fail. He screamed as if we were chopping his arms off when the nurse/tech had to put eye drops in his eyes. Kevin had to literally hold him down so the doctor could look at his eyes and she couldn't even go near him with some of her equipment. I was pretty hopeful about this appointment because Parker is about 6-8 months older and he can comprehend things a lot better. So I started to prep him a few days before and by this I mean:
   1) telling him he was going to see the eye doctor
   2) telling him the eye doctor is going to have a "mask" with a light and he's going to get really close to your face to look at your eyes so you are going to open them nice and big. We would practice this with me putting my hands around my eyes like binoculars and getting close to his face and say random things that I "see" in his eyes like a train or a car.
   3) telling him he would be looking at pictures on a mirror and telling the eye doctor what he saw

looking so serious, but he had just made a grab for that very expensive equipment in front of him w/ all the knobs and buttons. i was just praying he wouldn't break it.

I did choose to omit the whole eye drop thing during our conversation. I figured they would put eye drops in, but I just chose to gloss over it. And I suppose I should confess that the night before his appointment I also bribed told him that I would take him out for ice cream if he does not cry at the appointment. He must have really wanted that ice cream bc he exceeded my expectations! We waited a long time bc Dr. H. got called into surgery. 1.5 hours later we got called back and the thing I love about this practice is that you spend the whole appointment with the specialist. With the other eye specialist Parker went to we spent a majority of ther time with a nurse or a tech who did the eye drops, ther picture test, etc and the doctor was only with us for 10 min. Bad part is the wait time for both doctors is ridiculous, but thats what happens when there's only a few pediatric ophthalmologist in their area.

Parker and Dr. H...he was eying this Buzz Lightyear toy that spins and lights up when you press the button. Crazy kiddo even asked Dr. H if he could take it home. Dr. H politely said he could come back and play with it next time he came back, but that he could play with it during his exam.

He did such an amazing job listening to Dr. H and calling out the pictures. He goofed off a little bit, but Dr. H. called him out in a nice way and Parker straightened up right away...goofy smile still plastered on his face though. He let Dr. H. put drops in his eyes without any fuss and he was poked and prodded. Like I said, he was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!!! Dr. H. told him how he was very well behaved and Parker replied with: "Yep and I get ice cream after!". Dr. H. laughed and I shrugged my shoulder...hey you gotta do what you gotta do!

he ate that cup of ice cream so fast!!!

mommy ate her ice cream cone so fast!
Here's what we found out:
1. Parker's eyes actually improved. His prescription last year w/ Dr. BH was -8 on the right eye and -11 on the left eye. That was obtained while he was flailing like a fish. When he went under anesthesia around October of last year she was able to do a more thorough exam and said that his left eye was actually -12. I can't remember what is right eye was. I was devestated b/c his eyes were getting worse. So I was relieved to find out his eyes have improved. He is now at -7 for his right and -10 for his left. It's still bad, but it has improved.

2. I asked what the prognosis is for his eyes and was told it is hard to tell. I also asked if it could lead to blindness and was told likely not, but that he is just extremely nearsighted.

3. I asked if it was hereditary and if we should get Avery checked out. We were told it isn't hereditary, but if we have concerns then we shoudl get her tested. I advised that I didn't and she doesn't bring things close to her eyes to see them and yes she goes up to the TV quite a bit, but she also sees Parker and her cousins doing the same thing.

4. I asked if he needed to wear an eye patch b/c Dr. BH had advised he needed to wear one over his right eye for 70-80% of the day to strengthen his left eye. I advised that Parker has refused to wear his patch since before Christmas b/c it irritates his skin. Dr. H said 70-80% seemed a bit excessive, but if he will tolerate it for 2 hours a day then that should be fine. He also said that if he will wear for longer then that's fine too. He advised that this may help strengthen his left eye, but that it may not do anything at all. We have a follow up in September to see how his eye has improved.

at a carnival at his old preschool...he wore his glasses and eye patch every Tues and Thur when he went to school. he wore the patch without too much fussing, but we took a break from wearing it around Christmas time b/c he got sick...and it was hard to get him to wear it again. 

We haven't exactly started putting an eye patch over his right eye yet. I'm just trying to put off the inevitable screaming and crying. Last year when he was still wearing his eye patch, I explained to him that he had an eye boo boo and that's why he had to wear a pirate patch. I've tried prepping him for wearing an eye patch and telling him he has an eye boo boo and each time it results in him grabbing his eye, moaning, and starting to cry. He keeps insisting he doesn't have an eye boo boo. I think we will have to resort to bribing him with a couple of chocolate chips or something.

parker was a pirate his 2nd halloween, but i couldn't resist dressing him as a pirate again w/ his built in "pirate patch". he normally just uses plain blue patches, but i was saving this pirate one for halloween. doesn't he make a cute pirate?

Cross your fingers, toes, and eyes that all goes well b/c we HAVE to do this!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Black Bean Salsa

I've been making this "salsa" forever and it's so yummy! I usually make it when we are having a get together at our house or to bring over to a friend's house. If I make it to bring to a friend's house I usually double the recipe and leave half at our house for us to snack on. If I could get away with it, I would seriously just eat chips and dip for dinner every night. We usually just eat this w/ tortilla chips, but it would also be really good on top of grilled chicken, shrimp, or fish. It's so fresh and light and yet so filling b/c of the black beans.

I brought this over to our neighbor's pool party and it disappeared pretty quickly. I LOVE easy dishes like this that everyone enjoys!

Gather it:
1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup of frozen corn (I don't measure, but it's probably about this much and it's ok to leave it frozen)
grape tomatoes, quartered (I used almost a whole pint)
scallions, sliced (about a large handful and then some if you like scallions)
2 avocados, diced (I usually prefer to use 2 and diced, but 1 of my avocados was too mushy so I mashed up just the 1 good avocado I had to make it go further)
1 lime

Make it:
1. Juice half of the lime into a large bowl. Place avocados in bowl and toss in juice to help prevent it from turning brown. If you prefer to mash it then mash it now.

2. Add tomatoes, corn, scallions, and beans. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add more lime juice if needed.

3. Serve with tortilla chips...and a margarita!

FYI: I've had this with cilantro too and it's really yummy with it, but the cilantro wasn't looking too good at Publix. And it's really good with diced fresh jalapenos too, but I've omitted it since kids have come into the picture. I suppose I could make 2 separate batches...yep...I'll do that next time!

Potato Salad

We are going to our next door neighbor's house this afternoon for a Memorial Day cookout. We decided to bring Kevin's yummy baked beans (an this comes from a girl who is not a fan of baked beans), black bean salsa and chips, and this super easy and delicious potato salad. The baked beans and salsa recipe will follow later.

Gather it:
3 lbs of red potatoes, quartered or smaller depending how big your potatoes are
Scallions, sliced
10-15 strips of bacon
About 3/4 cup of mayo
Mustard (amount depends on how much you like - I use prob about 2-3 Tbsp)
Black pepper

Make it:
1. Place potatoes in large pot and cover with cold water. Boil until tender.

2. Optional step: lay bacon horizontally on cutting board and cut it vertically to make small strips. I prefer to do this b/c I can cook a lot more at once than only be able to cook 5-6 strips at a time. Plus I don't have to crumble it later.

3. Cook bacon over medium high heat until fully cooked and allow it to cool and drain on a paper towel. I actually use a paper plate, which soaks up all the grease.

4. Meanwhile, combine mayo, mustard, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Stir together and refrigerate.

5. Drain cooked potatoes and transfer back in pot and put it over the hot burner so that any left over water stuck on the potatoes steam off. Allow potatoes to cool. I usually place my potatoes on a baking sheet so that it cools faster.

6. In the pot you cooked potatoes in, put a few spoonfuls of the mayo mixture at the bottom, then some of the bacon and about 1/3 of the potatoes and mix together. I usually taste and see if I need more salt or pepper at this point. If I do then I add it to the mayo mixture. Its easier than having to toss a bunch of potatoes later. Repeat layering of all ingredients and mix together. I usually do this in 3 layers to make sure all the potatoes get covered.

7. Transfer potatoes into a serving dish - I suppose you could have done all the mixing in the dish, but it gets pretty messy and it's all about presentation so make sure to wipe the sides.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Mini Sliders

Kevin ran errands while the kids napped and I worked at home. He decided to go ahead and do our grocery shopping and planned dinners for the week as well. Yeah, I think he's pretty amazing too. When he got home he told me he was going to make mini sliders for dinner...similar to what we had at our friend Mike and Sarah's house a couple of weeks ago. These were so yummy and so easy (of course it was...I just handed him bottles of herbs/seasonings and watched. lol).

Gather it:
1 lb of ground beef
3 mozarella cheese sticks, cut into about 1/2" pieces (I suggested using Baby Belle cheese, but the chef vetoed my idea...still think it would have been delicious)
white onions, diced
1 whole egg
garlic powder
black pepper
dried parsley flakes

Hawaiian rolls
sliced cheddar cheese
sliced tomatoes

Make it:
1) Combine all ingredients in bowl except for the cheeses, toppings, and bread and mix together.

2) Make a small patty, place 1/2" piece of mozzarella , and top with another small patty and press both patties together to seal cheese in the middle.

3) Grill patties to desired doneness and top w/ sliced cheese and allow it to melt on the patty.

4) Cut Hawaiian rolls in half horizontally and place patty on bred, top with tomatoes and lettuce and gobble it up!

We served ours with macaroni and cheese (what else?!?) and fruit. For dessert Parker and I made funfetti cupcakes (without icing). We had lots so we shared some with our neighbors b/c let's face it...we don't need to eat all those cupcakes especially after all the cake we I ate from Avery's bday.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

New Family Addition...

Kevin and I have talked about getting a puppy after Bailey died and Kevin talked about getting a big dog after we got robbed. But after talking about it we decided we're not ready for the responsiblity of having a dog right now. Let's face it...dogs are sometimes harder to handle than kids. Kevin and I are happy with our family of four...well ok if I can be honest, sometimes I really miss having a teeny tiny baby and I miss those little flutters in my belly when I was pregnant and Parker and Avery would somersault. But we decided long ago that we were done and we are content with our family of 4 and our 2 crazy kiddos. We weren't planning on expanding our family, but then things change when you least expect it.

This is how it all morning started out rough. Kevin left early to go to a car show with his brother and the kids were acting crazy. I had a late night and wasn't feeling good. Then I found myself arguing with Parker to get his hair cut. The kid hates to get his haircut! I bribed him and he let me cut his hair with scissors...uhh yeah...he almost had a bowl cut! lol So I begged him to let me use Daddy's "buzzer". He shrieked as if I had just "buzzed" his ears off. So we started slow...I let him touch the guard of the razor...gentle little pets while it was turned off. Then we progressed to running it through his hair while it was turned off. Then Daddy brought out the big gun and showed him a ring pop that he could have after we cut his hair so he agreed to turn on the buzzer. He was fine and wasn't crying or shrieking...that is until the first clump of hair fell on his lap. Then he acted as if I had literally cut his ear off. I jumped away from him thinking I had...then I realized I was nowhere near his ear since I had started at the top middle of his head. This was my first time buzzing his head and I was a bit nervous, but Kevin yelled at me to just keep going. So I buzzed away while Parker cried about his hair hurting him as it fell on his lap, legs, neck, and shoulders. I kept telling him how proud I was of him for being so brave and my sweet polite boy just kept saying "thank you, mommy." So after about 10 minutes I had a freshly buzzed boy with a ring pop...

please try to ignore the runny nose...his allergies are driving me nuts!

Oh and what about our new addition you ask??? No I wasn't going off on a tangent...I really had a point. You see I had to bribe him to get a hair cut. Not just with a ring pop, but with a:

fish!!! And with a tiny little slip of the tongue I agreed to get Parker a fish if he let me cut his hair. And just like that we became a family of 5. Parker originally said he wanted a small fish, but then gravitated towards the koi. I laughed and steered him towards these cute little guppies w/ pretty red fan shaped fins. We got for each kid. Then I told Parker to pick out a bowl and the sales lady advised we needed a filtered a tank. Say what, lady? I wanted something simple! She said the only fish we could get that didn't require a filtered tank were beta fish. So we said goodbye to the guppies and I steered Parker towards the beta fish.
looking at the goldfish...I think he looked at all the tanks...

Avery loved looking at all the fish too! Too bad Mommy didn't want to handle more than 1 fishbowl and you can't put 2 beta fish in the same bowl. So we are gonna be a happy family of 5!!!

Parker's first was love at first sight! Welcome to the family, Alligator! My child obviously needs to be brainwashed a bit that he is a Seminole and not a Gator. Needless to say he has insisted that his fish be named Alligator. When I first asked him what he wanted to name his fish he said: Chuck E Cheese then he said Nemo. His third choice was Alligator and he has refused to rename him. Sigh!
"Alligator, you eat your lunch!"

So we are now a happy family of 5. I haven't had a fish in forever and I have high hopes, but I'm hoping this will teach Parker some responsbility. Our rules regarding Alligator: 1) You can't touch the bowl 2) You can't feed Alligator without Mommy and Daddy. I will clean out Alligator's fish bowl, but Kevin has agreed that he has burial duty when the time comes b/c I am NOT going to do it!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Look Whoo's Two!!!

Avery had an owl themed birthday party last Sunday. One of my sorority's symbols is the owl and Avery's godmother who belongs to a different sorority also has an owl for her sorority's symbol. So Avery was pretty much destined to have owls around her. Her nursery is done in owls, although, I had nothing to do with that. Kevin actually picked out her crib bedding set from Pottery Barn Kids. Avery's godmother also gave her an owl lovey for my baby shower gift and is obsessed with it and NEEDS to hold and cuddle it at night. I was hesitant about doing an owl theme for her party since my sister in law threw me such a fabulous owl themed baby shower already. I know a bit much? I wasn't even going to do an owl theme. I had 2 other ideas, but then I ran across the cutest owl stuff. I did ask Avery to pick her favorite out of the 3 ideas and she kept pointing to the owl picture. I won't say what the other options are since I may use those ideas.

So here's Avery's 2nd birthday told in photos (and captions):

i pinned lots of stuff and pretty much this was the only thing i did...kevin warned me not to take too much on since we would be busy with family coming down and staying with us. i think my version of the pineapple owl turned out pretty thing is I didn't even have to buy any fruit b/c my mom just happened to bring down 3 whole pineapples and I stole a couple of her grapefruit wedges from her breakfast. I browsed my fridge and found an almost wrinkled lime and the strawberries for the eyes and nose.

i nabbed the birthday girl before she could run off...she wasn't too happy about it!

it was a crazy time and i totally forgot to bring balls, games, and sidewalk chalk for the kiddos so they played red light/green light.

Avery decided she wanted to play too, but was a bit slow

not the best family picture, but at least we got one!

we had pizza, grape jelly meatballs (sounds gross, but oh so yummy!), honeydew, pineapples, veggie straws, chips and queso (it was Cinco de Mayo after all).

i had big plans of making a cute little display of "owl houses" that i painted (see portion of it on the left of this pic), but like i said it was a chaotic morning and i didn't have time so someone just stuck a bird house on each table. the kids had fun stringing them around the bushes in hopes that a bird would hop in. no luck though. i'm going to add the owl houses as decoration for avery's room and i've already promised my nephew that we would paint bird houses soon. poor DD wanted the navy and lime "barn" that i painted, but that was parker's barn that he wants to hang up in the tree outside our kitchen window.

poor Beckett was not feeling good...still so cute though!

mason and avery playing cornhole...

what could be causing the kids to run?!? it's CAKE TIME!!!

Avery got a lift from Daddy since her little legs were going to slow

my aunt is fabulous and makes awesome cookie cakes. she did this owl cookie cake without a mold! i squealed when i saw it! isn't she the cutest thing ever???

she also made these white chocolate cookie pops. they were so soft and so delicious!.

one of Avery's favorite songs is Happy Birthday and she loves to pretend anything and everything is a cake. she often holds books, toy bowls, or just her hands out in front of her and sing Happy Birthday and have you blow out pretend candles. She gets an even bigger kick out of it if you pretend it's her bday. So I was really excited to see what her reaction would be when we all sang to her. Here she is with a shy little smile...I have pics with bigger smiles, but the pics include my other niece and nephew on them so I can't post it. Let's just say she was a very happy girl!

she looks a little bewildered here as if she can't believe she really has a birthday cake (ok cookie cake) in front of her complete with lit candles and we are singing to her.

we sang 2 rounds of happy birthday...not b/c Avery loved it so much, but b/c Owen blew out Avery's candle before Avery got the chance to. Parker's reaction: hand smacked to his forehead and exclaimed "Oh, not again!". lol Parker will never forget that Owen blew out his birthday candles last September...twice. he still mentions it once in a while when we play pretend birthday and laughs about it.

avery got tired of trying to blow out the candles and figured she'd try to snuff it out with her finger. i have a similar photo of her doing this from her 1st bday too!

good job blowing out your candles, baby girl!

i also got a cake from Costco, which aside from my wedding cake (and also from Parker's baby shower and christening) has to be the best cake ever. it's chocolate with chocolate mouse filling. the cake was so moist and the filling is sweet without being too sweet. i don't eat the icing so i can't comment on it. i wanted something simple for avery's cake since the owl was pretty spectacular. i was originally going to do cupcakes, but it would have cost more at Publix for 2 dozen than this ginormous cake that feeds 48. plus part of me didn't want to do cupcakes b/c parker only eats the icing on a cupcake, but will eat sliced cake. avery also pitches a fit if i wipe off some of the icing (i know i'm nuts, but my kids don't need all that icing that's piled high and it just makes a ginormous mess).

time for cookies and cake

big girl eating her birthday cake

owen...all done eating his cake

caleigh savoring every bite of her cake...poor thing wasn't feeling well either

emma and maxwell playing cornhole

what's that the kids are looking at you ask? why it's a dragonfly. before you go all PETA on me, I didn't harm it. i reconnected with my inner child and caught the dragonfly, which i used to do all the time as a child. i showed it to the kids and we let it loose.

emma and owen wanted to chase the dragonfly and catch it again

avery kept going by these bushes and if you go too far in there's some poison ivy so i resulted to "scaring" her and telling her there's big doggies in the she is running away from the doggies. it's actually pretty funny, she turns around to look, sees there's no dogs, but runs away anyway while saying "doggie, woof woof" and she usually starts laughing.

play time with starts out all fun and innocent...she loves walking between Daddy's leggs and when he runs towards her and throws his leg over her head. Not sure why, but Parker and Avery laugh so hard when Kevin does this!

then it moves on to Avery wanting to be picked up...

upside down i mean...and she wants Kevin to swing her around like a rag doll

then they bust a move that makes my mommy heart stop and drop to the ground. i swear this little girl is made to be a flyer, but at the rate she's growing there's no way a cheerleading coach will let her fly

kevin's laughing b/c he gets a kick out of seeing me freaked out and avery's laughing b/c she loves this "game" and also b/c she thinks it's hilarious that i'm freaking out

running after Kevin and was literally yelling: "again, Daddy, again!"

they both ignored my threats...Avery loves flying through the air!

...but as you can tell from the expression on her face...she absolutely hates it when you throw her straight up in the air! Parker loves it when you do this to him, but Avery has never liked it except for this one time a couple of months ago at my sister in law's house.

no tears were shed, but she wanted Daddy to cuddle and comfort her. I should mention that I tried to comfort, her mother, who gave birth to her, who was NOT the one who threw her in the air and freaked her out. she let me cuddle her for about 2.5 seconds before reaching for her Daddy. She's def a Daddy's girl and has him wrapped around her little finger!

i decided to take a pic w/ the bday girl b/c the one earlier wasn't so cute...Avery wanted to be silly and not smile and give the camera her "mad face".

then she decided she wanted to close her her eyes weren't closed b/c she blinked. she kept her eyes closed for a while...

she finally opened her eyes when Daddy yelled out "a balloon!" and even graced us with a smile...although it would have been great if she was looking at the camera. lol

holding hands as we leave the park...yes Parker walked barefoot (until we got to the end of the sidewalk) b/c his brand new out of the box Sperry's gave him a blister on his heel. i tried to tell him it would hurt his feet and to wear his Crocs or his tennis shoes, but he refused and wanted to wear his new shoes. he is def getting a lot more opinionated on the shoes he wears.

Avery fell asleep 3 min into our 5 min drive home. lol

Avery's reaction when she opened her first gift: "Oh my gah!". Really...she said that! Parker and I say "oh my gosh" way too much!

how did Tita Rachel know that I have been eyeing this owl piggy bank forever??? Thanks for the bills and coins in there!

 Avery loves her new purse and brush from Auntie Sara and Uncle Dan...she can't wait to get into her makeup either!

Avery loves her Tito Ryan and laughed so hard when he kept pretending to fall asleep and snore on her shouldler

avery and maxwell watching Alving and the Chipmunks, which is Avery's new obsession!

in LOVE with Avery's new stool from GG...

Uncle Matt and Linda gave bath themed gifts including a big bottle of Mr. Bubbles. these kiddos LOVE bubble baths...unfortunately for them we usually just have plain bath water or just a little bit of bubbles. But a bottle of Mr. Bubbles means LOTS of bubbles!

Avery did not know what to do with all the bubbles so she figured she might as well try to eat them!

handsome boy!

wearing her very first nightgown...such a big girl thing to do! she was in a silly mood after all the crazy day we had...

last night being a 1 year old!

hugs and kisses from Lola

We ended the night reading Goodnight Moon and you bet I gave her the biggest snuggles and just couldn't stop staring at at my ONE year old as she laid in my arms (a new thing...ever since that crazy sleeping episode I've gotten her to lay across my lap and put her head on my arms as if I was feeding her a bottle). I love that she's letting me cuddle her for a longer time. In the back of my head I think that we are "regressing" b/c I should be thankful that she is fairly easy to put down to sleep and doesn't require any cuddling or rocking. Both kids stopped being rocked at 12-13 months when they were weaned from the bottle. They just didn't want to do it anymore, but now that Avery is willing to cuddle more I am absolutely enjoying every single moment and treasuring each second b/c I know tomorrow night she may decide she doesn't want to cuddle anymore. She does still tell me "bed" and reaches for her crib when she's done cuddling and will fall asleep on her own. The cuddling only lasts a few minutes and I just want to hold on to a little bit of babyhood for just a little while longer. So yes I cuddle her, rain kisses all of her face, pat her little bum as we sing Twinkle Twinkle and hum the made up lullaby that I've hummed to both kids since they were born and we stare at each other's eyes in the semi-darkness of her room and I wonder how lucky I am to be this sweet (and sassy) girl's Mommy...and slightly baffled that the next time I see her she will be TWO!