Monday, January 16, 2012

Baby Book Cards

I found these gorgeous cards on etsy and I fell in love!  But I am a huge stickler about spending money on things that I can make myself.  I think that I am pretty good in Photoshop and I LOVE designing things.  I do my daughter's birthday invitations myself every year and they always get lots of comments.  I also love taking an idea and being able to expand it.  I have been searching for something unique for my friends who are pregnant.  And I highly doubt that any of them will sit down and fill out a baby book for two reasons.  One: they are on their second or third pregnancy.  Two:  who actually remembers to pull out that baby book and record something when you have another chitlin running around???  Aren't these SUPER cute!

I loved the designer's style and look of the cards, but I wanted to add more to them.  So, I created my own.  Here's what her's looked like:

I mean seriously???  Can you get much cuter than that!?

I found fonts that were similar and went to work.  I already had some chevron digital paper that I've been dying to use for something so I used them on this project.  I didn't want such bold and bright colors (which is weird for me) but something a little muted because they are going to women with all different tastes and styles.  And none of them know what they are having.

I did the four that she had designed and then designed a ton more!  Here are the originals:

And then here are my designs:
I added one about special days.  Because there are SO many things that are brand new the first few years a baby is alive! 

My personal favorite is the monthly stat tracker!  "Look How Much I've Grown!"  It has twelve monthly cards where you can write in all about them and then attach a photo on the back of the card.

And this one is from an inspiration from my mom.  My three year old niece says the craziest things, like bare walkin' and yester-time.  Cracks me up!!!  Wouldn't it be amazing to be able to remember those goofy things they say along with all their firsts???

And how about all the things that babies discover???  Picking on their sisters, picking their nose, dog fur....oh yeah.

And here are all the different colors for all the cards.

I am also going to be designing cards for things when the kiddos are toddlers, preschoolers and beyond.  I designed directions and idea cards for what to record too, but those aren't in the pictures yet!  The packaging is also going to really cute too!  I am taking a photo protector adhesive sleeve (whatever they're called) from Walmart and putting the covers in them and then attaching a ring to the corner.  So you've got a super cute baby book that you can hang from a magnetic hook on your fridge and always have your baby book on hand without it being in the way on the counter or coffee table.  Easy and adorable!  

You could also package them all up with dividers (that I'll be designing tomorrow) in a recipe box so that it still can be out of the way, but easy to whip out of your cupboard in a flash!

I'll be posting about the packaging tomorrow once I get it all done.  Its been two whole days of designing and I need to focus on my own kiddos! 

The cards are available for purchase on a download.  You get every single design and color on the download for $10!  Yay!!!  And I'll be posting directions on how to put it all together as well!  Please click here to purchase!  I will be including all the new designs on your download too.  Toddler, Preschool, Beyond and the covers and dividers.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


I found this super cute planner by Crystal Wilkerson a few months back and had to wait until the end of December until she released the new 2012 version.  I have to admit, I am extremely picky when it comes to organization.  It had to be cute and effective.  Plain and simple.  If it works, but isn't adorable it usually finds its way to the recycling bin.  I found a planner that has worked perfectly for me and I am on my second year of using it.  I use the Mom's Do It All Planner.  And it's not $200 like the link is saying that it is.  It's only about $15 and is amazing.  I absolutely love it.  But it  Maybe that's not a good word to use, but I was in need of someplace to write my menu, goals and to-dos that wasn't in my ginormous binder at home.  The planner the designer offers for download has planner pages (that I didn't print.  I am still using my uber effective planner.) and she also has LOADS of other pages that I needed.  Pages like inspirations, important dates, chore sheets for kids, 10 minute timer and oh my goodness, so many more!!!  It takes a bit to bring it all together, but once it is, hold onto your house slippers!!!  And....its GORGEOUS!  My kind of thing!  It's set up well and contains pages that allow you to stay focused.  And it also comes with a free download for a Gratitude Journal.  I've put mine mostly together, just printing out the lined paper sheets this very minute.  The only thing that could make this planner even better was directions on how to print double sided....maybe I'm an idiot and can't seem to figure it out with my printer.

The planner pages are designed to fit into one of those smaller binders.  Which is perfect for me, because I can easily slip my planner into the cover and it fits in my purse or diaper bag.  I run a photography business and am a WAHM.  Life seems to trend towards crazy busy.  My two kiddos keep me on my toes and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.  This planner IS the key to keeping me on track and remembering that my focus is and always should be, Jesus.

(Photos from her website.)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Valentine Dog Treats

I have a love/hate relationship with our dogs.  I love them.  And I mean I really love them.  I do all the routine care for them and spoil them with the expensive dog food.  They get the best treats and we only have people we truly trust watch them while we are away.  They are our friends and I couldn't ask for more amazing companions for my kids.  They adore my children.  They hate cats.  Which we found out the hard way this summer.  They love to run and most times its away.  We spend more on their jail bail than we do on their yearly vet visits. 

Pyro, our male, is high maintenance.    He has allergies and sensitive skin.  We have to put sunblock on his nose when we take him hiking.  He's incredibly intelligent.  So much so, that he knows how to open closed doors and when he gets mad at you, he pees all over your things.  No one else's, just yours.  He responds very well to our dog training regime.  Which includes a shock collar.  And he gets kennel cough ALL THE TIME!  Even though he's vaccinated for it and is never in a foreign kennel, just his own and only when we are gone.  With his sister. 

Roxy on the other hand, we call a fat cow.  She is the polar opposite of her brother.  She's a brute in pixie clothing.  She doesn't have a clue that she's heavy, clumsy and her tail has to have a lethal weapon permit.  She also a little stupid.  Literally.  But she's easy to train when it comes to most things.  Everything but the front door and a leash.  Have the stupid thing open and she will walk right by, but put a leash on her and she'll break down the door. 

They both are incredibly patient.  I have never seen dogs let a child put princess dresses on them, Mr. Potato Head pieces in their mouths and on their head, jewelry, or be paraded around the backyard for hours. And, they are pit bulls.  They are amazing.  I've always wanted to make them some treats, but I can't for the life of me find bone cookie cutters to save my life.  So I cheated. 

I have some treats on hand that our dogs won't touch.  I say it's because they're healthy.  They are apple sweet potato holistic treats.  And...they hate 'em.  So, I dressed them up a tad.  Here's what I did:

Take your dog treats...

Melt some candy coating in white.  All I had on hand were ones with flecks of pink, green and blue in it.  But once I got them all done, you couldn't even see them.

Dip your dog treats half way into the candy coating and lay on some wax paper.  I added Valentine's Day nonperils to mine.  I do love Heart Day!  I also use treats meant for tiny dogs.  Our dogs LOVE treats and this is a good way for me to have a little more control over how many they eat.  Instead of two giant treats that are meant for their size, they can have six mini ones.  In my mind, they feel the love. 

I have a friend who treats her doggies like children worse than what we do!  So, I bagged up some to give to her puppies for Valentine's Day!

And here are my lovelies enjoying some treats!

This one is Roxy.  Our pure white red nose/America pit bull.  

 And this guy is Pyro.  His nose is also because of his allergies.  Its kinda gross.  Sorry for the close up.  LOL

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Serious is Home

Our first day home was something to get used to.  I was hoping that I would have been able to blog about this sooner, but it's amazing how much I welcomed being home that I didn't blog at all.  Serious is doing so amazingly well that she doesn't even seem like the same baby.  She gets on her hands and knees like she did before, but rocks more confidently and can even move to sitting on her bottom all by herself.  Her ear piercings closed so we are going to do it again once she's feeling better.  I was asked to blog a month by month update on her so you all can see her progress.  She resumes physical therapy the end of the month and I can't wait to see what her therapist has to say about her recovery! 

We go in for her first follow up appointment with her pediatrician tomorrow and another one at the Children's Hospital on Thursday.  She gets her stitches out and gets another x-ray then too.  I'm hoping her genetic testing will be done soon.

So far things are looking fantastic and I am singing praises to God for that!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Day Three

Today has been amazing!  Serious is so much stronger after a really good night's sleep!  She spiked a fever in the middle of the night and they are watching her for that.  If it does it again they are tempted to keep her here a few extra days to give her antibiotics and monitor her.

She was scheduled for another echo scan, which basically is a chest ultrasound.  I was stunned by the difference from the one today and the one from two weeks ago.  The one from two weeks ago looked like a mass of red and blue with little definition.  The one today was amazing!  You could clearly see all four chambers of her heart and it brought loads of joy to me!

We played a little bit and got lots of smiles and her first laugh since before her surgery.

We loaded her up in the wagon again (but without all the wires, I.V.s and medicine tower) and walked her down to her x-ray.

 Daddy got to carry Serious back to her room.  She snuggled right up to him!
 Serious loves to look out the window, so daddy propped her up and showed her our new view from our new room!

We're waiting to see if her chest x-ray shows more collapsed vessels in her lungs or if she's clearing up.  *We got the results earlier this afternoon.  Her lungs look great as well as her internal stitches on her heart.  Her fever also stayed away today which is also fantastic.  Her doctors are saying that it seems like we could be heading home tomorrow.  Which to me is amazing considering she just had open heart surgery three days ago.

We got a surprise visit from the Prescription Pet Program.  Her name was Ollie and she was such a sweetie! Serious LOVED it and was feeding Ollie goldfish and petting her.  She kept waving to the dog and laughing!  It was awesome to see her so lively!  I can't wait to see how she acts seeing her sister for the first time in six days!  I am super excited to be heading home, but I am also very prayerful that we don't head home prematurely.  The last thing that I want is to have something go wrong and have to be readmitted to the hospital.  I'd rather be here as long as needed and then head home.

(Sorry about the grain in the picture.  I had it set for another room in the hospital and completely forgot about it.  So, hence the grain.)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Day Two

Today has been a fantastic day.  Serious is smiling and playing and blowing raspberries!  We haven't been able to get her to laugh yet, but we will take the smiles!  :)

 First playing and smiling since before her surgery!

We were able to take her for a wagon ride around the CICU and to the hospital floor.  She was able to see fish and the glass overhang wall.  She sat there, very content getting bubbles blown at her and being pulled around the floor.  The head nurse saw her again and remembered her name and started talking to her.  I am constantly amazed at the care we have been receiving here.  The nurses we had last night came into her room and was asking how she was doing and tried to get smiles.

 Just riding around in the wagon wore her out.  So we went back a little early and let her sleep.

We were able to move over to the Ronald McDonald house this morning as well.  We did have a causualty.  My new pillows and 1,000 thread count pillow case was left in the hospitality room... A man hunt is starting first thing in the morning.  ;)  My wireless mouse is also MIA.  I will have to check in my truck in the morning as well.

They removed her blood pressure cath this morning.  It was stitched into her so that it couldn't be removed easily.  They had to cut the stitches and then remove the cath.  They bandaged up her wrist with pressure tape.  Later in the afternoon they removed her chest tubes.  These tubes collected the drainage from around her heart.  She also had wires connected to her natural pacemaker in her heart, just in case they had to regulate her heartbeats after surgery.  Those were also removed today.  Her chest tube was stitched into her as well.  They removed all those and stitched up her hole.  She was immensely happier about that.  Apparently they are extremely painful and hurt just to breathe.  We haven't had to ask for any pain medication for her since they removed them.  Which is a huge blessing to not have to watch your tiny infant child writhing in pain and not being able to help them.

She also had an I.V. into her jugular vein.  They kept that in until this afternoon.  They wanted to run some genetic testing to make sure that she didn't have any other defects.  She is slightly delayed in gross motor skills.  Her therapist is very confident that her heart and her delay are directly connected and expects to see her sprout right up there.  This I.V. allowed them to be able to take blood without having to stick her again to get the amount of blood they needed to run the tests.  They removed this I.V. shortly after getting the blood.  The bandage was irritating her, so they were able to remove that as well as the oxygen stickers too.  So, no more tubes and wires in her!  She was MUCH happier!

Serious was able to watch a few movies on the iPad today.  We propped it up and she spun her little happy feet while she watched her movies.  She has been such a trooper.  I am astonished at her recovery.  The nurses and doctors are also impressed with it.  God has been absolutely amazing with her care.  He's been meticulously knitting her back together and holding her gently in His hands.

We bought her a Willow Tree *love* figurine at the gift shop downstairs, called Bright Star.  The caption was "Reflecting a light from within."  It fit her perfect.  Her name means "gift from the stars."
My dad likes a Christian speaker named Lou Gigleo.  He's a lot like Ravi Zacharias and is equally intense.  Lou calls God, "the star breather."  The figurine is an angel holding a star in her hands.  Serious' open heart surgery has touched so many lives, despite the miles between all our hearts.  I pray that this whole thing reflects God's glory to all those involved.  The caption of her Bright Star is just perfect.  God is that light.  I pray that she is reminded every time she looks in the mirror that God healed her heart and now she gets to wear the mark of that miracle for the rest of her life.  Just like mommies get to proudly wear their mommy badge of honor in the form of stretch marks.  Now she gets the chance to tell everyone who asks about her scar about the healing hand of their Almighty Creator.  How He saved her life by keeping her alive for thirteen months with a broken heart and then healed it.  It sends shivers down my spine.  My oldest daughter, Sparkle, has seen and talked with angels all her life.  That is one was that she is touched by God.  This is Serious'.  What better way to speak to her, than through her heart, where He one day will live.

I feel intensely blessed to have been able to go through all this.  As terrifying as it has been, I have seen so many things that spoke directly to my heart about God's personality and His unfailing faithfulness.  I have never been so broken in all my life.  Nothing compares to having something life-threatening happen to your children.  I have seen people who I thought didn't really care about my family, fall all over themselves to help in some way.  But I have also seen people who I thought were close friends, not even care a second.  Not show that they gave a hoot if my child lived or died.  It was very sad to realize these things about people I loved and thought loved us too.  I will be re-evaluating my friendships with these people, so it was also a blessing. God is truly amazing.  I will post pictures tomorrow about today's activities.  I am exhausted and the stone bed is calling my name, no matter how hard it is to sleep on it.

Right after I posted this the first time, we got the news that they were going to move us upstairs to CPCU. Which is recovery.  Nadia was doing so well and they got a little baby life-flighted in and they really needed the room.  So, of course, we told them absolutely!  I really loved the CICU because it was so well monitored and I was nervous coming upstairs where they aren't monitored as well.  But, she doesn't need the monitoring as much anywhere, because she really is soaring through this recovery!  So here we are, moving upstairs!