Tessa NEHI 2 year Anniversary

Well, we've made it two years with dealing with NEHI.  These pictures were taken when Tessa was finally diagnosed by Dr. Houin in Tampa in September 2014 (she was 10 months old).  She had a high resolution CT scan that showed ground glass opacities in her lungs that present Neuroendocrine Cell Hyperplasia of Infancy.  It was a really rough 1st year, but since then she has made so many strides and taken all of these issues without a complaint (although she doesn't know any differently).

She is still our happy little girl all the time.
When we got home and was put on oxygen, we had to learn how to deal with the tube and tank, which seemed monumental at the time.  But now she only needs it when she's sleeping so it makes everything so much easier.
And nothing gets her down!
Read more about NEHI here:

It's a Children's Interstitial Lung Disease or ChILD.  Research is still ongoing to determine what the cause is and whether there is a cure.  She'll always have this, but overtime her lungs will grow healthy tissue and make her stronger and stronger.  If you have any questions, please ask us, we always like to talk about it and spread the information around.

And here she is now at 2 years and 5 months.

I didn't do myself the favor of taking before pictures, but I removed a large boxwood hedge from the front of the house in the heat.  I don't ask myself if I'm crazy, I know I'm crazy.  It had plenty of holes with dead parts and just needed a refresher, to make our front porch look more inviting and friendly.  This is what we got out of the ground - via ratchet straps and our pickup truck.  We dragged them away from the area and put them on the trailer.  It took a whole day.
 Then I went to a local nursery and to Home Depot and picked plants.

 I got several that attract butterflies and some feathery ones.  I also planted our two plumeria I had near the pool finally.  They made it 2 years in pots after our move from Merritt Island to Winter Haven to Seffner.
 It took 12 bags of mulch to mulch everything.
 And did I mention I did the pool beds as well?  I did!  Lemongrass went in to try to deter mosquitos...we'll see if that works.
Long, hard day.  Beautiful and satisfying results.

Gender Reveal Party

Part of the gender compromise was to find out what the gender was, for my husband, but to have it in such a way that it was exciting for everyone else.  So he found out first and then prepped the way we would do the reveal.

I was on team Boy.  (This is a very old post, since the baby I was pregnant with was born in 2013...but at least I'm getting there).

 We opened the box....and out came some balloons.
 It's a Girl!

 Here is a cute thing I saw on pinterest, to let people know what an Old Wives Tale Prediction would say.  I was split pretty much down the middle.
 And I made a gender neutral question mark in green and yellow yarn.
Abbots - I have a tea set from my great-grandmother & grandmother's house.  It is beautiful but I have let it go.

Did you know polishing silver is easy?  I DID NOT.  I mean easy.  You just keep polishing.  I saw in HGTV Magazine that Vern Yip said this is a task you shouldn't put off because it is easy, there are these amazing wipes (I wasn't paid for this, I seriously just bought the wipes on Amazon and used them.  I'll pay full price for these babies.
 Weiman knows its stuff.  Just wipe until the wipe gets dirty, then get a new one.
 Here's after one wipe.  There are still black spots, especially the handles and feet, but a good start huh?  The entire set took me about 20 wipes. 
But man is it worth it.  I'm so happy I cleaned these.  Let me know how your silver polishing goes, and whether you feel like a second footman, or perhaps Anna Bates?

The Valentine's miracle has once again occurred at our house, where we make simple, cheap handmade Valentine's at home with a little personal pizzazz.  Don't you love a word with 4 Z's?

First up is this timely Star Wars valentine with Yoda holding a "light sabre".  This is actually a dollar store glow bracelet, but who's to know.  Very easy, print on cardstock, cut, holepunch, and tape a glowstick bracelet through the hole.  Be sure not to bend the glowstick though, or it will activate.

Our second one is a butterfly valentine with candy :)  A dollar store tootsie pop 6-pack is $1.  We just needed 3 packs.
And they are colored by hand.  Again, super easy.  Card stock, paper, crayons/markers, scissors, and tootsie pops.  Happy Valentine's Day!

Some ideas for a newborn shoot with one older sibling....

Trains - 
 Holding, without the potential for dropping -
And a cool announcement picture with date, time, height, weight, and name in blocks.  Plus some seasonal reference via colors.

Valentines Day Favors

I always try to do fun activities for the kid's classmates for Valentines.  Our printer works really well and I just keep a set of blank card stock available for these little projects.  I also have a couple fonts I like, but mostly I find these ideas from other people.  They aren't mine!

Millie signed her own cards last year for her class and they are slinkies.  It says "You make my Heart Spring"
Tessa can't write, but hers said "I'm a lucky DUCK to have a friend like you."  She only had 4 classmates and I got these little ducks at the dollar store.  So each kid got the little bag and the valentine.  It has a momma and 2 baby ducks.  The teacher said the parents loved these and the kids at least have something to play with.  I'm not a big fan of candy for small kids (obviously).

Being not made of money has its downsides, but it does give you the opportunity to really decide what you want to do when you face a room you dislike.  Mirrored wallpaper?  Check.  Ughly drapes?  Check.  Mint toothpaste walls?  Check.  See?

My sisters fought me on whether this wallpaper was cool.  Frankly I'll fight anyone on that.  Anyone.
 But one thing I will give all the wallpaper in my house, is that it is a breeze to take down.  Praise be the wall paper gods.  Honestly.  I took this all down during a soccer game shooting match on TV.

 I considered saving some full sheets (FULL SHEETS!) for my sisters.  But I didn't.  The world shouldn't have mirrored bamboo wallpaper.  I chose a wall color, found some little things at Homegoods (white shelf and the beach painting).  Got a new lamb and hung pictures we already had.  Whew, so much better.

 But my favorite thing is the entertainment center.  It was hard to find one that we could use because of the long sound bar on the middle shelf.  This has 2 drawers, can fit a 45" TV, a DVR, sound bar, 2 baskets, and a play station.  We are ready to go!
 My husband keeps saying he likes this space....I'm sure he's being nice but sarcastic using the word space too much.  Next step is to remove the large curtains, which means we can move the couch back about 6", and replace with some nice blinds that fit into the window.
The kids really enjoyed dressing up with the costume options.  Some couldn't choose between a pirate, pixie, or pan.
 The treasure hunt was in a sand box.  Gold doubloons, necklaces, tattoos, and hard candy were hidden.  They put the treasure in their individualized bags.
 There was a crocodile guarding the plank.  Tick tock.
 And a little teepee I made with dowels, a painters drop cloth, and felt. 
We love Neverland!

Cute invitation idea here, with tinkerbell silhouette!
Need a favor idea - Try a tinkerbell lantern!
Here are more decorations to put you in Neverland!
Main table with the awesome cake, made by Its a Piece of Cake by Maggi in Auburndale, FL.  Central Floridians, they are amazing.
 Here's the cake with the porcelain tink from amazon - hard to find and it was actually broken the day before the party, had to glue it together with gorilla glue.
 Have your own Pixie Stick!
Here's the hand drawn map.  There are lots of things to draw this from out there, I just free handed, then cut out a big directional legend.
 I used black craft paper to cut out huge versions of the characters.
The kids had supplies to be a pirate, pan or pixie.  The wings and hooks were from amazon.  I used paper towel rolls for spyglasses, and made little felt Peter Pan hats with a red feather.
 Here are the lantern party favors.
 And there was a treasure hunt with little bags for kids to collect their "loot".
Cute invitation idea here, with tinkerbell silhouette!
Need a favor idea - Try a tinkerbell lantern!