Thursday, February 28, 2013

Annabelle's Cardiologist Check Up

If you've read 12 Month Checkup then you know that Annabelle has a congenital heart defect known as a Pulmonary Valve Stenosis. In short it's a narrowing of the pulmonary valve that cause less than ideal blood flow to the lungs. Unlike in one of our earliest posts, Annabelle's Ornery Assault on the Heart Doctor , today's appointment for the most part went on without a hitch. She had missed her nap so she wasn't the most cooperative for the echo (like a sonogram) of her heart, needless to say the doctor had to be notified that the readings were not of a resting heart rate! However, just like the last appointment she passed out before the doctor ever saw her, so she had no idea that the doctor even saw her. So the results of everything today turned out pretty great! She's gained a whole pound since her 1 year checkup! The results of the echo were less clear because of how fussy she was during it, but they are sure that the hole is probably the same if not better than last time, where they thought it had either closed or gotten so small that they couldn't see it. The stenosis was set as Mild at her last appointment, and today it's been set as Very Mild. Rather than coming back in 6 months, we won't have to for another year! I wish I had a picture for you today, but Annabelle finally killed my poor phone and it refuses to even turn on. Paul says he will bring one home tomorrow so hopefully I'll have some new pictures for you soon!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Busy, Busy, Busy

Sorry we haven't posted anything in a few days we've been a little preoccupied but now we're back! The main reason there haven't been any new posts is that I just got a new computer for the first time in 6 years! The crossover to Windows 8 has kept me pretty busy but I think I've finally got it figured out enough to be fairly efficient! My new computer is a Dell Inspiron 15, and the new 15.6" screen looks huge compared to my old one. Though I think the main difference is my old laptop was a square screen and this is more of a rectangle. Here's what it looks like!

I'm also excited to say that I should recieve a drawing tablet in the mail today, so hopefully some time soon I can really start to implement the "Artsy Mama" part of our name into the actual blog! 

Miss Annabelle is doing great! She is literally RUNNING everywhere! She also has her Cardiologist check-in in a few days, so look out for the post covering that.

Friday, February 22, 2013

$25 Amazon Giftcard Giveaway!!!

I've seen so many giveaways on other blogs lately so I've decided to get in on the fun! For my very FIRST giveaway ever I'm going to give away a $25 Amazon gift card! If you've never been to Amazon you're missing out! They have EVERYTHING, from clothes to electronics to books to toys! Only two mandatory entires the rest are optional! Just enter on the raffle copter below! However, to be fair, my family members are not allowed to enter but you can invite your friends!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway So get your entries in now and maybe you'll be our very lucky very first giveaway winner!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

First visit to the Emergency Room and The End of Annabelle's Worst Day

Yesterday Annabelle's first year shots, being somewhat delayed because I misplaced my wallet with her Medical Insurance card, were only the start of what is probably the worst day she's ever had.
At about 8:00 PM last night during dinner Annabelle starting screaming and kicking her legs like she was having a tantrum. She starting furiously rubbing her eyes and I thought that she had gotten something in them as much as she was fussing and messing with them. So I took her into the kitchen for better light to see if I could see anything in her eyes and immediately noticed little welts all over her face and the back of one of her hands. Obviously this freaked me and her dad out so we decided after calling our mothers (both nurses) that the emergency room was the best idea and that she probably had Hives. We weren't sure at first because the  Hives had started to go down, and because I had misplaced her Medical Insurance card and the hospital that has her insurance on file was about twice as far away as the one we ended up going to because of distance. Fortunately, they saw us even without the Medical Insurance card, and they will probably send us the Medical bill by mail. As soon as I find the Medical Insurance card I can call the hospital and they will forward the bill to the Insurance company. This is how she looked in the waiting room last night.

This picture isn't the greatest but you can see how swollen her face still was by the time we got there. Most of the Hives went down on the way to the hospital, but the swelling didn't go down for another hour. When we were finally seen, only about 10-15 min after we got there, they took her vitals and gave us a room. Over the next two hours we suffered the typical hospital wait lightened only slightly by an Adam Sandler movie. They finally told us nothing we didn't already know, that she had a reaction to something. It could have been to one of her first year shots she had yesterday morning, it could have been to something in dinner, or it could have been something she picked up around the house. This annoyed me quite a bit that they couldn't have told us sooner, her Hives had been gone within a half hour of being there. As nice as the staff was as this hospital, they just really didn't seem to know what they were talking about. In the future we will definitely drive a little bit further and take her to her birth hospital. Her birth hospital is more professional, I trust the doctors there, and they already have Annabelle's Insurance on file. Anything to make a situation like this less stressful would have been done at our normal hospital. Me and her father agree that it was either dinner or something she picked up because she only had it on her face and the back of one of her hands, like it had spread from one to the other. As we wiped her face with baby wipes because we had give her some juice we noticed the Hives going down fairly quickly, so we know it probably was not her shots that caused the Hives. We hadn't had anything new for dinner that she hadn't had many times before fish and green beans. We think it may have been either the canola oil I used, because I usually just use butter, or the fact that we bought the fish at Walmart this time instead of Hy-vee where we usually do. 

When we were finally released to go home, about two hours after we arrived, with nothing in regards to treatment other than a dose of antihistamine, we thought Annabelle deserved at least something small to make her day end a little better. So we got her favorite food, Chicken Nuggets. She went to bed relatively happy considering the day she had gone through.

Here's Annabelle happy and all cleared up this morning.

Lessons learned from this situation, stick with your family doctor or hospital whenever you can, trust me it will make you feel so much better than having complete strangers examine and decide the treatment for your child. At least at your family hospital you know that even if your primary doctor isn't examining your child or deciding on treatment, one of his/her colleagues is. And don't let your 1 year old go through your diaper bag and hide your wallet. Not having your Medical Insurance card in an emergency just ups the stress that much more. You can't help but worry about how you'll pay for it even if you're pretty sure your insurance will cover it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

12 month checkup!

Well Annabelle was in less than the best mood when we got home, and I really can't blame her. I didn't know she was going to get any shots at all today and she ended up getting four along with getting her blood drawn to check her iron levels and to check for lead. I'm not really sure why they need to check for lead as we don't live in an older home, and we don't live very close to a recycling plant or highway, so there isn't a lead threat in Annabelle's day to day life. Her weight has stayed the same as her last appointment, a whopping 20 lbs. She isn't expected to gain much because of how active she is but we have to bulk up on the fruits and veggies! 

The developmental therapist came to visit like always, and like always Annabelle is right on schedule for most of her milestones and ahead on the rest. Because of her heart problem (mild pulmonary valve stenosis) and her occasional "ticks", her development is always a major focus. If she is off on her milestones it could be evidence of something going on, so we really have to pay attention. Fortunately, up until now her problems are very mild and seem to have no effect on her development at all.

In two weeks we will have to go for our second followup with the cardiologist. She has to go once every six months or so to make sure things are going well. In the beginning she had a small hole in her heart as well but by the first follow up it had either closed itself up completely or had become so small that it couldn't be seen. This was really great news because the doctor thought it would probably never close up all the way. She still has a murmur because of the Pulmonary Valve Stenosis. Pulmonary Valve Stenosis is a " heart valve disorder that involves the pulmonary valve.This valve separates the right ventricle (one of the chambers in the heart) and the pulmonary artery. The pulmonary artery carries oxygen-poor blood to the lungs. Stenosis, or narrowing, occurs when the valve cannot open wide enough. As a result, less blood flows to the lungs." (NCBI) 

Fortunately, Annabelle has a mild case of Stenosis. Her case is so mild that the doctors don't believe that it will ever be serious enough to effect her quality of life. However, we still have to see the cardiologist every six months so that if it does unexpectedly become more serious, something can be done early on to prevent it from becoming worse.

Since we've been home, Annabelle has been given ibuprofen and is now is much higher spirits than when we first came home. So I'll close with a picture of Annabelle being.....well just being Annabelle.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Annabelle's new swimsuit.

Yesterday I saw a post on Facebook where a mom was showing off her daughters' new swimsuits. She had managed to find a modest yet ridiculously adorable swimsuit for her toddlers and I knew as soon as I saw it that I had to have it for Annabelle this year! I ended up having to go ten miles to find a target that wasn't sold out of these, only two within 50 miles had them and they were in limited quantity. Target's website is also sold out but you can use the store locator to find the closest one near you that has them.The Circo® Infant Toddler Girls One Piece Swimsuit has got to be the CUTEST swimsuit I've seen for a little girl in the longest time and you can't beat the $12.00 price tag  With a bottom design that fits like shorts, it has a style that reminds me of the 1950's era. I hate when I see toddlers wearing bikinis, it's just not appropriate in my opinion. Not to mention the more a suit covers the better it protects from the sun. This suit has a 50+  SPF.  I can't wait to debut this suit with Annabelle at the pool this summer and I'll be sure to do an in depth review for you readers when we do!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Inspired by a Dream

So I just wanted to share this idea I got from a dream I had last night. Up until the middle of last year I was going to school to earn a degree in Graphic Design. Well, money became an issue and now I'm taking a break from school and just focusing on being a mom. Last night I had a dream that I started my own at home photography studio. That I had used my photography school books and had managed to be pretty successful. Since tax season is coming up, I thought I would consider asking Paul if we could spare a little extra so that I could get a camera to start practicing with, as I'm still quite far from actually running a business. However, even if that dream is a little ways off, it'd still be nice to be able to capture better photos of Annabelle than the ones I get now with a cellphone camera. I'll probably just start off with a cheaper new or secondhand camera, but my dream camera is the Canon Rebel!

Obviously with a price tag like that my dream camera is many, many, MANY years away...but it doesn't hurt to dream does it?

I see self employed photographers all over my news feed, from newborn/family photographers to nature/landscape photographers. I really think I can make a decent income if I go for it, so I will!!! 

Wish me luck!

Annabelle's First Birthday Party!!! Part II : The Presents!

What did Annabelle get for her birthday? Don't worry I'm not going to list every little thing she got, but a few gifts just had to be mentioned because of Annabelle's reaction to them! The first was a cute little pink rocker horse that neighs when you push on its ear. Annabelle's reaction? Not really that impressed. Her aunt (my sister) attempted to put her on the horse and Annabelle responded with flailing her legs opposite directions to prevent any of that nonsense. Fortunately, Daddy came around and got her on it long enough for a photo!

The second gift that just BEGS to be mentioned, is her brand new baby doll  As soon as she saw it she called it baby, and then took it to each person around the room one at a time to introduce "baby". No one was allowed to touch, but they could look. The reason this is such a big deal, is that she only knew about half of the people in the room, and this was the first time she had said the word "baby", let alone have any previous association with a baby. Here are some photos of her introducing "Baby" 

And now for Annabelle's favorite new toy of the day........*drum roll*...............

Yes...balloons. She literally had a balloon in her hand right up until bed time, just having a hay day bashing it around.... To think of all the money wasted on presents when all she really wanted was a balloon! Just kidding, she loved all of her toys and plays with all of them, though more so the baby than anything else. If anyone who came to her birthday sees this, I just want to thank you all for making her 1st birthday one me and her father will never forget...even if she does. <3


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

It's not the end, it's a new beginning...

As this day finally comes to an end, I can look back on the past year and honestly say I did the best I could at being a first time mom. There have been ups and downs, but as a family we've dealt with them head on and together. I see in my daughter the most well behaved little girl I could ever hope to have the privilege of being called Mom by. Everyday she does something new to amaze me,whether it  be saying a new word for the first time  or reaching a milestone like walking over the past few weeks. A year ago today I could never have imagined how rewarding and incredible a journey motherhood would turn out to be. It's sort of bittersweet to see her getting older no matter how gradual it is, but at the same time realizing that as she gets older I will get to experience the untold joys of watching a child grow up.I'll end this by saying that my daughter is such a joy to me that I couldn't possibly be any prouder of the person she is becoming as her unique personality beings to shine through.She never fusses unless she sincerely needs something, and no one is ever a stranger. I hope that she remains true to herself as she grows and never conforms to any ideals of society that won't allow her to continue to be happy being herself.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Just had to share this with you!

So back in my first Attachment Parenting post I mentioned baby wearing. Now my personal preference when it comes to baby wearing is the use of a sling. I received a sling at my baby shower and I still use it even now! Slings are that versatile that you can continue to use them throughout your child's toddler hood. Now my sling was hand made so it was basically free, but a name brand one can run you up to $100 or more. Until now, Seven Slings offers slings in a variety of colors that run around a $72 value, however recently they have had many promos where they give the slings away for free and you only pay....wait for it.....$11.90!!! All you have to do is add the sling you want to your cart and enter the code "family2013" in the apply code box. That's it! They even have a handy measurement chart to ensure that you're sling will fit perfectly, and for a small fee ($3.50) you can add insurance to your order to return the sling for a different size at no additional cost! You're not likely to find a deal this good on a high quality sling unless you know someone who can make one for you! So hurry and get one before they end the promotion!

Annabelle's First Birthday Party!!! Part I : The Hitch and The Cakes

Even though Annabelle won't technically be 1 year old until I still can't believe how fast this first year has gone....but we'll save the sappy sentimental post for tomorrow. We decided to throw Annabelle's birthday party day before yesterday to ensure that anyone who wanted to come could. I had hoped it would go off without a hitch and for the most part it did. The only real issue came up when our family started to arrive at 12:00 pm on the dot. Now I set the time for the party to be between 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm, assuming that most people would show up around 12:30 pm. Normally our family runs a little late for gatherings and the friends we had coming had never been to our house, so I figured in time for them to find the place. Me and Paul left at about 11:45 to go to the bank and then get Annabelle's birthday cake and balloons. At about 12:15 pm my mom called to tell me that the 10 odd people that we had left at our apartment had more than doubled...This resulted in a mad dash from the bank to Hy-vee to get our custom cake and a set of 10 balloons. We finally get back to our apartment and it's a mad house! 23 +/- people to 7 chairs and a 3-4 person couch....there were a lot of people left standing or sitting on the floor. Thankfully, it didn't take long for us to get organized and from then on the party really did go on without a hitch! Only 2 of the expected 5 children showed up, but I really don't think there would have been the room for them even if they had, and Annabelle seemed to enjoy playing with her little friend from downstairs.

Now for the fun details!

We decided to go with a Yo Gabba Gabba theme for the party because it is one of the few tv shows that Annabelle will watch all the way through, and she just loves to dance to the songs. This is the custom birthday cake that we got at Hy-vee, I was very impressed with how it turned out especially considering it was only about $17.00. It's hard to see in photos but it had a gradient effect wherever two colors met that just looked amazing.

Happy 1st Birthday Annabelle

Here is Annabelle's special cake surrounded by cupcakes. We had bought some Yo Gabba Gabba candles about a week ago for the big cake but as you can see in the last photo there really wasn't any room for them, so we used them for this one.

And don't worry she wasn't as close to the flames as it looks in that photo! Of course she needed a little help blowing them out, but her Aunt Patti was happy to help!

We had bought this smaller cake hoping that Annabelle would demolish it, but she wasn't having any of that. 

We pressed her hand in the icing to motivate her but she was not happy about it!

In the end she was happy to be spoon fed the cake. 

However, when the icecream was brought out, she had no trouble at all picking it up and shoving it in her daughter is so strange....

So this concludes Part I, of my birthday posts. Stayed tuned for Part II : The Presents.