Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Notice Something a Little Different ???

Don't worry- you're in the right spot. It's still the same ol' Crockpot of Crazy; we've just got a brand new look to go with it! One of my favorite Mommy Bloggers, Jess at Here Comes the Sun, has started designing blogs. When I saw that she was running special over the weekend, I jumped at the chance! Clearly, she is awesome at it because our blog now looks Ah-Mazing.

I've been wanting to re-design the blog for a long, long time. In addition to wanting it to look nicer, I wanted a place to compile our NICU Journey for other parents who might be going through it right now. Now, our story is front and center and I hope that other NICU families can use our story for hope and inspiration!

The blog got not only a refresh, but it also got a shiny new name to boot. Life with Busy Bea. That pretty much sums up our lives, and our blog material, quite well these days! Plus, I'm remaining optimistic that someday will will actually sell this stupid house and move out of Raleigh. When that happens (oh dear Lord, please, God, let that happen!) it'll just be silly to call ourselves "The Raleigh Collins", right?

So, bare with me for the next few days as I get everything finalized and all the content filled in. But until then... well, what do you think?!? Leave a comment below (please, pretty please. Comments are like love letters from our readers!) and let us know how you like the new 'do.

And ... if you have a blog- feel free to grab our Fancy Schmancy Blog Button (on the top right hand side) and slap that baby on your blog to link up!


Red, White and Blackberry ...

Let's face it. My daugther is showing signs of possessing an addictive nature. First, it was Puffs and Mum Mums:

Friday, May 27, 2011

Losing our Marbles ...

We had a super fun day today- which is remarkable considering we did not have a super fun night. For the past few nights actually, last night included, she's been waking up at random times, standing up and then getting scared (of either not being able to see how to sit down or just scared of the dark) and then she'll cry out for me. All it takes is for me to go in, hold her for a minute or two and she's back to sleep, but dang. Mama wants a full-night's rest sometimes!

Anyway, today we had plans to spend the afternoon with our new BFFs Campbell and Owen (and their mom Amy):
Meeting of the Minds

Thursday, May 26, 2011

No Bitter, All Sweet ...

Today Beatrice Kate officially becomes a one year old. Well, technically- she's been one for eleven weeks; but that's what's awesome about being a preemie- you get two birthdays in one year. Today is May 26, my original due date, so officially, she's no longer a baby and well on her way to becoming a toddler. We've now officially survived the first year and three months and she's halfway towards being able to drop the "former preemie" title she's been carrying around these days.

Last year, this day was extremely bittersweet. I was thankful for such a healthy baby but at the same time, I was still  mourning the loss of our third trimester. It was somewhat sad to think about all that "didn't happen". Plus, we were still knee-deep into the sleep deprivation days so both Casey and I were practically zombies. We could have lived at Disney World and things would have still seemed bleak.
This is how we slept (on the couch) for more than 6 weeks!
This year, well, this year was much different. As Oprah (wise woman that she is) recently said, "Today was no bitter, but all sweet". This year today gave us a justifiable reason to celebrate. A second-first birthday doesn't come around all that often. And celebrate we did.
Kickin' it Summer Style

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Summer Bucket List

It's hard to believe that it's even time to start saying words like, "Summer" and "95 degrees" but holy crap- is it ever. This entire week is supposed to be above ninety and if that doesn't signal a season shift to Summer, I don't know what does. If this weather trend keeps up, we'll be picking fresh veggies from our garden in two weeks!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Town and Country ...

There's a reason that Casey and I have never left Raleigh. It captured our hearts when we were students at NC State and has never let go. We both came from small towns in Western NC and, to us, Raleigh is a big city; complete with the hustle and bustle one might expect from a proper metropolitan area.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mobility Madness ...

Remember this? Remember how I was so gushy and mushy about the fact that my "delayed" baby was now mobile? Well let's just say that the honeymoon for mobility has been bulldozed away. Now we're faced with the unforeseen challenges and mayhem that come along with a near-toddler.

Yep, I said: "near-toddler".Oh, sorry. Did I forget to mention the fact that in the same day Beatrice Kate learned to crawl, she also learned how to pull up and start cruising? Yea, well, she can.

Dollar Diet Wrap-Up

As promised, now that we're practically through May (wait, how did that happen?) it seems only fitting to do a short wrap-up post about our experiences with the Dollar Diet.

So, how did we do? Well, if this were school and I had to assign ourselves a grade, I would probably give us a solid B. We tried really hard to not break the rules, we mostly stayed on task and in general- we put forth a good effort. But sometimes... trying just isn't enough.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Meal Plan Monday: The Interwebs Helps a Girl Out

This is the first official Meal Plan Monday I've done for our family since the end of the Dollar Diet (I swear, a full wrap-up post by the end of the week***Edit: It's up! It's up!). Yep, and that was two week ago. Before you start getting all uppity, we've had a crazy couple of weeks. Bea and I took a trip to McAdenville and last week, well, last week wasn't actually that crazy- I just didn't feel like planning much. (So, you can judge that all you want)

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Marvelous Mother's Day ...

We have a lot to catch up on (crawling mayhem, Dollar Diet Wrap-up and our trip to McAdenville), but it only makes sense to start with the most recent happening- Mother's Day!

Technically speaking, this year should have been my first Mother's Day as a Mama. My due date wasn't until May 26 so we weren't expecting last year to be, well... so eventful. But, as you already know, it was and instead- I was thankfully spending my second Mother's Day with our Sweet Girl.

I think it's only fair to point out that "Sweet Girl" is a completely accurate description of our daugther for the past couple of weeks. She's always been a loving baby, but lately, she is sooooo syrupy sweet and I. Love. It. We'll get into the specifics another day- but it's safe to say that I am thoroughly enjoying all aspects of motherhood these days!

This year's holiday started off on the right foot when a beautiful bouquet of flowers were delivered to my doorstep on Friday, just as I got home from our adventures in Western NC:
The smell of roses helps counter the smell of dog in our house ...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Un-American or just morally conflicted? You decide ...

Yesterday, like most of the world, I heard the news of Osama Bin Laden's death. I'll admit- my first reaction, probably like 99% of the USA's was "Good." Then I got to thinking (and we know how dangerous that is), am I really happy that Bin Laden is dead?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

We Marched for Babies ...

On Saturday we participated in the 2011 March for Babies. It was an entire day dedicated to celebrating miracles. We saw many living testaments to the power happens at the intersection of modern medicine and a healing God.

We saw signs and shirts that proclaimed victory over prematurity: "Born at 25 weeks, 1 lb, 4 oz" and "I was a 26 weeker and now I'm a healthy 7 year old". Then there was our shirt, announcing our own little victory:

I saw my friend Alissa before we made it into the main area. Her son Jett was born at 27 weeks and more than once, they were told that he may not survive. When I hugged her, I couldn't keep in the tears.

"It feels like graduation", she said and she was so very right. It was a graduation. After a long, hard-fought year- filled with worry, fear and heartbreak, losing our third trimesters, watching our children fight every day for their lives- we could finally spend an entire day simply breathing a sigh of relief. 

We even ran into one of Bea's pod-mates from UNC. Baleigh and Beatrice Kate had very similar paths into and out of the NICU. Both were born prematurely because of early-onset preclampsia, both sported a bubble CPAP, both were Small for Gestational Age (medical speak for: they were tinier than they should have been).

But most importantly, both essentially skated out of the NICU in a little over 6 short weeks, being discharged only 2 days apart. I was so, so happy to have seen their family again. Casey and I talk and think about them all the time, wondering how Baleigh was now. It was very joyful to have seen the update for myself:

We all made it out of the NICU. Our kids, Baleigh,  Jett and Beatrice Kate, are healthy, chubby, NICU Graduates and Saturday was in fact our graduation day to celebrate their miracles.
I was honored to be the captain of one of the finest teams there, The Bea Team. We had nearly 50 walkers (including kids) on our team. Together, we raised over $3500. For a first time family team, right out of the gate to raise that kind of money, is AMAZING. I was blown away the kindness of our team mates and their dedication in the fight against prematurity:

I was humbled that people cared enough about our family, about our daughter to open their hearts and their wallets that much.

I heard that March of Dimes expected something like 5,000 walkers at the event. I would say that the they easily exceeded that estimate:
I was so proud to look around and see The Bea Team leading the way everywhere I looked:

 The Team's Namesake, Beatrice Kate, spent the morning riding in the lap of luxury in her Bob. She was well-stocked on Cheddar Bunnies, milk, water and even some apple slices. It was high-rolling:
I was proud of what all our team, of what all our family accomplished on Saturday. Being a NICU parent is a badge of honor that I proudly wear, but I would never wish it upon anyone. Because of the money that The Bea Team raised on Saturday, we are that much closer to making sure no one else ever has to know what it feels like.

And to my sweet baby girl: I am so proud of you. Because of your strength and will to live, we are where we are today. Beatrice Kate, you may only a year old, but you're already making a difference in other babies lives.