Friday, April 27, 2012

Tomorrow we will walk ...

Last year, the day before our March of Dimes walk, I posted the below entry; fresh off our one year anniversary of Bea's NICU homecoming. Today, the day before The Bea Team laces up our sneakers again- I'm sharing with you once more... because it still rings true. Preemie or not, March of Dimes is working their tails off to give every family a better chance at creating a healthy newborn... You can still support The Bea Team by donating here.

Tomorrow, Casey, Beatrice Kate and I will join nearly 5,000 others at the 2011 Triangle March for Babies. We are honored and humbled at the response and support that we've received from our friends and family; even from complete strangers.

Tomorrow we will walk so that someday, no other family has to have their baby's first picture include wires, monitor tape and a bubble CPAP machine:

Tomorrow we will walk so that someday, babies are measured in pounds instead of "sub-kilos" and a doubled birth weight is way more than only 4 pounds:
Tomorrow we will walk so that someday, mothers are mothers, with full rights and privileges, from Minute One and holding your new baby happens minutes after birth, not 24 hours later:

Tomorrow we will walk so that someday, new parents won't have to learn medical terms like bilirubin, surfactant, apnea, NEC, TPN, PICC, CPAP, ROP, EBM, NPO, or desats:

Tomorrow we will walk so that someday, a first family photo doesn't have to happen within the walls of a NICU:

Tomorrow, we will walk so that someday, every family's journey includes a happy ending:

March of Dimes funded the research that played a major part in keeping Beatrice Kate alive during her first few days. They were our lifeline for information about prematurity, survival rates and information about what we could expect during our NICU stay. They were our shoulder to lean on and someone to comfort us when we just needed to cry. They became the friendly face who reminded us, "Hang in there, it gets better."

And it did. It got soooooo much better.

"Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you; before you were born, I set you apart" Jeremiah 1:5
We cannot possibly repay March of Dimes back for everything they've given us, but tomorrow, we will walk. And, in that moment, I will know that we are repaying March of Dimes only a very small portion of the debt we owe for saving our daughter's life.

If you know a preemie, or any baby at all, I ask you to consider supporting March of Dimes. Your support enables them to keep up their efforts to someday find the causes of prematurity and eliminate them. 


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What I'm Loving Wednesday ..

It's mid-week! Can you believe that we're on the backside of April already?!? I swear, this year has really flown by. Anyway, here are a few of my favorites this week:

I'm loving that our CSA share is in full-swing and this week, we were able to purchase the Motherload of strawberry "seconds". Think I'm kidding? Take a look:
That's 25 pounds (yep, 25) of sweet, seedy goodness! I don't know why we thought we could tackle 25 pounds of berries; but I'm hoping that our playgroup Mamas are able to take a few (pounds) home with them today! If you're local and want some free (organic) strawberries for preserves or smoothies, let me know!

I'm loving these natural dust wipes from Method. They're compostable and non-toxic, which is great when you have a toddler who searches and destroys anything she shouldn't touch:
I'm loving that I was able to ride my bike to Whole Foods this week to grocery shop! It was so great to be able to cycle right out of the cluster.... that is the Whole Foods parking lot! I'm not loving, however, this giant bruise that showed up on my calf when one of pedals clanged into it as I was dismounting (graceful, I know):

I'm loving that this week, I was able to sign not one, but two! new birth doula clients. Even better, they're my first "paying" clients!!! I'm pretty sure my husband loves this more than I do though.

I'm loving that in T-3 days, Beatrice Kate will be taking a weekend trip to Camp Grandma, leaving Husby and I to enjoy a few days of childless freedom. We have big plans for our hours alone- gardening, yard maintenance, a big date to see a musical at DPAC and (the thing I'm looking forward to the most) massages from one of my favorite people in the world, Cheryl.

I'm loving my Pinterest finds this week:

Source: via Ashley on Pinterest

I'm thinking of printing this last one out and framing it for our bedroom. Bow-Chicka-Wow-Wow...

And finally, as always, I'm loving my sweet, sweet little baby girl. Who this week, has started making "silly faces" whenever the camera is out... It's charming, right?:
At least she's wearing clothes this time...
That's it for me! What's on your list this week?!?


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The proper way to apply Lip Balm ...

My child, God love her, has a wee obsession with Chapstick. So, being a good and thoughtful parent I the Easter Bunny put a fresh tube in her basket this year:
Normally, a fresh tube of Chapstick lasts all of 45 seconds in this house before it's lost in the couch, a coat pocket, my Mommy Bag or into a dust cloud of dog hair. But this tube... Will. Not. Die. And Bea? She's used this extra Chapstick time to her advantage; perfecting her Application Techniques...

Step One: Remove Cap:
Clothing Optional...
Step Two: Apply to your own lips:
The face of a professional
Step Three: Blot (you know, just to ensure even coverage):
Step Four: Apply some to your napping father's lips, too:
Payback, sucka'
Daddy deserves it for taking a nap and leaving Mommy alone...
Step Five: Apply a little more on his cheeks (Windburn can really sting, you know, so protection is crucial):
Yep, this is getting good.

Just keep slathering it on, kiddo.
 Step Six: Go on, put a little extra on his forehead, just for good measure:
Better angle for maximum coverage

Step Seven: Step back and admire your work:
Stinky face is not optional
Finally, Step Eight: Just to cover up your tracks, apply a little more to your own lips:
He'll never know..
And be sure to repeat Step Three:


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Pinteresting Meals ...

Lately our family dinners have been stuck in a rut. We seem to be spinning through the same five or six recipes each week: stir fry, pizza, meat and grilled veggies, some kind of pasta dish, and fajitas. Seriously, that's what we've lived off of for a while; unless we go out.

Recently, I made a commitment to bringing sexy "Delicious" back to our dinner table! So, each week I've been using Pinterest to help meal plan for the upcoming nights. I thought I would share some of my favorite recent finds and I hope you'll share some of yours.

If you have a blog, I'd love to read some of your favorite recipes. So add a comment below with a link to your own Pinteresting Meals post. If you don't have a blog, feel free to just leave a link to a favorite recipe! Basically, I'm trying to make it as easy as possible for myself to poach new menu ideas :)

Anyway, here are my favs as of now:

First up, Scallion Beef Skewers (except I used rice instead of barley because Whole Foods was too crowded to go on a search for a new grain and I added the bok choy to the rice- and yes, I had to Google how to chop bok choy. Don't make fun, new experiences is what this whole deal is about!)

 *We made this one tonight and it was SO good:
Source: via Ashley on Pinterest

Even Tiny loved it. But I think she loved eating meat off a stick even more... She may be a barbarian or a viking or maybe just a State Fair fanatic:

This next recipe is a great Vegetarian recipe called Chana Masala. I think it worked out to around less than $2 a serving (that's not including the Marsala wine that I bought instead of garam masala, the spice... because I'm a culinary idiot):

Cajun Chicken Pasta (On the Lighter Side) was "restaurant quality" good and it's been added to our regular rotation. Casey and I were fighting over the leftovers the next day for lunch:

Grapefruit and Quinoa Salad is a great summer/warm weather dinner because you don't have to heat your kitchen (assuming your kitchen is a tiny shoe box like mine):

A healthier version of a diner classic... Turkey Burger and sweet potato chips. One sweet potato makes enough "chips" for two people (or one and a hungry, greedy little girl):

Walnut Pesto Salmon was pretty good; but honestly I liked it more with the "pesto" made from cashews and a little Parmesan cheese (recipe here):

So, there you have it! What delicious meals are you cookin' up these days?


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Conversation with my Two Year Old ...

Bea's vocabulary is really impressive. Her ability to hear a word once and repeat it, often using it in the correct context is kind of amazing, actually. It's like living with a Little Rain Main sometimes. But don't let that confuse you into thinking that she uses these language skills to discuss topics of World Peace, the 2012 Elections, or other serious issues. She is, after all, a two year old- whose days are spent in a disproportionate amount of time drinking milk, eating stuff off the floor and picking her nose. Her vocab is mostly used to communicate what her little two year old brain is thinking atthatverysecond and she wants nothing more than to tell you about it all. the. time.

So, I'd like to present an actual recent conversation to demonstrate just how random life with a two year old can be:

Setting: The Dinner Table on Easter Sunday about 5 p.m., while enjoying our lunch of ham, sweet potatoes in orange cups and brussel sprouts roasted with bacon...

Bea: Mommy, I like beef
Mommy: It's ham, Bea. You're eating ham.
Bea: Beef is so yummy. It's 'licious. (delicious)
Mommy: Ok, the beef is yummy.
Bea: Do you like beef?
Mommy: Yes, sweet girl, I do.
Bea: Does Daddy like beef?
Mommy: Yes, I think he does.
Bea: Mmm. Mmm. So Tasty. I love... bacon
Mommy: Me too, BeaBea.
Bea: Bacon is tasty.
Mommy: Bea, do you want to eat some brussel sprouts too?
Bea: No. Nope. No thank you.
Mommy: Please, can you try?
Bea: Ok. (eats sprout...) It's 'licious too! I can eat it 'gin!
Mommy: Oh good!

Several seconds of silence later....

Bea: Arnold has a butt crack?
Mommy: No, Arnold has a tail.
Bea: It's fluffy. Does Daddy have a butt crack?
Mommy: Yes, I believe he does.
Bea: BeaBea has a butt crack too?
Mommy: Yes, you do. That's enough butt talk at the table for now.
Bea: BeaBea have an elbow. Do Mommy have an elbow?
Mommy: Yes, I do!
Bea: BeaBea have two elbows.
Mommy: Yep! We all have two elbows.
Bea: Mmmm... I like feet potatoes. So Yummy.

I look up to see this:
Apparently, the child who can speak in complete sentences needs to eat like a neanderthal... You win some, you lose some I guess.
I'll consider this a loss ...


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Busy Bea's Busy Easter ...

What Collins Family Holiday is complete with a crazy hectic schedule? This Easter delivered on the busy, that's for sure! Bear with me on this post- it's a bit picture overloaded!

It started out with a visit from Bea's favorite, Aunt CoCo, who we took to a new park swinging, all day, everyday:
Swing Addict.
Later that night, Casey and I capitalized on free babysitting and took ourselves out on a date to see The Hunger Games in IMAX. I was really anxious to see it, and didn't want to be in the front row of the theater, so I made Casey get us there extra early. This is a photo of the scene when we arrived:
Jokes on Me. Funny Guys.

Turns out, Good Friday isn't a huge movie going day. Saturday, we had a birthday party to go to and a lot of Easter traditions to get started. Of course, there were eggs to dye:
She only broke a half dozen before we dyed them!

Which we used "natural" methods for dying:
Hippies at Heart.
I'll do a post all about that because the results were so beautiful and worth the wait. Then we made an assortment of baked goods, including Hot Cross Buns and biscuits. Bea "helped":
A little flour for the dough, a little flour for my shirt...
 And by "helped" I mean, she helped spread flour clear across the house:

But it doesn't matter, because her biscuits were delicious and oh-so-sweet. I die of cuteness overload when I see her tiny fingerprints on baked goods:

On Easter Sunday, we planned to get up at 4:30 and make a timely appearance to our church's annual sunrise service at Oakwood Cemetary. (Side Note: Read the story about the Moravian Easter Tradition from the AP here) When we woke up late at 5:45, timely turned into "Holy Crap. Everyone get dressed we're late"... but somehow we made it on time and my little Snugga' was warm and comfy:
She had no choice but to be warm. I'm her mother...

Casey made it on time to play in the band:

And Bea was the picture of perfect behavior throughout the service (despite waking up 5 hours earlier than normal), listening attentively to the music:

And even attempting to join in on the liturgy:

Only at the end of the service did she ask to get out of the stroller and really, who was I to deny her the chance to show off her warmest Easter finest:

I have to show you the next photo because 70% of my photos came out this way, once Bea was on the move (after the service):
Where's Waldo?

The rest look like this:

Trying to capture a rowdy two-year-old on film is tricky. It's like photographing the Lochness Monster (which she sort of looked like in that "Easter Bonnet":
Don't judge the Bonnet. It was cold. Well, cold for a two year old.
After the sunrise service, we went back to the church for a quick breakfast. Bea, naturally, had bacon, with a side of bacon:
Who needs food groups, when you can have bacon?
When I tried to take yet another photo of her, this is the best I got:
Stop taking my picture. I mean it.
 Also, let's take a moment to comment her hair clip. It's called a "No Slippy Hair Clippy" and it's another awesome gift from Aunt Sue the Great:
Holds back the finest of baby hair.
We tried to go outside and get even more Easter photos, but didn't notice that Bea had a secret handful of breakfast until it was too late:
Bacon, round 5.

Really, you would think I would learn my lesson about Toddler Photography, buy darn it, I was determined:

Eventually, Bea had enough:
I got stuff to do you guys.

And was off:
Sheer Crazy.

I mean really, she Took. Off. Running:

Look that those crazy faces she was making:
Good Heavens. What am I supposed to do with this wild child?

She hadn't even had candy yet!!

We were finally able to corral her in the "Prayer Garden" by suggesting she stop to smell the flowers:
Oh, so pretty. Don't mind if I do...

"Smelling" turned into "Trying to pick" so we had to put a stop to that as well:
Oh. Hi Mom. Just smelling, that's all. Really.

And then it was Run Time again:
Proper Run Stance a must.

Man, she's fast:

Well, if "fast" means "clumsy and a little like a drunk person":
Did someone say "Bacon"?:

No, ok, then she's off again:
Is it nap time yet?

Finally, I wanted just one. last. attempt. at a pretty Easter picture, perhaps next to our church sign:

Ok, one smile. But it's not going to be a good one, Ok?
Rats, I guess I'll try again next year:
I'm outta here.
The only moment of stillness came when Bea asked to "go potty" inside and was momentarily stunned into silence by the amazing harpsichord abilities of our Music director, Dr. Simon:
It's like angel's playing ...

Once we made it home, we had to check out what the "Eessa Bunny" brought Bea. He didn't disappoint:
Bea is so funny about getting gifts that she thinks are hers. She always approached cautiously, and says, "Ooo, what's this?!?":
Well, what do we have here ...
Yes, Bea, it's all for you. Even a new tube of chapstick:
She calls it "Make-Up"

 And Jelly Beans (which we found out, my Nana has been sneaking her for a while now):

And even an Easter Classic, Peeps:

Which she agreed to share with Daddy:
Here. Don't say I've never given you anything.

And if you're going to eat candy, you have to wear silly bunny ears. It's practically a law in this house:

Oh, goodness. What am I going to do with this crazy girl??? I hope your Easters were fun and bright and that you got to enjoy the beautiful weather we had on Sunday!