Monday, August 29, 2011

On Their Level

There are many absolutely adorable pictures of children’s rooms online where there is gorgeous child artwork on the walls.  Often times it is on the top half of the wall so we adult have the best view, but I’d like to show another way of doing a child room.  We read an article in one of my education classes that really opened my eyes to the idea of building a world for our children where they are meant to be members and participate.  One of the ways it is highly encouraged we do that is to put photos and artwork on their eye level, particularly in their own room.

We started this with Little Bird when she was 6 months old.  We hung images and mirrors where she could pull up to see them.  Now that she is off and conquering the world, here is what our home looks like.

Little Bird has images she picked out of a magazine of a dog and a cat that are framed by her table.  She often will point at them and tell me what she knows.  “That’s a cat.  Meow!” or “That’s a dog!  Good boy!”  She also has a blue magnetic tray attached to the other wall so she can play with letters.  It works motor skills and also familiarizes her with shapes.  Eventually, we will only provide her with a few letters  and help her spell simple words.


By her bed is a mirror and an actual original artwork purchased for her by our friend’s the Jechs.  She will tell me that it is a tree and often will say “Look! It’s pretty! Wow!” when she sees it as she wakes up or goes to bed.IMG_2952

Her “dresser” is a toy organizer.  On top are framed pictures of family whom she is learning to name.  She also has a touch lamp that she can use when she gets scared at night.  IMG_2953

In the hallway are a few framed pictures, like this one of a bee on a flower.

IMG_2955In our living room there are a few family pictures at eye level for her.IMG_2957

And now that she has a stool and knows how to use it, she is brushing her own teeth and even dragging the stool to climb up and look at family pictures that are hung so Doc and I can see.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Fairy Tales for the Modern Little Woman

I grew up with Cinderella and Snow White, the Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast.  Pre-teens/teens/way too many moms now have Twilight as a Fairy Tale.  You hear more and more mothers wanting their daughters to have nothing to do with such unbelievable and misleading ideas in stories.

But I think there is something invaluable in a story with a happy ending.  We need those stories of hope and triumph as children to help us persevere through times when hope seems lost as adults.

So what’s the real problem most feminists/modern women have with fairy tales?  For me, it’s the fact that the princess is beautiful and it is her beauty alone that the prince falls in love with – the prince solves all her problems – and she is often completely helpless.

However, there are plenty of fairy tales that are traditional stories that have merit.  Stories where intelligence and cleverness play a role as well.  Here are a few of my favorite.

East of the Sun and West of the Moon

This story is one in which the heroine ruins her chance of a happily ever after, or so she thinks.  She then has to embark on a long journey to right the mistake she made in order to secure her chance with her prince.  She wins not based solely on her beauty, but because she shows dedication, loyalty, and humility.

The Twelve Dancing Princesses

This fairy tale is more of a tale for a prince.  He uses cunning and an invisibility cloak to solve a riddle, landing him a kingdom and a princess and raising himself from the rank of wounded soldier to king.

The Six Swans

This is a story where the prince falls in love with a girl for her beauty – but the real story is the one of the girl who is struggling desperately to save her family and remains dedicated until her task is complete.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Second Wedding Vows

True, we were married for the second time a few months ago, but we wrote our vows on a friend’s PC and it took us a while to manage to retrieve them.  However, I did think I’d post them – just for fun.

Our friend Ashley:

Friends of the Panama City Beach Vacation 2011, welcome to Matt and Elle’s 2nd wedding.

They have decided to renew their wedding vows as a symbol of their constantly changing relationship and of the victory their love has had over the challenges they have faced.

I remind you that marriage is a precious gift; a lifelong dedication to love and a daily challenge to love one another more fully and more freely.

Matt and Elle will now read the vows they have written to one another.


I, Matt/Elle, still take you Elle/Matt to be my awesome loving wife/husband.

I promise to work with you to build a family filled with love and joy in which we are equal partners in all we do.

I promise to honor your goals and dreams in the same way I strive to reach my own.

I promise to love and cherish you, in sickness, health, and pregnancy/residency.

For richer or for now

For joys and sorrows

Keeping myself only unto you all the days of my life.

Our friend Ashely:

A few final words,

Let your love be stronger than your anger.

Learn the wisdom of compromise, for it is better to bend than to break.

Look for the best in each other rather than the worst.

Confide in your partner and ask for help when you need it.

Accept help from one another.

Remember that true friendship is the basis for any lasting relationship.

Matt and Elle, having renewed your vows here before witnesses on this beach and recommitting to one another, by the power vested in me by an online source, I now pronounce you husband and wife.

You may kiss your wife.


Thinking back on these vows – the things we wrote were promises we’d made to each other that we believed made us a strong couple and would see us through any tribulation.  These very promises have helped us maintain closeness and openness throughout our current trial. 

It’s funny how at the time we thought medical school and residency would be our biggest trials.  It’s funny how residency and Doc being gone so much seems so little of a hiccup now.  We have no choice but to be strong for one another, even if we can only do it for the hour a day we occasionally get.

I’m looking forward to our third wedding, where Little Bird and my dear Little Tree can be there to celebrate with us.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Modern Furniture Oasis

Ok – we went to North Tulsa today.

I found some incredible reviews for a little furniture store called H3 Furniture Inc. uptown that was rumored to have more modern furniture than you can find elsewhere in town.  Don’t let the area it’s in or the fact that they don’t run the AC or heater that often fool you!  As soon as we pulled up I could see beautiful modern living room sets and knew we’d found something amazing!

Within a few minutes of looking, we found exactly what we had been searching for in a dining room table!  I was convinced what we wanted didn’t exist, but here it was, and for a fair price too!  All of the items at this store are prices at what you would expect to fairly pay for a quality piece.  This table is dark brown wood with clean lines, but the cushions are black.  Brown and black – just like our groomsmen wore at our wedding!  It will be perfect in the family dining room we want to reflect the day we started this new little clan.  Not to mention, it is 4 chairs and a bench!  Benches are amazing when you need flexible seating numbers and are pretty easy for Little Bird to climb up onto with less risk of tipping it over.

If you get a chance to go in and see this place, it’s worth the trip, even if you are just window shopping!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

August 16th

Happy Birthday to Doc!  I’m so sorry he had to work a long shift and our date night didn’t happen like we’d hoped.  We will make up for it on a fake August 16th.

Boo to my car being smashed on the passenger side.

Screw you to the rude person I talked to on the phone who was extremely insensitive.

Ugh! To the motorcycle accident that put my dad in the E.R. (he’ll be okay, he’s just banged up).

Hurray to the fact that I have wonderful people at work who can help me quickly locate a way to take care of my child when I have to attend meetings the next day.


I’m so happy my husband was born 27 years ago.

Today however…

Today kinda sucked.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Have a Pinterest?

For those of you that have already joined the amazing world of, you know how helpful this can be for those of us who like to have a visual inspiration for projects. 

Many of us are decorating homes, looking for DIY projects, trying to figure out how to make your family portrait NOT look like the same ole’ same ole’ – well here is a wonderful resource!

You can “pin” photos you are “interested” in (get it) to different boards to have a visual display of things you love in that category!

For example, I’ve been trying to find maternity photo inspirations to show my amazing photographer from B. Photography.  I can search tons of pictures and put together a board of inspirational photos so that we can plan the shoot.

You can see My Inspiring Maternity Photos.

All you have to do is request an invite and soon you can be putting together your own incredible visual idea board for anything you can imagine!

Happy Pinning!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Back to School

The air is getting cooler! It was 86 yesterday. The smell of freshly sharpened pencils is in the air, number lines and bulletin boards are hanging, and Little Bird has a new lunch pail, backpack, and a few little outfits for her first foray into preschool.

I think it’s actually really neat that she will be going to the same preschool my brothers and I attended when we were little.  She will have tons of outdoor and gym playtime as well as structured thematic units and will go to music every Wednesday. 

Little Bird will go to preschool three days a week, which is wonderful as she is showing a higher and higher interest in playing with other children.  She particularly seems to enjoy handing her little cousin blocks to play with and picking them up when he throws them, so I’m willing to bet she ends up being the motherly one in her class…when she isn’t jumping off the cabinets and scaring the hell out of her teachers.

Speaking of scaring the hell out of teachers, my classroom is almost ready for my new crop of 60 bright eyed fifth graders.  I added a few new “tricks” this year.  For example, I’ve eliminated the chance that a student might forget to use a red pen to grade instead of a pencil and accidently change their answers by attaching big flowers to the ends of a class set of grading pens.  If you aren’t grading with a sunflower…I WILL KNOW!

Second, I’ve put a strip of blue duct tape around all of my person supplies like pens, pencils, dry erase markers, and sharpees.  I have no qualms with loaning out my materials to students, but they often forget they borrowed it and then I have nothing left to use at school – so I’m hoping the blue strip reminds them to return it!

Also, a Twitter board went up!  We have interesting articles from Tween Tribune, an online magazine for 9-12 year olds posted in the hall with a folder of post-its mounted next to it.  Students can write their thoughts and post them, almost like comments, onto our board to get them interacting with one another through the bulletin boards in our room. 

Check here for my favorite article!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

New Blog

I wanted to start a new blog specifically geared towards our situation with Rowan’s heart.  This allows me to share our journey in a separate location.

Please visit

Within Each Heart

to see updates.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Pathway to Peace of Mind

Original post date – August 8, 2011

Well, I decided I was done throwing my pity party – though I fully believe I was entitled to it.  I’ve got my war face on and I’m ready to approach this with the strength and courage that is necessary.  I haven’t shed a tear in 3 days and I am starting to enjoy being pregnant again instead of feeling like I’m a time bomb for disaster.

The right frame of mind can make any struggle bearable.

So for those who find themselves in a situation where they don’t know how to handle what has been given to them, here’s what helped me out.

Fake it ‘til you make it – talk to other people about your situation in a positive manner.  Don’t let those “what ifs” seep into conversation.  My baby is going to have some time in the NICU but it’s amazing what doctors can do today and we have an incredible team assembled.  It will be rough, but he’ll be fine!  My son will be trying my patience before I know it!  You say it enough, you realize you truly believe it.

Zen your home – keeping my house clean, throwing out trash, listening to quiet music, keeping the TV off as much as possible, keeping the lights dim – all things that create a copable atmosphere where you are much less likely to be totally overwhelmed by something and journey back to “what if” land.

Make jokes – if you can joke about it, it’s going to be fine.  Doc and I have made many a jokes about Rowan later in life – about how one day he might get married and swear to love someone with all of his donor’s heart for as long as his body doesn’t reject it – or about how we’ll tell him to stop doing everything so “halfheartedly”.  Is it kinda inappropriate?  You bet!  Bet making jokes like that helps you really believe that you may get to a point in your life where those jokes are okay.

Plan for success – focus on what you need when everything goes right, and plan like it will.  Don’t play the “what if” game and let it keep you from doing what you would normally.  I will still have my shower at work that the dear ladies throw.  We will still do maternity pictures, and I will still light up and beam with joy when people ask me how far along I am or tell me how beautiful I look.  AND Doc will still roll his eyes when I get super excited at little boy clothes.  I’m so excited to meet my son.

Appreciate those around you who are amazing right now, forgive those who aren’t – not everyone knows what to do in these situations.  They don’t all understand that you don’t know what you need help with and they just need to take tasks from you and do them, or that they need to check up on you and let them know they care frequently because that support is invaluable.  Be blessed to have friends and family that do leap in and understand that just because some don’t, doesn’t mean they wouldn’t…it just means they don’t know what to do, and when you get better at asking for help, they will be there!

Forgive yourself – you aren’t at your best right now.  Don’t expect yourself to be.  Forgive the laundry you forgot about or the one time you yelled at your child because you were overwhelmed.  You are allowed to have moments of weakness.

We meet with the Pediatric Cardiologist Thursday – we will have a shopping list and game plan ready at the end of that meeting.  I’m excited to be meeting another part of the team and I’m going into this meeting with a peace about our situation and a readiness to prepare.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

PSO and City Water

PSO is suggesting that rolling blackouts may be necessary to combat the high energy usage of everyone trying to keep their homes cool in this heat.  The city is worried that rationing of water might be a reality very soon.


Some of my neighbors are watering their grass twice a day!  Now I understand watering flower beds, especially if you invested in some nice landscaping, but if you have lush green grass right now, think about what you are doing.

The city has asked that people reduce their watering to every other day – totally reasonable.

PSO has asked that we do such things as never set our thermostat below 80.  Well, that isn’t happening because pregnant doesn’t do well with that, but I do raise my thermostat up during the day to 78 and we turn it back down at night when everyone is here.

We water twice a week – just trying to keep the grass alive.

We’re trying to reduce what usage we can right now.

Which is nice, because we are trying to save what we can to make sure we can afford to pay for the care our little one will need when he gets here.  A teacher and an intern make enough to live comfortably for sure, but when you don’t know the extent of what your medical bills will be, it’s pretty darn scary – so anything we can save, we will save.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Well, good news yesterday, bad news today.

My little man likely has Transposition of the Greater Vessels.  This means that it looks like his Pulmonary Artery and Aorta might be hooked up to the wrong sides of the heart.

There are some problems that come along with this, but essentially what we understand this likely means is that his first surgery will be much more complicated, but that surgery will fix the arteries.  This is still fixable, just a little more intense.

I'm clinging to the fixable.  I can withstand all of this is I can still hold out hope that he will be okay in the end.  The only problem is, every little obstacle that shows up makes me feel like that hope is slipping.

Once again, when we meet with the Pediatric Cardiologist on the 11th, we are hoping to have some more answers.  I'm starting to wonder though, if this will require us to visit another city for our delivery and for Rowan's surgeries. 

I had a bit of a breakdown today.  Thank goodness my mother is here to help.  She is taking care of Little Bird while I get my shit together.  Doc told me today that I need to let the people in our lives take care of us for a little while so we can take care of Rowan.  I'm trying to accept help and not let it make me feel like a failure. 

Thank you to my wonderful coworker who decided to decorate my classroom for me and to the ladies who arranged all my furniture in my classroom.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Never Been So Happy To Have A Nurse Call!

Because they call when tests are normal!

I think it was worth all of the horrible discomfort from the Amniocentesis to know that Rowan does NOT have Down Syndrome or any other DNA problems associated with heart deformities that they tested for.

He’s also 100% a boy, as if the giant thing between his legs didn’t make us feel confident enough at the ultrasound.

So, I have ever reason to believe that Hypoplastic Right Heart is what we are dealing with, and the only major obstacle we foresee.

So I’m off to create an Amazon Wish List!  He will only be able to use certain things in the NICU and with his scar/monitors, so we are holding off on buying much until we get a list of what he can use from the cardiologist/NICU staff.

I tell ya what, I have never been so damn excited to get a test result back.  First good news in a while and it feels great!

Monday, August 1, 2011


We have officially made it halfway to meeting Rowan!  20 weeks and some change.  Odds are, we are more than halfway but a little bit as they will most likely schedule his delivery earlier than my due date, but it's still exciting. 

Life is returning to feeling a bit more normal.  I went up to work to check on the situation my classroom is in today, Doc is gone most of the time, and soon I'll be busy enough that time will fly even faster.

I still very much feel the big looming cloud of our appointment with the Pediatric Cardiologist weighing on me, but I'm trying to enjoy the time I have left with Little Bird before school starts.

We have so many things to look forward to before we meet our son - time to start getting ready for fall and halloween and cooler weather