Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Paying it Forward

Monday was a rainy day. Not a wonderful thing when you have an active toddler. I wanted to be creative in trying to keep him busy and happy. Let's face it, being stuck inside with a 3 1/2 year old who is on week 4 of aspiring to be the Tasmanian devil is not a walk in the park. (If you think I am being unkind in my description of my child feel free to borrow him, please)

First we made more freeze pops from the blueberries we picked last week. Chase really likes doing things like this in the kitchen with me. We had made strawberry ones a few weeks back which were a big hit so I thought we would try blueberry.

That took all about 10 minutes. Now what were we going to do?!

I had already planned on him watching a movie after lunch for quiet time (otherwise known as mommy sanity time and work time). So I had to be creative. I came up with doing something that would make me happy, him happy, and even the community happy.

I told Chase we were gong through our cupboards and the things we weren't eating or have not been touched we were cleaning out. We would not throw them away though, we would collect them in one bag and donate them to the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf.

Chase may be young but I still like to try to teach him to be thankful and not take things for granted. I figure I better start now right?! He is a toddler and tends to be wasteful, especially when it comes to food. Lately we have been discussing (or I should say I have been preaching) that not everyone has the things we have. That we should be thankful that we have food because some people don't. I took this opportunity to go a step forward with involving Chase in paying it forward.

He was more than happy to help mommy. He gets into things like this (clearly my son)! I went through the cupboards and he put into the bag things that we could donate.

This morning we went to drop off the food. Chase was excited. He insisted on carrying the bag saying that the "people will be happy" because we gave them food.

Off to donate some food!

A rainy day activity turned out to be an act of goodness. Something which Chase may not understand now, but hopefully will remember some day. I want to be able to start doing this with him. I want him to know that we are fortunate and blessed. I want him to know we can't save the entire world and everyone in it, but we can try and do our part. Even the smallest of things can make another person happy.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Food for Fuel

In an effort to be sure I am fueling my body with good and nutritious food, I make myself smoothies. I try to have a smoothie almost every day (I tend to falter on the weekends with a different schedule).

I like knowing that in one drink I just put a couple different fruits and veggies in my body. It seems so effortless. I actually enjoy the whole process of getting it all together too.

I always start with Almond Milk! Then spinach & kale are also an essential part. From there I add different fruit combinations: Banana, Avocado, Strawberries,  Blueberries, Pineapple, Grapes and Black berries. Oh! Yes, Raspberries too! Not all together of coarse but some variation of one or a couple of these.

Peanut Butter!! Yes, add that to a smoothie with banana and avocado and you have one yummy protein smoothie!

Let's not forget Coconut oil. That also is a great add. And Greek Yogurt too!

There is one more thing that is a must I haven't mentioned, for me at least: Protein powder! Find your favorite, whatever it may be. I have been using Garden of Life Raw Protein for a few years. I originally started using Raw Protein to add extra protein in my diet and this one is packed with so many things that are good for your body that I make sure it is a part of my diet. Every! Single! Day! If I don't put it in a smoothie I put it in some almond milk and drink it post run.

I am not fortunate to have an awesome juicer (I really want one and have been looking at them and contemplating it for months now) but I do think there are still some great benefits of smoothie's. I don't have a fancy blender, I own a Cuisinart Blender/Food Processor which I have had for years. (I will tell you a secret though that I have been fantasizing about the Nutri Ninja Pro). What I use though is simple and it does what I need : Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender. I received this last Christmas at a family party gift swap. This baby has gotten it's use and I am impressed with it!

If you are short on time or going away for a couple days you can make your smoothies ahead of time in a blender so you can pour and go. I did this when we went to Maine for a couple of days. I have a friend who makes her smoothies in a big batch for the week.

See, look at that yumminess!!

I try my best to eat a balanced diet. Yet believe in "cheating" a bit. OK, Let me rephrase that, I believe in indulging! It is important to eat well and set healthy examples for our children. Smoothies are another way to be sure I am putting some good stuff in me. Especially on the days where I need a cupcake!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Never a dull moment

It amazes me some days what comes out of Chase's mouth. 3 1/2 and some days he baffles me. There are days I laugh at his smart mouth, and others I have to remember to breathe. He thinks he is funny all the time. He loves to copy. Some days I have no idea how he comes up with half the things he says while other days I am reminded I better watch what I say.

I decided over a few days to pay notice to a few funny things and jot them down.

The mind of a three year old:

* "Let's do it"! : He was excited when he said this

* I wanna wipe my boogers on you" : This was while he was sobbing and we had asked him NOT to keep wiping his boogers on us.

* "I'm gonna put you in a cage" : No idea where this came from. He was trying to pretend he was one of us scolding him. I swear, never have I threatened to put him in a cage...may have thought about it...never have...hmm...

* "Mommy, my belly is getting hungry" : Of coarse requesting food as he always does. I swear this boy is constantly eating!

* "I don't want anymore problems out of you again daddy!" : This one had me laughing! We were eating dinner when he blurted this out. Jason was in the middle of reprimanding him for something.

* "Phew, that's a close one" : We were on our way out the door and I had forgot my keys.

* "You wanna smell my naked feet" : This was while putting him to bed the other night and he puts his big feet in my face.

* "Do you wanna see it mommy?" To which I reply no and then he says "Yes you do" while laughing hysterically and pulling down his pants. You can figure out the rest I am sure.

There surely is never a dull moment around here with Chase!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Bye Bye Hydronephrosis!

It was a Friday afternoon late in the day. I was 21 weeks pregnant to the day and we were having our ultrasound to make sure our baby was healthy. We had decided this time around not to find out the sex. I was anxious to see my baby. I had started to feel movement around 16 weeks this time around and I wanted to put my eyes on this babe who I had already fallen so in love with.

The ultrasound immediately started out with a somber feeling. The doctor picked up on the kidneys looking abnormally enlarged to her. She said we would do the complete scan then go back to it. Everything else looked great. Baby was growing well. Heart and other major organs looked normal. Yet we still came back to the kidneys. The appointment ended with me standing in the room sobbing because we were getting referred to University Of Vermont Medical Center for a second opinion.

No, this couldn't be happening. What is wrong with my baby?! The worst is the waiting game. Here it was Friday around 5PM which meant we had to wait until Monday to hear from the hospital regarding when we could get in with them. Little did I realize that this would all result in requiring a lot of patience. I kept replaying in my mind the entire appointment and the words from the doctor; they were like tiny daggers into my heart.

It was a long weekend. I cried. A LOT! In reality it didn't matter what exactly was wrong. This was my baby. I was going to love this creature and take care of it no matter what! God had blessed me with this child and all I wanted was to be able to know everything was going to be alright. I would do whatever I needed to for this baby! As any parent, I wanted answers.

That following Monday they called and got us right in that afternoon. It was confirmed that my baby had enlarged kidneys. The left kidney was more enlarged than the right. But why? What was wrong with my baby? Still, no answers. They said it could be a few different things and we would have to monitor. The next ultrasound would be 7 weeks later. A very long 7 weeks.

28 weeks pregnant and  back we went. This time US (ultrasound) showed us that the right kidney looked good but the left kidney had more fluid.

Diagnosis: Congenital Hydronephrosis. Hydronephrosis is water inside the kidneys. The cause: UPJ obstruction. WTF is a UPJ?! Pretty  much what I was thinking as we were sat down in a small room after the US. My head was spinning.

UPJ: Ureteropelvic Junction Obstruction. What happens is the ureter where the pelvis and kidney meet gets obstructed. The kidneys job is to filter blood and remove waste sending it down the ureter. My baby's ureter was too narrow, causing fluid to go in yet taking longer to come out backing up in the left kidney. The cause, that is unknown.

Here are a few things that I have learned:

* Kidney abnormalities with babies are very common on ultrasound ( I was reminded of this often and all the doctors were positive!)
* 1 in 1,500 children are born with a UPJ
* UPJ is NOT life threatening!
* By 18 Months many cases will resolve spontaneously
* Vermont is fortunate to have a children's kidney specialist, Dr Ann Guillot, whom has been with University Of Vermont Medical Center for over 35 years

I had to have an Ultra Sound a number of times throughout the pregnancy. There was a chance it would resolve on it's own before the baby made it's arrival. How I prayed for this to be the case for our child.

After our baby was born, Wesley as we now know him, had to have an US before leaving the hospital. How the condition is handled is different with boys & girls. The US was completed and we were told that it had resolved. This was probably one of the most happy moments (next to him being born of coarse) that I had ever had. They said they would just US him again at 1 month just to "be sure".      

We went back at 1 month, to the day, and we were told that it had not resolved. The left kidney did still have more fluid. I can't even put into words how I felt with that news. Here we go again back on the roller coaster ride of more questions, not knowing, and having to wait. 

We repeated the ultra sound at 3 months. Then again Tuesday morning.

Tuesday morning I was given the great news that the fluid had "decreased greatly" and Dr Guillot believed that we did not have to take any action (surgery). We will recheck at 2 years (14 months from now) and hopefully at that time it will be resolved.


I realize that I am beyond fortunate to have a healthy child. That there are families that battle things much bigger than this. This is my child though and I as a mother could not help but to worry. I spent many sleepless nights before Wesley arrived, and even after, wondering what this would all mean for him. I will never be able to put into words all the things that I felt. I knew it was not life threatening, for that I was/am blessed.  Mama bear's instinct is to protect her child. To keep the child safe. I think what it comes down to is that no one wants to see their child in pain. No parent wants to put their child through tests and surgeries. No parent wants to sit back and feel helpless. We want to protect our children. We want them healthy. I am beyond thankful that Wesley is a healthy boy. I will never take that for granted. I know that each day is a gift, just as he is.

I just love this face!

“Those blessings are sweetest that are won with prayer and worn with thanks.”~Thomas Goodwin

January 6TH, 2016

Yesterday we had our follow up and FINAL ultrasound on Wesley's Kidney's. We are elated to report that his condition is considered resolved! Dr Guillot states that his left kidney has a "slight" dilation compared to the right yet she suspects that it will always be there and is insignificant. Both of Wesley's kidneys are healthy and functioning as they should. It is such a relief to finally finish this chapter in our lives. We are truly grateful and blessed!

Final Visit at The Children's Specialty Center!!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

"Oops! ...I Did It Again"

I did it. I signed up for my second Half Marathon. The 44th Annual GMAA Green Mountain Marathon and Half Marathon. This one will take place on Sunday October 12th in South Hero, VT. I had planned to do one more Half before the winter but was weighing in on what one I wanted to do. I chose this one because how beautiful South Hero is. I think with the time of year, the scenery, and more training that this race will be a good one.

Now the anxiousness begins. Sure, I completed my first Half Marathon back in May. This should be cake right?! It's funny, I still got the butterflies and nervous feelings when I signed up. It's a good nervous, excitement fills you. A thousand butterfly's dancing in your body. Like a first kiss or waiting for the arrival of a baby. The anticipation goes throughout your body. Though I know I can do it, it still feels like the first time all over again. I think that's a humbling feeling to have and to hold on to.

Rounding the last corner before the finish line

I have been running consistently. I get my 4 days in and there have even been a couple weeks where I managed to sneak in a 5th day. My "long" runs had withered down a bit since I was no longer in training mode, simply in therapy mode. In anticipation that I would be doing another Half in the fall I have tried to kick it back up the past couple of Sundays. 11 last Sunday, 10 this Sunday.

Almost there!
I have been happy with my times. I have tried to push myself a bit more and my pace is consistent. I am one of those runners that logs each run. I log the date, my time, and how many miles. Every, single, time! I have even had times where my GPS wasn't working for whatever reason then went to track mileage with my car. Yeah, I am "that" runner.

Question now is will I try to beat my last time? I would like to think I will just go with it. I am not a competitive person. But what I am is determined. I like the challenge. It's not me running against anyone else. It is my race against myself. No matter what, I win every time.

If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”― Martin Luther King Jr.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Clickin Mama

If you walk into my house you will see pictures on my walls. Pictures strategically placed on walls in every room (except the bathroom, probably only because it is too small in there and the moisture would ruin them).  The majority of these photo's are of my children. A few of Jay and I, I have another of me and my brother when we were little. A picture of mom, Chase and I a few years back at the Making Strides Breast Cancer Walk. A shot of Jenna & I from her wedding. I have this key holder that has three pictures in it as well. That holds a few photo's from Italy, pictures with Jenna's dad who is no longer here (and dearly missed). In my bedroom I have a framed photo of my grandfather from when he was young. I also have a picture of my friend Deirdre & I from long ago. And one of my favorites, a picture of me and Chase from his newborn photo's.

Chase & Mama- 11 Days New
I love pictures. I always have. I love taking them. I have my camera with me most of the time. I don't ever want to chance missing a moment that I could freeze in time.

That is what the wonder is about photo's. They are frozen memories. Treasures that we can hold on to after the moment has passed.

Papa Bissonnette

They are memories. Snippets from our lives that are captured. Sometimes stolen.

Jenna & Her Father~Taken 9/28/00 in Italy
They are reminders of the people in our lives. They can take you back to a special time, a place, a feeling.

Pictures are silent stories.

There are days that I take numbers of pictures. I love sharing my pictures. Showing people the beauty that surrounds me. Pictures filled with smiles, laughter, play and sometimes furry creatures.

I also am sure to have someone else catch moments, memories seen through someone eyes besides my own. Behind a different lens, those pictures have also become some of my most valuable treasures. I have my children photographed by my dear friend Jenn (from WILD cLOVEr Photography). I swear, this girl could take a picture of the ugliest bug and make it beautiful. She is a true artist and my walls are decorated with her talent.

I am sure my children will get annoyed with me chasing after them to get their picture. It is already a challenge to get Chase to smile for a picture, let alone sit still for one! Yet what I will have to offer them someday will be endless amounts of memories.

Chase feeding Wes black berries
Taken with love and pride.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

I Want You To Know: To My Boys

To My Boys:

I want you to know that I wanted you both more than I could ever put into words. I dreamed of you, wished for you, and loved you long before I ever heard the amazing sound of your heartbeats.

I want you to know that it is okay to make mistakes. Sometimes you have to fall down, get back up and "shake it off" in order to move on and understand certain things.

I want you to know it is okay to love whomever you want. Love is a beautiful and amazing thing. Your heart will get broken. Once, maybe twice, maybe more. Yet never deny yourself the chance to feel those butterflies. Someday you will give your heart away and it will be one of the most beautiful things.

I want you to know you can be whatever you want. I don't care if you want to fly an airplane, be a doctor, or work at the dump. Just do what makes you happy! Don't ever stay in a job that makes you unhappy, life is too short. Explore. Take Chances. Do what you love.

I want you to know that it is okay to cry. Yes, cry! Tears are not a sign of weakness, it shows that you are strong enough to allow yourself to feel. Sometimes it feels better after you have a good cry. So go ahead, I will be here to hold you when you do.

I want you to know that family is important. No matter what happens, don't forget that family is blood. Love one another, forgive one another, and lean on one another. You never know when you may need your family. When you have a family of your own one day, put them first. Work will be there later. Life is about making memories, you have to make time for that.

I want you to know that forgiveness is not always easy, but it is always healing. Be the bigger person. Open your heart. Give second chances. Take them yourself. Forgiving isn't just about others, learn to forgive your own mistakes as well.

Strawberry Picking Take #3!!
One More Thing:

I want you to know that there is never such a thing as picking too many strawberries (We went for our third time today)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Meet my Pet...Peeve!!

Let me tell you about something that really irritates the shit out of me! Really, it may seem like nothing to you but it sure does get to me. Here it is:

I HATE when people don't say hello after you have said hello to them!

Is that ridiculous? I don't think so.

I am a runner. So I often pass several people on my runs. Whether they are also running, walking, or biking, I am always sure to say hello. Especially if eye contact is made. It amazes me how many people won't say hello back. I just don't get it.

Running for me is my therapy. I go into my own place and the world becomes mine. Yet that does not  mean I become an instant asshole. It takes a second to say hello. I don't care if I just passed the sketchy dude riding his bike while smoking a cigarette. (And I have passed him several times over the years)  I still say hello!

One second. One moment. Maybe that moment will make that persons day. We don't know what is hidden behind the walls of each person. Someone could be having the worst day and a hello could help make them feel alive, loved, and valued. A smile or hello can remind someone that they are not alone. Maybe you are the first person who acknowledges that person that day. That is something amazing.

Sure, this comes from the girl who will talk to anyone. But I just know how it makes me feel when I am out and someone says hello or smiles at me.

I leave you with one of my favorite quotes :

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a
listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all
of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
Leo Buscaglia