Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Brody Update

Little Brody is hanging in there. He's in a Level III NICU (highest level of care) at a good hospital. Christine was able to hold him last night for the first time, but he didn't take well to the disturbance, so they're going to wait for him to get better before holding him again. His official diagnosis is pneumothorax and pneumomediastinum, which basically means a collapsed lung or air in the chest cavity. I have not heard anyone say collapsed lung, but he does have a small hole in his lung that is leaking air around the lungs and heart. They believe the pneumomediastinum could have occured during birth due to the change in pressure from being in utero (water world) to being in the real world. This is something that should heal itself, but it's a delicate balancing act because of his struggles breathing. They need to give him enough oxygen to keep his levels up, but if they have to start giving him more, it could be too much pressure on his lungs and make the hole larger. If that happens, he will need to be intubated. He needs prayers focused on healing the hole quickly, so he will have an easier time breathing and be able to get rid of the fluid in his lungs. We are praising God that all else seems to be healthy - no fever, infection, and all other functions are good! His nurses say he's feisty, and his doctor thinks he's the man. They rolled him over yesterday (at about 8-10 hours old), and he did three "push ups." Tough guy! Please keep Brody, his big brother James, and parents Steve and Christine in your prayers. And, pray for the doctors and nurses that are taking care of him and all the other sweet, precious babies in the NICU. He is very lucky and is one of the healthier babies there. I will be traveling there tomorrow after a work trip and should be able to spend a lot of Thursday in the NICU with Brody. Only two guests are allowed per day in addition to parents and grandparents, but I will only be allowed in with Steve or Christine. I will also have my birthday present, a Canon Rebel XS with me to try to snap some pictures of my little Brody man. He's covered in wires and breathing apparatus, but he is going to be my first (un)willing photography victim, errr... I mean subject.
More to come on the birthday and new camera later... (it was already purchased before our expedition to Serenbe below... he's psychic!).

Monday, March 30, 2009

Welcome to the world!

I proudly announce the birth of my nephew

Brody Shane

March 30, 2009
7 pounds 3 ounces

Welcomed with love by proud parents Steve & Christine and big brother James.

*I am waiting on more info, so I'll update as it becomes available. Say a prayer for little Brody... he was delivered via C-section and has fluid in the lungs that they've had to insert a tube to drain. This is not at all abnormal for C-section babies, as they don't have the fluid forced out by traveling down the birth canal, but scary for the parents, nonetheless.
UPDATE: Please say a big prayer for Brody. He is having a lot of trouble breathing and his heart rate was fluctuating big time. They are transferring him to another hospital that is better equipped if his condition worsens. Right now they are saying it's precautionary.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Another Giveaway

Head on over to Magnolias Marriage & Manhattan to enter her giveaway of a beautiful magnolia print for Aaron Overstreet.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Spring is Here!

Lots of things point to the arrival of Spring besides just the calendar... my allergies are acting up, we spent the entire weekend outside, 10th Street by Piedmont Park was a parking lot on Sunday, and baby fever is in the air (my newphew, Brody Shane, will be delivered via C-section one week from today and Madelyn Grace is due on April 25... but we just know she's coming early)!

On Saturday morning, Matt and I picked up Matt and Jenny and then met up with Matt and Jenn down at Serenbe. Did you keep up with all those Matts and Jennifers? :) What a neat place! Serenbe was originally founded by a couple who owned a few restaurants in Atlanta (Pleasant Peasant and the daughter of the owner of Mary Mac's Tea Room). They bought their first 60 acres of land in the early 1990s and ended up moving down there and renovating an old horse barn into the Serenbe Inn. The Inn is still there (and is beautiful), and several other partners became involved and developed a sustainable community including homes, shops, restaurants, and other services. From April to October, there is an Organic Farmers Market with produce and other goods from the local farms, and the restaurants' menus are largely based on what is in season.

We ate at The Hil restaurant and then headed down to the Inn. You drive past pastures with horses, cows, and donkeys, a lake stocked with fish, and we even heard some roosters crowing. We found some pretty areas to take pictures of Jenn with her baby bump (and Matt, too). Jenn and Matt just got a new Canon Rebel camera, and Jenny is our resident photographer, so I acted like a second shooter with Matt and Jenn's camera. Below are two pretty decent pictures I captured. I've never used a "real camera", and I think I am addicted. I've always wanted a big girl camera, but now I REALLY want one! I hinted to Matt that he should get me one for my birthday... okay, it wasn't so much a hint as a strong suggestion. ;)

How freaking cute is her belly!?


Matt M. snapped this one of the girls.

While at the Inn, we discovered that they had a trampoline that was set in the ground. I had a fantastic time playing on that, and Jenny caught some pretty funny pictures. I'll have to post a few when she uploads them. The boys found some balls and bats and such, so they just had a grand old time. The weather was gorgeous, and we're already looking into renting a cabin for some time in the fall when Madelyn is a little older. There are a few good hikes around there, and I wouldn't mind toting a little one in a Baby Bjorn part of the way to burn some extra calories! :)

When we got back to A-town, Jenny and I had to run some errands to grab supplies for the Baby Shower/Brunch we're throwing Jenn this weekend! I'm super excited. I think it's going to be really cute and classy... and we're having Bloody Marys (I LOVE a good Bloody Mary) and Mimosas (virgin ones for the prego, of course). It's also my birthday, and I really couldn't think of a better way to spend it than honoring my best friend and my new "niece". Aunt K is just a bit excited about Madelyn's arrival. I'll post a recap and pictures next week.

Yesterday, Matt and I took advantage of the gorgeous weather and headed to the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area and spent about 3.5 hours hiking the trails. I think we figured out we ended up traveling about 7 miles, and it's hard to believe that in some of those areas, you're practically in the middle of Atlanta. We had lunch on Sope's Creek where there's a lot of rocks and white water. It was so peaceful looking down stream (looking the other way there's a bridge, but you can't even hear the traffic because of how loud the water is). We've been looking into getting me a mountain bike, but just haven't found the right one on Craig's List, so we decided we'll just get a cheap(er) one from Target or Walmart or something. I'm pretty excited, because the trails looked fun. There are a lot of steps (natural ones) and elevation changes. I also want a bike just to be-bop around in the city and be able to ride to Piedmont instead of driving.

It was a gorgeous weekend, and I feel refreshed. I miss Matt already, and it's getting harder every Monday morning instead of easier. I guess it's the reality that this is our reality. I just hope and pray his company gets some work here by the end of the year and he gets assigned to it. I miss my husband.

UPDATE on two fronts: H&M is giving me a full refund. Memere is getting out of the hospital today! She will be doing dialysis frequently, but I haven't really gotten the details yet.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Blogger Giveaway

Head on over to Mrs. Southern Belle's blog and check out her beautiful, custom hand painted sign. This would be beautiful in the entryway of any home!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sunburn

I got a minor sunburn on my arms and nose at lunch, and I couldn't be happier! Thank you for sunshine and 70 degree weather! It's glorious.

Yes, this is my newest accessory... a farmer's tan.

And...


HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Dreary Weekend

It rained all weekend in Atlanta, but it was kind of nice to have a low key, relaxing weekend at home with my main squeeze. I sure do miss him during the week. We didn't do much... went out to eat Friday night and my only outing on Saturday was to the grocery store. Yesterday, we went to see Slumdog Millionaire at Atlantic Station, and then I had to return a dress I purchased at H&M in New York. Before I get to Slumdog, can I just say that...

H&M's return policy is ridiculous!!!!!!!!!

Okay, I feel a little better now. So, I bought a dress that was $49.90 while we were in NY. Their return policy is that you can return anything within 30 days with the receipt for a full refund. I was on day 38, which meant that even though I had a receipt, I would only get a store credit for the current selling price. I do not agree with that (I think you should get a longer return period with a receipt), but that wasn't even the bad part. It is what it is. So, I go to return it, and this is how the conversation goes.

Me: I need to return this dress.
Cashier (to store manager): How much is this dress now?
Store Manager (to cashier): $20.
Cashier begins to ring up return at $20.
Me: Wait, $20? Just like that? Can I see where this dress is only $20? Can you ring it up and show me that it is only $20?
Store Manager: All of our discounts are done manually. We no longer have this dress in stock. All I can tell you is that it was on sale for $20.

HUH!? I have proof of a receipt that I paid $49.90 plus NYC sales tax on a dress, and they've got nothing, yet I only get $20 credit and no tax on top of that. I seriously do not get that. Of course, I put up a little bit more of a fight than that, but I was polite, as always. I will be sending a letter to H&M Corporate with copies of the receipts. I get that their return policy is what it is, but when you can't even produce proof that the item was marked down to $20, I should be getting a full freaking refund!

Okay, I'm done venting. I'll let you know what happens.

So, Slumdog Millionaire was really good. I'm not sure it lived up to the hype, except that it sort of came out of nowhere. It had all the makings of a good film, and it elicited various emotions... disgust, humor, sadness, anger, happiness, excitement, love. I did enjoy it, and I would definitely recommend seeing it, but to me, it didn't reach the status of my two favorite movies - Shawshank Redemption and Forrest Gump. Frieda Pinto is absolutely breathtaking though.

Memere Update

I spoke to Memere this weekend, and she seemed a bit lethargic but in good spirits. She's a trooper. She's had a couple rounds of dialysis, and so far, I guess it's been going good. She's still having breathing issues (shortness of breath), and it is my understanding that they will continue dialysis daily until the fluid begins to regulate and she's in a more "stable" condition. She's also having an EKG today, so we'll see what that tells the doctors.

My cousin Eric just got out of the Navy a few weeks ago, so my brother helped him move from Jacksonville to St. Pete this weekend. They stopped in to see Memere for a while, and this morning, she remembered that Eric and Steve stopped by and that Eric was living in St. Pete again. That is good news! Her dementia mostly affects her short term memory, so it's always good to hear something like that.

It's crazy that all of this is going on with her, because when you meet her, it's not like you would even think she was sick. She definitely doesn't have the same spunk she did a few years ago, but she's seemingly healthy and lives independently (with frequent visitors to check up on her). The breathing problems certainly change the sickly factor, but she's still got plenty of life left in her, which is why she chose to do dialysis.

Keep praying!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Please Pray

Thanksgiving 2008

My grandmother, Memere, was admitted to the hospital last night because she was having breathing troubles. This has been going on for some time, but it got bad enough that her doctor told my aunt to take her to the ER. They ran some tests this morning and found that she has fluid in her lungs and around her heart and are keeping her until mid-week next week. She has poor kidney function, which we've also known about for some time, and they believe her kidneys' inability to regulate the fluid in her body has caused this. She has already had the procedure done so that she would be ready for dialysis whenever the time came, and now it's here. Both my aunt and her home health nurse will be trained to administer dialysis so that she does not have to go to a center for treatment and can do it from home.

Memere (French for grandma) is such an incredibly strong woman; it's so hard to see her going through the health struggles as she has been. In addition to all of this, she has some form of dementia, which has been very tough for her to deal with. This is a woman who lost her husband prematurely and had six children, five who were still at home. She took over the family business and ran it successfully until she sold it around 2000 (that means she retired in her early 70s). She's so incredibly independent (she never remarried), so it is so hard for her to not be able to get up and go and to have to rely on people to do a lot for her. She knows her mind isn't what it used to be (in a big way). She also just lost her last living sister last week. She has two brothers that are still alive out of 13 siblings. She also has 14 grandchildren, 4 great-grandchildren, a few grandchildren-in-laws, and lots of other family and friends who respect and love her deeply.

I request your prayers specifically for the following things:

  • The fluid in her lungs and around her heart disappears.
  • Her comfort and spirits through her hospital admission.
  • My aunt and her home health nurse successfully learn how to administer her dialysis treatments.
  • Dialysis substantially improves her quality of life by giving her kidneys the ability to regulate the fluid in her body.
  • Her memory does not continue to deteriorate to the point that she is unable to live independently.

We know that we will lose her one day, but we'd just like to keep her around as long as she's happy and comfortable. She is amazing.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Busy Bee

Another busy, busy week! I was in Orlando for the day for work, and it made me realize how quickly I forget (after living in Florida my entire life until I was 23) how much warmer it gets there in March compared to Atlanta. My birthday is at the end of this month, and we always went to the beach or did something outside. In Atlanta, there's still a chance it could be pretty cold on my birthday. Anyway, just my random musing for the day.

Everyone looks forward to the weekends, but they definitely have a new excitement now that Matt and I only get to spend Friday night through Sunday night (well, technically through 5 am Monday morning) together. This past weekend we took advantage of the 70 degree weather and drove up to the north Georgia mountains to do some camping and hiking at Vogel State Park. Georgia has amazing state park campgrounds, and Vogel is definitely one of our favorites. Matt's friend Zach and his girlfriend Ashley are our camping buddies, and in normal fashion, they joined in on the fun.

Here are some pictures from the Vogel Lookout on the Bear Hair Gap Trail.


Zach and me goofing around.

Blood Mountain

Lake Trahlyta

It was the perfect weather for camping. So fun. And, in our preparations for camping, we went to the Georgia State Parks website and saw this funny little picture. Matt and I went to Vogel for the first time in October 2006 and hiked Bear Hair Gap. There was a very nice photographer at the lookout taking pictures for the website, and she asked if we'd be her models. We obliged, but we didn't even know the picture ever made it to the website! Hehe.

So, not that any of you probably care, but I'm sure the rest of the week is going to be busy (shocking, I know), so unless I get any genius ideas for a post or time at work to do it, I'll find something good to post about next week. :)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Britney Baby... Like That

The girls before the show (minus Amanda).
She's back. But, let me say, Britney's concert is not for the faint of heart or those not wishing to expose themselves to Rated R events. :) I would have been embarrassed if I had brought a girl younger than 15 to the show. It was definitely risque, but Brit Brit put on a great show and she looked great... though anyone would after rehearsing for the show and performing it every other night! She must burn A LOT of calories. If she put out a dance workout video, I readily admit that I would definitely buy it.

The tour, as many of you may know, is called Circus after her most recent album, and that it is. She does the show "in the round" with a center stage and two side stages, all shaped in a circle like a three ring circus. Before the show began, there were various circus acts that performed acrobatics, juggling, unicycle riding, and the like. And similar cirque like performers did their thing throughout the show. It opened with a crazy introduction on the round LED screens by Perez Hilton. I couldn't really understand a lot of what he was saying, but it was definitely different.


She opened with "Circus" and came down from the above the stage in a ringmaster sort of outfit. Everyone was going crazy (Phillips Arena was sold out... every single seat) and the look on her face was priceless. I think she was in some state of shock at that moment. This is her first tour and only her second show since she went crazy on us, so I'm sure it's sinking in that even through all of her ups and downs (mostly downs), there are an awful lot of people out there who want to see her succeed in a healthy way. Count me as one of them. Minus the crazy and the fame, she's no different than the rest of us. Here's a video of part of the opening.


video

I didn't get any of her good dance sequences on video, because I was much too busy watching them and dancing along. Here are a few other pictures.

This was one of my favorite costumes. She did a "Bollywood" version of "It's Me Against the Music".

Encore - "Womanizer"

And, one last video of her next single from Circus, "If U Seek Amy".

video

I definitely thought she looked lost a couple of times when I rewatched this video, but from where we sat, the show went well. It certainly wasn't flawless, and it was painfully obvious at times that she was lip syncing (but, let's be real... no one goes to a Britney concert to hear her sing), but the show was well choreographed, had a lot going on, and was entertaining. I especially appreciated that she did some older stuff, including "Hit Me Baby One More Time." Ah, the high school memories...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Catching Up

Warning, this may contain a lot of pictures!

Man, I've been busy. I can't complain... having a job and things to do is not a bad thing. This being busy is a good problem to have. So, here's a probably boring and long update of what's been going on...

First, let's start with a few weekends ago. On Valentine's Day, we tried to go eat at the Vortex (a great burger joint in town), but the wait was over an hour. So, we hit up our old favorite, Fox Bros BBQ. YUM. It really never disappoints, and I always eat way too much pulled pork and Brunswick stew. I just can't help it. I have self control when it comes to food... as long as it's not sitting in front of me. I eat everything that is put before me! So, after gorging on BBQ, we went to the Robert Earl Keen concert, which was a lot of fun. I was sad that he didn't play Everclear or Copenhagen, but it was still a good time. :)



Then, the following weekend Matt and I drove up to Kennesaw Mountain (about 20-30 minutes northwest of Atlanta) and hiked the trail to the top, which provides a nice view of Atlanta.

The sky was so blue!



We went to a wedding for our friends Sean and Elisa that night. Our first of EIGHT weddings this year and the ONLY one that is in Atlanta. It was a beautiful wedding, and Elisa looked gorgeous! Sean didn't look too bad, either. ;)

This past weekend, Dai and Meg came up to hang out with Jenn and me. It was a college reunion! We do girls' weekends every so often, and this one was extra special because it was the last one before Jenn becomes a MOMMY! AH! We had a great time eating, shopping and getting pedicures. Jenny and Chelsea hung out with us too, since they both live up here. We only took two pictures! In one, Dai and I look pregnant and Jenn doesn't... hmmmmm. And, the other is blurry, but here it is anyway.

Love my girls!

The girls left the next morning in what started out as rain and ended up looking like this!!!





Yes, it snowed in Atlanta. A lot. Huge, wet snowflakes! It snowed last year a few times, and it even stuck, but this was just different. It came down hard and for several hours. Matt and I took a long walk to go grab coffee. Here are some other pics from the day.



Our mini snowman.


I left Monday afternoon for NYC for work and got back Tuesday evening. Last night I volunteered at Wesley Woods (a retirement community/assisted living center/geriatric hospital located on Emory University's campus). The ladies taught me to play Rummikub... they were good!!! And, tonight is...

BRITNEY SPEARS!

I'm sure I'll have pictures to share! I'm very excited, and I don't care that I'm almost 27 and that she's a mess. I still love me some Britney.

And, I think we're going to go camping on Saturday night at Vogel State Park to enjoy the 70 degree weather. Yes, it snowed last weekend and it's going to be 70 this weekend. You've got to love living in the South!