Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Thursday Thirteen - Children's Books

Thirteen Children's Books you should read to your little one. (Pre-school/Elementary age)
  1. Oh, the Places You'll Go! - Dr. Seuss
  2. Where the Wild Things Are. - Maurice Sendak
  3. The Giving Tree - Shel Silverstein
  4. Possum Come A-Knockin' - Nancy Van Laan
  5. The Very Hungry Caterpillar - Eric Carle
  6. Corduroy - Don Freeman
  7. We're Going on a Bear Hunt - Michael Rosen
  8. The Polar Express - Chris Van Allsburg
  9. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom - Bill Martin Jr.
  10. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs - Judy & Ron Barrett
  11. Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel - Virginia Lee Burton
  12. Tikki Tikki Tembo - Arlene Mosel
  13. Goodnight Moon - Margaret Wise Brown

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Speidi

Spencer and Heidi on their honeymoon in Mexico, trying to avoid the Swine Flu. Why didn't they just postpone the trip? I thought this picture was priceless though.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Should we be worried?

Unless you've been hiding under a rock this week, you know that talk of the Swine Flu has taken over the news and media. My question is, should we be worried about this? Right now, there are 51 confirmed cases of the flu in the U.S. and I am sure there are countless suspected cases. Most of the drama surrounds people who have recently traveled to Mexico, where at least 100 people have died. The government has urged citizens to suspend "non-essential" travel to Mexico for now and also to practice basic precautionary measures such as frequent hand washing and cough etiquette. So far, the mood seems calm but attentive. I want to know what you think... should we be worried?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Freebie Alert - Kentucky Fried Chicken

I will not deny that I am a fan of fast food and one of my favorites, KFC, is giving away free chicken today. You can get one piece of the new Kentucky GRILLED Chicken by simply visiting your local KFC and asking for it, no coupon or purchase necessary. The new recipe looks appetizing enough and is much healthier for you than KFC's original heavily breaded chicken, you can view the nutrtional info on the website. Interestingly enough, this is the third time KFC has attempted to add girlled chicken to its menu. Let me know what you think about your free piece of chicken.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Weekend Snapshots - Uh-oh Spaghetti O's

This weekend was quite eventful at the Darnell household. On Friday afternoon I took little man to see Dr. Chase because of a rash that appeared all over his body. Turns out that Colton has a penicillin allergy and was reacting to the Amoxicillin they gave him for his ear infection earlier this week. We got that straightened out and after a dose of Benadryl and instructions to never let Colton have anything in the penicillin family ever again, all was once again well.

Saturday, after cleaning the entire house, we went to visit Nana and Pops (my mom and dad). Seth and I teamed up against them for a game of Rook, we won! Cousin Miranda was with us all day Saturday and stayed the night, she was a big help with Colt.

This morning (Sunday) we went to church. We attend Forks of Elkhorn Baptist here in Frankfort, it is a wonderful church filled with amazing people. Tonight, Gigi and G-daddy (Seth's mom and dad) came for a visit.

So, that was our weekend. Enjoy the pics below! He had a lot of fun with his lunch Saturday.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Fashionable Friday - Lauren Conrad and Kohl's

I've realized that nap time for Colton should be clean-up time for mommy but it always turns into blog/internet time... oh well. His ear infection seems to be gone, also worth mentioning he got his last RSV shot ever this week. They informed me that he won't qualify for them next year. While I feel very accomplished and relieved that these medical professionals feel as though he is healthy enough to no longer need help fighting off those nasty RSV germs, another HUGE part of me is already very nervous for next years battle. We shall see what comes of this but it will certainly be sitting silently in the back of my mind until next fall. My chunky monkey broke the 18 pound mark this week... he is getting so big!

Now, time for Fashionable Friday. It is no secret to my family and friends that I shop at Kohl's religiously due to convienience and affordability. I can always find something I like from clothes to handbags to shoes (oh, the shoes). I am also a very big fan of The Hills and Lauren Conrad. So, you can imagine my excitement when they announced their partnership on Wednesday.

The new LC Lauren Conrad brand, exclusive to Kohl's, will launch in 300 stores and online in October with a line of apparel. The brand may expand into additional categories such as footwear, jewelry, handbags, intimates and sleepwear and will ultimately expand to all stores nationwide. Retail prices for the brand will range from $20 - $60.

Lauren already has a more pricey fashion line that is only available in up scale boutiques but in this economy who has the money for that... certainly not me. I cannot wait to browse the collection and purchase some designs by Conrad. In honor of this announcement, below I have posted some cute items you can currently purchase at your local Kohl's store.

IZ Byer California Shirtdress

Black/Brown heels by Candie's

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Thursday Thirteen - Movies I Love

I just got Colton down for a nap and now it is time for The Thursday Thirteen.
  1. The Sound of Music - I have always been crazy about this movie and its catchy tunes.
  2. The Little Mermaid - My favorite as a child and the first movie I EVER saw in a movie theater.
  3. The Notebook - Best love story of all time.
  4. The Sandlot - I've probably watched this movie a million times.
  5. The Bucket List - Very insightful.
  6. Gone With the Wind - I'm a sucker for romance.
  7. Mamma Mia - Just plain fun!
  8. Twilight - The book is WAY better though.
  9. Pirates of the Caribbean - All 3 of them!!!
  10. Night at the Museum - We watched this movie on Seth's laptop just about every night at the Ronald McDonald House while Colton was in the hospital.
  11. Pretty in Pink - Who doesn't love Molly Ringwald?
  12. Cold Mountain - One powerful movie.
  13. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes - You didn't think I would complete this list without Marilyn did you?
*These are in no particular order =)
**Thanks to JessieLeigh at Parenting the Tiniest of Miracles for the "Thursday Thirteen" idea.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Car Seats

Graco - Nautilus 3-in-1 MultiUse Car Seat, Bravo
Colton has almost outgrown his infant car seat. We are currently shopping around for a convertible. This is our favorite thus far, any comments or suggestions?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sick, sick, sick.

Sinus infection for Mommy, Ear infection and a "cold" for Colton. The good news is this is the first time since he got out of the hospital, almost a year ago now, that he has been put on an antibiotic. Those of you who have preemies can appreciate the success in this, especially since RSV season just ended. However, a blind child with an ear infection is not such great news. He relies on his hearing that much more since he does not have functional vision and his ears are hurting right now and probably a little cloudy. Needless to say, he is cranky and considering he is NEVER very cranky (aside from being hungry) this makes me feel so sorry for the little guy.

I would be happy just to be able to breathe out of my nose, is that too much to ask for?

Keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that we are both headed to healthier days SOON!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Why I march...

This story about Colton and March of Dimes was in the Thursday State Journal.

While most mothers bring their babies home shortly after birth, Crystal Darnell waited an excruciating 172 days before her son, Colton, could leave the hospital. And worse, on the day of Colton's birth, doctors gave him a 10 percent chance of living. Born four months early, Colton's miniature body was seriously underdeveloped, and a bleeding in his brain would permanently take away his eyesight.

"He looked like a snickers bar with arms and legs," said Darnell. Seventeen months after Colton's surprise birth, Darnell, 23, sometimes wonders what it must have felt like for him to spend his first six months in pain, often on the verge of death. "He amazes me," she said on a recent afternoon during Colton's physical therapy. "He's such a fighter. He had to fight to make it, but that doesn't get him down. He's so happy to be here."

Colton, who has grown from one pound and four ounces to 17 pounds, giggles and feels his toys with his mouth. Whenever he hears his mom's voice, he moves his head in her direction. He loves the sound of her voice - that voice that prayed over him and whispered to him from the other side of his incubator. "Colton, I love you, and I need you to hold on," she told him on day 10. "I know it's hard, but God is with you, and he can help us all through the tough times."

It's Darnell's harrowing experience that involves her in the March of Dimes. Research, largely funded through the March of Dimes, is crucial to keeping preemies like Colton alive, she says. "Forty years ago, there wouldn't have been much of a chance for him," she said. The March of Dimes is the leading fundraiser for research into the causes of premature births. The national walking event has raised $1.8 billion since 1970, according to its Web site.

Another goal is to raise awareness that premature birth is the leading cause of newborn born death and many lifelong disabilities. While rates have improved drastically over the last half-century, one in eight babies is born prematurely, according March of Dimes statistics. Walks are held nationwide to remind teams to raise money.

The Frankfort March for Babies will be Friday (for state employees) at the Capitol and Saturday at Lakeview Park (for community members). "State employees have been really generous to us," said Megan Jones with the March of Dimes. "We decided to have an extra walk for them since so many come from cities around the state." Last year, the walk raised $102,000 - much from state employees, Jones said. She expects more than 300 to participate in both walks. "Anyone is welcome to come to either walk," she said.

Colton's team is made up of his parents, grandparents and their friends. They are walking Saturday and hope to raise $500. "These are very serious, life-threatening issues," Darnell said. "If it wasn't for the hospital - and God - I wouldn't have Colton." Doctors determined that an E. coli infection caused Darnell to go into labor prematurely. She was rushed to the University of Kentucky Medical Center, where she gave birth to Colton, who was a meager 12-inches long. A team of specialists kept him alive at UK's Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit.

Over several months, Colton received countless surgeries and blood transfusions. There were days doctors thought he wouldn't make it, Darnell said. She and her husband, Seth, watched him through his incubator and asked God to spare his life. Because she could not hold her baby, Darnell wrote to him in her journal. Nine days after his birth, as she sat watching his monitors, she wrote, "Right this second your numbers are jumping up and down - I'm trying not to look. It drives me crazy when you do that. You're still doing it. I want to pull my hair out Stop, please. This is so hard, but I know it's even harder on you. I'm so sorry, I wish I could make it all go away for you we just both have to be strong."

Colton did what his mother asked, and was finally well enough to go home on Powhatan Trail on May 14, 2008 " a day filled with "emotion and lots of tears." "When we left the NICU, all the nurses gathered around and took pictures with us. Then everyone clapped as we left it was like a scene from a movie," Darnell said.

Today, Colton is learning how to crawl and stand and speak. He has learning delays because of his blindness, but physical therapists are helping him work around it.He adores his dad and can endlessly prattle "da, da, da." He loves music, eating and exploring anything with his mouth.Saturday, Colton will complete the walk in his stroller as he takes in the beautiful sounds of life."He loves being outside," Darnell said. "He can't see, so he raises his hands in the air and feels the wind. He likes the way the wind feels in between his fingers."

The SJ did a wonderful job with the article. However, Colton's blindness is not caused by his IVH or "brain bleed" as she put it. Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP), a disease that is very common in preemies, was responsible for his vision loss.

As stated in the article TEAM COLTON participated in our local March for Babies for March of Dimes this weekend. We raised a little over $500.00, we reached our goal! I am so thankful to everyone who donated and/or walked with us.

Third times a charm... right?

So, this is the third blog I have started. I just can't find the RIGHT way to express what I want to be expressed in a blog.

I have decided to blog about my #1 job, being a mommy!!! My son Colton is almost 17 months old, he was born 4 months early, so I am quite accustomed to the world of preemies. His story has been told plenty of times, if you would like to read it for yourself click here.

I live in Frankfort, Kentucky with my husband Seth and our puppy Daisy, she is more trouble than Colton, honestly. My family and friends mean the world to me and I couldn't have gotten through the last couple years without them.

I am genuinely hoping that this blog will stick... I need it to, for the sake of my sanity.

That is all for now, happy blogging!