Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Rainy Weather = Pinterest Day!

I love to peruse Pinterest. There are so many awesome décor ideas, recipes, beauty tips, craft ideas and more! It’s so easy to pin away and so hard to find time to actually DO the things I pin. I pin with intention of “someday I’ll do this”, “someday I’ll try that”, and “oh that looks delicious!” Well, since hurricane Sandy has served us a heaping mess of wind and rain we’ve been home bound and I decided to put the time to use and start tackling my Pinterest list!

I actually decorated my mantel this year for Halloween…it turned out pretty cute!

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Holly over at Our Holly Days was definitely my inspiration…that girl loves her some holiday décor and crafts! I was so pleased with my Halloween fun that I decided it was time to keep the cute going every season. I know it’s not even officially Halloween yet but we had our trick-or-treat on Saturday and with the storm we’ve already de-spookified outside. I figured it was safe to move on to Thanksgiving!

I sat down and searched my “For the Home” board on Pinterest to see if I’d already pinned anything cute for Thanksgiving. Then I also searched “Thanksgiving” and found even more great ideas! First thing I tackled was clearing off the old stuff and dusting….ahhhhh-chooooo! I pulled out a mirror that we’d painted in the summer and found that it fit perfectly on the mantel between the shutters…I just love when things work out like you hope! Next I went down to my fabric stash to find some fabric to make some fabric bunting flags. I didn’t follow a tutorial…just cut out some triangles, hemmed them and sewed them onto some brown yarn.

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I knew I wanted some cute subway art so I searched for “Thanksgiving Subway Art”. There were SO many cute options but I settled on this one.

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I needed something to fill some blank space on one of the shutters and while I was in the attic getting the mirror I found a small wooden wreath. I remembered that I had some artificial mums in my craft supplies (I knew being a craft hoarder would pay off!) so I just did something really simple.

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Last I decided I wanted to do something like this but gear it toward Thanksgiving. (I want to do this same one eventually…maybe for Valentines day!) I scavenged through Hubs workshop to find some wood and sifted through my old scrapbook supplies.

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After some cutting, printing, modge podge and sanding I ended up with this!
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And here, my friends, is the end result!

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I still want something else in that blank space between the wood art and framed subway art. I’m thinking of making a big M or something with this technique.

I hope I’ve passed along some inspiration! I’d love to see what you do for your fall décor so please take some pictures and link up!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Oh what a night!

This year’s Arthritis Foundation Bone Bash was a blast! The venue was beautiful and decorated like a mad science lab complete with bubbly beakers full of potions on the tables. Med students in lab coats welcomed you as servers offered test tubes filled with delicious drinks and appetizers.

I met with Beth who gave us a quick run down of the evening. I also got to introduce Ed to the other great ladies at the local Arthritis Foundation that I’ve been working with. (Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo with Miss Beth…she was very busy bustling around all evening making sure the event was the HUGE success it was!)

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We had the pleasure of being part of the VIP reception which meant that we got to meet one of the Honorees for the evening, L.C. Greenwood.

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For those of you who aren’t from Steeler nation L.C. Greenwood was with the Steeler organization for 13 years and was instrumental in four Steeler Super Bowl wins. It was truly an honor to meet him!

We also met with the Emcee for the evening, Anthony Griggs. Anthony was also a pro football player and while he played for the Eagles and the Browns (boooooooo!) he also worked as Director of Player Development for the Steelers. He spoke to me about the evening and when I admitted that I was nervous to speak to so many people he assured me that I would do great. He also told me that he had seen my blog. To be honest I thought he was just being polite but then he said he saw the photos of me in a mask and gloves with a butcher knife cutting peppers! While I was a bit embarrassed about the photo I was so pleased that he really had read the blog! Thank you, Anthony, for being a true individual and for helping me feel more comfortable that evening.

It was so great to see how many people came out to support the Arthritis Foundation. I believe there were well over 100 people in attendance. What was even better was that the majority of them came in costume! I love when grown men and women can kick back and have fun and come up with amazing costumes. I will admit though, Ed and I had a favorite. A man walked in looking JUST LIKE Zach Galifianakis from The Hangover. Of course I had to take his picture! 

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When it was time to sit down and eat we found ourselves at a table with two of the pediatric rheumatologists from Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Neither one of them are one of Monkey’s doctors but it was really great to sit and talk with them. We, and the families in the surrounding area, are so blessed to have such amazing pediatric rheumatologists!

Dr. Brian Klatt, MD took the stage and said a few words of introduction for Honoree Dr. Lawrence Crossett, MD. Dr. Crossett is the Chief of the Adult Reconstructive Division within the Department of Orthopedic Surgery. He is very well known in Pittsburgh and has been consistently named on of Pittsburgh’s Top Doctors by Pittsburgh Magazine. Dr. Crossett spoke of his work but also spoke of how he admires the rheumatologists here in Pittsburgh.

Anthony then introduced L.C. Greenwood. It was great to hear L. C. talk about his days with the Steelers and tell us some great behind the scene stories. He also spoke of how arthritis has affected his life and encouraged those in attendance to help in whatever way they could. He spoke true words when he said that someday each one of us will be affected by arthritis in someway so we need to get up and move while we can and do what we can to help.

Then came the moment that I was so anxious about….Anthony got up and spoke such kind words about me and asked me to join him up front. I had plans of following my note cards and keeping things ‘professional’ but then I got up there…just me and a mic…in front of over a hundred people…with a slide show of my Monkey running behind me…that’s when I decided to go with my heart. Forget the notecards and just tell them all our story. I looked out and found Ed…there was so much support in his eyes…I knew that no matter what happened he loved me and thought I was pretty awesome. Thanks for being there for me, Babe!

I took a deep breath and talked to those in attendance like they were my friends. I told them all about Monkey and how he was diagnosed. I told them how scary it was and how we felt alone at times because JA is not something many people know about. I also spoke about how I came to find the local chapter of the Arthritis Foundation and how Beth, Caitlyn, Allison and Kristina had all been so kind and helpful. I talked about the SAK program and encouraged them all to keep giving because their donations were making a real difference. I tried so hard to keep my emotions in check but as a mother it was hard. When I found myself getting emotional I looked around at the faces in the crowd and saw tears in their eyes as well. When I was finished Anthony came up and gave me a hug and thanked me. I found my way back to my seat where Ed hugged me and told me how proud he was of me. That’s when I couldn’t control the tears anymore. What can I say, I’m an emotional momma.

So many people came up to us and thanked us for sharing our story. They said that Monkey’s story touched their heart and that they would pray for him and that they wished the best for us. If you were there that night and are reading this now….Thank you! Thank you for your support both monetarily and emotionally. Because of you the event was a huge success raising $56,000! You are making a difference in so many lives. Thank you so much!

I’ll be honest, knowing that Monkey has this disease and will live with it for the rest of his life sucks. It’s scary and sometimes really intimidating especially not knowing what lies ahead. That said, I know that God is with us every step of the way and I’m so thankful for nights like this where I am able to share our story. To know that while we go through this we are learning things and that we can take that knowledge and possible help other families. No family should feel scared or alone. My hope, and my goal, is that families have a support network all across the country. Even if they just have ONE family to talk to, to ask questions of, to seek support. Just to know that they have some one on their side who’s been there. Sometimes that alone makes things less scary.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

It’s the Little Things

If you know me you know that it doesn’t take much to make me happy. I definitely take a lot of joy in little things. To me, little things mean a LOT.
Here are some little things that are making me smile today:
Salted Caramel Mocha Creamer! To boot it’s GF and lactose free!
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The sun is shining! This means the boys can go play OUTSIDE!
We are blessed to live close to an amazing children’s hospital with a full staff of gifted pediatric rheumatologists.
So…what little things are making YOU smile today?

(P.S. Don’t worry…a post all about our fun night at the Bone Bash will be up shortly! Just waiting for some photos to share! What’s a post with out photos?!)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Mini Monkey Update

It’s been three weeks since Monkey’s injection and he’s doing really well. His left knee is no longer swollen and his limp is pretty much gone. He’s also been able to run and play with his brothers without hurting the next day. That alone is something to be extremely happy about. 
The only negative is that his baker’s cyst is still there and hasn’t shrunk at all. I talked to Dr. Poff on the phone the other day about this and she said to give it until his follow up appointment on November 1 and see how it is. Unfortunately when they did his procedure on the October 1st they couldn’t just go in to the cyst and drain it. Draining a baker’s cyst is a lot more complicated than a standard arthrocentesis because there are ligaments and such on the back of the knee. That said, Dr. Poff said that if necessary they could do a procedure to drain it with the help of an ultra sound. Something I’m sure we’ll talk more about at his appointment. 
Cutting out gluten is going ok as well. It’s really hard to cut out things like bread and pasta. Think about the things that you typically feed kids for lunches: PB&J, mac n’ cheese, cold cut sandwiches, grilled cheese, breaded chicken nuggets, spaghetti, etc…..all which have gluten. I checked into GF bread and dang is that stuff expensive! So, for right now we’ll just keep cutting out what we can and substitute things that are on the less pricey side.
Reviews on the items that I did buy that are GF.

~ Bisquick: Score! I made pancakes and they were great! No one even noticed that they were different than my ‘normal’ pancakes!
~ Corn tortillas: Everyone liked them except Zim…he’s the only one who took two bites and refused to eat it.
~ Quinoa: No one else has tried it yet but I found that the best way to cook it is in a rice cooker! It came out super fluffy and delicious!
~ Honey Nut Chex: SOOOO good!  This will be on our grocery list from now on!
~ GF Rice Crispies: Also good but not getting eaten nearly as fast as the Chex.

Hello Monday!

I have so many things I need to post about….the Bone Bash and Bubba’s birthday party to name two…but for now I’m just posting two of my favorite pictures from the weekend. Have a happy Monday….smile and remember that you are VERY blessed! xoxo

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The family all in camo for Bubba’s camo party!

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We were definitely being watched over on Saturday. It was raining when we got to the park then stopped almost right at 4 for the party and started again right after 6 (when the party was scheduled to be over)! And just to make sure we knew how blessed we were this beautiful rainbow appeared!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Tonight’s the night!

Tonight is the big night! The 2012 Arthritis Foundation Bone Bash!

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A few weeks back I had the pleasure of speaking to some wonderful ladies from the Western PA chapter of the Arthritis Foundation. After reading my posts about Monkey and seeing how we have benefited from the SAK program they asked me to come speak at this fundraising event! I said yes right away but I’ll admit that today I am a bit nervous! I’m not a public speaker by any means but hopefully speaking about something and someone so dear to me will be a piece of cake. I’m hoping that those in attendance will be moved by our story and see that their donations truly do make a difference.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Spookified #WW


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(The last two pictures aren’t really spooky…at least I hope they aren’t! I just wanted to share my awesome new cut and color courtesy of my friend Jamie at Salon Eye Candy! She rocks! I LOVE the pink and purple together!)


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Baby Mine – #TuneinTuesday

This week I picked a sweet song because I’m totally getting sentimental about the fact that my baby boy is turning eight in two days. Sniff sniff. Time goes by way too fast….but he’ll always be my baby.


Feel free to link up and join in on the Tune in Tuesday fun that my friend, Nicole, started up!

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Fall Filled Weekend!

Friday I took a ride into Greentree to meet the ladies at the local Arthritis Foundation for the first time. I knew that they were all nice but after meeting them face to face and spending time with them I can tell you they are all amazing and perfect for their jobs! Caitlin had asked me to come in and do a video interview for them to place on their page. She made me feel so comfortable as we sat in their conference room among items for the upcoming Bone Bash. She asked me to talk a bit about how Monkey was diagnosed, how we’ve coped with JA and also how we’ve benefited from the SAK program. (You can read my post about that here.) Before I knew it we were finished and just chatting like old friends. I was also able to meet with Kristina and talk with her about volunteering at the Jingle Bell Run in December. Before I headed back home Caitlin, Beth and I grabbed some lunch at a local Thai place. This was my first Thai experience and I can tell you I am hooked!  YUM! In addition to yummy food our conversation was great. We talked more about the Arthritis Foundation and what will be going on at the Bone Bash fundraiser this coming Friday but we also just chatted about ways we can help other families who are living with JA. Saying I’m excited to work with these women is an understatement. I feel truly blessed to be working with such talented women and I can’t wait to help the foundation in any way I can!

Friday was such a beautiful day so when I got home I rushed the boys into ‘nice’ clothes and took them out to get fall pictures.  You can see some of them here. I’m really happy with how they turned out this year. Zim and Monkey cooperated much more than last year!

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Saturday Hubs had off so we were all able to go watch Bubba play soccer. I know I’ve mentioned it before but I just love watching the little man play and this was his best game yet. He was aggressive and really put all he had out on the field. It paid off too…he scored his very first goal! I wish I had taken my camera because his reaction was priceless! Arms raised, huge smile from ear to ear as he ran down the field…the kid was on cloud nine! Zim and Monkey even enjoyed the game…well, not the game but the fact that one of their buddies was there. They haven’t seen him since the spring baseball season so they were happy to spend some time with him.  After the game we headed to a birthday party for one of Bubba’s friends. He’d been looking forward to this for about two weeks…see, after the party Bubs was staying ALL afternoon and staying overnight…his first sleepover! Saying he was excited doesn’t even do it justice!

After dropping him off Hubs and I took the boys home, got changed and headed down to Cedar Creek park to check out the trail and start planning the scavenger hunt for Bubba’s birthday party. The trail looked amazing and we had the greatest fall walk. Hundreds of crunchy leaves covered the entire trail so as you walked you heard the swish, crunch, swish of the leaves over the soft babble of the creek.  And the smell…oh the smell of fall! There truly isn’t anything like it and I’m not sure there is a way to capture it. The littles had fun making piles of leaves to jump into, walking along fallen trees like a tightrope and we even found a vine hanging over the trail. Well, you can’t just see a vine and walk past…you HAVE to get your Hubs to test it and see if you can swing on it!  After determining it was secure we spent quite a bit of time taking turns swinging like monkeys in the forest.  Fun stuff!

Sunday we worked on things at home until it was time to head to Bubba’s last fall baseball game. It’s so sad that the fall sports are coming to an end! The upside though is seeing how much all the boys on the team have improved. They all hit so well yesterday! Spring ball should be great!
Now it’s Monday and the start to a busy week. I think we have something going on every day. Bubba’s party is on Saturday as well so I have all the last minute preparations for that. He’s super excited to have his first ‘friend’ party! I’ll be posting more about the party and the fun stuff that’s going along with it as the week goes by.

Have a blessed week! xoxo