Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I have not done a WILW post in SUCH a loooong time and there’s so much lately that I find myself saying, “I LOVE ______” Fill in the blank. Head over to Jamie's blog for some more WILW finds. For me, here goes…

Completely loving some of my Valentine’s Day related Pinterest finds! And yes, I 've tried these already so they have my full support!

 This cupcake recipe was easy and turned out really yummy & looks ohso festive!

 This strawberry hot chocolate was also just as easy & festive! Mine turned out like this...

 Miranda Lambert’s new song is ahhh-mazing. Girlfriend just keeps getting better and better.

I’m this close to finishing Tim Tebow’s book. I will admit, I have a huge crush on this man. S is fully aware of the situation. We’re cool.

via bing images

There are few things that will make me get my butt out of a warm cozy bed on an early, dreary Saturday morning. This little boy and his basketball team are one of them.

Please overlook the orange-y-ness of these pics. The gym is old, lighting was bad, kids move fast. I can keep going.

Last year, I had the great honor of being asked to "model" in a fashion show at one of the hospital's big fundraisers, A Woman's Heart, which benefits The Heart Fund through the Foundation at Cookeville Regional Medical Center to assist heart patients and educate women in the Upper Cumberland about heart health. It was so much fun to get all guss-ied up but more importantly to be doing it for an excellent cause. I've been asked to "model" again for this year's event on February 9, and I  jumped at the opportunity. This afternoon, we get to go try on dresses and pick out which ones we want to wear that night!

And oh yeah….Hawaii…4 days. We’re there! I can’t stand it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That's it my loves! What are you loving this week? 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Near & Dear to My Heart

Last week, Emilee’s mom & aunt hosted a Valentine’s Day Paint Party.

I made this cute little something…

Emilee’s cute little something….

The Paint Party gals!

Now to something a little more serious. I don’t normally use this blog as a place for raising awareness to any group / fundraiser / etc. If I like something, I like it. If I don’t, I usually keep my opinions to myself unless asked or try to be careful with the words I do choose to use. Because even though I may not like or support whatever, others do and I respect their opinions and feelings enough to be careful with how I voice my own.

However, I need to share with you a cause that is near and very dear to my heart. Perfect timing too, January is National Blood Donor Month. And, next week we will celebrate my Dad's 62nd birthday. I will still be in Hawaii on his actual birthday and I don't plan on blogging  while on vacation, but one can never tell. So in lieu of a birthday post, this one is most definitely in his honor. 

via Google images

If you have never donated blood and are able to, I beg you to do so. You just have NO clue how your donation can literally save someone’s life.

Case in point…

In the summer of 2008, my dad experienced a sudden onset of what would later be diagnosed as diverticulosis. He was in severe pain and passing a substantial amount of blood. He was rushed to the ER around 6pm and immediately started receiving a blood transfusion. We were told that even though he was being given blood, he was losing even more at a higher rate. His vital signs were dropping significantly. His condition was worsening at an alarming pace. He was moved to ICU. We were told he needed surgery but only under 2 conditions. 1. He would need a scope procedure done first to determine exactly where the bleeding was originating from. They would not open him up for exploratory surgery -  his body would not survive it. 2. His vital signs, primarily blood pressure had to reach a certain a level in order to even do the scope.

So they were continually pushing blood transfusions to replace what he was so quickly losing and different medications through IV’s in order to get his BP up. Early the next morning, he BP finally reached what was beginning to seem like an elusive number. The gastrointestinal doctor on-call came up to the ICU with her staff and performed a colonoscopy in his room. As soon as she was able to find the source of the bleeding (where the pouches of diverticulum had ruptured), they were able to send him down to surgery. Literally within MINUTES, a surgical team was in his room, unplugging wires, machines, etc and pushed his bed out of the room and ran the bed down the hall to the elevators and then downstairs to surgery. It played out like a scene from the tv show ER. We knew it was a risky procedure seeing as how his vitals were just barely at an acceptable level, but we also knew without that surgery, he wouldn’t last much longer.

I have never in my  life seen my father or anyone for that matter in such severe pain. Screaming in pain. The scary part came somewhere around 4am. His vitals were dropping drastically and he was still losing blood. He felt like his time on this earth was limited. My mom and I were in his room and he told her goodbye and told her to tell the girls (me and my sister) goodbye and to “never let Riley forget me.” (Colin hadn’t been born yet.) Tough stuff, right?

In recent years, he has said that he remembers most everything that happened during those 16 crucial hours. He has said that he did feel like he was dying. He says he wasn’t afraid to die, but that he was terrified to leave us all  behind.

The surgery was successful and so many prayers were answered. About a week later, our Dad came home and after several weeks of healing and rest, he returned to his regular lifestyle.

After it was all said and done, he received 14 units of blood. 14. The average human body only holds 10. Meaning every single drop of blood in his body was lost and replaced and then some.

I say all of that, to say this….

Had it not been for 14 strangers who decided to give blood for whatever reasons they did, my dad would not be here with us today. It’s as simple as that. Before all of this happened, my stance on giving blood was something like this, “Yeah, I guess I could. BUT, I just don’t have time to today.” or “I’ve never really thought about it, I guess I could someday.” It was never a flat out, no I would never give blood. I just didn’t see the importance in it. Until the summer of 2008.

Ever since, I have given blood as often as I have been able to. I am not trying to toot my own horn, but merely hoping that what little I can say would help encourage someone else to give. Sparing 20 minutes of your day can save as many as 3 people’s lives! It is estimated about 44,000 units of donated blood are used every day! And there’s a 95% chance, you stand a chance of needing a blood transfusion by age 72. Is it sinking now how important your donation is needed?

I give locally through Blood Assurance. Click here to read more about this non-for-profit organization that serves more than 50 health care facilities in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and North Carolina. However, there are many other organizations you can go through. Check out the American Red Cross’s website here, to find a blood drive in your area.

I don’t know whose blood my dad received and quite honestly, I don’t care. What I do care about and will be forever thankful for is that 14 donors decided to do it. If I could hug their necks, I would. I often thank God for them and their decision to give. My continued prayer is that as long as I am able, I will give. And that perhaps, anything that I can say or the example that I set will encourage someone else to make the decision to give. You CAN save someone’s life.

January is National Blood Donor Month, make the best of it and save someone’s life today.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Waiting on Anna - Part 3

Last weekend, more of Angela's friends gathered to celebrate the upcoming birth of Miss Anna Ruth. Here are some deets..

This cake was soo yummy!

Angela racked up some more goods to take back to Manchester.

And, there was my gift. (See the blog post below this one for more on this cute idea!)

Nate's mom made her these apron-like contraptions called "hooter hiders" (HA). She can throw this around her neck when she gets ready to breastfeed and still stay covered up. The top part sticks out so that she can still look down and see the baby's face. WHAT WILL they think of next??!

Another inside joke / gag gift.

Originally, our hostesses Emily and Krista asked me paint a canvas so that everyone could write on it well wishes for Anna. However, it turned out so dang cute, none of them (Angela included) could bring themselves to write on it when the time came! I will admit, this did not hurt my feelings at all. 

Instead of your traditional baby shower games, Emily & KB had onesies for us to decorate.

It was so fun to see how they all turned out!

Yours truly whipped up this beaut.

Mrs. Kaye (Angela's Mom), Ang & Mrs. Ruth (Nate's Mom). Baby Anna will be the first grandchild for both families!! All together now...SPOILED!

Angela with her life-long friends and our wonderful hostesses, Krista and Emily

I'm so excited to meet Anna soon!

The aftermath

Emily & KB sent everyone on their way with these cute cookie favors! They were pretty tasty too!! true Angela form, here's one final shot of our mommy-to-be.

Friends, she does not disappoint. I love her so.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Waiting on Anna - Part 2

I know, I know...I've posted this next picture about 17 times already, but I just LOVE it so! Amy took all the pics from the shower and she did a wonderful job. This one just happens to be my favorite.

Next up, was making these cute monthly birthday onesies. I've been seeing these on different blogs and on Etsy and have been dying to do this as a gift for someone! They turned out so wonderful! First you need 12 onesies in the appropriate sizes.

Then you'll need some cute stickers to signify each month of baby's first year! I got these from the super cute Etsy store, Buddha Bellies.

Then, slap these suckers on the onesies.

The point of this gift is so that the mommy can take pictures of her baby each month and at the end of the first year, you can look back and see how much the baby grows month to month.

Roll 'em up and package them all up really cute!

Next up, canvas #2, even though you already saw it in the previous pictures....

This one was designed to match Anna's bedding and I am in LOVE with how it turned out!! Below is Anna's bedding.
I just love all the dainty little details and I also love the mix of Pinks and Red. I would've never thought about pairing these two together, but they work sooooo sooooo well!

Come back tomorrow for Part 3 of Waiting on Anna!!