Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A New Year

I am really looking forward to 2009. Closing out the books on 2008 and moving forward. I've got too many ideas swishing around in my head but I know that 2009 will bring good things. I've got one big project that remains unfinished for 2008 but am hoping to wrap it up in the next week or two. I am the constant procrastinator. Without hard deadlines, I tend to flounder.

The last couple of weeks we were hit with some crazy weather. We probably had close to two feet of snow here in the Pacific Northwest. It was beautiful but it sure made driving a crazy experience. We were pretty much fine until the snow turned into this weird ice/slush mixture.

Our Christmas packages are still rolling in from the various postal services but Christmas was wonderful. We had power. We had hot food. We had our health. It was good and I was definitely spoiled.

I hope everyone has safe celebrations tonight and warm beds to crawl into after the festivities are over.

Happy holidays, warm winter wishes, and ring in the new year!

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Thank You & Good News!

I just wanted to thank everyone for the nice comments on the gift tags. It really made me smile each time I opened an e-mail with a thank you! I promise more goodies like that in the future.

On to some really good news. Darsie's teacher called me up the other day and wants to move Darsie up the older class in her preschool! She has been in the 3-year old class for a second year for a variety of reasons, mainly being that she is still two years out from kindergarten (our cut off is September 1st and she was born September 19th) and the teachers also wanted to give her a good opportunity to really succeed in school and help her become a leader.

Well, she has. She has impressed us all with her growth this year and her willingness and eagerness to learn. So, after the winter break, Darsie will be in the 4-year old class! It is a nice class because there will be four other girls (she has been with all boys!) and there are also typical peers in the new class. A good mix for typical and outstanding kids like D.

I'm really proud, to say the least.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Happy Holidays from Us to You!

Because I can't send each and everyone of you a gift for the Holidays, I created a sheet of gift tags that you can download, print out, and cut on the guides. Write a name on the back in your prettiest handwriting. And just a punch a hole in a corner and string some bakers twine or ribbon to tie to your package. 8 tags per page.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

A Plea for Small Businesses

Come February 9, 2009 countless small businesses will have their means ripped away from them when the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) goes into effect.

It basically states that any product manufactured for children under 12 or that a child under 12 could come into contact with will have to be tested for lead. This isn't just the big companies, it is ANYBODY - people that sell on Ebay, Etsy, private webs ites, boutiques, wholesale, even craft fairs and garage sales. All of the charitable stores (Goodwill, Salvation Army) will not be able to re-sell any child related item. Educational materials will need to be tested. ANYTHING that a child 12 or under could come into contact with - clothes, soap, toys, books, etc. etc..

Only HUGE corporations will be able to comply. The little folks will be decimated. Seriously.

Below are some great and helpful links..please read them and lets get going on this!

Please help, this effects EVERY ONE.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A couple of new items in the shop!

I just wanted to share these. I personally think they are adorable and am planning on stuffing some with beauty products to give as gifts to some ladies/girls.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving is near

Last year was the first time that I had ever cooked a turkey or hosted a Thanksgiving dinner. I spent the entire week beforehand prepping, cooking, cleaning. Needless to say, it was a LOT of work. So, this year, while we are hosting Thanksgiving again, we're doing it more of a potluck style. However, after the rave reviews from last year, I will be making my turkey, gravy, and stuffing again. While I'm hesitant to share my recipes since I don't want everyone in the world making MY turkey, who am I to keep it from you? Besides, I got it off the Internet and everything is better when shared with friends, right?

Turn turkey naysayers into turkey lovers with this Cider-Brined and Glazed Turkey from Bon Appetit, November 2005.

4 quarts apple cider, divided
1 1/2 cups kosher salt
1/4 cup whole allspice
8 bay leaves
4 quarts cold water
1 20-pound turkey (neck and gizzard reserved)

Sage Broth
2 cups low-salt chicken broth
1/2 onion, quartered
1 celery stalk, cut into 4 pieces
8 fresh sage leaves

2 cups apple cider
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves
1/4 cup applejack brandy or Calvados
1/4 cup whipping cream

For brine:
Simmer 1 quart apple cider, salt, allspice, and bay leaves in 20-quart pot 5 minutes, stirring often. Cool completely. Add remaining 3 quarts cider and 4 quarts water. Place turkey in brine. Cover and refrigerate overnight.Drain turkey and rinse. Arrange on several layers of paper towels in roasting pan. Refrigerate uncovered overnight.

For broth:

Simmer all ingredients in large saucepan 30 minutes. Strain sage broth into bowl.

For glaze:
Boil cider in saucepan until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 15 minutes. Whisk in butter. Cool completely.Set rack at lowest position in oven; preheat to 350°F. Remove paper towels from roasting pan. Pat main and neck cavities of turkey dry; stuff loosely with stuffing. Place turkey in pan, tuck wings under, and tie legs together loosely. Roast turkey 1 hour. Brush with some of glaze. Roast until beginning to brown, about 1 hour. Cover with foil. Roast until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 175°F, brushing with glaze every 30 minutes and adding up to 1 cup water to pan if drippings begin to burn, about 3 hours longer. Transfer turkey to platter; tent with foil. Let stand 30 minutes.

For gravy:

Pour pan juices into large measuring cup. Spoon off fat. Reserve 3 tablespoons fat and degreased juices. Pour sage broth into roasting pan. Bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Combine flour, sage leaves, and reserved 3 tablespoons fat in heavy large saucepan; stir over medium heat 1 minute. Whisk in broth from roasting pan and reserved pan juices. Add applejack and cream and boil until gravy thickens slightly, whisking often, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Strain into sauceboat. Serve turkey with gravy.
Simmer all ingredients in large saucepan 30 minutes. Strain sage broth into bowl.

Also a Bon Appetit recipe (November 2003) is my family-award-winning Italian Sausage and Parmesan Cheese stuffing. I changed it up quite a bit, though.

12 cups 1/2-inch cubes french-sourdough bread (from two 14.5-ounce loaves)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound Italian HOT sausages, casings removed (do yourself a favor and just buy the ground sausage)
3 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery with leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 large eggs, beaten to blend
1 cup low-salt chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread bread cubes on large rimmed baking sheet. Bake until bread is dry, about 15 minutes. Transfer to large bowl and cool. Maintain oven temperature.

Generously butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add sausages and sauté 5 minutes, breaking up with back of fork. Saute until cooked through. Using slotted spoon, transfer sausage mixture to bowl with bread cubes. Add 1 tablespoon oil to same skillet. Add onions and next 4 ingredients; sauté until onions and celery are tender but not brown, about 10 minutes. Add onion mixture to bread cubes. Stir in 3/4 cup Parmesan, parsley, salt, and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Mix eggs and broth into stuffing; transfer to baking dish. Cover dish with foil. Bake 40 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan and bake until top begins to brown, about 20 minutes.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My turn to rant: Target

So, the Better Business Bureau won't accept my complaint and Target has turned a blind eye to this issue.

I was one of the many people that Target has decided to upset by not honoring the price tag for a Britax Marathon car seat. It was shown as being priced at $42.99 with free shipping on their web site. A super fantastic deal. I placed my order and received a confirmation e-mail. The next day, I checked my order and from Target's account page, at one point it was there and later in the day it was gone. I later received this e-mail from Target:

Greetings from

Due to an unexpected error, the following item(s) you have ordered
were incorrectly priced at the time of your order.

Britax Marathon Convertible Car Seat - Granite

We're sorry, but we are unable to offer this item for the incorrect
price. The correct price is $279.99. We have canceled your order for
this item. If you would like to order this item at the correct price,
please visit to check for availability.

Despite our best efforts, a small number of items on our site are
occasionally mis-priced. We do, however, verify prices as part of our
shipping procedures. If we discover that an item's correct price is
higher than our stated price, we will either contact you for
instructions before shipping or cancel your order and notify you of
the cancellation. This pricing policy is posted in the Help section

Again, we're sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused
you. Thank you for being our valued guest.


Guest Service Department
WHAT? You know, I don't really feel like a valued guest right now. I feel like I've been duped. You offer something on your Web site, you honor the price. Mistakes happen to everyone. If I incorrectly priced something on my Etsy shop, do you think I could turn around and tell the buyer "oops, sorry!" NO. I couldn't and I WOULDN'T. It is an ethical issue to me. I respect my buyers and it is obvious that Target is indeed a corporation and cares about one thing, their bottom line.

So, bye Target. No holiday shopping for me or my family there and I encourage others to do the same. Buy handmade, buy local, buy from the small folks.

Another gift post....for the ladies in your lives

If you are a part of my family and/or are expecting to receive a Christmas gift from me, STOP READING NOW. If you read and your present is spoiled, too bad, you were given fair warning.
I have a girlfriend that makes absolutely beautiful and gorgeous jewelry. I've received three pieces now and they are all TOP quality and absolutely beautiful. She has a beautiful sense of style and uses only the highest quality of materials and her prices are still very reasonable. Items range from about $7 to $100, something for everyone. So, if you are in the market for jewelry and you want to buy handmade and/or mama made, please visit Jenlight at Polestar on Etsy.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Give the gift of.....

If you are a part of my family and/or are expecting to receive a Christmas gift from me, STOP READING NOW. If you read and your present is spoiled, too bad, you were given fair warning.
I guess I need to start thinking about *gasp* CHRISTMAS GIFTS.

Anyways...on to gift giving. As I'm sure most of you know, I'm alllll about giving the handmade, but it just isn't always practical OR the right gift. Take both of my children for instance. They love plastic much to my dismay. Last year I made Elise a stuffed cat for Christmas and they have barely looked at it twice. And sometimes, you just have to pick up something that you know without an absolute doubt that the receiver will LOVE.

I tend to put together gift baskets for family that is far away and also for Jeff's employees and coworkers. This year, I plan on giving lots of Grounds for Change coffee and mugs. Jeff and I have been so lucky to have dinner a couple of times with the family behind this tremendous organization and I can tell you, both the family (I'll try to keep some of their anonymity) and the business is top notch. You couldn't be friends with nicer and more giving folks.

We recently hosted dinner at our house for a get together with them and afterwards, they sent us a fantastic sampling of their coffee. It arrived the day after it was roasted. Serious. Comparing it to the beans I already had, this coffee is of the highest quality. Two of the roasts that I've sampled so far are their Solstice blend and their Cafe Femenino blend. And I have it from the best source (a friend that I sent the mug to) that their mugs are awesome (and also locally made to us).

I've had a lot of coffee in my life. I've been drinking it ever since I could sneak snips and while I wouldn't say I was an expert, anyone that loves coffee would appreciate something from Grounds for Change. They also have items for tea lovers, too.

Seriously, I cannot praise this company and group enough. They are huge supporters of the environment and give back soooo much. If you give coffee this year, give Grounds for Change. I know that I will. I couldn't imagine handing over a Starbuck's gift card when I could give this.

WHAT a Week!

Both of the girls have some sort of stomach bug and Jeff and I were serenaded with (please turn away if you are easily offended) synchronized throwing up by Elise and Darsie at 2:55am today. Elise has been throwing up once or twice a day for the last three days or so and Darsie succumbed to the evilness last night. I'm hoping they are both on the mend. No more upchucks since this morning.

A reminder to everyone - BACK UP YOUR COMPUTER'S HARD DRIVE(s). I installed some software on my computer so I could connect to the new external hard drive that we bought last weekend and somehow it totally jacked up my OS. I couldn't start it up so I had to do an archive & install. I was crying at the thought of losing months of photos and hours upon hours of freelance design work. I seriously did, on the phone, with Jeff. Luckily, I was able to recover everything and have been backing up everything all today.

On another note. Does anybody have a Mac Mini? I'm working on a seriously old OS here (10.2) and a lot of web features and new programs/hardware just won't work with my computer (hence the back-up warning above). I'm torn between just updating my OS (think noisy fan/hard drive) or getting a new system. My real issue is that I have thousands of dollars worth of design software that I cannot upgrade and will not work on a new OS. It is sort of like being stuck between a rock and a hard place. I NEED to upgrade or buy a new system but the money issue really sucks. I did pick up a new freelance job this week which should help but GAH! I need new software NOW, too.

Oh well. My girls are relatively healthy, Jeff is healthy, I'm healthy. I really do not have anything to complain about.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Because NOBODY Can Resist Halloween Costumes on Kids!

Botox Update

In other news, we've decided to go with sedation when D gets her Botox injections. After much thought, advice and talks with other parents, it is just the best route for us to go with her. It can take up to 30 days for insurance approval, so I'll keep updating when we know more. Thanks so much for everyone's words of encouragement with this process.

A New Addition to Etsy

I just wanted to share these new additions to my Etsy shop. I've also got a couple of different style of wallets in the works as well.

Forecast of Rain Bag

Fishing for Compliments Messenger Bag

Free shipping for the entire month of November on any of my items.

I love "designing" new patterns. I think sewing is so enjoyable and it really stretches my brain to work in ways that it usually doesn't need to. I am now thinking of myself as "part engineer/part mama". I love that someone can take a flat piece of cotton and construct it into so many forms and variations. It is pretty amazing.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Folklore Forest Dress

The Folklore Forest Dress
For girls ranging in sizes from 0 to 4T - $24 + $2.50 shipping

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Botox Injections for Kids with CP

If anybody has any experience with this or has read a great article about it, please share. We had D's consultation yesterday and the doctor recommended Botox injections for her calf and foot. We expected it, obviously, but it is still somewhat of a shock. We just have to decide whether or not to sedate D for it. The doctor prefers it that way and while I'm sure D would be much more comfortable sedated, it just worries me. It is a quick acting sedative given by IV but of course, I can't remember the name. The ICU doctors would administer it and monitor D for the 15 or so minutes it would take to do the injections.

I'm going to post a video later of how she walks now and then will (hopefully) follow up with how she walks after the injections.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The way things happen...

My mother in law is visiting right now and our heater died yesterday. Woke up to a 58 degree house and a wet and rainy fall world. I love the way the universe works sometimes. However, we did score a brand new $599 microfiber sectional yesterday thanks to Jeff's ability to wheel and deal and ask for managers.

Photos from the pumpkin patch visit this weekend once the heater is fixed. Hopefully everyone had a lovely weekend.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Still busy, still here, still reading.

Fall is the best season ever, EVER! I love it, I love it, I love it. I would really love to learn how to knit so I could make sweaters but when to find the time? I have new products I want to sew, quilts I want to bind, children to play with, cookies to bake, a MIL coming to visit this week.

I'm neck high in projects right now but it is such a good thing. When I'm busy, I'm fulfilled. I'm not really one to sit around and do nothing and I'm finally, FINALLY feeling like I'm getting back into life after having two kids. It only takes two years or so. My creativity is coming back. My desire to go above and beyond and try new things is coming back. This fall I'm feeling more alive. More better, more me.

I'm going to share the two new items I released on Etsy last week. It is my goal to do something new each and every week, or at least every other week. Who knows, it may go to once a month but for now I'm trying.

More fun new things coming soon, I promise! A new site is heavily in the works right now as well, so look for that soon!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Please leave a message at the beep.

Business on my Etsy shop has gone hog wild this week, so please excuse my absence. I introduced a new Fall apple print and it has really been quite popular. So popular, in fact, that I've placed two orders this week for more.
I've got lots of fun projects in the works, lots of delicious recipes to share, cute kids to talk about, and all that is involved in every day life. So please, bear with me! I'm going to sew like a crazy woman tomorrow and hopefully free up the time for a REAL post.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Some really cool photography

I've met a lot of cool and unique folks through this blog of mine. A lot of very creative and generous folks, such as Betty Ninja. She does some of the most fun and funkiest through the viewfinder photography and she just opened up an Etsy shop - Lost in the Woods to sell some of this great photography. Please go check her out! She is a fabulous quilter, a great photographer, and she is studying to become a speech therapist right now.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Ugly pillow to pretty pillow transformation

1. Measure your ugly pillow. Mine was 15 inches square. Add 2 inches to each side to get your fabric measurements. So, my 15 inches square turns to 17 inches square.

2. Cut one piece of fabric to your measurement. At this point I have one piece of fabric that is 17 inches by 17 inches. This is the front of your pillow.

3. Divide your measurement in half (17 x 17 would now be 8.5 x 8.5). Take this number and add 3 (8.5 +3=11.5). Now, cut two pieces of fabric to this mesurement (17 x 11.5). These two pieces will make up the back envelope of the cover.

4. On the two smaller pieces, hem the two edges that will form the envelope opening. I did a rolled hem, meaning I folded in the edge 1/4" and then folded it in again, making a clean hem.

5. With the pretty sides of the fabric pieces facing each other, line up all three pieces. The smaller pieces will overlap, creating that envelope opening. Pin in place.

6. Sew all the way around all four edges. Turn out. Stuff with pillow.

Tada. Done. End of story. Easy Peasy.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Winner, Some CP Stuff, and Some Sewing Stuff

I want to thank everyone for their participation in my fun little giveaway for a t-shirt. I ended up entering everyone who commented at that post because it was too much to separate them out (sometimes I get a bit lazy when it comes to administrative work).

Anyways, long story short, Swistle is the winner! In all my giveaways (the three million I've done, ha!) I have NEVER EVER seen the random number generator generate 1. So, it seems to be sort of an anomaly. I'm always hesitant to enter giveaways as the first one because of that very reason. Anyways, I've been proven wrong.

Ok, so one to some CP stuff. Darsie's physical therapist has decided that now is the time for Darsie to go to the Pediatric Rehabilitative doctor for a consultation that will most likely result in either Botox injections in her foot, serial casting of her foot (where her foot is casted into the correct position for extended periods of time), or a combination of the two. We have an appointment lined up for mid-October but it is a bit nerve wracking. She currently twists her foot in pretty good and walks on the exterior edge of it rather than how you or I walk. If we can correct it now and keep it corrected, we can hopefully avoid surgery down the road or at the very least, push it out as far as possible.

Elise (no CP but this is still motor related) is doing really well these days. She is receiving occupational therapy once a week and is scooching on her butt still. I've seen her pull up to standing a couple times now and is really gaining a lot of strength. She is going to the local Early Intervention play group once a week and she is a hoot. She is the loudest and eats the most. Such a delicate girl.

Ok, and on to some sewing stuff.

We bought some rocking chairs for our front porch a couple of weeks ago and the black looked a bit stark against the gray-green of the house. So, I took two pillows that are on our boat (it came without about 10 throw pillows...all really ugly and weird colors) and recovered them. I used an envelope cover so if we decide to change the covers, it is easy to do so. I just used some fabric that I already had in my stash and they seriously took about ten minutes to do. So easy.

If anybody is interested in a tutorial, just holler.

I also sewed up this little pouch this morning. My purse is huge and it gets cluttered very quickly, so I though that perhaps some little pouches would help alleviate that problem. Cute, huh? It is lined in red cotton so it is a little snazzy inside.

Now I just need to get on my Christmas list. Ugh.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Giveaway Reminder!

Don't forget to enter to win my giveaway. I'm giving away one t-shirt like this one:
What I'm offering: 1 short sleeved t-shirt in a child's size for either a boy or a girl (we can pick different fabric). You can pick either a d4 design like above except with your initial and number or just a single number or letter, whichever you prefer.

What I need is help coming up with a name for the shirts because I would like to sell them on Etsy. So, you leave me a name idea, you get one entry into the giveaway. You put a link to the giveaway or the shirt on your blog, you get three additional entries for a grand total of four.

Giveaway ends Monday at midnight.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Some quilt block stuff & a giveaway!

Recently I signed up to be a part of a group of women (I think it is all women..hrmmmm) and join the Busy Little Quilting Bee. This group is set up so that one or two people mails out packages of fabric each month to all of the other members and those members then construct quilt blocks from the fabric and a set of instructions. We are in month one and I managed to polish off my blocks today. Now, I've never done "wonky" blocks and I am a bit nervous since I have really only been sewing for a couple of years, but here they are:

For Autum

For Dana (you all have to go to her soap shop and buy some of her goat milk soap...the citrus basil is especially divine!)
In other sewing news, I'm start up a giveaway this week for a d4 shirt. I would like to come up
a snazzy name for them. Anyways, please leave a comment with your name for the d4 shirt (seen in the post below this one). You can pick the size (kids sizes only) and it can be for either a boy or a girl (I'll change the fabric up for either one). You can get 3 extra bonus entries if you post about it on your blog. Remember to send me the link so I can add your 3 extra entries!

Giveaway will end next Monday, September 29th at midnight.

And the party is over...

It is always a sigh of relief once the festivities are over. As a kid, the letdown was harsh, but as an adult, it comes as a huge relief. The best part though it that Darsie had a fantastic birthday. Thank you to everyone to who left a message in response to her birthday post/story.

She had a great party full of family, hot dogs, hamburgers, chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting, pin the tail on the donkey, a pinata, and as many juice boxes as a girl could drink. She played in the dirt, twirled in her "party dress" (her term, not mine, although I did make the skirt and appliqué the t-shirt).

The margaritas and wine kept the adults happy.

All was well. It was a great day.

Friday, September 19, 2008

From Tiny to Mighty: Darsie Turns Four!

Today is pretty monumental around this household as Darsie Ferrari W. turns FOUR! FOUR! I can't even believe it.

I found out I was pregnant with Darsie a couple of weeks after Jeff and I had moved into our first home. We were already in shell shock about everything that goes along with buying your first house (especially a fixer-upper) and then this. Boy, we were surprised. Our world changed even more in just a few moments. I had already helped paint, move a fridge, had had celebratory wine! I had already broken all the rules! The baby was due December 10th.

An uneventful pregnancy progressed. I had all the regular doctor visits, we found out we were having a girl! I had afternoon sickness, couldn't stomach garlic or onions (much to Jeff's chagrin). Late August we pulled up the carpet in our living room and put down a Pergo floor and installed a pellet stove. My belly grew.

The third week of September I had a doctor appointment where my blood pressure was high, even after multiple retakes. Blood was drawn, urine was tested, everything came back fine. I was told to keep an eye on it and to call if it got above a certain point or I started experiencing a long list of symptoms. We thought it was just stress. Nothing to be concerned about, right? I was 27 weeks pregnant.

Friday, September 17th we went after work to a Mariner's game with a couple we are good friends with. I think the Mariner's lost, all I really remember is REALLY REALLY wanting a churro and walking the arena repeatedly looking for this churro.

I had a horrible night. My shoulder hurt, I couldn't sleep, I was achy -- something just wasn't right. Jeff woke up in the morning and I relayed how I was feeling. We took my blood pressure and I was sure that my machine was broken. I can't remember the exact number, but it wasn't possible for blood pressure to be THAT high, right? Still, with everything I was feeling, I knew that something was wonky. I called into the doctor and was told that I needed to get a reliable blood pressure reading so Jeff hauled me off to the local fire station and they confirmed that it was high. Off to the hospital it was for us.

We took a ferry (missing it by seconds, even though we told them to hold the ferry as it was a medical emergency) and I was admitted immediately. I was already spilling protein in my urine. My blood pressure was indeed super high (I need to get the numbers from Jeff at some point). I was given a steroid shot for the baby's lungs within an hour of arrival. At this point, I was told we were just trying to hold on for as long as possible, keep the baby inside until it wasn't safe anymore. I was sick. The baby was sick. We called family and mine made a lightening trip up from California, simply arriving at the airport and telling them they needed to get to Washington, however, but as quickly as possible.

The night passed. There was a ton of monitoring, tons of blood tests. The news was that the baby was starting to show signs of stress. Today was the day that our baby, that we had named Darsie, was going to be born. My c-section was pushed back due to an emergency c-section. And so, at around 9pm, our baby Darsie was born at just 28 weeks. She weighed 1lb. 12oz.. Immediately she was intubated and taken to the NICU to be stabilized. On my way back from recovery, they took my bed up to the NICU and let me see her, beautiful under all those tubes and wires and beeping lights.

I remained in the hospital another week trying to get my blood pressure under control and stabilized. I was ultimately diagnosed with HELLP syndrome. While still in the hospital, we learned that our beautiful and perfect baby girl had experienced a major bleed in her brain, a grade IV IVH as was called. The worst grade of bleed diagnosed on the left side of her brain. We were given dire predictions and horrible outcomes. We were crushed. We were devastated. What did the future hold for us? What did it hold for our little girl? Nobody could tell us. Nobody would give us much hope.

We held her, we loved her, we knew that everything would be ok. She was perfect.

She grew, she thrived, and the day before Thanksgiving, she came home. Jeff kept her home and with minimal visits until Easter. We were stuck at home but we were keeping our baby girl healthy.

Jeff and I were married the following June and Darsie turned one in September. A diagnosis of hemiplegia cerebral palsy came. We weren't surprised. She simply wasn't meeting milestones and due to her early birth and bleed, she had been followed closely. We were expecting something.

She sat unassisted for the first time on her first birthday. She started playgroup at the Early Intervention center. She started OT through the Elks, eventually she started PT. She continued to thrive, to grow, to develop. She rolled everywhere until she finally in the later part of this year, crawled.

She turned two. Walked shortly after her second birthday. Continued her therapies, worked on some hydrotherapy stuff with Sheila, our Elk's OT. We had another baby, Elise.

She turned three. Went to the developmental preschool that is run through the school district. She rode the bus.

And today she is four. She isn't potty trained but we are working on it. She is a beautiful girl who loves her sister, her doo-doo (Papa), and her mama. She loves to color, she loves to draw, she loves to help. She loves the outside, riding her bike or her quad. She is great. I wouldn't change her any way. We had such terrible outcomes and while she has CP, she is Darsie. She is who she is. We still do PT once a week and she goes to developmental preschool. I wish you could all see who she is because she is wonderful.

She will always be my baby girl, my missy boo, my Darsie-doodle. I love her with every fiber of my being. I'm so lucky to know her and to love her and to spend everyday with her.

Happy birthday, Darsie! Happy FOUR! I can't wait to see what the future holds for you, or rather, what YOU hold for the future.