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Oh Thanksgiving how I love you and hate you all at the same time…

This year I  hosted Thanksgiving at my house, again.  I love Thanksgiving.  There is no better time for a family get together with tons of food, booze, and of course pie.  Oh, the pie.

I also love cooking.

But, what I have decided I love more…delegating the cooking!  This year, because we were going to be having so many people, I spread the cooking out to the in-towners.  The out-of-towners just had to show up while I cooked the rest.  Had I figured this out five years ago, life would have been so much simpler.

So, this year the menu went as follows…

  • Stuffing, pumpkin pie, bottle of wine – Mommy group friend
  • Green bean casserole – Brother and sister-in-law
  • Whipped mashed potatoes, crescent rolls – Mommy group friend
  • Broccoli cheese rice casserole – me
  • Sweet potato apple stuff – me
  • Cream corn – me
  • Cranberries – me
  • 2 pumpkin pies and a cherry pie – me
  • Turkey – me with help from mother-in-law
  • 2 Chocolate pudding pie – soon to be sister-in-law
  • “Green Stuff” pistachio pudding – brother-in-law
  • Gravy – Mother-in-law

So, did anyone notice there were 6 pies plus a pudding??  Yumm!

Anyway, like my mother, I try to make one new thing every year to try out.  If it’s a hit, we add it to the menu for the next year if not, I scrap it.  This year I added home made cranberries, although I am still a fan of the jellied, still looking like the can cranberries.  I also added cream corn.

This years winners…

Jennifer’s stuffing, oh my gosh, so good!  Cranberries, and after 5 years the sweet potato apple stuff finally came out right!

Epic fail…cream corn…blah.  This was disgusting!  I made it because my husband loves it but, let’s just say all of my leftovers are gone and I still have a full bowl of this corn.

So, as I finish what is probably my 15th piece of pie in the past two days, I would like to end with the things that I am thankful for…elastic band pajama pants, my son and husband, the rest of my family, my awesome friends, the ability to be a stay-at-home-mom, and that TCU had an undefeated season…GO FROGS!!


Prematurity is not something anyone wants to think about.  You want to celebrate your pregnancy, especially if it’s your first.  Making plans, picking out names, decorating the nursery, having strangers come up to you and ask about your growing belly…all these things  are what a pregnancy is supposed to be.  But, each year 543,000 of these pregnancies are cut short, for whatever reason, with a premature birth.  That is 1 in 8 each day.

Most of these babies will get to check in to hotel NICU where they will be aided by feeding tubes, breathing machines, and every monitor available.  But, for some there is not enough to be done.  Even with all of our technology, they were just born too soon.

Many of the NICU babies will grow up and lead normal, healthy, happy lives while others will struggle with developmental delays or disabilities.  As a mother of a preemie, I watch every movement my son makes and doesn’t make wondering if he will need special therapy in the future.  Wondering, if he will fit in with the rest of his age group, if he will have the ability to play an instrument like his father.

The life of a preemie from the beginning is different from the life of a full-term baby.  The average length of hospital stay for a full-term baby is 2.3 days while a preemie is 14.2 with many of these stays lasting for weeks and stretching into months.  Christopher stayed in the NICU for 47 days.

Instead of leaving the hospital with balloons, flowers, and a new baby; preemie moms go home empty-handed to a quiet house with an empty nursery.  These new moms make the return trip to the NICU day after day to encourage their little fighter to grow so they can some home.  Some hospitals are not equipped to handle the demands of some preemies and they are sent to bigger hospitals further away from the parents, making it harder for them to get there every day.

With Christopher, we were lucky.  Our hospital was 20 minutes away.  I was able to go every day and sit with him for 47 days.  There was another family in our unit that was from West Texas.  They were renting a hotel room down the street from the hospital because their home was five hours away.

Not only does prematurity take an emotional toll on a family it also takes a financial toll.  The cost difference between a full-term baby and a preemie can be outstanding.   A preemie can cost anywhere from three to ten times as much as a full-term baby.  Preemies require more outpatient visits as well as prescriptions than full-term babies.  Christopher’s hospital bill alone cost more than our first house.

Anyone can be affected by prematurity.  40% of premature births have no known cause.  FORTY PERCENT!  There are certain risk factors that studies have shown connections to such as; carrying multiples, previous pre-term births, and women with certain uterine or cervical abnormalities.  But, we just don’t know why premature births happen.

This is why I support the March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign.  Since 2003, the MOD has been trying to increase awareness of prematurity and trying to decrease the rate of premature births.  They have been raising funds to support research initiatives, providing information and support to pregnant women as well as families that have been affected by prematurity.

November is Prematurity Awareness month but, we need to be aware of prematurity year-round.  Prematurity affects too many people to ignore it.  Please join me in fighting for preemies by making a donation to the March of Dimes, writing a letter to your congressman, or even just posting on your blog.  Every little bit counts.  Christopher thanks you!

Christopher at 3 days old

Christopher at 11 months old


It’s no secret that I like to cook.  I also like to plan my meals in advance so that when I go to the store I don’t wander around like a fool trying to figure out what I need.  In order to plan my meals and not eat chicken every night of the week, I like to look at blogs or  One of my favorite blogs for recipes is I’m an Organizing Junkie.  She does Menu Plan Monday every week and it always has some great new ideas.

So, this week I was looking around for some new things to make and I came across Pizza Soup.  I’d like to say I came up with this by myself but, unfortunately I stole it from Stephanie at A Year of Slow Cooking.  Stephanie has some awesome recipes for your slow cooker or as I like to call it crock pot.

I did change a few things so, I’ll give you my recipe here.

Pizza Soup

  1. 1/2 onion, chopped
  2. 1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
  3. 1 can Italian diced tomatoes
  4. 1 small can sliced mushrooms (I actually forgot these)
  5. 1 cup pepperoni slices cut into quarters, I used turkey pepperoni
  6. 1 14 oz jar pizza sauce
  7. 3 jars of water
  8. 1 Tbs thyme
  9. 1 Tbs basil
  10. garlic however much you like!
  11. 1 cup penne pasta (I used 2 and it soaked up too much soup) I also used whole wheat pasta
  12. Shredded mozzarella, to add later

Wash and cut up veggies and put them in the pot.  Add the pepperoni and pizza sauce.  Then add 3 jars of water.  Stir and then add spices.  Cook on low for 6-9 hours.  I cooked on low for 6.  This is really to let all of the flavors mesh together.

30 minutes before you’re ready to eat add the pasta and cook on high for 30 minutes.

Pizza Soup

Serve with mozzarella cheese on top.  Yumm!


Too much pasta but, still good


This would be great with bread or a salad.

Or maybe just their children.

Yesterday Christopher had an appointment with Developmental Pediatric Services.  When children are born as early as Christopher was there can be all kinds of disabilities or delays that can affect them.  Anything from, cerebral palsy to hearing and vision impairments.  Aside from disabilities, preemies often have difficulty catching up on their milestones.  We’ve all heard of the milestones babies are supposed to achieve at certain ages…being able to sit up without assistance, using the pincer grasp, walking.  I have a chart on my fridge of what exactly Christopher is supposed to be doing and when.

When babies are born so far before their due date they are given an adjusted age based on how early they were born as well as their chronological age.  So, Christopher was born 2.5 months early, his chronological age is 11 months and his adjusted age is 8.5 months.  When we look at his milestone achievements and development we are supposed to go by his adjusted age.  Typically, it takes until the age of 2 for preemies to catch up developmentally with their full-term friends.

In order to track his progress we see a pediatric developmental specialist every 4-6 months.  Dr. Buchanan is our assigned doctor.  She does all kinds of fun tests with Christopher that test his skills.  Yesterday we got to bang blocks together, ring a bell (sort of), and eat Cheerios (yum!).  If there seems to be issues we get referred to another specialist to work on them.

So far everything is great!  Dr. Buchanan said that Christopher’s development is awesome for how early he was.  He is actually caught up with his gross motor skills (crawling and sitting), and within normal range for his adjusted age for his fine motor  and language skills.  I have actually been worrying over his language skills because we’re still just getting a lot of dadas and not much else.  But, the doctor said he is right in line for 8-9 months and probably after he starts walking he’ll take more time to concentrate on the talking.

We go back to see Dr. B in March to check Christopher’s progress at the adjusted age of 1 year.  I’m excited to see how it turns out.  So far, we have been so lucky with our little guy it’s almost hard to remember that he was a preemie and that we do have to watch for delays.  We’re just so proud of him!

For more info on developmental delays and early childhood intervention you can visit the March of Dimes link posted under sites we love.  They have some great info and links for families with preemies.

Remember November is prematurity awareness month!!


November is Prematurity Awareness Month.  Prematurity is obviously a cause that is near and dear to my heart.  Bloggers Unite is asking bloggers to post about a premature baby that is close to you on November 17th, Prematurity Awareness Day.  Follow the link below to find out more about it…

Fight For Preemies // Bloggers Unite

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Christopher Day 3

This is Christopher at 3 days old in the NICU