Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Crazy Weather

Okay, yesterday this was the beautiful flower bush right outside my front door.
Today, this was my windshield...seriously?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Ambassador Family Speech

My husband and I are honored to stand here with our daughter. We speak to you today as the proud parents of a NICU graduate.

Nothing with my pregnancy with our daughter Gillian was easy or considered normal. I was diagnosed with pregnancy induced hypertension 19 days after finding out I was pregnant and taken out of work. I was put on medication and told to go home to relax. At 14 weeks I was advised that I was high risk for having a premature baby. My doctor didn’t really offer information on preemies; most baby books don’t have a very elaborate preemie section so I sought comfort with the March of Dimes website. Because of this site I knew the terms that doctors used, knew what questions to ask and was able to seek comfort in success stories. This website helped me feel that I still had some control over a situation that was completely out of my control.

The blood pressure medicine and my bed rest only went so far and just shy of the 25 week mark I developed preeclampsia. I was admitted to CVPH then transported to Fletcher Allen; the doctors didn’t feel that I was getting sick rapidly so I was released with the hopes that I would make it another month. I made it 4 days and was admitted again, this time being told that I was not leaving until after my daughter was born. At 26 weeks 3 days my kidneys were showing the signs of failing and I was told that my daughter had to be delivered. The doctors had warned us that although I had received the two steroid shots to help her lungs develop faster that she would not be able to cry when she was born. Gillian was born crying, her cry gave my husband and I the greatest hope to start the NICU journey.

Our excitement was short lived as we got use to life in the NICU. The first time I was able to meet my daughter was when she was two days old and I had to be wheeled into the NICU. Nothing prepares a parent to see their baby in a NICU. The noises from all the machines, the staff working diligently with all the babies, all the wires and being surrounded by so many babies fighting for their lives is beyond overwhelming. Even with everything going on, I saw the most beautiful baby in the world. It was heart breaking to not be able to hold her.

Gillian was born weighing 1lb 12 ozs and 14.5 inches long. During her first few days she received treatments founded by the March of Dimes – surfactant to help her lungs inflate and nitric oxide to help her blood absorb oxygen. She was intubated for the first 33 days of her life and received 7 blood transfusions during her hospital stay. When Gillian was 6 days old I was discharged from the hospital. Walking from the maternity floor to our car in the parking garage at Fletcher Allen was the longest walk I had ever taken. Gillian and I should have left together but my arms were empty and I struggled to hold the tears in. Her NICU stay was the roller coaster ride we had been advised to expect – infections, procedures and waiting. After 93 days of waiting and hoping, Gillian came home. It was one of the happiest days of our lives.

Our journey with prematurity did not end when we walked out of the NICU that day which is what we had first expected. The first 3 years of Gillian’s life was spent meeting with doctors, speech therapists and physical therapists to make sure that Gillian caught up with her age group. We celebrated the successes and with every set back we hoped for a success in the near future to get us through.

Today, we can proudly stand here and tell you that Gillian has beaten the odds. She is a healthy, strong 4 year old girl that when compared to other children her age does not show any signs of her premature past. It is through the work that the March of Dimes does that gave our daughter this possibility.

We hope that you will continue to support the March of Dimes so that one day all babies are born healthy.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

March for Babies 2010

Today was the March for Babies. I have been waiting a year for today. I wrote my speech in January so I would have plenty of time to practice it. I know I'm not a good public speaker so I was worried about how my speech would go. My friend has been helping me get comfortable with talking about Gillian's hospital stay and the first three years of Gillian's life. Prior to seeking out my friend I would get extremely choked up or cry if I tried to talk about it. So I was kind of nervous to give my speech but not as nervous as I expected. I've been practicing my speech daily for 3 weeks so I knew I was ready. And I feel that I nailed it. And now I feel is like the largest weight has been lifted. Now everyone knows what happened....what we went through....I wish that I had been able to do it sooner. It was a beautiful day which was a nice change, normally we freeze or get soaked by rain. It was the perfect day to start living again....
Team Gillian 2010 - finished this year at $3260 for a total in the past 4 years of $11,623!
Grampie Brooks and Gillian
Grampie Brooks

Danielle, Jacob and Bill

Grammie Brooks

Grammie and Grampie Miner

Me giving my speech

Gillian and Craig during my speech.

And the walk begins....

All the people that came out for the walk.

Jody, Gillian and Grammie Brooks

Jody after the walk

Craig, Gillian and me

Saturday, April 24, 2010


I HATE gardening. When we moved into our home in 2003, there were tons of gardens around the yard....flower gardens, herb gardens, and numerous flower bushes. My husband and I spent 6 years getting rid of all the flower and herb gardens and last summer we learned how much Gillian enjoys gardening.

Today I spent 8 hours gardening. My whole body hurts...I dug out an 8' X 10' plot to put in a grass garden. It has Zebra Grass, Rose Fountain Grass, Daring Deception Daylilies and Blue Festuca Grass. I thought maybe that I would start to enjoy gardening once I got involved with it but no....I think I hate it more now.

But although Gillian has been sick....she loves HER garden. That is all that matters....

March for Babies

The March for Babies walk is tomorrow and I'm pretty excited this year. Normally I'm super nervous and feel tons of anxiety until it is over. This year, I feel calm which is surprising because we are the ambassador family and I have to give a speech. Yeah, me public speak....not something you see often. I wrote my speech in I have had time to practice and read and read and read through it so my fingers are crossed that I make it through it tomorrow. My team has done a really AWESOME job raising money and I'm excited to see where we finish. I'm confident we will raise enough to meet our career raising amount of $10,000 in 4 years:) I'm looking so forward to saying we have raised $10,000. Currently we are at $8363 over the past 3 years....we'll have to wait till tomorrow to see. I'm hoping for good weather too!

Friday, April 23, 2010

More Sadness

Today Craig's friend was laid to rest. It was a very sad day. He was well known in the community and I hadn't heard anyone say he wasn't a "great guy". The procession had quite a ways to go from the funeral home out to the church. Since Gillian is still sick I didn't want her to have to sit through the funeral so I told her we would go see the fire trucks and motorcycles go by along the route. We got there early so we wouldn't miss them. I knew it would be loud because of all the motorcycles so I warned her of this. I have to say it was the most amazing site to see the fire trucks followed by so many bikes and the limos then more fire trucks. I actually commented to the person standing next to me it was like I was watching the president go by. Cars were pulling over. I had never seen anything like it and I don't think that his friends and family could have planned a better tribute to an amazing person.

Gillian enjoyed the event not realizing she was seeing more than fire trucks and motorcycles. She waved and they waved back. Her upset moment was when all the bikes had gone by and she hadn't figured out which one had her Daddy riding on it. I told her he was there even if she didn't see him.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sickness and sadness

Gillian has had a little she woke up today with a fever of 102.6:( I need to get her healthy for this Sunday for the March for Babies. We are the Ambassador family and talking at the event. This is bad timing

So how young is too young to take a child to a wake? I took Gillian to a wake last year for her Great-Grandmother. She didn't go near the casket. She probably thought it was a big party because she didn't even seem to notice the body.

I took her to another wake today for a friend of Craig's that past away this past Saturday. I had planned on going and she is sick so I didn't want to have someone watch her and I figured since I'm not a fan of wakes that this gave me the perfect reason for in and out. She came to the casket with us, I told her Craig's friend was sleeping although she knew he had died and she knows what that means (sort of). She at least knows you don't see the people or animals anymore. She stared at him very intently and I waited for questions and she didn't ask any. When we got out to the car I asked if she had any questions and she said no. She seemed very overwhelmed by the situation because crowds intimidate her and there were a lot of people at this wake. I'm hoping that we are showing her it is important to show respect by taking her.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Happy Wednesday!

Okay so I was happy no one was around to hear this one....although it is funny, someone might have had their feelings hurt!

So I was helping Gillian out of the back of my car and we were parked next to an early 90s Honda that had seen better days. Gillian says,"Look Mommy that car has a hole in it!" So I turn around and there is a hole where the car has rusted. And then she says,"They must get wet when it rains...they need a new car!"

So yes.....I'm raising a snob just like me!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Day #2

Due to lack of sleep Bob and Craig started the final steps of the swing set later in the day. After 3 was together and waiting for a special little girl to come home from daycare.

A very happy girl enjoyed an evening of playing on her new playground!

Thank you Bill, Bob & Craig for your hard work to get this together! It will be enjoyed for years to come:)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Day #1

Sunday it was a cold day that looked like it could rain at any moment....Bill, Bob and Craig started work on the swing set. There were 3 boxes and a slide. Which meant there were lots of parts.

Large Parts.

Small Parts.

There was a forewoman watching every move they made from the comfort of her home.

After 8 hours and 20 of the 30 steps complete, they were beyond cold and stopped for the day.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Happy Wednesday!

After Gillian completed her first lap around our development - .7 of a mile, she asked if she could bike to Grammie Miner's house. Lol...we explained that Grammie's wasn't as close as it seemed when riding in a car. We explained that she needed to work up to such a long bike

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Meet Gracie - Our newest addition

Gillian loves cats. We don'thave to bring toys when we are going to visit a person that owns a cat because Gillian spends the entire time playing with the cat or at least trying to as most run away from her.

I have been bugging Craig for quite some time that we should get Gillian a kitten. He was resistent and said no many times. I had been looking around and I found some black & gray kittens at the pet store. I don't know why I wanted a black & gray kitten, just what I pictured. I convinced Craig to go see the kittens with me to check when they were ready because I didn't trust the shady guy I had spoken to on Saturday.

I'm glad that we went because the kittens were ready on Monday and one was already on hold. So an employee brought out the two remaining kittens....I held one and Craig held the other. The one I held was loud and kept crying and clawing me....Craig's just laid there and was all mellow. I asked to take both home...Craig was like no but I felt bad for the one that would be left alone. Craig said I was lucky I was getting one.

So I signed all the papers and the kitten was coming home. We weren't sure how Pooh was going to take it. We had tried bringing a 2nd dog at one point and that didn't work so we were unsure. There has mainly been a lot of chasing and slobber. So we will have to wait and see but I think it is going to work out fine....

And Gillian is thrilled!

Monday, April 12, 2010

I think they are trying to off me!

So I posted about the amazing progress that Gillian is making on her bike. I'm convinced that Craig is working with her while I sleep.

Today I took Gillian around the development for her bike ride and I had to jog to keep up and she was yelling faster faster. Neighbors have taken notice of her progress and made nice comments. I had to explain to Gillian that I was old and out of shape so we couldn't go faster. This would last a little bit then I would be running again trying to keep up. If my life insurance was worth it, I really would think that Craig and Gillian were in on trying to off!

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Gillian got a bike for Easter. I wasn't sure how the bike would go over. I always admit that my daughter is not the most coordinated person. Due to either prematurity or genetics or both, she struggles with coordination.

She has been a trooper with it. She started to somewhat be able to ride it the day she got it and she asked daily to practice. She got the bike on Sunday and by Friday of the same week she is able to ride the bike around our development. She needs a little help steering but for the most part she is pretty good. She has had two major falls but both times got up and got right back on the bike even with the tears she continued on. During one of the spills, she even cut next to her left eye and it was bleeding but she continued. She did .7 mile Friday, .7 mile Saturday and 1.4 miles today. She loves to go pedalling on her bike and I love to watch her and be mesmerized by her complete coordination to do so.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

Craig and I have done pretty much everything out of order:) I originally met Craig in 9th grade typing class. Yup, you read correctly I said typing class because computers weren't quite as popular We sat near each other in class and it was the only class we had together our entire high school career. We didn't have any common friends. So needless to say we knew who each other was but that was the extent of our relationship.

Fast forward to 2001 and I started to see Craig quite frequently on the bar I also started to run into him Friday evenings while he was at happy hour with some people I knew. Again, we didn't really say anything to each other. Then in late 2001, I was out (by myself) because the people I had gone out with had left and I wasn't drinking but was visiting with people. Craig and I started talking and it just took off from there. We started meeting up downtown then we started hanging out besides downtown. We became really good friends and eventually started dating.

In August 2003 we bought a house together, we didn't look at it as the commitment that other people probably do. All of our money was still separate and either of us could have walked away at any point. In May 2005, we got engaged on a vacation in Vegas and vowed we would be back for a Vegas wedding. In October 2005, we unexpectedly became pregnant. Wedding plans were put on a hold for a bit and we married in April 2007 in Vegas.

Now 3 years later, I can't imagine my life without Craig. It seems like he has always been there. He is a phenomenal husband and father. Sometimes I don't think he realizes how wonderful he is or what an impact he has had on my life. I know that I would not be the person that I am today without him.

I love you Craig and to many more happy anniversaries together:)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

New Video

Please see new video below! Let me know what you think!

4 year apt today

Gillian had her 4 year physical today. Although her favorite book is The Berenstain Bears Go To The Doctor she would rather not go. Not that I blame her. She doesn't fully understand why some stranger needs to be in her personal space. She doesn't even like her personal space invaded by someone she knows....just like me!

I gave her a heads up last night that she was going to be headed to the doctor and explained hat it was similar to her book and was just to make sure she was growing the way a health kid (instead of cub) should. This really didn't help.

This morning she somewhat whined about it but nothing too life ending. Prior to leaving the house we bribed her with a mini kit kat bar that she would receive if she did well at her apt. She held onto it for dear life for the drive to the office. We convinced her to leave it in the car while we went in, mainly so the melted candy bar could regain some of it's shape from her holding it so tight.

Amazingly we timed it right and when we checked in there were 0 people in the waiting room and when we got called back there were 5 kids waiting plus adults. And we waited less than 10 minutes. Our office recently went computerized so there were tons of questions then we got to the stuff that we enjoy.

Weight 33.2 lbs (33rd percentile)
Height 41 inches (76th percentile)

I had expected a lecture about her weight as she is skin, bones and muscle but the doctor didn't say anything...possibly because Craig mentioned a concern about a tape worm because she eats all the time and never seems to get wider just taller (every person's dream!). The doctor asked her questions and she attempted to complete everything asked and was able to do the majority of it. She even talked back to the doctor after a while (she is not a fan of strangers and even less of a fan of strange men). I remembered to clean her ears but not brush her teeth (crap)...shame on us but we impressed him that she has been going to the dentist every 6 months and normally does get her teeth brushed. We were advised to give her more water and avoid bubble bathes because she is a girl. I had not hear this before but made total sense to me as I can not take a bubble bath. Other than that we got a - see you next year:) Woo hoo!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Happy Wednesday!

The funny things this week are -

Craig told Gillian he was going to put a sweatshirt on her because the weather was going to be nice. Gillian's response,"So we can put the swing set up?"

I told Gillian we were having guests over for Easter. Gillian's response,"We have to hurry up and get the swing set up so everyone can see it." That was at 7pm the night before people were coming. She does not realize that the swing set is considered a large project in our house.

Gillian's Aunt Grace was visiting and she told Gillian that boys have coodies except for Daddy. She asked Gillian if she knew what coodies were and Gillian said,"No." Grace said,"They are germs." Gillian's response,"EEEWWWW!"

Monday, April 5, 2010

Weekend Recap

It was a busy weekend! I have almost completed raking the yard. I just want it done but I have to wait for the yard to completely dry and part of the yard still isn't completely dry even with all the nice weather we have had.
Saturday Gillian and I went to visit cows. A friend of mine, Tina has some cows and got a baby so we went up to feed the baby and see the cows. This is a very big deal to Gillian as she loves animals.
The 1 year old cows...

Baby cow - T Bone

I loved both of these pictures...

I couldn't decide which picture to post so I put both up:)

In the afternoon it was warm enough that we busted out the sprinkler.

Saturday night we went to a family dinner.

Sunday morning we woke up early to see what the Easter Bunny had brought. Then we had family brunch followed by lazy day!

Gillian was excited to see all the eggs that the Easter Bunny left for her to find....

Inside Easter egg hunt!

The bike was an Easter present from Grammie and Grampie Miner!

Outside egg hunt!

Family Pic!

Playing hoola hoop...

Friday, April 2, 2010


It felt like a really long week. We did get quite a bit accomplished. Due to the nice weather, half the yard has been raked. Yes, I'm in tons of pain! We also got Gillian signed up to play t-ball this summer. She seems excited and says she wants to play but she said that for dance so we will have to wait and see.