Tuesday, January 20, 2015

My GE Dishwasher from Ryan homes.

    Well it has been 2 months and all though we love the house and the neighborhood, I do NOT love that our dishwasher broke at 7 weeks. GE was very difficult to get ahold of and to actually speak to a person was a challenge. I troubleshot the issue first but when it didn't work I did call and the customer service rep tried to help but nothing worked. We waited 4 days for an appointment with GE. 

This may sound a little "snooty" but I seriously hated washing my dishes every day for 9 days. I work 40 hours a week and have two kids, it was very annoying and time consuming. I couldn't wait until the GE appointment came up and I could get it fixed. We have two kids and they create A LOT of dishes. When I came home the day of the appointment and I saw the GE man was here, I skipped to the door. He had just arrived and in under 5 minutes he let us know that he did NOT have the part we needed.  

It would be another five days until he had the part and was back to fix our dishwasher. When my husband told him he was concerned that our dishwasher already needed service and was not feeling confident about our chances going forward. The GE man replied with a "yes, we have lots of issues with this model". 

Awesome

Five more days of dish washing came and went and the part was installed in under 5 minutes. Knock wood, the dishwasher is working but I have no faith.

I am mildly irritated at Ryan homes because they use this product and I have seen online complaints about the item. I asked when we were building if we could upgrade to a different model due to the complaints and I was told it wasn't possible. I get it, its policy. But now, I have this nice house and a dishwasher that already broke. I called Ryan home service to make sure they are aware of the issue but was told they would "note it" and nothing else could be done. 

I tell everyone how great my experience was with Ryan homes and how much I loved it. I wonder what they think now when at work I spend my lunches calling GE and waiting on a service appointment.  Also, GE has a terrible customer service line. They don't even give you an option to reach a person, you have to find your way past the automated service where you hope if you push enough wrong buttons, someone will pick up. Terrible.

Similar but not my piece of GE junk -  Ryan homes, don't put these products in your homes. Don't build pretty homes and then have them move in and wash dishes. This is a plastic, non drying, faulty dishwasher.  Not impressed and if it breaks again, I will be super cheesed and end up calling the GE number and pushing buttons until someone answers. 



                              

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Moments of impact -

 

   I find this post one of the hardest to compose. Even though I have a million descriptions of feelings and thoughts, I have had the hardest time putting into words about this day. 

This is the day that changed our daughter's life and opened us up to the fear that can hit a parent and send you on a journey you never see coming. 

         Here is the story of my Baby and our moment of impact-

October 18th, 2013 - I took our daughters for the 4 month and 2 year checkups at the doctor. We had a nice appointment. The girls were growing nicely and the visit was standard. Our 2 year old didn't need any vaccines but our 4 month old did. That day she was to receive 5 shots. Vaccines have always made me nervous but I believe in the lesser of two evils. We only had minor issues with our older daughter so this time around I was more trusting. 


I am haunted by this day.

Here are my beautiful girls, happily waiting to see the doctor..




Late that day my baby was fussy and we put her to bed early that night. Around 7:30 pm I heard a strange noise through the monitor and rushed upstairs. I flipped on a light and my husband and I witnessed our 4 month old having a seizure. Her head was at a weird angle, her eyes were rolled back, her body was tightly shaking. I scooped her up, told my husband she was having a seizure and ran downstairs to take her to the emergency room. My husband wasn't quite sure what he saw but I knew in my gut that I had just watched my baby have a seizure.


Our 2 year old was asleep so my husband stayed home. I called my mom and told her what happened. She is on my way to the emergency room so she went with me. The seizure only lasted a couple of moments so I had to describe to the ER doctor what the issue was. He basically made me believe that I didn't really see what I thought I was seeing and that a child her age having a seizure (without a fever) is rare. He asked me if I wanted to subject my baby to a bunch of un-necessary testing. 

He made me doubt myself and so I believed him and thought maybe I over reacted.  1 hour after arriving home, she was asleep and it happened again. I gathered up my daughter, her diaper bag and any extra items I would need. Picked my mom back up and headed straight to the Children's hospital. 

I wasn't going back to the local ER again. The doctor at the local ER made me feel silly even when I was sure. My second lesson to trust my gut had been learned.

After a long ER stay where they took blood from my sweet baby, put in an IV and did some testing. We were finally admitted, my husband arrived and with in a short time our daughter had her 3rd seizure. This time all the nurses on the floor were witnesses and told us that yes, it was a seizure. 






Watching our baby seize is one of the scariest moments of our lives. It was a horrible, helpless moment. I thank God for the nurses who took care of her and us while we stood by her hospital bed unable to help. 


We quickly were introduced to our first pediatric neurosurgeon and our daughter at 17 weeks had her very first Spinal tap. We had to hand over our small baby to a doctor we had never met to have a needle injected in her spine. We weren't able to accompany her and my husband and I didn't speak while she was gone. We weren't able to and we didn't need to, we were both scared.


All of our tests came back negative- The MRI, Spinal tap, Catscan, blood cultures, physical and neurological exams. Waiting while these tests are ran and watching your tiny baby go thru all these huge machines isn't something I will soon forget.


The doctors felt sure that this could possible have just been a reaction to the vaccines and that typically it is an isolated event and so after three days,they were comfortable sending us home.


I was ready to go home and being that my baby only had seizures in her sleep I was grateful that she still slept next to my bed.

We were home for 1 1/2 days and she had 3 more seizures. We went to see our neurologist in the office and she immediately admitted us to the EMU. The Epilepsy monitoring unit. The baby had to be hooked up to a EEG and monitored for 72 hours. It was a long and scary 72 hours.




No seizures happened while we were there so after 72 hours we were again released. We settled back into home life with the constant watchful eye on the baby..wondering if it would happen again.

We were home for 13 days when our she had 8 seizures in a day. The seizures exhausted her so much that she was non-responsive all day and wouldn't wake up for more than a few moments. Becoming a quick expert on hospital stays I packed us up for 3 days and took her to the ER again. We were re-admitted again to the EMU and this is where we finally had sucess. If this is what I can call it. 

On this particular Seizure we were able to get it on video and to see what kind of seizures she was having, where they started in her brain and that every time she had a seizure her oxygen levels dipped. They had to give her oxygen and this was like a kick to my gut. I didn't notice that she was cyanotic and what it looked like.. how could I not have known? 




They gave her a loading dose of medicine to stop the seizures and started her on her own medication for stopping these seizures. 

I learned some good lessons on this trips.
1. Advocate for your child you are the only one who can do it.
2. Ask the questions over and over and over until you are comfortable with the answers (there are none) or at least the path they send your child down.
3. Don't let someone tell you you are wrong or maybe you are over reacting (ER visit) believe in yourself.


I am a mommy who learned quickly what fear tastes like and repeated the silent prayers that you say when you are pacing the floor in a hospital room over and over while you are holding onto your child.

Dear God, please let my baby be okay, Dear God, please let my baby be okay.

I will continue her story in another post as this one is a bit lengthy. We will be told that it adamantly not the vaccine and again I will doubt myself even though in my heart I know. We have learned so much from this journey we have been on..soon we will head down the path of genetics, second opinions and the scary things they will tell you until they know the exact diagnosis. Exact diagnosis is a sentence that doesn't go together. 

Share your stories with me as I will continue to share mine! 

Here is a visual effect of seizures on the body, it is a great description of what happens before and after a seizure. I found this very useful as my daughter is unable to tell us how she is feeling. 

 http://www.healthline.com/health/epilepsy/effects-on-body

Preschool is for play, not academics.

We sent our daughter to Preschool when she turned 3, her birthday was in July so she went to school as an "early" three. My husband and I were filled with excitement and trepidation at the big "first day of school".  It was emotionally a rough day for me as she was my first child and she was going off to virtual strangers. I felt very comfortable with the school, I met the director and we went to the open house so we met the teachers. We saw her class room and where she would hang her back pack. All of my worries went away that first day when she came out of school and she LOVED it. She had a wonderful day and she liked her teachers. Each day that she went off to school and came home with a smile, my worry decreased. I gave myself a mental high five and felt proud that we picked the right school for our daughter.



 
Starting at week three after my child was in school for a total of 18 hours, I was sat down by the teachers and told the many ways my child wasn't measuring up. The list contained learning to social skills to concerns over physical development. Needless to say my husband and I were floored. We were asked to have our daughter assessed and we quickly made an appointment. The first was a concern over speech, I listened to what they had to say and got an immediate appointment with the Speech therapist. After the appointment the therapist gave us three minor items to work on and was mildly surprised that we would be sent to therapy. Two weeks later we had these small "quirks" fixed with our daughter. I gave the report to the teachers and left feeling confident. Our therapist had no concern and stated our daughter spoke well for her age. One month later on a conversation with the teacher I was asked if I trusted my therapist. Did I trust my therapist? Um, Yes I really liked her and thought what she had to say was very appropriate. I was gently pushed into getting my daughter evaluated again. At first I didn't want to, I didn't understand why they didn't trust the first evaluation but the teacher listed off brand new concerns and again we decided that we would get her evaluated. Early intervention can save children extensive therapy later and I wanted to be objective so we went, again. We used the schools this time at the behest of the pre-school teacher and once again our daughter was fully assessed and she tested well above her age group and above the average for kids her age. The specialists saw no reason to continue therapy after the appointment. I have given the report to the teachers but we are on Christmas break so I await a response. I am not sure what I am looking for from them but I have spent my first few months of preschool worrying that I missed something with my daughter. Each of the three people we have spoken with were very surprised at what the teachers had to say but in return each of them stated the same thing.
The preschool curriculum that is being put up on our daughter is well above her age group and that perhaps we should look at other options. 
 
My heart hurt for my daughter and after all the negatives. I finally asked the teacher if she could tell me anything good about my daughter. Tell me is she kind? Does she like the kids in school? Does she listen well? What does the enjoy most in school? I was given an abundant list of the good things my daughter loves and how kind and compassionate she is with others. As her mother I already knew all of this because she is my daughter and I know her down to her soul but it was nice that her teacher was able to say things to me that were good in my child.
 
The above mentioned specialists all stated the same thing, that in the United States we create learning disabilities with how our curriculum works. That we are forcing education on children so early that they don't actually have time to learn the other things important to life. Social skills, playing and creating. My daughter's teacher always says "everyone but your daughter". I say my daughter is shy (true) and she rebukes this, I say she is cautious and she comes up with why she is different in a negative way. I say "all children are different" and she finds reasons this isn't true. I respect our preschool teacher and the fact that she seems to love all the children and actually care for them and that she is an expert when it comes to preschoolers. We aren't switching schools right now because she comes home every day with a smile and she can't wait to go back. My husband and I talk about our feelings and concerns and we speak of them only when she is asleep at night. My mom feels the same way and my friends with kids in preschool have been floored at these stories I have shared. I am slightly heartbroken at our first experience with school and teachers. My daughter is funny and kind and smart and a totally normal 3 year old little girl. I already knew this about my daughter but now we have two evaluations that agree. These things she can't do are above her age group and I have had 2 teachers tell me the "work" they do is at Kindergarten level and would be difficult for any three year old in preschool. When my mom found an article she gave it to me in hopes that it would ease my mind and the inner struggle I was experiencing about school.
 
 
Please take a moment and read this article, we are grateful that if there was anything wrong with our daughter we would have been alerted immediately and been able to help her. We were surprised that our first evaluation wasn't taken seriously and that our teachers didn't trust where we chose to take our child. They were concerned at the speed that I got an appointment and for that they questioned the evaluation.  I am frustrated and dismayed that when we went into this new stage of life with our daughter we weren't aware of the measuring stick that would be used. Even more the concern that was initially caused by these teachers had my husband and I in a mild panic. What did we miss? Did we not see something we should have? We have 5 more months to go for our first year of preschool and instead of looking forward to going back after Christmas break, I dread it. What will they say next, what is the next note I will get home? Will they not believe this assessment either? My best friend jokingly calls our preschool the "Harvard" preschool and is continually floored at these stories. Teachers have a hard job but we put our three year old in preschool to get her feet wet in school, make some friends and learn mainly how to be in a school environment. What I learned is that the days of PRE school are over, learning to make friends and not eat paste are a thing of the past. Its the CORE curriculum at the early age of three. Two assessments later and being assured our daughter is not just at the normal range but often above the range we hope the rest of the school year is more of what we originally had hoped for. Unless of course the teacher doesn't believe the assessment either. My main worry is how Preschool changed and how the hell we can change it back for all the kids that will start school!


Garage, organizing and a personal touch

   We have occupied our new home for seven weeks and when we moved in the holiday was breathing down our necks. We had time to unpack and feel a little settled but that was it before the craziness picked up and we were celebrating our very first Christmas. This year I was more anxious than usual to pack away the holiday items and get back to a normal schedule. Back to early bedtimes for the kids and no more skipping of the nap time. I wanted to finally be in the house and start to take stock of what needed to be done. The truth is you think when you build a new house that you wouldn't need to do anything but the actual truth be told is that there is a amazing list of things that need done. When you start to think about all the things on your list it can be hard to pick a starting point.

I needed to start small so I opened some of my boxes and took out some of my favorite picture frames. My husband started hanging pictures and after some trips to Hobby Lobby I found 3 new frames. Once we had some pictures hung the house started to feel more like home. Now with a few pictures on the wall it has begun to feel a little more like ours and less like the nice house we are renting.


             Outside Stair wall by the front door                                  Wall next to laundry room


              Right side family room wall                              Next to morning room door


We have our focus on the garage so that we can keep it organized. With winter coming we would like to have everything off the floor. Also, in summer with the bikes and the toys it will keep the chaos in it's own space. We chose to get quotes from Monkey bars. Here is a picture of what we plan on doing.






We have our appointment on today and once we get our quotes we should be on our way to happy storage time. Our garage currently looks like this:











Next on my punch list is the playroom (living room) we have made our window seats but the disorganization is still too much so we are taking a family trip to Ikea soon to solve all of my storage issues. That room is my favorite of the house and while it was being built I had many ideas for the room. I want something functional but beautiful for my daughters.

I need book cases, a small play table (I plan to build this), a cute rug and possible a chandelier. My sister in law made beautiful chandelier's for her daughters wedding and when I saw them I thought how beautiful it would be for the playroom.  This is something that I picture.



For anyone who built a Florence or has a mud room, what is your plan? Please share with me?

I hope all of your houses are keeping you happy and busy and for those still building I hope you are enjoying the process.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Shutterfly my Holiday

                        
              The Holidays are always special and I enjoy shopping but sometimes trying to buy just the right gift for someone I love can be a challenge. My daughters are easy and at their age the wrapping is still the most exciting part so for them so its really no challenge. My teenage nieces want money so once again that gift choice may be boring but easy.  I struggle buying for my parents. The older they get the less they need and my mom is always telling me not to buy them anything.
   
   Lucky for me my mom and dad both love pictures and thankfully I love to take pictures. This year I was able to do a good portion of my shopping on Shutterfly. I have been a fan for a long time and make all of my daughter's scrapbooks from the site so when I was browsing for something for my mom I found a new product.

                                    


These table runners are new from Shutterfly and can be made to fit any taste. They have Holiday, every day and special occasion ones. I made the one on the left for my mom and it came in two sizes. The sizes I much appreciated because we purchased a new table for our new house and I haven't been able to find a table runner to fit the table. They have them for 7 and 8 foot tables so I am also ordering one for myself as my very own Christmas gift (from me to me). I couldn't resist an opportunity to put the beautiful faces of my daughters onto a table runner for myself.  This one below is for me and my new table.

                                                           

They had some great products this year so I was able to order for my mom, my sister-in-law and my Christmas cards all in one place.  I plan to go back after Christmas and do some shopping for the new house. Also, I am not at all humble when it comes to my daughters and feel their faces should be put on many items. I barely restrained myself when I saw that you could personalize wrapping paper. Christmas 2015 will have a new look under the tree for our family..and I can't wait.

                                                             
                                                            

Well shop on shoppers, you can find some really great and special gifts for someone you love. I can't wait to give my mom her table runner filled with pictures of our family. I have to say that this is not a sponsored post, I just really love the company and with all the new products its really easy to make something unique. I can't wait to shop in January when the craziness of the holidays has slowed down and I have time to design me some wall art!
                               




                                                          

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Two weeks in our Florence

      Two weeks has flown by in the new house and each night before we go to bed my husband and I feel like pinching ourselves. We were on a long road to get where we are now. It is so hard to imagine that we have moved in and have our first holiday under our belt. Yesterday we had our first official visitors and I really got to break in the kitchen. It was a lovely visit and we were excited to show off the house. We have definitely made some strides in organizing the house and getting things where we want them.

   Something I have been struggling with is wanting everything done right away and that is just not realistic. At night when I try to sleep the list of things that need done starts to run away in my mind. What should I paint, organize, change, move around? This weekend I was lucky enough to have an extra day off for the holiday and that gave me some of the time I needed to get a hold on things.

Unfinished side of the basement-  All though this wasn't on our priority it ended up being the part of the house was "finished" first. We purchased the standard five shelf metal storage shelves that you can find in any store. We found our shelves in both Home Depot and Menards. We were pleasantly surprised at how much they hold. Our basement is now organized and sorted. We had a large storage shed for months and it was packed to the proverbial gills so when we got everything in and we had more then enough space to spare, I was once again impressed with the house. I have a corner in the basement that is also set aside for a springtime garage sale. Once that is gone then my husband will turn that corner into a workout corner.

Finished side of the basement - We only had future intentions for this side of the basement. We would eventually like to purchase a nice pull out sofa that would be good for guests. With the bathroom down there it would be a perfect space for an overnight family or friend. It is currently set up to entertain our 2 girls and they love it. What we have learned is that our 1 1/2 year old can open any door in the house. With the long handles if she steps on her tip toes she is able to open the doors. We need a plan for this because the girls can get into the pantry and help themselves to snacks.

Here is a small idea of a possible sofa for the basement:








We have little other things done and the list is still long but we are making our way. I will post more as we go because I am slowly but surely designing the playroom for the girls and I can't wait to finish that and be able to share.

For all my building and blogging friends what are you doing with your lofts or extra rooms? We currently have our office there but design wise I am having trouble deciding. Any ideas? Please share your ideas.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

French Onion Soup in the crock pot



     I started a tradition at work with a soup cook off and for our first year I actually won with my Sausage Corn Chowder . When it was time for the second annual cook off I knew I would have to bring something great if I was going to keep getting that first place trophy. Not to spoil the end of the story but I won second place this year instead of first. Don't get me wrong, my soup was Kick Ass but I was bested by a worthy opponent. I will share both recipes on this post.

     I did a little something different with the French Onion Soup this time, I wanted the onions to be a bit caramelized so I cooked them down first and let them get a bit brown to help with the taste of the soup.

    The amount I made will make about 10-12 servings and will be a full crock pot of soup. Most of this soup is made outside of the crock pot but for keeping it warm and serving a group its pretty perfect.

    I took three large white onions and sliced them, I separated out the rings of the onions so they would cook evenly.  I added them to a large pot on med/high heat with 1/2 stick of butter and let them cook about 40-50 minutes. You will start with a pot full of onion and then when they are cooked you will have drastically less and they will have a bit of brown on them. You will want to stir them so they caramelize evenly.

   To the crock pot I added five10 Oz cans of broth. I used 3 cans of beef broth and 2 cans of beef consume. You can use all five cans as beef broth but I like the consume because it makes the soup a bit thicker and it really adds to the taste of the soup. You can find consume in the same section with the soup.





  Prior to adding the onions to the soup, sprinkle the onions with a little bit of garlic powder and stir. Add the onions and stir these together, once the soup is heated through add half the bag of cheese to the soup and stir. You will want to use this cheese, if not you will need to get a mix of cheeses and
make sure one is a gruyere.




    Right before serving the soup add the bag of croutons and cover the top with cheese. Sprinkle with a bit of flat parsley and you are ready to go.





Enjoy, the soup is easy but really very delicious, I would love to hear comments if anyone makes the soup.  Please see below for the winner of our soup contest, my co-worker Michele won using a great soup recipe from Skinnytaste.




 Ingredients for the French Onion Soup:


3- 10 oz cans of beef broth
2 - 10 oz cans of beef consume
1 - Bag of flavored croutons (I chose garlic)
2 - Bags of Kraft Italian cheese
Flat leaf parsley for sprinkling on top
3 large white onions
1 1/2 teaspoons of garlic flavoring
1/2 stick of butter

_______________________________________________________________________________

  1st place Soup winner - Buffalo Chicken and Bean Chili 


You can find the entire post here on Skinnytaste and this is a must try. It had heat and flavor and the correct serving is definitely something to enjoy.
                          
Congratulations Michele and I look forward to next year!