Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Planning a Party with PaperlessPost.com

PaperlessPost.com


So, anyone who knows me knows my life can be a little crazy most the time, but having a crazy, busy life doesn't mean you can be rude, right?  Right!  Thank goodness that almost everyone I know I can connect with online because sometimes, like in this case, before I know it it's too late to mail out party invites.  It's pretty rude to get an invite the day after the party.  Wouldn't you agree?

So I was excited to try out .paperlesspost.com  I spotted this cute invitation, personalized it and I was good to go.  The best part is that you can email it out to your guest straight from their website.  It appears in their inbox with a cute envelope and they can quickly let you know if they can attend.  It makes the whole RSVP process so much easier and YES people will respond.  I must admit I am not the best at the RSVP, but if I was sent this invite it makes it hard not to.

You can see when your guest opened the invite from your tracking page that is created for you once your invites are sent.  You quickly have access to your guest response. Your guest can also post notes and pictures on your party's page.

PaperlessPost made my job so much easier then last year.  I love not having to dig for addresses, searching for invites, getting stamps, and then remembering to stop at the Post Office to get them in the mail on time.

If you live a crazy, busy and beautiful life like myself don't stress yourself out over a party anymore.
After all, there suppose to fun, right? :0)

I am hooked on online party invites from now.

Family check your inbox from now on....No more snail mail from me!!!

xoxoxo

Erin&Raygen




Friday, July 28, 2017

Fractured Wrist

Last week Raygen was running around our kitchen at work and slipped and landed hard on her right wrist.  Her right side is her weaker side due to her stroke and several other factors so it was no surprise that she fractured her wrist.  It really was only a matter of time.  She doesn't understand how to protect herself when she stumbles and so an accident was bound to happen sooner or later.  Thankfully, my Dad realized when he was helping Raygen with some stretching that she was really uncomfortable every time he touched her right wrist.  Raygen was even crying at times.  So we discussed it and figured we better take her to the doctor to have it looked at.  Better safe then sorry. 
Thank goodness I took her in because after two x-rays the radiologist determined she fractured it.  It's 3 weeks in the brace and then she is good to go.  That is what Centralia told me, but since I wasn't comfortable with their plan I have scheduled Raygen to see Ortho at Seattle Children's on Wednesday.  I really would like her wrist evaluated again and make sure it is only a fracture.  The x-ray that Raygen had taken in Centralia was not the best.  I know because I had to hold her and try to hold her hand down for the x-ray and it wasn't pretty. 
So far she handles the brace pretty well.  It bothers her when she gets overheated or when she wants to get wet, but other then that she has been tolerating it.  I am able to take it off for baths and we did take it off once for the sprinkler, but other then that she wears it 24/7. 
Raygen's new favorite past time is throwing hay around in the barn.  She will do this for hours and horse poo doesn't bother her one bit, lol!!  It's so wonderful that you can make her so happy by just taking her outside to the barn.  There is nothing better then making this little girl happy.

We have a very busy week ahead.  Monday GI at Tacoma, Wednesday Ortho at Seattle and it's Wedding Week.  My Niece is getting married next Saturday so there is a lot of hair and nail appointments and decorating etc......  I'm already tired just thinking about it. 
Oh' yeah did I mention I still have to work, take care of two kids, a husband, and a house, lol!!

XOXO
Hope everyone is enjoying the sun!

Erin&Raygen



I'm getting ready for our annual company picnic and I found the cutest invitations at Paperless Post I can not wait to customize them and get them sent out.  Don't worry I plan on sharing all the details with you.  But in the meantime you need to check them out.



Saturday, June 24, 2017

Summer Time

The weather is finally nice and we have been so busy.  Raygen is doing wonderful!  Zoie keeps us busy with her rodeo schedule and Raygen continues to amaze us in her ABA therapy.  I can't believe it's been so long since my last post.  In some ways that is good because it means everything is going good and were very busy, but on the other hand I miss posting on the blog.   
I am excited to see what the summer holds for us.  Big adventures I hope.

Hope everyone else gets a little sunshine this weekend!

XOXO

Erin&Raygen

Friday, May 26, 2017

We've been busy...

I just can't believe how time flies being Raygen's mom.  I just love looking back and seeing how far she has come.  She used to love to wear my sunglasses.
Raygen had her first trip to Build a Bear and she loved it.  The last month or so she has been watching video's of girls going to Build a Bear and so I finally decided I would take her and see what happens.  When we walked passed the store she immediately pointed in that direction and wanted to go in.  She went it and looked at all the bears and picked out the Belle Bear.  It's the cutest $60.00 bear I have ever seen, lol!  I thought for sure she would change her mind a million times before I finally just told her I was deciding for her, but no that wasn't the case at all.  Once Raygen picked her bear she was in love.  Belle travels everywhere with us the last week so I think it was a wise investment.  I can't wait to take her back again someday.

Her BFF gave her a doll house.  She loves it.  
Nothing better then a nap and I just love watching her sleep.  I can't get enough of this kid.
Wow!!  Raygen's hair has always been crazy.  I am so glad we have lost the kangaroo pump.  

I think I want to put this on a huge build board somewhere or a T-Shirt.  Just remember this next time your in Walmart or any public location and see children not behaving "Good" or "Well" they may not be the brat you think they are????

XOXO

Erin&Raygen



Monday, May 1, 2017

She lost her first tooth!!


It's hard to see in the pictures, but Raygen finally lost her first tooth.  It's a top front tooth :0)  Who knew this girl could be even cuter?

I was lucky enough to save it for the tooth fairy.  We have an appointment in Seattle on Friday and since Raygen has been watching Build a Bear video's on U-tube I think we may stop and check one out to celebrate!!!

XOXO

Erin&Raygen




I've been having a lot of tummy trouble lately so I've been cleaning up my diet.  Most of you know I'm a huge fan of IdealFit and Ideal Shape products and they just introduced Idealraw.  I ordered my on Friday and can not wait to test it out. 

Vegan Friendly

  • Dairy Free
  • Gluten Free
  • Soy Free
  • USDA Certified Organic
  • Non-GMO
  • Naturally Sweetened
  • Sunday, April 23, 2017

    Hard to Look Back


    Did you know it's not uncommon for parents of CHD children to suffer PTSD?  I often believe that is something that has affected me lately.  I don't believe I allowed myself to "feel" too much at the beginning of Raygen's life because everyday was so overwhelming I don't think I could have made it through.  I lived minute to minute and that is all I could handle.  I was a complete mess during the first year.  I hardly spoke to anyone besides my husband and parents, never left Raygen's side, and the rare moments we were home hardly left the confinement of my four walls.  This was mostly by choice, but made a lot out of fear.  Fear of something happening if I looked away, went to the store, or even took a nap?  I would never forgive myself if I wasn't there. 

    I look at this picture with a huge feeling of love.  Nothing warms my heart more then my Dad holding my children, but look closely.  Raygen was barely a month old.  She's weak, slightly purple and hours away from almost poisoning herself to death.  This picture shoots fear through my entire body.  I tense and feel like breaking down because this is the day I almost lost her.  She had survived the hardest open heart surgery that anyone could ever have and yet came out with paralyzed vocal cords.  Her poor body could not blow off the CO2 her body was producing and she was almost literally killing herself with each breathe.  If you could hear her during this time she sounded like a little humming bird.  If you think that is a good sound? You'd be wrong. 

    Hours after this picture was taken we were watching 10 or more doctors try to save Raygen's life.  First they stressed her out because they couldn't get an iv and being poked so many times and screaming she lost all of her reserve.  Before I knew it she was purple and being bagged and I was screaming.  I cry now.  Typing this.  I don't like to relive these moments, but they are part of her life and part of what makes her so special.  I thought I lost her.  Seeing your daughter bagged is a sight no parent should ever witness and if you do, you will never forget.  I had to leave.  I couldn't watch.  I couldn't.  I ran out and got my Dad.  My Dad and Randy watched as I cried in my Mom's lap.  Begging, pleading with God not to let her go. 

    She didn't go.  She fought.  She fought hard.  That baby had way more strength and courage then her Mom did.  Raygen has not had an easy road.  After this night she spent weeks on a ventilator to see if her paralyzed vocal cords would start to work again.  Unfortunately, for her, they didn't.  The doctors gave us two choices.  One: We continue letting her live on a ventilator or Two: We do a tracheostomy.  This was a very painful decision for Randy and I.  Living on a ventilator was not living.  I couldn't hold her.  She had to be on higher doses of medicine so she could handle the discomfort  of a tube down her throat and the chances of her getting an infection on a ventilator was higher the longer she was on it.  But, there are a lot of negatives when it came to a tracheostomy too.  We moved forward with the trach.  So the early part of May my daughter received her tracheostomy.  By June we were able to spend some time at home.  We went through trach training, choosing home care nursing, getting all of our supplies, setting up our home, getting special equipment to travel and so much more.  These were hard days, but at the same time amazing days.  My daughter is a survivor. 

    This is only part of her story.  I hope it makes you realize that there are so many scars that go unseen and each child and parent has to find a way to deal and embrace them.  Part of what helps me get through the hard times is sharing her story and hoping that someday it will help another child or mother that is going down a similar path.

    XOXOX

    Erin&Raygen

    Monday, April 17, 2017

    Birthday's and Easter 2017


    HAPPY FIRST BIRTHDAY BABY BUCK!!!!

    EASTER 2017








    Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter!  Raygen was such a blast this year.  She loved it all.

    XOXO

    Erin&Raygen








    Sunday, April 9, 2017

    I'm not going to be a Fitness Model....

    So one of the things I love most about my life is that I am a Mom.  A Mom to two total different, unique, amazing girls.  I always wanted girls. 

    So what has been stopping me from living my dream life?  Why have I been slacking on the most precious part of my life.  Why have I been struggling to become something I am NEVER going to be?  Could I blame Instagram? Yes.  Could I blame Facebook? Yes. Could I blame our society? Yes.  But most of all I blame myself.  I have fallen victim to what so many us of do on a daily basis.  I have set these unrealistic goals for myself and I really need to have a shot of reality thrown in my face before its too late.
      I am not going to be a Fitness Model Mom. 


    I know what your thinking.....Really????? but it's so true.  Somewhere in my head I thought I could look like everyone I see on TV and on Instagram and all the groups I follow on Facebook.  Why couldn't I?  Everywhere you look it says it's possible, Right???  I mean the world is full of helpful tools, apps, websites, books, and webinars.  Why do I know all of this?  Because I'm the one paying for them and lapping them up like I just found the gold at the end of the rainbow.

    Reality did hit me this week and it hit me hard.  I've been down and out since Wednesday fighting the worse headache I have ever experienced in my life.  I actually slept two full days only waking to take more Nyquil and a quick bite to eat and out again I went.  So why does being sick make me have life changing realizations, you ask? Good question.  Because as I sit here unable to workout or care what I am eating I'm still looking at everyone I'm following and realize:

    FITNESS ISN'T MY JOB.  WOW!!! 

    Everyone I follow is getting paid to Instagram or Facebook.  They all have some sort of career based on what they post and I don't.  I work full time as my Dad's personal assistant/office secretary (We should ask him how he does when I'm sick.) Full time mom, wife, and fitness is only a part of my life.  Fitness isn't my WHOLE life.  I look on how I have been the last few months and I shake my head.  I've been miserable to tell you the truth because when I'm failing at being that "six pack mom" I see on Instagram it reflects on how I am as a mom, daughter and wife.  I am so focused on my "Macro's" for the day that if I slip and fall off track I become so upset and talk down to myself that I am not the most pleasant person to be around.  It changes how I am as a parent.  Too the point I am ashamed to admit. 

    For all thing things I HAVE to be grateful for why do I let something as pointless as my weight affect everything.  I share this only because I can't help but feel I am not alone.  I remember there was a time in my life where working out was fun, running was fun, and testing my limits with fitness was just something I did when I had the time.  I used to be able to miss workouts and still enjoy life.  I used to go out to Mexican food with my husband and have margarita's and burrito's and not give a dang.  Those are what I miss.

    If I say it doesn't hurt my pride a little to say I'm never going to be what I see in the magazines or on Instagram I'd be lying.  I am not one to throw in the towel or raise my hand in surrender but....this time I'm going to look beyond what I see in the mirror and what I want to see in my husband's face, my girl's faces.  What I see in their faces mean the world to me.  I don't want to miss any of Zoie's barrel races she has coming up in the Junior Rodeo, I don't want to miss taking Raygen out to experience life on these beautiful sunny days and I don't want to miss out on having dates with my husband.  I want to be done with hating myself for what "I can't be" and start loving myself for everything that "I am."  I know that admitting you have issues is the first step in a long process to changing, but I see hope that I do want to change.  I may not hit 120, but what if I stay at 130 and my family is happy and maybe, just maybe I'll be happy too.  I have so much to be thankful for.  I have an amazing barrel racer who is going to buy me a Saint Bernard someday or maybe two :0)  I have my half a heart daughter who I need to love and cherish every single second of everyday because God gave me two gifts that I have been taking for granted way too long.  Today is day one for me and day one is going to be a good day.

    XOXOXO

    Erin

    Tuesday, April 4, 2017

    Thoughts...

    So we have been pretty busy lately.  It seems like Raygen's appointments come in waves.  We can go weeks with nothing then all the sudden I'm driving to Seattle twice a week.  We recently went and saw the developmental specialist and speech therapist at Children's.  It's very interesting to get their perspective on Raygen because they see unique cases all the time.  In our area Raygen is the only child, that I am aware, that has HLHS.  Beyond her heart Raygen has the daily struggles and a big one for us is the communication link.  She is improving everyday, but I want to make sure she always has the tools she needs.  Someday my dream is to have a conversation with her.  To know what things she likes and dislikes.  I can't wait till she is yelling at me because she's mad or just telling me crazy stories because she has a wonderful imagination.  I can see it when she plays.  I believe this is possible. 
    The developmental specialist was very please with Raygen's progress.  It has been 6 months since we had our last check up and Raygen has come a long way.  The doctor recommended that I just keep doing what were doing, but she thought I should:

    a. Work on feeding more
    b. Enroll Raygen in preschool
    c. Find a speech/ot therapist
    d. Tips on potty training
    e. Tips on brushing teeth
    f. Find a social environment for Raygen.

    I love tips and advice.  Sometimes their tips actually work out and help us conquer milestones, but sometimes I leave an appointment feeling like what ever I do just isn't enough.  I know every parent must feel this way, but it just isn't possible to do EVERYTHING they think I should do.  Unless I quit my job, which isn't a possibility, there is no way I stand a chance. 
    We live in a very rural area.  There are more doctors that haven't seen a child with HLHS then there is that have.  Our local hospital, which is 30 minutes away, won't even take Raygen.  Olympia hospitals, an hour away, are also a no so that leaves Tacoma and then Seattle.  So finding a therapist to help a medically challenged child is impossible unless I head North.  There is a possibility I could find someone in Olympia, but that's a big maybe.  Many doctors and therapist are scared of Raygen because of her condition. 
    The speech specialist also was impressed with Raygen.  She gave us some great tips on how to use Raygen's Ipad in a more conversation manner then for just "wants" and "needs."
    Example: 
    Me: "I like this game."
    Raygen: "I like this game too."

    Compared to:
    Raygen: "I want this game." or "I need this game."

    It is really hard to explain, but I recommend watching a you tube video on "Language Modeling."  It really puts it all in perspective.

    Along with tips on how to use the device she also recommends:
    a. Work on feeding more to help the oral muscles.
    b. Enroll Raygen in preschool.
    c. Find a speech/ot therapist.
    d. Find a social environment for Raygen.

    Do they forget about GERMS!!! 

    Our preschool in our area isn't prepared to handle a medically fragile child like Raygen.  The preschool is not set up for developmental education.  It's nothing against our preschool, but they just are not capable of handling her.  I can't leave her alone there.  She is completely tube fed, she isn't potty trained, could easily choke, and she can't communicate. 

    I'd have to be off my rocker to leave her somewhere. 

    I just leave doctor appointments deflated.  On one hand I am so extremely proud of Raygen and everything she has accomplished so far, but on the other I am full of self doubt and I struggle if I'm doing everything I can for her.
    Let's not forget Raygen has ABA therapy everyday from 8:30 to 11:30am.  So that only leaves the afternoon for other appointments.  Working full time, making time for my daughter Zoie and her barrel races, ABA, and everything else life may throw at me at any given day can really feel overwhelming. 

    I don't always know if I do enough, but I do know that I do my best.  I know at some point I have to just know that is okay.  It's okay to not always run on overdrive.  My day starts at 4am and usually ends around 10pm.  I forgot what its like to sit down and watch a movie or read a book.  I wonder if I am the only Mom that goes to bed wondering "Did I do enough?" 
    XOXO
    Erin&Raygen



    15-day Ready. Set. Run. Challenge
    I know that my exercise routine really helps me stay sane.  I just signed up for the 15 day Ready. Set. Run. Challenge through IdealFit.  I love running and I am so excited to complete this program. 
    Are you in with me?
    It's FREE!!!!!

    Saturday, April 1, 2017

    6 Years Ago...


    6 years ago I sat by Raygen's bed rubbing her hand watching her heart beat through the yellow bandage. She spent 7 days like this till her swelling went down enough to close her chest. I believe in miracles because any parent who watches their child's heart beat and then 6 years later watch them run, smile, and laugh knows there is something bigger then ourselves in control.

    XOXO

    Erin&Raygen