Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Donate Life

As April comes to a close, so does National Donate Life Month. Here is a very sweet video that Children's put together to celebrate the remarkable gift of life that organ donation brings to our sweet patients and families. I am so blessed to work for such an amazing organization and serve these kiddos and their families. I. love. my. job.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Lemon Blueberry Bars

I made this last night and oh. my. yum. In my opinion, this has more of a key lime pie-like consistency that you eat with a fork rather than a bar that you would pick up and eat with your hands like a brownie. It would actually be yummy made with limes instead of lemons too. Regardless, it was the perfect summertime dessert and super easy!

Lemon Blueberry Bars (from here)
For the crust (You could easily buy a pre-made crust if you're short for time)
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs 
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted 
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar 
- Zest of one lemon

For the filling 
- 2 large egg yolks 
- 1 (14 ounce can) sweetened condensed milk  
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice 
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest 
- 1 cup fresh blueberries

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8x8 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar, and lemon zest. Stir until graham cracker crumbs are moist. Press crumbs firmly into the bottom and slightly up the sides of prepared pan. Bake the graham cracker crust for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
3. To make the filling, combine the egg yolks and condensed milk in a medium bowl. Stir in the lemon juice and lemon zest. Stir until mixture is smooth and begins to slightly thicken. Gently fold in the 3/4 of the blueberries, reserving some for the top. Honestly, I forgot to save some for the top and dumped them all in the mixture. It doesn't really make a difference except it would've looked prettier with some on top.
4. Pour the lemon blueberry filling evenly over the graham cracker crust then top with the remaining blueberries. Bake for 15 minutes, or until just set.
5. Cool for 10 minutes at room temperature, then refrigerate until completely chilled. Cut into bars and serve. 

Friday, April 19, 2013


So this post is really a continuation of this one. Really it's a continuation of the last two years and if you're new to the blog, I would suggest reading Our Story. A couple weeks after my surgery on March 4, I got a call from my doctor herself who told me that the genetic testing from this last pregnancy confirmed a genetic abnormality. Our next steps were to have a specific type of genetic testing called karyotyping done on both Dustin and me. This is where they look very closely at our chromosomes to see where exactly this genetic abnormality came from. We had blood drawn for that about a month ago and this morning, we had our appointment with a genetic counselor to go over the results. The result is that I am a balanced translocation carrier. This is where you'll need to put your thinking caps on and think way back to high school biology.

Typical functioning people are born with 46 chromosomes (23 from mom and 23 from dad). I have all 46 chromosomes, but they are arranged a little differently. This is something that was most likely inherited, but there is a chance it could've been de novo (not inherited). Basically, a piece of my #5 chromosome is attached to my #8 chromosome and a piece of my #8 chromosome is attached to #5. I've provided a picture for you visual learners.

I am considered a carrier, because I am completely normal (for the most part) and it does not affect my health at all. The problem occurs when my chromosomes are passed onto a baby. I have one normal #5 chromosome and one normal #8 chromosome in addition to the abnormal #5 and abnormal #8 (remember one #5 & #8 from mom and one #5 & #8 from dad). If the normal ones get selected for the baby, then we're fine and it would most likely be a healthy full term baby. If the abnormal ones (the multicolored ones above) get selected, it will result in miscarriage or severe birth defects if a baby did carry to term, because that would mean the baby has too much or too little genetic material. Here is a visual of the possible scenarios with just my chromosomes. Luckily, Dustin's tested normally. Consider the purple one chromosome #5 and the yellow one as chromosome #8.
So, what this really means is that by textbook definition a biological child of ours would have a 25% chance of having normal chromosomes, a 25% chance of being a balanced translocation carrier (like me) and a 50% chance of having unbalanced chromosomes.

Typically, someone with a balanced translocation will experience the following scenarios:
1. Infertility (meaning not able to even get pregnant at all). This is not our issue.
2. Recurrent miscarriage. This is where we are.
3. Live births. The chances of having a baby with a severe birth defect for us are approx. 2-4% given that my history shows that mine are more likely to miscarry if they are not healthy. In theory, the chances of having a healthy baby at some point are still roughly 50% depending on which chromosomes are selected.

So where does this leave us? Well... we could continue to try and get pregnant naturally, hoping that the baby would end up with either of the chromosomes at the end of the left arrow in the above picture. This would be a complete unknown until they could do some genetic testing in early pregnancy. Another option would be to do IVF with PGD (preimplantation genetic determination). Meaning, they would test all of the potential embryos before implantation to see which ones (if any) are healthy. This is really also an unknown, because there is no guarantee that any given cycle will produce any healthy embryos. Another option would be IVF using an egg donor or embryo adoption. Anyone that has done IVF knows very well that there are never any guarantees with it- even with healthy embryos.

This condition is something that affects approximately 1 in 1000 people (lucky me). Our genetic counselor is going to send our results along with a rough outline of our family history to a geneticist in New York who is going to take a closer look (hard to believe you can get much closer) and will tell us more specifically what our percentages look like instead of the textbook percentages (further miscarriages vs. healthy pregnancies). We could get these numbers in the next week or so.

Now that I've gotten all of the science out of the way and made your head hurt, here is also what I know. Our God is bigger than science. He is bigger than percentages and statistics. And He knew this about me from day 1. He knows what's behind us and also what is ahead. This certainly would not have been the road we would have chosen, but it's the one we've been given. We are (and have always been) trusting in Him each step of the way. We know that He has big plans for our family and will continue to remain faithful to this life He's called us to live.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Believe Again

Yesterday was a dark day. The events that unfolded in Boston brought feelings of hopelessness and defeat to our nation. Yesterday was also the one year anniversary of a sweet little boy going to be with his Heavenly Father. I wrote more about this last year, but I think it's appropriate to re-post this video featuring sweet Creed as it is proof that we can still lift our hands to believe again. As individuals, as a community and as a nation.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Green Jackets and Pink Azaleas

Spring has officially sprung in the South and that can only mean one thing. Masters Week. This is the husband's absolute favorite week of the whole year and I'd be lying if I said I didn't love it too. This year, we were able to go on Monday and Tuesday thanks to sweet friends and family. We were blessed with some beautiful weather to go with our sandwiches and pink lemonade. Here are some pictures from the practice rounds.
 Our friend, Walt, is volunteering for the week. He'll be on the first hole until Sunday, so feel free to swing by and say hi!

 On the first day, we met up with Bubba Watson and Rickie Fowler.
 Tiger came out late in the day with Dustin Johnson and a 14.. that's FOURTEEN... year old amateur.
 Rickie Fowler on day two.
 Phil leading the way in our favorite foursome.
 Matt Kuchar
 Rickie Fowler
 Dustin Johnson
 Stewart Cink
 Zach Johnson
 Mom and me
 Gary Player
 Until next year...

And just in case you thought golf wasn't fun...

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Living Room Table

Last month, when the husband and I were home for a week straight, we did some sprucing up to our living room. I have wanted to put something on this wall since we've moved in, but never quite decided on what. This is also where we put the Christmas tree each year, so every January it looks extra bare. I'm very pleased with how it turned out. Most everything is from Hobby Lobby and the lamp is from TJ Maxx Homegoods. I really love the chalkboard. We actually made this from an old frame that I spray painted white a long time ago. We just spray painted the frame backing with chalkboard paint. I said "we", because the husband was actually a huge help with this project. Three years later and I feel like our living room is actually complete.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter 2013

This past weekend, the husband and I were able to spend a long weekend in Aiken to visit both of our families. We enjoyed seeing everyone and being able to relax in the beautiful weather. We were happy to spend time with Dustin's brother, Seth, and his sweet wife, Brittney. This was the first time we've seen them since the wedding in January. After looking through these pictures, I realize now that I didn't take any of the guys... Regardless, it was a fun weekend!

 Lunch with the girls while the guys were golfing.
 The mom and mom-in-law (love)