Friday, April 27, 2012

Chicken & Broccoli - Another baby/kid friendly meal

I don't know about you, but I get tired of the same old meals every week, and I know the kids do, too. Last week we were at the dinner table with the kids, and Lilah asked me to "make that dish with the chicken and broccoli in it" - I had completely forgotten about this dish, and I am not sure why I don't make this more often because it is super easy, quick and baby/kid friendly! 

So if you are looking for something that will suit you, your baby and your toddler/child, then give this recipe a try, and I personally think it tastes just as good if not better leftover, and I don't really like leftovers! 

I don't really have a "specific" recipe to go by, so bear with me, but you'll see, there really isn't any way you can screw this recipe up - it is easy peasy! 

What do you need?
1. A package of chicken breasts, we eat about 1.4-1.6lbs of chicken breast for our family of 6. Cut the chicken into smaller chunks of your preference.
2. 1/2lb (or half box) of pasta of your choice. I like using the Barilla Plus pasta. It is full of protein and not as gritty as whole wheat pasta...but you can use whatever you want! 
3. A package of fresh broccoli 
4. Chicken broth - I usually use either two cans or an entire "box" of all natural chicken broth that is low in sodium. 
5. Garlic, seasonings, salt & pepper
6. Grated cheese - I personally like Pecorino Romano, but again, use what you like. 

The one thing about this meal that I am not too fond of is the amount of pots it takes, but, it is super easy, and I don't do the dishes, Kevin does, so I don't mind ;)

First thing I do is boil a pot of water. Once it is getting started, I will start to cook the chicken. 

Then, in another pan, I will have broccoli ready to steam once the pasta is just about finished.

In a frying pan, add a little olive oil, a few tablespoons of fresh garlic and then when it is hot, add the chicken. I usually will season the chicken with garlic, pepper and other seasonings while it is cooking. Cook until it is about 80% cooked, once it is cooked, add the chicken broth, and set stovetop to medium-low until the pasta is finished cooking. Once the pasta is close to being done, steam the broccoli to your liking. I tend to over-steam it so it is easy for the babies to eat.

Once the pasta and broccoli are finished, I will add them to the chicken and chicken broth. I will stir it all up, and make sure chicken is cooked thoroughly. If chicken is not, simmer for a minute or so until chicken is cooked through. 

Once it is finished, I will add some pecorino romano cheese, and then since I am a cheese fanatic, I will add more in my own bowl.

For the babies, I chop everything up to the appropriate size for the little ones. For the bigger toddlers/kids, I'll cut the chicken and broccoli up smaller, and throw more cheese on it and my kids gobble it all up! 

It really is a super easy dish that is a great first dish for babies and toddlers! 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


My feet were not in any condition to be on a beach. So, I headed out for a pedicure all by my lonesome and it was fantastic. I felt bad, I didn't even speak with the lady doing my nails, but I just had to sit there and enjoy the silence. And it felt so good! 

I came home and the girls were devastated to find out I was getting my nails done! I had asked if any of them wanted to come with, but they wanted to stay home to play.......that will teach them! ha! ;)

So, I painted their toes.......Now, all the girls are all set to board the plane to Mexico! 

Monday, April 23, 2012

With ALL of those kids?!?

When people hear that we are going on vacation to Mexico with all four of our children, most look at me as if I am insane or have two heads. Then they ask me "Why" as in Why would you even consider such a thing? Is that really a vacation? 

The reality is that in the end it is all worth it. OK, let me be honest, we have never really taken our four children on a real vacation before, let alone out of the country. The truth is, we've taken two of our children 3 years ago while I was pregnant with Clara, and in the end it was definitely worth all the hassle of getting there and getting home. I am not going to lie, it is a lot of work to prepare, but once you get there, it is truly just amazing.

We had been planning a family vacation for a while, and now with the move, a vacation is very much needed. Kevin and I feel so disconnected from a lot of things, including each other, and have been rather distracted with the upcoming move to Maine (in 33 days - not that we're counting or anything - and Kevin may or may not have a countdown right on his phone!), that we felt it would be beneficial to our family to get away from it all. I want to disconnect from reality for a while and just reconnect with Kevin, and our kids. They deserve our 100% attention because we have been distracted. We can't wait to get to the beach where all we have to worry about is building sand castles with our kids, whether we want to do the beach or the pool and what drink we want to order.....and not necessarily in that order!

So, with that being said, in a few days we'll be boarding a flight with our crazy crew to Mexico. We've opted for an all inclusive vacation where we don't have to worry about meals, or going anywhere except the pool or the beach. In the meantime, I have been doing mounds of laundry, packing and taking care of a feverish little boy who I am hoping gets better before we leave!

I am looking forward to having this family time together. I cannot wait to just spend time with our kids without the constant reminders of all that needs to be done here before we move. And soon enough, our lifestyle is going to change fairly drastically. Kevin will be gone mid-week and I will be flying solo, a far cry from our lifestyle now, so a week of family time is hopefully just what is needed to destress and reconnect...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

...and more Discovery!

As if Tuesday wasn't enough excitement with the Space Shuttle Discovery coming into NoVA, today added even more! So, once again, I am giving NoVA some extra props this week. We've had a fantastic week enjoying all the extras with the Space Shuttle Discovery coming into the Udvar-Hazy Space Museum here in Dulles.

Today was the big "festival" kick for the Space Shuttle that had arrived on Tuesday. We woke up not quite sure if we were going to brave the crowds or not, but after some discussion with a friend, we decided to head in and see what it was all about, and I am so glad we did!

There wasn't any traffic, and there were big crowds, but everyone was nicely spread out between the outside festivities and the museum inside. We waited in a quick security line before we headed into the museum. They were giving away all sorts of cool posters, tattoos, stickers, etc - the kids were in heaven! It was so exciting for them. Once we were done inside, we headed outside. The kids were able to sign their name on the one of the wheels from the space shuttle.
The girls signing their name on the wheel 

Outside you immediately saw the Space shuttle Enterprise, which had been housed at the museum. This was the prototype for NASA, and had never actually been in orbit. They are going to be moving this shuttle to NYC next week sometime. They had lots of Astronauts, and speakers outside as well as the Marine Corps Drum & Bugle which was fantastic! There was plenty of space for everyone. Then around 11am, they brought the Discovery to touch noses with Enterprise. The new "mission" for the Discovery is to educate. It was amazing to see the differences between the two. Since the Enterprise has never been in orbit, it was in pristine condition, but the Discovery looked very beat up, and dirty!

Me and my crew

In all that hype, and trying to get video and photos, I lost Clara. I thought she was with my girlfriend and the other kids and she thought she was in the stroller. I immediately panicked, and started to head back to the area where we had been. I called her name, and couldn't find her. After about 5-10 minutes, I saw her standing with an older couple who were keeping her safe for me.....thank God. One of the scariest moments of my life. Clara wasn't crying and was so brave. I was so proud of her for finding someone to help find me.

The two shuttles touching noses

After that, we listened to some more music and enjoyed some more festivities. It was a really great day and we learned a ton together! When we got home, we went through some of the materials we picked up. Mairead was very interested. One of the posters had 100 NASA missions on them, and of course, the Challenger and the Columbia were listed. I told Mairead what happened with them and she was very interested. We watched the Challenger disaster on YouTube together. She asked if I cried...I told her I was almost 7 and was young, but many people did. It was a pretty interesting conversation with her, but I enjoyed teaching her about the history of Space with her.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A day of discovery

Living in Northern Virginia definitely has a few perks. I don't talk about the positives of living here very often, so listen up, because I am about to give NoVA some props ;) 

Several months ago, I got wind that the Space Shuttle Discovery would be transported to the Air & Space museum here in Dulles in April. Of course, it had been all over the news for the last week, and how could I not make arrangements to actually see it.....but silly me didn't think that many people would actually take time out of their busy days to stop and see a space shuttle on the top of a 747....right? 

WRONG. (one of the not-so-perks of living in NoVA.......everyone and their mother has the same idea as you)

We didn't get out of the house until 920am and planned on heading over to the space museum to watch the arrival from the parking lot, but as soon as we got on Rte 28, everyone and their mother had the same idea. Gridlock. People were parked all over the place, and taking over overpasses, etc. It was insane. My girlfriend called to let me know the museum parking lot was full and they were spilling over into a park nearby, so we would try there....but then all of a sudden, people started pulling over, and stopping as if Armageddon was about to happen. Our car started to shake and I looked up, yelled an expletive and there it was. 20 minutes early than they said it would even start to happen. WTF. The kids missed it and so did my girlfriend who was following me. We pulled over hoping it would turn around, but it didn't. Then, Kevin called to tell me it was already downtown DC circling around the Monument and around his office. Phew! I knew it would be coming back.

So, we hopped back into the car, and started our way towards the park, but the people....Oh.My.God. The traffic was horrendous. We had an idea to go to the airport to view, and as we were taking the exit, we saw a median with about a 100 people just standing outside. We decided to pull over and join in on the fun. We didn't want to chance the airport not allowing people to spectate (even though they were allowing, just didn't know it until after). The kids got out and jumped up on the hood of the car and waited. And waited. And waited. We were getting ansy. Then all of a sudden we see people getting excited and see the front of the 747 approaching us. And this is what we saw... 

It was SO cool! And it was so close. I didn't get a good photo - waiting for my girlfriend to send me hers, so I stole this from website. It was so exciting. People were cheering on and clapping. Very patriotic, but at the same time, it was rather sad knowing this was the end of an era. What a cool thing to be a part of and I hope the older girls will remember being a part of this special day. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

A 2nd Birthday

Because the day Callum was born wasn't that happy of a day, I have a hard time celebrating that day. I mean, his birth day was one of the best days of our lives, but it was also one of the worst days of our lives. April 8th, his birthday, was filled with joy and happiness for less than two hours, before he was taken to the nursery and we watched him go down hill with each minute. I stayed by his bedside until I had to give him up to the neonatal transport team - one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I felt as though a piece of me was taken away. I shouldn't have had to give my newly born son to a team of medical professionals to be taken away to a different hospital, I should have been nursing him and snuggling him in our bed together, touching him, caressing  him, sleeping next to him and sharing the joy of him with his daddy and his big sisters. But, I wasn't. I have a hard time looking upon that day and thinking good thoughts. And for the next 7 days, our life was a roller coaster ride. Experiencing things that no parent should ever have to experience with a newborn.

However, on Thursday, April 14th, was one of the best days since Callum had been born. He was extubated, or taken off of the ventilator. I heard his cry. I was able to kiss him. I was able to hold him. I was able to nurse him. Daddy was able to hold him and kiss him. I would have to say that this day was probably better than the day he was born. The hardest part of that day was leaving him that night, but the easiest part of leaving him was knowing that I would be returning in the morning to spend the entire day with our baby boy, and not just watching him from afar in his little house attached to machines like I had been doing for days beforehand, but spending the day holding him, nursing him and actually caring for him like a real baby.

I remember waking up the next morning and feeling as though it was like Christmas morning. I couldn't wait to get to the hospital to play catch up with Callum. All I did was hold him. Nurse him. Dress him in the clothes that I had planned to dress him in after his birth and I got to bathe him, too. For me, this was almost like the day he was born. His 2nd birthday. And while he wasn't like other newborns, he was the closest to a newborn than he had ever been, and from that point forward, he continued to thrive, I continued to hold, and nurse our baby until he came home just a few days later. From this day forward, it was all good...

So, happy 2nd birthday to our baby boy...

Friday, April 13, 2012


On Wednesday, Callum had his 12 month well child check up (19lbs6oz and 27.5''). Since we have had not-so-good experiences with our other pediatrician, we had decided to go with another highly recommended office. I had called back in January to schedule his 9 month appointment, but they were booked, so, being the great mom that I am, I said.....ehhh, who needs a 9 month check up? Skip that, and let's schedule his 12 month! And that's what we did...

It's too bad we're moving because I was thoroughly impressed with this office from a lot of different aspects. The pediatricians bedside manner with me, the girls and Callum was awesome. She was so personable, patient and very sweet. We spent some time discussing Callum's medical history. Once again, another medical professional impressed with Callum's progress and development. Makes me smile. Then, she asked me if Callum received Synagis, which is a vaccine for RSV that premature babies (generally 34 weeks and under get, or babies who have been critically ill, etc) receive.

I told her I had mentioned it to our last pediatrician, but they quickly said he was not eligible because he was not born early enough. I had asked if we could repeal that, and they said NO.

The pediatrician was a bit shocked. She couldn't believe our doctors didn't go to bat for Callum. Her words were "While he was not that premature, he was on a considerable amount of support as a newborn that put him at an extreme risk for developing major complications from RSV"

I knew that. And for anyone who has spent any time with me in the last year, I have been a germ freak, especially during RSV season, which is just about over. Hearing those words from a physician makes me angry. My intuition was correct. He should have received this vaccine. I should have fought harder. But, I didn't. I made sure we stayed as far away from anyone with cold symptoms as possible. I didn't keep the girls out of their activities, but, I did the best I could with hand washing and teaching the girls about keeping their hands out of their mouths and nose. Sometimes those precautions aren't good enough. This is another reason why I am glad we chose to homeschool our children this year...To help keep Callum safe.

and we far. 

RSV is no joke. And it is no joke in children who have been compromised in the past. We have been lucky. Very lucky.

So, be an advocate. Stand up for what you think is right, even if you think a doctor is wrong. I should know better.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


In addition to celebrating Callum's first birthday, we were also celebrating Easter! The Ferrie household was full of excitement last weekend! It was a lot of fun combining the two celebrations together!
Me & Clara 

Me & Lilah - she was so proud of her eggs! 

Me & Mairead - she looks so grown up!!! 

On Saturday, we decorated eggs. I bought an awesome egg decorating set at the Williams & Sonoma outlet on sale. It was so cute and the girls had a blast decorating the eggs. This was the first year Clara really enjoyed the egg decorating, and of course, Mairead and Lilah were completely into it!
The girls busy at work

Before bed on Saturday, we mentioned the Easter bunny coming. The girls ears perked up and they got all nervous. They didn't want anything to do with bath and wanted to go straight to bed! Needless to say, bedtime was super easy that night.

Lilah dipping her eggs

The Easter Bunny has arrived... 

On Easter morning, we all snuggled in bed together. The girls sang happy birthday to Callum and we headed downstairs to see what the Easter bunny had left for all of us. In our house, in order for the kids to get into their baskets, they must find all the easter eggs the bunny has hidden. It didn't take too long and the girls had an absolute blast trying to find all the eggs. Once they did, they did not waste any time digging into their baskets. This year they got beach toys, a little bit of candy, new crocs and some water shooters for the beach! They were psyched!

Our pretty little Mairead

Lilah and Callum 

Once our friends showed up for the party, we had an Easter egg hunt for the kiddos. It was a lot of fun to watch the kids run around!


She was serious about finding the "Golden Egg"

She didn't waste any time either! 


All in all, it was a great Easter here in Virginia!
Me and my crew! 

Our family...oh, and can I brag and tell you that I made the girls dresses all by myself this year!?! 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

One year ago...

For the last week, I have been dreading Sunday. Dreading it because I knew it was going to rehash all sorts of memories from Callum's birth and days after. They are still so fresh, just mildly under the surface, it doesn't take much to bring them out in full force. But, all I have to do is look at our amazing little boy and I am instantly reminded that those days are just bad memories, a big bump in the road, and that we have been blessed thus far with a healthy, normally developing little Callum. And for that, I am so very thankful.

The last few days have been filled with comments such as "at this time last year, we were at the hospital" or "at this time last year, things were really, really bad" - you can read about that bad night here. But, the last few days have been spent celebrating not just the birthday of our Callum John, but more about the last year - his life. The specialness of him. The strength of him. The health of him.

And when I saw weeks ago that his special day would fall amazingly on Easter Sunday, I knew it was a sign of just how special Callum is to our family. It was like he was deserving of the celebration that he never really had. The true celebration of his birth on his birth was just....well, not really a celebration. There weren't many phone calls saying he was here and how healthy and awesome and amazing he was, but phone calls saying he was sick, in the nursery and how sick he was.....and that I really didn't want to talk to anyone because I was just in denial with how sick our baby was. I didn't want to believe that it was really happening to us - because, you know, it wasn't supposed to be happening to us. 
His homemade birthday cake. I love pinterest! 
I ordered his birthday outfit from a wonderful lady on Etsy. And thanks to pinterest
I made his birthday hat after not finding an appropriate one for him! 

I almost felt like this year was a redo, yeah, it sounds cheesy, but I wanted to give him the celebration he never really had, not like the girls anyway. I wanted to hold him and not let him go. Let him snuggle with me all night in bed, just like the girls did on the night of their birth, except he would do it on the one year anniversary of his birth. After all, they are only little once, and I truly want to try to savior every last moments with our baby.

His birthday was filled with so much excitement. His big sister Lilah came running into the room saying "It's Callum's birthday!" - instead of saying "It's Easter" - she thought of her brother. His sisters were so excited that he was having a birthday on Easter. We were able to celebrate his special day with Kevin's parents, and our special friends here in Virginia. Everyone knows the story of Callum, and everyone could share in the specialness of the celebration. With each step that Callum takes, is a step of growth proving that he is strong. He isn't afraid to voice his opinion when he likes or dislikes something. He easily shakes his head no and joyfully shakes his whole body yes when he wants something now. He is beginning to want everything his big sisters have. He has three mothers, still...some things have not changed. They all pick him up, carry him around the house, and I really think he likes it - hence him not really walking 100% yet...why bother?

He loves food. And he loves to nurse. He grabs at my OO all day long...ripping at them when he is demanding to nurse. His sleep at night is not great, but, he's little still, and I think once he starts walking, it will improve. He now has two cute little front teeth. And he loves to swim with his daddy. He loves showering with mommy and taking baths with his sisters. He is still an easygoing little boy who brings so much light and love to our family. He has so many people who love him, and he knows it.
I made a red velvet cake. Not the best type of cake for a first birthday
but it was fun nonetheless! 

I am pretty sure he liked it! 

Kevin's parents enjoying Callum!

Words cannot express how lucky we are to have him. He is a special little boy and I wonder what the next year will bring for Callum. I won't lie and say that I am not worried any more about his development. The next year we will be looking for fine motor development, speech and other big milestones...but, if he continues on the path he is on now, he will continue to progress perfectly.

We had such an amazing day with our family celebrating! It was a great day!

Happy Birthday, Callum John! We love you Cal Boy!