Wednesday, December 31, 2008


What an incredible year. Some have said to us that they are glad it is coming to an end because of all that we have gone through, but we consider this past year to have been filled with amazing blessings, and we hope that 2009 is equally as blessed (although, maybe a break from the medical drama would be OK with us too).

As I write this, I'm also looking back on the last few posts of 2007, and I am, as I have been for several months, in awe of how far God has brought us. My Last Post of 2007 was a simple request for prayer for Tricia and the baby...I can distinctly recall the desperation and helplessness I felt that day, knowing that we would need more than one miracle...

Yet, that desperation also seems so far away, as I truly have experienced God's miracles and blessings in unimaginable ways. The birth of my daughter. The rebirth of my wife. And so many more.

Nearly everyday, we learn more of how God is using this past year of our lives to bless others, many who we'll never meet. So, while we wouldn't wish many of the events of this past year on anyone, we also wouldn't change a thing.

We have no idea what 2009 will bring. But, we do know for certain that God continues to hold us in the middle of His will.

So, my very dear friends,
don't get thrown off course.
Every desirable and beneficial gift
comes out of heaven.

The gifts are rivers of light
cascading down from the Father of Light.
There is nothing deceitful in God,
nothing two-faced, nothing fickle.

He brought us to life
using the true Word,
showing us off as the crown
of all his creatures.

James 1:16-18 (The Message)


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

MckMama's Stellan

Most of you probably already know about this (with the holidays and moving I haven't been keeping track of things online, so I just found out about this)...MckMama's new baby boy, Stellan, has been diagnosed with a serious case of RSV and is in the hospital. Stellan stopped breathing a few times yesterday and is on the brink of being intubated/ventilated...waiting to read an update today.

MckMama is a blogger friend of ours, and reading her latest post took me back to those first few days of Gwyneth's life nearly a year ago...although thousands are already praying for and thinking about baby Stellan, I'd ask you to also stop by her blog if you never have a read about this already miracle baby and leave a comment of prayer and/or encouragement.

Thank you.


BTW, my email has been down since last Wednesday, so I haven't been able to receive any emails or check comments as I normally do...

Monday, December 29, 2008

More Christmas Fun


Saturday, December 27, 2008


All of our stuff, except for our bedroom furniture and clothes which are at my parents house for a few more days, is moved in! Hopefully we'll spend our first night there sometime next week! Thanks to the guys who helped out today, making it quick and easy!


Friday, December 26, 2008

Moving Day Has Arrived!

Actually, tomorrow morning, we're just moving our stuff from storage to the house, and we'll spend the next several days finishing small projects and getting ready to physically move, but it's definitely a big day!


New Kicks!

Gwyneth and I got some new kicks for Christmas, although, Gwyneth won't be able to fit into her's for a few more months...


Thursday, December 25, 2008

What A Wonderful Day!

Here are a few pics from our day...more to come when I get the time, which might not be for a few days. I pray that your day was as wonderful as ours.


Merry Christmas!

Have a wonderful Christmas day!


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

These Are a Few of My Favorite Christmas Things

Christmas is a big deal for us. Not just because my mom and dad always made sure it was a fun and memorable time of the year as we were growing up, but also because I have a true appreciation for what took place on the very first Christmas many years ago.

It would take me an hour or two to list all of the reasons that I love Christmas, so I thought I'd keep it simple and make a short list of some of my favorite Christmas things...

- White Christmas
(The Santa Clause, A Christmas Story, Die Hard and Elf get a nod as well)

Sweet - This one deserves a mom's peanut butter balls, candy canes, Janet's hershey kisses cookies (hint, hint), Bergey's Dairy's Colonial Custard

Song - I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day

Tradition - Opening one gift on Christmas Eve

Gift Received - my Canon camera last year from Tricia

Gift Given - Ralphie the cat to Tricia our first married Christmas (Ralphie should be back with us when we move into our new house after living more than year with grandma!)

Meal - The Christmas breakfast my mom makes every egg and sausage quiche type thing (I'll never understand why it only comes once a year)

What about you?


Big CF News!

North Carolina will begin mandating newborn screening for CF beginning January 2009!

This is a result of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's successful advocacy efforts, thanks, in large part, to my awesome readers! Click Here to read how this development was brought to life by Janice Hairr and her daughter, Savannah, who was diagnosed with CF within 2 days of her birth. This early detection has led to very positive outcomes for Savannah in her journey with CF.

NC joins a growing number of US states that are mandating newborn CF screening. Very soon, CF screening will be mandated across the country! What a great Christmas gift to thousands of unborn children!!!


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Toys For Tots

(if the following is a bit confusing, Read This First)

Although I had wanted to donate toys here locally on the beach, I didn't find out for sure that we had won the $250 gift card until December 15, which was too late to donate here. So, instead, we planned a trip to ToysRUs in NJ, which actually turned out to be better anyway because they were having a huge sale AND there is a TFT drop-off inside the store.

Because this really is your (my readers) gift to the kids (all I did was ask you to vote), we thought we'd shoot a little video so that you could feel like you were a part of the fun...we tried to stick mostly to fun, low priced items that we on sale to stretch the money out to benefit as many kids as possible, and we made sure to hit both genders and every age.

Thanks again to everyone (683 of you) who voted for us and helped make this Christmas extra special for several South Jersey children.

BTW, it's not too late, in many areas, to donate to this great charity. I was told by the cashier at the store that donations are way down this year. And, I've even read a few stories about TFT experiencing more theft than normal this year, people actually breaking in and stealing from their distribution centers....what kind of Grinch would do that?

Please, Click Here if you would like to learn more about Toys for Tots!



NJ Trip

Our trip to NJ was great! It was especially fun since we missed last year's trip because of Tricia's health. Gwyneth is basically the best car baby ever...keep her fed and clean and engaged with a few good toys and she's good to go for at least 5-6 hours before she's had enough of her car seat. Although it was overcast the entire time, it did not rain much and was not as cold as it is up there (and down here, for that matter) now. We stayed with our friends Mike and Lisa (thanks so much!), and spent some great time with them and a few more of Tricia's lifelong NJ friends.

We were able to finish up our Christmas shopping and attend a niece's school Christmas concert (great job, Bry!). We also made a trip to IKEA in downtown Philly to pick up some stuff for the house.

Of course, two of the biggest highlights of our annual trip for me are eating as many cheesesteaks as possible (nowhere else in the world to eat a good cheesesteak outside of the south Jersey/Philly area) and enjoying the hot roast beef sandwiches at the Kirschner Christmas Spectacular.

Saturday was, as always, tons of fun. I believe there were at least 40 people present, including 9 under the age of 4. Gwyneth was the youngest and smallest, and the only one who was unable to venture out on her own and enjoy the fun...but, everyone enjoyed getting to hold and laugh with her. The adults exchanged pollyannas, as we do every year...I always ask for a DVD, and this year I came away with the new Indiana Jones movie, which will be playing at my parents beach house at some point later this week.

Because I don't have the time or energy to contact everyone who was there and ask there permission to post their pics, I'll just share a few...

The Kirschner bunch are mostly very serious Philadelphia eagles fan, and this Santa is probably the leader of the pack, so I made sure that Gwyneth was wearing her Skins jersey for a good photo op. :D Notice how she is ingeniously tugging on his beard to determine if he is the real Santa...

Although it appears that Gwyneth is playing with this eagles ornament, she's actually determining her plan of attack for decapitation...did I mention that the eagles lost to our Redskins on Sunday?


Monday, December 22, 2008

For All My Philly Family

We're laughing 'cause the Eagles really stink!


One Week

Just a quick update to let you know that we're alive and have had a great week...

Safe travels and lots of fun with friends and Tricia's family in NJ and PA.

Fun trip to ToysRUs to spend the $250 for Toys for Tots (video to come).

Gwyneth has taken the next step with her social skills, responding almost constantly with smiles and laughs to everyone and everything (it started the day we visited Santa a few weeks ago...hmm....).

My family is having a big Christmas here on the beach, with lots of uncles and cousins and grandparents coming in at different times this week...we're looking forward to spending lots of time with them and maybe even putting them to work a little bit at the house!

The house is almost done. The wood floors are done, the tile is 95% done, the new HVAC system will be finished tomorrow. Lots of little things to do, and of course, a big cleaning day. We hope to be spending our first night in our new home by the end of the week.

Lots of pics and some video to share with you...but, this is going to be a fun and busy week, so I'll post again when I have the the meantime, I have done some mass blogging today and have scheduled several blogs to publish over the next few days.



Monday, December 15, 2008


It seems like I might go for a week or two without receiving any unfriendly, blog-related emails and comments, and then, as if in a brilliantly coordinated effort, I'll receive several unfriendly, blog-related emails and comments within a few days... It's not something that surprises me anymore (there seems to be a pattern, although not related to any particular subject that I post about), and very few of these emails and comments really affect me like they used to...but it still can wear me down, especially when my life is as busy as it has been recently.

I learned a while ago that it's not worth it to spend time and emotion and energy posting responses to the negative...and, while I may respond now and then in the comments sections, I usually just delete and forget, delete and forget.

Since I don't believe that anything is coincidental, and because this week is going to be a crazy one (with a "normal" work week, trying to finish the house, and taking a trip to NJ and back), I've decided that the recent barrage of negativity is a good sign that I should take the week off from blogging.

So, you might see one more fun post from me tonight, and then you probably won't hear from me again until after this coming weekend. Hopefully, when I do post again, it will be filled great news of a fun time with our NJ family and friends and a possible moving day before Christmas!

Thanks to all of my great readers...the VAST majority of whom are always positive and encouraging. I hope this post comes across as un-negatively as possible, because I feel very positive right now. :)

And, enjoy your week away from me!


Sunday, December 14, 2008

House Update (Floors)

Here's a few pics of the flooring in the house...

We're pushing to have the flooring completed by this Wednesday...


Welcome Home Kisses

By far, the best part of my day...


Friday, December 12, 2008

Big News!!!

Gwyneth moves up a diaper size today!

Now, back to your otherwise boring lives...


Ho Ho Ho!

Yesterday, we took Gwyneth to visit Santa Clause...not some fat dude who drives a big rig 11 months out of the year and makes money at the mall posing as Santa during December...this guy was the real deal. He even knew that Gwyneth was a preemie, and he called her a "miracle baby"'d he know that unless he was the real Santa?

Waiting in line...

The anticipation builds...

In awe of Santa's winter wonderland...

The big moment!

This is the only good shot we got...after checking Santa out for about 5 seconds, Gwyneth turned her attention back to her left hand (see the first pic), which, obviously, is totally more interesting than the big man...


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Working The Camera


Caption Winner

"I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus."

submitted by karis

And, I almost chose this one...

"Do you smell what I smell? Do you smell what I smell?" by goad7. Very funny.

BTW, I couldn't tell you why Gwyneth was actually making this was there one moment and gone the next. She is very good at making some extremely emotional faces for no apparent reason.


Monday, December 8, 2008

A Few Quick Things

> Gwyneth is completely over her cold. The cough is gone, and her sinuses are clear.

> I am over my cold, but still have a cough. Also, my tonsils, which get swollen whenever I have allergy or sinus problems, as still swollen and much so that I'm snoring loudly and having sleep apnea problems (which I have had before)...I'm sleeping in the guest bedroom so that Tricia can get enough sleep. I've have an appointment with a doctor who says he can remove my tonsils (something I've been trying to have done for several years).

> Ramon and I have been busy tiling the past few days...we're about 1/3 the way there, and hopefully we can start with the laminate hardwood flooring this week. Don, Tricia's dad, started on the electrical stuff tonight. We're pushing to get in by Christmas, but that will take a minor miracle, especially since...

> We're excited to go to NJ next week to see some friends and introduce Gwyneth to the mayhem that ensues when the Kirschner family gets together for Christmas!

> My parents are flying to FL tomorrow to visit with Terry and Sarah (my sister). I'm jealous.

> Tricia's mom is sick, maybe with the same crud that Gwyneth and I had.

> I finished Tricia's Christmas gift today! She'll love me lots.



Write A Caption

This is Gwyneth, ready to go to the Christmas party last night.

Write a caption for the picture below and win a mention of your name and winning caption in a post if I think it's worthy enough (like that's anything super special...).


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas Party!

We had our annual Nags Head Church Christmas party tonight. We missed last year's party because we were in Durham, so it was great to be able to be there tonight. Here are a few pics...


Thursday, December 4, 2008

House Tour (Part 3)

Starting with the tile and laminate flooring this weekend!


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Gift For You

I was shooting some pics around our church building today of the Christmas decorations that were put up a few days ago (it's awesome to have professional decorators and lots of helping hands in the church body). My goal was to find a few shots that I could use for graphics for church marketing stuff in December.

Below are a few of my favorite shots, and because it's the giving season, I thought I'd share them with you. They'd make great desktop backgrounds, Christmas postcards, or even a seasonal blog header. If you'd like, feel free to download them to your computer and enjoy!


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Mission Accomplished!

The house is painted! A few touch-ups, and some trim and a few doors, and all of the paint will be done! I'll shoot some video tomorrow.

We move onto flooring this weekend!


Monday, December 1, 2008

House Update

I thought I'd address a few concerns that many readers have expressed about our house renovations.

> The popcorn ceiling did not contain asbestos. When you've got a professional drywaller removing the popcorn ceilings, you can bet that it's being done safely.

> Three coats of red seems to have done the trick. The number of coats of paint (especially when working with red) really depends on several factors, including the condition of pre-existing walls, the type of primer used, the brand of paint used, and the finish used (flat, semi-gloss, etc.). When you've got a few professional painters advising, you can rest assured that they know what they're talking about (their guess was three coats).

> The kitchen paint looks great and the remaining wallpaper underneath is not causing any problems. Again, knowing what you're working with and having a professional wallpaper hanger (the same guy who hung that same paper in that same room 20 years ago) advising you goes a long way.

Needless to say, my advice is, if you don't know how to do something right, find somebody who does...and, you'll learn a lot of new, handy-man things along the way.

> If you'll watch This Video again (especially around 3:19), you should notice that the toilet drain is plugged.

> Tricia can't spend more than a few minutes at a time in the house right now...lots of dust and fumes. It doesn't bother her any more than anyone else, but long-term exposure could cause issues. Once everything is dry and clean, she'll be able to spend more time at the house as we finish up.

Every room in the house now has paint, except for the two baths and a few closets. Also, about half of the trim around the windows and doors has been painted.

The cabinets in the master bath and the kitchen have been cleaned from top to bottom.

A friend and professional lighting expert met with me this morning to help figure out how to best light the dark living room and kitchen.

And, within the next few weeks, the air handler and heat pump will be replaced and an air filtration system installed to help keep the air as clean as possible.

I'll film another video tour sometime this week and post a few more pics.



Your Gift

Well, because CFHusband was leading by over 400 votes when voting closed at 9pm last night at, I'll assume that we'll be awarded the $250 gift card (I'll wait until the official results are revealed to be sure).

Although the gift card won't be presented until early next year, Tricia and I will set aside a few hours sometime soon to take a trip to purchase $250 worth of toys to deliver to our local Toys for Tots (see This Post for the back-story)!

Thank you so much for helping to make our blog known to more people, and especially for giving us this opportunity to be a blessing to local children who may otherwise not experience the joy of opening a gift on Christmas morning. Consider this your gift to these kids.

It goes without saying that my blog readers are the best!!!


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cucumber Salad Recipe

Since a few people asked (and Tricia told me to post this)...

1 cucumber (I like to slice it not-too-thin)
3 tbs mayo
2 tbs milk
1 tbs vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt

The sugar and salt are optional.

I quadrupled the recipe for Thanksgiving, which fed 17 people with a little left over. Even though I found this on the internet with a quick google search, I'll take all the credit if you try it and like it.

I wonder if this is what it feels like to be The Pioneer Woman? ;)


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Perspective (at 11 months)

Although Gwyneth is growing and developing well, she's still a former preemie, which means she's incredibly small (most people still think she's a new-born when meeting her). Gwyneth has several new friends that have come along in the past few weeks...below is a pic of Gwyneth (pale skin on the right, at just under 11 months old) and L-K (who was born a little over a week ago).


Friday, November 28, 2008

Our Thanksgiving

Lots of family...the Lawrensons, Kirchners and Sanchezes...I think 17 of us all together. Everyone was in charge of making a bringing at least one dish. Tricia's mashed potatoes were the best, and my cucumber salad was a hit. Here are a few pics of the day together.