Sunday, January 24, 2010

Farewell "Papi"

Every night, at bedtime, Gabe will run through the house seeking two things to join him for in his slumber....his blankie and his pacifier, a.k.a. his Papi.  I'm embarrassed to admit that we've let this go on for nearly 4 years.  Well, we finally decided that on Gabe's 4th birthday we'd pull the plug, literally, and say goodbye to papi.  To see how this went, check out the video above which shows how thing initially went, then how they went a little later that night when it was bedtime.

We're having a....

Most of you probably know by now what we're having, but for those that don't; first, take a look at the ultrasound below.  Anything "stick out" to you?  Yep, there you have it...we're having another boy!!  He's going to be so embarrassed someday by what I've just shown you.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Philadelphia has many things it can call its own.  There's Wawa, the Cadillac of Convenience Stores.  Tasty Kakes, similar to Hostess.  And then there's the Mummers Parade, which, from an outsiders perspective, is a New Years day event where groups of grown men (likely still drunk from the prior nights festivities), called Fancy Brigades, put on crazy outfits and dance around for two minutes in the streets.  I think it's pretty ridiculous, but so as not to offend any of our Philly native friends, I'm providing a link to a full explanation here:

You can find Wawa in other East Coast states and the same goes for Tasty Kakes.  And I think you can see the Mummer's Parade on national television even, if you really look.  But as far as I can tell, Scrapple is truly unique to Philadelphia.  Scrapple is a meat, of sorts, similar to Spam.  Historically, it was literally the meat "scraps" from breakfast all mushed together into a brick, sliced like bread, and cooked on a frying pan.  I received such a brick as a white elephant gift this year and cooked some up.  Below are the before and after pictures.  In the end, when sliced thin, it wasn't too bad.  I think I can officially call myself a true Philadelphian.

Happy Birthday to Jill

December 6th was Jill's birthday.  Since we've been married, almost 12 yrs now, Jill has been asking for a specific kind of cake for her birthday and for 11 years I've been searching the world over for it.  I've probably logged a good 20 hours trying to find a place that makes the cake she's wanted.  The problem, however, is that we didn't know what the cake was called...only that it has rasberry, creme, white cake, and marzipan.  Whenever I'd try to explain it to someone they'd look at me like I was crazy...and for a while there I began to think that maybe I (and Jill) was, especially when Cakes by Karen, a well known bakery in Denver told me they had no idea what I was talking about.  Well...we finally figured out what it's called...a Princess Cake...what a perfect name for the birthday cake for my wife. 

Having figured out what it was called, I set out to fulfil my princess' wish and deliver the cake of her dreams.  To make it even more special, I decided to make this cake myself.  This may have been a bad decision for two reasons....1)  It took me at least 5 hours to make.  2)  It really didn't taste that good, even though Jill never said so.  So here it is...Jill's cake.  I'm committed to getting this right though, so look here next year for an update as I try to make it better, faster.

Fall Fun

If there's one thing we love about the East it's the fall.  They know how to do Fall right with festivals going on all over the place.  In October my team at work had a picnic at a great place called Merry Mead farm (Jill has probably wrote about this place before).  It's a favorite of our boys for visiting the animals and getting some amazing ice cream.  While there for our team picnic the boys shot apples with a slingshot, went through a corn maze, looked at an enourmous pig, and went for a hayride through the farm.  We had a great time.

In November I took an extra day of vacation on Thanksgiving weekend and we took a day to go into Philadelphia.  We went to see the Liberty Bell and the Philadelphia mint (see photos with Independence Hall in the background of the Liberty Bell picture).  We also went to Reading Terminal Market for some amazing pork sandwiches from Dinic's (as seen on Man vs. Food) for lunch.

The Battle of the Bulge

So Jill has been diligently keeping the FairchildPA blog going for at least 2 years now while I've sat silently on the sidelines enjoying her posts as much as you have.  However, with Jill now 19 weeks pregnant and getting more pregnant (?) every day, she doesn't quite have the energy she used to.  So you'll have to put up with me and my poor writing skills on and off for the next little while as I try to fill in.

Enough of that...on to my first official post.  For a little over a year now I've been fighting the battle of the bulge...the bulging disk that is.  In Dec. 2008 I injured my back while helping a young man in our ward with an Eagle Scout project.  We were delivering beds and dressers to a number of needy families in the Philadelphia area.  While moving the mattresses I began to feel some tightness in my lower back and within a few days, just in time for my Christmas vacation, I was in alot of pain and barely able to move.  With the help of some painkillers, muscle relaxers, and physical therapy, I was able to get back on my feet.  Because the bulge was putting pressure on the nerve that runs down my left leg, which caused my calf to not function properly, I also received an epidural steroid injection, which relieved my pain and calf issues. 

Well, I wish that was the end of it, but I had no such luck.  At the end of the summer the back pain returned and I was advised to get another epidural injection, which I did.  About one week after the injection though, things took a turn for the worse.  Somehow I reinjured my back, but this time it was worse than ever before.  For about 2 weeks I couldn't even leave the floor.  Jill started calling me the family dog because I did everything on the floor...I slept there, worked there, and even ate there.  The pain was excruciating if I did anything but crouch in a ball on the floor.  This is getting long and wordy, so I'll refer you to the pictures.  One is of me eating dinner one night, as the family dog.  The others are of the MRI showing this massive bulging disk.

Today, however, I am pain free and the battle of the bulge has been won!!  In Oct. I went back to see the spine surgeon I'd seen in March with the MRI shown above.  The first thing he said to me when he walked in the room was, "Wow Mike, that's one big !$*#& herniation!"  He got me into surgery within 2 weeks and now, here I am, 2 months later and completely pain free!  I'm in physical therapy to strengthen my back and stomach so I don't hurt my back again.  From the MRI picture on the left you can see that my nerves for my left leg took some serious abuse, leaving me numb in parts of my leg from my hip down to my toes and with my calf not functioning fully.  However, I'm told these nerves will heal in 6-9 months.  Right now, I'm feeling great!  Side effects from the surgery?  Well....when I use the bathroom, sitting or standing, I feel nerve pain in the sole of my left foot (what??).  And just last night I was picking at the last remaining scab on the scar and suddenly felt something like a hair poking my finger.  Turns out it was a stitch.  Jill grabbed it with the tweezers and pulled it out about 1 1/2 inches before it wouldn't give anymore.  I think it's attached to something......when she pulled it hard enough my left leg did a karate kick into the wall!   Not really, but that stitch wasn't coming out.  So I trimmed it down and assume the rest will find its way out eventually.