Saturday, June 30, 2007

Beach Fun

Our first day at the beach was just awesome. The water was exceptionally warm. Seth loved jumping the waves and floating out in the water with us. He was in his hayday! He would jump and roll in the waves. Kate also loved the water. She took right to the sand and just giggled as we sat her along the shore and the waves would come up to her. I wonder if sand has any calories in it...as she added some to her diet!

We went back on Friday and either the warm current left or the cold current came in and the water was numbing cold...way too cold to even tickle your toes in. But...we had fun walking on the beach, collecting rocks and building sand castles. Kate also caught onto beach life quickly, as she took naps on the beach both days.

Jumping the waves with Oompa3 2 1...touchdown into sand in the toes for the 1st time
Obviously...Kate lovin' the water and sand

Playin' in the waves
Building a sand castle

Wonderful Time

We had a wonderful time on Lake Michigan the past few days. Overall, everything went pretty smoothly (see below). The weather was beautiful and we had some time to relax (if there is such a thing with little ones).

Wednesday, we met up with my parents at VanBuren State Park and spent some time at the beach...then, Nana & Oompa kept the kids while Andy and I went into South Haven for a nice dinner and walk on the pier by ourselves! (Thanks Nana & Oompa) We picked up the kids and spent a night in the hotel.

Thursday we went into Saugatauk walked all along the marina and rode a WWII Duck Boat. Seth really enjoyed it...going from land to water...it was pretty cool. Thursday evening we ate dinner, walked on the pier and ate ice cream (of course!)

Friday, we went back to the state park for more fun on the beach. (Lots of beach pictures in the next post!). Kate did really really well...she is a good traveler. It was great fun with Seth, as he was able to get the grasp of being on vacation...the best part for him...riding the elevator at the hotel! It was great to get away for a few days and enjoy some time together as a family! Lots of great memories!


TOP 3 not-so-great memories of the trip!

1. Forgetting Kate's heart medicine
---Good Ending: Walgreens was very accomdating and was able to get her a new dosage and insurance even covered it!

2. Our van breaking down while turning into Walgreens
---Good Ending: The Walgreens staff was very kind, recommended a local place, we were able to drive it back to the hotel, get it fixed the next morning (it was a broken serpentine belt) and be on our way. We are so grateful it didn't happen enroute in the middle of nowhere!

3. Seth gagging himself until he threw up. Our car DVD player also broke on the trip, so the drive home was a little long. Seth was evidently bored and decided to see how far he could stick his finger down his throat.
---Good Ending: not really!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Mini-Vacation....YEAH!

The four of us are headed to Michigan tomorrow for a quick little mini vacation . We are excited about relaxing on Lake Michigan and getting away. Although it is only 3 days, packing with an infant and toddler makes it feel and look as if we are going for a week.

We'll be back with fun stories and cute pictures on the beach. Have a great couple days, dear BLOG readers!

Happy 1st Birthday Kate

Today's the day...our little girl is now 1! I can't believe it...we've been through so much this past year that sometimes the days just dragged on, but at the same time...it has flown by. Each and everyday Kate teaches us something new about life. I wouldn't trade her for anything. She is our little angel. We love you Kate.

Just a couple flashback pictures from her "real birthday" Looking at the pictures, you realize how much she has grown (even though she is still just a little peanut!) Looking back, I am so grateful that we had those 15 hours with her before they whisked her away to the NICU and hooked her up to those nasty tubes. Thank you God for giving us that time with her...to hold and snuggle and kiss and love!


Sunday, June 24, 2007

Birthday Celebration...look who's turning 1!

Our little girl is turning 1! WOW! We celebrated with the family 2 days early. It was a great evening...filled with pizza (pears & sweet potatoes for some!), presents, cake and a rousing game of baseball in the backyard. Kate has been such a blessing to us this past year...we look forward to many many more celebrations with our little Baby Kate
Reading my new book from Grandma...it has lots of pop-up windows.
Opening presents....Kate was much more interested in the paper and tags. She got lots of cool toys, new onesies, socks and pajamas, a cool new ball , a giant block activity center, a beach hat, and a pretty hamper for her bedroom. She is one loved little girl.
Thanks to Nana & Oompa, Grandma and Pampa, Uncle Doug, Aunt Amy and cousins Elijah and Lucas for making today very special. We love you!

Funny story: Lucas (4 years old) got his plate for dinner and wanted to know why he had a "girlie" plate. Guess there have been too many boy birthday parties in the family...bye bye to Spiderman and trucks...hello to flowers and butterflies! Kate has a lot of work to do in order to keep up with those 3 boys...but somehow, I think she is going to be "just a little" spoiled.

It's All About The Cake

What's a birthday celebration without a cake? Even though Kate hasn't had much experience with cake and icing...we let her go at it! SHE LOVED IT...and she didn't get sick (that's a huge blessing!) What a joy to see her lovin' her 1st birthday. What a day of celebration it was!Lighting the candle and singing "Happy Birthday" Lovin' every bite of it...that's a lot of cake for a little girl!I'm a happy and messy girl!Kate's own cake (my own masterpiece)...just for her to dive into...and she did!

An iceceam cake for the rest of us....thanks to Dairy Queen

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Am I really that OLD?

Today I went to a wedding...one of the kids from my youth pastoring days! YIKES. It is so hard for me to believe that these "kids" who I mentored, taught, prayed with, played with and learned so much from are old enough to get married. I spent countless hours with these kids on mission trips, Sunday nights, Wednesday leadership groups, camps, etc. Yeah, a few of the older kids from when I first started have already gotten married..but Matt was the 1st of the group with whom I worked with since they were 5-6th graders...and now they are all grown up...and getting MARRIED!

I pray for these "kids" getting married, starting a new life, new career, new home after college. I pray God's grace on their lives and their marriage...as they have come so far, but yet have so much in life to experience. I know Matt is just the 1st of many weddings in the next few years of these special kids....I can't wait to see who God has picked out for them! God's blessing on you Matt & Lindsay!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Monkey Girl

Our little girl just loves her feet....she uses them for a myriad of purposes...an extra hand, an extra pacifier, an extension pole and entertainment. It is so funny to watch her. Looking closely at the picture...you can tell she is holding the mirror with only her toes. Let's just hope she doesn't end up in the circus someday! The therapists are encouraged by her ingenuity and praise her for using them to make things easier for her. She is quite flexible...maybe she could teach me some Yoga moves!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Moments to Treasure....part 2

So...was it only a couple days ago when I was bragging on my wonderful kids? Today...treasuring moments...not so much.

I took the kids today along with my sister-in-law Amy and her two boys to Penneys to get pictures taken. We always get a picture with my two kids and my brother's two boys for Nana for Mother's Day. (Yeah, I know, we're a little late!) Well...adding one more baby to the mix made it a little harder to get a cute one...plus last years pictures was so cute...it was hard to beat. But we finally got a decent one...Yeah!

But...I had this "ingenious" idea to also get pictures of Seth and Kate together, and then their individual yearly picture since they each have a birthday in June! BAD IDEA. It was just way too long of a day for Kate...and by the time we got to just her...not many more smiles were left. And my darling little 3 year old was not cooperative...AT ALL!
It was one of the 1st times I was embarrassed by the public actions of my child...I know...get used to it, right!?!

Then...to top it off, the customer service at Penneys was lacking today and it took WAY longer than any of us expected. I was so rattled by the end of the session, I didn't even know what to order. UGHGH!

We have to wait a couple weeks for the pictures...but I will post some once I get them.

Since bedtime is taking over 2 hours for Seth, including tantrums, jumping over gates, countless askings for water and endless pleas to "sit with me"....the expression of "Calgon...take me away" have never rung truer. Thank God Kate slept 9 hours last night and today was on a full tank of sleep. Tommorrow is a new day...and it can't come quick enough! God Bless!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Moments to Treasure

Today I'm posting 3 of my favorite pictures of my little ones. One taken yesterday, one when Kate was born and one soon after she came home for the 1st time!



What a surprise to see the two of them watching Sesame Street together...and then, today I had set Kate down on the far end of the couch...when I came back a few minutes later, Seth had moved down to be next to her, and Kate had her hand on his lap! How cute is that! I know these moments of sibling love and agreement on television watching will soon be rare and far between.

Holding new baby Kate for the 1st time...just minutes old...before the "bomb" it!

Feeding Kate...that novelty soon wore off! Ah, the brace...Praise God we won that battle!


It is so fun to see the two of them really start playing together. Seth is great and often (not always) shares with her and gets her toys or pacifiers.Kate is getting to the age and skill level that she can actually throw a ball back or knock down blocks. I love it when we are talking about doing something and he says: "and Kate too!" Guess there were too many days when Kate was left at home. And as far as Kate...she adores her older brother and loves watching him. In fact, she has even picked up on his hobbies: playing with trash trucks and watching trash truck movies.

However, we do see our moments of jealousy...Seth is quick to "act up" when Kate is getting all the attention. But, you can't blame him...he's had a tough year with Kate. We are amazed at how well he has done...considering the weeks away, hours spent feeding Kate and the time our plans got put on hold because Kate was sick. He is a trooper. We are so thankful for wonderful family and friends who have taken care of Seth and made it so "fun" for him to be away and entertained during doctor appointments.
Thank You...Thank You...Thank You.


I know these moments will come again...but I'm sure all too soon, the sibling rivalry will set in...so today I cherish these moments...the moments when it is "cool" to have an older brother or younger sister.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Great to be a Kid

Kate enjoying (finally) her Christmas present...go Kate go!
Seth enjoying his new slip and slide...slide Seth slide!

Just a couple shots of our kids enjoying life! I just wish we all could be as happy and carefree as little kids. I'm guessing they don't lay in bed wondering how they are going to get everything done the next day. I'm sure they don't worry about what is for dinner. And, I'm sure they have no concerns about whether the laundry is done or not. Instead...I imagine they just think about what "fun" thing they are going to do next. Wouldn't it be great if we adults could have the same attitude?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to my dear husband, Andy! Daddy lovin' on his little girl!

Top 5 Reasons Andy is a great father!
  1. He willingly gets up early to do the 5am feeding.
  2. He makes the kids laugh every day.
  3. He is a spiritual leader and prays for and with us each day.
  4. He works extra jobs and hours to provide for his family and so that I can stay home with the kids.
  5. He constantly looks out for their best interest...whether it be in the hospital after surgery or in the park just playing.
    Like Father Like Son!

And I would be remiss not to mention the other wonderful fathers in my life...

Happy Father's Day Oompa!

Thanks for being a wonderful Father to me...then and now! You are always willing to help me out...even when I'm "all grown up!" I'll always be "Daddy's little girl!"





Happy Father's Day Larry!


You are a great, generous father-in-law! So glad you beat that cancer! We like having you around.


Friday, June 15, 2007

Back Home! YEAH!

We were dismissed from the hospital around 9:30 this morning, but didn't' leave until 11 once we fed Kate and got all packed. We were safe at home around 1! It feels great to be home.

Kate is doing great. She ate a super lunch of solids. Her spirits are normal...it's great to have our little Kate back so fast. She is a trooper!

The night went well in the hospital...Kate slept amazingly well and so did Andy and I (considering we shared a tiny fold-out, very hard futon in her hospital room).

We did get more great news...she had a blood test that tested her calcium level...and it was normal. Kids with 22q sometimes have low calcium which can causes seizures and other problems. Yeah...another bullet dodged.

So...we are anxious for July 25th. We dread going back...the nurse, when we left said: "See you next month"...that kinda left a pit in the bottom of my stomach...but at the same time...we know she will feel and act so much better once her heart is fixed. We cling to the fact that she is so much bigger and stronger than last time!

We're doing good...the only limitation Kate has now is no swimming or submerging baths for a week. That's a bummer since she loves the water...but we'll be back in no time at all.

Thanks again for all the prayers and support...we will keep you updated as we get closer to leaving for Indy again...we've got 6 weeks to have a great summer!

Kate....pre-op...don't you love her little gown and booties.
Kate...chewing on her oxygen tube...she did not like that! She pulled it off several times. She was on oxygen until the anesthesia wore off and she began breathing deeper.
More chewing...this time on her oxygen sensor. That seemed to be her favorite activity while in the hospital. She had an IV in her right arm and a fairly decent size incision in her right groin area from the cath.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Trooper Kate

Nana is posting this because Krista and Andy are in Indy and the Internet is not working at the hospital.

Krista says, "Kate's cath went very well. Her arteries have grown nicely and both the cardiologist and surgeon agree that we can proceed with repair surgery this summer. The surgery is set for July 25. Kate has recovered nicely, is eating well, and even wants to play with toys. Pretty good for someone who underwent surgery at 8:30 this morning. A much better hospital visit than last time. Plans are for a discharge late Friday morning. Will give more updates and pictures on Friday. As alwsys thanks for your prayers."

Now a note from Nana. Seth has done very well. Had a busy time with going to hear Uncle Doug's band last night at Indian Trails Park. Today he watched the trash truck pick up four (yes that's right, four) trash cans plus some boxes on our cul-de-sac with Oompa and then within a few minutes had the mailman come and actually give Seth and Oompa the mail instead of putting it in the box. Krista calls this "public service overload". This afternoon Seth and Nana went to play with Elijah and Lucas and see Elijah's T-ball game. Had fun playing but the game was rained out! A thunderstorm right over the park at game time. Too bad.

Nana finally learned how to upload pictures from her camera so will share one of Seth cooling off in Oompa's backyard stream yesterday. Thanks from Nana and Oompa to all of you who pray so faithfully and are such dear friends.



Seth cooling off

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Great Doctor's Report

Hey all...We met with the geneticist this afternoon. It was a great appointment. First...the weigh-in! 16 1/2 pounds! Yeah...we met the 1 year old/16 pound benchmark... with 2 weeks to spare.

The physical and occupational therapist evaluated Kate next. She performed for them...doing all her tricks. They were really impressed with her development in the past 3 months. Fine motor and cognitively she increased 4 months (5 month to 9 month) She does show some skills past 9 months, but since it is a standardized test...they had to stop since she is not yet forming consonant sounds (baba, mama, etc).
Physically she improved 2months (4month-6month). And again, showing some older skills, but they had to stop since she is not on all fours..yet!
We were really thrilled with the progress she has made.

Dr. Escobar and the genetic counselor met with us next. He, too, was happy with her progress. He checked her mouth and she does not have a sub-mucus cleft palate...something I was worried about! (Basically, a cleft palate, under the skin in the roof of the mouth...very common with the 22q11 deletion.) It looks like we are only (I use that word lightly) dealing with the heart and brain issues...very mild compared to the many other issues (kidney, immune, calcium, cleft palate, swallowing) that are common with this deletion.

So...we are optimistic and very pleased with the reports today! They said she is looking great...and keep doing what we are doing!

We were done by 4:30...checked into our hotel room and relaxed a little before getting dinner at Cracker Barrell. Now...for hopefully a restful night's sleep. We report to the cath lab at 7...I will post again tomorrow afternoon.

Thanks for caring and praying...can't post pictures...will post those when we get home. Love ya!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Headed to Indy

On Wednesday, we are headed to Indy for a few days with Kate.

" Where are they taking me now...and what are they going to do this time?"
On Wednesday afternoon, we have an appointment with her geneticist. It is a pretty intensive appointment and includes physical and occupational evaluations in order to track her development. Dr. Escobar is a very encouraging doctor...we are praying to get an encouraging report.

Wednesday night, St. Vincent is putting us up in the Martin House...a hotel next to the hospital that has rooms set aside for out-of-town guests. What a blessing!

Early Thursday morning, we go to the heart center for Kate's heart catherization. Dr. Parikh has seen Kate since she was 1 day old. He will be doing the cath to determine if her arteries have grown enough for her final repair surgery. He is able to get all kinds of diagonostic info from the cath that he cannot get from echos (heart ultrasounds). They have to paralyze her and she will most likely be on a vent for the procedure, however it is only for an hour or so. They told us she will spend one night in the hospital and we should be released early Friday morning. Hopefully, we will be able to set the date for her final repair surgery for this summer.

We will be updating our blog each day with the information we receive as well as Kate's status. Most likely it will be in the evenings. Feel free to leave a comment (you don't have to sign up with google...just leave it via anonymous) or you can send us an email to aklayman3@netzero.com
For all you prayers:

1. Safety on the road
2. A great encouraging report from teh geneticist
3. An efffective, informative, positive and uneventful heart cath
4. An easy, painless recovery for Kate
5. Ease the worries of mom and dad
6. Nana & Oompa as they keep Seth for us

Thanks for loving, caring and praying for us...your prayers are felt!








8 Years Ago...

8 Years ago...a tall dark and handsome man showed up on my doorstep with a bouquet of flowers...my life has never been the same since.

Yes, hard to believe that 8 years ago today, Andy and I had our first date. It was a blind date...we were set up by our dear friend Amy Sprunger. We had talked via email and phone for a couple weeks prior to the date and I was quite excited about meeting him.

He took me to Cheddars for dinner...then to the Golf Dome for a very competitive round of miniature golf...then to the Anchor Room for coffee and finally back to my house to walk the dogs and look at photo albums! Wow...what a whirlwind.

I remember calling my mom right after the date was over and the 1st thing out of my mouth was: "He brought me flowers!"

And that was the beginning of what I hope is a very very long journey. Thanks Andy for telling Amy yes! Thanks telling me "I Do!" And thanks for being such a wonderful giving man...I love you!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

and the fun continues...

After a morning of playing with all the new toys, lunch at Burger King and a quick nap...the kids, Nana and me went swimming. What a bunch of fish we have! Kate lounging in her dog floaty! She loves the water...whether it be the tub or the swimming pool. We also discovered that she will stand up in the kiddy pool...it's great therapy for her!Seth (3), Elijah (6) & Lucas (4) love jumping in. It was so cute when they would hold hands and jump!
Elijah lovin' on his cousin!
Seth is doing really well in the water...he has no fear and I know by the end of a busy summer swimming, he'll be without a life jacket!

The birthday festivities continued with the boys eating at Nana's for dinner and then all of us (Oompa came after graduation) meeting at "The Scoop" for ice cream. After all this activity with his cousins...Seth is one worn out little boy!



Friday, June 8, 2007

Happy Birthday Seth

What a fun day for a newly turned 3 year old.Enjoying supper with all four grandparents at Dog & Suds...one of his favorite places to eat. What a beautiful night to eat at the picnic tables.
Amazed at all of the presents
Opening presents....everything was a huge hit!
A new trash truck, trash movie and play shopping cart
A swimming pool, Slip & Slide, Pajamas & New Undies
A MP3 player, rocket tornadoes, books & Moon Sand!
Wow...what a lucky boy!

He picked out the cake all by himself.. Yum Yum!

The best part...a sleepover in a tent in the living room with the cousins! They were so cute...even though it was past 11:30 when they finally settled down!

1--2--3!!!!


1

2

3
I can't believe it...3 years old already!
He's grown into such a little man!
Happy Birthday Seth...we love you!



Scissor Mayhem!

Well...I've kinda always known that we probably wouldn't get through child-rearing without the improper use of scissors. I was expecting either an attempt to cut one's own or possibly a siblings hair....not the cat's ear! Yes...this morning, for some reason, Seth took his safety scissors to kitty's ear. Yikes! We're hoping he thought he could give her a haircut and that our dear little one is not into harming animals! It scared Seth more than kitty and we had quite the drama this morning.


Andy took "momma" to the vet and it turned out to be a pretty minor injury...just a small chunk missing. The vet said he could stitch it, but it wouldn't look any better. We just have to keep it clean...kitty seems no less for the wear. I don't remember this in the parenting books!

BTW...Andy went to the new vet on Coldwater...by Redimed, across from our entrance to Pine Valley...Andy said it was one of the nicest places he's ever been in...marble flooring, beautiful paintings and signs, 4 receptionists...I guess America loves their pets!
Seth with kitty on one of their better days...normally they are great friends, Seth plays with her and even holds the phone for her when she get calls!

Other (and better) highlights from the Layman household:

1. Larry (Andy's dad) is officially in remission! YEAH...praise God! He had an MRI and met with the oncologist on Wed. Most of the cancer is gone! God is into working miracles. He will continue to have tests every month or so...but we are so grateful for this blessing and a June & July with no chemo! We love you Larry!

2. The baby swing got put away...for most this would be a sad time...for us..a sign that our little baby girl is growing up and out-growing the "baby toys."
Kate in her swing for one of the last times...she does look like a big girl!

3. The kids and I had a great trip to Warsaw to see Deanna and her 2 boys Aaron and Isaac. The big boys played outside in the fenced-in-back yard...boy does that make me want one (a fence that is!)....and the babies and the girls had great conversation and play! Thanks Deanna for a great day...love ya girl!