Tuesday, July 31, 2007

No Room in the Inn

Like I posted earlier, it has been a crazy day here in our little world...several other families going through this "crap" also! We lost our sleeping room tonight... a couple other families got priority. They did offer us 2 cots in a conference room. After discussing all the pros and cons..we've decided to go ahead and get a room across the street at the Marten House....that way...we can get a good night sleep before the big day.

Kate is doing well...she has recovered from her traumatic morning. They tell us her lungs have really cleared up nicely. It looks like we are on track for a 10ish surgery. She has been resting well this afternoon and evening...she looks a lot better than when she was having such a hard time.

My brother surprised us and made a special trip down here for a visit and dinner. Thanks Doug for making the drive! We really really appreciate the visit...some days get really really long.

We'll keep you all posted tomorrow. We are really humbled by the number of people who are so connected to us and are checking on us daily. Thanks for loving, caring for and praying for our family. We are blessed by wonderful wonderful friends and family....keep those comments/emails coming...they do more for us than you can ever imagine....just knowing you care...it's a wonderful feeling.

Much Needed Comic Relief

Just had to share this awesome clip I am stealing from Deanna's Blog. A little comic relief was much needed medicine for me this afternoon.

After watching this clip...a preview of the years to come as a mommy...maybe I should be grateful Kate is sleeping right now. Guess this comedian is touring with the Women of Faith tour right now...she looks pretty entertaining to me!

DeJa Vu

It's happening all over again...the first cardiologist who found her VSD (hole) last Friday was right...it does need to be fixed before she can go home....what this means: We are back in the OR tomorrow.

Kate had a hard time coming back on the vent. Her pressures really dropped and they realized that she had a lot of fluid in the lungs. They are now under the assumption that her VSD is causing too much blood flow to her lungs...causing the "breathing on her own" problems we experienced this morning. They want to go ahead and fix the VSD...as soon as possible...as soon as she is stable and her lungs have cleared up a bit. She is on the schedule for tomorrow (Wednesday) around 10ish....but that could easily change....hopefully we should know more by later this evening.

What a blow this morning...Andy and I are both in shock...kinda numb...not knowing what to feel... or say...or ask. There is a part of me that is glad they are going to have this hole fixed before she comes home. I have nightmares that it would cause problems 6 months down the road and we would have had to go back in as soon as she had recovered. I hate hate hate the fact that my little baby girl has to go back under the knife...but since it has to be...I guess it's better now. I just hold tight to the fact that they would not do the surgery unless she was completely stable and able to handle it. They did say they don't like to do back to back bypass machine operations because of the swelling that can occur...but they should be able to keep it under control.

It's been a crazy day in the PICU for us....and based on our bird's eye view of the nurses station for the entire staff and other families as well.
But for now, Kate is resting peacefully again...dreaming in lala land of ice cream, Popsicles, walks and tickles on her toes. We'll be back there soon Baby Kate, I promise!

Short Lived

Well...Kate had to go back on the vent this morning around 10:30. She was working way too hard to breathe, was turning blue, her oxygen levels were dropping and her chest sounded really junky. They are pretty sure her failure is due to her lungs..not the heart. That is good news. They are doing an echo to get some pictures of her heart and all the doctors (cardio, surgeon, intensivist) are in there now doing all sorts of test and assessments. They just don't want to put too much strain on her heart with her having to breathe so heavily.

So...now, a few more days of Kate resting, breathing treatments and giving time for her lungs to heal. Most likely, she is so tired, she wasn't' breathing deep enough or coughing...so her lungs began to collapse and secretions got stuck in there.

We have learned one thing about life in the ICU:
Remember that there is nothing stable in human affairs; therefore avoid undue elation in prosperity, or undue depression in adversity....Socrates

Remember that there is nothing stable about life in the ICU with an infant; therefore avoid undue elation in good news, or undue depression in the bad...Krista Layman

Yes...we are bummed...the tears have flowed. But...we know she can pull through and it will just take some more time! It's just so hard to just watch her while she is on the vent. Hopefully, they will start feeding her again and get her a few good days of some nourishment. That should help! And so we wait....

Larry and Cathy are back for the day...that will give us some distraction....if there is such a thing

Monday, July 30, 2007

Give me back my paci!!

So much better than the tubes....Kate took her paci right away. She was extubated around 10:20 on Monday evening. She was really fighting the tube...getting pretty ticked...and she had lots of secretions and was coughing up stomach gunk! All signs she was ready. Andy and I barely made it down to the waiting room before they said we could come back. It went really smoothly.

So...now we wait to see if she can keep it off and keep her stats up...the next 12 hours will be the tell-tale. Prayers that our little girl will stay strong and persevere through this. More to come tomorrow....
There's my pretty little girl...so tired after the extubation. Sleep tight little one!


We're so glad to see those peepers.
We are getting many more glimpses of Kate with her eyes open...they are occurring more frequently and less and less "zombie" like. They are continuing to turn the pain medicine and vent settings down...our nurse, Jessica, seems to think they might still do "IT" today.
Kate is showing much more alertness...I can stand on the opposite side of the bed and she will turn her head to find my voice! What an awesome feeling. She still has pretty much a "blank" look about her face...I think she is still trying to figure: "what in the heck has happened to me!" Unfortunately, with the waking up comes the tears and crying. ...that is hard for mommy to see. It's so bizarre...you can tell she is crying, but no sounds. So we wait...will fill in all in soon! Kate and her nurse, Jessica. She is awesome and takes great care of Kate and us!

Wakey Wakey Time

It's been a little bit of an exciting morning...they have turned down her fentanyl (pain medicine) and turned down her vent settings in order to start waking her up in hopes of working toward getting her breathing tube out. She is getting wiggling. I expect that it might be tomorrow before they actually take the tube out...but at least they are working in that direction.

Plus, Dr. Abraham (the surgeon) came and pulled out her chest drains and SHE DID NOT LIKE THAT! I was surprised at how thick and long the tube was inside her tiny little chest. Her stats dropped after the tubes were pulled (expected, considering she was waking up and they yanked a huge tube out of her chest!) They are going to do a chest xray to make sure there is no trapped air in her lungs.

But...the good thing...evidently the trauma/shock of getting the chest tube out put her into sinus (good) heart rhythm. The pacemaker is actually disconnected and laying across the room. Now let's just hope she can stay in the sinus rhythm.

So...it looks like it might be an exciting day in the ICU...especially if she really starts to wake up and realize she has a tube down her throat and her arms tied down. We'll let you know! Thanks for everything...we feel your prayers!

Sunday, July 29, 2007


Kate finally gets to eat....it's not much...just 5cc an hour! (30cc are in an ounce). Just a little to tickle her tummy I guess...or at least make her realize how hungry she probably really is. She is getting fed through the NG tube in her nose. They are stopping the feedings at 2am because "the plan" is to extubate her tomorrow and she can't have anything in her tummy when they do that.

Otherwise...just a pretty stable day in the PICU.

I had a nice lunch with Melanee (thanks!) and we went "slummin' in Carmel" We drove around looking at this incredible housing "village" complete with it's own shopping area (spa, dry cleaners, cafe, etc) The houses are at least $500,000 and some we saw go up to 1.5 million! It's just seems like a whole different world....fun to look at. Andy got some time "alone" on our mini-couch and watched the race and took a nap. Andy and I walked to dinner (about a 20 minute walk) and enjoyed the nice day...it was great to get some fresh air and exercise.
We're gonna relax and watch a movie tonight and hopefully tomorrow will be an exciting, good day...at least that is our prayer!

Sunday...a day of rest for little Kate

Just a quick update to let you know all is calm. Kate has been resting well...they want to give her another full day of diaretics in order to help get the extra fluid off before extubation. She is a little puffy around the eyes. But... her lungs are clear and chest xray looks good. She is still in junctional rhythm (not sinus, which is good) but they can extubate her if she is not in good rhythm.

She did have to receive a small amount of blood last night, because her hematocrit (red blood cells) was low...that quickly rose with the blood. I am amazed at how quickly her little body responds to the different meds, suctioning, positioning, etc. I am so grateful to live in the days of modern medicine and that they know what to do for her. They have also given some calcium and magnesium to help with her heart.
The cardiologist and surgeon were both in for a few minutes and saw nothing wrong...so that is a quick $800+ added to our bill. Guess I should be grateful they make a visit on Sunday

We both got a good nights sleep. Andy is going to watch the race while I get another visit from a friend. Melanee is in town and I think we're gonna grab a quick lunch! Thanks to everyone who treats us so well...the gift cards, prayers, cards, meals...EVERYTHING is greatly appreciated.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


Well...as normal, nothing is typical, routine or BORING in the ICU. Kate is still steady...she is just currently battling some secretions, extra fluid and swelling/puffiness. They've been spending much of the afternoon tweaking with some different meds/fluids to keep her blood pressure stable. She has started some breathing treatments (xopenex) in order to help clear up some of the gunk in her lungs. They are getting a lot of gunk out of her when they suction her.

Andy and I are both pretty anxious right now, because we've felt like we have been through all this before. Last time, Kate had problems with her secretions and lungs that kept her on the ventilator. So far, there has been no infection...but this is how it started last time too! Kate just doesn't seem to handle tubes well...she is easily irritated and produces so many secretions.

We've talked with the doctor about our concern...they are aware, but it is obvious she is not ready to be extubated. She did just have her chest closed yesterday (to us, the days just seem to drag). They will work on getting her swelling and extra fluid down and get her heart into a consistent rhythm. She coughed today and that set her into a funky rhythm again...so she is back on the pacemaker...they keep telling us this is normal post surgery and it will go away.

Today...post op #3 is a rough day. At least for me, the adrenaline has worn off...the lack of good sleep is catching up with me...and sitting here looking at my little girl on a vent is getting really really old. We cling to God's grace and mercies....He is faithful!!!

I've included a couple pictures of her room. We are fortunate that she has her own private room with a tv and bathroom. Although she's not using those right now...makes it a little more comfortable for mom and dad!
Kate is "hogging" the space in the room right now...her bed and equipment is taking up most of the room....her room is about 15x16...it's actually a decent size private hospital room.

Our little corner of her room...our view: the Pediatric Emergency Room entrance and the Heart and Neuroscience Building...that could be better!!

Livin' The Blog!

Old College Roommates
I spent a couple hours with my college roommate Mira this morning. She treated me to this "hip" little cafe' for breakfast. It was awesome...I had a yummy omelet with mushroom, spinach and feta cheese....and their cinnamon toast is to die for! It was great to catch up with her and just spend a little time away from the hospital. Thanks Mira for breakfast and some great girl chat.
She came up to the room and "experienced" a few minutes of life in the ICU....that's why she said she was livin' the blog....Mira has been one of many faithful BLOG readers who are so concerned for Kate and our family. We appreciate you all!!

All is Well....sleep tight little girl

Kate had a good, uneventful night last night. That's good. They took off the pacemaker again and she has continued to stay in sinus rhythm. Hopefully, she will stay that way. Everything else looks good...no fevers, no lung issues.

So...we are planning on just a "boring" day in the ICU. They just are planning to just let Kate rest, build up strength and move on to the next step of recovery.

My college roommate, Mira, who lives in Indy is coming to take me to breakfast this morning and Andy just plans to relax. We're hopin' for a pretty boring day, BLOG wise.

Thanks for all your prayers and support! Love ya!

How many does it take... We had to laugh yesterday as it took 5 people to take a tiny 17 pound baby down to the heart cath. Two nurses from the cath lab, 2 respiratory and her nurse. Plus...we had five of us following (Mom & Dad, Nana & Oompa, and my friend Kristen) We had to go to the special elevator to get one big enough to fit us all in! It's amazing how long it takes to get her ready for travel...and I though packing the diaper bag was bad. Unhooking all the wires, converting to battery power and unhooking the vent and bagging her in route...it's quite the circus. Then...when she comes back...the tangled mess all her tubes and wires are in...it takes a good 1/2 hour just to get her situated again.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Wait and See....Wait and See

We just returned from the heart cath area. There is definitely a residual hole (a VSD) in between her left and right ventricles. Most likely, a few stitches came loose or did not hold from where he cut muscle. The cardiologist and surgeon agree that they would like to see if she can tolerate being extubated and breathe on her own. If she tolerates being off the vent, breathes well on her own and doesn't have to work too hard...they will leave the VSD until she would have to have the conduit (cadaver valve) replaced 3-5 years down the road.

So...right now they feel the trauma of going through another surgery is greater than the ramifications of this VSD. They will work over the next 24-48 hours in getting her off the vent and then assess how she does. There is the possibility that might fail..but they would know that in the first 24-48 hours after being extubated. In that case, they would go back in at that point and fix the hole. It's just a couple stitches...but it's the process of getting there!

So...we think this is good news. We are glad we hopefully won't have to go through another surgery. And....we are trying to be grateful that they found this now...not in a heart cath 1 day before she was ready to go home and we would have to start all over again.

So...we wait....wait for extubation and then hopefully that she will tolerate the VSD and we will be on our way. That is our prayer.

What an afternoon...up...down....up...down....such is the life in the hospital.
We'll keep you in touch!

And the rollarcoaster ride begins...

Well...it has begun...we finally got the bad news that seemed to be evident. They closed her chest and that went fine...she tolerated that well and all seemed good. They did an echocardiogram (an ultrasound of the heart) right after the closure to look at the heart's function. Functionally, the heart is working well. That's the good news. However.....there is still a hole in her heart between the left and right ventricles. They are unsure whether it is a hole from where a suture has broke through...or possibly a residual hole what was masked by the bigger hole that was patched on Wednesday. What this means....they have to go back in and correct the hole. For some reason...this hole was not seen by the tests they did in the OR.
So...as of now, they are going to do a heart catherization today around 4:30. That will definitely determine the size/area of the hole and they will be able to check the pressure within the heart and lungs. The cath will also allow them a complete picture to see if there is anything else that needs to be fixed/changed while they are in.

Most likely, another surgery (complete with opening the chest, bypass machine and everything that goes with it) will occur on Monday. YUCK YUCK YUCK! We will know more after the heart cath and the cardiologists and surgeon confer. The hole is not life-threatening and she will be fine through the weekend...but she definitely cannot come home with this hole.
The worst part for me...she will have to stay on the vent through Monday. This means she is pretty much unconscious and the chance of infection increases with every day. The thought of just watching her lay for the whole weekend without getting any signs of improvements is discouraging. However...we are so thankful they found it now and it didn't turn into an emergency room visit in a couple months.
So...all you prayer warriors out there....we need some overtime from you. Prayers foremost that her lungs stay clear while on the vent. Prayers for a successful heart cath. Prayers that her little body will be able to withstand these next two procedures in the next few days....it just seems so much for her.
So...now we wait again. We are grateful they are able to get the cath done today...being late Friday afternoon...we don't want to postpone this anymore than we have to.
Andy and I are doing okay...unfortunately it seems par for the course. We knew we had a rough road ahead...just not this rough. My parents are here again to support us and Andy's parents just left with Seth. We had a nice picnic (amidst a little rain) and were able to get outside and enjoy Seth. A couple pictures attached.
Will send another update this evening once we get the cath results...It's always something. We cling to the fact that God will not give us more than we can handle...but really...enough already!!

Have suitcase...will travel. Seth moving his suitcase from one car to another!

A view of the Children's Hospital from our picnic spot.

Guess what Seth found...surprise surprise!

Mommy grabbing a quick hug before Seth heads to the next "vacation" spot.

All Tied Up!

We've been booted out of her room...but that is a good thing, because they are closing her chest right now. They are able to do that right in her room....amazing! It looks busy...with the surgeon, 2 assistants, 1 intensive care doctor, her nurse and respiratory ....she is in good hands.

She had a fairly decent night...they did have to put her back on the pacemaker. She was going into a little funky rhythm again. They assure us this is normal and there is no fear of having to put in an internal pacemaker. In fact, she is already overriding the pacemaker. I'm sure once she has stabilized again after the closure, she'll be able to come off of it again.

Otherwise...all is good right now. I read all the emails I sent out from her last surgery last night. We are comforted that she does not have to have breathing treatments, due to the fact that her lungs are really clear this time around. We know that we still have a road ahead...3rd day post-op seems to be a delicate day.....Keep prayin'

Seth is on his way down here with my parents. It will be good to spend a few hours with him before Andy's parents take him to Portland for the weekend. My parents are bringing a picnic...will post an update and picture from our picnic this afternoon.

Love ya all....thanks for your prayers and support...we couldn't get through all this without you!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

No pace car needed!

Kate has had a really good day. She is responding well to everything. Nothing has been unexpected. While we were at dinner, they took her off the the pacemaker and she has maintained a good sinus rhythm all on her own. What a blessing to hear everyone saying she is doing well and blood counts are good.

Andy and I were able to go to Larry and Cathy's hotel room and take a several hour nap this afternoon...felt great. Kate on the other hand is ready to wake up...We want to talk to her and read to her...but that just wakes her up, so we just let her rest.

So...all is good! Praise God!

Tubes and Wires Everywhere

We had an uneventful night...and that is great...the 1st night can be touch and go. It's a busy place around here. Last October, there were nights when we were the only patient...now all 16 beds are full and there are lots of heart kids.

Kate is holding her own. She is still having some rhythm problems, but they are getting better and they are tweaking some of her medicine in order to help control them. Her chest is still open, they will plan on closing that tomorrow and then getting her off the vent. We are thrilled with the idea of her being off the vent within a couple days of surgery. It's amazing how much bigger and stronger she seems to be. With her not being a "newborn" there aren't those issues of her "Forgetting" how to eat, breathe, suck...etc.

She is wanting to wake up....they are pretty quick to "knock her out" again...just to keep her comfortable...poor thing has restraints to keep her hands down. She is feisty. But as long as she is on the vent and her chest open...they need to keep her sedated...We understand

It's hard to see her hooked up to so many tubes/wires.
A vent
A ng tube through her nose to drain her stomach
An arterial and venous IV line in her groin
A venous line in her toe
Two Drains from her heart
Two pacemaker wires
A foley catheter (measuring her waste)
Two heart catheters measuring the pressures in her heart
Three Oximeters to measure her oxygen levels on her forehead (to measure brain), her back (to measure kidneys) and her finger (to measure her blood)
And...5 medicine pumps and 4 fluid bags, plus a cooling blanket and a pacemaker

But the good news...soon they will start taking these away....one at a time and then she will be home ready to swim and play and fight with Seth!

I'm posting a picture on the link page...click on "Kate's Journey" on the upper right side of our blog....I know it may be hard for some to see, so you can choose to see if you want....but she is resting comfortably. It will be good to see the tubes and wires going away.

Well...we are back to the "sitting in the room" and wait routine. Rounds were this morning and we've talked with the cardiologist, surgeon, intensivist and dietitian. They all think she is doing okay...a long way to go, but she is on her way. YEAH KATE.

Larry and Cathy are here for the day. It's nice to have company. Several of you have said you will be in Indy and wonder about visitors. You are more than welcome...just give us a call....The # is 1-888-742-8788....we're in room 8. Or you can try our cell phone.

It's a rainy yucky day here in Indy...maybe it'll be a good afternoon to take a nap!Love to all!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A Change of Heart

We've gotten to spend some time with our little girl. She is holding her own. The biggest issue seems to be her heart rhythms....they are a little out of whack, so they are regulating that with a pacemaker. They don't envision this being long term...just until her heart recovers from the trauma of surgery. She did spike a fever, have low blood pressure and required some more blood...but these are all typical side effects of this type of heart surgery. Her oxygen stats are great (100%) and she looks good.

The heart surgeon was called in for emergency surgery this evening (yuck...after a long day of surgery on Kate...guess that's why we pay him the big bucks) He just stopped in and thought everything looked okay. We know we are not out of the woods yet and we stilll have a long road of recovery, but the first 6-7 hours post-op are behind us now.

She is in the same room as last time and even had the same nurse (Anthony...a big 6'4" guy...but he's awesome) as last time right out of surgery. One of our favorite night nurses from last time has her tonight. That is bringing us comfort...we know the staff and nurses and know she is in competent hands. Prayers for no phone call in the middle of the night though.

We've headed to our "sleep room" for the night...in hopes of catching a good night's sleep.

Home Sweet Home for the next few days....bad part...we have to vacate each morning.

Blessings Abound:

1. Dr. Abraham was able to do a complete repair on Kate's heart
2. We were surrounded, encouraged and supported by our family and Pastor Rex
3. Seth is having a marvelous time with the cousins.
4. We have this laptop...so convenient for checking email, passing time and staying in touch with all of you who are praying and loving us.
5. Competent, amazing doctors and staff who put Kate's best interest first.

God is Good!

The Doctor Is In

We just met with Dr Abraham. The surgery took a little longer than expected...but he said it went fairly well and she tolerated the surgery well. He was able to do the complete repair and patch the 2 holes. The pressure in the right ventricular pressure is a little too high for what he would like ideally ....it's 80% but he would like 50%. He thinks that over time, as the heart recovers from surgery that it should go down. He did leave her chest open to help relieve some pressure and in case he has to go back in over the next couple days. Overall, though, he is happy with the surgery. So...we cling to that.

He said she is really sick right now...having some rhythm problems, but all that can be controlled with medicine. It sounds like it might be a roller coaster ride the next few days as she begins to recover and her heart learns its new way of working. Her oxygen levels are at 100% ---for the 1st time on her own since birth. That is great news.

It will probably be an hour or so before we can see her...so more waiting. The day went fairly quickly, until the past 2 hours...those have just drug on and on and on and on while we waited for the report.

She made it through...God protected her through the surgery. Praise God. So, now we wait....wait ....wait and see and pray...pray...pray for a her pressures to go down and that they can close her chest and get her on the way to full recovery. The road is long...but God is Good!

Thank you again for all your prayers and support.

Cleopatra and the Princess

As of 11:00 she was on the heart lung machine and she was stable and doing well. They do a great job of keeping us posted.

Mom and dad are here and brought the laptop. I think we finally have it figured out...will try it with a picture from this morning.

We had been waiting in the pre-op room and they came to take her up to the operating floor. They had me sit on the bed and hold her. I felt like Cleopatra as they pushed Kate and me through the bellows of the hospital.

Notice the lovely mismatched pajamas they put on Kate! Lovely!!

Well..I think we will head down to the cafeteria for lunch...

All Too Familiar

From the distinctive smell of the antibacterial soap to the nurse, Annie, who took my little girl to surgery to the pre-op talk with the anesthesiologist...it is all real again.

We arrived at the hospital around 6 and waited (golly...there is so much of that) till around 8:00 when they took her back to surgery. She was in good spirits this morning and even got in a little nap. I was worried she might be "hungry baby" since she didn't take a good bottle last night... but she was a trooper.

We met w/ the anesthesiologist and she told us her plan for the day. Yesterday, when Kate was supposed to give blood...she was not too cooperative, so they just decided to get it this morning once she was sedated. So...we had a little delay while they had to wait for the blood work to get done. But, now..she is underway...the liaison just told us they officially started at 9:45a.m.

We met with the surgeon yesterday. He is pretty optimistic about the surgery. There is a small possibility that the pressure within the left side of her heart would be too great and they might have to leave a small hole in her heart to relieve the pressure. We won't know until he gets everything working, but we will know before she leaves surgery. Prayers that a full repair will be possible. Will update you on the result this afternoon. They are expecting a 4 hour surgery.

Just wanted to give a quick update. She is in great hands...the surgeon, Dr. Abraham, is very competent. But most importantly, she is in God's hands....the great great physician and comforter.

Andy's parents just arrived, mine are a few minutes away and a pastor from church has been here since 7:00. We have a lot of support...both here and back home and through this amazing thing called the world wide web.

Love to all...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Here We Go Again

Well...the time has come...we leave early in the morning to get to Indy by 10:30 for her pre-op appointments and bloodwork. We can't believe the day is here...I remember thinking we had 6 weeks of summer. But...we had a great summer and WE WILL BE HOME IN 2 WEEKS!!!

We will be updating you hopefully on a daily basis beginning on Wednesday. We fortunately have use of a laptop during our stay...so we will be able to include pictures with our daily ramblings.

Thanks again for all your prayers and support. Emails and comments are GREATLY appreciated! Emails can be sent to aklayman3@netzero.com

Well...it's past midnight and I still have more packing and cleaning to do. Talk to you all soon!
Love ya!

Monday, July 23, 2007

How Sweet It Is!

Kids can just break your heart at times. Our bedtime routine usually consists of baths, snack & movie, stories, prayer and singing "Jesus Loves Me" We've been trying to get Seth familiar with prayer and usually ask him what good things happened today that we can thank Jesus for. Well, tonight, when asked that question...he just said: "Let's pray for Kate!" (Choke, choke: hold back the tears!)

Evidently, Seth gets it. He knows what is going on and is catching on to our conversations about what is happening this week. Andy and I both are realizing that he is probably going to miss Kate most of all during this couple weeks. He loves playing with her...gets in her crib with her...reads her the paper...watches movies with her...and now wants to ride in the wagon together. Occasionally, he plays "baby" and imitates everything she does! It's cute...for a while:) And...he gets really really upset when she throws up.
So...Seth has begun his life-long journey of being the older brother. What a start! So for all you prayer warriors out there....add Seth to your prayers...prayers that he would have peace (in a 3 year old way) about this hospital visit. Prayers for understanding (in a 3 year old way) why he can't see his sister. It will be a while before we let him see her...not while she is on the vent, is sedated and has lots of tubes. Prayers for lots of distractions: provided so lovingly by Nana & Oompa, Grandma and Pampa, Uncle Doug, Aunt Amy, Elijah and Lucas!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Prunes and Popsickles

The title speaks for itself!

Saturday, July 21, 2007


Today Seth and I headed to the Allen County Fairgrounds to listen to my brother's band. (We're keeping Kate pretty much at home these past few days before surgery...don't want her catching anything!).

He has been a member of the band, Huckleberry Blue, for a little over 2 years now. They call themselves "HonkyGrass"...a little country, a little bluegrass, a little rockabilly. All I know....they are good! Check them out here to see more info....my brother is Doug! From the looks of their website, they are opening for some big name bands! Way to go!

I'm so impressed with my little brother...he is so talented when it comes to music. He taught himself guitar, banjo and harmonica...he has played the drums for years...he sings...and he is always picking up some new instrument. Can we say TALENT? Plus.. he is a great dad...and uncle too!
Seth and I had an awesome time today...a beautiful day to play and listen to some great music. The boys had fun dancing to the music. Thanks Doug for a great afternoon...not to sound big sisterish...but I'm proud of ya!

The boys...getting a real close listen

Friday, July 20, 2007

A 3 hour tour!

Being that a) my parents are out of town and b) Andy is doing some major work on our kitchen ceiling...I took the kids to my parents house for a couple nights. Last evening, I loaded everyone up and 2 kids and 2 dogs and myself headed out for a leisurely walk! HA!

Seth had Maggie, and I had Kate and Mollie. Being that both dogs and 1 kid are very stubborn and enjoy checking out all the sights, smells, sounds along the way...it took a long time. For a while we had a collection of sticks (only ones over 4ft long) and 15 or so crabapples (or something of that sort) It was what they might call a "stop and go" walk. But it was fun....until:

Maggie (a beagle) sees a rabbit, shakes out of her leash and begins to chase the rabbit. Mollie was not far behind. At this moment I'm in a panic...I have 2 young kids stuck in a stroller and the dogs are who knows where in the neighborhood. I headed for home, thinking I would load everyone up in the van and go looking...fortunately, the dogs were at the neighbors house, sniffing away on his porch. Whew!

So...we all made it home safe and sound! Thank God it was a beautiful evening!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Appoaching 40

Well...today I guess I can officially say I'm on my way to 40 years old...YIKES! I turned 37 today. It was a nice day with the family. My in-laws came last Saturday, took me out to dinner and brought cake and a gift certificate to Kohls. (That's already spent) My parents are gallivanting up in the Boundary Waters, so we will celebrate with them upon their return.

But...today was a very nice today with the four of us...Some highlights:
1. Sleeping in till 10! YEAH. Thanks Andy for taking the early feeding.

2. Scrapbooking money and certificates for nights out to scrapbook from my loving husband. I am eager to get going on this considering I have only made it to Seth's 1st b-day and haven't even started Kates.

3. Traditional free lunch at Bandidos!

4. Seth and I went to the movies and saw Ratatouille. It was cute, but a little deep and long for a 3 year old. It was my first time taking him to the movie theatre. (BTW...Thumbs up to Carmike Theatres: Bring your own bucket on Tuesdays...they fill it with popcorn for only 50 cents.)

5. A relaxing evening at home with the kids, complete with dinner cooked and cleaned up by Andy!

6. Happy Birthday sung to me over the phone by my 2 nephews, Elijah and Lucas! How cute is that! Thanks guys!

7. Plus...last night I got a few hours out with the grown-up girls. What a great two hours drinking coffee and chatting with Melanee and Carrie! Thanks girls for going! What a treat...even though I think the entire conversation revolved around our kids...must just mean we are great mommies!

There's That Foot Again

I don't care where she is sitting: a stroller, a high=chair, a swing...Kate gets her feet up in the air. She is into being comfy and relaxing I guess. It's pretty cute now...just wonder if the same will be true when she's 10?

In fact at dinner on Saturday at Cracker Barrell...she got both feet up on the table...who is her mother and who is teaching this girl manners?

I have never known a baby to utilize her feet as much as Kate...it is amazing at times what she can do with them! More power to ya Kate...whatever it takes to get the job done!

She is still doing well...getting cuter and cuter everyday! She is cutting at least one tooth on the top, so we're up to at least 3 teeth now.

Junk Food Alley

If you're from the Ft. Wayne area, you know it's Three River's Festival time. A week-long plethora of events happening all over the city. Well...it just wouldn't be festival time without a $5 glass of lemon shake-up and some fried cheese! YUM YUM! We went down to Junk Food Alley for dinner on Sunday and indulged ourselves with festival food (you have to once a year!) So many choices...Andy picked a gyros, Krista a steak sandwich, Seth a hot dog and Kate brought her own snacks (she's picky:) ) We also all shared the fried mozzarella sticks...one of my favorites from years at the festival.

Then, off to the rides for one ride--at $3 a piece and after spending a fortune on dinner--Seth choice the car. He loved every minute of it....driving the entire time. Then a quick walk around (most all the craft booths had closed) and then back to junk food alley for an elephant ear and lemonade. Sidenote: Andy told Seth we were going to eat an elephant ear...Seth started crying and saying he didn't want too! Well, one bite of it and now Seth's words: "Don't eat it all mommy and daddy"

As far as Kate...she is just the social queen and loves being out and about soakin' it all in. She loves watching people...and she gets lots of smiles.

We did attend the parade also on Saturday. It was surprising good and we had surprisingly well-shaded seats. Seth was entertained by almost all the parade...but any guesses as to his favorite entry?
Yeppers..Waste Management: 15 people pushing trash bins down the street banging on them like drums, followed by an actual trash truck...it doesn't get much better than that! Kate was so cute...she just kept clapping...whenever the people around her clapped...so did she...don't think she knew why she was clapping...just that it was the thing to do.

Friday, July 13, 2007

I just want to help!

A few months ago, we drained the swimming pool of which we (mostly Andy) are the caretakers for the summer. The pool sits back near a woods and evidently, before the water got too low...a mother duck and her 7 ducklings decided to take a swim. Well...eventually, the water got so low that the ducklings were unable to get out. The mother duck kept going to the steps and showing the ducklings to hop up them...but they couldn't...they were just too small.

Well, of course, I wanted to help. So I grabbed the net and tried my best to corral them. The ducks obviously thought I wanted to hurt/catch them and were not cooperative. I did finally have the brainstorm to build a ramp up the steps. Again...I tried my best to help them by corralling them toward the ramp. And again...the ducks were not interested in my help. Finally, they all gathered in that direction and the mother and 5 ducklings made it up the ramp. However...2 didn't make it and were still trapped in the pool. It was quite the site, me trying to direct a 3 year old into scaring the ducklings to the other side of the pool. But, after trying for over an hour, I did manage to scoop up the two remain ducklings and release them back into the woods, hopefully to find their mother and siblings. I just kept talking to the ducks and saying: "I just want to HELP."

Why is it that so many times, when others want to help us...we don't ask, refuse, or say "I got it all under control"...when in all actuality, we do need help. I know I am guilty of this. Fortunately, we have been blessed by so many of you who just go ahead and help (especially after Kate's birth and 1st surgery)...whether it be by fixing a meal, watching Seth, cleaning, running errands, visiting, watching our house/cat, taking over the pool, providing gift cards or just praying. We are SO grateful.

So..as the 10 day surgery countdown has begun...some of you have asked how you can help...well, I'll put aside my pride and let you know a couple ways we feel blessed by you.

1. Send us emails (aklayman3@netzero.com) or leave comments on our blog. It is so nice to have some sort of distraction while spending hours waiting in the hospital room. We love to know what is going on in your life...gives us something to talk about. Plus your words of encouragement and acknowledgement of prayer are a blessing to us.

2. Meals are awesome and greatly appreciated, especially right after we get home, since most likely Andy will be heading back to school within a few days of us coming back home. 2-3 weeks of fast food and hospital cafeteria food can get old really fast. We have no idea Kate's condition when we get to bring her home, but I'm sure it will take a few weeks of getting re-assimilated.

3. Prayer: obviously, we have felt and known the power of prayer through our journey with Kate. Specifically pray:
*Kate stays healthy the next 10 days, and during and after her surgery (no pneumonia)
*The doctors and staff who we place the precious care of our little girl...a good night's rest for the surgeon on the 24th!
*Seth: that he stays occupied, busy and distracted by our loving family and that he feels the love of his parents, even though we can't tuck him in each night
*Andy and me: sanity during those endless days in the hospital as well as the ability to be the best advocate for Kate
*Our parents: who will most likely make many trips to Indy to support us and love on their granddaughter
*That all goes smoothly, no unexpected tests or results and that we bring home an energetic, smiley little girl with 100% oxygen for the 1st time in her life.

4. And...if anyone out there has an extra laptop with wireless Internet card that we could borrow for the duration of our hospital visit...we would be deeply grateful. We would love to be able to keep family and friends updated with Kate's progress via pictures.

God Bless You All...and in advance...our hearts are humbled and ever so grateful...we are surrounded by angels!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Ordinary Miracles

Today I wish you a day of ordinary miracles
A fresh pot of coffee you didn't make yourself.
An unexpected phone call from an old friend.
Green stoplights on your way to work.
The fastest line at the grocery store.
A good sing-along song on the radio.
Your keys found right where you left them.

This was part of an email I received the other day. I thought it was a really cool thought: ordinary miracles. Generally I find myself praying for "major miracles" in my life: Kate's development, my father-in-law's cancer remission...you know the BIG things in life. However, I was challenged to think of some of those ordinary miracles that bless my life on more of a daily basis. My prayer is that my heart remains grateful for the little things and that everyday, I acknowledge God's grace...aka ordinary miracles.. in my life. I"ll keep praying for those big ones too...who am I to limit GOD?

Just a few ordinary miracles in my life:
**Kate taking her whole bottle in less that 20 minutes, burping and keeping it all down!
**Getting a brainstorm for a dinner ...and...having all the ingredients on hand.
**Seth STAYING in bed at bedtime.
**Both kids napping at the same time!
**Unexpected checks in the mail.
**An hour long, uninterrupted conversation with my husband
**Sleeping in till 10am. (Wow...so many revolve around sleep!)
**The new ice tea pot I hesitated purchasing just happening to be on sale.

May tomorrow bring more ordinary miracles...for you and me!

One Extreme to Another

Today was Seth's 3 year old check-up....finally his chance at the doctor. What a relief to NOT be there for Kate. Anyway, as expected, he is off the growth chart on the other extreme of Kate...95% in height and 90% in weight...they are estimating he will be 6'3"-6'5" WOW...I can't even imagine looking up to my little boy...glad it will be a gradual process. All is well with Seth and he is one healthy boy.

We did start a rock jar discipline strategy today...he gets rocks when he does good things...is polite...eats well...etc. And...he gets them taken away for tantrums and fits. After so many, he gets different rewards. We hope it motivates him to "stop the fits!" He is definitely testing his boundaries in this area. Two was a pretty good year for us...three...we're hopin' it will get better. He is the sweetest, funniest, kindest boy most of the time...any advice from you "been there, down that" moms?

BTW...we snuck Kate on the scale for a quick weight check...she hit 17lbs. YEAH!

Monday, July 9, 2007

C is for Cookie!

Actually...C is for CONSUMED...I have been consumed by cookie baking this weekend. My quarterly cookie order was due this week for a gifting program for a small company for which I am contracted. I spent over 12 hours on Saturday and over 14 hours on Sunday baking, bagging and boxing my little heart out...over 68 dozen iced sugar & chocolate chip cookies and 24 batches of chex mix. I just returned from the post office...they were a little shocked to receive 90 boxes of cookies & chex mix....and I'm not done. Due to a shortage of icing and the broken ones, I still have 8 dozen to finish icing and 2 dozen to bake tonight.

The finished product...but multiply by 136 bags of cookies and 71 bags of chex mix.
I've had my fill of ribbon curling for a while.

Thankfully, Seth was spending the weekend at his grandparents and Andy was pretty much "full-time" Kate keeper. The baking starts out pretty fun...but by hour 9-10 I'm pretty much exhausted...but it's a quick way to earn some extra $$$...which is needed for our money hungry mini-van. UGHGH! And the good thing...although I am consumed...I am not consuming the cookies...that many cookies and you just aren't hungry for sweets anymore...at least for a few days anyway.

Well... Andy is off picking up Seth and Kate is asleep...maybe I can get a few iced...well, maybe not...I just heard Kate. Enjoy your day!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Day at the Lake

Chalk up another fun day for the Laymans. Guess we are trying to get all our summer fun in before surgery on the 25th. Today we were invited to Lake Tippecanoe with my brother and his family who are spending the week there in a cottage. We were treated great by Doug & Amy as well as Amy's parents, Walt & Linda, who live next door.

It was a beautiful day and we all had lots of fun in the sun. Seth "rode the bull"--a wave runner/jet ski (I don't know the terminology or difference!) with Uncle Doug. I guess the "bull" is an older model and a little choppier than the new wave runner. Needless to say, Seth loved every minute of it and even asked to go again! Seth also enjoyed several paddle boat rides thanks to older cousin Elijah. It was so cute to see the two of them paddling along the shore.
And...the little guy was busy playing in the sand and burying cousin Lucas. Needless to say, it was a fun fun day for little boys and we experienced quite the meltdown when it was time to leave. As far as Kate...she is quite content sitting on the towel, playing with toys and flirting with the boys! She did go on a pontoon ride all around the lake. She wasn't too fond of the life jacket or the sun hat we were trying to keep on her...but she still had a great time...until she fell asleep. I am so bummed we didn't get a picture of her in the life jacket...it was pretty cute!
As far as Krista...I rode a wave runner for the 1st time in my life today. My brother took me for a little spin....a 83 mph spin. I had no idea they could go that fast...it was a lot of fun...until my little brother decided to do spins until I fell off the back! He still picks on me...no really, it was a lot of fun and I even drove it awhile. It was a treat for me. Thank Doug!

Andy enjoyed relaxing on the beach, playing cornhole, swimming with Seth and took great care of Kate while I was out "riding the waves"

Thanks Doug and Amy for the invite and the fun day. Also...a huge thanks to Walt and Linda for letting us play/ride on their "toys" and for the great dinner...again your generous hospitality is greatly appreciated.

What a treat to spend the day together with family. We just keep basking in the moments with Kate this summer as the "date" keeps getting closer and closer...we're down to less than 3 weeks...and we still have a lot of playing to do!
But today was a great memory!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

4th Fun

We had a fun morning as we went to the "Pine Valley 4th of July Bike Parade" It was cute...about 100 or more kids on their decorated bikes riding 5-6 blocks down the street. The parade ended at a cul-de-sac where there was a fire truck, the bomb squad vehicle, a moonwalk and pizza and juice. The kids had fun...it was great to see some friends...and enjoy the beautiful morning before the rain hits.

Andy is all excited for next year and already has plans to build a bike float...now that we know what to expect...it will be fun to participate more as the kids get older.

Seth sitting in the fire truck
Kate enjoying a sit too...she was way too interested in the equipment!
The bomb squad vehicle giving rides

Seth on a quick ride around the block
What a privilege to live in a country where we are free to do as we please, are safe outdoors and able to enjoy our families....and where rides in army vehicles are just for fun!
God Bless the USA.
We are headed to Huntertown fireworks tonight...we'll see how it goes. I have a feeling Kate will love them and Seth will be the stinker. We thought we'd start small with a smalltown firework display. We'll let you know how it goes.
Happy 4th of July

My 3 year old has an IPOD???

We're not very much into technology around the Layman household....we don't have cable television, we have dial-up Internet, no bells and whistles with our phone service, both our cars still have tape players in them, and the only reason we have a cell phone is because it is a ongoing Christmas gift from my very generous parents...and it's just a phone...not the Internet or any of the other amazing contraptions you can get nowadays.

So...it was quite exciting when Seth got a modified MP3 player for his birthday. It is made by Fisher Price and you can download songs and stories from your computer/home CDs onto the player. It has simple buttons that he can control.

We finally got it loaded and working today and he just loves it. He has earphones, but his favorite is to attach it to the speakers and carry it around as a "small boombox."

But the best part...it has taken our place at bedtime. YEAH! He has really been into "someone sit with me" lately as he is trying to fall asleep...and sometimes this can drag on and on and on. But...now, he has his little 'IPOD", we start a story and he is good to go!

So...if you need of a gift for a toddler in your life...the Fisher Price FP3 player comes highly recommended...and the customer service people are great too...for anyone else a little bit technologically inept!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

1 Year Check-up!

Kate had her 1 year checkup with our trusty pediatrician, Dr. Jim today. Her weight was up to 16lb 12oz. She has been pretty consistently growing...slowly, but consistently. We have been letting her sleep and have not been waking her up for feedings...so we are glad she is still gaining. She is still below the 5% for weight, but is creeping up to the 30% for length. Dr. Jim seems to think she may just be a tall, thin girl! LUCKY!!

Dr. Jim was really pleased with her...he said she couldn't look better going into surgery...yeah! She even got 3 shots today, and is no worse for the wear. We are so anxious to see her after her surgery...she is going to be a pistol.
2 new developments in the past few days:

1. Eating more solid foods: tonight she ate macaroni & cheese, peas & rice. She is getting better at controlling the food in her mouth.

2. She is "weight bearing" (gotta love the physical therapy term) in her legs...in other words..she is standing: in her exersaucer, by her table. Granted it is not for long...but she is getting stronger everyday.

Kate showing off her newest trick.

Her little personality is coming through...everyday she makes us laugh. God bless our little girl!