Thursday, February 28, 2008

Where A Kid Can Be A Kid

So we ventured into the world of Chuck E Cheese tonight! We took Elijah and Lucas (the cousins) with us...and Nana and Oompa came along too. Of course the boys had a great time...the younger two were quite enamored by Chuck E himself. Our 130 tokens were gone in a flash and we have 2 plastic cars, a rubbery snotty nose and a small plastic fish and ant as mementos of our night. The pizza was surprisingly good...and I love their hand-stamping policy which meant I didn't have to freak out everytime I didn't see all 3 boys within sight. What a fun night for the kids to be kids...thanks Shari from church for this special treat!
Seth loved the singing and dancing Chuck E

Best buds sharing a ride on the bike!

Lucas and ChuckE sharing a dance!

Notice the empty token cups...oh where did they go so fast?

Also...tonight, Seth had his 1st swim lesson at the Y. He did exceptionally well...listened like a pro and patiently waited his turn. Yeah...it's always good to leave those kind of events with one of the best behaved kids!

So another HUGE day for the little guy...especially when you throw in a field trip at school...and playtime with the cousins before and after the Y and Chuck E Cheese! Maybe tomorrow we can just relax and hang out...well maybe during the day...but we're headed to Portland for a night with grandma!

Sweet Baby Girl

I'm still having a little bit harder time now than I did earlier. I know that there will continue to be reminders of Kate...and tasks to do because of her death. I was just at the bank and realized that she had a savings account...so I had to close that out. The other day I had to pick up her death certificate at the funeral home. I had tried to do all that "stuff" early as to not drag it out...but I don't think that is going to be the case. I know that this whole year will be tough...as with each new season brings new reminders of our little sweetie: taking walks around the lake, Mother's Day, picking out her headstone, opening the Christmas decorations to find her stocking...all things in a way I'm dreading. But at the same time...I want those reminders...I don't want to ever lose these precious feelings I have for my baby girl....I have to learn ways to keep those alive...I guess through pictures (I hope to get her scrapbook done this spring). blogging, and just talking about her. So...don't be afraid to talk to me about her...tell me you miss her...recognize her life! I think that is what I want most...for Kate not to be forgotten.

I've been working on figuring out how to get Kate's memorial video on Blogger for those of you who couldn't attend or wanted to see it again...but figured out it is in the wrong format. So...I made my own...not nearly to the professional quality we paid for...but it is still decent. It's the same pictures and music that are in the video we showed at her funeral...it's the music Andy picked out that really makes it so special. So...when you have 8 minutes...grab a few kleenix and enjoy a little trek down memory lane with our happy, smiley girl! It's these pictures...the ones of her so happy that just make me smile! In such a short life...she really did live life to the fullest!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Busy Fun Days!

It's been a busy couple day...busy, but fun!

Monday...one of my bestest friends (and her 3 kids) came from Indy to spend the day with us! It was amazing that all 4 kids stayed upstairs and played very contently while Sharyn and I got to sit on the couch and gab! Melanee even came by for lunch...and brought yummy subs with her! How awesome is that? The kids came strolling downstairs around lunchtime...but then after a few bites...were good to go for a couple hours! I never knew that 5 hours could fly by as fast as they did! It was awesome to just chat, Sharyn...why do you live so far away???? And I'm still in shock at how well they all played...and how grateful I am for a playroom!

Ava, Clay, Seth and Mason!



Then...the snow storm came...and Andy was home for a snow day on Tuesday! We had a lot of fun outside in the 8-9 inches of snow...once Andy got it all blown! I even cooked an all-out dinner with cranberry glazed pork loin, garlic mashed potatoes AND imitation Garlic cheese biscuits from Red Lobster! YUM YUM! Andy kept asking what the occasion was....just cause I love you hon!!
Building the snowman...don't you just love that smile?Enough snow this time for a snow tunnel...aren't you jealous Kathy?The whole fam...aren't we so cute...I know...enough with the spray paint already! But who has coal and long carrots sitting around the house anymore? Notice my authentic womanly curves?

Today...more playing with another great friend, Gina...and her two kids (and her sister and her 2 kids)...but this time we headed to Burger King...I'm still amazed at how much fun 5 kids can have in an enclosed play area with just some tunnels and a slide...more time for girl chat!

Then...I worked out and took Seth swimming at the Y. By tonight...he was one worn out little guy! And tomorrow...the cousins! Check back for pictures of our next adventure!

Monday, February 25, 2008

That's My Dad!


Today it was officially announced that my dad can add yet another teaching award to his stack! He was named outstanding Advanced Placement Teacher for the State of Indiana. He is listed in USA Today in honor of his accomplishments! Here is a blurb from the foundation website that honored him!
Teachers with a minimum of 5 years of teaching experience in math, science or technology AP courses are selected for their exemplary teaching and enthusiastic dedication to students and the AP program!

And of all the teachers in Indiana...that's MY DAD

He is no stranger to awards...in addition to being the Fort Wayne Community School Teacher of the Year in 1986...he also received the 1st ever Christa McAuliffe Award from the Aerospace Education Foundation in 1986.

He is an amazing teacher....and even a more amazing dad and Oompa! LOVE YOU! I'm so proud of you...you are one dedicated teacher!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Waterpark Wonders

We're back...and overall had a great time. We got into town at noon...ate a great lunch...did some shopping...Seth rode the carousel...and then headed to the water park/hotel. We were a little overwhelmed when we first got there...having to wait in the check-in line for 45 minutes. Our room still wasn't ready, but we were able to get into the park! Evidently...3:00 on a Saturday afternoon, in the dead of winter in Indiana...is when EVERYONE wants to be at the water park! It was quite crowded....but we donned our suits and went for it! Seth had an awesome time....it is pretty much geared for kids his age (mom and dad had fun too!)
We took advantage of the water park and spent a lot of time there. He loved all the slides...loved just splashing and swimming around the toddler pool...and even took a few laps around the lazy river with us. As long as water is involved...Seth is pretty much guaranteed to have a great time. That was the best part of the whole trip...just watching Seth and the smile on his face...and hearing him say: "one more time!"
The hotel was very nice...after we waited in line another 30 minutes to get our hotel room key. But...things died down around dinner time and the place was reasonable today. We (well Grandma) treated ourselves to a great Amish style dinner last night and gorged ourselves on the breakfast buffet this morning before heading back for more water fun!
And the little guy...I don't know how he did it! He finally fell asleep at 3 am Friday night...woke up at 7:45...and went non-stop all day at the park and didn't go down until 10:30 Saturday night! And the best part...he wasn't even grumpy...just a little rambunctious in some of the shops...but what 3 year would want to look in craft stores?

I took a few pictures...they aren't very good...and I was limited in where I could even get my camera...as there is a giant bucket of water that dumps a HUGE amount of water every 2 minutes or so in Seth's favorite area! The little guy wasn't too interested in stopping what he was doing to indulge his mommy and her camera.

Seth is really getting good at swimming with his face in the water...even if it's only 8 inches deep!

Something about these...he loved them! I think it was a control issue when he could move them!

Can you find him?

Daddy and Seth ready to come down the slides!

Here were are again...he LOVED these!

Coming down the slide...under the waterfall! What fun!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Re-Nig

So I have to re-nig on my last post. Remember when I said Shrek was only our life 14/7 cause Seth does sleep....well not tonight! The little guy has pretty much been awake since 9...so I finally gave in and let him come downstairs...and you guessed it...watch Shrek! So...here is it 1:15 and I've got one awake little guy. And of course...it's the night I actually "tried" to get to bed early---well early for me at least! Prayers that he isn't mister grumpy pants at the waterpark tomorrow!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Birthverse

What's your birthverse?

So I saw this on my friend Vanessa's (Arianna's mom!) blog. I thought it was really cool! Thought I would share it with my awesome readers too!

Andy's Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling. Psalm 2:11 NIV

Krista's Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him . . .1 Corinthians 7:17 NIV

Seth's And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8 NIV

Kate's Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Matthew 6:26 NIV
(How cool is that...her life so short...but so so valuable! Amen!!)

I really want to see how I can really apply my verse to my life! What is my place? To what has God called me? I hope I'm there! As far as Seth's....acting justly and loving mercy...from a 3 year old? We've got a lot of work to do! And Andy...what an awesome servant of God he is...from serving Him to us to his students!

shrek glimpse

So this is the "glimpse" I couldn't get on the previous post! He wants to watch this all the time...but I guess it could worse...his obsession could be Yo Gabba Gabba (Kathy you are a saint!)

News of the Day

Just a few quick words to catch everyone up on our lives...really not much going on...just living life...one day at a time.

Seth's current obsession has gone to a whole new level...as today we picked up the Shrek soundtracks from the library and got them on his "IPOD" We picked out just his 9 favorite songs...and it's ALL he has been listening to! His little player is portable and he carries it with him where ever he goes! It's really kind of cute...listening to my 3 year old sing along to Counting Crows. Here's a glimpse of our life 24-7...okay maybe only 14/7...he does sleep!
Note: I couldn't figure out how to get the link on this post...see next post!

As far as me...I'm proud of myself for getting to the Y this week and actually getting my heartrate up. I don't think I have truly raised it (besides in an "my daughter is in ICU" way) since before Kate was born. I've got my MP3 all downloaded and actually am enjoying working out to some upbeat praise and worship! And...today I met my great friend Melanee...and girl talk can just make the time fly! Hopefully soon...I'll be able to see the payoff from my hard work! I did finish tackling Kate's room Thursday when Seth was at school. Mainly I worked on the clothes...the darling darling dresses she never got to wear! I've had two very generous Gina's pass on their girl's clothing to Kate...so she was always dressed to the hilt! But I'm sure her heavenly crown and wings are more beautiful than any dress I packed away.

Andy is getting back in the swing of things at work...but enjoyed just a 1/2 day (even without kids) today. It was nice to have him home this afternoon...even though we just "hung out" and listened to Shrek music! He is being so generous and sharing his birthday present from his mom with us tomorrow.

The 3 of us are headed to the waterpark at Shipshewana. We've heard it's lots of fun from our friends who have been. But...my brother told me I need to get a tattoo before I go or I will feel really out of place! Cathy was very generous and got us (well, really Andy) 2 days at the park, a hotel room and breakfast (and even extra money for gas and food!) Thanks grandma!

We'll post pictures on Sunday! Hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Spring Break...can't come soon enough!

Yeah...we have something to look forward to! Andy and decided we needed a break...and thought we would jump on his week off during spring break in April. At first...we were ready to GO BIG and just the two of us take a Caribean Cruise! We spent lots of time searching for the perfect trip...but after talking with a travel agent...discovered that without passports...if something were to go wrong (sickness, Seth, NEED to get home) we would be stuck and would NOT be able to fly home! We weren't into spending EXTRA money to fast-track our passports...so we went with option 2!

A cabin in the mountains of Tennessee! I know...a big difference between a Caribean Cruise and a Tennessee Cabin...but I am quite excited about it! And...Seth is going with us (we were having a huge delimna about leaving him after leaving him SO much with Kate!) And....grandma is going too which means that Andy and I should be able to get one night out---if we beg and plead with Grandma!!

So...tonight we booked this deluxe cabin...complete with jacuzzi tubs, a hot tub and a gameroom basement with all sorts of games for Seth (pool, air hockey, foosball!) We're excited about hiking in the mountains...probably going to Dollyworld...enjoying the beautiful scenery...and just getting AWAY as a family! Seth is already excited and told us that "it's okay that it's a long drive...cause all he needs is his Shrek movies and something to eat and drink!"

So...yeah...it's been FOREVER (like 2003) since we've taken an extended vacation. We've taken a few 2-3 night get-aways...but 5 nights away sounds delightful!

Help...blogger help!

Help...for several weeks now my spell check won't work on my new post page! It is driving me crazy...cause I am way too lazy to proofread my own work! Any bloggers out there have any suggestions on why or how to fix? Thanks!

Obsessions?

It always amazes me about the things that can fasicinate a child. I love a newborn who discovers his/her hands and becomes just mesmorized by them...watching them, moving them...discovering that "hey these belong to me!" As the child grows...these fascinations seems to turn into obsessions.

Seth has had his share...they last a couple months...and then he moves onto something new! But when he's in one of his "obsessions modes"...there is very little else he will even talk about!

I remember his 1st real obsession was with his "guys!" They were all his movable, posable action heroes and miscellaneous figurines. He would take his "guys" with him everywhere...including the bathtub where he had to give each one (at least 20) a complete bath! His "guys" had to be lined up in bed each night...and each morning we would move the bed to find the missing "guys" who had escaped.


The "guys" in the backpack...and giving them a bath!

Then...the next major one...TRASH! I'm sure you're all aware of this one...as it has lasted longer than most "kid" obsessions. I think I can report that the "obsession level" is dying down...but there still is an underlying LOVE for trash and recycing. I remember those days he played trash EVERYDAY and had to dump all the trash onto the couch and move it to the dump....or the times we would find every single toy from the playroom...piled in the "landfill" on the other side of the room!

Playing trashman with every toy in the house!
And how many times did we have to wait for the trash truck to come?


Well...I think we have moved onto the next obsession! SHREK! The kid loves everything to do with the movies! (Editorial note: only Shrek 1 & 2 as the 3rd one was a complete disappointment!) It has been his only movie of choice for the past couple weeks...of course his Valentine's were Shrek...and now he has discovered (with a little help from mom and dad!) that the computer and Youtube offers all kinds of new Shrek Possibilities. The other day...my 3 year old was singing Smash Mouth and Counting Crows in the store (they sing the opening songs to the 2 movies, in case you didn't know!) His favorite character is "Puss In Boots" and he goes around the house making hissing noises! It's pretty darn cute...but really, how many times will I have to endure those movies! Andy should be proud...his favorite scenes...the rescue scenes when Shrek comes back for Fiona!


So...I'm sure this will last a while....and then we'll move onto the next obsession! Just as long as it is a long long time before that becomes GIRLS! Just curious...any obsessions with your kids out there in "blogworld?"

Monday, February 18, 2008

Missing You!

Andy and I have been missing Kate bunches lately! It's been a hard weekend in that there have been lots of reminders of Kate...popping up here and there. We always thought it might get harder before it got easier again. The bad hospital/sick kid memories are fading (slowly) and we're left with just a giant hole in our hearts from just missing our baby girl. Sometimes it's just a tiny ripple...sometimes it's like a giant wave that knocks you down and takes your breath away. It's been just a couple days over a month since we lost her...but it feels longer than the months we spent in the hospital. I still find it hard to believe that I have to spend the rest of my life missing her...but I guess that will just make our eternal reunion all the sweeter. I know...time heals all pain...but ughghgh...I'm not liking the pain we're in now!
Comfort always comes through a blog comment, email or something that assures us that Kate's short life was still valuable. We are reminded daily of the impact she made on the world...and to me...that makes me feel better...not completely better...but better!
A couple days ago some friends from Portland shared this speech with us. Katy (an 11 1/2 year old 5th grader) wrote this speech. I've met them only a couple times through Cathy's (Grandma) church...but still...little Kate had an impact! Thanks Katy...for remembering Kate! And although your vocation of choice may change in the next few years...I am so grateful that for now...Kate has influenced you in this way!
Why Me, Why Not…

How would you feel if you have had three open heart surgeries, had one central line in the groin for medicines, one nasal tube on high flow for oxygen, two pacing wires connected to the heart, five heart monitor stickers on your chest, four O2 probes on each hand and foot, five medicine pumps at your bedside, and you were only 18 months old.

Kate Layman, born in June 2006, went through all of this. She was born with a rare heart defect. Her mother wrote of Kate’s journey at the hospitals in their family blog on the internet. Through following Kate’s story and knowing her family, this has inspired me to be a pediatric nurse..

A pediatric nurse involves working with ill children. You could be working with a newborn with breathing problems to watching a teenager with a broken leg. As a nurse I would take physical assessments of my patients. This includes taking blood pressures, temperature, heart rates and monitoring other vital signs.

Being a pediatric nurse also involves working with the patients’ families. You play a key part in helping families come through their crisis as a nurse. I will have to love, care and be able to listen to the families. Being loving, caring and able to listen to others are also important traits that I want to have as an adult.

One of the things I will have to work on is my patience, as in even-tempered care, not a sick person! Elnath Easwaren stated, “Patience can’t be acquired overnight. It is just like building up a muscle. Every day you need to work on it.” Being patient will help me get through frustrating times not just as a pediatric nurse but also as a grown adult.

Unfortunately Kate Layman lost her battle fighting for her heart on January 15th. Even in her last days, her nursing staff provided her comfort along with helping her family through the difficult time. This makes me realize how important a pediatric nurse is beyond just knowing and practicing nursing.

Why me, why not? I want to help our next generation of children, whether they are dealing with heart defects or an ear infection. I hope to be able to provide them and their families with expert care but more importantly provide them with comfort, caring, a listening ear and patience to help them through their journey. As Helen Keller quoted, “All the world is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming.” I hope I can be an adult who can help families in overcoming their suffering.

Being a pediatric nurse will help me be a caring, loving, patience, fair, and thoughtful adult. When I get older I know these will come in handy, especially after hearing my mom talk about everything you have to do as an adult! I hope all these traits, being able to listening, being caring, being patience and fair, will help me as an adult.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The cutest ever!!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

My Valentines!

I know it's late...and Valentine's Day is almost over...but I couldn't get away without a special post about my special Valentines! It was a good day...and that's why I'm so late in posting...I was just spending time with my boys!


For God so loVed the world
That He gAve
His onLy
BegottEn
SoN
That whosoever
Believeth In Him
Should Not perish,
But have Everlasting life.
John 3:16

So how cool is that...I totally stole it from Michelle! I do want God to be my number 1 love...my special Valentine...who gave the best gift ever!

But how bout these two awesome Valentines! How cute are they?
Andy was so good to me today...even bought me an MP3 player! I feel so hip...as I still have my casette playing walkman from the 80's. It'll be perfect for the Y...but now I have to load it....I guess more late nights at the computer! And....he even suggested take-out for dinner which meant NO COOKING...and NO DISHES! Woo Hoo! We had CASA...which is our favorite Italian and it was so cute...tucking Seth in tonight he said: "Dinner was really good wasn't it, mommy?" He never says that when I cook!

Seth and I had a good day too...I was the helper/party planner for his preschool Valentine's Day Party. It was great to get back in the classroom. In case you didn't know...my degree is in elementary education...and I taught preschool 2 years after I was married while I was pregnant with Seth! The kids were adorable...and we had lots of fun!

My boys have been a complete source of joy for me...especially the past few weeks!
And...my little Valentine Kate!

You will always be my special little Valentine...especially since today is CHD Awareness Day...and people all over the world are celebrating and remembering YOU.... you totally taught so many of us about love and life! We will ALWAYS love you!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A Whole New World

I can honestly say that when Kate was diagnosed with her heart defect...I literally entered a whole new world. This may make me sound naive...but I "knew" there were kids with special needs...and I had "heard" about congenital heart defects...but I had NO CLUE about what we were diving into head first! I really didn't know anyone who had a child with significant health issues...let alone heart defects.

But the fact is...congenital heart disease is a REALITY for thousands of kids and their families...and that reality is full of more doctors, medicines, equipment and technology that I could have ever imagined. I had no idea what an "echo" was...never heard of "lasix" didn't know what an oximeter did and had no clue that a pediatric cardiologist didn't do surgeries.

Everday parents around the world are struggling to get their kids to eat and gain weight. Every minute parents are asking each other if their baby looks blue or is breathing heavy. Everyday...parents are getting the news that surgery, a cath or other procedure are needed to save their child's life. Every minute of everyday... parents are sitting next to their child's bed...a bed in an ICU... diligiently watching every number on a monitor. Everyday...a parent is checking their child's oxygen sats or hooking their child up to a nasal cannula. It's stuff parents shouldn't have to do...but they do! They do with more love in their hearts for their children than can be imagined.

It overwhelmes me to think of the number of babies and kids who spent time just at the NICU ,PICU and PCTU at the 2 hospitals where Kate was...and there are thousands more of those hospital floors all over the world. There are thousands of families checking in and out of Ronald McDonald Houses in foreign cities...just so that they can give their child the best medical care available. There are families in unimaginable debt...families losing their jobs because they just want to be with their babies. Things...I never even imagined were happening.

So many times...while I was struggling to get Kate to eat...waiting for her to get out of surgery...I felt so alone! But the truth is...there are so many families going through this each and every day of their life. And although my physical "journey" with Kate and her heart are over...I have found myself with a whole new level of compassion and love for these heart kids and their families.

Because of Kate, my world has expanded...it's expanded in a way that causes a lot of pain and hurt...but that also causes a lot more joy and blessings. It's a world that I desperately wish didn't exist...but it does and it is REAL! It's a world that has taught me how fragile life really is...a world that has taught me to find the joy...and take each day and praise God and tell him: "thanks for today!"

This week is "Congenital Heart Awareness Week." Before Kate...that meant nothing to me! And now...it's means everything. Yeah...I wish Kate would have been born healthy...but she wasn't. But I can honestly say....because of her I am a better person...maybe a little more bruised and beat-up...but my life has been blessed by a little girl with a messed up heart...and by all the other heart kids I have come to love over the past 18 months.

Too all my heart families...I am so sorry we met the way we did...but am so glad we did! You are all in my prayers daily...and wish that you too...amidst the doctors, meds and hospitals...can find the joy and blessings...that only can come through these special, special little kids! Love you!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Happy Birthday Andy!


HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANDY!


Today is the day...Andy's officially now only 1 year away from 40! Wow...I can't even imagine since I am sooo much younger and years from that marker! We'll celebrate as a family tonight...the only way we know how: with a free meal at Bandidos!

Andy...I hope you have a wonderful day...and that this year brings you the rest, relaxation rejuvination and blessings you are desperately due for! I am honored to be your wife...and Seth is lucky to have such a loving father! We are blessed...because you are in our lives!

WE LOVE YOU!

Guess he just doesn't know how to feel...pics from more cake and celebration this weekend at his moms!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Stacks and Piles

Well...I spent about 3 hours in Kate's room today. Everything is still in there...except for some trash...it's just now "organized" into piles...stacks of tubs/baskets that I will deal with at some point.


Stack 1: "the toys stack" 4 tubs of toddler toys and 1 tub of baby toys. Those weren't too hard...cause I have hope...hope that another baby will use them at some point. Many were Seth's...some were just Kate's...and a few were even Christmas presents she barely played with (those were the hard ones).

Stack 2: "the get rid of stack" There's a giant box of toys...mostly older toys that have been through several kids (most of them garage sale finds). Even when we have another child...NO KID needs this many toys. Plus...a giant garage bag STUFFED FULL of stuffed animals. She got so many of those while in the hospital. I know I don't want this "pile"...but whether to give it to good will or sell in a garage sale...I don't know yet!

Stack 3: "the trash" This was the stuff that was easy to get rid of...the memories you don't want: the brace from her hip dysplasia, her thumb brace from her indwelling thumb, the medicine stained clothes she always wore in the hospital, the left-over hospital stuff...those are the things you have no desire to cling to.

Stack 4: "the hard stuff" Her bed is full of the hard stuff: the quilt Nana made, the Build-A-Bear that her cousins gave her that wishes her a Merry Christmas and tells her they love her, the stuffed flower Seth picked out for her when she was born that has been in every hospital bed, the stool with her name on it, the Bible she got at Baby Sunday at church, her baby books...these are the things I struggle with the most...I definitely don't want to get rid of them...but what do you do with them? I guess for now...I'll wait...I'm sure time will help to make those decisions.

All the books went back on the bookshelf...the blankets and diapers went under the changing table. I didn't do anything with her clothes yet...those will be hard. The dresses...the beautiful dresses she never got a chance to wear! But again...hope.

I guess that was the overriding feeling I had to cling to today: hope...hope that someday some of Kate's things will be used again. I guess it wasn't too hard today, because I really didn't get rid of anything...or even move it out of her room. I didn't really have to "let go" of anything yet. Her room was originally Seth's...it's the nursery. I still have a lot of memories of Seth being in that room...I have a lot of memories of Kate...and someday I'll have more memories of....But at least now...I can get in the room...sit in the rocker and cherish those "memories" of rocking my little sweethearts to sleep, changing their diapers and reading them a bedtime story.

It's a darling room...Cathy (Andy's mom) painted the mural before Seth was born. My mom sewed all the coordinating crib stuff and curtains. Once Seth came along: we "boyed" it up with frogs and bugs...Before Kate was born...we moved Seth to his "big-boy" room and then were able to really "girl-it-up" with flowers, butterflies and more pink stuff!

Stupidity...on my part!

I was up entirely too late last night...and in a complete act of stupidity...decided I wanted to try and "spiff" up the blog! I found a website that had backgrounds...and I tried to change mine...and wouldn't you know...all the links, counters, etc were deleted in the change! And...the design looked stupid to top it all off! So...now, I'm in the process of trying to re-create the blog in the plain ole boring way it was...and just leave it! It made me so mad...for a minute, I thought I lost the whole thing...but fortunately...the posts remained! UGGHH....if I would have just gone to bed! Anyone remember where our big counter was? Lesson...leave well-enough alone...especially at ridiculous times of the night!

So...I have some work to do...but I think I am going to take advantage of some "Seth-free" time and go upstairs and work on Kate's room. In the process of cleaning the rest of the house....anything (and I mean ANYTHING) that was Kate's...I just put in her room. Plus...being in the hospital over the holidays...she got bags and bags of gifts and stuffed animals. And now...her room is a complete disaster area...and for some strange reason...I just feel it's disrespectful to her to have her room is such disarray...I have no idea how far I'll get...or how hard it will be...I just know I'll do what I can. I'll probably end up just sitting and reminiscing a bunch...but that's okay! All I know...it has to be done without Seth in the house...cause he thinks all the toys and books are his!! Here I go...keep me in your prayers!

Date Night!

Andy and I had "Date Night" tonight...complete with a great dinner, movie and coffee afterwards. It has been forever since we had a complete night out...and now I know why...it's dog-garn EXPENSIVE! Whew...but it was a treat...and great to just re-connect with each other. Andy even let us see a "romantic comedy!" How sweet is that!

The 3 of us went to Portland last night and spent the night with Grandma. We left Seth there today so that Andy and I could have our night out! Thanks Grandma...what a treat! We'll pick the boy up tomorrow evening.

While in Portland...I saw Kate's gravesite for the 1st time in daylight. Her graveside service was inside the cemetary chapel...as it was freezing. We went back to the cemetary after the funeral dinner, but it was dark and hard to see! It's just a place I never imagine being...standing at my infant daughter's grave. The flowers have died and there is still a mound of mud/dirt...so I didn't find a lot of comfort in going there...but I did find comfort in having her next to her "Pampa." I didn't know at first if I wanted her buried over an hour away...but I really think it's the right place for her to be. The cemetary is within walking distance of Cathy's house...so she takes great care of the sites...that's a comfort too! UGGHGHGH...it just all stinks!!!

Well...I slept in at Grandma's this morning...took a nap this afternoon before date night...and had a cup of Chai at 10:oo pm....I think I'll be up for a while tonight! I might try to organize all the photos on our computer...it's been since June...so there are a ton. Guess I'm on my way down memory lane.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Wacky Day


Wacky Day at Preschool
I was quite amazed that the little guy was willing to go along with it all. At first he didn't want to wear the bathing suit...but right before we left, he ran upstairs and put it on! He won't tell me much more about "Wacky Day" other than the carpet squares were upside down!
And while he was at preschool...I went and got my new camera! Yeah...look out now, the photos will be "exceptional"...at least if I can figure the whole thing out!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Settled Down

Things have somewhat settled down in our home. Andy is still on the tail-end of his sinus infection...still battling a cough and some congestion....but he did go to work today. Seth has settled back into just boring old life with boring old mommy during the day....especially boring when school gets cancelled (I guess due to rain/fog) Nothing much at all exciting or "blog-worthy" has even happened. The highlight of the past two days: we did join the Y. Seth and I went swimming on Monday and he loved it...so hopefully we can go a couple times a week...and then lessons will start at the end of the month. So..any of my blogreaders who are also Y members...let me know if you're up for a few walking laps...swimming with the kids...or whatever!

So...just had to let you know...we're just livin' life right now. Still adjusting....to our "new normal" as things just aren't right yet. It's funny what "gets you" on different days at different times: today, it was Kate's name! I just love her name and just got sad that she wouldn't take it into adulthood. I know...I'll always have my Kate and that will always be her name...but today I was mourning her beautiful name...I know it may sound strange....but everything is "strange" right now!

Well, it's thundering and lightening for the 2nd night in a row...in February....like I said...everything is strange!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Extravaganza Continues

I've got a question for ya:

What do you get when you take 3 cousins...have them celebrate Christmas, go sledding, play with new toys, have a slumber party...and sleep in the same bed, wake up way too early, play with more toys and then go sledding again..... (scroll down!)









And the other one was zonked as well...in the 3rd row! Way too cute!

The fun continued even after yesterday's festivities. I went to my parents house at 1 and found the boys playin' hard...still in their jammies! We got dressed and the boys, Nana, Oompa and me all headed to one of the local premiere sledding hills! I remember going there years (and I mean YEARS) ago...It was a total blast for seasoned sledders like Elijah and Lucas...a little bumpy and fast for beginners like Seth...but he did do well! I even took 2 rides down...and I have a feeling I'm going to be feeling it tomorrow...I hit some good bumps! It was fun!

And...the fun didn't stop....the extravaganza was topped off with dinner and playtime at Burger King. Finally, around 7:30...I brought a VERY TIRED...and VERY CRANKY....and VERY MOODY little guy home! I thought for sure he would be out for the count at 8....nope...he was still wide awake till at least 10:30! He was one wound up little guy!

As for me...it's probably going to be a late night...considering I slept till NOON! I can't believe I am even making that public...but boy did it feel great to just roll over and go back to sleep...again and again and again!


Andy is still fighting his sick battle...in fact, this morning he went to Redimed for some meds...the verdict: sinus infection! But...his fever keeps coming back and he got some major coughing going on. He's taking a sick day tomorrow and hopefully...one more day of rest and he will be good to go!

We're excited that the Giants won the game! How awesome is that the Manning brothers have back to back championships...what a great family!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Christmas in February

We celebrated Christmas today with my family. Back in December....we had agreed to wait and have it when Kate came home! It was hard...you felt guilty for laughing and smiling and having fun! But we did...thanks to 3 little boys pretty excited about getting more presents. It's been several years since we have actually opened all the presents with all the boys...and now we remember why...it's crazy. 3 little guys who can't wait to get their hands on their gifts!\

We got a great stash....just a few highlights: Seth...a new trash truck! Nope...you can never have too many of those! And....a real rocket you shoot up in the sky....he is really into rockets right now! Can't wait to set that off with him! Andy got some tools, Colts gear and a new grill cover! I got some kitchen stuff...and $$ for a NEW CAMERA! Yeah..I'm so excited...ours is shot so I can't wait to go shopping! And...the family came away with a zoo pass for next summer! Thanks Nana and Oompa and the Kings...for spoiling us!

Playing with all the boxes and paper...at least with their new trash trucks!

Elijah and Lucas with their new Colts football...they were pretty geeked about that one!

We had our traditional Christmas Eve meal fixed by Oompa...delicious as always! And...yummy NC shrimp (thanks Art & Reen) And...we had to throw in some birthday celebrations...for my brother Doug (Jan. 19) and for Andy (Feb. 11).

Can you guess who put the candles on the cake....just a little lopsided!!
After some major paper clean-up...the boys headed outside for some sledding! It was the perfect night for that! We left Seth and the boys with Nana and Oompa for a slumber party...if you hear sirens...you know where they are headed.

Andy is still fightin' the nasties! He was a real trooper though...and put his best foot forward today! He left early...and when I got home...he was fightin' a fever! Poor thing! So...I'm camping out downstairs with a couple movies and my thank you cards...while he snorts and sniffs upstairs!

We had our moments of tears today....when Nana pulled out our yearly Christmas ornament gifts...and it was a little pink angel...and another one "from Kate" that said..."sometimes angels are disguised as mothers!" Then...when 6 year old Elijah said the prayer at dinner and mentioned how bad he felt about us losing our baby Kate! Kate we sure did miss you today...we needed some little girlie things amidst all those trucks! You would have loved watching those silly boys...hope you got a bird's eye view from heaven!

Besides immensely missing our baby girl...it was a good, fun Christmas...in February...without a tree...but at least we had the snow! The best part...we were together!

Friday, February 1, 2008

That Morning

I've been having an inner struggle in regards to whether or not I wanted to write this post. But...this is in ways, my (public) journal of Kate's life and although some may see the morning of her death as a personal thing...I wanted to write it down for several reasons. One...before I "forget" it...not that it'll ever happen, as the morning of Kate's death is what I seem to play over and over and over again in my head. And two...so many of you have shared so much of Kate's journey with us...maybe you'd like to know what happened that morning. If not...don't read the rest of the post. It's not scary, morbid or even chaotic...in fact...in some ways...Kate's death was perfect (not that death is...but you know what I mean!) It is nothing what I thought death would be!

As you know... on Monday, we had talked with doctors and the "comfort care" team...and knew that we were not going to pursue any further invasive procedures. The attending on duty thought that maybe she would have "many days" at that point! Our focus went to comfort and doing those things for Kate that we knew she enjoyed. We did get that walk in Monday night and she enjoyed some popsicles. She was relatively alert...and was comforted by sitting on my lap. We read stories and she even turned the pages and clapped. It was a good night...a great night....a total gift from God.

But...the doctor called us about 6 am Tuesday morning and told us that the fluid had reaccumulated in her chest, her blood gasses were poor and wanted to be sure that we didn't want them to do a chest tap. We knew that if we did do one and relieve that fluid...it would just build up again and we would have to repeat the procedure most likely within 24 hours. We quickly got dressed and headed over to Kate's room. We were there for rounds...nothing major was said...just that no further procedures (taps, tubes, intubation) would be done. The biggest debate was her feedings...and how much to give her.

Andy and I just hung out with her for the next few hours. It was obvious she wasn't real comfortable... and she didn't open her eyes. Her face was noticably puffier and her color a little bluer. The palliative care team came in...and the doctor was quick to up her sedation medicine to keep her comfortable. She didn't appear "in pain"....just uncomfortable...as she would roll back and forth a lot.

At this point...I began to know that our time with Kate was coming sooner than expected...but I really thought we would have a really long day and most likely be staying with her through the night. We did call my parents to let them know she was doing worse...and to see when they were headed up. While out making the phone call...Andy ran into our Med-buddy Megan and brought her back to the room.

The next hour seemed a little hectic. We were having the docs fill out some insurance paperwork. We were discussing with doctors and staff the prospect of going into a private room. We debated...but settled on a private room on the regular floor with a one-on-one nurse to keep Kate comfortable. They were going to put her on some continuous sedation meds which included a "pump" which would allow us to give extra if we felt necessary. But moving wouldn't happen till 3 or 4 that afternoon.

Finally...things settled and I could focus on Kate. We went ahead and turned off her continuous feeds...and we gave her just regular milk. She gulped that bottle down in no time flat. I'm sure she was so happy to have something besides that nasty formula. We got her some juice too...as she still appeared thirsty. I was going to change her outfit...into her cutest green little jumper with the butterflies...I knew our pastor and families were coming and I wanted her to look her best. I began to change her...but needed the nurse to unhook her IV line in her arm. Meanwhile...our med-buddy Megan was begging to get us something to eat/drink as we hadn't all morning. We were giving her our coffee order...and I had turned to get some money out of my bag.

Next thing...I hear Becky (her nurse) tell Andy..."I don't think she's breathing....get the doc." By the time I was at the bedside, which was just feet away...all the monitors were off...lines unhooked and I heard the doc say: "Get her in her mother's arms." I remember unhooking her feeding tube and taking the oxygen tubing off her face. The curtain had been pulled and a rocking chair right there for me. I picked up my baby girl...for the first time with no tubes attached in 6 months and just held her. She let out a couple breaths...a sigh... and she was gone.

It was so peaceful...in the midst of ordering coffee and just chatting. Evidently...Kate knew that finally we were "ready" (as ready as you can ever be to say goodbye) and she rolled over and finally found peace. I could never imagine wanting to hold her...her body lifeless...but I couldn't let go...I couldn't put her back on the bed. I'm not sure...but I know it was at least 45 minutes.

We called my parents. We knew we had to wait until Andy's mom got Seth to preschool within in the hour to call her...sorry Cathy! We had the social worker page my good friend, Karla, who worked in the hospital and our pastor. My brother had plans to come that day to visit...and this was the point when he came in...when we were just sitting there holding our angel...our true angel!

I remember taking her and putting her up on my shoulder...her favorite way to be held...we hadn't held her that way since surgery. I told her I always had and always will love her. Andy took her...gave her a hug and layed her on her bed. We placed a paci in her hand...gathered our stuff...and walked out of that room...for the last time.

Megan and Doug stayed with us...helped us gather our stuff out of the Ronald McDonald House. They were so kind and didn't make us sweep, clean and do the laundry...the last thing I wanted to do at that moment. We picked up Karla again...got some lunch and that was when my parents arrived. After lunch...we came home! Eight weeks ago...when we brought her to Michigan, I never imagined leaving there without her. In fact...we even had her carseat...ready to take her home. But she got a better home...her eternal home with Jesus.

We still miss her like crazy. But we have peace in knowing that we did everything we could to get her help. Her little heart just couldn't do it! She put up a fight until the bitter end. Our lives have been forever changed by those past 568 days...and we wouldn't have traded it for the world!!

Snowman and Sickman!

We got our snow day! Seth and I had some fun playing and building our snowman! Seth had the great idea to put giant gumballs as his eyes and nose...but they just wouldn't stay in the snow. It's weird snow...it packs great...but hard to roll and manipulate! So...we ended up spray painting his face...oh well...it worked!


As far as Andy's snow day...at least he didn't have to use a sick day. He is still feeling pretty rotten and snowblowing the driveway about wore him out! We're looking forward to a fire tonight and watching a movie...and just relaxing under a warm blankie!
We're having "Christmas" tomorrow with my family...so I also have presents to wrap and desserts to make!