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?
Posted by Krista Layman at 10:27 PM
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!
Posted by Krista Layman at 3:32 PM
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!
Posted by Krista Layman at 11:24 PM
Posted by Krista Layman at 9:09 PM
Coming down the slide...under the waterfall! What fun!
Posted by Krista Layman at 8:47 PM
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!
Posted by Krista Layman at 1:17 AM
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!
Posted by Krista Layman at 11:57 PM
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!)
Posted by Krista Layman at 11:50 PM
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!
Posted by Krista Layman at 11:05 PM
Posted by Krista Layman at 10:32 PM
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!
Posted by Krista Layman at 1:12 AM
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.
Posted by Krista Layman at 12:14 AM
Posted by Krista Layman at 9:26 PM
Posted by Krista Layman at 12:34 AM
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!
Posted by Krista Layman at 11:42 PM
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!
Posted by Krista Layman at 12:41 AM
Posted by Krista Layman at 2:17 PM
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.
Posted by Krista Layman at 11:45 PM
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!
Posted by Krista Layman at 12:58 PM
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.
Posted by Krista Layman at 12:26 AM
Posted by Krista Layman at 4:58 PM
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!
Posted by Krista Layman at 10:48 PM
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 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!
Posted by Krista Layman at 11:04 PM
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!
Posted by Krista Layman at 10:28 PM
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!!
Posted by Krista Layman at 11:06 PM
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!
Posted by Krista Layman at 5:56 PM