Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A little Christmas miracle...

We had a little Christmas miracle happen yesterday. Olivia was having so much trouble getting down to a reasonable rate on her oxygen. Every time they went to turn it down, her oxygen saturations would drop and they would turn it back up. Yesterday morning, she finally turned that corner. She was able to get off the high flow oxygen and go to "regular" oxygen. She tolerated the weaning process and by the afternoon she was back to her orignal 1/2 liter that we are on at home. So, now she was able to eat - no problems whatsoever! Her labs came back with low blood counts, so they gave her some blood to bulk her up a bit. We were discharged at 9:30 last night! We stayed in Dunlap as part of our discharge orders so we would be close, just in case. She was able to celebrate her first Christmas outside of the hospital! Jack and Brooklyn were so excited to see her. As you can see, she is already tuckered out from all the excitement! This was definitely the best Christmas present we could have asked for! Have a very Merry Christmas - I know we will!
Christmas morning after opening Santa presents

Olivia's first Christmas home!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Let's pick up the pace, Olivia

So sorry about the lack of updates. I've been updating Olivia's CaringBridge site, and then have been too lazy to update this one! I've been a little tired - imagine that!
Well, to give you the short version, we moved up to the intensive care unit on Sunday morning. Olivia was aspirating water from her oxygen tube and the Pedialyte she was drinking because of the high flow oxygen she was on. She started having trouble catching her breath and they decided she needed a little more "intensive loving care." I agree. They know her so well up there and she has been doing really well ever since the move. It has been quite a setback, but we are now on the road to recovery. She is still on the high flow oxygen at 8 liters. They have been slowly weaning that down. They inserted a feeding tube through her nose yesterday, so she is getting food and medicine that way. Once she gets off the high flow, we can try to feed her again. Once she eats and is back to her regular level of oxygen, we should be good to go. It's just such a slow process. As of now, I'd like to say we'll be home for Christmas, but it all depends on Olivia, of course.
Jack and Brooklyn had their Sunday School Christmas program on Sunday night. They did a great job! Brooklyn has her preschool program tomorrow and then she will come back with me to Dunlap until further notice. The boys will head this direction on Thursday after school. It will be nice to have Zac and the kids closer. It will also be really nice to have an extra person to sit with Olivia at the hospital. We left her alone for the first time last night. It may have been one of the hardest things I've ever done. Someone has been with her 24 hours a day since she has been in. She is so much more aware of everything and the second someone other than Zac, my mom, or I walks in, she starts crying. My sister even tried to stay with her on Sunday for a while, and Olivia wouldn't have it. My mom sent her home and covered the shift. As hard as it is to see her so scared of the nurses and doctors, it is nice to have her back in PICU where we feel so comfortable with every decision they make for her. It does relieve a little anxiety.
Anyway, that's enough for now - keep praying...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Friday afternoon update

A so-so night last night. Olivia is very, very sleepy, which is good. Hopefully she can get some energy back and fight off this nasty virus. She does keep getting water in her nose from the high flow oxygen, which kind of sends her into a tailspin. Not much that can be done about that. The doctors are concerned about her nutrition. She is definitely acting hungry and hasn't had any milk in 3 days now. So, we need lots of prayers for Olivia to tolerate weaning off the high flow oxygen. Otherwise, she really has just been asleep. Zac said when she has been awake, she hasn't been fussing like she had been. That's definitely good to hear. She was just teasing us with her little smiles the other night.
Jack and Brooklyn are coming this way for the weekend. Can't wait to see them! Thank you so much for ALL your prayers. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Making headway...maybe?

Olivia had a great night last night. My mom stayed with her and she was really pleased with all her numbers and how well she was doing. I went in about 5 this morning and she still looked okay. Then, of course, an Olivia episode. She fussed for 2.5 hours straight and Olivia is not a fussy child. Her numbers were dropping and so they decided to stick her on high flow oxygen. This helped tremendously and she has been great this afternoon. Asleep almost the whole time besides when she got a new IV. She pulled the old one out - ouch! With high flow oxygen, she can't eat, so we'll see how long we can hold her off without her getting too angry. They are trying to wean down from 10 liters to 2 or 3 liters in order for it to be safe for her to eat. Keep your fingers crossed. I'm going to take a nap now - I think I'm on for the night shift...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Quick update...

Olivia had an okay day. Lots of ups and downs, but when I left tonight, she was doing really well. She even gave a couple of smiles which we hadn't seen in a while. Her fever didn't go above 102.5 today and was as low as 99. She is still laboring quite a bit to breathe and they have her on 3 liters of oxygen. She was able to eat a little bit more today and actually took about 6 ounces of Pedialyte and kept it down. Up until then, she wasn't keeping much of anything down.
Zac went home to be with the kids and my mom is taking the night shift. We had my great grandma's funeral service today which was so simple and nice. So, it's been an emotionally exhausting day. I was throwing a bit of a pity party for myself all day because of all that's going on, but then I read a devotional that our pastor's wife dropped off today. It put everything in to perspective and everything started to make sense. I said a little prayer and within the next hour, that's when we started seeing smiles and Olivia took her bottle. It's amazing how fast God can work and how he knows exactly what we need, isn't it? We'll keep you posted and please pray for a better day tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ambulance ride...

I may have to revert back to our CaringBridge site for a little while, but I'll try to maintain both. You'll have to ignore my rambling, it's been a really long day. Olivia is in the hospital in Peoria with RSV. She's had a cold and cough for about a week and a half, but seemed to be doing better and handling it fine. At midnight last night she spiked a fever and started vomiting. We took her in to her pediatrician to check things out. She sent us to the ER and they transported us to Peoria. She is in the Pediatric Intermediate Care Unit which is kind of nice because one parent can stay with her. Zac is taking tonight since I was up with her last night. The snow day today really helped with making plans. Jack and Brooklyn are at Grandma and Grandpa Chatterton's. Olivia's numbers are doing really well and her temperature has come down a lot. It was 104.2 when we arrived in Peoria and is holding steady at a little over 100 this evening. Her breathing is doing much better than earlier today. We were thankful for the ambulance ride, because I got to go along. When they fly her over, we aren't allowed to go along. I was very appreciative of the free ride and enjoyed talking with the paramedic. We actually had some good conversation. The kids just want to know if she will be home for Christmas this year because we talked so much about how we were going to be together and no one was allowed to be in the hospital. RSV can be really nasty, but Olivia has been suprisingly feisty and tolerating everything. She also receives her monthly $3000.00 Synagis shot to prevent RSV, but as you can see, it doesn't really work. However, it is supposed to lessen the severity of the virus and make for a shorter hospital stay. We'll see! Olivia is also on an antibiotic for an elevated white blood count and signs of a bacterial infection. They are trying to pinpoint where the bacteria is (urinary tract infection, in her blood, etc.), but those cultures take at least 24 hours. Please keep Olivia in your prayers and Jack and Brooklyn, too, that they may be understanding and know how much we love them! We'll keep you posted...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Great Grandma Wam...

My Great Grandma, also known as Wam, went home to heaven this afternoon. This picture is from her 100th birthday that we celebrated in October with a halloween party. She always loved seeing all 5 of her great-great grandchildren in their costumes. She had an incredible 100 years. Just a few things I will always remember about Wam:
1. Her strawberry jello ice cream salad.
2. Sunday night dinners.
3. Orange Circus Peanut candy
4. Christmas Eves and the "year" sign we would have our picture taken in front of.
5. The way she would lovingly stare at our kids and just take such joy in everything they did.
6. How much she loved when Brooklyn would push her wheelchair down to the dining room at the nursing home.

We love you, Wam!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Santa, Snow, & Snapshots

Santa has started showing up in unexpected places lately. Jack had his school holiday program last Saturday at the high school and Santa showed up in his sleigh! Brooklyn wanted nothing to do with him, and Jack decided to pay a visit to St. Nick once he realized he was handing out candy canes.
The program was a "Breakfast with Santa." Grandma C. and Grandma and Grandpa T. made it over through the ice storm to eat some pancakes with Santa and then watch Jack sing a few Christmas songs. It was fun to watch and the kids did a great job. They had hand motions to all of the songs, so I can't say Jack actually sang anything. He looked like he was concentrating too much on the motions! We found some reindeer antlers when we were going through decorations the other day so we just had to try them on Olivia. Check this out...
"What in the world?""Move over, Rudolph!""Okay, seriously?"

"If I just shake my head a little harder, I know they'll come off!"

We had our first big snow yesterday. We probably only got about 2-3 inches, but it doesn't take much to get the troops out playing. Sorry about all the pictures - I just couldn't decide!

My Snow Angels...



Okay - to truly appreciate the next photos, I need to give a little background. When we moved to Macomb, Zac decided we needed a little something to break up the backyard from the cornfield. He decided to create a "berm." Personally, I had never heard of this and thought it was kind of a silly idea. Anyway, Zac continued to pile up all his grass clippings and dirt from the other landscaping and built this berm. It's basically a long pile of dirt that he planted flowers and shrubs on. Anyway, it's probably only about 3 feet tall, but the kids made the most of it and had a great time sledding down it. Hey, it's definitely a short walk back to the top of the hill and I don't have to worry about them running into any trees, right. And, it's finally brought a purpose for this berm that we have in our yard!

Woo hoo!

Push!!Notice Brooklyn is getting more of a thrill sucking snow off her glove than sliding down the berm.

What a little snow bunny!

And last, but certainly not least, here is Olivia sitting inside in her snowsuit watching the kids play outside! We had actually just gotten home from picking up Jack. I didn't just put her snowsuit on to watch out the door. I'm not that much of a crazy mom!

Friday, November 30, 2007

A big couple of weeks....

There has been way too much going on lately, so this will probably be a really long blog. We'll start with Thanksgiving. I have great in-laws that take my kids for a couple of nights so that we can prepare for Thanksgiving. We have it at our house and ended up with about 23 people. We always have plenty of fixin's including a fried turkey, roasted turkey, and smoked turkey...
Olivia loved her Thanksgiving meal!

We had a few special guests in from out of state. My brother-in-law's sister, Kelly made it in from North Carolina and my cousin, Christy came in from Florida. The kids always love seeing her.

Jack, Brooklyn, and Cousin Christy playing cars.

This is always the scene after dinner is done. The gamblers play poker downstairs and the rest of us play board games upstairs.

After everyone left, the kids and I loaded up our stuff and went back to Dunlap with my parents. We left Zac with the mess. I got up at 4:00 am to do the Black Friday shopping. Zac joined us later in the evening after going to the state football playoffs - his yearly tradition. While at mom and dad's, we celebrated my mom's birthday. My niece, Emmy, and nephew, Tyler, made grandma a cake and cookies in their Easy Bake Oven. They were delicious!
There is always so much fun stuff to keep everyone entertained at Grandma and Grandpa's house. The kids ransacked the cupboards and found all the plastic cups and built towers.

Once Emmy and Tyler arrived for the party, everyone took turns bowling them down. Sorry about the bad pictures, I love my new camera, but always forget to put the flash up!

On Saturday, all the runners in the famly braved the cold and ran the FOLEPI race in East Peoria. This included Zac, mom, uncle Dave, cousin Christy, brother-in-law Brian, and his sister, Kelly. Everyone seemed to have a good run. Glad I'm not part of that crew, though!

We decided to make the most of this holiday season and decorate for Christmas on Monday. Last year wasn't the most pleasant experience which is a story in itself. We vowed to make this a better one. So we all loaded up in the car to go get our tree! Well, we picked the perfect one and asked the man to drill a hole in the bottom to fit it onto our tree stand. No problem, but not until tomorrow. Jack completely lost it and we experienced a huge tantrum. Needless to say, I didn't get any pictures of our happy little family getting the tree.

The nice man delivered it Tuesday and Brooklyn and I carried it downstairs. We decorated when Jack got home and all's well the ends well. I totally understand why people choose to get artificial trees. I now think Olivia is allergic to the tree, so she will stay out of the downstairs for a while.

Last, but not least, I took Olivia to her 15 month check-up. She's up to a whopping 19 lbs. 7.5 oz. and 30 in. long. She got to switch from her Pediasure to whole milk which will be nice on the budget. We are also trying to stop her Prevacid for acid reflux. She got 5 shots, which she was less than thrilled about, but hopefully will keep her healthy! A good report overall to end a good couple of weeks! Until next time...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A long week...

I feel like this week is never going to end. I am going on a bus trip with my sister on Saturday to do some shopping in Chicago. This will be the most adult interaction I have had in a long time and I can't wait! I'm leaving the two big kids with Zac and taking Olivia to my parents house. It never fails. When there is something to look forward to, it takes forever to get here.

So, as I was talking to my mom on the phone for a whole 10 minutes, here is what my children were doing:
Jack spilled half a jar of applesauce on the tablecloth and proceeded to lick it off. He went to change his shirt.
Jack decided his applesauce that made it in the bowl needed some extra sweetness. He climbed up on the counter to get the sugar. We are out of sugar so he opted for powdered sugar (which he thought was flour).
Jack and Brooklyn covered themselves with "flour" because they wanted to look like snowmen.
Brooklyn thought the "flour" tasted great. Jack was totally grossed out by this.
They both had to change shirts.
Zac wonders why I have so much trouble keeping up on the laundry. We'd only been home from school for 15 minutes at the most and went through 3 shirts. As I type this, Jack is running around the living room squirting a spray bottle of water saying it's raining in here. Nice.

One of my favorite things about people with Down syndrome is their eyes. Aren't they amazing. Just wanted to share.

We were having a fun afternoon so I thought I would take some pictures of the girls playing.

Then, Brooklyn decided she didn't want her picture taken anymore. How can a 3 year old be so moody. The teen years are going to be very interesting!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Time change, nice people, Olivia's hangout, etc...

We just had to share the nice thing that happened to us the other day. Brooklyn, Olivia, and I were at WalMart doing our shopping before we went to pick up Jack at school. We got in the long checkout line and, low and behold, Brookyn had to go potty. She said she could hold it while we checked out and then we rushed over to the bathroom. Now, as much as I appreciate a clean bathroom, we have never, or at least almost never, been able to go at WalMart because they are ALWAYS cleaning it. So, we headed out. I was saying nasty things about WalMart's clean bathrooms in my head when a lady stopped us to give Brooklyn a quarter to get a treat out of the machine for being so good in line! Wasn't that the nicest thing! Brooklyn's face just lit up and it really made her day, and I forgot all about the bathroom thing. Yes, just a quarter. But that huge piece of green apple bubblegum for Brooklyn, priceless.

On another note, here is what the time change is doing to people in our house. This is Brooklyn on Monday night at 5:30. She ended up sleeping through the night, but the kids - all of them - have been getting up as early as 4:45. This doesn't work for me. If I'm lucky, Zac hasn't left for his run or for the weightroom, and he will hang out with them, but if I want a happy house, he goes on his way and I drag myself out of bed. Why can't this be me at 5:30 in the evening?

Here's what the other two do to pass their time. They hang out in laundry baskets and watch TV.

Or Olivia hangs out under her exersaucer. She climbs in one end and rolls around under there for a while.

Monday, November 12, 2007

"Free Service. Lifetime Guarantee."

I was reading through my 2005 Daily Guidpost devotionals the other night and came across one that I needed to pass along. The story was about a woman who, back in the day, would always hang dry her laundry outside. Her husband loved the smell of the fresh white shirts he would wear to work every day. Even when she was awkardly pregnant, she would carry her laundry basket outside and hang the clothes trying to make sure they didn't fall in the wet soil under the clothesline. One day as she was making lunch in the kitchen, she heard the wind snap the clothesline. The clothes fell right onto the ground. She pulled on her rubber boots and grabbed the clothes basket and headed back outside. She was frightened by the telephone repairman as he came around the corner.
"Saw the whole thing happen, ma'am, so I came down the pole to give you a hand. Free service and lifetime guarantee!" Within a few minutes and a few tools later, the clothesline was fixed.
So the moral of the story is that this repairman so unselfishly gave his time to help a stranger in need. God's promise is free service with a lifetime guarantee. He always knows when we need Him and is able to help put together the broken pieces in our lives.
Whether it be our best friends, a complete stranger, a nurse or doctor, or a handy dandy repairman, He has sent us so many angels when we least expect it, but need it most. Isn't that the coolest way to think about it? Have a great day!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A totally random thought to share

Blogs are supposed to be about random information, right? So, I learned the most interesting thing the other day from Jack's kindergarten class. They are working on an M&M unit at school and he brought home the M&M bag. Did you know that if you put an M&M in a glass of water, within about 8-10 minutes the "m" floats up to the top?!? It was totally cool. Jack liked it, too. I can't believe in all my years as an M&M eater, that I was not aware of this. Anyway, this will give you something to do with all those leftover M&M's from Halloween! Have a good one.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Fall is here!

Okay - so I finally splurged and got a new camera. Hopefully this will keep me on my toes and I'll update this blog often. I'm having trouble getting any "good" pictures of Brooklyn. She's at that age where she either has no clothes on or she is obnoxiously posing for the camera. I'll keep working.

We took Olivia out to enjoy the leaves. She took it all in. It's so sad to see how excited she gets when she goes outside. She just doesn't get out much! Anyway, she loved the leaves!

Isn't there just something so sweet about a sleeping baby sucking their thumb. Olivia is our first "thumb sucker" so I probably don't know what I'm in for. She doesn't do it often, so I was happy to catch this on film.

Ugh...do you think we'll ever get rid of that oxygen???

Zac built Jack a toolbench for his birthday. He made this doll for Brooklyn. She named it Robot Brooklyn and carried around with her everywhere on Saturday and most of Sunday. She fed it, put it down for naps, and even rocked the piece of wood. It was rather entertaining. I have no clue where Robot Brooklyn is now, but she sure did enjoy her over the weekend!

Jack is getting so big. Ever since school started, he has gotten so grown up. Don't get me wrong - he still has his moments of the typical 6-year-old meltdowns, but for the most part, I love this age.

However, I am waiting for the school to call and say that there's been a broken bone. The child has no fears. We've had to set limits as to how high he can climb the tree in the front yard and we've discussed how it's probably not a good idea to walk up the rainbow bars at school with no hands anymore. It didn't work out really well the first time he did it. Boys....

Monday, October 29, 2007

Welcome to our blog!

I suppose it's time we enter the blogging world. I always enjoy reading everyone else's blogs, so I've decided to quit being nosy and join the club. Hopefully this will be able to keep everyone up to date on our family. I am also going to make a really good effort to actually keep it updated (unlike Olivia's CaringBridge site). Anyway, enjoy.