Monday, November 23, 2009

A little reflection...

Just six months, and about an hour ago, Olivia went home to Heaven. She went straight from my arms into the loving arms of her Father.
It's been an interesting 6 months, to say the least. There have been good days and bad days, although the good are starting to outweigh the bad. People said that the good memories of Olivia would start to take over the "bad" memories, although I really don't like to refer to them as that. We don't have any "bad" memories of Olivia, just "bad" in the sense that she was so sick at times. It's hard to think of her in that capacity...the days that she struggled so much, so it's nice to have all the wonderful times we had permanently etched into our minds.
I am completely in awe by the number of times we have still been able to use words such as "amazing" and "perfect." Whether it be through an act of kindness, a person touched by Olivia, a simple card, or a great memory, we have been completely blessed. I am amazed every day by the peace that literally passes all understanding that God has granted me. Olivia is still and always will be a huge part of our family and our everyday lives. There isn't a day that goes by that we don't talk about something Olivia did, or something we wish we could have seen.
Thanksgiving will probably be hard this year. Olivia never missed a Thanksgiving. She is a true Chatterton in that way...loves her Thanksgiving Dinner! This year, we will still be thankful for the little things, but also for some bigger things. We thank God everyday for the time we got to have Olivia in our lives, for the amazing doctors, nurses, support staff, and complete strangers that she brought into our lives, for the health of the rest of our family, and especially for the comfort and peace we have in knowing that Olivia is now free of pain and, in the end, has won the ultimate battle.

Just a little reflection on the past 6 months (and a little devotion for the day :o)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Southern Comfort

I had a great time in South Carolina. The flight down was perfect. The weather was perfect. The company was perfect. The entertainment was perfect. The amount and quality of food I ate was amazing. An all around good vacation.
I got up at 3:30 in the morning last Saturday to head to the airport in Bloomington. I can't tell you the last time I was up and out the door that early. I was in SC by 11:00 a.m.! Nicole and I stayed in Charleston on Saturday night...right downtown. We ate at a couple of really good restaurants. Saturday nights meal was awesome. I even ordered ribs! And if you know me at all, you know I don't eat things on bones. These were amazing! Sunday, we took a horse tour around the downtown area and learned a lot of history. We walked forever and saw some amazing homes. We browsed through the market, got some pralines, went to Sullivan's Island and walked on the beach, and then took off for the Columbia area. I spent the next two days with Nic's family and we did some shopping, had some more great food (all I know is that we need a Firehouse Subs & a Five Guys burger place here), and went out with some of Nicole's friends that I'd heard so much about. Tuesday, the only rainy day, sent me packing back to Illinois. Good old Ida caused some disruption in my flight plans.
I was supposed to stay overnight in Atlanta.
All by myself.
To catch a plane the next morning.
Not me. I don't do that kind of stuff.
So, I forked out some pretty big bucks and found a flight back to Bloomington.
The problem?
My keys to the car were in my suitcase.
I checked my bag.
It all worked out in the end. I only had to inconvenience a few people. Zac dug around for an extra key. My dad drove it to Bloomington and left it in my car. I drove home and turned around Wednesday morning to go back and get my luggage. Ugh.
Luckily, I was completely refreshed from my vacation that I was able to handle all of these unforeseen circumstances!
I'll go back in a heartbeat...only I may drive next time!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

An Amazing Thing...

So, a couple of weeks ago, I get a phone call from one of the doctors in the PICU. He asked if Zac and I would be his guests at a wine experience and auction to benefit the Children's Hospital. Of course we would! We like wine. We wish we could afford some of the auction stuff. And we love the Children's Hospital.
Then he asks if we would feel comfortable speaking about how we got involved with the Children's Hospital. Immediately, I said that Zac would love to speak. I don't do that. Well, I speak. Just not in front of people.
After a whole lot of thinking and praying, I decided this was an opportunity to share just a part of Olivia's story and how much all of those doctors and nurses mean to us. Because I was lucky enough to be there all the time, it seemed more appropriate for me to speak. So, for the first time in 32 years, I spoke into a microphone. In front of a bunch of people. I was so nervous! I had written down a bunch of stuff, so I wouldn't forget to say anything, but I still forgot at least half. Anyway, it turned out well and everyone survived my little speech, and it was an amazing thing to be able to do...the speaking part and the opportunity to thank some very special people.
Then the bidding wars was awesome to see how much some of the things went for and to know it was going to help such a great cause. One of the auctions that came up for was a yacht trip on the Illinois River with wine, dinner, and 6 friends. This one was racking up some big bucks! Afterwards, a man came up to Zac and me and said that it was for us. They bid on that auction for us! Can you believe that? We were speechless. So, next summer, Zac and I are going to be taking a yacht cruise on the Illinois River with some friends...all thanks to some amazing people that Olivia must have touched...just by hearing a snippet of her story. We did know one person at the table, but other than that, complete strangers. Unbelievable.
On a side note...I'm in a bible study at church with some amazing women on Wednesday afternoons. We always give our prayer requests for the week and yesterday mine happened to be for a little extra peace and wisdom. See, we still haven't sold our house in Macomb. No bids, no interest, nada. Things are starting to get a little funny around here financially, so we just needed a little guidance as to where to go from here. So, these women prayed for us to have a little guidance yesterday and by late afternoon, Zac called and said there might be someone interested in a short term rental. He's a retired professor from Western and he sold his house and needs somewhere to stay to finish out the year. I don't know if this will go through or not, but it sure is nice to have a little hope. All I could think was that God sure does work quickly!
Other than all that amazing stuff, I think I just need to catch up with my Halloween post before I go on my little vacation to get you all caught up on our lives, which I'm sure you've all been dying to do ;o)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Choo, choo!!!

The kids and I took a train trip to Chicago with our friends, Bethany and Ava, a little over a week ago.
Bethany is one of Olivia's former nurses that we have become very, very close to. When Livvy was in the hospital, we talked about making this trip sometime and we were finally able to coordinate a time to go! It was Ava's first train ride and the first one that Jack could really remember. We didn't have the best weather, but we really couldn't complain. The kids did awesome! We made a visit to the Shedd Aquarium, which everyone thought was pretty impressive.

The kids even got to touch real starfish. I wasn't even brave enough to do that!

Then we made a stop at the American Girl Store (my first experience there) and the Lego Store.

Throw a little Garrett's Popcorn in the mix and we were ready to call it a day!

The train ride went very smoothly. One of the conductor people even said we were doing a great job entertaining the kids.
It did take lots of trips to the snack car and lots of trips to the bathroom and garbage cans, but all in all a great time.

Bethany and I did decided, however, that we need to do this again minus the kiddos, so we have our next trip scheduled...our goal is to be a little bit more efficient and to get some Christmas shopping done!
Speaking of trips...I'm going on vacation! Me. Just me.
I know, it's impossible to believe, but I am. I'm flying to South Carolina this weekend. I'm going to visit my friend, Nicole, and her family. They moved to SC last year and we've not had the opportunity to make it down there, yet. We always talked about it and even had planned on swinging through there last summer. But, plans changed and it didn't work out. So, we finally settled on a date and I booked the ticket and I'm going! I can't wait! We are staying in Charleston for a night and it is supposed to be just beautiful. Then back to Nic's house to just hang out for a few days, meet her friends that I hear so much about, and relax! Zac and the kids have promised to stay healthy and be on their best behavior, so everything should be okay on the worries. Did I mention that I can't wait?