Sunday, December 23, 2012

Saturday, December 22, 2012


This has been a different Christmas for us. Of course the most important part isn't different- Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus- God's gift to the world. But it's looked different this year. Partly because we have a brand new baby and her hospital stay changed some of my germ thinking. Partly because in Baltimore we spend more time as a family...
But here are some of the things we've done to celebrate this year.

Wednesday night we went  to Symphony of Lights. We enjoyed yummy hotdogs, apples, and chex mix in the car on the way there- a great idea especially with all the traffic! And enjoyed Gingerbread Chex mix and faux hot apple cider (actually ginger ale for me and apple juice boxes for the kids) on the way home. The kids were awed by the beauty of the lights. A great reminder that for all of us to be in awe of God's Creation and His love for us despite our sin.

We've been doing our Jesse tree devotions each night. Janelle made this awesome quilt and gave us the whole kit. It's been fun each night after dinner to read the Jesse tree passage- K and C have been reading the Bible verses this year and James leading the rest. Then after the Jesse tree, we turn over the numbers on our advent calendar and of course eat the candy! KG thinks it's funny that the candy is only for kids which I keep reminding her means no candy for her when she grows up.

We made salt dough ornaments.  I wish I had pics of James and the kids painting but here are some pics of the final projects. 

 We love getting out the Christmas books the first of December each year. So fun to read Christmas books- lots of favorites. We've also watched some great Christmas movies- two years ago Becky and David gave the kids a set of holiday favorites and we've added a few. Buck Denver Why Do We Call it Christmas has been a good new one this year.  Here's our waiter for "Hot hot hot hot chocolate" - he even did the dance!

We've also been doing the Focus on the Family Advent Activity Calendar each day. This link is to the 2012 calendar. We've been using the calendar I printed out last year. But whatever you use (so many great tools out there), it's been super to teach the kids about Jesus' heritage. Another thing the kids  really understand through this advent activity is how the Old Testament tells lots of the prophecy and promises and the New Testament shows how God keeps all His promises.

K and C sang with KWAM (the kids choir at Trinity Assembly of God). KWAM also had a children's play last Sunday. I was still at home with baby C recovering from RSV and T stayed home to spend time with me. But James and the rest went and really enjoyed the play. KG was excited that she got to go "on stage" too.  

We still make time for resting! I knew there was a good reason to leave laundry out!
and just being cute!

Merry  Christmas!!

Friday, December 14, 2012


Sometimes I get caught up in thinking about little things what's not good- like the kids arguing, the house being a mess, ..  then things get harder and I realize again how very much we have to be thankful for. An amazing God, a wonderful husband, terrific kids, loving family, ... 
I'm so thankful for everything about baby C's birth.  God took care of all the details. a super hospital, great delivery, baby C waiting until my Mom got here, James being here with me or the kids the whole time, my parents' super help with kids, food, the house, me, ... 

I was reminded again of my many blessings this past week. last Sunday KG was a little sniffly. we stayed home from church and did our best to wash hands, not share cups, not touch the baby, ... But it's so hard to keep a very contagious cold from spreading. 

Wednesday night baby C was slightly sniffly. Sometime during the night she got an icky cough and felt a little warm. Thursday morning I called our pediatrician who said to bring her in. After her exam, the doctor told me to take her to the ER. We got to the ER and they said to admit her- she had two ear infections and a slight fever. They tested for RSV and did a spinal tap to rule out meningitis. The "cast" is really a protective case for the IV. She received IV fluids to rehydrate her for the spinal tap and keep her hydrated while she was so sleepy. They admitted her for 48 hours of observation and to administer IV antibiotics while waiting for results of the tests. So for 2 days we nursed, slept, checked vitals, got IVs, talked to doctors and nurses, and repeated... Franklin Square Pediatric was super nice. All the nurses and doctors were terrific- thorough, friendly, ... The charge nurse even carried all my bags to the car when we were discharged. 
That's the short version of baby C's hospital stay. What made this harder was that while I was at the hospital with C, James had a 6 pm flight scheduled to Ft Knox, KY. Pretty tough when you're miles from family and have 4 kids at home. Our closest friends just moved to PA. We couldn't reach the  babysitter we'd used. Our neighbor was unable to watch the kids. The other friends here we might have asked to watch the kids have babies and I didn't want to ask them and risk spreading RSV to their babies. So thankfully James' NCOIC watched the kids. Grandma & Pops Leon were getting ready to come up when Leon broke his leg- tip/fib fracture. So he and Grandma were at the hospital until midnight. Then Brian and Grandma drove up to Baltimore and watched the kids until Saturday afternoon when James finished work and I got home from the hospital.  So thankful to friends and family who help! 
If I'd just posted this the other day, that would have been the end of the post but I waited and C's breathing got worse on Monday. She started wheezing and having very rapid hard breathing so I called the doctor and they said go back to ER. When they checked her, she was very congested so they did a deep suction and one breathing treatment. Her oxygen sat was still low so they admitted her. We spent the night but she didn't get worse so they discharged her in the morning. We went back to her doctor Thursday afternoon improved but still low oxygen sat so they sent us home with nebulizer/ albuterol and said just watch to make sure she doesn't have more breathing problems. 
Thankful for 
-terrific friends and family who love and care for us
-a wonderful pediatrician who has called me 3 times to check on us
-God caring for our sweet baby girl
-C improving- she even gained 8 oz this week- our baby is 8 lb 11 oz now!
-knowing signs of respiratory distress
- James home 
-good hospital

C's nebulizer

Sunday, December 2, 2012

First meal out

It seems that lots of traditions didn't start out as planned traditions but you do something and enjoy it and so you do it again. I remember that saying from our trip to CA wine country- "how do you know if wine is good? If one sip, invites another." I think that's true with our first meal out. With K, our first meal was for brunch at the Hubbards- very nice. With C, everything was different since he stayed in the NICU for a while. After T was born, we went out to a nice Sunday brunch at Legends in Kansas. With KG, we went to Joe's Crab Shack. 

But I think Baby C may have the honor of the yummiest first meal out. She slept through the whole thing but we all really enjoyed Miss Shirley's. The kids were all decked out in new Christmas sweaters. We got lots of compliments on how cute they were- someone even said "best behaved kids I've ever seen at a restaurant." 
The restaurant was all decorated for Christmas.
Check out the pretty girls in red sweaters. A friend of my parents made the hat for Baby C.
James enjoyed a yummy drink.
The kids loved the coloring placemats- they were cute. They had lots of games and were all about breakfast.
It was very hard to order- so many yummy choices. I got the Trio of Breakfast Sliders
K & C got the crazy box french toast breakfast.
James got the Big Easy Benedict. I didn't get pictures of my Dad's Crab Cake Benedict (the yummiest crab cake I've ever had), my Mom's Pumpkin Cheesecake Stuffed French Toast, or the Cinnamon Roll French Toast KG and T shared. Everything was delicious!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Merry Christmas!

We began our Christmas celebration early this year. My parents came up for baby C's birth and Thanksgiving so we celebrated Christmas with them then too. The day after Thanksgiving we went to baby's 2 week appointment and got a Christmas tree. That afternoon we decorated the tree. Cute kids thought to put on Christmas PJs for tree decorating and family movie night- our first Christmas movie this year. 
Here's our early morning wakers
We've enjoyed this basket and love baby C's baby quilt- so pretty! We took pics of both our baby girls in this basket. Becky made KG and C's pretty quilts.
Baby C loves to be held. 

K, C, and T made cranberry- popcorn strands- much easier with a needle!
Here's a close-up of Baby C and her pretty quilt.

Nana and Papa gave me this nice sweater.
Papa got lots of help- T was especially attached to Papa and very sad to see him leave Tuesday.
Two napping babies!
Nana took care of Kate Lynn so KG could open presents- see our wreath- James made it from Christmas tree trimmings and decorated it with the kids' cranberry popcorn strands.

We had a super Christmas celebration with Nana and Papa! so fun to start the Christmas celebration early!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

We had a super Thanksgiving. Mom, Dad, and James did most of the cooking Wednesday which left us time Thursday for a baby C photo shoot. Here's a pic of Nana, cow C, and pilgrim K.
For the last 9 years, James deep-fried a turkey but this year we bought the Big Easy and James "fried" a turkey in it. Turned out super. On Wednesday he smoked a turkey which also turned out great. 
Here's our yummy food- collard greens, 30 lbs of turkey, sweet potato casserole, dressing, mashed potatoes. I didn't get pictures of dessert but yummy too- pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie, pumpkin cake pudding. Everyone helped make the food- my contribution was the gravy.
We're enjoying our Thanksgiving table cloth and very thankful for all our blessings!
Baby C woke up for the very end of Thanksgiving dinner.
Kids love to watch Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving.
Pilgrims vs Indians baseball
Baby C spent most of the day napping- it's tiring being a baby. She's gained 7 oz in the last week and grown an inch since she was born. She's also learned to do baby push-ups on your chest, hold her head steady, and be cuddled by lots of people!
Our Thankful Forest 2012

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Welcome Baby C

We are so excited to have our new baby girl at home. We were blessed with a healthy baby girl, a delivery that went really well, my Mom taking great care of the kids, my Dad arriving safely, super nurses and doctors, even good weather. So thankful!

James spent the three nights with me in the hospital and my Mom came to the hospital twice but the kids couldn't go to the hospital.  It's flu season and only people 12 and up could go to the hospital. We were able to skype some from the hospital so they'd seen her on the computer. They were happy to see me after my longest time ever away, but they were super excited to meet their baby sister.  Everyone wants to hold her and they think she's so cute!
James made great shirts for us- LewCrew7.
KG's turn to cuddle.

Baby girl riding home from hospital.
All the kids in their LewCrew 7 shirts.
So sweet!
Happy Birth day Baby C!

Celebrating with Nana and Papa!