Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Merry Belated Christmas!!

I hope everyone had a great Christmas!  I know we did!!  Philip's parents came into town and since my parents now live in town, we had a big throw down at our house.  Ethan opened presents on four consecutive days.  It was great!  I'll try to get pictures of Christmas day up soon, but until then you can watch our Christmas videos.

I'd like to take this time to discuss Christmas cards.  This year I sent out Asher's baby announcements that never got sent out this summer with the additional picture shown above.

My question to my readers out there is who do you send Christmas cards to?  With the cost of postage (and cards) going up each year I start to question who should be on my Christmas card list.  Don't get me wrong, I love making a Christmas card and I love sending them out, I just don't know how to edit my list.   Do you send cards to family only?  How about high school or college buddies that you don't talk to often, but still want to keep in touch with?  What about local friends that see you every week or month?  Or do you keep a list of who sent you a card so you can return the favor next year?

I'd love your input on this.  Our list consists of a mixture of these, but I did struggle with our Sunday School class members this year.  I mean, we see them every week, but I still want to wish them a Merry Christmas!  What I don't want to do is spend over $100 on cards and postage each year. 

Help!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Quitting the Challenge

I don't quit many things, but after I started posting things on here that I would definitely not share with a stranger I figured it was in the best interest of my family to quit the challenge.  Instead I am here today to tell you that I am uploading new pictures on our Shutterfly site and new videos on our YouTube site.  I am especially going to add a lot more pictures to Ethan's tab on the site since he has been quiet the photographer lately!

I know this was kind of a "cheater" post but I hope you enjoy all the new media!

Also, for those of you who were confused about the picture below, the fifth letter on the mantel holds our dog's stockings (Emma and Dante).  I have a feeling that in a few years or so they will get booted from this place of honor.  Either that, or I need to buy some more stocking hangers!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Stockings

Yesterday afternoon (16 days before Christmas) I finally sat down and made Asher's stocking.  Out of the six stockings here I've sewn the first four and although they might not be the prettiest stockings ever they work for us.

In Philip's family each member of the family contributes to each stocking.  We have adopted this practice and I love it!  It is so much fun to buy things for everyone's stocking (including this year my inlaws and brother in law).  Then when it is time to "open" them everyone just dumps their stocking onto the floor and we figure out who bought what.

In my family our stockings were the only things we could open before our parents got out of bed on Christmas morning.  I remember my sister and I running out to the living room to grab the stockings and then returning to one of our beds to open them.  Then the agonizing wait would begin, but at least we had the contents of our stockings to keep us busy until 8am.

Does your family use stockings in their celebration of Christmas?  How do they work in your house?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Yesterday's Doctor's Visit

Asher's 6-month doctor's visit was yesterday and he did great.  Dr. Brice said everything looks fine.  At 6 months Asher weighs almost exactly the same as Ethan did (16 pounds) but the big difference with Asher is that he is 2 inches shorter than his brother was at this age!!

Here is a picture I took awhile ago, but I haven't posted it anywhere yet:
Asher did not appreciate the cup of water I poured on his head, but at least in these pictures you can see his chunky-ness!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Toddlers are easy to amaze

The following conversation was had between myself and my three year old before he took his nap today:

"Mommy can I play with my activities?"  (activities = Nativity set)
"No, I said you can read your train book and then go to bed."
"But, I don't know where my book is!"
"It's in the bathroom."
"HOW did you KNOW that?!"

Solids - the second time around

With Ethan I remember starting solid foods the day that the pediatrician said that we could.  My number one motivation was to spend less money on formula.  Little did I know the amount of dishes and ultimately money and time having a baby on solids can require.

This time around I have delayed starting solids until what seems like the last minute.  Even though I am not anti-spoon, after reading a blog post about baby-led weaning I got really stoked about not having to make purees this go-round.  I want Asher to get the majority from his calories from me for as long as possible anyway, so I am in no hurry to start solids.  Having said that, Asher has gone through periods this last month where after nursing in the evening he is still fussy.  It is at these times when I have offered oatmeal cereal made with formula (or some other liquid).   He does sit at the table with us during dinner and we also have tried to give him solids from our plates.  So far he has had some baked sweet potato, applesauce and a few grains of rice (all good Cajuns should have some rice in their diet).  Most of these foods have been processed and given right back to us, but he has swallowed a few mouthfuls of each.


Unlike this picture the last two nights have gone rather well as far as getting more food into his body then onto his bib.  He still is only eating about one tablespoon of cereal a night, but he seems to be getting better at opening his mouth when a spoon comes up to his mouth and then swallowing what is deposited there.

Today we are going to the pediatrician for Asher's six month check up.  After Ethan heard that Asher was going to have shots he said, "I want some throw-up in my nose."  He means that he does not want a flu shot, but instead wants the flu mist (up his nose).  Kids say the darnedest things.  Also, I couldn't think of it the other day but another funny word Ethan says incorrectly is "Mirr-e-u" for mirror.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Snickerdoodles

I have vivid memories of my family members fighting over my Mawmaw's Snickerdoodles.  I'm not exaggerating here!  After one Christmas where my dad literally hoarded the entire container for hours while he munched away, Mawmaw finally made certain family members their own gallon ziploc bags of the cookies. 

That being said every year when I set out to make them I think, "Do I even like these?" "Are they really as good as I remember?"  After all with such simple ingredients as veg. shortening, sugar, eggs, flour, etc. and with only a cinnamon sugar topping you don't expect anything spectacular.  But then you take the first bite.  mmmm.....the salty crumbly somewhat buttery tasting cookie melts in your mouth.  I have nothing left to say...I am speechless.

Here is an old picture, but it will have to do for now:

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas Tree

So Ethan finally let me take a picture of him after we decorated the Christmas tree:

This year we went for the "au naturale" look.  Do you know how long it takes to make that silly popcorn/cranberry garland?  Longer than you think! And you may recognize our ornaments from this post.

Today's post

Today while Ethan and Philip went out to run some errands I put lights on the Christmas tree.  Ethan got home and was so shocked!  "Mommy, the tree is blinking!"  Granted, the lights aren't blinking but I knew what he meant.  I also finished up the french onion soup that I started yesterday.  This picture is just for my mom:

If you want to try this soup out it is an America's Test Kitchen recipe and it will take over 2 hours to make (just a heads up).

Yesterday's post

I really meant to post this yesterday, but spent some quality time with my hubby instead (watching My Cousin Vinny).  Yesterday Asher turned 6 months old.  Yay Asher! The cute new thing that he has started to do is stick his tongue out and then smile.  It is so stinkin' cute!  The problem is he does it so quickly that I can't get a picture of it.  Here is a picture of our cute boy:


You can almost hear him thinking, "Get in my mouth!"

If you're wondering why I haven't had any pictures of Ethan in these last few posts it's because he doesn't want me to take his picture!  Even when he finished his puzzle, he only wanted me to take a picture of the puzzle, not of him.

Yesterday was a fun day Philip and Ethan went and bought our Christmas tree and mom came over and we had chicken panini sandwiches and Brussels sprouts for dinner.  If you don't think you like Brussels sprouts go and try that recipe.  It will change your mind, it might even change your life!  It has made me a believer of re-trying things you don't think you like or giving a chance to things you've never tried before. We also had croissant panini sandwiches (with nutella, bananas, marshmallow creme, etc.) for dessert!  They....were....awesome!  But, how could they not be?

Friday, December 3, 2010

A Night of Firsts

Today the boys and I met Betsy and her kids at the Fountain City library for story time.  If you have never gone to the FC story time it is worth the drive!!  There are songs, rhymes, hand puppets, stories from books, and interactive flannel stories. Also there were chairs for the adults to sit on, which is nice for moms that have smaller little ones to entertain during story time. 

Tonight was a night of firsts.  While we were with Betsy today she gave us our Christmas presents and for Ethan it was his first puzzle!!  He needed a little bit of help, but he was so proud when it was done.




Tonight was also Asher's first fire!  He acted similar to his brother the first time he saw a fire in that he just stared at it in amazement.


On the agenda for tomorrow?  Buy a Christmas tree and decorate the house!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Library and MOPS

We had a busy day today including a trip to the library and then tonight the boys and I went to MOPS.  I am doing crafts for the moppets this year which means this afternoon I researched and planned a craft for the kids to do.  I'll take a picture of one of the crafts Ethan did and post it tomorrow.  In the meantime enjoy this picture of Asher when I picked him up from Moppets:
Sweet thumb-sucking boy!!

I'm so glad I met today's post goal (if only by four minutes).

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A post (and a picture) a day till Christmas!

I've been slacking on this blog for a while now (I can't believe it's been 3 months since my last post) and I was inspired today to change that.  For the whole month of December, or at least until Christmas, I plan on posting one picture a day.  If you are interested here is the blog that inspired me.  On days when I have time I am also going to go back in time and document something we have done in the last 6 months or so.

First some updates on funny things that Ethan says or has said recently:
  • "nockers" for binoculars
  • "helmets" for some muff-style headphones that he used in the car
  • "Asher wants to be excused." this after Asher stopped nursing one day to stare at his big brother
My picture for the day is of a craft project that Ethan and I started a few days ago after I read this post.
These have been drying for two days but I think since it has been so humid here they will take a few more days to get good and dry.  My goal is to wait until the fruit dries, add some popcorn and cranberries, and then hang them over one our many walkways coming from the kitchen. 

We were in Louisiana for Thanksgiving and today was my first day to sit down and "do" our budget.  This means I look at how much money we had leftover the day Philip gets paid, save it appropriately and pay most of the bills for the new month.  To do this efficiently I had to lay Asher down and chose to place him on the warm sunny changing table we have in the living room.  I guess Asher thought it was warm and snuggly, because this is how I found him 15 minutes later:
Ethan also was suppose to go to bed so while I was finishing up the budget I asked him to go upstairs and wait for me.  He is currently also passed out!!

See you tomorrow!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Asher - 3 Months old!!

Since Asher is three months old today (Sept. 4th) I thought I would document his day (for your enjoyment I have left out diaper changes):
  • 3:55 Woke to nurse (and fell back asleep)
  • 7:00 Woke to nurse again (and fell back asleep again)
  • 9:30 Slept in - Mommy had to wake me up!
  • 9:35 Got my picture with brother taken - GEAUX TIGERS!
  •  9:45 Ate again
  • 10:00 Went outside to enjoy the great weather (and watch Daddy work on his truck)
  • 10:20 Morning nap
  • 11:40 Woke up
  • 11:45 Cried while I waited for Mommy to fix brother lunch!

  • 11:47 Lunch!
  • 12:30 Played in the "ocean"
  • 12:45 Practiced laughing with Mommy 
video

  • 1:00 After choking on my own spit (what is that stuff anyway?) and subsequently spitting up and then rubbing my head in it Mom decided I needed a bath (read: life is really hard for a baby)

  • 1:40 Early afternoon nap
  • 4:00 Mommy moved me to the couch because I still wasn't awake....that did not phase me!

  • 4:30 Finally woke up!
  • 4:35 Mid-afternoon snack
  • 6:00 Late-afternoon nap
  • 7:30 Pre-Dinner
  • 8:30 Dinner
  • 8:40 Bedtime
  • 9:20 Dessert
  • 9:40 Bedtime for real!
I'm editing this post on Sept. 17 and what's funny is that for the last 5 or 6 days Asher has been sleeping through the night!  That's right, a full 12 hours!!   His meals are a lot more regular and I seldom if ever have to feed him once we put him down for the night at around 7:30.  Like I've been saying, "Don't like your babies schedule?  Wait two weeks and they'll be on a new one!"

    Monday, August 30, 2010

    Learning to Schedule

    Homeschooling has been a challenge up until today.  Mostly I think the challenge has come because I try to plan what we are going to do for the day while I am sitting at the table with an eager three year old!  Last night however I sat for about an hour at the computer and planned our day/week.  The result?  Happy toddler, less stressed mom and overall a great experience!  We even managed to get everything done while brother was sleeping in his swing. 

    Speaking of little brother, I have a post half-written about Asher and I hope to post it soon!

    Wednesday, August 25, 2010

    11 weeks and we are "golden"

    Asher is 11 weeks and a couple of days old now and we are doing great!!

    He has been sleeping through the night now for about a week and a half.  Because of this fact (and the ease in which he has been falling asleep this last week or so) we decided to put both boys to bed last night at the same time in the same room!  At first Asher didn't fall asleep so Philip went up to get him and I finished nursing him (he had fallen asleep half way through).  Ethan almost cried when Philip went to get him.  "I want Asher to sleep up here!"  Philip explained that he would be back and on the second try he did stay in bed and go to sleep.  Usually Ethan talks a ton before he falls asleep, but last night he was super quiet and I think that probably helped him fall asleep faster.

    So far so good!

    Sunday, August 22, 2010

    The final decision....maybe

    So last week I posted a question on Facebook to all my friends concerning weather or not you start your summer born baby in Kindergarten when they are five, or if you wait and start them when they are six.  When Ethan was first born I was excited that it was in July because I thought we had avoided the whole "start them/don't start them" issue.  But not so!  Here the parents I talk to really think that May is the cut off and that if you have a summer baby that you should wait until they are six to start them in Kindergarten.

    I feel like after reading the 31 comments left by other moms I have a better picture of why parents keep their five year olds home, but I still struggle because I don't want my kids to bored in school.  I know some moms are saying, "Bridgette, you have plenty of time to think about this."  Really if I want Ethan to have a full year of preschool before he goes to Kindergarten I will need to have made at least a preliminary decision by this Spring when registration for preschools usually begins.

    After reading all of the comments and talking to other experienced moms here is what (I think) we will do.  This year I will continue to home school him through our current preschool curriculum which teaches letters, some phonics, numbers, and bible literacy.  Then next year (when he is four) I think we will send him to a preschool for at least 2-3 days a week.  The year that he turns five I think we will send him to a K5 program that follows the Kindergarten curriculum, but isn't a public school.  I think a co-op school would be a really good fit at this step.  At the end of that year I feel like we will be better educated about the skills needed in Kindergarten and able to make the decision if he is ready for Kindergarten at the public school level, or if he excelled we can start him in a public school in first grade.

    With all that being said, I really am glad that we aren't locked into anything yet and we can wait awhile before making our final decisions.

    Thanks to everyone for their input!

    Friday, August 6, 2010

    Second born....

    You hear it all the time....the second child gets less pictures of them taken and in our case the second child gets less blog posts written about him!
    Asher is a wonderful baby and  the only reason he hasn't had more posts about him is that when he is sleeping I am either sleeping with him or I'm keeping up with his brother.  One of the things that Ethan and I have been doing is "school".  After a lot of thought and prayer and after reading Radical I've decided to keep Ethan home with me this school year and instead of going to preschool he will go to the Little Gym once a week.  The cost is substantially less and I'll be able to use the difference to give "radically" this year.  In place of preschool we are going through "Little Hands to Heaven" which focuses on Bible stories, characters and goes over one letter and one number a week with a review every four weeks.  Ethan loves to play school!

    Anyway, back to Asher...  He is two months old and we go for his two month check up on Monday.  Thanks to the Baby Whisper he is on a steady eat, awake, sleep pattern.  He has even re-learned how to put himself to sleep after a week and a half of being rocked by myself and my family while I was in Louisiana for my Pawpaw's funeral.

    After a rocky start we are both thoroughly enjoying nursing.  It is so freeing to be able to walk out the door without having to calculate how long we might be gone and how many bottles we will need for the trip.  Growth spurts have been difficult - one night he nursed every hour for four hours, but then he slept for his longest span yet: 7.5 hours!!  Right now he sleeps for 4-5 hours at a time at night and he eats about every 3 hours during the day.

    Ethan has a few new tricks up his sleeve including going diaper free during nap time and night time.  He actually started this skill the week before Asher was born.  We've had a few accidents but they mainly occur when something is out of sync (one morning he woke up at 5 and I sent him back to bed without suggesting he go to the bathroom and then when he slept till 9 he woke up wet.)  He is a great big brother and he always asks, "I want to see Asher's eyes!"  He loves to Asher his trains and planes.

    Hopefully my next update will be no later than Monday!!

    10 years!!

    Ten years ago on May 11th Philip and I got married!!  I can't believe it was ten years ago that we walked down the isle....here's a little trip down memory lane.

    • When we got married we were both still in college and we lived in a little house that probably had less than 400 square feet.  We spent the first year of our married life sleeping in a twin bed!
    • Our second place to live was 10 yards from the first and was only probably 50 square feet bigger, but it felt huge since it had a full size oven and a walk "through" closet. 
    • Our second summer as a married couple we spent living in Oak Ridge as we both did summer internships at the lab.
    • The next year Philip finished up his bachelor's while I got my teaching certificate.
    • In the summer of 2002 we moved up to Knoxville so Philip could get his masters at UT.  It took 8 months but finally Nashville and Baton Rouge decided to communicate and I got a job teaching science at South-Doyle.
    • Three years later Philip had a job at ORNL and we were buying a house and trying to raise two gigantic puppies who liked to eat raw potatoes and chew through immersion blenders!
    • Five years later we have done so many things to improve this house the list is daunting: vinyl siding, new carpet, paint on almost every single wall, painted the kitchen cabinets, a new dishwasher, a new A/C unit, and most recently a laundry room remodel.  (I'll post pictures of the last item as soon as Philip is done.)
    • Four years ago we decided to expand our family and now we are the proud parents of Ethan (3) and Asher (2 months).  The birth of our first son is currently the most scary and wonderful moment in our lives.
    • This last year we lived through our first high-risk pregnancy and although some aspects could be trying (6 hour infusions once a week) we made a new friend and were blessed with our first "normal" delivery and hospital stay with a newborn!
    I plan on writing a whole post about our pre-baby anniversary trip, but that is for another day.

    "I painted the Golden Gate bridge today!"

    As I walked around the living room last night, picking up toys that will be taken out again tomorrow, I was reminded of a message I heard on the radio. Supposedly the same paint crew paints the Golden Gate Bridge all day everyday year round. By the time the crew works it's way from one end of the bridge to the other, the end of the bridge where they began needs to be painted again.

    I don't know how true this is but it does illustrate a point for the work of a mom. I have a few friends that are stay-at home moms who are occasionally are asked, "What did you do today?" Well, from now on I believe those moms should say, "I painted the Golden Gate bridge." Even though the work we do may not seem evident to the outside viewer we have worked hard all day, and no matter how hard we work today there will be work waiting for us tomorrow.

    So, to all those moms out there: keep painting!

    Saturday, July 31, 2010

    How will they know?

    I lost my Pawpaw two weeks ago today.  The thing that makes me the most sad is that my boys will never know the man that I loved and that loved me.  I don't even think my cousins (who were born 6 and 8 years after me) knew the same Pawpaw that I did.  Here are just a few of my favorite memories of him:
    • During the summers we (my sister and I) would often spend a few weeks at my Mawmaw and Pawpaw's house because Mawmaw could take us to swimming lessons.  When we weren't swimming (and this wasn't often) Pawpaw would be doing things outside with us.  I loved these weeks of summer and I remember hating to go back home....
    • No matter what time of day or night he would volunteer to be the adult that would sit next to the pool so that we could go swimming.  He encouraged us to be great swimmers and would even time how long we could stay under water and give us tips when we were learning to dive into the pool.
    • I remember many evenings sitting on the swing with him next to the pool.
    • He taught me how to spot the "Big Dipper".
    • He caught fireflies with me.
    • He bought me my first and only pony for my sixth birthday then he taught me to ride, brush, and take care of her.
    • If we wanted to get an icee I remember him sending me to the cupboard or counter for his wallet and we would walk across Moss street to the little convenience store to get one.
    • He ordered me my first Shirley Temple.
    • He taught me how to ride his "little tractor" as soon as my feet could reach the one pedal.
    • After we all got bikes we would ride down Moss to the snow cone stand and he would always get spearmint.  He was always up to go for a bike ride, even if it was just around the block.
    • He taught me how to pick eggs, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and even okra.  I love the memories of a plate of fresh tomatoes and cucumbers that were served almost every evening.
    • He always let us bring baby animals in the house - ducks, chicks, rabbits
    • He was truly a "dumpster diver" although he never dove in one as much as picked off the sides.  Great finds included a high chair, a step stool, a bicycle, and I think even a crib.
    • He accepted my husband as a grandson the day we were married.  I remember him taking us out the barn and giving Philip a bicycle (see last point) that he could fix up for me.  It turned out to be a great bike and I rode it for years to and from school and work.
    • He always sided with us at the grocery store. Of course, we need another watermelon!
    • When I was in driver's ed he and Mawmaw sat out in their driveway to wave at me while I drove by.  I'm sure they were out there for at least an hour (in the LA summer heat) since this was before the days of cell phones.
    • He taught me that the customer is always right, and if you get bad service then make sure to write the company a letter!
    • He lent me the finances to buy my first car and even before I had paid him back for that, our first house.  He didn't make borrowing money from him easy, but in retrospect maybe borrowing money shouldn't be.  I know because of him and Dave Ramsey I never want to be in debt again and that is an invaluable lesson.
    • Phrases that I will always be able to hear him say:  "Goodnight, sha", "Outstanding!", and "See you then"
    • Cigar smoke and the smell of scotch will always remind me of him.

    Tuesday, July 13, 2010

    Our new pet

    Conversation with Ethan today:

    Ethan: "I think Asher is a pet."
    Me: "Asher is not a pet!"
    Ethan: "Emma is a pet."
    Me: "Yes, Emma is a pet."
    Ethan: "Then I think Asher is a pet too."

    Tuesday, June 29, 2010

    Uploading Pictures

    I just uploaded a bunch of pictures to our shutterfly site so head on over there and check them out!  Some are old and some are new so make sure you look at the whole June album.  Also make sure you see the video that I posted a couple of days ago.

    Asher is changing everyday and today while laying on his stomach he picked up his head and turned it so that he was looking the opposite direction!  It was weird to come back and find him facing a different direction from the one he was facing when I laid him down because he has not done that before.

    Ethan still loves his baby brother and he especially like helping give him a bath and put lotion on him afterward. I'm sorry I don't have any pictures of this but when you've got an infant in the tub and a toddler who wants to "help" it is difficult to do anything but tend to the kiddos!!

    Thursday, June 24, 2010

    The best case scenario (Part 2)

    First, I want to apologize that I haven't written anything about Asher since we came home from the hospital.

    The day after I wrote that post Asher had a terrible night.  He was nursing fine before that, but on that Monday night he screamed for hours at a time and tried to nurse but just struggled to eat.  We went in to the pediatrician first thing on Tuesday morning and the lactation consultant watched me nurse Asher and said that I was doing a great job.  Asher at that point was continuing to lose weight and so our pediatrician and the consultant agreed that we should start supplementing with formula before and after a feeding.  Basically, (she explained) little boys are often lazy nursers and because he was technically 3 weeks early that would make him even lazier.  Well after supplementing for four days Asher finally was satisfied with no supplements on Saturday morning.  We went back to the pediatrician that morning and he had gained weight so we officially took him off of supplements.  Here is a picture of the cake I got to celebrate this milestone.

    Since then we really have celebrated the best case scenario!!  Last Friday I brought Asher in to the pediatrician and he had regained weight and was back up to his birth weight.  Regaining their birth weight by two weeks is exactly what pediatricians look for and that is exactly what we needed to see to know that he is eating successfully.  I was so happy!!

    Since that visit we have been blessed with many friends bringing us meals.  It has been so great not having to plan out dinners and even more of a blessing not to have to cook!!  Philip's parents had stayed with Ethan while we were in the hospital with Asher and then they stayed for a week past that.  When they left I have to say I was quiet nervous about how I would take care of both kiddos by myself!  But so far so good.  Ethan and I have survived a whole week and a half by ourselves.  He has been a little more challenging, but he loves Asher and that's a relief and a blessing.

    Well, I'll try to update this blog more often.  I still need to write about our 10th anniversary trip and coming up next weekend Ethan will be turning three!!  My mom and sister are coming up to celebrate and meet Asher for the first time too, so that will be fun.

    Saturday, June 12, 2010

    Just one more...

    A couple of days ago we used an ink pad to get a foot print and hand print of baby Asher.  During the process (as you can imagine) Asher did not appreciate our pushing, pulling and smooshing of his hand and foot.  As he started to cry Ethan said, "Asher doesn't like making art!"

    Friday, June 11, 2010

    More darndest things....

    At the dinner table:
    Me: You can use this spoon.
    Ethan: No I can't, this is Daddy's spoon
    Me: Yes, but Daddy isn't here anymore.
    Ethan: Daddy?
    Daddy: (who is sitting in the living room) Yes Ethan?
    Ethan: Daddy is still here!


    Ethan: When I run really fast my batteries go dead.
    Mawmaw: That's funny.  Bridgette you need to put that on Facebook.
    Ethan: I need to put that on Facebook! 

    At least five more times at the dinner table Ethan (after saying something funny) would say, "I need to put THAT on Facebook."  It was too funny!

    Kids say the darndest things!

    I just wanted to record some really cute things that Ethan has said recently.

    The week before Asher's birth Ethan prayed and thanked God for Dr.McPeas (Dr.McLees) who delivered Ethan and was suppose to deliver Asher.  It was so sweet to see him thank God for someone who played such an intimate role in him coming to the world.

    Pawpaw, "Goodnight little man."
    Ethan, "I'm not a little man."
    Philip, "Yes you are buddy."
    Ethan, "No, I not!"
    Philip, "You are a little man and when you grow up you'll be a big man."
    Ethan, "No, I'm not a little man, I'm a Cajun!"

    Last night as we were leaving P.F.Chang's Ethan said, "Thank you for taking me to this restaurant."  It was so cute!

    I'll try to get this on tape soon, but if you ever want some free entertainment put an almost three year old in front of a full length mirror!!

    Thursday, June 10, 2010

    Look at those Boudreaux Babies!!

    Ethan                             Asher

    Monday, June 7, 2010

    Home Sweet Home

    After only a few days at the hospital we got to come home yesterday afternoon.  I personally like being in the hospital where they bring you hot food three times a day, change your sheets for you and the nurses were a great help when I had any questions about nursing.  The hospital can be aggravating though when you have to deal with all the policies and procedures that they are MARRIED to, but when Philip or I would get frustrated we would just sing "Do everything without complaining." 

    I do have to say that even though we left without a free diaper bag (I thought this was standard practice) the nurses and staff at UT all seemed to have a minor in hospitality.  No one ever left our room without asking if they could anything for us or if we need anything else.  The second day of our stay was a little overwhelming just because of the sheer number of people that came through our room, but I don't know if could have been helped.  The list included our normal nurse and her assistant, med students, a resident, the lactation consultant, an OB, a pediatrician, a tech from the lab (to draw blood), a photographer, someone from anesthesia, the charge nurse, the birth certificate guy, two guys from maintenance, etc. 

    With all that said we had a non-eventful day yesterday and we were glad to be home by the late afternoon.  Asher is a really laid back baby and he is an excellent sleeper.  In fact as I type this I'm considering waking him up so that I can feed him before our lunch time.  Our first pediatrician visit will be tomorrow and I'm anxious to get him on the scale to see how much weight he is gaining or losing.  Nursing has been going well, but as I'm sure most moms know, it is hard to tell how much he is getting.  With Ethan getting bottles we always knew he was getting "enough" so this is new territory for us.

    As far as pictures go, I'll try to upload some more this afternoon, but in the mean time check out the pictures that big brother has been taking!!

    Saturday, June 5, 2010

    Update on baby Asher

    As I stated a few days ago, my heart's desire was to have a "normal" delivery and a healthy baby. Well, our God is a wonderful God and he has more than fulfilled those desires.

    Friday morning at 6:00am we left for the hospital and after a surreal morning where everything went as expected I got to experience my first C-section. This time around I was awake for the procedure and it was an interesting experience. First, instead of an epidural I had a spinal. There are several differences, but the main one for me was that it is a shot instead of a catheter controlled drug. This makes a huge difference because once it is injected the doctors can't control where the drugs go or how effective they are. This really didn't play a part of my experience until the very end where I felt like I had about 80 pounds of weight sitting on my chest. The doctors monitored my O2 rates and they were fine, but it is crazy for a doctor to tell you that you are not out of breath when you feel like you can barely breath. It was quite an unsettling experience.

    After about 3-4 months of being head down and even being head down on Wednesday for the amniocentesis, Asher pulled a fast one on Dr. Howard and was butt down on Friday! Dr. Howard had begun the procedure when I heard, "Well, that's not a head!" It was so exciting to hear him screaming so loudly while he was being cleaned up. For those of you who care interested in that sort of thing his Apgar's were 8 and 9! Better than Ethan's!

    Being wheeled from the OR to the recovery room was also a really weird feeling. I've never been on a roller coaster while being drunk, but I have to imagine that it would have felt similar to that trip. If the bed moved just a little, I felt like it was moving a whole, whole lot. Because of these strange sensations I did not feel comfortable holding Asher at first, but that didn't last long and I have hardly wanted to put him down since! He even spent the whole night just sleeping on my chest.

    So far our hospital stay has been good. We have had three good platelet counts and Asher appears to have been protected from all possible harm from the NAIT. How amazing it is to just be able to love on him and have him near us!! Our plan is to try and go home tomorrow, but we all know how speedy hospital discharges are.

    Thank you all for all your prayers! We will be so glad in the upcoming months to share our blessing with you all.

    Friday, June 4, 2010

    Asher Nolan Boudreaux

    Asher arrived today at 9:05 AM. He weighed 6 lbs 14 oz with a platelet count of 154,000 which is good. They will check him again tonight and tomorrow as sometimes they start to drop with NAIT. If they do they will likely give him IVIG in the NICU. We are hopeful this won't be the case. Thank you for all the prayers, and continue to praise and worship Father for His great love and care. He surely knows and works all circumstances out for the good of those who love him. Bridgette is doing well, she is already walking a little and sitting up. Just don't tell our nurse that she has already had some cookie cake! We will be posting pictures soon here.

    Thursday, June 3, 2010

    "I'm sure everything will be okay....."

    A lot of people have said this to me over the past week and I just wanted to share my thoughts on this phrase and it's implied (or un-implied meaning).  At first when well meaning individuals say this I want to retort, "You don't know that!" but instead I just say, "Yeah, thanks."  The thing is that I don't know that everything will be okay.  I don't know that my immune system hasn't fought the treatments for the last four months and that baby Asher won't have to go to the NICU after he is born and if he does I don't know how long we will be separated from him.  I don't even know if he will be free of cranial hemorrhages (although at this point we haven't seen any and the PUBS results were great four weeks ago).  None of us are assured of our next breath, much less that "everything will be okay".

    This is what I do know:  on the morning of the amniocentesis I got up to do my Bible study and before even beginning I prayed that God's will would be done on that day and that I would glorify him no matter the outcome of the day's events.  You can understand my amazement when I opened my Bible study and the first sentence of the lesson was, "Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."  The days lesson was all about being willing to submit to God's will no matter what it is.  Do you know what this really means?  Submitting to God's will?  It means that even if God takes everything I have tonight: my children, my husband, my possessions, my life; that I am willing to submit to His will.  He knows what is best for me even if I can not understand it or see it and ultimately I was placed here on this earth for ONE purpose and that was to glorify Him.  Not to glorify Him "if, and, or but", but to glorify Him no matter what the circumstances.

    Our greatest example of submitting ourselves to God's will was Christ himself.  Christ who is and was God became man to come to the earth and ultimately became the one thing in the universe that he hated: sin.  Then after he became sin he endured the wrath of God so that we would not have to (John 3:36).  Have you accepted this truth and are you willing to submit yourself to His will for your life?

    When we went through the drama of having Ethan and almost losing him Philip and I came to be firm believers in these two truths: God loves our children more than we do and they are 100% His.  Not 99.9% mind you, 100%.  We have no claim to them as our own and if he wishes to take them from us or let them endure hardships then that is His will and we must submit to that will. 

    Our friends the Raby's had 25 week old twins last December and what he said to his wife just before they were born is a perfect human example of submitting to God's will.  He told her, "Either God is big enough to heal these babies, or He is big enough to heal us."  Listening to Jared say this during a news interview brought tears to my eyes because until then I had really been too scared to pray for what I hoped would happen: a "normal" delivery and birth.  Instead I was just praying for His will to be done and for me to glorify Him.  These two things are still at the forefront of my prayers but now they include what I hope will happen, because God does want good for my family and he knows my heart's desires.  When I pray for them it shows that I am submitting these areas to Him, as only he can affect the outcome of this birth.

    When Ethan was born the song and scripture that I clung to was Casting Crowns "Praise You in this Storm" and Psalm 121: 1-2.  Today I heard this song on the radio and I felt it fit perfect for how I feel during this pregnancy.  It is "Bring the Rain" by Mercy Me and here are the lyrics.  The refrain really captures how I have been praying these last few weeks: "Bring me joy, bring me peace, Bring the chance to be free, Bring me anything that brings You glory, And I know there'll be days, When this life brings me pain, But if that's what it takes to praise You, Jesus, bring the rain"

    So now instead of being angry when people say, "I'm sure everything will be okay...", I simply think that they are right.  I am in God's hands and I am willing to submit to His will no matter what it may be. 

    "I am Yours regardless of
    The dark clouds that may loom above
    Because You are much greater than my pain
    You who made a way for me
    By suffering Your destiny
    So tell me what's a little rain"

    Wednesday, June 2, 2010

    A delay in the plan!

    This morning was our amniocentesis and after fasting since mid-night and then hanging out in the doctor's office from 7:45 -11:20 we finally learned that baby Asher's lungs aren't quiet ready to make it in the world.  I received a steroid shot before I left the office and I have to go back tomorrow to receive a second dose.  Finally, on Friday morning at 8:30 we will meet the second little Boudreaux of our family!

    Check back Friday afternoon for pictures and updates!

    Friday, May 28, 2010

    Visit with Family

    This past week we were very blessed that we got to spend time with my grandparents and parents from Louisiana.  You can check out all the pictures on my dad's shutterfly site which is listed under "Pictures, Pictures, Pictures" on the right.  His site is the link called "Pop's pictures".

    We are currently in single digit countdown mode!!  Philip's parents should arrive here tomorrow afternoon or evening and then we just have mere days to make the final preparations for Baby Asher's arrival.

    Monday, May 24, 2010

    Earlier than we thought!

    For those of you who haven't heard my doctor has bumped up my due date to June 2nd!  We will have an amniocentesis at 7:45am and then if the results come back with mature lung cells we will walk up to Labor and Delivery and have a baby!  Both my doctors seem to think the baby will be ready (99.9% sure).

    Philip and I had a great anniversary weekend away and hopefully I'll write about that before this baby comes. In the meantime my parents have rented an RV and are driving with my Mawmaw and Pawpaw up here for the week!  Then my in-laws are coming at the end of this week and staying through the birth of little baby Asher.  It will be so great to have some extra hands around to help with our transition from a one toddler home to a toddler + infant home.

    Thursday, May 6, 2010

    Best Case Scenario

    Well, first we would just like to thank all of you who prayed for baby Asher today.  The news couldn't be better at this point!

    Here's the whole story:

    The charge nurse called this morning and asked if we could come in early because they needed to get my blood type before the procedure.  After heading to the apple store to get some questions answered about my new ipad (a Mother's Day gift from Philip), we went on in to the hospital and arrived at about 10:40am.

    Since it was a possibility that this procedure would lead to the baby coming early they prepped me like I was coming in to have a C-section.  I was hooked up to monitors, anesthesiologists came by to get my history, nurses checked me in and started me on fluids, etc.  Through all of this we got to share Ethan's story over and over.  How God stepped in and saved his life through a very scary and dangerous event: emergency C-section because of a prolapsed cord (the mortality rate for babies with a prolapsed cord is 11-17%).  The fact that he was born via "stat-C" most likely saved his life and we know it spared him from having severe cranial bleeds because of our blood condition (which at the time we did not know about).  After hearing this story the reaction from all involved today was just neat to see.  Some would say, "Wow, God's hand!" while others said, "Someone was watching out for you."  To which I replied, "Yes, God Almighty was watching over us!" 

    One of the neatest parts of the day happened in the OR after the PUBS was complete.  As we were sitting there waiting for the lab work to come back we got on the topic again of my first C-section and one of the OBs that hadn't heard the story made a groan when she heard we had a prolapsed cord.  Before I could say anything the anesthesiologists said, "No it was a good thing.  It saved his life!"  Praise God!  Our prayers of being able to share Ethan's story with those that were present today was answered in a big way!!

    Anyway, the procedure itself was pretty uneventful.  We got a late start because the hospital was low on platelets and not just any old platelets would do.  We needed special baby platelets in case Asher was born.  This just means they had to be irradiated and negative for a certain type of virus that causes blindness and deafness in babies.  The procedure was suppose to begin at noon but we didn't get started until after 12:30 when the platelets were finally ready. 

    After 3 minutes of having a needle in my uterus (I do not recommend this, as it was unpleasant) we sent the blood off to get tested and then we monitored the cord to make sure that it was no longer "oozing" into the womb.  The oozing stopped pretty quickly so Dr. Howard was confident that whatever number we were going to get back to the lab, it was probably going to be a good one.  Sure enough 162,000 was the result which falls right in the normal range of 150-300 thousand.  This is great news!!  It means that the IVIg that I have been taking is working and that my body is not making anti-bodies against the baby.

    After we got the results from the lab and I was going to be moved back to recovery I excitedly asked if I could eat the Nutty Bar that I brought from home, but Dr. Howard said that I could only have clear fluids until after we monitored the baby's heart rate for another couple of hours.  Well, when I got back to the recovery area I realized that Philip hadn't had anything since breakfast and since it was going to be a couple hours before I could have anything I offered him the Nutty Bars as a snack.  Finally at 4:30 Dr.Howard returned and checked the cord via ultrasound one more time.  When he walked in the door he had something special for me: another package of Nutty Bars!!  My nurse apparently told him that I sacrificed my snack to Philip and Dr. Howard was sweet enough to run down to the gift shop to buy two Nutty Bars - one for me and one for my great nurse!

    What a blessing today was and how great our God is!

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010

    Thursday at high noon!

    So the date and time has been set and if anything I'm ready to get the test done so we can know the results (good or bad).  Tomorrow at 11am we will get all set up in the Labor and Delivery room at UT and sometime around noon the PUBS will be preformed.  We will try to update everyone as soon as we know the results of the test.  After the blood sample is taken baby Asher and I will be monitored for at least 1-2 hours to make sure that the cord stops bleeding and that everything returns to normal so that he can "bake" for at least another month.
    This is how you can pray for us tomorrow:
    1. That we would trust in God's perfect will
    2. That God would be glorified
    3. That God would protect baby Asher through the procedure
    4. That the peace of God that passes all understanding would guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus 
    Thank you all for your prayers.  I know we will feel them tomorrow and in the future.

    Sunday, April 18, 2010

    How much longer?

    So a common question that I'm getting now a days is "How much longer do you have?"  Although this seems like a straight forward question and maybe people just want the short answer (10 weeks), for us it is a much more complicated one.

    Our cordocentesis will be the first week of May and the results of this test will really effect when baby Asher makes his appearance.  Here are the possibilities:
    • There is a small chance that the baby will come that day.  This is NOT what we are hoping for.  If this happens it means that there was a complication during the procedure and Asher would probably have to go to the NICU for a while until his lungs developed fully.
    • If his platelets are "normal" we will continue the weekly IVIG treatments and as long as we don't detect any brain hemorrhages through the ultrasound they will let him "bake" until 39 weeks or so (June 18; 9 weeks away).
    • If his platelets are low the doctors will start me on steroids (so that his lungs develop as quickly as possible), up my dosage of IVIG and we will begin the discussion of when to go in and get him.  An amniocentesis might be done to track the development of his lungs and as soon as they think he is ready they will probably deliver him to protect him from having a brain bleed.
    So the first week of May will really give us a better look into the future!  In the meantime we have gotten down all of the baby stuff from the attic and I am in the midst of washing it all and re-arranging Ethan and Asher's room so that two boys worth of clothing can fit in one bedroom :)  Ethan was super excited to see all of the "new" toys and wanted to play with all of them on Saturday.  It was so funny how enthused he was with them all.  One of them is now on the top bunk in his room and he has talked about it every night and afternoon that he goes to sleep.  "That is for baby Asher?"  "He will play with it when he is born?"  It's hard to explain to a 2.5 year old that babies are born not doing much....

    The other thing that Snooks can't stop talking about is our "Day Out with Thomas" that we are attending on Friday.  Our train ride is scheduled for noon and there are suppose to be a ton of activities before then to keep us busy.  The tour is coming to Chattanooga so Ethan and I have a drive ahead of us, but hopefully he will sleep on the way back.  We even made a countdown of how many times he has to go to preschool before he can go to see Thomas (time is a tricky thing to explain to a toddler).  I'm sure I'll take a ton of pictures and I'll be sure to post them next weekend.

    Friday, April 9, 2010

    Busy, busy, busy!

    Our typical week:
    • Monday Ethan and I meet with some ladies (and their kiddos) from our Sunday school class for a bible study in the morning and then we come back home for lunch and his usual 2pm nap.
    • On Tuesday and Thursday Ethan goes to preschool and I try to schedule my doctors appointments on these days.  His class lays down for nap daily but since Ethan won't sleep and only "rests" during this time I try to pick him up at 12:30 instead of 2.  This way he comes home and takes his normal 2-2.5 hour nap.
    • Wednesday Ethan and I go to BSF.  Ethan loves his class and his teachers Mrs. Long and Mrs. Cartwright.  I love the intense study and discussion that BSF provides.  This year we have gone through the Gospel of John and 1 John, next year we will work through Isaiah.  Asher will be able to come with me to discussion as long as he is "immobile".
    • Friday is a day that Ethan and I have to be together.  We can run errands, go grocery shopping, or like tomorrow we can go the library and then meet friends for lunch.
    • In addition to this regularly scheduled programming I have weekly 4 hour infusions that usually take place in the evening. 
    With all that being said last week was particularly different because in addition to it being Spring Break (where all of the above events were canceled), my dad was in town for a while and Philip took off Wednesday afternoon through Friday.   This Spring Break was especially glorious because we have had a miserable dreary wet winter and this week was the first week of bright sunny warm weather.  We took the opportunity early in the week to go with friends to Fort Kid.

    Since the weather was so beautiful, on Thursday (and since Philip took the day off) we took a family field trip to the UT arboretum.  We told Ethan we were going to a park and he kept asking where all the kids were.  On the way out I was trying to explain to him that this was a special kind of park for trees called an arboretum.  After trying to pronounce arboretum several times as we were leaving he finally said, "That's a really hard word to say, Mommy."

    On Friday we went on our second ever family camping trip (here is the post from the first).  This year we took Ethan to Frozenhead State Park.  This park is just north of Oak Ridge.  There was a stream about .25 mile from our campsite and Philip and Ethan had so much fun hiking to it that they did it twice on the first day.  Ethan just loves throwing rocks into the stream.  On Saturday morning I joined them for the hike and Philip and I had a chance to play with some settings on my camera.  After packing up the campsite and eating breakfast on Saturday morning we went on a hike to Debord falls.  There we saw so many wildflowers that were just coming up and I had fun taking pictures of them.  The falls were really pretty and I felt like a professional after I took this shot:


    On Easter Sunday we hosted some friends (who might as well be family) for lunch and then Ethan and I had fun dying and hunting for eggs.  For some reason blogger is no longer accepting videos so you'll have to watch our Easter morning video here.

    On Sunday night Philip got to give Ethan a hair cut that matches his own.  Here's the before video, and the after!

    In closing I want to say that although I love, love, love my new camera, I don't love how long it takes to upload photos now.  I've worked on this blog post and uploading photos to our shutterfly site now for three days!!

    Tuesday, April 6, 2010

    Cordocentesis

    Today Philip and I met with our high-risk OB Dr.Howard to discuss the upcoming cordocentesis procedure.  Until this meeting Philip and I were debating weather or not we would even have the procedure.  The risks are about 1-2% of the mothers that have this procedure end up miscarrying.  1% doesn't sound like a lot, but for Philip and I, 1 in 100 is a huge number compared to 1 in 1,000 or even 1 in 1,000,000.   (For those of you who don't know 1 in 1,000 is how rare our blood condition is and 1 in 1,000 is how often prolapsed cords occur, so Ethan was truly one in a million.)

    Anyway Dr. Howard explained today that the percentage is really hard to judge our case by because babies that have to have the procedure done usually have a whole lot more wrong with them.  There is still a risk of course, but after seeing the placement of the cord he feels certain that this should be a straight forward procedure.  You see, like the picture above Asher's cord is located in a position that allows the sampling to take place without ever entering the actual sack surrounding the baby.  Dr. Howard will locate the cord with an ultrasound, stick a needle in the base of it, draw out blood and then we are done!  All of this will take place after I have received steroids to hasten his lung development and it will be done in a Labor and Delivery operating room so that if anything goes wrong Asher can be delivered on the spot.  After the needle is removed I will be monitored with ultrasound for about two hours.  Dr. Howard said that we should actually get to see the blood stop coming out of the cord (craziness) and they will also watch for a decreased flow or a pooling of blood in the cord that would indicate a problem.

    When I asked Dr. Howard what was so special about 32 weeks he said that at 32 weeks the baby's survival goes up to 99% so really this is the first "safe" time that we can sample his blood.  If his platelets are too low we can up my IVIG and start me steroids that will help Asher develop more quickly. 

    We are so grateful that Dr. Howard is a Christian and that he totally understood our reservations.  He even informed us that if we change our minds the night before the procedure that it isn't a big deal. 

    Thanks to everyone who prayed with us about this decision.  We feel the peace that passes understanding and we know that only comes from our Father.

    Inside the Actor's Studio

    Please copy and paste this as a comment and leave your answers!!

    I love this show and I've been thinking about what my answers would be. Here they are:

    1. What is your favorite word? Grace
    2. What is your least favorite word? Expectations
    3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? My Husband :)
    4. What turns you off? Anything showing people in pain, this is a recent development (post babies)
    5. I took out this question for our own good....
    6. What sound or noise do you love? My husband playing guitar, Ethan laughing
    7. What sound or noise do you hate? As Philip will attest, there are many...mostly anything that is weird and repetitive I can not handle. Funny enough I can handle a babie's cry better than I can handle some of the the Flaming Lips' songs.
    8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Sea World Animal Trainer
    9. What profession would you not like to do? Any job that Mike Rowe would be seen doing on television
    10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? "Well done, good and faithful servant"

    Wednesday, March 17, 2010

    Update

    I don't have much to say, but I wanted to let everyone know that my treatments have been going well (just once a week) and I've not had any side effects.

    I'm really enjoying this time with Ethan.  He's at a really neat age where he understands way more than I think he does and he can really express himself.  He's recently been acting as my caretaker and backseat driver.  In the morning he'll remind me to take my vitamin or ask me to sit and eat my breakfast.  In the car he'll ask me why I'm going so slow or he'll make sure that we are going the right way: "Is this the way to Preschool?".  We even recently had a discussion about a police officer that had pulled a car over on the side of the interstate.  Now whenever we see a police car he comments that "Mommy follows the rules. When cars don't follow the rules they have to have a time out." 

    He also is developing his game playing skills.  He likes "Hi Ho Cherry-O" but his daddy prefers Uno and Ethan is happy to oblige.  I'll post a video soon of us all playing Uno.

    Yesterday I got out my camera and had fun photographing my son (as seen above).  If you'd like to see more you can head on over to our shutterfly site (see the right side column).

    Wednesday, February 24, 2010

    Toddler Speak

    Ethan: I have to go potty.
    Me: Okay, pull down your pants so you can go.
    Ethan: I can't.
    Me: Well, you need to try and then I will help you.
    Ethan starts pulling down his pants and underwear I help him a little bit. He gets them both down successfully.
    Me: Good job, now you can take them the rest of the way off.
    Ethan: Why am I taking my clothes off?
    Me: Because you said you had to go potty.
    Ethan: Oh

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010

    Single Treatment

    Last week I convinced my pharmacist to let me try and receive 100grams of IVIg in one sitting since I wasn't having any side effects to the two doses of 50grams. Yesterday we hooked up my new pump to my PICC line and my treatment was done in just 4 hours! It was great!! I felt fine during the treatment but after the treatment I was exhausted. I didn't even get off of the couch to eat dinner.

    I have felt so blessed during this whole process. Treatments that were suppose to have all of these terrible side effects haven't had any, they were suppose to last 5 hours a piece (for just 50 grams) and have not been over three, etc. I have also been surrounded by sisters in Christ who have come along side of me to help me and encourage me. Just yesterday my neighbor Kristin brought me (and my nurse Babette) lunch from Chick-fil-a and my friend Janet brought Ethan home from Preschool for me. Other friends have called or emailed me to ask how things are going. I have really felt God's love during this whole experience and although I'm anxious to meet baby Asher I pray that God just continues to knit him in my womb for the next 17 weeks.

    Saturday, February 13, 2010

    Update

    I went to my OB as scheduled on Thursday while Philip stayed home with Ethan who was running a fever. Unfortunately I was informed that since the last ultrasound at my high-risk doctor was filed as an "anatomy scan" my regular OB was afraid to also do an anatomy scan because my insurance company would only pay for one. This is not what I was told when I got the first ultrasound at the high-risk doctor. I was told by their ultrasound tech that my normal OB would do their own scan. Dr. Howard had also told us at the beginning of the pregnancy that his office would do regular ultrasounds to check for brain hemorrhaging. Now they are saying that I can just come back when my normal OB wants me to! Argh! Anyway, I'm going to call HIROC on Monday and get to the bottom of all this!!

    Everything else at the doctor went well. We listened to baby Asher's heartbeat and my uterus was measuring at 21 weeks so that is right on target too. We don't know if the baby's name will really be Asher, but that's what we are calling him for now. After that appointment I walked downstairs to the outpatient registration desk at the hospital and signed in for my PICC line procedure (more about that later). It went great as well. It hurt less than a normal IV stick and I am SO happy that I won't have to get poked again for the rest of this pregnancy.

    On Friday Ethan had been running a fever for 4.5 days so I decided to call his pediatrician's office. They agreed to see him at 4pm. Well, usually his nap is from 2-5:30 and you know how fun it is to wake up a sleeping child, so I figured he could stay awake until 4 and then he could just go to bed early. While Philip came upstairs to help me change the dressing on my PICC line we left Ethan downstairs sitting on the love seat. After only about 10-15 minutes we came down to find this:

    He had fallen asleep sitting up! Poor thing! When he lays down his nose drains into his throat and that causes him to cough so this might have been the best rest he's gotten all week! At the pediatrician's office the Doctor was shocked to hear that Ethan had not complained once about his ear hurting because in his words, "It's gross in there." Apparently his left ear has a full blown infection with puss and everything. The good news is that his lungs sounded perfectly clear, so even though his cough sounds awful it is still all up in this throat right now.

    He got his first dose of antibiotics last night and I was so proud of him for not spitting them out (as is rumored that his mother use to do when she was his age). He didn't even complain about the taste, he just made a funny face and I told him to drink his milk so he did! This morning he is even fever free so that is really great!!

    Okay, now I'd like to tell you about my PICC line procedure but some of you might think this is too gross to handle. If you think you are one of those people: STOP READING!!! If you pass out while reading the rest of this post it is not my fault!




    *************************************************




    Here is a cool picture of my new medical appendage:

    Going from left to right: my bandage, gauze to cover the injection site, the white thing is the sticker that holds everything in place and the purple thing is the continuation of the tubing that is inside of me, and then finally the two lumens (or tubes) where medicine can be injected. These both contain pressure valves at the end which prevent them from leaking when not in use.
    During the procedure I was draped with surgical drapes so that everything would remain sterile. Then the tech/nurse/radiologist (I don't know his official title) used an ultrasound to find a good vein. Then the painful part....a little stick and injection of lydocaine. After the count of four I felt nothing! He measured from the spot where he was going to insert the PICC to where my jugular was and cut the tubing to be the right length (41 cm). I guess the length to the jugular is about the same as the distance to the heart. Then using a thin metal wire with a magnet at the end he guided the tubing into my Basilic vein. A detector that was laid on my chest told him if the magnet was going up or down. He needed the magnet to go down until it was just above my heart in the Superior Vena Cava (not up into my jugular). When he thought that it was in the right place he pulled the metal tube out and secured the base of the tubing with a giant butterfly like sticker (seen in the picture). After a chest X-ray confirmed the position of the tubing I was free to go! Easy peesy!

    I did have some tenderness in the arm that afternoon but that has gone away. I was even having pain when I moved my arm but after we changed the dressing we discovered that the pain is from the glue on the sides of the bandage pulling on my skin, not from the actual entry point of the tubing. This PICC line can be used now for all of my treatments, for any fluids I may need to receive while it is in, and for ALL of my blood work that needs to be done at my OBs office. How exciting is that? No more sticks, re-sticks, and triple re-sticks. The tech that did the procedure said that a PICC that is well cared for can stay in for up to a year and he even had a patient that kept one in for over 3 years. For this to happen I have to flush each line everyday with saline and heparin and then I need to keep the dressing clean and dry. The dressing also has to be changed once a week and since I get treatments once a week my home health nurses will be able to do that for me in the future.

    In the winter longsleeves keep the lines out of the way, but in the summer I'll have to come up with some "avoid long stares from people at grocery stores" dressing. I also can't get in a swimming pool which is kind-of a bummer, but I'll trade swimming for five IV sticks in a week any day! I hope I didn't gross too many of you out, but I just think it is so cool!

    Wednesday, February 10, 2010

    Ultrasound and procedure tomorrow!

    Tomorrow I am scheduled for my "full anatomy" ultrasound with my regular OB. Since we already know that it is a boy there shouldn't be anything exciting to learn, but it will be fun to see the baby again.

    After I am done at my OB's office I'm heading down to outpatient admissions to get signed in to receive a PICC line. Historically I am a really difficult stick. Pregnant women are supposedly easier to get blood from, but when I had to get a sample at my second glucose test with Ethan the nurse stuck me in both arms and then in the back of my hand. When she still couldn't get blood even from their my nurse practitioner came in to stick me again in the back of the hand and finally got the sample. Have you ever been stuck in the back of the hand? It is.....unpleasant.

    With my home nurse Angie she had to stick me twice on the first day and then she used the same port for the second day's treatment. This week she just had to stick me once on the first day, but then my vein stopped flowing today so she had to stick me two more times to find another vein that would work.

    This continual sticking is not only painful, but can lead to scar tissue in my arms. A solution that was suggested to me by my nurse practitioner before the treatments even started (the one who had to finally get blood out of the back of my hand that one time) was to get a PICC line. This is just a central line that will be accessible again and again for as long as we need it. According to the internet they can stay in for as long as a year! If it is successful then I won't have to be stuck for anymore treatments or blood work!! They may even be able to use the line when I am admitted to the hospital to have the baby.

    My prayer for tomorrow is that the ultrasound is normal and that the PICC line goes in easily!!

    Thanks for joining me in prayer!

    Monday, February 8, 2010

    Bittersweet Day

    As you have probably heard, THE SAINTS WON THE SUPERBOWL yesterday!! How exciting is that?

    The sad part about yesterday was that we had to put our kitty cat Yoda to sleep. We first got Yoda ten years ago when Philip's cousin stopped by our house on the way to the pound with a box full of kittens. We had seen this little kitten at their house the weekend before and I thought he was really cute. Philip thought he had a face only a momma cat could love and therefore named him Yoda. To Philip's credit he did have ears as big as his head and he was infected with every worm known to vet-kind and so he was very skinny. I don't have any digital pictures of him at that time, but here are some more recent shots:

    In the our old apartment he use to climb up into the computer desk:


    His other funny quirks were:
    • biting people (strangers or family/provoked or sometimes not)
    • chasing his tail
    • growling at laser pointers (before Yoda I had never seen a cat growl....quite impressive)
    • when he was younger he would run from where ever he was if he heard a paper being crumpled (he loved to bat them around)
    • bringing in small dead (or live) animals as offerings for us and our babysitters (how sweet!)
    • and more recently: letting Ethan do pretty much what ever he wanted to without biting him!
    I found a folder of old pictures from when I first got my digital camera and you can tell that Yoda was the only interesting thing in our lives because I have six videos of him playing with a toy mouse! Here is my favorite:

    video

    Here is a more recent one of him in our backyard:


    I never thought of myself as a cat person and I still don't, but after you take care of an animal for 10 years you grow attached! We'll miss you kitty!

    Thursday, February 4, 2010

    My first infusion...

    went fine! It only took about two and a half hours and I feel fine. I know it's early to say that I feel great, but so far I do feel okay. I felt a little cold after the treatment, but we figured out that I was probably cold because we keep our house at 61 degrees when we are not here so the meds were a little cold going in. One down blanket and a cup of hot chocolate later and I feel fine.

    Next treatment is tomorrow afternoon and I pray that it goes as easy as this one did!

    Again I, "praise God from whom all blessings flow!"

    Monday, February 1, 2010

    We have good news!

    After two and half weeks of waiting and one whole week of calling the insurance company multiple times a day we finally have approval to precede with my in-home infusions! My first round of meds should be here tomorrow by 10:30am and we will go from there!

    I'll post more updates here when I get them. I'm just so relieved to finally have this all worked out.

    I know this isn't scripture, but it is what popped into my head as I was typing this: "Praise God from whom all blessings flow!"

    Wednesday, January 20, 2010

    My first infusion.....

    ....didn't happen yet! We were scheduled to go forward with my first two infusions this weekend until I got a call on Friday afternoon. Apparently there has been an insurance/doctor's office/third party scheduler miscommunication. Is that clear, or what? The third party company claims that the doctor's office filed my claim last Thursday (1/14) and that initially my insurance approved the treatment. That is why we went forward with scheduling nurses, etc. Then on Tuesday or Wednesday of last week my insurance company pulled the approval and apparently claimed that the first order was for only 30 grams of IVIG (instead of 100) and that they shouldn't have approved it in the first place. She also said that this has happened before with other patients and that it has taken Cigna 3-4 weeks to get back to them with a re-approval.

    Being the take charge kind of person that I am I called Cigna on Friday afternoon to see what the heck was going on. Well, here's the real kicker! They claim that they did not receive this claim until 3 days ago (1/21) and that my claim is not marked rush or as a re-submission. Hmm....both of these stories can't be right! They also said that I should hear something in 3-4 business days from last Thursday, but I'll be on the phone Monday morning to try and figure out what is going on.

    Bottom line is that it takes 24 hours for me to get the IVIG after the insurance gives us the go ahead. Then I'll have to schedule again with the nurses which might not be as easy as it sounds. The company that will be doing my infusions only has two nurses that even handle IVIG so me getting an appointment depends on their schedules. I hope to get in at least one treatment this week and then we can go ahead with every Monday and Tuesday starting next week. Through this process I pray that I have God's patience and that I react with grace when dealing with the insurance agents and nurses that are responsible for this mix up. Overall we know that God is in control and that whatever happens he is sovereign. Even if we do not start until next week we will still be within the 15-20 week start up goal.

    I do have a bunch of good news to report! After posting about my second doctor's visit and giving more thought to giving up every weekend from now until the middle of June I had a change of heart. Instead I thought about testing the waters to see if I could find some stay-at-home moms that could help me on Mondays and Tuesdays instead. While I was typing up an email God kept reminding me of more and more moms that could help me during the week. All of these moms that I kept thinking of our my sisters in Christ and all of them have responded favorably to helping me out on my infusion days. What an incredible peace it is to be surrounded by the family of God!

    In other news, this past Friday Ethan and I went to the Tennessee Aquarium with the Farquhars. I'll be posting pictures (I took almost 300) on our shutterfly site after I publish this post. If you do not have the password please email me!

    Monday, January 18, 2010

    My New Camera!

    I got this camera a few weeks ago with my Christmas money and Philip and I have had fun playing with it. We still don't know or understand half of the features, but we're getting there! Mostly Philip lets me read and learn online what we are doing and then I explain it to him.

    The first thing that struck me when I was playing with this digital SLR was how hard it must have been during the non-digital days to learn what all the different settings did. For example, I haven't posted any pictures yet because most of them have been series of pictures of the same subject all with different aperture or white balance settings. Or, if you'd like to see them, I do have 15 pictures of Philip all taken within 3 seconds! This camera does have live view so we are able to get immediate feedback on how settings change the pictures. I can't imagine having to pay for film, take 24 pictures, send them off to be developed, and then pay for them when they finally are developed. All the while having to remember what settings you used and how you changed them.

    Last night though, we were at Keil's house and I had a great opportunity to take pictures of Ethan and Blaise playing basketball. Here are a few of my favorites:


    Mostly I got pictures of the back of their heads. I guess I need more practice with live subjects!

    My second subject of the evening was Keil's dining room light fixture. All the light fixtures in his house are hung by copper pipe and the light bulbs themselves are covered by mason jars. I loved the shadows that were made by this fixture:

    That's all for this post, I'm sure I'll have more pictures to upload soon.