Testing out the new poll feature

Confessions

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On my late night run to the fabric store for a few things I forgot that were still on sale today, I killed a bunny rabbit. I couldn’t stop in time and ran right over it. Rylee was with me. She kept saying surely it got to the side, it wouldn’t go under my car, asking why I was so sad. It was too much, I was sad. Two minutes of quiet and I felt better, nothing I could have done I know. If only my list had been more organized and I could have gotten everything this morning I wouldn’t have gone back tonight, thus not running over the grey bunny.

Just 45 minutes later on my short excursion, I was done dropping off library books and movies to Blockbuster and was headed home. Talking to Christopher on my cell phone (no hands free device mind you), I was tootling (if that’s a word) down the road home. He was funny, I needed to pee, I was laughing and driving and talking on my phone. Too much. Flashing lights caught my attention in the rear view mirror.

30 years. That’s how long I’ve gone never even being pulled over by a police officer. Until today.

Flashing lights…me thinking, those lights must not be for me, they never are, I’ll just get out of his way and get off my phone……yeah, not so much.

“I clocked you going 48 in a 35 there. Are you in a hurry m’am?”

I was talking on my cell phone and my husband is so funny and-“No, yes, I mean I need to go to the bathroom.” Did I really just say that?

Okay. Well can I have your license and proof of insurance?”

Christopher is going to have my head, he always tells me I drive too fast. And I always remind him I’ve never been pulled over. “Um, yes here is my license (mumbling about my tabs, are they current? like he needs another reason to give me a ticket) and some expired proof of insurance. Does it need to be current?”

“Yes m’am, otherwise it wouldn’t be proof of insurance.” Of course, I am a complete moron…who has been awake since 4:00 this morning…

“Oh, yes, okay. I’ll look for it. I’m so sorry I’m so flustered, I’ve never been pulled over before and I am just so flustered and …” You look like you’re 23, are you sure you’re old enough to even give me a ticket?

It’s okay. Just relax. Let me know when you find the proof of insurance.”

I finally find it, give it to him, he runs my license while I wait and try to explain to Rylee, oh yes, I still had her with me, why I just broke the law and drove too fast. That there are always consequences to bad choices and my consequence is getting pulled over. You know the line.

He comes back “I’m just going to give you a warning tonight, can you please slow down?”

No way, am I seriously not getting a ticket for this? If this were Christopher he would have been busted for using his cell phone, not using his turn signal and for going barely over the speed limit. He will not believe this just happened. I don’t believe it.

Now I get to explain to Rylee about second chances instead of punishment, how much more fun is that?

The day after

Thanksgiving was especially sweet yesterday for us. No big reason, just a nice morning at home with our little family then dinner at my parents with a total of 21 (I think) at the table. A random smattering of interesting people, my cousin Katie who is attending Baylor University in Texas, my parents’ friend from Nigeria, a family from Belarus and their new baby, in laws, an old friend of our family who always has a place at our table for holidays and just over a handful of kidlets too (most of which I take full responsibility for). We shared an incredible amount of good food and an array of 7, yes seven, dessert selections to choose from along with sharing our ‘thankful lists’ around the table as we ate.

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Two thankful cutie’s who look SO much like each other!

Today we headed out to the aquarium downtown then wrapped it up with some fish’n’chips on the Pier. Rainy, windy and cold but it was great fun anyway. Our kids are totally enamored with their super cool 19 year old second cousin, it is fairly darling to watch them clamor for her attention.

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My favorite aquarium creature-the sea otter

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Shivering in the windy cold on the Pier

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Before the aquarium adventure I discovered a new world, the fabric store. After having received my Christmas present early, a sewing machine-my first one, I headed to Joann Fabrics for their sale today to get some supplies for my new hobby. On the way there I had to stop by the mall, at 6:30 AM to get one small, quick purchase. Craziness. 50% of the people were teenagers and the other 50% seemed to be women in their 30’s or up who had showered, put make up on and dressed up nice-to shop-before the sun had even risen. They were hurried and rude and driven. I so do not fit in with that crowd. Not to mention people eating giant cheeseburgers from Kidd Valley. At 6:00 in the morning. Seriously?

After trekking to Joann’s (with Audrey in tow for all of this mind you) I discovered that I fit in much better there. Few people had dressed up for the occasion. Few had showered or put on makeup. Some were even still in pajama pants, how refreshing. Best of all, every time I had a question I didn’t even feel the need to ask a clerk, I just found ladies (usually 20 years or so older than me) who looked like crafting veterans. They would answer, chat with me, walk me to where I should go, picked out items for me…asked what I was making. It was slow, there were 30 people ahead of me to get fabric cut and as many to check out in the front, but surely time well spent. Now I have what I need to start making Christmas things and learning how to sew, how fun!

-Karissa

Operation Christmas Child

We have talked a great deal this fall about how to build tradition and memories into our Christmas season that are our own. One way we thought would be fun and help focus outward was to compile shoeboxes with gifts for children around the world living in poverty who would likely not receive anything for Christmas. Children who hope to have enough to eat. Not children whose Christmas list includes an iPod, designer clothes and expensive toys. Samaritan’s Purse has been facilitating this idea for years. So after discovering it last week online, I sent out a last minute Evite then immediately after that Audrey was admitted to the hospital.

Thanks to my sister Danielle for hosting on short notice and my friend Kristin who is always up for something new, we still managed to throw six boxes together today and will plan ahead more next year. The 8 kids watched a little DVD of kids across the globe opening their boxes, it made me cry. They were so happy with so little. Then we went to work decorating boxes, writing notes to the kids who would open them, placing all the gifts into the boxes then we prayed for the kids who would receive our boxes. It was a little chaotic and crazy but it was a great start! As we work to reject the materialism and consumer-driven aspects of our culture and seek simplicity and gratefulness, it is baby steps for sure. But baby steps are better than no steps…

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Even the kitchen sink

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“Mr Scrooge!” said Bob; “I’ll give you Mr Scrooge, the Founder of the Feast!”

“The Founder of the Feast indeed!” cried Mrs Cratchit, reddening. “I wish I had him here. I’d give him a piece of my mind to feast upon, and I hope he’d have a good appetite for it.”

“My dear,” said Bob, “the children; Christmas Day.”

“It should be Christmas Day, I am sure,” said she, “on which one drinks the health of such an odious, stingy, hard, unfeeling man as Mr Scrooge. You know he is, Robert! Nobody knows it better than you do, poor fellow!”

“My dear,” was Bob’s mild answer, “Christmas Day.”

“I’ll drink his health for your sake and the Day’s,”said Mrs Cratchit, “not for his. Long life to him. A merry Christmas and a happy new year! He’ll be very merry and very happy, I have no doubt!”

This was the scene from A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens while Scrooge was looking upon the Cratchit family just after their meager Christmas dinner unseen with the Ghost of Christmas Present. What a picture of gratitude on the behalf of Bob Cratchit, even in the midst of not an ideal situation.

I find myself being filled with gratitude this morning as well. It has been a long week, a longer two months, and with Thanksgiving quickly approaching, I do not want to miss the opportunity to share the bountiful blessings in our life. God has promised His children that He will lavish upon them with His love. Our family feels this love in so many ways, even in the midst of difficulty.

  • Friends who bring meals, watch our kids, pray, and constantly ask “Is there anything we can do?”
  • A house that is warm, has enough beds for our family, and big enough to bless others with
  • A friend who wants to donate a day of labor
  • Family will do anything for us
  • Access to medical care to keep our little babies healthy
  • A church family who loves us
  • Divine connections made with people
  • A deeping passion for a new church
  • The beautiful fall weather we have been having and the eyes to enjoy it
  • A most beautiful wife who loves affectionately, cares exceptionally, and gives of herself sacrificially every day for her family without fail
  • A young girl who is now reading and about to lose two teeth who loves to care for people
  • A big boy with his gorgeous locks of tusseled hair and and an adventurous spirit
  • A little boy who is coming into his own with a courageous and rock steady heart
  • A little girl who is as cute as a button with a smile that could melt any heart
  • A fence that expands our yard for our children to play safely in
  • A dog who brings a smile to Audrey’s face every time she walks by
  • Coffee in the morning
  • A God who promises to provide regardless of the source
  • Answered prayers
  • Ballet slippers for Rylee
  • Encouraging books
  • Hugs from each of our kiddos
  • Even a kitchen sink with a working garbage disposal

I could go on with even more blessings. I desire to have an attitude of Bob Crachit, even when faced with such life difficulties to find it in my heart to bless all people, even those who have not always had our best interest in mind. It is amazing to me to experience the difference between walking with a grateful heart and walking without one.

As we get closer to cutting that turkey open and about to ingest pounds of food, what are you thankful for? I am always encouraged by hearing what other people are thankful for. I would love to be encouraged by your list, so let’s all participate – you faithful commenters, readers, and even lurkers…I would love to hear what you are all grateful for today.

-Chris

Sleeping and eating

That is pretty much the only thing on my Audrey’s agenda here at home. She went to bed at 8:30 last night and it is now 9:30 the next morning and she is still sleeping. She woke up to eat all night then went back to sleep right away. We are so very happy to be home. I slept in her room last night to make sure she was doing okay and so that I had some chance of sleeping myself, which was wonderful.

So the scoop from here is that Audrey will have to go back for some tests next Monday to make absolutely sure her body is infection-free. It is an unpleasant test, one that required several different people to complete last time, so hopefully this time it goes better. They did a sensitivity test in the hospital to ensure that they put her on the right antibiotic, so we are glad to know that as well. The bacteria she had was resistant to some antibiotics they tested with, which is again a reminder that we have to be so careful not to use antibiotics unless absolutely necessary as bacteria are mutating to become resistant to our arsenal of antibiotics.

Here are some things we would welcome your prayers for from here on out:

1. That the urinary reflux she was born with would not get worse but that she would grow out of it with time as has been our hope since she was born, there is a small chance it would require surgery to repair it in years to come if it doesn’t get better.

2. That the antibiotics would eliminate all infection in her kidneys and that we would discern the best possible plan of action in terms of medication for the next year for her.

3. For as smooth as possible test next week making sure she is recovered completely.

4. That the damage to her kidneys from such a severe infection would be minimal, we will follow up on this at Children’s Hospital.

My big praise is that now she is rejecting the bottle and is nursing again-my heart was so broken thinking of her weaning at the hospital, it was just too much, and I am so glad we are back to normal there!

Thank you Jenna for the yummy dinner last night, it was the perfect coming home food. Maybe you can post the recipe? I ate it again, cold, for breakfast and it was just as good as last night!

Home!

We just got home from the hospital.  Audrey turned a corner in the night and started eating regularly.  Thank you all for lifting Audrey up and taking care of our family!  More later…just wanted to keep you up to date!!

A mama update (in other words, details and feelings)

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Hello friends, three cheers for wireless internet at the hospital. Thank you to my sweet hubby for letting me have his laptop here to use. I am feeling pretty disconnected from life at this point and it helps to be able to read comments and emails. As I type, Audrey is in the front pack (the Baby Bjorn) with her IV pole next to my shoulder. We are bouncing on the exercise ball, it has been one of the only things to help calm her hurting little body. If you know me well, I am a baby carrier junkie, and though normally not number 1 on my list, the design of the Bjorn makes it possible for me to wear her and keep her wrapped IV arm safely untangled. So today it is my new favorite.

How blessed am I to read comments in the previous post and know that in those four comments, prayers were being lifted up for Audrey in a town in California, on the Gold Coast of Australia, in music city-Nashville, Tennessee and up north in Bellingham too. Thank you.

Walking through the doors to come into the pediatric floor here on Wednesday brought back a heart full of emotion for me. Almost six years ago, this hospital was our home for almost 5 weeks as our firstborn baby fought for her life. Though only five weeks early, Rylee was extremely sick and spent just about all those 5 weeks in the hospital trying to get well. In a room just down the hall from where I am now I waited and stared and waited some more, six whole days to even hold my baby for the first time. Nearly everything that could have gone wrong seemed to go wrong.

So it is strangely comfortable for me to be here. There are even some nurses here that were here then. This is where we became a family of three almost six years ago and now here we are a family of six. Amazing.

The status for tonight is that up until an hour ago Audrey had consumed about 6 ounces out of the 24 she needs to get down in order to go home. I talked with a nurse and she said realistically it could be a couple more days. I keep asking if there is something else wrong, why is it taking so long for her to be able to eat and get better. The reality is, as my sister astutely observed, she is in pain. When we are in pain we keep up on pain pills and don’t feel like eating. Same for her, only it means we stay at the hospital till she feels better enough to eat.

Tonight, right after pumping milk for her, she was hungry. I wanted to cry because she tried nursing to my delight, but there was nothing left for her. I carefully grabbed the fresh bottle and tried to slip it into her mouth and she drank almost the whole thing. Now she is sleeping. So if we can just do this a few times more, we can go home.

I am missing our other kids so much my heart is hurting. It’s really hard to have to/get to stay here when I wish I could be both places. But I am so thankful for a wonderful husband who is taking very good care of our children. And for all of our friends and family who have brought food here and to our home and sat holding Audrey with me, thank you.

It is hard to watch Audrey try to scoot around with her gimpy, splinted arm. It is hard to try and calm her when there is nothing I can do. It is hard to hear my kids playing on the phone and not be there with them. It was unbearable to watch different nurses try to start her IV, then more nurses try to get blood for her labs, poking and jabbing all over her body. It is frustrating not being able to speed up her healing and get her home on my own terms.

But it is sweet being able to smell my kids hair when they came to visit today. It is peaceful sitting in this quiet room listening to the drip of fluids keeping Audrey hydrated. It is amazing to watch the kindness of others poured out in the most lovely ways. It is a blessing to know that what happens to Audrey is not up to me, that it is up to Someone much more capable than me. So goodnight, I will leave you with my prayer requests:

For Audrey to not get woken up by nurses who want to do her vitals, that they would let me get them when she is awake instead of them upsetting her. She really needs some decent sleep in order to heal.

For my weary, sore, spent self. That I could keep giving and keep making milk for Audrey despite the toll of these days on my body.

For hunger to increase and pain to decrease in Audrey’s body.

Many thanks for your prayers and encouragement. Here are some more pictures taken today while Audrey’s sweet cousin Isaac came to visit. They sure do have a connection. Audrey perked right up when she saw him and they started chatting away immediately.

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An update

I just got off the phone with Karissa.  The Dr. had just come to see Audrey and made the determination that she will need to stay one more night for sure.  She is not rallying the way they would like to see, and certainly not eating enough.  They are concerned for the kidneys because the infection must have been pretty bad for how long she is taking to recover.  We won’t know to what extent the damage was until we go back to Children’s to update their records on her kidneys.  The one silver lining is that Audrey is choosing to eat from her mama instead of the bottle.  Now we just need her to get back to her normal intake level.

-Chris

Night two in the books

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I am home with the three big kids after having spent the night with Audrey and Karissa at Evergreen. We were hoping that during the night she would rally. We thought things were headed on the right path when they decided to cut off her already fairly minimal supply of IV fluids once the antibiotics got into her system. They did just that and for the first time in a couple of days, Audrey was wireless. She might have been wireless but she was not very hungry for a long time…too long in fact, and they took the block off the IV and hooked her back up to the pump.

After a while I was able to get her asleep and laid her down in the crib. She thankfully laid there for the balance of the night (1:30-6:30). However, here we are on day 3 and she still does not have much of an appetite. The good news this morning was when she woke up, I tried to give her a bottle, which she rejected, instead opting for a snuggle and some milk from mama. This of course encouraged Karissa deeply.

We are both at peace knowing that little Audrey is in the Lord’s hands and she will get her strength and appetite back. Until then, we drink lots of coffee. By the way…Karissa’s favorite drink is a grande, half-decaf, 2 pump, white chocolate mocha. To follow along from the beginning: 1, 2, 3.

-Chris