Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Monkey Turns Five!!

I'm still a little behind in my blogging, but a week ago today Caleb turned 5! I can't believe that 5 years ago I had only 1 child (my precious oldest Devin) and now we are about to have 4 kids! It's just craziness...

Anyway, I digress. Five years ago Caleb surprised us by coming into the world a month early, and had a little bit of a rocky start. He had some trouble breathing at first, wouldn't eat much, and ended up with a pretty bad case of jaundice. So, just 5 days after his birth, he was back in the hospital again. Those of you who have been close to us for awhile will remember this...not a fun time.

So, now the big guy is 5 years old and healthy as a horse. His new favorite obsession is his Nintendo DS just like his big brother. He is certainly our little "gameboy". Since his birthday is Christmas Eve, we usually try to do his party a little early. Here are some pictures from the weekend before Christmas. (And I'm sorry to all of you that I could not invite...Caleb insisted that his party was "only for boys" except for Mom, his sister, and his cousin....)

Friday, December 26, 2008

What Happens When Mom Sleeps In

(This happened Monday...I'm a bit behind in my postings).
You'd think I'd learn by now. You'd think I'd know that even at almost 4 and almost 5, my kids younger kids cannot be left alone for more than a few seconds. Especially after the phone-in-the-toilet incident not too long ago. You'd think I'd learn my lesson. But, no. I have had a slight cold the last week or so, Bryan was at work, and Devin was out of town with his nanny, so I figured the little kids would be okay if I left my door open and tried to sleep in a few minutes longer. I thought they were happily eating breakfast and watching cartoons. Apparently I need to pay closer attention to my little artist. This is what I woke up to find:

Yes, that is a drawing in pink marker. Yes, it is on my carpet. No, I don't know what it is. Rebekah said it was a picture of me. At least it was washable marker, and not a black sharpie like Caleb used a couple of years ago to draw me a remarkably similar picture on my desk (that one is still there, by the way). I guess we're getting wood floors sooner than we thought!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Gingerbread Cookie Decorating

On Monday evening we went to a neighbor's house to decorate gingerbread cookies. The kids had a blast and I thought Bekah was never going to finish hers! Caleb was pretty quick about his cookie, and decorated it thoroughly, but really wasn't interested in eating it. He took one bite and then wanted to go back to playing upstairs. Bekah decorated hers for close to an hour and then ate about 1/2 of it before wanting to go back to play. (Devin was out of town during this visiting his Nanny.)

Decorating, and decorating, and decorating...

The finished products...looking good!

Thank you for hosting this Ms. Rosanna! We all had a great time!!

Visiting Santa at the Fire Station

We were driving home from Caleb's birthday party (more about that later) and noticed that the fire station by our house had Santa! So, we stopped by to let the kids sit on his lap and see some firetrucks up close and personal. Devin and Caleb did great, and Caleb was sure to remind Santa that his birthday was Christmas Eve, and not to forget to bring him birthday presents, too. Devin tolerated the whole experience, but wasn't too thrilled about any of it. Rebekah, on the other hand, was none too sure about Santa and really had no intentions of getting anywhere near him. She was just fine from a distance, and waved nicely, but when Santa invited her to come sit on his lap, she ran back to me and cried. I finally talked her into just standing in front of him (I promise he won't touch you, honey...right Santa?) and got a decent picture.

We then went to explore the rest of the firehouse and the kids got to climb on the firetruck. This part they all loved. Rebekah still wouldn't explore the firetruck, but at least she wasn't crying. I hope she gets more comfortable with people in costume before we go to Disney World at the end of January, or the princess breakfast we have scheduled is going to really be a waste!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Decorating the Christmas Tree

We actually did this a few weeks ago, but I'm just now getting around to posting it...sorry, I'm a little behind this year. I also haven't gotten Christmas cards done, there are exactly 0 presents wrapped under my tree, and I have no idea what to get my mom for Christmas. Now, in my defense, the children's presents are all purchased, just not wrapped because I'm afraid Caleb will unwrap them when I'm not looking. But I digress...

We let the children decorate the tree this year, with almost no adult interference. Therefore, this is what our tree looked like when they were done.

Notice how there are no ornaments at all above about 5 feet? That's because none of our children are over 4 feet tall! I spread out some of the lower ornaments because the dogs kept knocking them off when the tried to walk under the tree, but that was the full extent of my help. So, here is the final product...doesn't it look great?

Monday, December 15, 2008

It's Snowing!!

This is a few days late, but it snowed last week! We were all amazed since we are so close to the coast and this is an extremely rare event.

The last time it snowed was almost exactly 4 years ago and I can tell you the precise day and time. It was Christmas Eve 2004 at about 6:00. We were living in Spring at the time, and it was Caleb's 1st birthday (everyone remember that he was our Christmas Eve surprise?). I was pregnant with Bekah, Devin was 6, and Caleb was just a little peanut at 1 year old. We were getting ready to go to our Christmas Eve service at church, when we saw that there were flurries coming down outside. So we got the boys dressed for the weather and headed out to the driveway. Caleb wasn't walking at the time, so Dad was holding him, but decided to put him down to stand in the snow to see his reaction. Amazingly, Caleb took his first step right there in the snow...on his 1st birthday!! And I happened to be taking pictures of the snow, so I caught a picture of his first step as lucky!

So, on to this most recent snowfall. The kids and I were at the gym and it was raining. We knew it was getting colder, so we kept watching out the windows, hoping it would turn into snow. At about 6:00, it finally started snowing! Devin got to see it briefly before he went to church, and I pulled Caleb out of gymnastics class to go see the snow that had piled up on my car. I got Bekah from upstairs and she had fun catching the snowflakes on her tongue.

When we got home, we all went outside to play with the neighbors. Bekah was a little hesitant at first, and Devin was a little over-zealous (he hit me in the forehead with a snowball- HARD!), but they all settled in and really enjoyed the snow. The boys had a big snowball fight with the dads and several of the neighbors while the moms and girls hung out and just played in it. Bekah thought it was really funny to try to get mommy with a snowball. Thankfully, her snowballs were very small and not well made, so it didn't hurt much.

The adult boys decided to make a snowman, and amazingly there was plenty of snow in the yard with lots to spare. We actually built 2 snowmen, one in Jimmy and Amy's yard and another in Trent and Ginny's yard. Of course, the kids enjoyed knocking them down just as much as they enjoyed watching them being built.

When the youngest of the kids (Bekah and Sam) looked like they were freezing to death, we decided it was time to go inside. The kids really had a great time, and we hope that it snows again before too long!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Devin's first REAL gymnastics meet

Bright and early Saturday morning (we left the house about 6:30am), Devin began his first gymnastics meet. He was a little nervous, since he didn't know what to expect, but he handled it well. Turns out, he had a really great meet!! He ended up coming home with 2 ribbons, 4 medals, and a trophy. Here are his placements:

  • Floor- 2nd
  • Pommel Horse- 1st
  • Rings- 7th
  • Vault- 3rd
  • Parallel Bars- 4th
  • High Bar- 3rd
  • All-Around- 1st!!

That's right! He won all-around! For those of you unfamiliar with gymnastics, the gymnast's all-around score is all of their scores on the individual events added together. So basically, he was the best overall gymnast in his age group at the whole meet. That is a big accomplishment for him, given that this is his first meet ever. (In case you can't tell, I'm a pretty proud mama :-) And, by the way, his coaches had mis-read the routine on rings, and the boys were all missing a swing. With the extra points that he would have gotten by doing the right routine, he would have won 1st on rings as well. We have been warned that the next meet will have much tougher competition, and to not expect the same results, but we are still really proud and excited with his results from his first meet!

Here are the videos of his routines:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bekah's Hospital Journey

This post is more for me to remember our ordeal, so if you don’t care about all the details, then just know that Bekah is now fine, but her asthma will likely be a long journey.

Bekah woke up the Sunday morning after Thanksgiving wheezing much more than usual, so I decided to take her to a doctor. But, being Sunday, there weren't any doctors open, so I took her to Redi Clinic in HEB. Upon looking at her, the nurse immediately took her pulse-ox (which shows her oxygen saturation as a percentage...the closer to 100% the better...anything below 95 is bad) and it was 88. So, the nurse said we needed to go to an emergency room ASAP. In the interest of time, I took her to a freestanding ER in Pearland instead of a major hospital. Well, after 4 hours, 7 breathing treatments for her asthma, a chest x-ray, an IV, antibiotics, steroids and continuous oxygen, they transferred her by ambulance to the ER at Texas Children's Hospital downtown. They had determined that she most likely had pneumonia, but it was mostly her asthma that was causing her to not be able to hold her oxygen level. She was on oxygen continuously during the ambulance ride, and when we arrived at Texas Children’s, the nurse that checked her in decided to see what Bekah’s body would do if she were off the oxygen. Well, her saturation dropped to 83% and the ambulance nurse was insisting that the hospital nurse put the oxygen back on her, so we ended up in a room immediately with oxygen back on and 2 more breathing treatments (that makes 9 rounds in a 9 hour period).
She spent 5 more hours in that emergency room before finally being given a room on the pulmonary floor. It was a little unsettling to be on the same floor with all the children suffering with things like cystic fibrosis where they spend months at a time in the hospital. I felt like Bekah was suffering enough with just asthma, and I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to have your child in the hospital for a month or longer.

As soon as we got a room, the nurse mentioned that Bekah would need to be on the nasal oxygen (the little tubes that go in their nose) instead of the mask, because there was no way to wean her off of the oxygen using the mask. Bekah has been doing breathing treatments at home with a mask (we have an elephant, a fish, and a dinosaur) since she was about 6 months old, so she is used to that…the nose thing really freaked her out. I fought her for 3 days to finally get her to leave it in her nose. We kept having to revert back to the mask because she HAD to have oxygen, and she wouldn’t leave the nose things in her nose. One doctor actually told Bekah that if she wouldn’t wear the nose thing that she would have to live in the hospital forever. I thought that was a little over the top, and very scary to a sick 3 year old who is already afraid.

The nights were the hardest part for both of us. Every time Bekah would roll over in her sleep, her mask would shift and her oxygen would drop, sending the alarms into a frenzy and calling the nurses into the room. It was scary how fast her oxygen levels would drop without that mask on. With the mask she would be at about a 97, and once it shifted she would drop to around 87 within just a few seconds. The nurse would also come in about every 3-4 hours to check her vital signs, and the respiratory therapist came in every 4 hours (but not the same 4 hours as the nurse, of course) to give her a breathing treatment and her inhaler. The poor kid never got to sleep, and the whole ordeal just wore her out. On Tuesday she took a 3 hour nap, which she hasn’t done in quite some time. She doesn’t take naps at home at all anymore, unless she falls asleep in her car seat, so a 3 hour nap is just unheard of.

Tuesday evening her dad and brothers came to visit, and she was able to be off the oxygen for about 30 minutes. Unfortunately, when her brothers left and she settled down, her oxygen dropped to about 85, and we had to put it back on at a higher level than when we took it off. She went to bed Tuesday night, and I really didn’t have much hope that we were going home anytime soon.

Come Wednesday morning, the doctor came in about 7:30 and turned off the oxygen. I didn’t know she had done it, and it kind of freaked me out, because Bekah was holding her levels at about 91 by herself! It wasn’t great, but she was above 90 for the first time on her own in 4 days, so it was a big step. I got even more freaked out when the doctor declared that Bekah had held her oxygen for an hour and a half, and now she could go home. What?? No further testing, no follow up chest x-ray, nothing. We took the oxygen off her completely, unhooked the monitor that I had watched so closely all that time, and she was free! What was really funny was that her room was right across the hall from the playroom, and since Bekah was oxygen dependent, she hadn’t been able to play in there the whole time. She had watched kids riding bikes and doing art projects in the playroom for 4 days, and now she got to join them! (The volunteers had been bringing her things to do in her room, and I had been going to get board games and toys from the playroom all week, but it just wasn’t the same.) With her IV still in her arm, she took off in a little car and rode back and forth down the hall for about 30 minutes. She went in the playroom and made a Christmas tree with stickers, and did a few puzzles before her dad and Caleb showed up to take us home. The doctors insisted that Bekah have a flu shot before she left, and the screaming that it brought out in the tired little girl was the worst part of the whole trip!! You could literally hear her on the opposite side of the floor.

We took all the pictures off her door (by the way, she did all of them with her left hand because her right arm had her IV in it) and packed up her new toys (some from me, some from the nurses and volunteers) to get ready for our discharge papers. Thankfully it didn’t take too long and we were on our way home! Of course, we were leaving with prescriptions for 2 antibiotics (one specifically for asthma), steroids, and 2 different inhalers (one maintenance, one rescue). She has to be on her maintenance inhaler twice a day until further notice. On a side note, her discharge papers stated “possible pneumonia”, so we’re still not certain was caused it all. The doctors have said they really think it was just her asthma out of control.

Bekah has now been home for about a week, and seems to be doing just fine now. She is finished with all her medications except the maintenance inhaler. I took her for a re-check last Friday (2 days after she came home) and the doctor said she was still wheezing, but her oxygen was better. She told me to keep a close watch on her and to bring her back if I noticed her wheezing badly or if she started coughing again.

A few days later I took Bekah with me to get our nails done. She was such a trooper the whole time in the hospital, and really didn't complain much at all. I was very proud of her, and I knew she deserved a reward for being such a brave, big girl!

So, that’s our story. I feel so blessed and thankful to have a healthy family, and that Bekah’s ordeal was only asthma and not something more. I’m sorry this has been so long, and if you’re still reading then thank you for your interest and caring about my baby girl. Hug your kids, and watch them grow up big and strong…I have now seen with my own eyes how fragile little lives can be, and it has made me truly appreciate our healthy blessings.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

In the hospital

This is going to be short, but I will post the entire story once we're home.

I just wanted to let everyone know that Bekah is in Texas Children's Hospital with pneumonia and a really bad asthma flare up. She has been here since Sunday, and probably won't go home until at least tomorrow. We thought she might get to go home today, but she still can't handle being without the oxygen, so we're going to have to stay at least one more night.

In the meantime, she is holding up very well. She's napping right now, and this morning she was a little bored, but I went down to the gift shop and bought her a Barbie, so then she was happier. Texas Children's really is great for kids, and they have all kinds of things for parents as well. However, after 3 days, we're getting a bit stir crazy.

I'll post more hopefully tomorrow with pictures, etc.