Thursday, March 31, 2011

team spirit


At our house we cheer with this guy:


Kind of a weird lookin’ thing, I know.

He’s WU Shock. As in Wichita State University Shockers. As in shocks of wheat. Are you following?

We are pretty big fans of Shocker basketball around here. In the good times and bad. And right now it’s a GREAT time! The Shockers play Alabama tonight in the NIT Championship game. Exciting stuff.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

kitchen/dining room makeover

I’ve been slowly but surely getting the kitchen and dining room the way I want. I tried not to go out and buy a bunch of new stuff. I got a few things for my birthday and I found a few things hidden away in other rooms, but I finally feel like I’m getting somewhere with this.


I made the chalkboard (with a little help from Jeremy). I bought the frame at Michael’s for 50% off plus I had a 25% coupon for any frame. So I got a $40 frame for $15. Then I had Jeremy cut a piece of plywood and I painted it with chalkboard paint. Then he figured out a way to secure the wood to the frame. What a great guy!!


The bird plate and small bowl with birds were both birthday gifts. I drug the crock out from the bottom shelf of my cookbook shelf and the tall urn was in the living room with lighted branches from Christmas.


I traded out my old heavy dark green canisters for these penny jars. Now I’ll always know if we are out of flour or sugar! The basket is one I had in my basement and after looking at a Pottery Barn catalog where I saw a similar one for sale, I brought mine out of hiding, added some moss and eggs, which I bought for half-price at the new JoAnn Fabric store (it’s a pretty awesome place!)


I just happened to see these cute salt and pepper shakers when I was out looking for a wedding gift. I couldn’t resist.


And you’ve seen this before. I changed a couple of things around since the first picture, adding a glass pitcher and tall pedestal plate.


This was another birthday gift. My mom had a mini chocolate tart in it for my birthday treat. Yum!

So there you have it. Two rooms new to me.

Sunday, March 27, 2011



On the menu:

Walking Tacos, Cake Balls and Sugar Cookies. More about that later…

Today we celebrated the birthdays of Nate and Delaney. His was last Friday. Hers is this Friday. So we did a combined party for the two of them. Don’t tell Miss Delaney, though, because she was convinced it was HER birthday party!

So, back to the menu. We had Walking Tacos. And when I tell you what they are, you’re going to be so mad you didn’t think of doing that yourself! Or maybe you did think of that yourself, and I’m copying you. Either way, they were a hit!


Start with a bag of chips. We used Doritos and Fritos. Open the bag and break up the chips, just a bit. Then fill the bag with all the fixins’ for tacos…meat, cheese, lettuce, onions, salsa and (if you must) tomatoes. Then you eat them out of the bag. No need for plates. You can eat them standing up. Or sitting on the couch. Such an easy way to feed a crowd!

And for dessert (the real reason people come to a kid’s birthday party), I made cake balls and sugar cookies.


Have you ever had cake balls? They are apparently all the rage. And pretty simple to make. Start with a boxed cake mix, any flavor. I made white. Bake it as directed in a 13 X 9. Let cool completely. I covered mine with a tea towel and left it until the next morning.

Then crumble the cake in a large bowl. I used 2 forks to get it nice and finely crumbled. Then add just less than a can of store bought frosting. Again, I used white. Mix together until the frosting and cake become one.

Use a small cookie scoop (or your hands…unless you have issues with getting your hands gooey) and scoop, or roll and place onto waxed paper lined cookie sheets. Pop in the freezer for about an hour.

Most people dip the cake balls in candy melts or almond bark. I chose to drizzle instead. And that’s how you make cake balls. Now back to the party.


The birthday boy…sitting with his home health nurse, Melissa.

Dear Melissa,

Please don’t hate me for posting your picture. You look great and you’re a huge part of Nate’s life and our lives! Thanks for coming and bringing your awesome family!!!


And the birthday girl.


When she opened her card and saw the money, she said, “Money! I’m going to save it.” and then she set it on the floor beside her.

Save it? Whose kid is she?

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For the past several days, in anticipation of her birthday, Delaney has been saying, “For my birthday, I want clothes, shoes and Barbies.” Now THAT’S my girl!


Nate really just loved having family come visit at his house. But he also liked his birthday balloon.




After one of many outfit changes, Delaney was ready to try out her new roller skates. I think her expression says it all!

Friday, March 25, 2011

nate is eight


Today is Nate’s birthday. So far we’ve spent the day giving Nate a much needed haircut and going to the doctor for a hospital discharge follow-up. Not an exciting day, but not to worry…we’re having a family party on Sunday.

Here are some birthday pictures…


Getting ready for a haircut! We’ve been taking him to a barbershop around the corner. It was so convenient. But she closed up shop and Nate’s ‘do has paid the price! Now we are resorting to a DIY haircut at home.


Dad did an alright job!!

Happy birthday, to our favorite boy!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

spring break

Just as we got one kiddo home, we sent two more away for the week.


Bri and Allison headed to Chicago for a mission trip with the church youth group. So it’s been pretty quiet around here. I’ve been super lazy, which has been wonderful. And it is just giving me a taste of what’s to come in about 9 more weeks!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

dress up

When the neighbor girls come over to play with Delaney, they never know what she’ll rope them into. Delaney convinced Morgan to wear this tutu.


You can’t really tell in this picture, but it is WAY too small. Like uncomfortably small. But she was a good sport/friend and agreed to wear it. Anything to keep Delaney from crying, I suppose. I couldn’t resist capturing it on film.

Friday, March 18, 2011

all the good wishes helped

Nate’s friends at school made a sign to hang in his hospital room. And  a few kids made get well cards. These sure brightened up Nate’s room!




In case you can’t read first grade phonetic spelling, this says, “I see you are sick. Here is a note.” Too cute!

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Nate’s also had several visitors throughout the week. His home health nurse has been up several times and brought some yummy snacks for us and the monkey stuffed animal for Nate. The stuffed bear is from Nate’s care attendant who takes care of him on Sundays while we are in church. The Bakugon toy (no idea how to spell that) is from my dad’s co-workers.

All the visits, well-wishes and gifts did the trick. Because Nate is heading home today!!! The best news all week!

Jeremy told the doctor this morning that he thought Nate was ready to go home. They agreed. (I wonder how long they would have made us stay if he didn’t say anything this morning.)

Thanks again for the prayers and love! Here’s to a healthy spring!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

day 5

Today did not get off to a great start. With the time change and shuffling kids from place to place, Delaney’s schedule has gotten crazy. Our child that is normally in bed by 8:00 (at the latest…usually closer to 7:45) has been up until 10:00 or later every night this week. Which makes mornings nearly unbearable. So I was running later than I’d like to be to get to work this morning. And we’re in the midst of state testing, which is stressful enough, without the added “child in the hospital” scenario. I got to work and was scrambling to gather laptops from various classrooms for testing, finding some hadn’t been charged overnight, when I got a call from Jeremy letting me know that the doctors felt like Nate hadn’t improved as much as they had hoped at this point. Apparently pseudomonas (the bacteria we’re dealing with at this point) can be very difficult to treat. The resident was trying decide if they should try a different antibiotic, and with a penicillin allergy, he wasn’t sure the best route for treatment. This was NOT the news I needed to hear at this particular moment.

I was sharing the report with my student teacher, when she reminded me that God is in charge and he is the ultimate healer. Her words were much more eloquent than what I just wrote, and were exactly what I needed to hear at that moment. I was able to make it through the day and on the way to the hospital after work, Jeremy updated me on the latest.

Nate’s pediatrician wanted to see a chest x-ray before trying a different antibiotic. And the x-ray showed improvement. Great news! No need for a change in treatment. I was instantly reminded of my student teacher’s words. Also, after being on 60% oxygen throughout most of the day, he was able to go down to 36% by late afternoon. He was back up to 40% when I left the hospital, but I was pleased with this little bit of progress. He is having some tummy issues (distended stomach and yucky stools). We’re not sure if it’s from the antibiotic or from restarting his feedings or both. We’ve gone to half as much food every 2 hours to hopefully take care of this. Nate slept peacefully most of the day, which is just what his body needs.

Healing a child with respiratory issues is a long process. The care has been better since that first day. But we are growing weary. And darn it, doesn’t Nate realize that spring break is just 2 days away? He really needs to get well so we all can enjoy next week!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

37 years plus one day

Yesterday was my birthday. Not the first spent at the hospital. And chances are it won’t be the last. So is the life of parents with a chronically ill child.

Jeremy surprised me with this…


He ordered it from here. What a great guy! I absolutely LOVE it!

And I received some other great things to add to my dining room/kitchen. I can’t wait to share pictures of those with you too. As soon as life settles down and gets back to our normal.

Nate is showing much improvement. He’ll probably be here until the end of the week, but he’s slowly getting better. One of his cultures showed pseudomonas. Don’t ask me what that is exactly, but I’ve heard it mentioned often on my tracheostomy support board. It’s a bacteria and is apparently common in kids with trachs. But at least it can be treated with an antibiotic.

Today we fed Nate for the first time since his admittance. I feel like that is at least a step in the right direction. He’s still on quite a bit of oxygen, but the respiratory therapist reported that the pneumonia is breaking up.

Nate’s teacher came up for a visit after school and read him his favorite book. He stayed awake long enough for her to get through the book, and even smiled a couple of times. Something I haven’t seen for several days.

So that about sums up the past 24 hours. We’re juggling hospital stays, work and the other kids’ schedules. Thank goodness we have our parents nearby to help. They have been a tremendous blessing this week.

Thanks for your continued prayers, love and support!

Monday, March 14, 2011


Onto happier things...

The UPS guy visits our house regularly. But he rarely brings anything fun. In fact, I hardly ever get exciting packages delivered to the house. Not since my Kindle came in January. But recently, I found this in the mailbox…



Cake balls! An early birthday present from our financial advisor. I wonder what he sends to the people who invest LOTS of money!

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Jeremy and I have spent so much time entertaining each other in hospitals. Sometimes it’s while we’re sitting in a waiting room, waiting for a report from the doctor. But it seems like we’ve spent more than our fair share sitting in a hospital room, waiting for our son to get well enough to go home.

Our last hospital stay was in October of 2007. I was barely pregnant with Delaney. We had a good run. But all good things must come to an end and so we found ourselves back at the hospital, doing our thing, when Nate was admitted on Saturday. We had hoped that our diligence in getting him to the doctor early would allow us to avoid a hospital visit. No such luck. By Saturday morning Nate was running a fever of 105.5 and was on 5 liters of oxygen with an extremely high heart rate. Not good signs. I happened to be in Wichita, doing a little shopping at Old Navy and the brand new JoAnn Fabrics, when Jeremy called and gave me the bad news. I hurried home so we could get our little guy to the ER.

You know you’re in bad shape when you walk in the ER and they look at your child and send you directly to a room. We didn’t even have time to fill out paperwork before we were whisked away. The ER docs and nurses went right to work taking blood cultures, chest x-rays, starting IVs and all that good stuff. The chest x-ray indicated his right lung was full of pneumonia. The IV fluids and hospital grade Tylenol brought down Nate’s fever and about 4 hours later, he was sent to a room on the pediatric floor. And that’s when the real fun began!

Did I mention that Jeremy is also sick? So I agreed to spend the night with Nate so he could go home and get some rest. He left around 5:30 and then I was left to deal with quite possibly the worst nurse. EVER.

Nate’s fever was back up to 103 by 6:00 but there was no order to give Tylenol or Motrin. What? You’ve got to be kidding me! I had to tell nurse after nurse after nurse’s aide after doctor that Nate needed some meds. Finally at 9:30 the horrible nurse I previously spoke of decided she wasn’t really comfortable suctioning Nate and wanted to have him moved to PICU so she called the resident to come in. I told the doctor that Nate needed a breathing treatment (it had been 9 hours since his previous one), something to bring down the fever, and his regular meds to help him relax and possibly sleep. So finally she got the ball rolling a bit and sure enough, after a breathing treatment, Tylenol and Ibuprofen, he was doing much better. No need for the PICU afterall.

This was the night the time changed, which was kind of nice, because when you aren’t sleeping AT ALL, it’s nice to have your night shortened by one hour! Every time Nate would start to settle down and fall asleep, someone would come in to draw a lab, give a breathing treatment, check his vitals or give a medication. Not to mention the IV pump alarming, the pulse ox probe malfunctioning and the suctioning I was dealing with on my own. Anyone who has spent the night in the hospital knows exactly what I’m talking about.

But we did make it through the night. And Jeremy rejoined me in the morning, breakfast in hand, to help the time pass throughout the day. And his mom graciously agreed to spend the night tonight, to give us a little break.

We found out that Nate has RSV. So it looks like we will have to let it run its course. Once his oxygen is at a more manageable level, I think we will be able to go home. Until then, Jeremy and I will pass the time at the hospital by reading, playing apps on the phone and watching TV. Pretty much the same stuff we do at home.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

dining room makeover

The redecorating bug bit me recently and I’ve been working on a few changes in the dining room/kitchen. It’s a total work in progress and I have lots of ideas to incorporate. But those ideas require time and money, neither of which I have an abundance of at this time. So I’ll keep you posted as the rooms transform, gradually.


I’ve gone with a bit of an aviary theme. Perfect for spring, right? In case you haven’t been out lately, birds are EVERYWHERE! And just to toot my own horn a bit, I painted the canvases. But I should probably let you know, I used stencils, because I’m not that good.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


We’ve been battling sickness at our house for the past week or so. It all started last Friday with Nate. He stopped breathing at school. Talk about a scare! Everything turned out ok, but nonetheless, we were pretty shaken.

On Sunday morning, we were in our Sunday School class when we got a call that Nate had a seizure. So we immediately headed home. Following the seizure, he was requiring oxygen.

After 3 days on oxygen, we decided to get him to the doctor to see what was going on. He has pneumonia. Nate’s now on 2 antibiotics and a second medicine for his breathing treatments. But at least we can treat him at home. And thankfully he’s been feeling well enough to have his para from school come over for daily visits to help him keep up on his school work. She and his home health nurse are an awesome team!

In case having all this going on with Nate wasn’t enough, Delaney has an ear infection and is dealing with a bad cough/cold.

I’m thinking that the seizure and respiratory issues were signs of an oncoming illness. Thank you to everyone who has had us in your thoughts and prayers this week!

Friday, March 4, 2011

picture at gaga’s house


It’s hard enough to get a good picture of my 4 kids. Add another 2 year old to the mix and it’s a near impossibility. Bri and Allison were such troopers. Of all the tons of pictures I took this day, this was the only one where everyone had at least a semi-pleasant look on their face and were looking in the general direction of the camera. And in just a few short months we’ll get to this all again when there’s a new addition to the family.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

our anniversary

Today is our 10 year anniversary! The years have absolutely flown by. With 4 kids (two came along before the wedding…so don’t think we’ve been THAT busy) and all the activities that go along with having kids, work, 3 college degrees between us, and everything else that happens in life, the past 10 years have been the quickest (and happiest) of my life!

Happy anniversary sweetie! Thanks for putting up with me and my quirks each and every day! I love you!