I want…

(I am cleaning out the dining room art room today and came across all of my old journals, as I was flipping through them reading about days before blogging I found three pages that Chris had written and thought I would share them here… just in case something ever happens to this book I want these words remembered forever…)

I want…

I’ve always gotten caught up in the notion that we only live once. We have on life to live and then that’s it. That’s the ballgame. Nearing 30, it is time to take a look into where I am headed and my wants for my family.

I want my kids to truly live with an adventurous and wild spirit that pushed them to their outer limits in terms of explorations and journeys.

I want them to be story tellers; and I want their subject matter to range from Heat Wave, Alabama to Missoula, Montana and around the world again.

I want them to strive for experiences that challenge their fears, inhibitions and limitations. At the end of their life, i want them to hold an audience with tales of where they’ve been and the people they’ve met along the way.

I want them to break out from this technology-crazed existence in society and find peace in a snow covered mountain pass or any natural, primitive environment they chose to visit.

I want them to eat seafood and crave the smell of the sea-filled air.

I want them to walk boldly with their heads held high.

I want them to be proud of who they are and where they’ve been.

I want them to see, feel and speak to God, in their own way, unbeknown to us all.

I want them to love each other and always seek each other’s company in times of happiness as well as trials and tribulations.

I want to rid my kids of fear of the world, of faraway places, of certain types of people.

I want my kids to go on a bike ride and not have to worry whether they will be kidnapped.

I want my kids to enjoy and respect the songs of Jimmy Buffet and Dave Matthews that urge us to seek a new path, a new journey, a new adventure.

I want my kids to be happy and hope they never wonder “what if…”

I want my kids to love and appreciate their hometown of Kirkwood but remember they are not confined to its boundaries.

I want Bailey to know and be proud that she is a Washington State native, which literally translates into “children of the sun.”I want Bailey to know her mother was swimming in the mountain-fed freezing cold Spokane River 3 days before she was born. I want Bailey to know that she had summited Mnt. Spokane, picked pumpkins at Green Bluffs and was in the Gulf of Mexico before she was one years old.

I want Parker to know that despite being born in St. Louis, she was conceived in the Pacific Northwest. (I can’t believe he wrote this!)

I want all of my kids to embrace the wildness and adventurous spirit that the Northwest held for their dad.

I want my kids to know their mother made the ultimate sacrifice and journey out to Spokane to start a life with me; which then resulted in you two (written before Gray was conceived)

I just want my kids to know what is expected of them and this is it: Your mom and I want nothing less and nothing more than for you to live your life to the fullest and chase any dream or whim you may have wherever it may lead you.

a mother’s day update on parker!

Today was a good Mother’s Day! Chris let me sleep in until almost 9am… truly the best gift of the day… then we went on a family walk, had lunch at Red Robin (thanks Tina!) and then Kim picked me up for a newborn session. Funny that although it was a good day at home, for the most part, it felt REALLY good to be working again!

Anyway, working quick tonight so I can go to bed early but wanted to pop on and give a quick Parker update and a few prayer requests…

1. Parker is GREAT! She is FULL of energy and is handling the picc line so well! She’s actually so used to it now that when she hears my cell phone alarm she’ll go right to the couch, get her crayons and notebook to sit for the hour it takes to administer the medicine. It makes me sad that she’s used to something so awful but also really proud at how well she’s adjusted.

2. Monday, tomorrow, at 7pm a nurse will come out and draw blood. She will also change the dressings, which is PAINFUL and makes Parker scream. Chris has a huge soccer game that Kim and I are shooting so my parents will be here with the kids. PLEASE pray for the nurse that she’s able to draw blood through the picc line and won’t have to find another vein. Please also pray for my parents who will be here during an incredibly stressful time and pray also for Parker that she finds comfort in Grandma while Mommy is working and doesn’t cry too hard during the whole ordeal.

3. Thursday of this week we go back to see the neurologist. Prayers for that visit would be awesome. I have no idea what that visit will entail but will of course let you know!

4. We have one more week of IV meds if all goes well with the blood draw and it shows the medicine is working. Saturday night next week will be her last dose possibly! We are on the home stretch of a very LONG three weeks! Just one third to go! Prayers that they don’t have to extend the meds would be awesome!

5. We will follow up with our pediatrician and a urologist once the infection is gone to look more closely at her kidney… this won’t be for a while.

6. One thing I haven’t mentioned in detail is the mistake they made at the hospital. In short, for five days they were treating the wrong bacteria. So the medication she was on wasn’t hurting her but it wasn’t helping either. This is why the fever continued to spike so high (on Wed it went back up to 105) and why she had to stay in the hospital so long. Wednesday night (I think) was the first dose of the RIGHT medication to treat the more rare bacteria that was attacking her kidney. And it still took four more days for it to kick in enough for us to go home. Nine days in the hospital is a long time for the average kidney infection. We are hoping now that there won’t be any lasting damage to her kidney since it had the raging infection going untreated for so many days. We also are hoping the hospital (St. John’s Mercy) will pay for the days we had to stay that were due to their error. We got the first bill yesterday and it was $1000 (before insurance so it will be much less we hope!) and that was JUST for the anesthesia for her MRI! $1000 for ONE piece of a million piece puzzle! Prayers that this won’t hit us too hard financially would be awesome and that the hospital will admit their mistake and take responsibility too.

So we are on to another week of laying low and staying home! Thanks to everyone that stopped by with food, soda, gifts and help last week and to everyone that’s helping this week. It is draining, to say the least, to keep Parker calm and entertained while still giving the other two lots of play time to burn energy. It’s hard to revolve our life around medication too. We could not have made it through all of this without the incredible help we’ve had!

i swear i’m trying to keep her calm

The doctors told us as we were discharged from the hospital that we needed to keep Parker calm when we came home with the PICC line. That she couldn’t do her “normal” activities. I told the doctors that THEY should come home with me and keep her calm b/c my Parker is NOT a calm child. And that’s not to say she is a crazy or bad or wild kid. She just has LOTS of energy!

And yesterday I was laughing to myself because I swear, in the photos you are about to see, she IS being calm! At least calm for Parker!

Notice Gray’s new FAVORITE shoes! HA!

Poor Gray is being thrown under the bus but this is his reaction when I take away the paci!

All of those photos were taken in the span of 30 minutes!

After dinner I just couldn’t face doing baths alone again so we went outside to get extra messy and wait for Daddy to come home (so HE could do baths!)

DADDY’S HOME! I love non-game days for soccer! He’s home by 6:30pm! And I LOVE that I caught this on camera!

This is just to document, for Terri, why I was SO behind in laundry! He comes home like this EVERY DAY!

So this was just our late afternoon! Can you imagine how hard it is to keep this kid, who’s feeling GREAT, calm and quiet and not around other kids? We have one more LONG week of this and next Sunday we are done! Thank goodness!

I have so many fun photos from Wednesday when I documented our day but these were too funny not to share right away!

i will change my attitude if it kills me.

Last night Kim and I had a meeting at the SLCH NICU with a group of amazing women. The nurses. The women who keep that place running and keep families smiling and keep babies healthy. THEY are a huge chunk of the reason Kim and I love that place.

And in the meeting one of them asked us WHY we volunteer our time to photograph dying babies. And we said things like, “we want to give back” and “someone needs to do it so why not me?” Which are fine answers, and certainly part of it. But really, at the heart of WHY i do it is my husband.

Chris is a teacher. A high school teacher.

And being a teacher+coach is tough because you work crazy hard for very little money. VERY. LITTLE. MONEY. Especially when you add coaching in there and all the hours that come with that.

But you also get something else.

Passion.

Chris might not say it like this, but he LOVES his job. And he loves those kids. He loves being in front of the classroom and being on the field. He wakes up early and is happy to go to work.

And what’s great about marrying a teacher is that when someone asks what my husband does, well, I know EXACTLY what he does. And I can proudly brag on him to all who will listen. It’s nice to be able to know what he does all day, rather than really have no idea. It would bug me to be married to someone who’s job I didn’t understand.

It’s also nice because he is truly passionate about what he does. He’s always thinking of how to coach and teach better, how to engage the kids more, how to do things in a new and exciting way.

Back in January when I was up to my limit of him being gone ALL THE TIME for soccer and then basketball I had a revelation. A revelation that came just before the spring soccer season was starting. His life is about giving back. He’s effecting kid’s lives he doesn’t even know about. All the time he’s way from us, he’s influencing and blessing another person. He has no wasted time. His entire self is about giving to those kids. And I can’t even tell how proud I am that I’m his wife.

And that’s what I wanted to say last night. I wanted to say that if I could, I would be at that hospital every day in an attempt to bless families that need a small blessing. That if I could, I would spend my whole life giving back. Just like Chris does, without even really knowing it.

This morning I woke up grumpy. Chris has been so exhausted since going back to school he’s come home and gone to bed without helping with the house at all. And I’ve been going insane trying to keep Parker calm and doing her meds right and giving the other two attention and keeping up with the house. And I’m tired. So I woke up and was frumping around doing chores when I finally sat down to read a few blogs and I came across THIS.

As I sat there for eight minutes watching this incredibly strong woman talk about how motherhood is a blessing I started to realize that I’ve been looking at life the wrong way. I AM giving back every minute of every day because I’m a mom. Chris may be touching hundreds of kid’s lives each year but I’ve got three right here. Every day. And as important as giving back to the community is, I have to remember that everything I do, here at home, is giving back as well. When I grumble about laundry I am teaching my kids to hate chores. When I yell at them to be quiet so i can work I am teaching them to walk on egg shells around me. If I changed my attitude and put music on more often while I straighten up after breakfast they will see that doing household chores can be fun!

I have three little people at my feet each and every day who are learning how to attack life by watching me. And most of the time I am tired and irritable and impatient and grumpy.

I would not ever want to be in a plane crash and go through what Stephanie has had to endure but I do envy the lesson God gave her. She appreciates life. She’s thankful she’s here to scrub toilets and make lunches and kiss boo-boos.

Our house will be full of joy. My chores may never be caught up but when I do them I will smile. And I will teach my kids that the good in life is mostly in the everyday.

I will try to spend my life giving back to the four people I love the most. And do so as cheerfully as I can, even when I do feel grumpy. Because when I am gone I want my kids to be proud of the business I ran and the volunteer work I did and the marriage we had but mostly, I want them to walk away having learned to enjoy every detail of life from me. Even the mundane and ordinary. Like I did from my mom who would dance to the radio while dusting the living room!

feeling selfish and doing nothing about it.

We are home. And although two full days haven’t even passed yet it feels like a lifetime ago that we were in the hospital. Funny how time works.

I’m feeling selfish. Mainly because for 9, oh let’s say 10 since yesterday was tough, days I was at Parker’s side. I literally did anything she needed that I could do and nurses/doctors were there to do the things I couldn’t. For days if she was thirsty she’d open her mouth without raising a hand and I’d pop in a sippy cup. If she had to go potty I unplugged the IV, carried her/dragged the pole to the bathroom, held her on the toilet, wiped her bottom and carried her back. We had her choice of movie on constantly and if she wanted to color I was sitting there coloring with her. In the beginning I never even left her bed and cuddled her constantly b/c the second I got up she screamed.

Besides shower and occasionally eat I did very little for myself that week.

And now I’m home and I want a break.

But she has IV meds I have to give her 5 times a day, I have to keep her quiet and away from people ALL day and I have two other busy little people who are craving my attention after missing me for so long. We also are incredibly behind at Fresh Art so I feel the need to catch up as fast as possible and reschedule sessions and reply to emails and edit. And although we came home to a perfectly clean house with all our laundry done it is a full time job to keep up with that perfection.

And all I want is a nap and a full day catching up on my shows from last week.

But I’m not sure I’ve sat down much in the last two days. Just running here and there, entertaining one bored little girl and loving on the other two, organizing the MASS of food we have at our house and trying to keep the Imo’s man busy (they missed me while I was gone! HA!).

I just feel selfish because my thoughts today have been centered around ME ME ME ME ME.

And I know no one will blame me for feeling this way or thinking selfish thoughts b/c I know most women in my position would feel the same way. But I still feel bad b/c my JOB above all others is to be a good mom.

And I want to clock out of that role for a while.

I also have so much to tell you about and show you. About how because the doctors made an error and had her on the wrong meds we stayed days longer in the hospital than we should have. Oh MAN is this a story! I also want to share the rest of the pics from the hospital b/c some are so sweet. But I’m too tired now. And our neighbors have the active two in the yard while Parker watches a show but her attention will wane soon and I’ll be back ON. So another time.

In order to get through tomorrow in full MOM mode again I decided I needed a project. So I am altering Ali’s Week in the Life project to capture a DAY IN OUR LIFE. Tomorrow. So I will have my camera with me constantly and will capture every little detail of our day. And maybe by the end of the week I will be able to share it with you. AND if you want to join in and capture YOUR day we could have a link party here! Just a thought. Hoping it propels me through tomorrow more smoothly!

let the THANK YOU parade begin!

Ok. Now that we are in the home stretch I feel the need to start telling you all just how incredibly blessed we really are. But before I start let’s just do a quick day NINE update!

Parker had an AMAZING day (photos from yesterday coming soon!) yesterday and last night her fever decided to give me a heart attack by hitting 100.4, the LAST degree before they consider it officially a fever! But an hour later it was down to 100.2. It’s like her fever is the boxer who’s already down but has to stand up, one last time, to show how tough he really is before his opponent knocks him out for good! She’s on the most intense antibiotics ever (if the dose is too high they will actually burn through the IV and fry her vein I found out yesterday!) and I think the fever is officially LOW GRADE now. And soon it should be gone for good!

Right now she is sitting in her bed painting with numbing cream on her arm working its magic. The PICC should be ANY minute now and then we should be able to go home later today! UPDATE: PICC line is going in NOW and may take a couple of hours… praying all goes well!

THE BIG GIANT HUMONGOUS PRAYER REQUEST TODAY IS: that the PICC goes in successfully b/c if it doesn’t we’re here another night until Radiology can see her tomorrow for another, deeper, PICC line. PRAY PRAY PRAY!

And that’s where we’re at today!

BUT.

Yesterday I ran home with Terri (C’s mom) to grab some clothes and to take a gander at our yard. Why our yard? Because yesterday morning while Chris was with Bailey and Gray and I was here with Parker, we had a whole lotta loving people from our church working in our yard! They mowed and weeded and edged and mulched and planted and dug roots out and cleaned and swept and well, made me cry as I walked around our now gorgeous yard.

I love that they hung our kites in the trees!

We belong to an amazing church. It’s the church I was baptized in and grew up in, it’s where we were married and where all of our children were baptized. I’ve been a member there for 30 years, 6 months and 21 days to be exact. And although I honestly find a more contemporary service fits my faith a bit better, it’s the PEOPLE that have kept us at Emmanuel. When we walked in for the first time after having Bailey (we lived in Spokane, WA at the time so we were visiting) the love people already felt for our tiny newborn was literally palpable. I could FEEL the love for our child. It was automatic. I’m not sure how else to describe it. But the love the people in our church have for each other is a love that transcends anything I’ve ever known.

And oh man oh man did they serve us yesterday.

(EEC: Emmanuel Episcopal Church)

When we moved in our yard was a bit overgrown. And the yard is HUGE. So that first year we worked a bit out there and Chris did a decent job of keeping it mowed but I was 7 months pregnant with Parker and it was fall so there wasn’t much we could do. The next summer we worked really hard and cleared a patio area by taking down an old fence and adding mulch. We had a one year old and a two year old so working outside was tough but we tried! Then of course we got pregnant with Gray and by the next summer when he was born and we had three under three we did very little. VERY little. Same goes for last summer. I was crazy busy merging with Kim and the kids were still at a hard age to get much done. But THIS YEAR we decided we really wanted to kick it in gear! So already this spring we’d weeded a few of the beds, mulched, mowed and C has ripped out some huge bushes. BUT there was just SO much to do still! And we fully intended to keep pushing forward.

But now.

NOW.

It’s like we have a clean slate. Our yard looks amazing. Every last square inch of it! And walking around there yesterday afternoon I couldn’t stop thinking about how it’s like we got a big fat DO OVER. A fresh start. Now we can MAINTAIN it all summer which is a whole heck of a lot easier than starting from scratch like we were trying to do!

Again, thank you doesn’t cover the work these people did yesterday. Work that we DID NOT deserve to receive but we received anyway.

Just like we did not deserve to have Terri take ALL of our laundry home and finish it or to have our entire house cleaned or to have so many gift cards and packages and meals coming our way. We don’t deserve one tiny bit of these gifts.

And it just reminds me that we don’t deserve anything. We are sinners. And yet Christ died for us. FOR US. And he loves us whether we deserve it or not. And He’ll keep loving us.

You all are walking along side of us through this trial like God is. You all are reminding me of Christ’s love for me and my family. And that takes my breath away. My friend, Sara, described her husband recently as “the hands and feet of Christ” in her life and that’s how I feel about everyone that’s surrounded us the last 9 days with love and support.

Thank you. All.

on day nine…

WE ARE GOING HOME!!!

Because after a lot of this:

In the last two days we’ve seen a lot of this:

And with NO fever spike tonight (it hit 100.4 which is one degree off from “official” fever!) and the PICC line set for tomorrow morning we are GOOD TO GO!

I have so many more photos and details to tell you about, including how due to doctor error we should have left days ago possibly, but tonight I am too happy and exhausted to share more.

But more is coming!!!

THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS! Day nine is our lucky day! Can’t wait for tomorrow night to tuck ALL my babies in bed again!

good morning day eight.

Day seven ended a bit dramatically when we had to sit in the hallway for an hour or so because of tornado warnings or watches or touch downs. I have no idea what was really going on because I was too busy watching some very sick kids and some very worried parents sit in the hallway. One little guys fever kept rising (know that scary feeling!) so they were keeping him cool and one little girl had a pretty severe asthma attack it seemed (I couldn’t see her but could hear the coughing and I also know that scary feeling). Parker, feverish again, sat quietly on my lap taking it all in.

Day eight started a bit TOO dramatically for me as well since they had to wake her up at 7am for a blood draw. It was to make sure the dose of antibiotics they gave her at 9pm is the right dosage for her body. Luckily Chris was here already so I made him go calm the screaming while I showered and SHAVED MY LEGS. He took the brunt and I feel human again. Fair, I think, since he slept in a quiet house alone last night and I was in a hallway!

Right now we are waiting to see if they are going to go ahead with the PICC line or want to wait because her fever spiked again last night at 7pm. I’m hoping they decide soon b/c she’s been PNO (no food/drink) since midnight and if they aren’t doing it I want to order breakfast for her. AND for me since although a million people offered I didn’t take anyone up on their dinner offer and I haven’t eaten anything since lunch time. I’m starving! But I keep telling myself that if I’m not gaining weight eating junk all day maybe I’ll lose a bit while here! The hospital diet!

Also, we are for sure not going home today which means I need to make a run home for more clothes. Today I’m wearing my Shoot for Seamus t-shirt b/c I swear that little man brings me luck!

All in all I’m just tired. But I’ve almost got this calm resolve going on that would let me stay here for a month. It’s like I’ve given up. She’s better here than home if she’s still this sick so I’ve stopped thinking about going home. That way, when they actually tell us we can it will be like a big surprise party or something!

I hope you all go do something fabulous this weekend!

And as always, thanks for the prayers. My friend Lyndsay blogged hers HERE which made me cry early this morning. Thanks Lynds. And everyone!