Wednesday, July 28, 2010

We Saw SuperMan

On our way home from St. Louis, we stopped off at Metropolis, Illinois - the home of SuperMan! The kids were excited to see the 15 foot statue of SuperMan. Of course, I grabbed a few shots of our time there...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Broken Collarbone and A Nursemaid Elbow

So, I've mentioned before, but this is not the summer vacation that we all had planned. Our travel plans changed with the preparation for surgery and then everything else that had been planned also changed when we realized that I was taking the slow route to recovery. We've stayed in most days and the kids have had fun in a little pool out back. This summer has been hot and I am thankful that we've been able to spend some of that time indoors.

A few weeks ago, I had finally "rounded the corner" and was feeling great! We had a Marriage Matters Conference at church and I was looking forward to getting out for the first time since my surgery. The kids all took their naps and I put on makeup for the first time in weeks. For some reason during nap time, I turned on Jackson's baby monitor. His monitor had been off for months, but I flipped the switch on and heard his sounds of sleep. I stayed in my room that day and curled up with a good book to read. The house was quite, I was feeling good, I was looking forward to getting out of the house and things were looking up. I then heard a big thud on the floor followed by a cry. I took off to Jackson's room and when I opened his door I found him sitting up in his bed crying. He immediately laid back down when I came over to him and I started rubbing his back. He didn't have a hard cry, but his cry was pretty pitiful (like something was wrong). I thought that he had been disturbed in his sleep and was having a hard time going back. I kept asking if he was okay, but he didn't really say much. It ended up that he got up from his nap and kind of took it easy. I could tell that something wasn't right, but I couldn't figure it out.

Jason came home that afternoon and just like he always does, went in to pick up Jackson and greet him with a big hug and kiss. Jackson immediately cried as soon as Jason touched him. I recounted the event during nap time to Jason and we looked all around his arm/shoulder area for any signs of something being wrong. He seemed fine and so we went on and got ready to leave for church. Jason took us to Cracker Barrel for dinner and I noticed that Jackson was much more quiet and reserved while eating. I still couldn't figure it all out. We made it to church and Jackson went on to be with the kids. As soon as we finished I was told that Jackson hadn't been acting like his normal self and that he had cried anytime someone tried to pick him up. Someone else tried to pick him up and he cried. At this point, I was beginning to try and piece it all together but didn't really know what could be wrong with him. We went out for frostys with some friends and he seemed just fine. He did not want to be touched at all when trying to get into the truck or into his car seat.

Of course, Jason and I talked about it all the way home. As soon as we got the twins to bed, we took a good look at Jackson with his shirt off before putting on his pajamas. Jason was feeling all over his arm/shoulder area and that is when Jackson cried out in pain like I have never heard! It was horrible. We did a quick google search on collarbones and thought that his symptoms sounded identical. We made the decision to take Jackson to the ER because of the possibility of a vein being punctured, which was listed as a reason to have it checked out. I couldn't stand staying home and not going with Jackson to the hospital, but who are you supposed to call that late at night.

Turns out, Jackson had a very small hairline fracture to his right collarbone. He was such a brave little guy at the hospital and did great. They gave him some pain medicine and braced his arm in a sling and wrap. They ordered that his arm be immobilized and told Jason that it was a very common thing in children and that they are so resilient and heal very quickly. We met with an orthopaedic doctor a few days following and he said that he was doing great. We go back to see the doctor in a few weeks now and he'll do more x-rays to make sure his collarbone is healed.

17 days later, and we have another injury in our house. This time, Joshua was trying to help Jackson up onto the couch. I think that it must have been the angle at which he was pulling, but Jackson screamed out in pain and came running to me. I asked him if everything was okay and he seemed to be fine. It was only a few short minutes after that he immediately stopped using his left arm. I called Jason and once again thought that something was wrong, but if he had broken something that we would know, but it didn't seem like something could be wrong with a pull. I finally convinced myself to put in a call to the doctor's office and ask if we should come see them or go to the ER. He didn't complain about pain, like something that would need immediate help at the ER. However, we had just been down the road with the broken collarbone and we hadn't even realize that he had done something that serious. They scheduled for us to come in that afternoon and we met with the doctor and he wanted us to go back and see his orthopaedic doctor the next day. All throughout that day, Jackson refused to use his left arm. We got up the next morning and made our way back to the doctor's office. As soon as I got Jackson out of the van, he reached up to hold my hand (with the arm he had refused to use the previous day). I asked if his arm felt better and he said that it did. I felt really happy about it, but at the same time felt a little weird about going into the doctor's office with no injury. Our doctor confirmed that Jackson had a nursemaid elbow, that his elbow had been dislocated when it was pulled. He said that it was also a common injury in children and that if it happened again to just come in to see them. Jackson had somehow manipulated his arm back into place, healing his own nursemaid elbow.

We have had our fair share of medical problems this summer. Jackson is such a tough little guy and we've come to find out that he has a very high tolerance for pain. He is strong, just as we prayed for him to be. Hopefully this will be the end of all these little injuries. Someone gave the kids the game Operation for their birthday. Given all that we've been through this summer, I can't imagine a more perfect game for our family.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Please note: I wrote this to record my memories. It's what really happened to me, so some parts might be a little gross. :) You've been warned!

This has not been our ideal summer. I went into summer vacation knowing about my upcoming surgery. I've mentioned this before, but in case you don't know: I have Crohn's Disease. I've had it for almost 11 years. When you have an auto-immune disorder, you learn to tolerate chronic pain. In fact, you begin to think that particular pain level is the norm. Unlike some people, my life has not been severely disturbed with Crohn's. Sure, I've had to take lots of medicine over the years. At one point I was on about 21 pills, then I had 4 hour IV therapy treatments every 6 weeks there for awhile, and most recently I've had 2 monthly shots into each leg. The time had finally come to explore surgical options. My body had been on the newest, latest breaking, expensive medicines and it was no longer working. With an auto-immune disease, you are constantly fighting a battle against medicine because your body works at attacking the help that comes in. It can become quite tiresome and frustrating trying to find something that will work and then hoping that your body will continue to accept the medicine and not build up antibodies to it. I never let my Crohn's slow me down and even a few days before my scheduled surgery date, I was still trying to convince myself that I was alright and didn't need to have anything removed. That's just who I am. :)

Anyways, we met with a couple of different surgeons and settled on one in Nashville. My mom works with this doctor and he is known for being one of the best in the Nashville area. We were able to steal away to the beach for a few days as soon as school was out and really enjoyed our time away. I had to start my prep the Sunday that we were at the beach. That meant no food!!! At the beach!!! I was on a clear liquid diet for 5 days before surgery. I don't think that I will ever eat Jello or Popsicles again! On top of the liquid diet, I had to drink 1 bottle of  magnesium citrate the 3 days leading up to surgery. It was horrible! I had to go this route because my body can't tolerate the other prep that most people get - you know the gallon jug where you have to drink 8oz. every 10 minutes (or something crazy like that). I don't make it past the 2nd cup....

We made all of our arrangements for the kids and took off to Nashville the Wednesday before my surgery (Thursday). Joshua had plans to go camping with my sister-in-law, Aunt Tara (the really good cook that has an awesome cooking website - you should check her out). On the ride up we noticed that Joshua started with a dry cough again that wouldn't stop. Jason had just recently taken him to his asthma doctor and she specifically told us to call if he started coughing sooner rather than later. So we did what the doctor ordered and put in a call a few miles outside of Nashville. By the time that we had arrived at the hospital, I was on the phone with the nurses and nurse practitioner back home. The short of this story is that Joshua needed to be on a rescue medicine and his normal nebulizer medicine immediately, which was back home. We were short on time and couldn't find a medical speciality store to purchase a new breathing machine. We quickly made plans for Jason to drive back home and then come right back and for Joshua to stay with a family friend who could carefully attend to all of his medical care.

After our little detour, we settled in to try and sleep when Jason got back up in Nashville at 11:00pm. My surgery went really well. They said that as soon as they opened me up and touched the diseased area of my intestine, that it just started gushing blood and that I definitely needed to have this surgery. I am very fortunate that I did not have something major happen to me before surgery. They went in to remove 12 inches of my intestine and reconnected it with titanium staples. I was sewn up with dissolve-able stitches and steri strips. My recovery in the hospital was slow and long. I ended up with a surface level infection at my incision site. One of the resident physicians came in that morning and opened a small portion of my incision back up to let it heal properly. PAIN!!! I thought that they would just stitch me back up, but at that point they informed me that I would now have to heal from the inside out.

I had finally made a turn around when the infection started to drain out. I ate my first meal the Thursday after surgery. I had been on clear liquids from the Sunday before surgery - a total of 12 days!!! Finally on day 9 I was discharged from the hospital. After being stuck about 27 times with needles, we were excited to be heading home!

The drive home was really painful and when we got home my home health care nurse was there to pack and dress my wound. Jason took a shift of my wound care and became my nighttime nurse. To this date, we are still packing and dressing my wound. It has yet to heal completely and close. I'm still about an inch deep, but am making some progress. Jason has done so much to help me through all of this. My home health care nurse still comes out to the house on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Jason changes my dressing both morning and night and he's done this since we came home on June 11th. I'm feeling really good now and am hopeful to really see how this surgery will help me out in the long run. Everyone that I've spoken with that has either personally had this surgery or knows someone that did, tells me what a world of difference the surgery made in their lives. I am really excited about that!

I received so many phone calls, visits, meals, and cards. I am so thankful for my friends that surrounded me in prayer as soon as we heard the news. I'm thankful for the laughs that were shared when I quickly texted that they were going to "remove a foot" after meeting with the surgeon. Fortunately, I am getting better each day. I'm taking the slow route, but hopefully things will be back to normal before too long.

As if we didn't have enough going on this summer, the excitement doesn't stop there! More to come...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Six Years

We're SIX!!!!!!


Favorite Color: Red
Favorite Superhero: Batman
Favorite Food: Apples
Least Favorite Food: Blueberries
Favorite Sweet: Chocolate with a Kit Kat
Favorite Toy: The Amazing Spiderman
Favorite Show: Baseball
Favorite Song: Jesus Loves the Little Children
Favorite Restaurant: McAlister's
What he wants to do when he grows up: A Cop

Abby Kate

Favorite Color: Purple
Favorite Disney Princess: Snow White
Favorite Food: Eggs and Bacon
Least Favorite Food: Tacos
Favorite Sweet: Gum
Favorite Toy: Baby Dolls
Favorite Show: Max and Ruby
Favorite Restaurant: Rosies
Favorite Song: Blue Skies and Rainbows
Number of teeth lost: 2 
What she wants to do when she grows up: A Nurse

I asked for a picture of all 3 and this is what Jackson gave me. 

My precious blessings

So excited over the movie UP

I love the excitement on his face!

Such a big young man

Make-up and a cosmetic bag!

Abby Kate fell in love with this Barbie when she saw her in the store and begged to have her!

Such excitement over a princess trash can! Yes, a trash can. A few days before her birthday, we moved Abby Kate's desk and art supplies into her bedroom. She loves working at her desk with the door closed (so the boys will leave her alone). She asked us for a trash can so that she could properly dispose of all her garbage. I think that she is trying to see how many times she can fill it up just to dump it out. She definitely makes me laugh.


Abby Kate had a big year! She lost 2 teeth, cut off 10 inches of her hair to donate to Locks of Love, took her first gymnastics class, got glasses, and finished up preschool. She is turning into a little lady that is very independent. She loves nothing more than to help out around the house. She is obsessed with organization, just like her momma. She loves to "hold" real babies. Abby Kate loves swimming and enjoys riding her bike. She is very tender-hearted and gives her heart completely if you've won her over. Her love is one to treasure and adore. She is so sweet to her brothers, but also likes to tell them what to do. She can't stand for anyone to go into her bedroom - she freaks. She would love it if I would just lock up her room for the day so that no one could go in. If something is missing or not right, she stresses over it until it is righted. Abby Kate is full of life and has so much love to share.

Abby Kate, we love you so very much! You are an answer to our prayers. We are so incredibly blessed to have you as our daughter. These past 6 years have gone by so quickly. We pray that you will continue to "delight greatly in the Lord" and that "your soul rejoices in God." Isaiah 61:10

Joshua is full of life and energy! He rises early and plays hard all day long. He loves playing tee ball and cheering on his beloved Cardinals. During football season, Joshua is pulling for the Vols and the Titans. He is a ball obsessed little guy. He looks up to his Daddy more than anyone else. He just can't seem to get enough of him. Joshua has turned into a little eating champ and will eat anything and everything in sight. He is a big helper around the house and he loves to hear words of praise. He is such a sweet brother to Jackson, but they do have their moments where they like to wrestle around. Joshua has really enjoyed playing with Lego's here lately. He can't wait to watch all of the superhero movies with his Daddy either. Joshua has such a pure heart. I love hearing him pray to God. He looks out for Abby Kate and seems to know exactly what she needs. Joshua is also our silly boy! He gets that from his Daddy! Joshua is a sweet little man who loves to make his Momma and Daddy proud.

Joshua, we are so proud of the young man that you are. God blessed our family with you. We feel so blessed to have you in our lives. We can hardly believe that it has already been 6 years since you were born. We want you to remember to "Be strong and courageous and never afraid, the Lord  your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

Monday, July 12, 2010

Our Favorite Place

St. Louis 
I have been traveling to St. Louis to watch the Cardinals play ball with Jason for a little over 14 years. I have so many fond memories of the times that we have shared together. We saw Mark McGuire chase the home run record in '98, we were there when the Cardinals won the National League Championship in Game 7 in '04, we took Joshua and Abby Kate to their first Cardinals game in '05, we saw our last game in the old stadium in '05, we saw our first game in the new stadium in '06, and we took Jackson to his first Cardinals game in '08. We've seen a lot of games and there is nothing more that we love doing as a family than traveling all the way to St. Louis to see our Cardinals play some baseball. Jason and I have always joked that when we retire, we would love nothing more than to be that sweet old couple ushering people to their seats and seeing every game of the season. 

This summer has not been what we had planned, so we wanted to head out of town for a short little get away. The weather couldn't have been more perfect, especially for July in St. Louis. The highs for the first two days were 80 and 81. It was perfect! We were able to catch the Cardinals/Brewers series for 3 games. The kids loved it. Of course, Joshua can't get enough baseball and watched every second of every game with such intensity. He cheered loudly, called every player by his first and last name, and won the hearts of all those around us. Jackson insisted that FredBird was Mickey Mouse and couldn't wait to see where he would pop up next. We were able to go to Build-A-Bear there at the stadium and Jackson made his very own FredBird. Abby Kate enjoyed the game too. She loved munching on the snacks that we brought in and proudly wore her Cardinals' bracelet and necklace that Jason bought her. We enjoyed our time away and our time together!

We caught batting practice during Friday's game. The kids were really hoping for a ball.

Joshua got a ball from Ryan Franklin. He politely called his name and Franklin looked up at Jason and threw a ball to him for Joshua to keep. 

Abby Kate was a bit more shy about asking for a ball, but Franklin took note of our little girl and made sure that she got her own ball too. We were the only ones that got a ball from Franklin. 

Joshua was not too thrilled about the way the Cardinals were playing on Saturday. There is something about this picture that I just love, though.

Till next time...

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Some Funnies

These past few weeks have been crazy busy! I can't wait to update what all has been going on around here. Before I forget though, I wanted to share a couple of funny things that happened today with Joshua and Abby Kate.

I was out running a few errands around town today when we quickly realized that our air conditioning unit was not working in our van. It was HOT!!! The kids were miserable and I was just as miserable. I only have one window that actually rolls down in the minivan. I called Jason and he put in a quick call to Firestone. I was happy and the kids were ready to turn our van in. While waiting at the red light, Abby Kate says, "Hey Mom, why don't you just break the law and run this red light? We are really hot right now!" I thought that was pretty hilarious! We spent the rest of the afternoon out on "the other side of town" waiting for a call about the van. We found out late in the day today that the compressor is out. My van is spending the night away and hopefully tomorrow it will have some A/C. It comes with a pretty price tag though. And this just after we finally paid the thing off!!!

Later in the day, Abby Kate and Joshua had their well child visit to the doctor. This always provides for great entertainment. From the early years of shots and cries that could be heard from the waiting room and did not stop until we were out the door and halfway down the road, to today, where you don't really know what is going to come out of your child's mouth to cause you to laugh. Joshua walked out into the hallway this afternoon to have his vision tested. He quickly told the nurse that he couldn't spell words and didn't know how he was going to do on his test. She reassured him that it was just letters that he had to identify and he went right along with it. Before he began though, he did tell the nurse, "Hey, I do know how to spell "Firestone"." It definitely made us all laugh as I had to tell everyone why my child was so quick to announce to the world that he knows how to spell "Firestone".

I can't wait to update more...