Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Well Thanksgiving this year is not at all what we had planned. Our plan was to have David's parents, grandmother, and his brother's family come to our house from Atlanta and spend 4-5 days with us. We were super excited to have them all here and watch our kids get to know our nephews. It's been a year since they have all seen each other and at their age, they have no memory of that last meeting. Anyways, everyone was able to come and have fun, but Chloe and I missed out on the first 2 days of activities. We were in the hospital until the day after Thanksgiving. But, when we got home, we had lots of great quality bonding time. Chloe and William played great together and Gage and Brody kind of got left out and played by themselves a lot. That was okay though because they are two of the most "go with the flow" boys I've ever seen. We had a great time with David's brother and sister-in-law and were able to catch up after a crazy busy year for everyone. I so wish we lived closer to family so that our kids could grow up around their extended family. That's one thing that I look back and cherish about my childhood. I did live close to my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins etc... I spent the night with my Nannie every Friday night and played with my cousins all of the time.

Anyways, staying true to my personal holiday tradition, Chloe and I woke up Thursday morning and talked about what we are thankful for. Here's the list to the best of my memory:
Chloe - mommy, daddy, Brody, cabot (the dog), trees, Jesus, Dr. Seawell, blankie, flowers, her birthday party
Me - JESUS and my relationship with Him, my wonderful family who have been my lifeline through this year, my health (never again to be taken for granted), my amazing friends who have supported me through the hardest year of my life, our military and their families who sacrifice so much for us everyday, my amazing team of doctors and nurses at Vanderbilt Cancer Center, and again, my Jesus because without Him I would have never made it through this great test of faith and suffering... I just really love Him!

I hope that all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and took the time to reflect on the blessings in your lives and not focus on the circumstances that may be less than pleasurable right now.

I'll post some pictures from the weekend when my sister-in-law gets them emailed to me.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Update on Chloe

Well, it was a rough night for Chloe. Her oxygen levels dropped to 85% so she required a good amount of oxygen. We will be here until she can get through a night without needing oxygen. Her pediatrician came by this morning and said on average that means 2-3 days. If we are lucky, we'll go home tomorrow afternoon, but it may be Friday. So...Chloe and I may be getting some delivery service from David for our Thanksgiving meal. He's frying a turkey and his mom is cooking the sides. Yum! Keep the prayers coming. Chloe is so crazy bored in here and jacked up from the steroids and Albuterol that it's hard to settle her.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I Should Be Sleeping But...

I can't. Instead I am sitting in a twin size hospital bed with my sweet Chloe watching her as she struggles to breathe. Watching her monitor as her oxygen level goes down into the 85% range. Watching her IV fluids drip into her little hand. And what do I think of? I think of Jesus watching her too. He's watching over her tonight and I know that...but I still can't sleep.
On Sunday night, Chloe started with a fever and coughing. By Monday morning, her temp was over 102 and she was struggling to breathe. That afternoon I took her to her pediatrician, had lots of tests done and came to the conclusion that she has a very bad pneumonia on her whole right side. We came home with instructions on how often to do her breathing treatments and an antibiotic as well. By 4:00 AM this morning, Chloe was yelling that she needed her breathing treatment. I brought her into our room and started her Albuterol immediately. I also called the doctor on call and let her know what was going on...a respiratory rate of 60 even after the breathing treatment, retractions, and wheezing with crackles. She told me to give another breathing treatment right away to see if 2 made a difference. I did that and since it worked a little we were able to hold off on bringing her to the doctor till 8:00. A Rocephin shot, 2 more breathing treatments and a steroid shot later, we still ended up in the peds unit at Gateway.
Pray for Chloe that her lungs start to heal soon. Pray that she gets some rest tonight in longer increments than 30 minutes. And finally pray for me as I sit here and watch her with a desperation like none other to just be able to switch places with her so that she could feel better.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Birthday Girl!

My sweet girl turned 3 this past Sunday! It was such a fun day...yet a little sentimental too. I cannot believe that she is already 3. It literally seems like yesterday that I was holding her for the first time and falling in love with her instantly. I remember her crazy long jet black hair that she had at birth and the doctor telling me that he had never seen a baby with that much hair. I remember not wanting to sleep in the hospital because I didn't want to miss anything with her. I remember the pure fear that set in while we were driving home from the hospital with her. I remember her first bath at home and how she HATED it but calmed down immediately when I picked her up for cuddles. I remember her milestones and how I worried that she would never I worry that she won't stop talking :)
The past 3 years have been 3 years of more love, learning, and laughter for us in our household. I'm so blessed to have a daughter who is passionate about everything and has so much love in her heart.

Here are some pictures from her birthday. She had her party at the Jump Zone this year. She has lots of little friends now so I let her choose who she wanted to invite. Unfortunately, her list consisted of about 17  names, however we put the limit to 10. Everyone had a blast - including the parents. I think several us want to have adult birthday parties there. There are lots of pictures - just warning you.

The nursery care center that we got for her. She LOVES this thing

Giving baby a bath

Brody playing at the party before he was brave enough to hit the jumping things and slides

FUN TIMES coming down the slide

Her school buddy Aiden. How adorable is he and his hair?!?

Our friend Erin's baby - Braxton.

Sonya and her son Cedric

Chloe's friend Miguel getting ready to go down the slide

Me and Brody

And Brody going down by himself. He LOVED it. Such a little daredevil.

Jeremy and Cross coming down the biggest and fastest slide there.

Miguel, Kirk, Sydney and Chloe having a race through the obstacle course

Me and my girl - she's being silly

Miguel, Aiden and Aiden ready for cake

Everyone ready

Singing Happy Birthday

The Tinkerbell cake

Brody sitting on the inflatable throne

Brody LOVING the cupcake. He was a MESS!!!

Opening gifts

OK - in order from the front then left to right...Brody, Cross, Aiden, Miguel, Natasha, Sydney, Kirk, Chloe, Aiden - and you can't see Cedric.

After the party we came home and played tea party FOREVER.

Play Date

Last Monday, my friend Kelly came over to have a play date. These generally are more for us moms but the kids always have fun too. On this day, she was watching another friend of ours son along with her own so Chloe had 2 friends over. They all played perfectly together and Caleb really took a liking to Chloe. Here are some pics from our fun morning.

Caleb, Brody and Chloe being playful on the chair

Indoor picnic - Chloe, Caleb, and Cross

Goodbye hugs from Chloe to Caleb

All three friends hugging goodbye - so sweet

Saturday, November 7, 2009


That is how far I ran today. That's right...I ran my first ever Half-Marathon! It was exciting, nerve-wrecking, painful, miserable, thrilling, and joyous all at the same time. Honestly, the first 10 miles were okay, then at mile 11 I went into "let's just get this over with -I'm never doing this again" mode. BUT THEN...after seeing my hubby at the finish line cheering me on, seeing lots of friends cheering me on at the sidelines, and a LOOOOONG hot epsom salt bath at home, I have decided to undertake another one in March or April. I guess it's true that races are addicting as I've already researched when the next one close to us is.
Here are some pictures from the day.

Me and Erin before the race

Before the race

Erin and I are the pair right behind the second telephone pole. At this point we had about 0.1 miles to go

Crossing that beautiful finish line



The medal pose

Awesome Name Frames

I just wanted to show off these name frames that I had made. A sweet girl (whom I've never met but know I would be friends with in real life) has a blog that I came across one day. She makes these amazing name frams. They each have my children's name on them, their birth stats, and the life verse that I chose for them. They are hand made and you can choose your colors.
Check out her blog. Her name is Emily and she does great work! See for yourself...

close up

Friday, November 6, 2009

Asthma Has Become Our Life

In the past 3 weeks, Chloe has had 3 asthma attacks. This is a new diagnosis for her and for us meaning we are still trying to get it under control and figure out exactly what all of her triggers are. This past attack which happened Monday was the scariest! She woke up Monday morning breathing 64 times/minute, wheezing, retracting, and having trouble getting out complete sentances. I gave her a dose of Albuterol, her regular Pulmicort neb, a dose of Prednisolone and then 30 minutes later another Albuterol. I called the doctor in the midst of all of this and took her in right then. Her oxygen level was still only 95 despite all of the meds so they watched her for a while and sent us home when her breathing slowed to the 40s. I ended up bringing her back at 3:00 because she was breathing in the 50s and working hard at it. They gave us the option to take her to Vanderbilt or watch her closely at home. Since I did Peds ICU nursing, I felt comfortable bringing her home and knew that we would just put her in the car if she worsened and get her to Vandy. She ended up making it through the night okay with breathing treatments about every 3 hours. Since then, we have weaned off of the Albuterol but are still on her maintenance nebulizer of Pulmicort, still taking the oral steroid twice/day and taking Singulair which is an allergy medicine used in asthmatics. SCARY!!! So, since this is now her life (hopefully she will outgrow it though) I did research and wanted to share this info with our friends and family. All of this is from the Mayo Clinic so it's very accurate and informative.

Childhood asthma and adult asthma have the same underlying cause — inflammation (swelling) of the airways. This inflammation makes the airways overly sensitive. When asthma flares up, airway muscles constrict, the lining of the airways swell, and thick mucus fills the bronchial tubes, leading to asthma symptoms.
Childhood asthma can be very disruptive, causing bothersome daily symptoms that interfere with play, sports, school and sleep. In some children, unmanaged asthma can cause serious or even life-threatening asthma attacks.

Common childhood asthma symptoms include:
■Coughing (check)
■A whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling  (check)
■Shortness of breath (check check)
■Chest congestion or tightness (check)
■Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing (check)
■Bouts of coughing or wheezing that get worse with a respiratory infection such as a cold or the flu (check)
■Delayed recovery or bronchitis after a respiratory infection (no)
■Fatigue or trouble breathing during active play or exercise — signs of exercise-induced asthma (no)

 Asthma triggers differ from child to child and include:
■Viral infections such as the common cold
■Allergens such as dust mites, pet dander, pollen or mold
■Tobacco smoke or other environmental pollutants
■Weather changes or cold air
Asthma may cause a number of complications, including:

■Severe asthma attacks that require emergency room visits or even hospitalization
■Permanent narrowing of the bronchial tubes (airway remodeling)
■Side effects from long-term use of some medications used to stabilize severe asthma (oral corticosteroids)
■Slightly slowed growth in children caused by long-term use of inhaled corticosteroids

The Albuterol and Pulmicort nebulizer treatments

Sweet girl holding her own mask (she won't wear it)

Oral steroid

Singulair - for allergies is taken during the day and for asthma is taken at night...interesting

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Salon Blevins

Two nights ago Chloe and I decided to have "Salon Blevins" night. It was so fun. I gave her a manicure and she gave me lots and lots of bright pink nail polish on my nails and fingers. Actually, I have to admit that to not even be 3 quite yet, she did an amazing job of nail painting.

Getting ready to paint

In the process...deep concentration

Mommy, QUIT taking pictures

Up close of her painting my nails

The finished product


Halloween was lots of fun this year. Chloe dressed as Minnie Mouse and Brody was probably the cutest monkey on the face of the earth. Really...he was! We started out at 5:00 and were back home at 6:30 or so. Before leaving our house though, we went over the rules.
1. Hold Mommy or Daddy's hand at all times
2. Ring the doorbell only 1 time
3. Say trick-or-treat
4. Say thank you.

At the first house we came to, Chloe followed all of the rules...except #4. Instead of thank you, she said "I want more please." I reminded her of what she was supposed to say and she said it then whined that she wanted more. I explained that we go to lots of houses and will get more candy as we go. So then our routine was follow rules 1-4 then immediately say "let's go to next house." Brody was totally into going up to the doors also but as soon as someone would come to the door, he would cry and want to be picked up.

After we got home, the kids both dumped out their loot and dug into the candy. We discovered that Brody loves suckers and Chloe loves nearly everything called candy. Here are some pics. Enjoy our kids.