Monday, August 31, 2009

It's Good to be Two!

As I write these words, I still can't believe that they are true.  It feels like such a short time ago that I gave birth to Audrey, and yet now she is a walking, talking, independent toddler.  Goodness how time flies...
On Saturday, August 22nd we celebrated Audrey's second birthday.  We had a "Backyardigans" BBQ at the house, inspired by Audrey's favorite cartoon.  Like many insane Mom's (you know who you are) I tried to go all out - which resulted in sheer panic the night before the party (see cupcakes down below).  Luckily everything turned out better than I expected and most importantly Audrey had an absolute blast.  She loved being the center of attention and opening all her gifts almost as much as she loved her Pablo and Uniqua mylar balloons.  The party was deemed a success and Audrey went to bed that night with a smile on her green frosting stained face.  Here are some pictures of the party...   

Daniel, Audrey's BFF.  He is only 2 days younger than her!

My Dad holding Oliver.  Can you tell that he is teething?

Linda (Josh's Mom) holding Oliver.

My Backyardigans Fruit Bar 
(a fruit for every character based on their color)
I know, I know, a bit cheesy - but hey!  I stuck to the theme people!

The Cupcakes
Oh, the story I could write about these cupcakes.  They deserve their own blog.  Seriously.  I really wanted a Backyardigans cake to stick with the theme, but I couldn't find anywhere.  So, I thought that I would make my own cupcakes.  I mean, the instructions that I found looked easy enough... how hard could it be?  Ha! I don't know how I could have been so naive!  Needless to say, when I got done at 1 am the next morning I packed them up in Tupperware so that they wouldn't go stale.  Good news is they didn't.  Bad news is THEY MELTED!!  Everything fell off the top.  Josh came upstairs that morning of the party and said (while he handed me my beloved Starbucks) "You need to prepare yourself..."  Once the shock wore off, I threw them in the fridge, and did some damage repair right before people arrived.  

Audrey's Cupcake (Pablo is her favorite)

Her first bite...

...devouring it...

"Mama Messy"

My Mom playing with Audrey.  They gave her one of her favorite toys: a tunnel.

Linda coming through the tunnel, with Jeff holding Oliver.

Our Family Photo for the day.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

It Had To Be Done

For those of you who don't know, Audrey HATES to have anything done with her hair.  Absolutely hates it.  For example, whenever I try to just simply comb her hair (so that she doesn't look like a red-headed step-child) she pitches a fit so huge that one would thing I am severely beating my child.  As a result of this behavior, Josh and I have just left her alone.  That is until a couple of days ago.  Audrey desperately needed her hair cut.  Her cute little curls had turned into an uncontrollable mop on her head.  We knew that getting her hair cut was going to be quite the traumatic experience for us all, but it had to be done.  Here are some before, during and after pictures of the event.  Enjoy!

A couple of days before the dreaded hair cut...

Josh holding Audrey down during the hair cut.  I know this sounds bad, but I was laughing as I was taking the photo.  One day when she asks me why I never did anything with her hair I will be able to show her this picture and say "this is why!"

The after picture.  Once the lady stopped cutting her hair she instantly quite crying.  Here she is pictured at home.  She even let us put a bow in her hair!!  

Thursday, July 30, 2009

20 Months of Audrey

During my "Blog Vacation" I made the following video for my Mom for Mother's Day.  It is full of video clips of Audrey, who was 20 months old at the time set to a groovy and classic song.  It really was a lot of fun to make, and I kinda always wanted to share it on my blog, so here it is!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Our Salt Lake City Weekend

This past weekend we went to Salt Lake City to spend some time with my family & friends and to have Oliver baptized.  It turned out to be such a good weekend - even though it was a quick one.  We were only in town for 5 days, but what a whirlwind it was!  Every night we had something planned (with the exception of Thursday night, the first night we were in town.)  While I was packing to go home on Monday morning I paused for a moment... I was amazed at all that we had done and all of the people that we got to see and spend time with.  It was a lovely visit that felt much to short.  Here is a recap of our Salt Lake City Weekend:

Friday: A Friendly BBQ

It had been a while since I had been back home (7 months to be exact) and I really wanted to get together with some of my friends.  Everyone brought their loved one and kids (oh, and a dish to share!)  The kids out numbered the adults!  We all seemed to have a good time and enjoy each other's company.  It was such a fun night!

Saturday Morning: Farmer's Market

It's a tradition: every Saturday morning my parent's go to the Farmer's Market in downtown Salt Lake.  The highlight: Carne Asada Taco's from Junior's for breakfast.  There are no words to describe just how good they are... UM-UM, GOOD!
Mom and Kate at the Market
Kate, Oliver and Me.
Oliver's Baptism

It was really important to me to have my children baptized at St. Patrick's Parish, the church that I was baptized in, were I went to church at growing up, and the place that Josh and I were married at.  Audrey was baptized there when she was three months old, and now we were returning for Oliver's baptism.  The love and support that we received from family and friends was amazing.  Josh's parent's flew in for the baptism, along with dear friends of ours, Ted and Amy Archer who are co-God Parent's to Oliver.  Oliver looked so darling in his little white outfit.  He was an absolute angel during the service.  He didn't cry once, not even when the holy water was poured over his head!  

Our Little Family

  Oliver is pictured here with his God Parent's: 
Ted and Amy Archer, and Anna and Chris Rogers

 Anna is holding Oliver while I put on his little cap...

Oliver and I after the baptism - look at how wet his hair got!

Sunday: Our Family Reunion

Every year my Dad's family gets together for a reunion at Washington Park located in Emigration Canyon.  The turn out this year was the biggest that I had seen in years!  I had a really good time catching up with all of my cousins and showing off my darling little family.  

One big happy family!

Oliver and his cousin Gavin (they were born a day apart!)

This picture was an important one for my Grandpa. 
In this picture is everyone that was named after him.

As you can see, to say that we had a busy weekend is an understatement!  At one point my Mom looked at me and said "Boy, you are a lot of work when you come into town!"  We all really enjoyed ourselves though.  It turned out to be a fun and memorable weekend... it was everything that I had hoped it would be.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

We’re back…and with a new addition!

Yes, it has been awhile. 5 months to be exact.  Everyday I promised myself that today would be the day I would update our blog… only to remember at the end of the day (often times while I was watching So You Think You Can Dance) that I forgot – Arg!  It is official: I am the world’s worst procrastinator!  So, without much ado, let me tell you what my little family has been up to in the past months (I must warn you: we have been pretty busy!!) …oh, and did I mention that we have a new addition to our family?  We do!

Introducing Our New Love: 

Mr. Oliver

Our precious baby boy was born on April 7th at 11:14 pm.  He made his way into this world a bit early: I was originally due on April 22nd.  My water actually broke (seriously, who does that happen to?!)  My labor went really well, and I am proud to say that I was able to have a natural birth.  However, I do admit that there were times that I was questioning my decision against an epidural.  I kept saying to Josh “I WANT DONE.  GET ME DONE!”  After 23 hours of labor though, I was done and our precious baby boy entered the world.  Oliver has been such a delight, and has brought so much joy to our little family.  Audrey is ever the proud sister, wanting to give “brother” constant hugs and kisses.  She is quick to alert me when he cries “Uh-oh… Mama!”  Seeing the two of them interact makes my heart sing.  He coos and smiles and her, and she squeals and laughs at him.  I often find myself thinking “These are my children.  I am a mother of two.  How did that happen?”  Then I smile and think that it has never been better: I feel so complete.

The following pictures were taken when Oliver was 6 days old.

Has It Really Been Three Months?

April gave way to May, and May lead into June.  During those three months we took the kids to the Zoo and Six Flags Marine World.  Audrey graduated from The Little Gym (her gymnastics class that she takes on Thursday mornings) and we welcomed my parents and sister into our home as guests for some good ol’ family time.  It does not seem like much, but trust me: I feel like we have been going a mile-a-minute!  Oh yes, and then there was Disneyland….

Disneyland with the Rogers

The last weekend in June Josh, Audrey, Oliver and I flew down to Southern California to go to Disneyland with my dear friend Anna and her family.  It was a quick visit (two days in Disneyland, one night at a hotel, two flights in as many days) but we sure did have a good time.  It was so much fun to see Anna & Chris and their darling kids.  Coz & Buddy took such good care of Audrey, and it was nice to have another set of adults to tag team the kids.  Even though technically the kids out numbered us, five to four, we showed ‘em who was boss - right Anna?  Just teasing, the kids were angels (yes, even Audrey… with the exception of the flight down there… now that is another story!)  On our last day there right before we were going to leave I couldn't shake the thought that Anna and I were here on vacation with our little families.  I mean, I met Anna when we were 12 years old, and now we are vacationing together?  It felt like such a dream.  A fun dream, but a dream nonetheless. 

Looking Ahead

Alright, I promise to get my act together people.  There are so many fun things that we have planned for this summer that I will be so bummed if I don’t get a chance to share them with you here. Please stay tuned to see what we will be doing next.  After all, you never know what can happen with a family of four!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

28 Weeks and Counting

I have hit a milestone in my pregnancy: I a 28 weeks pregnant, therefore I have FINALLY entered into my third and final trimester.  YAHOO!  Throughout this pregnancy, I have been reading a funny yet informative book titled The Pregnancy Countdown Book.  It is a day-to-day pregnancy book filled with tips, advice & "uncensored truths."  Today I sat down to read what it had to say about entering this stage of pregnancy....
The Pregnancy Countdown Book: Nine Months of Practical Tips, Useful Advice, and Uncensored Truths

"Besides the continued growth and development of your baby, the third trimester ultimately serves one purpose: To make you so uncomfortable, so over it, so tired, so achy, so bitchy, so itchy, and so freakishly huge, that you will do anything to get the baby out of you, including pushing it out of a place where a tampon once felt gigantic.  This is mother Nature's way of inspiring you at the end of your pregnancy, even though we spend the previous eight months thinking, "Okay, how is this going to happen again?"


Yes, I know that I am huge.  Even for my size.  No, I am not having twins... and yes, IT IS rude to ask that question!!!  Oh, and by the way: I am due in April - not tomorrow or next week.  Please try to conceal your shock.

Yesterday I spent all day in my pajamas.  I could either be found in my bed, on the couch down stairs, or the couch upstairs.  I slept in.  Slept while Audrey watched her cartoons... and while she napped.  This morning was the first time I brushed my teeth - since Wednesday!

I love my chiropractor.  There is nothing more to say.

As you may have guessed, I am just a little touchy about my ever growing size.  I know that people mean well, and that they just want to strike up a conversation with you, but I am hear to tell you that unless you are going to tell me that I am glowing or look perfect for my size, I DON"T WANT TO HEAR IT.  Please think people before you speak to a pregnant woman.  Oh, and yes, my husband would agree that I am a bit on the bitchy side....

Thankfully this one has not become a problem.  yet.

Today I had a conversation with a woman at my chiropractor's office.  It went like this:
Her: "When's your due date?  April?"
Me: "Yup"
Her: "Wow... you still have a way's to go..."
Me: "Yes, I do"
Her: "Geez, I guess this is going to be a really big baby for you then..."

Need I say more?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Look Back: Remembering Our 2008 New Year's

With the coming of this new year upon us, I have been deep in thought about where my little family was this time last year.  One year ago today on January 10, 2008, Josh and I brought Audrey home from an eleven day stay at the Pediatric ICU center at Sutter Memorial Hospital.  With many of you being familiar with what happened, I'm sure you remember that Audrey came down with Infant Botulism, a very rare disease, also known as an orphan disease in the medical community.  About only 100 infants are infected per year in the United States, and our Audrey just happened to be one of them.  In case you are not familiar with Infant Botulism (trust me, most people have never even heard of it) an infant contracts Infant Botulism by breathing in a spore that was released into the air.  These spores live within the earth, and become airborne when there is movement to the soil.  This could be from construction, digging, tilling, farming, etc.  Once the infant breathes in that spore, and for that spore to take root in the body, the infant needs to have a comprised immune system at the time, and they also need to be constipated.  If all of these conditions occur at the same time, creating the "perfect storm", the spore begins to attack the infant's nervous system, shutting it down - thus leaving the infant basically paralyzed.  Our Audrey started to act strange on the 30th of December. At first she had a hard time nursing, almost like she had forgotten how.  By the next day, Audrey had lost all ability to hold her head up on her own; it was flopping from side to side like a newborns.  We took her in to the doctor, who referred us to Sutter Memorial Hospital, and when we arrived, we were told that our room we almost ready.  "Our room is almost ready?" I remember thinking in a haze.  I was so confused.  By this time we still did not know what was wrong with Audrey, but we knew that whatever it was, wasn't normal.  I remember being escorted to the room and walking into the Pediatric ICU.  Panic shot through me, and I remember trying to stay calm.    When Dr. Smith arrived to examine Audrey, he asked us a few questions about her, examined her to test her strength (with was almost gone by this point) and said "Excuse me while I grab a chair.  I need to discuss your daughter's diagnosis with you."  Instantly I thought, "is this going to be the worst day of my life?"  When Dr. Smith sat down he told us that he thought Audrey had Infant Botulism.  He explained what it was, and emphasized the fact that Audrey was going to be okay; most children who contract Infant Botulism make a full and complete recovery.  She just needed to have a single shot of a drug.  He told us that we may be here for a bit, but that because we caught it in enough time her prognosis looked good.  He went to order the drug (the hospital did not carry it), and Josh and I began making plans for the night - our New Year's Eve.  It was only over the course of the next couple of days, did I become to realize just how scary Infant Botulism is, and how very lucky and blessed we were with our precious Audrey.  This is what I learned:
  • Like I previous mentioned, Infant Botulism shuts down your ENTIRE nervous system, leaving the infant paralyzed.  The process happens within a matter of hours.  This is why infants suddenly can't nurse (they loose their ability to suck), and this is also why most infants who contract Infant Botulism are put on a respirator.  With the ability lost to contract their muscles, infants loose the ability to breathe on their own.  Because Audrey was diagnosed in enough time, this didn't happen to her.
  • Most Doctors are not familiar with Infant Botulism.  The symptoms for Infant Botulism can look almost like anything: not wanting to feed, constipation, & dehydration.  Until you add "lost the ability to hold themselves up" and if you have a doctor who doesn't know what this might mean, the child often gets "lost" in the system.  Luckily we had an experienced Doctor with Audrey who had treated a case of Infant Botulism a couple of years previously.  Most mother's that I have talked to whose child had IB, watched their child get poked and prodded with every test imaginable while they slipped deeper into the disease.  All of their children ended up on a respirator because the doctor's didn't realize what was happening.
  • When Dr. Smith told us that Audrey would need a single shot a drug, and that he had to go and order it because the hospital didn't carry it in stock, I truly didn't grasp what he meant.  The shot that Audrey received is called the Baby BIG shot.  NO hospitals carry this shot; it is kept in Southern California, I'm guessing at the lab where it was created.  When Dr. Smith "ordered" this shot for Audrey, it was personally flown up to Sacramento on New Year's Day where it was hand delivered to the pharmacy and mixed for Audrey.  The hospital had to get clearance to agree to pay for the drug before the drug was even put on the plane.  Wondering what the cost of this drug was?  A shocking $45,000.  FOR ONE DOSE.  However, one dose is all Audrey needed.  The Baby BIG shot was approved by the FDA in 2003.  Before this shot was approved, the average stay in the hospital for a child with IB was roughly six weeks, with a ventilator.  Our stay with Audrey, without a ventilator, was eleven days.  Thank God for modern medicine.
Throughout this entire experience with Audrey, I was beyond humbled by the kindness and generosity of people.  I was also amazed at the strength that both Josh and I mustered.  Those eleven days were undoubtedly the longest of my life.  At times I felt like I was watching my child die before me, and at other times I was celebrating her own little victories ("Look, did you see her grasp the rattle?!).  When Josh and I walked out of that hospital a year ago today, Audrey was quite weak, and still very little, but she was okay.  Within a couple of days she was smiling, laughing, and had returned to herself.  Her doctors warned me that because of the damage done to her nervous system, and because all of her neurons needed to grow back that she will likely miss and be slightly behind on her developmental milestones.  What the doctor's didn't account for was her will and determination.  She never missed one milestone, and even began walking at 11 months.  Our Audrey is a fighter, for that I am sure - and I have never been so proud.  Today she is a busy toddler running around and destroying everything in sight.  She will never remember what she went through, and for that I am grateful.

I felt a strong urge to post this story today.  To honor the memory of those eleven days, knowing that we are so richly blessed.  Thanks for reading & remembering with me.

Audrey & I a couple of days into her hospital stay.

Audrey resting while in her crib at the hospital.

Audrey on January 14th, three days after returning home.

Audrey today - a beaming, happy and healthy little girl.