Tuesday, December 16, 2014


This is currently my favorite picture of the girls.  : )

Sisters that love each other are the very best blessing.  If they have half the relationship that Jessica and I do when they grow up they will be all set!  I have high hopes, they've always been pretty smitten with each other.  What a gift! : )

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Nutcracker

Ava & Auntie Jessica attended the Nutcracker together a few years back in 2012, Ava was almost 5 at the time, and although she enjoyed it, she may have been a little young.  
Here they are 2 years ago, before the show.  
This year Ava was super excited to be invited to attend again with Auntie.
She has been really into ballet lately.  It's kind of her thing...
 Here are the beautiful girls before the show this year.
 Norah had to get in on this action too, if only for a photo. 

 They are so adorable together.  Twinsies.
 I love te-te.
 She's growing up so fast!!
Norah was excited to stay home and play with daddy.  They had a great time together, he is so sweet. 
Jessica sent me this from the show.  

Ava had a blast!

Thank you Auntie Jessica, you're the very best!!  

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

ICU: I honestly didn't see you coming...

The Friday before Thanksgiving I took Ava into the doctors office.  She had been having a dry cough all week and then started in on a runny nose and such.  She seemed to be struggling to breath in the middle of the night but seemed pretty good once she got up.  

I'm always a little on the fence with taking my kids to the doctor since usually they can't do much for them.  Before I called the office I said a little prayer and asked the Lord to make it clear to me what I needed to do to best take care of Ava.  
 I started my advice nurse call with "Ava's breathing has been very labored" and she stopped me right there and said, "We don't mess around with breathing issues, we need to see her right away."  Thanks Lord!  There was my very clear message.  : )  
 I took her in and wasn't too concerned, she seemed relatively fine.  Sick yes, and some asthma issues yes, but nothing too crazy.  

Boy how I underestimated that one.  

First thing they did was check her oxygen levels, she came in at 85.  They gave her a nebulizer treatment & some oxygen and kept rechecking her.  Then they gave her some prednisone, another nebulizer treatment, and more oxygen.  hey just couldn't get her oxygen to stay up, after each treatment it dropped back down again.  I had been texting with Billy telling her what was going on and she asked if they were going to admit her. The thought had not even occurred to me! 

The doctor looked somewhere in between freaking out and trying to look calm.  She asked me if I had anyone who could come be with Norah.  It still didn't totally click, then she finally said it, that she was going to have to admit her.  Of course my first thought was that St. Vincents was in the same parking lot, that we could just take her over there, but she was adamant that she wanted her to go to Emanuel Children's Hospital.  By this time John arrived, just as confused as me.  Thankfully he was close by!  

The best part was as the doctor was trying to hint around what was about to happen, when she finally just spit it out, the whole room filled with princess crowns, wands, stickers, and lollipops, anything she could think of to distract the kiddos from what was surely to be a bit scary.  
 I stood there in shock staring as they loaded my baby into an ambulance, John said something like "I can't believe your not taking pictures of this" and even though that seemed incredibly awkward in the moment, I decided at that point that I should document this crazy event.  
 Looking back now I'm super thankful that I did.  I love these pictures.  They are a perfect glimpse into the scary weekend that made us treasure our little Ava even more.  I know that she belongs to God and that we are blessed to be able to have her here with us, entrusted into our care.  I had total faith she was exactly where she needed to be, getting the very best care she could have.  I knew she would be better before we knew it.  
 Brave girl getting her IV put in, distracted with some Sponge Bob on the TV.  She did so great! 
 This is in the ICU, it was so nice to see her out of bed, coloring.  
 A card for Jessica, "You smell like cake te-te Love, Ava best te-te ever" 
 One of many, many breathing treatments. 
 This tired girl stayed up until 3am before she finally gave in to the idea of "sleeping" that's when the real fun started.  She kept tearing out her breathing tube in her sleep, her alarms would sound, I would try to put it back in and she would freak out.  She got super angry (thank you steroids) and would yell, thrash around, try to curl into a fetal ball, basically do anything to prevent the breathing tube from going back in.  This whole process would inevitably rip out the rest of her monitors, which set off a string of other alarms.  All these things needed to be re-hooked up.  This went on all night.  
 So I got zero sleep and she maybe got a few minutes here and there. 
 This was TJ.  He was awesome!!!  He had such a great sense of humor and tried to keep things fun for Ava.  He kept trying to steal her princess wand insisting that he could use it and that it went much better with his outfit than hers...He was a really great nurse.
 Ava was so sweet, she told me "Even though I'm sick and I don't feel well, I really like it here.  Everyone is so nice and they all really care about the kids and just want them to get well."

She might have to start writing their brochures..
 This hospital is new, the grounds were awesome.  You could tell that they thought of everything.  Many kids have to basically live here for a long time and they try to keep it fun, love that. 
 Ava's teacher sent over a balloon and stuffed animal with a card wishing her well.  She also emailed me dozens of times checking on how Ava was doing.  That really blessed us.  I thought it was so sweet and Ava loved knowing that Mrs. Nelson was thinking about her.  
 Billy stopped by to visit Ava, it was so nice to see her.  Ava had many visitors throughout the weekend, even before we left the ER both Grandma & Jessica arrived.  Linda was next bringing a wonderful Thai dinner which was really great as we were all starving.  The next morning Chris, D'Auna, Alayah, Kim, Abby, visited bringing me yummy Starbucks lattes and Jessica returned with a nice lunch.  
Ava was eventually moved out of ICU to stay one more night in a regular room.  
 She was diagnosed with Enterovirus, which is pretty common but can be very scary.  Not a great combo with asthma, the whole ER staff kept reiterating just how sick she had gotten.  They said that they had seen about 80 kids that day for respiratory issues and she was by far the sickest of the bunch.   They also said she was really lucky she took an ambulance because it was imperative that she be kept on oxygen.  They kept stressing how very sick she was and how lucky that she got to the hospital before it got any worse.  Scary.
 They did everything they could for her and she quickly started to make some real progress and started to look like our little Ava again, totally getting her spunk back. 
 Here's a screen shot of face-timing with our little Norie Bug, we missed her so much!! She got to stay all weekend at grandma's house.  (Thanks mom for taking care of her, she loved it and can't wait to go back!)
 Once Ava finally lost all the tubes and wires I got to crawl in bed with her.  It was blissful.  

We had many more visitors, Kristen, Gordy, Martha, Julia, it was so sweet and Ava really appreciated all the love.  
 Ava was so funny, on the last day I thought maybe I could take a quick shower while we waited to be released from the hospital.  I asked Ava if she would mind if I take a shower as she was busy playing on the awesome TV/Game Center thing.  She thought about it a second then said "No, I would really like you to just stay with me."  I asked her if she realized where the shower was located and she assured me that she knew it was right there, in sight from where she was sitting, she just didn't want me to leave her side.  

I couldn't argue this point.  I honestly haven't felt more needed as a mom EVER than the duration of these few days in the hospital.  I can't imagine being anywhere else.  

 Thank you everyone for all the kind words, prayers, texts, the lattes, the delicious food delivered to us, but most of all the love!!  We were all really feeling the love!!
 What's your favorite animal?  "A dolphin, or a cat" or a cat riding a dolphin?  Yes please.  haha sweet nurses!!
Love seeing our little Ava back to herself and so happy to be going home!!  
Seriously?  Haven't we played enough doctor for awhile??  
Thank you God for this girl and for our village that surrounds her with love.  We are grateful for all of you!!