Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Next Few Days

The next few days of our visit were filled with playing lots of games, talking, and eating good food...not to mention that I joined in on some Black Friday shopping, and quite literally froze solid in line outside the store.  So. Dang.Cold.

Anyway, back to the social aspect of our trip.  We had four babies to ooh and ahh over.  Kimble is the oldest baby, with the youngest about 5 months old.


We reserved the church, so that we could all fit for our Thanksgiving dinner.  This was our set-up.


Georgie went to get her own food, and came back with just a few crackers and some cheese spread.  I went back with her and helped her get a decent meal.  Kolby's favorite part of the meal was the sparkling apple cider!

Naturally, I sat next to my BFF.  I love it when I get to see my sister Kim.  Of course I love being with all of my family, but it's no secret that Kim and I are best friends.  The other sisters all tolerate our BFF behavior.


Last year, for Thanksgiving, Mr. Kimble was critically recovering from his heart surgery.  This Thanksgiving, he ate sweet potatoes and wild rice stuffing along with the rest of us.  I'm so thankful that he is doing so well!


For those of you who wondered what I decided to do with all of my leftover breastmilk that I had frozen in the freezer, I brought it up to give to my sister Courtney, for her baby Jordyn, who gobbled it down greedily.  She should have enough for a few months.


Delayed due to the snow storm, Grandma and Grandpa joined us after a few days.  We took some pictures with everyone who was able to come.  Even though we were missing three families, we still had a good size group.  Here are my parents, along with all the grandchildren that were there.


Here is a picture of the entire group.  Now you know why we reserve the church building for our get-togethers!



We always take a goofy picture too.


We had Trevor, Nancy's boyfriend, take our group picture.  Nancy is the baby of the family, and is currently in her first year of college.  Trevor hung out with us most of the week, and I think he liked our family, despite us being pretty crazy.  Then again, he might fit in just fine.


We took the opportunity to exchange Christmas gifts, since we were together.  We rotate through families, so we only have to get presents for one family, instead of twelve.  We also make sure to get our parents a gift.  Here is a Family Tree Quilt that Courtney made, using handprints of everyone in the family.   She did a great job, and my parents loved it.


The next day, we drove back to Colorado, to beat the next storm that was approaching.  I absolutely love being with my family. They are the best!!

Snowed-In Activities

In my previous post, I mentioned that after we got to Idaho, we became, essentially, snowed in at my sister's house.  Roads, freeways, schools and businesses were closed down and everyone was told to stay home unless you had an emergency.  After a few days like that, roads became passable again.  In an effort to get our dozens of children some wiggle room, we all ventured off to the grade school my brother-in-law works at, to play in the gym.


The only problem with that idea, was that we had to leave the warm house, walk through and over the snow drifts, slide across the icy ground, and find our way inside our perspective vehicles and buckle up little kids, all the while battling the fierce wind that brought the balmy 6 degree temperature to a bitter 20 below.  Brrrr.  Here is my brother Jamie, toting a kid, and braving the elements.


As we were waiting our turn to back up out of the driveway, I took lots of pictures.  Here is Jared, who went back inside because he couldn't leave without grabbing his basketballs.


I think poor Sharon got frozen to her driver's side window while waiting for her car to warm up.


I know I already showed this next picture, but I love it so much.  Poor Courtney was out in the wind for about five minutes, and I think she was nearing hypothermia by the time she jumped in the last car.



The country road was so overblown by the wind, that we had a hard time seeing where to drive.


After we got a few miles down the road, and were more "in town", the air was more clear and the wind lessened a bit.  Here is our train of vehicles, waiting for the last car to join up before we continued on to the school.
 Making our way through the snowy path, into the school.



I think Sharon was still frozen.

Waiting for the doors to be unlocked.


 Hooray!  We made it inside!  Let's get all the wiggles out!


Here is a sweet picture of Georgie and my sister (BFF!) Kim.


We played all sorts of "tag" games to get the kids moving.  During freeze tag, I was taking pictures, and then felt my sister Courtney crawl between my legs to "un-freeze" me.  So considerate, even though I wasn't tagged.

We also played cat and mouse tag. Georgie and Addi teamed up together. They are so cute.  Georgie kept my scarf on the entire time, to stay warm, and she even wore my socks on her feet, since her tights were footless.

 Courtney was sportin' some cute knee-high socks. I go weak in the knees over knee-high socks.  Just love them!

After lots of games, some of the family moved on to play Twister.  I had fun calling out the plays, and watching everyone get tangled.


However, no matter what I called out, these three never seemed to be phased.


Then I looked over again at the other playmat, and once again, Kim was all tangled up.


After a few hours at the school, we went back home and fixed dinner for everyone.  Turned out to be a really fun afternoon, even though we had to experience the tundra of southern Idaho on our way there and back.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Snowed In

We arrived in Idaho just before a big storm hit.  Over the next few days, roads and freeways and stores and schools were closed as the storm turned every surface to ice.   Everyone was told to go home and stay there.  Travelers on the interstate were told to "stay put".  In essence, Thanksgiving Day plans changed drastically, due to the weather. 

Luckily, five of my siblings and their families were cozied up and safe, divided between two houses, about 10 miles apart from each other.  However, we still had three families that we were expecting to come down from Washington.  They had to cancel their trip. One more family was coming up from Utah.  They just barely made it.

So, after days of being cooped up in the house, we decided to venture off to let the kids burn off some energy in a nearby school gym (one of my brother-in-laws is a teacher there).  As we loaded up the kids in our vans, passing through the the frigid below-zero stormy conditions, one of my sisters (Courtney) stood at the road and directed all of us to safely navigate through her snowy driveway, and onto the country road just outside her house.  That is when I took this picture.

Hope all of you have had safe travels!  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Between Dream and Awake

I just awoke from a dream where as I was making breakfast, I discovered that The Husband had some chicken broiling in the oven, and alongside it, deliciously melting away, was my cannon rebel digital camera.  While I flipped out, and in anger, started throwing every dish I could find at The Husband (which as a disclaimer, I've never done, nor have I thought about it!), I noticed that we had caught the eye of the velociraptor who had jumped onto the child's gate in the doorway of the kitchen.  I kept the velociraptor occupied by playing fetch, tag, and scratching him under his jaw (while simultaneously keeping my fingers away from his snapping teeth) while The Husband paraded all the kids to the back bedroom where there was a trap door.  Unfortunately for us, the trap door led to a mysterious crack in the earth that was being investigated by Children's Services, and at that moment, they were telling us that it was officially under investigation and quarantine, and we would have to evacuate immediately.  We were very disappointed to have to leave without eating the breakfast I had prepared.

Although I feel like I haven't gotten any sleep at all this night, I obviously did sleep a bit, and boy is my mind racing!  It's now 3am, and after having comforted Kimble most of the night, because he isn't feeling well again (it must be his teeth...he's got a few looming) I always have a crazy night of sleep before a big day.  In just a few hours, everyone will be up and we'll be on the road, beginning our 12 hour car ride to visit family for a week.  I'm excited, and when I'm anticipating something, my mind never lets me rest.

Anyway, as I was holding my sweet cuddly, but very grumpy, Kimble against my chest,  feeling his warmth saturate my skin, smelling his sweet fragrance that is unique to Kimble, and patting his back in the rhythm that I know he likes, I reflected upon what my life was like this time last year.

I had a baby that was just getting prepared for surgery.  We had the weekend to spend waiting for the surgery to happen Monday morning, and I had the urge to savor every moment with him.  Although I was very nervous about the surgery, I had no idea that the hours following it would become, quite frankly, life and death. 

With all the love I had, I held Kimble that pre-surgical night, in the same way that I held him tonight.  Although he has grown into a strong and healthy boy, I can never take for granted the blessing of his life.  We have so much to be grateful for.  Even though tonight, Kimble has kept me awake for different reasons, I'm so thankful that he is actually here to keep me awake, and that I can hold him and love him and have him so deeply a part of my life.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

More Letters

Dear Goodwill,
I am appalled at your prices, as well as your clutter, but this letter is directed at your prices.  You had quite a few dressers, night stands, desks, and tables on display today.  Not one was listed  under 79.99.  I saw one beat-up dresser, that if located at a garage sale, I wouldn't even pay 10 dollars for.  You had it tagged as $149.00.  Absolutely ridiculous.  You should be ashamed of yourself.

Signed,
Not really a fan anymore.

.....
Dear Black Friday Shoppers,
It's been at least ten years since I've been interested in waking up in the middle of the night, just so I can sit outside for a few hours in the freezing cold, only to be practically molested as I try to make my way inside the store by fellow CRAZIES shoppers.  I really hope you all are nice.  The world doesn't need anymore rudeness.

Signed,
Unmotivated Shopper.

.....
Dear JoAnn Fabrics,
I will be attending your Black Friday Sale.  I intend to buy some of your cozy flannel fabric so I can finish making my girls some rag blankets for their beds.  I know they will love this Christmas present. Thank you for having such a great sale, although I really dread the amount of time I will be standing in line at the cutting  table.  Please have lots of employees working, and working efficiently.  I don't need to chat.  Just cut it, give me my receipt, and move on to the next person.  No offense intended.  Everyone wants to get in and get out.

Signed,
Flannel Lover.

.....
Dear Family Members!
I can't wait to see all of you for Thanksgiving!  I can't believe almost all of my side of the family will be together.  It's going to be so much fun.  Lots of food; lots of games; lots of activities planned.  I love my family!

Signed,
Na

.....
Dear Sister Who Is The Only One Who Can't Make It For Thanksgiving.
I am so sad I won't see you.  I think you need to make it up to me by coming down here and visiting for a week.  What do you say?

Signed,
Na

.....
Dear Kamy,
Yesterday you got sick as soon as school was over.  You spent a miserable evening throwing up.  Today you are back to your normal self.  I really hope that it was just an isolated occurrence, and nobody else will get sick. I love you, but please don't spread your germs!

Signed,
Mom.

.....
Dear Inspector,
In a few days, you will inspect the house that we plan on buying.  Please do a thorough job.  We don't want any surprises after we move in.  Although I'm still not in love with the house, it's the house we will buy, so be it.  I intend on making it warm and cozy and beautiful and will be inviting lots of friends to come over and socialize with me.  I look forward to your report.

Signed,
Future Homeowner.

.....
Dear Checking Account,
This month has not been kind to you.  From finding treasures to beautify our new home, to finishing off the last of the Christmas shopping, to buying appliances, to paying for inspection, for birthday parties and gatherings....Well, next month should be better for you.  Try to be a bit more stingy with your money.  Just say no!

Signed,
Debit Card Swiper.

.....
Dear Blog Readers!
Thank you for hanging around!   It's fun to have an audience, even though you are much too quiet for my liking.  Feel free to comment to your hearts content.  On another note entirely, if you are looking for a great gift to give family or friends, consider my cookbook.   I made it last year, in effort to raise money for Kimble's medical costs.  We still have appointments, travel costs, and even more appointments.  Thanks for helping!

Signed,
Blog Author.

Remodeled

Recently our super walmart decided to remodel.  Boy, was that a crazy endeavor.  It's hard enough to remodel a room in your house.  You can at least tell people to stay out.  With a public store, especially one as big as walmart, I can only imagine how stressful that was for the workers and managers.

Unfortunately, their doors were still open for business, and it was indeed, very stressful for the customers!  For months and months, everything moved around about as quickly as it got placed.  One day, the bread would be on it's shelf by the freezer section.  The next day, it was nestled in with the children's shoes.  The next week, it was back by the paint supplies.  It was really awkward to try to find anything.  Temporary shelves were going up as quickly as the new ones were being  taken down.  Aisles that were once clear, were now loaded with random goods, with no sense of order.  There were so many workers re-organizing and stocking, that you felt like you were in a construction zone, and should be issued hard hats as you entered the electronic department to get a toothbrush.

During this time, there were kind workers who stood around, watching for people who look lost or troubled.  They had the latest info, on where items were located, and could effortlessly direct you to the specific location in need.  Without asking, I had many a concerned worker put a consoling arm around me and ask "What can I help you find, dear?"  Little did they know that it wasn't my inability to find a specific item, but rather my tired and whiny children that were causing my frustration.

Surprisingly, in this chaos, I rarely had trouble finding what I need.  Maybe because my lists were always so long, I ended up going around the store anyway, and inadvertently would find what I was looking for, based on my coverage of the store and not my understanding of their reorganizing endeavor.  It must have been this sense  of "un-fear" that drew consumers to me.

 Now, I'm not a senior citizen wearing a blue vest with a big yellow button that says "Ask me for help".  I'm not holding a clipboard and directing employees to disassemble the nearest shelf.  I'm not currently in the act of restocking cereal boxes with my big flat cargo cart taking up the entire aisle.  Nope. I'm just a mom, pushing a cart of assorted items, while entertaining my kids by making funny noises and having them repeat them back to me.

But with every trip, I would have multiple people asking me where things are. "I just can't find the mayonnaise anywhere!"  "Where is the toilet paper!"  "Duct tape!!  Where is the duct tape!"  "I just have to find the chips and then I'm done....where are all the chips?"

So I would kindly tell them where they could find their precious goods.  I wasn't begrudging by any means.  I found it humorous that so many people would ask me, when I'm clearly not an employee.   Maybe many other customers were getting asked as well, and I shouldn't  feel so singled out, but when discussing this with my friends, they seemed surprised that I was asked so much.

At any rate, everything is now organized and in it's new place, and about once a week, walmart gets to take advantage of having an unpaid consumer direct lost consumers to find their...marbles.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Force

I guess Keaton and Kolby aren't the only ones who are obsessed with The Force.


In preparation for the boys' new room at our new house, I thought it would be fun for them to have some decorations up.  For Christmas, I got them a few cool Star Wars Posters (which they don't know about yet) and I have a few other things planned.  However, I needed their help with one of my ideas.  I had each of the kids draw me a picture, Star Wars related.  This was Kolby's picture, which I thought was super.
I'll frame their pictures and hang them on the wall in their new room.  I love kids' artwork so much!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Traveling Much?

Are you going to be traveling much over the holidays?  Do you have a baby or toddler that normally sits in a high chair?  It's pretty difficult to pack up an entire high chair, isn't it?  Well, you can be cool like me, and make a travel high chair strap.  There isn't a travel tray that goes with it, but by using this strap, on an existing chair, you can scoot them up to a table.


What's nice about this fabric high chair, is that it folds up nice and small, it's washable, and it really holds the baby in there nice and tight.  I didn't think it would, but when I put Kimble in there, he couldn't get out at all.   It was very firm.

Oh that picture just makes me laugh.

So, here are the instructions, to make one of these yourself! It took about 30 minutes to make!  So easy.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Winter Has Come

This week we got a sprinkling of snow, and we experienced our lowest lows of the season thus far.  I think our 80 degree weather of last week was the last we'll see for a few months.  So in celebration of bundling up, I  pulled out this lovely plaid jacket that I bought a few weeks ago (20 dollars!) at my new favorite store Gordman's.



I discovered Gordman's last year, after I had Kimble.  My friend Jennifer (who knows all things fashion) was with me the weekend Kimble was born, and she told me about this store that her and her sister and friend went to one day.  A few months later, during a followup visit at the hospital, I found my way to the store to see if it was as amazing as Jennifer said it was.  You know what?  It was.

Gordman's is like a Kohl's Department store, but with prices like Ross.  I was in heaven.

I've since been back a few times, but since it's up in Denver, I don't have many chances anymore...but all that changed a few weeks ago, when driving down south to visit some friends, I discovered a Gordman's right here in my own city.  I'll definitely be making a visit to that store soon.

Anyway, what do you think of my new jacket?  It's cozy and warm and cute and I'm completely in love with it.

Feeling Better

Kimble's feeling better already!  Have a fabulous Friday!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sick

I am so grateful, in that the entire duration of Kimble's first year of life, he has never been sick.  Not even a sniffle.  However, that was bound to end at some point.  Last weekend marked the change.  Kimble woke up Saturday morning (the morning after the big blanket donation) with a high fever, and it didn't go away (even with Tylenol) for three days.  He was so sad, had no energy, refused all food (but luckily still drank fluids) and just wanted to be quietly held, all day (and night).

Tuesday morning, he woke up with no fever.  He wasn't back to his normal self, but he was feeling much better.  During the next two days, he was still recovering.  He didn't really want to eat much food, but he had more energy, and he even started crawling around!  Previously, he did the belly scoot (army crawl), but suddenly he was up on his hands and knees and moving across the room!  Go Kimble!

He also developed a rash, post fever.  He's blotchy all over, but luckily he isn't itchy.

Then this morning came.  We had an appointment at the realtor's office, to finish all of our loan paperwork, and Kimble was crying the entire time.  Suddenly I became one of those moms where people walk down the hall and think "Would you make your baby be quiet already!" He was also tugging on his left ear, so as soon as we were done, I called his Pediatrician's office and got an appointment.  Yup.  He has an ear infection.

So, he is sleeping right now.  Hope he feels better soon, and that the antibiotics work fast.  It's just so sad when your baby is sick!  He wasn't even this fussy post heart surgery.  Of course, I'm sure they kept him pretty well medicated during that time.  Anyway, hopefully he'll sleep better now.  It's been almost a week of him being pretty fussy, and I'm ready for a good night's sleep!  I'm sure Kimble is too.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Another Article!

Another article, about the blanket drive, was on The Denver Children's Hospital Website!!  Very Fun!  Go Here to read all about it!
There were a few mistakes in it, but it was fun to see more pictures from the donation!

I "LIKE" your photo!

In thinking about Mr. Kimble's new room in our new house, the topic of decorating it brings me excitement.  Now,  I've never had a nursery theme, with any of my kids.  In fact, their rooms today lack any creativity or decoration.   I'm going to change all that.

For Kimble's room, I've been a bit reminiscent lately.  There are so many great pictures that I have, from his first year of life.  There are a small handful of newspaper articles about him.   There are pictures of him with his two heart buddies.  I'm thinking I should have a little montage, a collection of sorts, of what has transpired during the last year.  Our sweet miracle baby.

With perfect timing, I discovered a contest where, if picked as the winner, your chosen picture can be created with a combination of digital, hand, and painting processes on an Oak composite  (words taken from Modern  Bird Studios Website)  Sounds really cool.

So, I entered this picture into their contest, on Facebook.

I took this picture on the day Kimble turned 4 weeks old.  He had already had two heart surgeries, a Cath-Lab procedure that was just as critical as the surgeries, and was getting ready to have another surgery to drain excess fluid around his heart.  It was the first day I could put clothing on him.    He's wearing some little green monkey jammies that I intended to be his "going home" outfit, but four weeks into our hospital stay, I wasn't sure how much longer we would be there. Thus, I dressed him and took this picture.  To this day, it's one of my favorite pictures of Kimble.

Anyway, back to the contest.  For one week, on Facebook, I need to get as many people as possible, to "LIKE" this  picture.   The makers of Modern Bird  Studios will pick a winner from the top five pictures.  If you have a facebook account, and wouldn't mind voting for us, please GO HERE, (You have to LIKE Modern Bird Studios, then on their wall, you will see their Holiday Contest) find Kimble's picture (it's on the first row!), click on the picture, and then click on "LIKE" under the picture. 

Thank you for your time!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Behind The Scenes Blanket Donation

It was a gorgeous day for delivering blankets to The Children's Hospital in Denver.  Simply gorgeous.  Heath and I arrived first, with kids in tow, and were greeted by a few workers from the volunteer office, a photographer for The Denver Post, a newscaster and cameraman from Channel 9 news, the heart institute coordinator, the hospital's publicity department, and many onlookers who were curious as to what was going on.

After signing some waivers, getting a mike attached to me, and getting the plan in place, the other two families showed up with all of the thousand-plus blankets crammed in their four vehicles.  We got blankets unloaded from the vans, and then loaded up again in the wagons.  All the kids (minus the babies) loved grabbing the wagons, filling them up, and then taking them down the hall to the Volunteer Office.

After lots of trips, and lots of "watch out!! Don't run into them.  Be careful!"  we managed to get all the blankets, minus the three bags of blankets we were taking to the two units to hand deliver, we put all the babies in a wagon, and the publicity went crazy!



Then they asked us if they could get some pictures of the three moms with the three babies.  We were happy to oblige, although felt a bit weird with dozens of cameras focused on us.


The plan was for the Newscast and Photographers to follow the husbands up to the Cardiac Progressive Care Unit (CPCU) and deliver blankets to everyone up there.  So as they got prepared, I snapped this picture.

While they were up there, we waited downstairs with all the kids.  We continued to talk to the publicity people, so they could get enough information for their articles.  We also enjoyed each other's company, and played with our babies!  I love this picture of Julie playing patty-cake with Adam.

 We were reunited with the newscrew again, as we waited for the husbands to finish up upstairs.  In the next picture, you also see us talking with the head administrator for the entire cardiac unit (the man in the suit), and a few nurses from the Cardiac ICU that we have become friends with.  They brought balloons for our babies, which ended up floating up to the 4th floor ceiling just minutes after I took this picture.


Even Chance wanted to help distribute the blankets!  He's holding onto the wagon load that we were planning on taking up to the CICU.


Finally it was our turn. We handed over our babies to the husbands, and we made the very familiar journey up to the CICU.  Our hearts were very full, and memories abounded. It was so touching to go back to the unit where our lives were changed so much.  A very pivotal moment for us, back then, as well as now.


We had some family members come out and pick out a blanket, but some were too busy with their children, and instead the nurses picked out a blanket for them.  We had some who were hesitant to get a blanket, but after we told them that last year at this time, we were all here with our newborn babies, and we received so much service, and that now, in celebration of our babies turning one, we are here to pay it forward, and offer hope and comfort to everyone here, who is experiencing the same thing we went through...well, they warmed up a bit, and picked out a blanket.

Some parents asked us "So there is a light at the end of the tunnel, right?"  or "You mean, life gets back to normal again?"  or "Your babies are doing fine now?"  I think it was great for them to see that even amidst the turmoil and confusion of their life right now, things will change.  Life goes on.  You find happiness and joy, even during the hardest time in your life.  It was so touching for us to share that with everyone, and offer a bit of comfort to them.

We made sure to leave all the extra blankets, as well as about 50 receiving blankets, in their unit, so when more patients come, they can all get a blanket.

After that, we went down to the cafeteria and set up a little area to have some dinner, and celebrate our babies birthdays!  As we were waiting for our pizza to come, the boys all enjoyed a little snack.


Later, we gave them some cake and sang happy birthday to them.  Oh how I love it when all  three babies are together.  I almost feel like I have triplets.  They are so fun.


Obviously, Kimble enjoyed another opportunity to stuff his face with cake.  I think he has a sweet tooth already!
It was a long night, but so worthwhile.  Even though all the publicity was overwhelming, I'm so glad they were there to document the night for us.  It was a tremendous success.  We couldn't have done it alone.  Thank you so much for helping out.  It was a night to remember.