Thirty Two

This past Friday I turned 32.  I didn’t feel any older although I have noticed lately that my wrinkles are starting to be more defined.  I’m sure the gray hairs aren’t far behind.  Anyway, I digress.  My birthday this year was one of the best in recent memory.  I hadn’t really asked for anything for my birthday but everyone seemed to know just what I needed.

My husband got me this FABULOUS Vera Bradley bag…I love her bags!  And this bag is HUGE.  I still think someone put a bug in his ear about this! I can’t wait to take it on my trip to see my bff on Thursday!

He also let me pick out these fabulous boots.  I have been wanting a pair of tall boots since last year!  Now I just need a pair of skinny jeans (hopefully I can pull those off:)

And then my mother-in-law showed up with this Norwex mop…have I told you lately how fabulous she is?  My mop broke on Monday when I was using it and I knew I wanted one of these Norwex ones but knew I couldn’t afford it.  I can’t wait to try it out later today.

Then after all the amazing gifts I got to go out and celebrate with my wonderful friend Lisa over at Radiomom Rhetoric.  Her and her hubby were celebrating their 11th anniversary as she talked about in the post.  We drove over to the next town and had some BBQ at Token BBQ in Mapleton.  Let me just say it is worth the drive.  EVERYTHING was SOOO good.  Especially the bread pudding we had for dessert.  Do me a favor and go try it…you will NOT be disappointed.

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Ronald McDonald House

I wanted to share with everyone how wonderful the Ronald McDonald House is for the families in need of a place to stay while in the hospital with their child.  In the past when we’ve been there we’ve had to battle to get a room for the night and we’ve slept on everything from a mattress on the floor to a gurney in the short stay unit.  I’d just like to say that even sleeping on a gurney we were thankful to be able to stay somewhere BUT let me tell you that the Ronald McDonald House is like heaven on earth compared to that!  It is literally like a 5 star hotel…Tempurpedic mattresses, plush towels, beautiful tile bathrooms and that is just the sleeping rooms!

The rest of the House is just as amazing.  A kitchen that anyone would be jealous of, computers for the families to use, tv sitting area with leather couches and a fire place to enjoy…not to mention the AMAZING pantry stocked full of food for the families to eat.

It is such an amazing place to go and get away for a little while.  They have a meal nearly every night for the families of the kids (along with grandparents, siblings, etc) to eat.  I can’t tell you how much money this saved us while we were there.  I can’t say enough great things.  Here are some pictures so you can get the full effect:

This is a view from the front door.  The L-shaped couch is right in front of the fire place.

The fireplace is breathtaking and I WISH I had something like this!

This is the kitchen.  It has TWO islands and granite countertops. It certainly made me drool!

This is the AMAZING pantry that so many of you donated to!  As you can see it is FILLED to the top with items for everyone to use.  It is amazing…almost as big as my kitchen!

This is the sitting area with a flat screen TV…each bedroom had a flat screen too.

This is a different view of the sitting area.

This is the workout area.  Exercise bike and a treadmill.  They are set in front of a window so you can look outside and the treadmill has a TV on it!  I wish I had gotten a free half hour to use this.  And if you look towards the back of the picture you will see the computers that are set up for families to use.

This is the outside sitting area.  It has a gorgeous view of the beautiful yard the hospital has created.  So nice to get some fresh air…i bet it’s busy in the summer.

This is a beautiful art piece that is on the balcony of the RMH.  It is filled with hummingbirds and had a story to go with it.

This was the first room that we had when we got there.  It was a suite with TWO bedrooms and a sitting area.  Each one had a flat screen TV and they were wonderfully decorated.

This was our bedroom with a queen size bed, desk and wardrobe area (imagine the bed all made up, it looked much prettier).  The memory foam mattress was AWESOME.  Best night sleep I’ve had in a hospital.

BEAUTIFUL bathroom.  This picture doesn’t even do justice to it!  It has beautiful purple shades in the accent tile.  LOVE!

This was the second bedroom in our suite the first two nights.  It too had a desk but this one had two single beds.  Did I mention this place was amazing?

If you ever get a chance to visit this place I highly suggest it.  It is an awesome place for families who have a sick child in the hospital.  I am hoping to be able to get a group together after the holidays and serve a meal to the families one night.  I would love to be able to give back to a place that has given us so much!  If anyone is interested in helping with that let me know.

Hospital stays are the pits…

Just a warning…this may make me sound ungrateful but I promise I’m not!

This hospital business if for the birds!  I don’t enjoy the stays here and neither does Avery.  I am losing patience every moment that we’re here.  Avery has been irritable the past two days.  Crying over everything and nothing at all.  Now don’t get me wrong I, of course, think he deserves every ounce of being irritable but I can only handle so much of the crying.  I have been close to tears several times today with frustration.  The hospital added to that by moving us up to 5th floor and out of the cardiac unit.  They are full down there and apparently feel that Avery is able to handle being out of there but I’m not comfortable with it.  I just want to stay where the drs are easily accessible and where the nurses only care for heart patients.  The move also means that we won’t get the same nurse that we had the past two nights and we LOVED her!  I think the lack of sleep here and the stress of the whole situation is just taking a toll on me!  After tonight we also won’t be getting a room at the Ronald McDonald House which will be not very fun because we’ll both get to squeeze onto a fold out couch that is probably the size of a double bed.

Tonight we are letting Blake stay here and I believe I will be sleeping in Avery’s room.  We have had a better day today than yesterday and I’m hoping the trend continues.  He has been sitting in the chair quite a bit today and that is good because he will breathe better that way.  He has had more of an appetite today so that is also a good thing.  Right now daddy is feeding him a pudding cup and he has mac and cheese on the way.  Tomorrow is to be a day of walking the halls and getting moving a lot more.  Medically he is recovering great!  Once we get all the meds to be oral we should be ready to go home…I think.  Early this coming week is the last I heard and as far as I know there have been no setbacks except the vomiting of the previous days.

I leave you with a picture of my buddy sitting in the chair today…

Hospital – In Pictures

Playing the waiting game…watching the tower crane work outside the hospital.

Day 1 just after we got to see him.  Looks rough but what you can’t tell from the B&W is that he had great color in his face and we were super thrilled!

His hand.  Something so innocent about little kid hands.

Mommy with Avery…not very often mom is on that side of the camera.

Day 2…getting some much needed sleep!  Fought it all afternoon but he needed it so much.

Things are going really well right now.  Chest tubes will be out tomorrow and he’ll feel so much better.  Can’t wait to have my happy boy back.

Day of Surgery

I am so happy to report that things have gone so well today.  As well as I could have hoped for.  Avery was the bravest kid I’ve ever seen.  He was cool as a cucumber as we were prepping for surgery (honestly more interested in the GameCube than what the doctors were saying) but I requested that he get NO versed (sedation medication) because it tastes awful and they can’t give him anything to drink.  He went back like a champ and helped get onto the table to be put to sleep.  He picked out his favorite Dr Pepper lip gloss and they put the mask on him.  He laid there calm while I stroked his hand and drifted off to sleep.  I shed a couple tears because it is hard to see your baby like that but I knew he was in wonderful hands.

We had the support of our pastor, Jim, during the beginning wait which was great.  We got a lot of updates today compared to normal.  We had met a male nurse in the elevator on the way to the pre-op appt yesterday and made friends so he saw us this morning and took it upon himself to keep getting us updates.  We are so appreciative and we don’t even know his name!

The surgery went well and the doctor was very pleased with the way things looked when he finished up.  He is hopeful that this is the last surgery he has to perform for Avery.  Any future valves will hopefully be able to be replaced in a cath procedure which means NO incisions and no more scars!!  That is the best news I’ve heard in forever!

I am thinking they will wake him up tomorrow some time…depending on how things go.  I can’t wait to have my talkative, funny baby back.  With that I wanted to share a funny story from yesterday…

We were going for his pre-op appt and ran into Dr Baker who is his cardiologist that performed his cath back in August.  We said hi to him and then we went to the room.  We said something about Dr Baker and Avery told us ‘he doesn’t work here anymore’.  When we asked him what he meant he told us that he quit and went to work at a liquor store!  OMG…NO idea where he got this idea but we were rolling!  We shared it with Dr Baker today and he got a kick out of it.  Can’t wait to hear what else he will come up with before he leaves here!

Surgery in A.M.

We are at t-minus 12 hours until surgery.  We had pre-op appointments today and they went well.  He saw his cardiologist first and he gave him the go-ahead.  Then we went over to the hospital to get paperwork figured out and bloodwork done along a visit to child life.  The child life specialist spoke to him about what will happen tomorrow and showed him some pictures so he knows what to expect.

He seems to be okay with everything but he had a nightmare about surgery last night.  He came into my room and said he was scared.  When I asked what he was scared of he said his surgery.  So we talked about it a little bit and he said he was nervous about them poking his chest.  He calmed down and went back to sleep and that is all I’ve heard about it.

I am nervous but hopefully can get some rest tonight.  We have to be there at 7:15 in the morning and he is to start at 8:45.  Thank you to all who have offered any sort of support.  All the prayers are very appreciated!

Be sure to check his caringbridge to stay on top of updates:  www.caringbridge.org/visit/averycomo

HAPPY 8TH BIRTHDAY BLAKE!

8 years ago today at 6:35 am we welcomed a bouncing baby boy.  He has turned into one of the sweetest, smartest, most amazing kids I know.  He is our hockey and baseball loving boy who is always thinking of others.  His kind heart is something to be admired.  We are so proud to call him ours.  Last week he got his name read over the loud speaker at school because his teacher caught him being kind to another student.  SO proud!

If you see him today please wish him a happy birthday!

Lego Themed Birthday Party

Blake is obsessed with Legos.  He has been saving for months to buy the jumbo jet lego set.  So for his birthday I thought a Lego theme was perfect!  I went on the hunt on Pinterest for ideas and found LOTS!

Here’s what I did:

I found the Lego font online and created this banner:

I had Blake make his name out of legos and fill this vase for a centerpiece:

For his friend party I made them each a gift box that looked like a small lego.  I made a tag with each child’s name on in the Lego font.

These adorable cookies were a huge hit and were inspired by this post from Sugarbelle:

We also had to play a couple games.  The first one was a guess how many game with legos in a jar (I forgot the picture).  Then we played a Lego toss game that is similar to skee-ball.

In the third game the kids had to suck a lego onto a straw and move it onto a plate.  They had 2 minutes to see how many they could move to the plate.  It wasn’t as easy as it sounds:)

Then came our family party!  We had the same decorations but added the cakes as a centerpiece too!

We had these great things for the meal:

Cheesy Turkey Sammies

Lego Block Jello from justJENN

 Cookie Salad furnished by Grandma Sue:

Texas Caviar…my friend Lisa over at Radiomom Rhetoric gave me the recipe.

Raspberry Sherbert Slush..just one container sherbert and one 2 liter of 7up

It was so nice to have all our family in our house to celebrate our boy’s birthday!  6 weeks and we’ll be doing another party.

Telling the Kids…the aftermath

I will say that I am feeling amazingly better than I did yesterday when I wrote this post.  After a long emotional day we told the kids at supper last night.  Blake seemed unfazed and Avery was upset that his surgery was on Wednesday and he had to miss art!  He cried for a few minutes about missing school but after we talked to him a little bit he calmed down and realized it wasn’t the end of the world.  Then after we were finished it seemed the right time to give them their birthday presents (early).  They each got a Nintendo 3DS.  At least this will distract them from thinking about the surgery too much and Avery will have something to do while waiting in the hospital.

I want to thank EVERYONE for their wonderful support.  Thank you all for the kind words and prayers you are sending.  Thank you to Naomi for the beautiful flowers and also to my husband for the roses.   Everyone has been so wonderful!

Telling the Kids

How do you tell these two little faces that their world is about to be turned upside down?  How do you tell the blond that he is going to miss out on school and his friends and hunting and probably some of hockey season?  He’s going to be so sad and probably a little bit angry.  Heck I’m angry too…that he was born with this and that he has to deal with this his whole life!

BUT what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right?  So we’ll muddle through this the best way we know how and that is by being honest and leaning on each other all the way.  I’m scared to death to tell my kids tonight and I can’t even think about it today without tearing up.  I’m feeling very weak and vulnerable today.  I wish we could just go to sleep tonight and we’d wake up a week from now with this all behind us!

Please keep us all in your thoughts and prayers over the next couple weeks.  It’s going to be a tough time for all of us.

If you’d like to keep up on his progress you can visit his caringbridge site:  www.caringbridge.org/visit/averycomo