Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Nanny

As a stay at home mom every now and then I wonder what it might be like to have a full time nanny. But as fun as that is to think about from time to time (like when I'm sleep deprived and really want to take a nap) I can honestly say that I wouldn't want one. The majority of the time I love being with my children and I consider myself incredibly privileged to be able to be home with them full time. Now a regular babysitter (to use from time to time so that Joe and I could actually go out)- well I'll take that!
So even though I don't want a full time nanny (not to mention that I would never be able to afford one) I did get to experience what it would be like to have one during our week in Florida a while back! Our friend and Lifelines intern, Tessa, came to Florida with us to take care of the Lifelines team children. And it was pretty much like having our own full time nanny. While we had meetings all day Tessa took incredible care of our children. Since I am nursing Eli I still had him most of the day (but as you can see in the above picture she even took him from time to time). And for that week it was pretty wonderful. Pretty wonderful to be a part of ministry and work and planning. Pretty wonderful to have someone who really loves your children watching them. And we were incredibly fortunate in that Tessa happens to be one of Lily's absolute favorite people! Not only that but Tessa even flew out to Florida with us (as in she flew on the same planes). So not only did we experience what it would be like to have a full time nanny for the week, but also while we were traveling, and even on our day off at Animal Kingdom! So, I think I'll happily stick to being the primary caretaker of my children, but if I could hire a nanny to help me while traveling with the kids and visiting theme parks I sure would!:)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The many faces of Eli...So Fun

He is at such a fun stage. He smiles, laughes, and is really beginning to interact with all that's going on around him... so fun!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The many faces of Eli...Mellow

I don't know that I would call either of my children mellow. Both of them seem to have a little fiesty streak (or maybe a big fiesty streak in Lily's case)! But, in comparrison I would say that our little Eli is a bit more on the mellow side. This is a pretty classic Eli face when he's just feeling mellow and checking out everything going on around him. And this is most likely the face that people will see when we are out and about. And he does great when we are out. In fact, he's often much more fussy when we are home than when we are out. He loves to be where there is lots of noise and where he can just sit back and watch people and everything going on around him.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The many faces of Eli...Laughing

About 3 and a half weeks ago (while we were in Wisconsin) Eli laughed for the first time while Joe was playing with him. I missed it, but heard a little giggle out of him the following day at my Grandma's house. About two weeks ago he laughed for the first time for me and I just fell in love with him all over again. Now he is laughing everyday. He laughs when I kiss him or tickle him around his neck or ears, when I blow on his belly, or when I play bicycle with his legs. And today he laughed at Lily as she was jumping on the couch! Is there anything better than a baby's laugh? And in case you are wondering- he is smiling in this picture because I was telling him how cute he is (he's a sucker for the compliments)!:)

The many faces of Eli...Growing

Eli had his 4 month doctor appointment the other day. Wow, four months already! Our little man is growing and isn't quite as little anymore! At 15 lbs and 12 oz he is in the 75th percentile for weight. He's also taken quite a jump in length and is now in the 90th percentile (no wonder he doesn't fit in most of his footie pajamas anymore)! And obviously taking after his father's family (not like my large melon head) he's only in the 25th percentile for head circumference! Our little man is on the grow!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The many faces of Eli...Smile

Eli has the widest, sweetest, most adorable toothless smile I have ever seen!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Introducing the many faces of Eli...

You may have noticed that I haven't been posting to my blog as often lately. Don't worry, it's not because I've lost interest and it's not because I'm sick (which is what my parents thought). It's because we have been having problems with our wireless internet provider (Joe is working on it). It's because Joe kicked Lily's big, pink ball into my soda spilling it all over my laptop (it's been fixed and I just got it back today). It's because I'm using most of my "free" time to spring clean our house (I haven't done cleaning like this in probably over a year- maybe more). It's because Eli is still not eating or sleeping well (and I'm exhausted). It's because this month has been CRAZY! Crazy as in two and a half weeks of traveling in two different states. Good times with faraway friends. Lots of work. Crazy as in two sick kids and one sick husband. One overnight hospital stay with our babe. Rearranged travel plans. Incredibly unhelpful airlines. Crazy as in my mom almost burning down the house while we were there. One peanut allergy reaction. And filing a police report because we thought all of Joe's gear was stolen from our truck at the airport. Crazy as in a baby that is now waking up multiple times a night. Cleaning our entire basement and refinishing half of it. Sorting through baby clothes and preparing for a yard sale. Crazy as in spring cleaning. Crib adjusting. Love language learning. Budget thinking. Birthday planning. Mini van shopping. Swing set browsing. Broken phones and a broken microwave. Crazy as in our dog that jumped out of the truck window (while it was going 30mph) to chase a squirrel. You know...that kind of crazy. Oh man...I'm exhausted. So I realized today that I am a full month behind on the pictures that I am posting. So I thought you should know why. I will get to them eventually. But, it's probably going to be a bit yet because I am determined to finish the spring cleaning (and I'm not even half way yet). So in the meantime I thought I would introduce you to some of the many faces of Eli. I took some pictures the other day and caught some pretty good expressions from our little man. So here is the first one. Tune in over the next few days for a few more!

Animal Kingdom...The Parade

Eagerly waiting for the parade to start (with some of the Litchfield kids)

Minnie Mouse- her favorite!

Below: waving to Mickey
Okay, so the tree of life wasn't a big hit. Thankfully the Mickey Jammin' Jungle Parade was! In fact, I think that it was Lily's favorite part of the whole day! With colorful and exhotic floats, muscicians and dancers it was perfect. Not to mention that Lily got to see pretty much all of the Disney charectors up close! In our attempt to get to another attraction we actually ended up seeing the parade twice- which happened to be a lot of fun for all of us! This made the whole day for our little girl- and thus for us too!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Animal Kingdom...Tree of Life

At the center of Disney's Animal Kingdom is the Tree of Life. I have to admit that it's pretty incredible. Not only is it huge, but it has all kinds of animals carved into it's trunk. I can only imagine how long it took to make this tree. It's pretty impressive from far away and it's even more impressive up close (where you can see the animal carvings). Unfortunately what was inside was pretty scary. We didn't think it would be, but it was.
It was the Bug Life 3D show. Our friends, the Litchfields, and us were pretty excited for our kids to go into the tree and see the show. In fact right before we went a very nice lady commented to us on how cute the show was. And yes, she clearly saw the small children with us (and still said the show was adorable). We saw a small sign posted outside the entrance warning us that the show COULD be scary for small children. But really, how scary can a 3D cartoon about bugs be? Ummm...apparently pretty scary. It started off nice with pretty 3D butterflies. Lily liked that, but was already a little intimidated by the insects flying right at her. So pretty quickly we took off her 3D glasses. The rest of the show, however, was meant to be a comedy about how hard it is to be a bug (with humans trying to kill you all the time). With the 3D glasses it seemed as if the bugs were really shooting things at you or jumping out at you. If that wasn't scary enough for a child they tried to make it even more realistic by dropping rain on you from above, blowing puffs of air on you, having scary mechanical insects pop up around the theatre, releasing gas smells, and even cutting out all lights completely. So even without the glasses this was pretty scary for our little one. Joe tried to make a break for it with her right about the time they cut out the lights! At the end of the show myself, Eli (who was pretty much unaware of what was going on), our friend Tessa, and the Litchfield's oldest child, Caleb who is 6, were the only ones left. And even Caleb was cowering in his seat. In our group 3 adults and 4 children didn't make it through! I sat and watched the whole show feeling pretty bad for my little Lily the whole time. Even I have to admit that all of the special effects made it pretty realistic. Possibly fun for an adult. Totally terrifying for small children!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Animal Kingdom

Some animals we spotted on the safari ride

Lily and Joe checking out the gorillas

Lily at the petting zoo

When we were in Florida we spent our one day off at Disney's Animal Kingdom. I was so excited for this day! We talked about it often with Lily before we left for Florida and she was totally excited to see all of the animals. So excited in fact that when we were picking up our luggage at the airport in Orlando she looked around and then said to me, "Mommy, where are all the animals?" Thankfully she waited very patiently for a few days to finally see them! We heard wonderful things about this theme park and we were pretty excited. So I have to admit that in the end I was a little bit disappointed. To be honest I thought it would be bigger and have a lot more animals and attractions. I've been to zoos that have more animals. But then again we didn't get to do and see everything (we were a little bit limited with an infant and a preschooler). It was also crazy crowded (it was school break week on the east coast- not a good week to visit a Disney theme park). But in the end Lily loved it- so we had a good time too!

Our favorite part of Animal Kingdom was the Kilimanjaro Safari ride. Basically it takes you on a jeep safari ride through the "African Savannah." It was pretty cool to see so many of the animals just roaming around together. Of course some of the animals, like the lions, were in their own confined areas but they did a good job of making it look real. And to be fair I'm not sure I'm ready for my two year old to witness a lion eating a zebra at Disney anyway!:) My very favorite were the giraffes- so cool! Lily liked them too and said her other favorites were the crocodiles. This ride was the first thing we did in the park and we also headed back at the very end of the day for another safari ride. It's always been a dream of mine to go on a safari in Africa. I hope not, but this may be as close as I get.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Eli's View

While we were in Florida we only had one day off and we decided to spend it with our friends Tessa and the Litchfield family at Disney's Animal Kingdom. I have plenty of more pictures and stories to share but I thought I would start by giving you a glimpse of Eli's day at Animal Kingdom. So here it is, this is how Eli spent a good part of his day at his first Disney theme park!:) As you can tell, when I had him in the Baby Bjorn it was hard for me to see how far down I had his sun hat- but he was asleep anyway so I don't think he minded (in fact it may have helped him to tune out the hoards of people)!

Friday, March 12, 2010

National Lifelines Team

I think it's important that you like your job. I think it's equally important that you like the people you work with. Thankfully I LOVE the people that I work with. I love the people on our team locally, but I also love the people on our National Lifelines Team (which Joe and I are both a part of). In fact, these happen to be some of my favorite people in the world. It's just sad that we only get to see each other a few times a year (and some of them only once a year). But when we do see each other (like we did a few weeks ago in Florida) we work hard and we really enjoy being together (which makes all the hard work much more enjoyable too). In Florida we worked a lot, laughed together quite a bit, and shared good food with each other. And our kids all happen to play together well too! So here are our latest team pictures (minus Kelly who wasn't able to join us this time around). What a wonderful group of people. Now if only I could get them all to move to Maine!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Healthier Days

I took these pictures when we were in Florida- a few days before Eli got sick- healthier days you might say. I took the pictures because he just looked so cute wearing the first outfit ever bought for him. This outift was given to us by our good friends John and Kelly Kidd when we were living in Colorado on the day we found out that we were having a boy! I was so happy that he was able to wear it while we were in Florida (because yes, he is already wearing some 6 month clothing so I don't think this outfit will last until summer here)! Eli is recovering still. It seemed like he was doing so much better so we stopped doing his breathing treatments for two days but then the congestion seemed to settle back in (not nearly as bad as it was initially though). So we are back to doing his albuterol treatments twice a day. He is still sounding congested and still coughing quite a bit so I guess the doctor's weren't kidding when they said this could last 3 to 4 weeks. I'm sure that there will be healthier days in our future.
P.S. As you can see Eli is enjoying chewing and sucking on his hands these days- a few times we have seen him sucking just his thumb- but he hasn't quite got the hang of it all the time (usually he ends up with a whole handful of fingers in his mouth)!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Minnie Mouse Part 2

You might remember that Lily was Minnie Mouse last year for Halloween. She loves Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. When we were in Florida a few weeks ago for work we lived in a vacation home with the other members of our Lifelines National Team- and Lily's room was decorated with a Minnie Mouse theme. It was just perfect for her. So perfect that there was even this Minnie Mouse dress for her to use while we were there. She wore it pretty much every day!

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Lily enjoying a treat at my parent's house

After a couple of long, crazy, exhausting weeks we are HOME!
Both Eli and Lily are recovering well and are considerably better than even a few days ago.
It is spring break here at the university so Joe has a little time off this week.
Our plans include continuing to nurse our babes back to health, cleaning the basement and finally setting up our office there, and hopefully doing a little spring cleaning.
Those are OUR plans...we'll see what God has in store for us this week!:)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Well, as I'm sure you have guessed from these pictures, our baby boy was in the hospital this week. But let me back up a little bit. As I shared before Eli started getting sick the night before we left for Wisconsin. We were pretty positive that it was RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus). RSV is an infection where the small airways in the lungs become inflamed, swollen, and possibly filled with fluid or mucus. Since we were staying with my parents (and my mom is a nurse) we didn't think we would take him to the doctor. Except that each day he kept getting worse. And then during the middle of the night on Friday I got a little scared. He was having such a hard time breathing and he was breathing so rapidly that for the first time I really got nervous. But then he feel asleep and his breathing seemed to relax a bit. The next morning he was breathing so hard that you could see his skin pulling in by his ribs each time he took a breath (not good). So we took him into the urgent care clinic. That was not a fun place for my baby boy. Between all the poking and prodding, the nose swab to test for RSV, and the chest x-ray he was not a happy camper. As we headed in for the x-ray I began to wonder how they would get him still enough to take it. I quickly found out. They put babies in this plastic contraption that doesn't allow them to move and holds their arms up above their head so they could get a clear picture of his chest. My baby screamed the entire time. Joe held his hands and I just had to walk away (I think it was more painful for me than him). He tested positive for RSV just as we thought. He did have some cloudy spots in his left lung, but at that point they didn't believe it was pneumonia so we were relieved. They brought in a pediatric doctor to look at him and then we tried his first nebulized albuterol treatment to see if it would help his breathing (again he screamed the entire time). Afterwards the doctor was still concerned because his chest was so tight and congested and he wasn't moving oxygen through his lungs very well. And that's when they decided to admit him to the hospital. Honestly I never expected that. I guess I underestimated how serious RSV can be in infants. And yet the whole time I felt God watching out for us as I experienced a lot of peace about the whole situation.
So Saturday afternoon we headed to the hospital in Oshkosh. My dad and I dropped Joe and Eli off and I headed back home to grab a few of our things and lunch for all of us. By the time I got to the hospital I saw pretty much what you see in the pictures above. It kind of stunned me for a second to walk into his room and to see my baby sleeping in the metal "cage" and hooked up to a couple of different wires. It made me more sad than scared. While he was in the hospital they were giving him nebulized albuterol treatments every four hours in addition to constantly monitoring his heart rate, respiratory rates, and oxygen levels. His repository rates were definitely up, but they were most closely watching was his oxygen levels which were on the low side. We were told that if his oxygen levels continually fell below a certain level that they would have to put him on oxygen. He was on a monitor for all 3 things and every time one of these rates went below or above the acceptable level an alarm would go off. Let me tell you, this is enough to drive a mother crazy. Sometimes his rates would change simply because he was moving around too much or one of his monitor leads would come loose. A few times his rates really did change. Either way the alarm went off and my heart rate would go up. There were two times in particular that his oxygen levels dipped too low for too long and I thought they were going to have to give him oxygen, but both times he recovered just in time! We were so relieved that he didn't need oxygen or an iv while we were there!
The night we were in the hospital we had planned on having dinner at my grandma's house. Thankfully my parents were able to take care of Lily while Joe and I were with Eli in the hospital and the three of them enjoyed dinner at grandma's house. My grandma even packed up a WONDERFUL meal (nothing short of a Thanksgiving dinner) for us to enjoy in the hospital! While we were eating dinner Joe pondered why our life seems so crazy. I'll admit, at that moment (and still) life does seem crazy. But I was also very aware at that moment that there are many parents in hospitals with their children who are not going to be okay, who's children are not going to get better. And so even in that moment God was giving me perspective and I felt very thankful for our little boy and the care we were receiving.
Eli and I actually had a pretty restful night in the hospital. I think that we were both pretty exhausted. The nurses even came in at 3a.m. to give him his respiratory treatment and both Eli and I slept through the whole thing. I think I was finally really able to rest knowing that someone else (the nurses) were looking out for my little man.
We were once again relieved when Eli was released from the hospital after only 24 hours! The doctor said he was moving oxygen through his lungs much better than the day before and his respiratory rates were much closer to normal. He is still coughing and wheezing a lot. His chest still sounds very rattly. And once we got home from the hospital he started throwing up some of the mucus in his lungs (a necessary but sort of scary process). We continue to do his albuterol treatments at home and the doctors say it could be 3-4 weeks before he is totally better. We still need to watch to make sure he doesn't develop pneumonia (or a secondary infection like an ear infection). He is getting better and for that we are very thankful.
Joe has also been sick since the day we left for Wisconsin and he is just starting to feel better. Lily also started getting sick a few days ago with a cough, fever, and vomiting. To be honest this is the most sick I have seen her in a long time (but not sick enough to be in the hospital thankfully)! It is likely that all 3 of them have RSV- it's just that the symptoms are the most severe (and dangerous) in infants.
Thanks so much for all of you who have been praying for our family- I have surely felt and seen the effects of those prayers. We sure would appreciate your continued prayers for complete and speedy healing for Eli, Lily, and Joe (and maybe that I wouldn't get sick too). We will continue to keep everyone updated. God is good- all the time.