Thursday, June 30, 2011


aunt nikki is super crafty. lucky for us, one of the ways this comes out is when she bakes yummy treats and we get to eat them=) here is a tiny peek into one of the delicious reasons we're thankful aunt nikki came to live with us this summer:

catherine and her pink piggy cupcake=)

you're welcome for the mouth full of green broccoli=)

you got two cupcakes dedicated to you because you are the cutest member of our family.

she didn't actually say this out loud, but i think this is supposed to be daddy...

i know. she's SO talented. and we are so lucky.

and this is you with your doctor gloves on making sure aunt nikki's ears are ok. you are my favorite doctor by far.

Monday, June 27, 2011

the girl likes her pool

you had surgery june 10th. i had taken that thursday and friday, and then the next 2 weeks, off from work because we didn't know how long you would take to recover. turns out, you took about 4 days and then you were good as new. so after i checked with my office manager and made sure they were, in fact, surviving without me, i had two weeks at home with my girl who was running around and doing flips and acting like surgery had never happened. dr hebra recommended we wait about a week for you to go swimming so i figured maybe sometime mid-week we'd try the pool again. but monday we headed that way to "stick out feet in" because for some reason i thought that could be good enough for a sweet little almost-3-year-old who loves the water. next thing i know you're laying down on the first step of the pool, with your chest tube site and surgery incision fully submerged underwater. which is when i officially decided it was ok for you to swim again.

and we haven't looked back since. we've been swimming every day, i tell you. every day. your yellow swimmies from last year bit the dust so once we got some new ones for you, you were off in that pool swimming all by yourself. and then telling us all about how you can go swimming by yourself, but you want us to be there too. my brave little cautious girl. i love it=)

here you are enjoying some pool time. i LOVE that you love water, by the way. there are a very select few things that make mommy happier than feeling the sun on my skin while i sit beside or maybe even in some body of water. and you seem to have gotten the little water/sun bug from me=)

you're also not afraid of frogs, apparently.

i love you sweet babe. you fill me with such joy.


see the frog???

there you are pointing to it, just in case. i think it was in shock and it just sat there for a long time. then it hopped off and at first you thought that was so funny. then when you realized he was gone you were most upset. you could only be consoled by an otter pop. (you know otter pops? flavored ice pops? they are perfection at the pool.)

you and max. running the pool.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

our new house=)

we're moving to atlanta in a month. a month and two days, actually. and it's really smyrna, not atlanta. and we can't wait!!! well, that's mostly true. we have some sweet sweet friends in clemson that we will miss so much. we've loved living the last year with them. and i have this huge blessing of a job that i can't believe i'm leaving. but then i have another incredible job waiting for me in atlanta and every day i can't believe my lucky stars that something so perfectly matched for me has fallen into my lap, again.

and we're under contract for this little house that we love so much. we had our inspection last week and it went so well and we're just waiting on some things here and there and we close july 15th=) then we move on the 25th and do you know what i'm most excited about? putting my kitchen things away. is that weird? just a little tidbit about your mama. every move, i'm most excited about choosing where to put my kitchen things=)

and here is the best part. this week i actually (with the help of eve my new office manager and long-time family friend...) found and enrolled you in a little childcare place that i love!!!! i can't even begin to describe how relieved i am about this. probably more than the house or the job, i'm so thankful that we found a place we trust to take care of you every day=) i don't know how to go into it more than that, so i'll just leave it there.

good things happening, sweet love.

thank you Jesus for making all of our moving to georgia things fall into place. i can't pretend even for a second that this all isn't Your hand at work...You never cease to amaze=)

ok love. here are some pictures of you hanging out with daddy at our new house and trying to unlock the door. you're very excited about it and you keep telling me that your new room has 2 windows=)

love you babe.


you and daddy at your new house on father's day=)

you love your front yard. your favorite thing to do there right now is to run around in circles in the grass. (aren't the trees so awesome??? i think that's mine and daddy's favorite part. in virginia i loved how i could look up in our backyard and just see tree branches going everywhere. you can do that here too and it makes me VERY happy=))

ps. more pictures to come. my computer is acting wonky and they're not uploading right...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

picture catch-up

all of these things happened before surgery, but i didn't get a chance to show them to you before our latest hospital adventure. so here are some pictures=)

you and nik nik during some morning snuggle time

my little beauty=)

watching sid the science kid with baby donna in her high chair and your elmo finger puppet

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

going home=)

we're going home today!

this morning we got scared for a minute because one of the doctors came in and said there was a place on the x-ray that they were concerned about and wanted to make sure it wasn't more bowel that had already re-herniated back into your chest. so we went downstairs to radiology where they could take a better x-ray and all is well!!! it's a collection of fluid, maybe a hematoma (collection of blood) but it should reabsorb on its own and it's no problem. so off to home we go with no planned surgeries in sight=)

you're SO much better. almost completely back to normal. you guard your left side a little where your incision is, but you're playing and wanting to run around and you insisted on going back to the playroom to paint some more and you're even smiling at your nurses again=)

here are some pictures of our last day here in the hospital (have i ever told you how you say "ho-pi-si-tal?? it's the cutest)

Monday, June 13, 2011

an afternoon full of awful means catherine's getting better!

this afternoon you got your chest tube out, your epidural out, and your iv out by accident but then they decided not to replace it. so you're almost tube-free! and you were miserable during all of that, but you're so much better now. you got a boat load of morphine for all of those festivities, and you're still sleepy sleepy because of that, but we managed to go play in the playroom and take you to the cafeteria (you get to eat regular food since you're not getting iv narcotics anymore since the last double dose this afternoon) and you're already looking so much better. when we came back from your outings your sweet nurses had given you a pretty pink karate monkey pillow case that made the room feel a little happier, and we fed you some green beans, chicken, broccoli and apple juice, and you fell asleep almost immediately. so now you have lortab and that's what you'll go home with. dr hebra came by and said he was very encouraged by how you were doing and how your chest x-ray looked from this afternoon...he showed me some pictures from during your surgery (gruesome, and i don't know how i feel about the fact that i've now seen your insides) and we talked about how he isn't concerned about re-herniation with you but obviously it's a possibility, and he also mentioned that your pectus (where your chest dents in a little in the middle) will probably get worse as you get older and if it ever compresses your heart or lungs it would need to be fixed. but hopefully not. but overall, he was very positive about how things looked with you and he said we will probably go home tomorrow!!! i couldn't believe that. you still haven't pooped, but he's confident that since we've stopped the iv narcotics that will come along soon enough. hopefully before we go home, because i am quite sure i'll be a little basketcase until you do. it was sad sad this afternoon when you would tell me you were hungry but you had to poo poo first. the first couple of times you said this it was just a stating a fact kind of thing, but then i think you were super tired and probably so hungry and the third time you told me this you started crying and it broke mama's little heart. but then you got to eat and all is well in that department!!!

you've had lots of visitors. mama and daddy and aunt nikki and gigi and grandaddy and grandypa have been in and out. and arnold, hayley and max came by one afternoon. i had a video of nikki and daddy and grandypa dancing like loons on the couches and all around the room and singing to you, but then i deleted it by accident. it was funny and i think you would've liked to watch it one day and i'm so sorry i deleted it. but you are loved for sure. and you've had lots of people cheering you on and the doctor and nurse had quite an audience when they took your chest tube out. luckily they didn't seem to mind.

thank you Lord for taking care of our sweet girl. we are so thankful. it would be awesome if we could now have a bowel movement please=)

love you baby girl.


i can't wait till this grumpy look is not constantly on your face. we've gotten a few more smiles today and it makes me start crying every time.

you and grandypa with his flowing locks having an important conversation. i love your eyebrows.

your first official meal after surgery=)

i ordered green beans and broccoli and chicken fingers because they are usually your faves.

the green beans on this plate, however, were not your friend. i think your face is so funny. "what did you just feed me? you expect me to eat this?"

p.s. today is the 6th anniversary of when grandma donna went to live with Jesus. it was a sweet day of remembering her while you had a day of (painful) progress. i know she would be so proud of you sweet baby. or i know that she is proud of you. i don't know that works when you get to heaven, whether or not you know what's going on down here on earth, but i believe that the two of you are intimately bonded in deep ways we don't know about or can explain, and i will be forever thankful. we miss her so much and we're so thankful she is deep in the roots of our family.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

a real smile=)

soon after i wrote you that letter this morning, you woke up pretty happy. then daddy asked if you wanted to play with his ipad and you got so excited!!! you chose to play your dora christmas game and look how happy you are about it!!! it was our first real smile and it made all our hearts so happy=)

post-op day 2

hi love=)

surgery went well. it was actually a little more complicated than they expected, but they were able to take care of everything and the fact that you never showed any signs of it being a little worse in there than we thought is a great thing. basically, it was a huge diaphragmatic hernia (only a tiny little rim of diaphragm left around the edge) and no diaphragm at all next to your esophagus. so he put in a patch like dr rodgers did at uva and sewed the patch to the little diaphragm you had and then to your ribs/vertebrae in the middle. it sounds almost exactly like what dr rodgers did when you were 2 weeks old...

yesterday was awful. awful awful awful. you were hurting a lot which we expected, but that doesn't really make it any easier to watch. i get really worried about the fact that you've had a bowel obstruction in the past and how lots of narcotics will slow down your belly from waking up even more, and you were needing a lot of morphine on top of the continuous epidural infusion you're getting. we decided to give you toradol around the clock (toradol is like amped up advil, and it's awesome) to maybe decrease the frequency of you getting morphine. and it's working!!! you got morphine at 9am yesterday, and 9pm last night, and none today so far!!! there's a risk for increased bleeding with toradol so we can't give it to you for too long, but it's working for what you need right now.

they went through your chest to do the surgery and that always makes recovery much more painful. but the major plus is that going in that way enabled him to not touch your intestines at all (there was that "mysterious membrane" holding them down that ended up being a hiatal sac and i have no idea what a hiatal sac is, but the important thing is that dr hebra just had to push the sac down and everything went back in place. and not manipulating your intestines also means less risk of another bowel obstruction.) and you also have a chest tube draining out blood and other fluid from in there, which also makes it more painful. so you have plenty of reason to be hurting so much sweet angel.

but yes, today is looking better. you're moving your legs (and crossing your ankles which i think is so funny because you almost always have your ankles crossed under normal circumstances. such a little lady;)) and you've given us a few tiny pity smiles. they do not at all look like genuine happy smiles, but you better believe we all kinda went nuts when we saw it=)

you haven't wanted your surprises from gigi but you're finally starting to come around. the first one she gave you was a cuddly elephant that she named elmer but daddy and i named it bontie elephontie. we're pretty proud of that name. it definitely makes us laugh but you haven't shown much of a response at all to how hilarious your parents are...

i've taken a few pictures with my phone but for some reason most of them have disappeared. it's probably just as well because you have been so pitiful and it's one of the saddest things i've ever seen. but here are some of the ones i still have...

your surgery was delayed by about 2 hours but you had a BLAST playing with all the toys in the holding room...

daddy wanted you to stand up in the car and play guitar with your tongue poked out. you did exactly what he said=)

this is from this morning when you were snuggling with bontie elephontie and gilly fish. look how grumpy you are=(

you still haven't really had anything to drink but these green "water sponges" are your friend. the first day when you got out of surgery you were ravenous with them. you actually bit off little chunks of it trying to get the water out because you were so thirsty.

dr hebra just came in to see you and said all is well. we're turning your chest tube from suction to just draining by gravity and he wants us to try and get you up a little bit today. this will no doubt be a challenge and painful with that whopper of a thing sticking out of your chest. but we'll see what we can do=) tomorrow we'll get your epidural out and maybe the chest tube too. we're starting to feed you pedialyte today so we'll see what your tummy decides to do with that. hopefully they will just push it right out where it's supposed to go.

love you babe. you are the bravest and toughest little thing i know.


Friday, June 10, 2011

funny kitties

one of your favorite things to do with aunt nikki is watch youtube videos of kitty cats doing funny things. and one of my favorite things to do is watch you laugh at them=) here's a (long) video of you two (and daddy sneaking in there) while i ooh and aah to myself about how unbelievably perfect your pretty little face is and how your dimples make me ooey gooey inside and how i feel completely content watching your little body giggle with joy. i feel like most people will not have the patience to watch this whole thing, but it's one of my favorites=)

also, you're in surgery right now. we've gotten a few updates and all is going well so far. i can't wait to see you sweet baby. when i was getting anxious with impatience daddy said "she's just gonna be sleeping" but i want to watch you sleep and kiss your nose and nuzzle your sweet cheeks.

and in other news, we bought a house today. we've been negotiating terms since sunday night and today everybody finally agreed on everything. and about 10 minutes after they took you to the OR john our realtor (who also happens to be my best friend robyn's hubby) called to tell us the good news.

so today has been full of mixed emotions, huh? but all is well=)

see you soon love-


Thursday, June 9, 2011

i have to do this, and i have to do this...

i think this is kind of hilarious...

now let me interpret:

"and i got to get my rubberband and my lunchbox in school and i got to go in school and eat eat and eat some yogurt and i got to eat it with a spoon and and i got to make my bed and i got to eat some ice cream and some yogurt at school and i got to make my bed and that and that's all.............i got to make my ???????? all done and i got to eat eat some ice cream with a spoon and i got to make my bed and i got to make my ice cream then and eat it with a spoon...yeah...that's all!"

uh. the way you say spoon is kind of awesome. "pune". aunt nikki and i sit around sometimes trying to say it just like you. fun times.

love you little chatterbox.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

memorial day at the lake

hi love=)

we went to the lake for memorial day and it was tons of fun! your favorite thing right now is the panda bear float that you can sit in. after we got home you kept talking about it and wondering why we didn't have one to use at the pool. it sounds like we need a trip to target...

here are some pictures from our weekend at the lake:

catherine and jackson=bff. where is anna cate:(

girls' weekend girls: do you recognize this towel?????? (hint: dance party '07)

jackson, uncle nathan, and puppy cousin charlie on the jet ski

looks like fun, huh??? we love the lake. can't wait to go back.

i'm not sure when i'll write another letter so i should go ahead and address the fact that surgery is friday. we're ready to get it over with. i'm so sad that you have to have it, but i'm also confident that you're in great hands at musc. after that letter a month or so ago when i was not doing so well, i had some sweet friends (thank you renee, and sweet miss showalter) remind me that you don't really belong to me anyway. God has given me the greatest gift in you, but you belong to Him, and He will hold you close and take great care of you. so early friday morning they should take care of business in your belly and chest. we are obviously praying for wisdom and precision for the surgeon and anesthesiologist and everyone involved in taking care of you and that everything that needs to be fixed will be fixed. and we are praying for you to be calm and content and not too afraid and i pray that you will be comfortable and not feel too much pain and i pray that you will not feel lonely or scared being in a new scary place. and i pray SO MUCH for no complications from surgery. that your bowel will wake back up and start working just as it should and no bowel obstructions and no more intestines taken out...i pray that God will heal your little body and fill you with His peace. right now what you know is happening friday is that the doctor will give you a new "scratch" on your tummy/chest and that is where he's gonna make you better, and you also know that gigi is bringing you surprises to the hospital. so we're focusing on that=)

i love you baby. let's get this over with...