Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Blake Turns...4!

It's hard to believe that my baby boy is now 4 years old.  Of course, he would inform me that he isn't a baby, but a "big boy".  And he would be right he is definitely growing up, but I still get to squeeze in those special moments of holding him and kissing him and tickling him:)  I am holding on to that as long as I can...like all mom's do.
I am so proud of my little boy and all that he has done this year.  He had numerous swimming lessons at the YMCA and he really improved not just in swimming, but confidence.  He started the year in water babies 2, where I swam with him.  Grandmother came too b/c Ava was in the same class.  He is now in the next step, Pike, where he swims without me.  I knew he would be able to follow directions but I was nervous about him speaking up and doing the swimming without me in the pool.  The week before class I told him he would swim with Miss Emily not Mommy.  He took it well...no complainants, but I could tell he was trying to decide if he was okay with swimming.  Turns out he marched right over to were the kids sit and swam like a champ.  I think he did better without me!  He can bob underwater and at the end could do 5 bobs on the side of the wall without help.  He answered questions (What are the pool rules?) at least by end of the class he did:)  Even though every night at dinner before class we would go over the rules.  The one thing he was not fond of was getting his ears in the water, but Miss Emily showed him how to get it out by shaking.  He jumped in the pool by himself with very little hesitation, which was great b/c a lot of the boys would not jump at all.  He was comfortable to talk tell Miss Emily when he needed a tissue (allergy season), she couldn't get over how polite he was, a proud mommy moment.  The only thing he didn't like is no time to play with toys at the end:)
Blake is also a wonderful and gentle big brother.  Ava is fortunate to have Blake, not only as a playmate, but someone who loves her with all his heart and protects her instinctively.  It is a blessing to watch them grow as people but as a family too.  They are really using their imaginations now and coming up the most creative things...four wheeler now a plow.  Most days they play well with one another and really love having each other to do things with...yes, sometimes Mommy has to clean!  If he wakes up from nap first or in the morning and has something to share, Ava is the first person he thinks of to share his treasure or thought to.  Bless Ava, she really listens intently to Blake or shows lots of emotion to a treasure.  Blake loves to hold Ava, can even pick her up and hates to hear her cry.  He has even learned how to distract her when she is upset by showing or pointing something out to her in an attempt to calm her down.  Blake's heart is so big and generous imparticular when it comes to his little sister.  As parents it warms our hearts to see quality.
Blake is also learning a lot: ABC's, Numbers 1-20, Colors, Shapes, Animals, Sounds of letters... now not perfect but really working on these.  He also is learning to use the computer (great preschool website:  www.starfall.com) and working with scissors and glue.  These are the two newest things we introduced him to.  He loves to make things even crafts.  With the bad weather the other week we made countless crafts and he was asking to make an alligator puppet and said, "Mom, just get on the computer and find out how."  I have a new love of Pinterest b/c of all the great craft and educational ideas at my fingertips.  He enjoys playing games he got Hungry Hippos as his birthday gift and we are teaching him UNO.  He's not fond of losing, but this is part of growing too.
A few things that rate at the top for Blake:  Favorite Show: Poppy Cat or Kipper, Favorite Color: Blue, Favorite Movie:  Disney Cars ( loves Mater and Lighting McQueen), Favorite Book: Any book, he loves to pick out different books to read, we generally read the same one for two days then move to a new one, Favorite Friend: Brady (his cousin) Favorite thing to play: Cars, r Football or baseball, Farm or ride Bike, Favorite Food: Mac & Cheese (box kind) and P.B.J. (such an easy kid) and smoothies.
Last but not least Blake loves his Daddy and looks up to him with gazing eyes of wonder and admiration.  It actually chokes me up to watch the two of them outside working together.  He idolizes his Daddy, which makes me grateful b/c he has a wonderful dad to look up to.  He is just as observant as his daddy which cracks me up.  The other day he told me he wants to big so he can be like Daddy and do all that he can do!  As for me I marvel in the little moments that he gives me.  He knows when I am having a tough day or moment and stops to give me a hug and/or kiss and says, "that make you happy mommy?"  oh, boy does it ever.  He is so sweet and considerate of my feelings and wants his family to be happy because that makes him happy!  Oh, how I love you my sweet baby boy:)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

More notes on Nutrition

Well, last week was not that great!  I was great til...Monday, meaning on track lost some weight (14 lbs total), but by Wednesday I started eating terrible and not even thinking about what I was eating and to make it worse I was not exercising!  I had been running 2-2 1//2 hours a week but only managed 1hour and 45 minutes which is not bad except along with poor eating this is not a good combination.  Then on Sunday it hit me that this week I should get my period.  I realized that I have a hard time staying away from sugar the week before my period.  I decided Monday I would buckle down eat well and exercise for an hour, which I did, yay for me.  Today, Tuesday, I ran for 30 minutes and have been good with what I am eating.  I also got a call from Cathy and she just inspires me.  I needed to book my next appointment only to find out she is booked in November!  She is that good.  So I don't see her until Dec. 5th.  I should be happy b/c that gives me a few extra days to shed 30 lbs.  She recommended me to go online to www.myhormonology.com and chart my period.  She thinks I am very hormonally driven and I agree.  I did check this site out before writing this, but it is down right now.  I did go to another site that was posted on that page and found that I really need to chart my cycle and based on it probably not have sweets in my house the week before my period!  I also learned that I am typical, I know who would think that about me! LOL  Most women go through the same cycle and if you know what is coming you can plan around it. 
In the meantime I am looking at this week as a fresh start and pushing myself to lose 3lbs to get to the next decade of weight!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Struggles with Sugar!

Okay ladies...as you know I have been really trying to "get healthy" and have taken you along with me on my journey.  In the last week or so I have been struggling with my craving of sugar and at bedtime I want to eat (Ed at work, kids in bed, peaceful at our house).  It got even worse last week with my period.  I emailed Cathy begging for a solution.  Here is her advice:

When my period begins or right before it our female bodies need/crave minerals, like calcium, but for me who has a "yeast" issue my body focuses on sugar which is feeding my yeast problem.  Her solution is 1 scoop of super seed (powder that I have, which is a source of fiber), 1/2 scoop perfect food (another powder) mixed in my water.  Now she warned me it doesn't taste good so take in two big gulps, pleasant I know.  She is trying to give me an easy fix that has the most impact.  So I can do this before and during my period when I have huge sugar craving.  Yes, that means a lot of these drinks for me! 

She told me that before she exercises she will mix unsweetened cranberry juice or unsweetened black current juice, water (1/2 water, 1/2 juice), 1 scoop super seed, 1/2 scoop perfect food, and couple of drops of Stevia.  She said this actually tastes good and the juices have great benefits too.  She said I could do this at night when I have my biggest issue of eating food, before exercising too.  She said it makes you feel full (fiber of super seed) and gives you stamina for exercising and helps aid muscles.

Another tip she said is to eat green apples, almond butter and grapefruit.  These are things that will help with my yeast issue b/c these are "bitter" foods which is the opposite of my craving, but needs to be "awaken" in me.

This tip she said Not to Abuse:  2tbsp of Brags Brown Apple Vinegar (looks cloudy not clear) in a glass of water.  She said drink this before eating "brownies" and I won't want a brownie or if I already eat a brownie, drink this after.  She stressed not to abuse or I will have a body full of vinegar!

She also recommends that I get the book (which I have, if anyone wants to borrow) Knives over Forks.  Great ways to bake for my family that are delicious and nutritious.  Another tip was to watch her on utube the segment called "healthy holidays".

To leave you on a good note I have lost another 2lbs.  Now let me set the scene for you, it is first thing in the morning and I have no clothes on:)  The total lost since August 2012 is 11 lbs.  Ideally I would like to lose another 4 lbs this month, but I am not banking on that to happen, but I am still on track to lose 30lbs by November 30th, which is my long term goal for now.  I have also been very good at water intake, taking probiotics and exercising at least 2hrs a week.  My means of exercise is walking, jogging, running on treadmill.  I range from 3.5-6.0 in pace and go about 3 miles...that is according to my ipod.  I exercise during my kids nap time (1:30-2:30 range).  I do 2 workouts on my treadmill each being around 15 minutes.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Nutrition Blog 2

As you know from my previous blog I am in pursuit of being a healthy family, which I think will make us happy too.  I went in to see Cathy again and she is just so knowledgeable that my time with her goes by so fast and the next thing I know 2 hours has past by.  To get to the bottom line this is my progress, info that I learned and next steps.

After taking the questionnaire on www.wholeapproach.com I learned that my number is 112, which is extremely high in yeast.  This is what is making me crave sugar better known as my enemy.  She would like me to do a test on myself as well as my kids and cut out milk for a month and see if I notice a difference in things like irritability, stamina those sorts of things.  To do this I can cut cold turkey, but my kids have to be weaned in 10 days.  To wean them I use 1/2 sweetened vanilla almond milk and 1/2 of their whole organic milk and then go to 1/2 sweetened almond milk and 1/2 unsweetened almond milk, if I want.  And I will guess I will see a change in their behavior.  Right now I know my kids get too much sugar.  We use sweets in our house currently as a "treat" or "reward".  This is something that I really want to cut back on.  Now don't think that I won't send my kids to parties because YES they will have cake at parties and enjoy things, but in a much smaller and tolerant way then we are currently doing.

A positive note is that I have lost 5lbs.  Not a huge amount, but better than staying where I was.  My next goal is to lose, hold your breath...30lbs by November 30th!!!  Holy cow, is what I think.  Although Cathy is very optimistic about this being the "easy" part to lose the last 20lbs will be the kick butt kind.  Yes, that is right folks I have 50lbs to lose to be a healthy weight.  Another shocker is the knowledge that if I don't start eating better eventually this yeast issue will take over me and could become a cancer.  That scares me and everyone else to think about the potential.

Two tid bits I learned:  Blood type O's digest milk better, Blood type A's have a lot of difficulty digesting milk.  When you combine sugar & protein in your meal your body has a hard time digesting this combo.  Usually the effects are a feeling of tiredness.

I was sick and craved ginger ale here is the homemade recipe: Perrier (Sp?), ginger and Stevia (sweetener).

5 Pillars of what our Bodies Need:
E.F.A. (essential fatty acids)

These things I will be getting through foods and supplements.  Minerals, Fiber & EFA I will eat and the Probiotics and Enzymes are the supplements I will take.  Multi Probiotics I will take for several months, probably till Feb. or March.  We hit cold/flu season and guess what else we hit...holidays and the sugar knocks down our immune system!  EFA's are oils and omega 3's that she said are very important to have, but especially in children that have ADHD, ADD, or Aspbergers.

I will attempt to add Flax seed, which is cheap and is a natural estrogen...good to know for women hitting menopause.

Adobo is a seasoning that she recommend me using in all kinds of meals...on meat and in soups, which adds great flavor.

Forks over Knives - recipe book
Soak Your Nuts by Karyn Calabrase (don't you love the title?)

pumpkin seeds (not roasted or right from pumpkin unless you peel shell)
chopped almonds
sesame seeds (calcium)
frozen raspberries (or blueberry, or fruit of choice)
coconut - unsweetened
almond milk

F.R.O.G. Smoothie for Kids
Almond milk - vanilla sweetened
Fruit of your choice
Kale or Spinach
1/2 scoop "supper seed" - Fiber
1/4 scoop/tsp - "perfect food" (like the vegetable)
a little ice
May need to add more milk to get to right consistency
*to change color b/c it will be green, add blueberries or beet.  A beet will change the flavor but the make it a berry color.

F.R.O.G. Smoothie for Adults
same as above, but eventually changing to unsweetened almond milk
work up to scoop of fiber and 1/2 scoop of perfect food
use water
2TBSP milled flax seed

Now I don't care for the taste of this yet, but I need to tweak it until I can get to the adult smoothie.  I don't like the texture of flax seed, gritty and I needed mine to be sweeter:)

website:  www.greensmoothiegirl.com

She recommended soup being my friend and having crackers on hand (Ryvita brand).

Also if I eat poorly to take enzyme supplement before or after meal.  So if I go to a picnic...eat then take supplement to help my body digest food.

Lots of information, but I am working on it.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Our 1st family vacation!

Sandbridge Beach! Brad, Ashley, Breanna, Lauren, Blake, Ed, Ava, Brady, Pap

 We just arrived home from an AWESOME Family Vacation!  Some people may not take to going on a big family group, but we had a blast!  Our house was amazing, plenty of room to spread out and have privacy and best of all a pool that was loved by everyone day & night.  Our typical day was to spend a few hours in the morning on the beach, hit the pool, napping for Blake and Ava, pool for older ones and adults, dinner out and night swim or boardwalk at night!  Talk about Heaven on Earth:) 
What I didn't realize until we were home was the fact that we ALL needed this break from day to day routines.  Our kids are happier and we are happier, everyone is in great spirits and ready to tackle obstacles of life.
It was such a Perfect week that we felt spoiled!  A rare thing to feel when you become an adult.

A special "Thank You" to Mom and Dad Dukehart for this beautiful gift.  It will be one of our fondest family memories.  Mom I am glad this was always your dream (before Brad and I were even married) and know that it exceeded your expectations.  I feel blessed that we could do this trip with the whole family.

Bathing Beauty

Blake loved getting in the ocean!

 Brad buried in sand.  No we didn't leave him there:)

Brady buried in sand!  Cutie:)

Thank goodness the beach wasn't crowded with this bathing beauty and his attire!

Lauren, Brad, Breanna & Ed riding waves in...not a lot of waves this day!

Sara, Ava, Ed and Blake at Aquarium

All the kids at our pool!

Breanna & Grandmother at the Sweet Frog Yogurt shop!

Brad and Suzanne at Sweet Frog (FROG = Fully Rely On God)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Nutrition & Sara????

Well today I saw a local nutritionist and I am hopeful that my life will be changed for the good.  I not only have a desire to be fit, but to raise a fit family as well.  I believe in God and know that he has lead me to great things.  My first reason for this appointment was to help Ava with her health struggles.  I want to give her a life without doctors and medicine...maybe wishful thinking, not sure?  After all the doctors and poking she has had to deal with I want more for her.  Ed has fully supported this because of his love for our children and seeing all that Ava has endured in the last 6 months.  I want to publicly thank Ed for giving me his support in this, it means the world to me to have his love.  He has had a hunch for a long time that Ava's problems stem from her digestive system...God at work leading us to this appointment.  As it turns out he is probably hitting the nail on the head. 
I have chosen to blog about my story because today is the day it starts and I want to be someone to encourage others and spread the news of how food works.  I spent over two hours this morning with Cathy and she is a blessing in my life.  Although I may struggle to keep within her guidelines:) 
This is the list of things I am to do starting today:
1.  NO sweet drinks at all!!!  I have to drink Almond Milk (unsweetened) and if dying add Stevia.
2.  Four times a week run on treadmill for 15 minutes (something I try to do anyway).  She made a point to say we eat more than once a day we need to move more than once a day:)
3.  Massage or rub legs and arms and trouble area...mine is stomach, hips, thighs, butt (midsection).  This is for circulation and to break down fat storage.  My fat stores in the mid-section.  She advised to rub 4 times a day...I wrote down 6-7 times thinking I can really use the break down to take affect like...yesterday!
4.  Drink 90 oz. of water a day.  She wants me to get annoyed at how often I pee.  I am dehydrated!!!  Therefore my body holds onto water for dear life and I have a large amount of water gain or feeling bloated.
5.  Before I grab a cup of coffee in the morning I am to drink 8-12 oz of water.
6.  For 15 days take a supplement called "Tiao He Cleanse" ($40) only to do 2 times a year 3 at most and only if going through an extremely stressful situation.  Now this is a Chinese supplement, 6 pills, that I take two times a day.  The directions state to drink with 8oz. water then once taken drink another glass of water.  Basically I will have 2-3 bowel movements a day ( and I am generally very regular), but she feels I have about 14lbs of fecal matter to loose!  If you are constipated can you imagine how much you have inside!! LOL  The directions also state to eat fresh fruits, vegetables (especially green leafy ones) and whole grains.  Avoid eating red meat, coffee, alcohol, and sugary or fried foods. Drink plenty of water...90oz is plenty.
7.  I had Ed take pictures of me from front, side and back.  No I am not posting those beauties yet!  In 5 mths I want to post those along with 3 more updated pictures.  In 5 months it will be Christmas Eve...God at works again.  Funny guy, huh?

Can you imagine...my whole family is about to live with me for a week on vacation where I will be drinking enough water to fill the ocean then pooping 14lbs...sounds enjoyable, huh?

A few other notes on me is that I take in too much salty foods and sugary foods and I eat too much meat.  I am to wake up my bitter and sour palette with green apples.  I should use Feta Cheese as my go to cheese.

Ava is to take a supplement called Raw Probiotics by Garden of Life, to support her digestive and immune health.  Cathy feels Ava has a weakened immune system and we will see great improvements once it is running to full potential.  She will take 1/4 tsp in her milk or water or juice.  It can even be put on apple or yogurt.  Then gradually work up to 3/4 tsp. Cathy did give high praise to the company "Garden of Life" she doesn't get anything for advertising just loves their products and christian beliefs/background.

Here is a list of videos to watch online:  (This is part of my homework too)
 * http://www.wholeapproach.com/ is a 10 minute questionnaire that she will gain information from to see how deep my problem is.  My answers should stem from my late 20's to early 30's.
* Marketing Madness (u-tube)
* Killer at Large
* Bad Seed
* Food Inc.
* Food Matters
* Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead
* Tapped

My next appointment is Friday, August 30th.  She is one busy lady with lots of appointments.  Thanks to Jill for telling me about this place and encouraging to reach out to her and get help for Ava other than another medical doctors.  So many things have "fallen" into place for my family and I have God to thank for all these blessings even the ones that are in disguise as something terrible.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Happy Birthday 39th Brad!

Oh, Brad your last year to be in your thirties...enjoy this decade big bother brother:)

We celebrated Brad's birthday rather late because of Ava's party, Super Bowl and his work schedule, but we finally had a Sunday available over the weekend to have a party. 

Brad is my only brother, my only sibling, and he is MUCH older than I, but some how we can still connect!  He has four beautiful/handsome children and a loving wife (what she doesn't have to put up with!).  Any way on a serious note, Brad is great husband, father, son, and brother.  I know that no matter what I face I can always turn to him and he will not judge or criticize, but open his heart for love and advice.  He is a great man and I love him. 

On a funny note, Mom had a delicious ice cream cake made for Brad's birthday.  I am certain, absolutely positive that she took in a picture of Brad (hunting photo) and said could you replicate this photo on cake for me.  Well here it is:  Brad (the day of party) and his cake!  Can you see the resemblance?  Well, I laughed so hard that I had tears streaming down my face.  Ed told me that he was downstairs with kids and heard me laughing so hard that he had to come up and see what was going on.  Ed's comment was the hunter's (Brad's) beak was larger than the gun.

I know you are wondering two things 1. Why are you posting this now...so far after b-day and party? 2. Where is the photo?

Well, I did not have my camera so I relied on my niece to take the picture and send to me on my phone...Lauren, where is it????  Haha!  This is also the reason the post is so late...Lauren!  Haha :)

Back in the ER

Last weekend my entire had the flu!  Blake started on Saturday and by Monday we all had it.  As mom I was the last to be hit with the sickness and we thought everyone else seemed to be on the mend.  Ed took the kids outside to play on Monday evening while I rested on the couch.  It was chilly so instead of being outside he backed out the Jeep from the garage and let them play.  Ava and Blake played hard, kicking the ball and running all around.  We honestly felt the kids were doing better.
Tuesday morning Ava got up around 5:30am and I told her it was still night time and she needed more rest...really mommy needed more rest.  At 7am Blake woke up and I finally dragged myself downstairs with him.  I waited to hear Ava, figuring she would hear us and want to join the action.  Instead I found myself checking on her because she NEVER sleeps in.  A little before 9am Ed got up and had a cup of coffee when he thought he heard her footsteps.  He went to the stairs and saw her so went up to give her a ride down. When he brought her down he said that she felt shaky.  I immediately thought she was hungry because no one had had much to eat lately.  I sprang to make toast and get her some juice, but before I started I looked over to see her seizing.  I certainly started to panic and didn't know what to do.  After 1 minute or 1 1/2 minutes she stopped seizing and I called the doctor.  She told me to "calm down and take her to the ER".  I quickly called Ed's parents and they once again flew up to our house to stay with Blake.  What I did notice was how Blake was obviously upset and his way to deal with this trauma was to go into his "own world of play and imagination".  I made sure I kissed him and told him I loved him and everything would be okay, but we needed Ava to be checked by the doctor.  He didn't give much of a reaction, but this is typically of him and maybe part of his defense to avoid feeling upset.  One thing Ed and I knew going to the hospital was that she needed a through check up and we had to see a specialist concerning Ava's condition when she gets sick.  After telling the story of Ava and speaking with the doctor on call Dr. E the nurses proceeded to start an IV line and draw blood.  One thing I wish the nurses were better about finding a vein and getting the job done.  Now I know Ava is little therefore so are her veins and with her being dehydrated this only makes it worse, but it should not take 15 minutes of her parents having to hold her down to get this accomplished.  It is a shame to put a baby through that trauma.  After this was done and they gave her nausea medicine to prevent her from throwing up she was in my arms and started to seize.  I knew it was coming and told the nurse just before the facial twitching began.  She gets a far off stare in her eyes and for lack of better words, "just isn't my little girl".  I noticed her body seemed rigid during this seizure, but again had a lot of facial movement.  They immediately gave her seizure medicine and then she went into a deep sleep.  Ed and I both feel she probably had a seizure in the morning without us seeing it and that is why she slept in so long.  At this point we were admitted to the ICU for the night.  I dreaded this stay after the last time being such a hard night and now we were all running on low due to being sick.  But the good Lord looks out for us if we believe in him and somehow he gave me the strengh and courage to make through the night.  I sang "God is so Good" a lot that night.  The next day she woke up to get her blood drawn and let's just say that was "unpleasant" for me let alone a  25 month old girl who needed the rest.  After that the drama started of getting an EEG.  When we were in the ER the day before our Doctor was going to have an MRI done, but the hospital said they could not have her hooked up to machines for it.  Luckily the neurologist said instead let's have an EEG done instead.  So on Wednesday our nurse said that we would have the EEG at 9:30am, which was great since really I just wanted to take my baby home.  Then I was told no the EEG would be at 12:30pm.  Next I was told she could get one done at this hospital and would have to go to another local hospital by ambulance.  The reason was because this hospital doesn't "like" to do EEG's on baby's because it takes too long and they don't cooperate!  Now if we could do that with our jobs wouldn't that just be dandy.  We would also have to pay out of pocket for the ambulance because our insurance wouldn't cover it.  This is about when I flipped my Mommy hat on and demanded to speak to my daughters doctor.  I told her that I appreciate all that she has done for us and I knew she was doing all she could do to make this EEG happen, but if it wasn't done that day by 12 noon I was walking out of that hospital with my daughter.  I told her that the expectations for a 25 month old were impossible and I needed to look out for her well being.  She assured me that she had been on the phone all morning and had everything in place could I hold out til 12noon. I reluctantly said yes, but 12 was my cut off time.  I also found out that EEG needed to be done while she was sleeping and not given sedatives.  I could have cried.  What were they thinking a 2 year old would just roll over and sleep on command!  Ava's doctor came over said feed her anything she wants walk her around the halls and let her run in the room to get tired.  We did just that but something else happened during this time too.  Our loving Pastor David showed up and lead us in prayer just before the start of the EEG.  I saw a miracle happen in front of my eyes.  Ava allowed all 30 probes to be placed on her head and only pulled off two.  The tech had all but 2 probes in the correct spot and after all was in place Ava turned over in my lap and fell into a deep sleep for the 30 minutes that the test required!  Praise God!  They got a great and accurate tracing and now we are waiting for results.
Since our time in the hospital last week we have had some hard times.   Ava has had meltdowns that are far beyond a tantrum and she has had a hard time sleeping at night.  On average she is up 3-4 times a night!  We are trying to be extra patient because of the trauma she went through she just needs reassured that we are here for her.  This has also made us look deep into our parenting skills and really want to teach our children how to deal with their feelings in a positive way which of course starts through our example.  We are trying not to react but step back and handle the situation the way we want them to do.  Boy this is a hard task but our way of thinking is the benefit will be for now and in the future.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Mommy Milestone!

Okay, some of you viewing this may think this milestone is well overdue, but I am proud that I have completed it without any hiccups.
Last night I went to a Mary Kay meeting (I'm a consultant, if anyone has skin and needs me I am available).  It started at 7pm and if you know my schedule we do baths at 6:30pm and have the kids in bed at 7:30 or 8pm.  This did not allow me to do my routine.  I had to give up the evening to my husband and hope he soared with success.  Not that I doubt my husband, but keep in mind that Ava has never had anyone but me put her to bed.  Blake has had a few days with someone else putting him to bed so I knew he would be okay for Daddy.  I had reservations about going away, but if I was going to do this I needed Ed to be the one at home. 
In the end everyone survived and nothing major happened, which gave me great peace of mind.  It was a positive thing for all of us.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Our Valentine's Day was pretty simple this year.  This is for two reasons 1. The kids don't really understand the day or why they are getting something special and 2. We have all been battling colds and just not up to par these days.  But it is a special day to show your loved ones that you really love them so the kids opened cards from their Great Grandparents and Grandparents this morning.  Mommy and Daddy had a little bag of goodies for each of them too.  Their goody bags had a Valentine Day book for each, heart ring pops (Ava's favorite), kisses & hugs, and candy hearts.  It's funny because Blake has noticed that the hearts have words on them and asks me what they say.  For lunch Mommy made heart shaped grilled cheese sandwiches and heart shaped brownies...okay we have had enough sugar to last a lifetime!!!!!  We did go outside this morning in the soft, gooey ground, just to get fresh air.  Plus Daddy gave the kids a thrilling ride on the four wheeler.  Dinner will consist of heart shaped pancakes:)  Let's just say after today my kids should know their heart shape!  What a learning tool.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Just the four of us on Feb. 1st

She is just like her Daddy, a messy eater:)

Today Mommy, Daddy and Blake celebrated Ava.  This is her birthday and we started the morning with song and breakfast.  Grandmother and Pappy Dukehart called and sang too.  We then opened presents and played with the gifts.  Play doh cake maker, Snap n Style dog and doll is what Ava got from us.  We then traveled outside because it is about 65 degrees!  Daddy gave the birthday girl (and her brother) a tractor ride and four wheeler ride.  Then we had pizza, cake and ice cream!  It was a great morning to celebrate Ava.

Party Time

Sunday, January 29th we celebrated Ava's birthday with the family.  She had a Hello Kitty themed party.  Happy Pappy, Grand Mary, Pap D., Grandmother, Pappy W., Grandma, Uncle Brad, Aunt Suz, Lauren, Breanna, Ashley, Brady, Aunt Sheila, Uncle Rodney, Shaun, Aunt Holly, Uncle Steve, Kate and Ellie all attended our party.  We had a dinner, cake, ice cream and presents.  Ava was so excited when Grandmother brought in the birthday balloons and continued to be excited when we had cake and then presents.  When we sang to her she blew the candle out before the end of the song and she was soooo proud of herself.  She seem to be saying, "Look mom, I knew what to do...blow out the candle".  She received so many nice gifts that we are having a blast playing with.  Thanks to everyone for helping us celebrate this sweet and precious baby girl of ours.
Ava wanted to sit with "big girls" at the table and not in her highchair!

Kate and Ava at cake time.

She is so proud of herself!

Cute outfit!

She loves her tiny babies.

Minnie Mouse trike from Pappy and Grandmother!  Can you see Blake thinks this is cool too?


We thought this was adorable, Blake giving Ava a ride in the back!!!

Two years ago!

My precious baby girl, Ava, was born 2 short years ago at 2:13am.  She was 19 inches in length and 6lbs.  Her Daddy, Ed, and I are so abundantly proud of her and  blessed to be her parents.  I remember desperately wanting to go into labor on the weekend so that Ed would be home and not working.  God answered that prayer.  We got to the hospital a little after 10pm on Sunday night and she came into our world 4 hours later.  The memory I will cherish about her birth is the first night after she was born we (Ed, Ava &I) stayed up late (2:30am) and watched the snowfall out our window as a family and we just reflected in the beauty of the night.  I had Ava in my arms and my husband by my side and I thought "Life is sweet".  We had a lot of snow that week, including a blizzard of 12+ feet of snow 4 days after she was born.  It was nice being snowed in as a family of four.
Now that Ava is two, she is spunky and full of smiles.  She loves to chat, sing songs, and dance.  Her vocabulary is impressive and she is willing to try new things.  She is a great eater...willing to try almost anything.  She loves her big brother and wants to do everything that he can do. 
Happy Birthday my sweet baby girl.  I love you and am proud of you.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

One Scarey Day!

Last Friday, December 16, 2011 Ava woke up from nap feeling warm, but I thought it was due to her blanket being on her so we went about our evening (I had forgotten she had diarrhea earlier).  After dinner I picked her up out of her highchair and again I noticed she felt warm, so I took her temperature and it was 100 degrees nothing to be overly concerned about.  I gave her acetaminophen and a warm bath and put her to bed like normal. 
Friday night at 11:30pm she was complaining (not crying) in her crib and when I went to her she had gotten sick.  By the time I got her crib and her cleaned up (Blake was now awake too) Ed was on his way home from work so I waited a couple of minutes so he could help me put the kids back to bed (1am).  Around 4am she woke up and was asking for me and she ended up getting sick again (twice).  Needless to say it was a long night for her. 
Saturday morning she had another bout of diarrhea, but she was still playing normally.  We were to go to a special princess birthday party, but instead we visited the doctor because we were celebrating Christmas with Ed's side of the family on Sunday and I really wanted her to be part of the festivities.  Once again she got sick before going to the doctor's office.  The doctor checked her and said she had no ear or sinus infection and at that time no fever as well, she had a virus and we were to keep her hydrated (3 wet diapers in a 24hr. period).  She went the rest of the day without getting sick and one more diaper with diarrhea.  She had a rough night sleeping, but if you know Ava she always seems to rough nights with sleeping. 
Sunday we tried to keep it low key and I went to buy the sick essentials: saltines, soup, bananas, and applesauce.  She took a nap and when she woke up we whisked everyone to the party.  It was obvious to us and everyone there that she did not feel well, but we figured the next day we would stay in our pj's and rest.  I was concerned because when I went to change her diaper she was not wet and Ed told me she wasn't wet after nap which made me nervous.  We got home later than our normal bedtime, but I really wanted to see if she could drink something.  She had a little water along with a couple pretzels.  The night went ok, she got up a few times, but did sleep some. 
Monday is Ed's day off so I wanted him to sleep in as long as possible.  Ava was up early and Blake soon followed so I let her choose water or juice (water is what she had) and she wanted a banana.  Shortly after eating she threw up and then asked for more banana, yeah I thought that was odd too.  She ate 1/4 of a banana and kept it down.  She was exhausted so I layed in a chair with my legs up and her on my chest.  Blake was being an angel and playing quietly on the floor with toys.  While she slept I called my mom (like I always do when I have a question) she advised me to call the doctor because she felt 3 days going on 4 was too long for Ava to have diarrhea and throwing up.  I became upset because I was afraid they would send us to the hospital for fluids.  Good ol' mom said not to worry and she would meet me at the doctor's office for support.  I got off the phone and Ed had come down the stairs for coffee and he thought we should wait to go to the doctor.  Ava woke up and I started to give her 5mL of water (my thinking was small amounts she may keep down).  I called my mom back to say we were going to wait when "it" happened. 
Ava wanted down off me to help get the water in the dropper when she got down she took two steps and fell down and had a seizure.  Looking back I think she fell because she was seizing.  I yelled for Ed (just woke up and had two sips of coffee) and said she was having a seizure.  I was still on the phone with my mom and all she heard was "oh my gosh, I have to go".  She assumed she was getting sick.  Ed grabbed Ava patted her back while she was facing down then put her on his shoulder.  Her trunk area was "trembling".  I hurdled couches to grab the landline (you never know about cell phones and I wasn't taking any chances on losing the call) and dialed 911.  Hysterically I told the operator our address and what was happening.  I have never become this "unglued" before in my life.  Once the seizure was over (1 min) her breathing seemed to stabilize and she went completely limp but was breathing.  As the ambulance was on its way I called Ed's parents to come up with Blake and again I was extremely emotional so I was glad that Bud (Ed's dad) answered the phone.  Clara (Ed's mom) was at our house in 5 seconds (yes, they leave next door, but she is 74 years old) panicked too.  Once the ambulance came I went with Ava to the hospital where my mom greeted us as they opened the ambulance door.  I registered Ava then went to her side (really they need a better system for registering I should have been with my daughter).  She was awake and asking for me which did my heart wonders.  She was pale and looked sick, but alert.  They took blood (very difficult to get and the vein "exploded") and did a urine test to make sure she didn't have a urinary tract infection.  Ed soon joined us (he was a few minutes behind ambulance) and we had Dr. Mc telling us that her tests came back normal for the most part, sodium was a little low but not alarming.  He was about to send us home with the thought that it really wasn't a seizure she experienced. 
Ava had a little of my water and then said she had to "potty" on the "big potty".  So I took her to the bathroom with a diaper and wipes in toe.  We waited our turn and when I walked in I was looking for a place to put my things and Ava leaned backwards.  I thought she was trying to get down to go to the potty and I was saying, "just a minute Ava" when looked at her and she started to seize.  I ran out of the bathroom yelling, "Help ME, She's having a Seizure".  Six people helped me and Ava to the nearest room and my mom and Ed came running down the hall.  She had a lot of facial twitching with this seizure and it was very hard to watch, in fact at one point I turned away.  I asked if that was a seizure when it was confirmed I said that is what happened earlier at our house.  Now they decided to get an IV inserted in her foot so that in case she would seize again they would administered seizure medicine immediately.  We also went downstairs for a cat scan because she was in a sleep like state, which we have come to find out is typical after a seizure.  During a seizure your brain is extremely active and "out of control" and directly after such activity your brain needs to rest so a person goes into a deep sleep to rest the brain from the trauma. 
We now were meeting with Dr. C (highly recommend this doctor) and he wanted every single detail and he composed her write up and was in contact with a pediatric neurologist in a large hospital.  As I was sitting talking with Dr. C and holding Ava I said, "This is not my daughter", she had a blank stare (in fact she didn't seem to know her Daddy either) and he agreed this was abnormal and this is a type of seizure and watched her closely because it appeared it may happen again.  At this time he decided to do a spinal tap to rule out major things like meningitis and once again I became hysterical and out of control with tears.  The one nurse came out in the hall while I cried holding Ava and she got in my face to look me in the eye and said if this needed to be down this is the doctor I want.  At the time I thought she was saying this to calm me down, but since have heard great things about this doctor (my gut told me he was good as well).  Due to the emotional toll of the day the nurses and doctor advised Ed and I to leave the room for this procedure, although we were both willing to be there for her.  We took their advise and took a moment to walk outside and cry and PRAY like I have never prayed before in my life.  The EMT Mark came out to say it was over and the fluid looked clear (great).  We went to her side and the nurses told me she may bruise because they had to hold her tight (it took 2 females and 1 man).  Ed had stressed that she was a very strong little girl, sick or not be prepared because she is a fighter.  They certainly were impressed with her strength.  Within minutes they were able to rule out any major problems.  They started her IV of fluids and she rested on my chest while I was in the bed.  Ed and my mom went home to get things for Ava and I because we were now being admitted overnight, it was 5pm or a little after when they left.  Ed had to drive home with a sick feeling in his stomach and the question:  "why am I leaving my daughter at this time".  I knew unless there was an emergency I wouldn't see him until the next day.  We both knew Blake, although doing well, would need Daddy and when he got home Blake clinged to him.  Clara later told me that Blake would go to the window saying he was waiting for the ambulance to bring Ava and I home.  Ava napped and when she woke up she had a look that told me she was more herself.  The nurses had just gotten new stuffed animals and brought a soft doggy in to her and she beamed like a Christmas tree.  It made both the nurses and me smile to see this precious girl smile.  The nurse then gave her an orange Popsicle and she again she smiled her beautiful smile and gobbled down the delicious Popsicle.  I sent pictures to Ed and called him so she could say, "Hi, Daddy".  Daddy became emotional when he heard his baby girl's voice and knew she was okay.  I sent pictures to some family because they were all praying for her.
At 6:30pm Ava and I had a room in the ICU and went through all the questions that are routine.  One that I was blessed to answer was, "Do you need to be up for work tomorrow?"  I am so fortunate to be a stay home mom and be available for Ava.  Some time after 7pm my Mom came to the room with a much needed meal for me and some essentials for us both.  At 8pm we gave Ava another Popsicle so that I could gobble down a quick bite.  Ava wasn't allowed food only liquids and she is my eater so I didn't want to eat in front of her and have to tell her no she could not eat.  My heart couldn't take it.  The food definitely gave me the strength I desperately needed to get through the night.  Mom left around 8:30pm and Ava read, sang and played peek a boo.  From about 10 til 11pm Ava was crying and so frustrated (kicking, crying, biting, scratching)  because she wanted and needed sleep, but here we were in a strange place with just each other.  Around 11pm our nurse came in and said maybe if we went for a walk she would fall asleep.  The nurse graciously pulled all the machines Ava was hooked up to and we talked and walked the halls and finally by 11:30pm Ava was asleep.  I kept her on my chest for a while then moved her next to me on the bed.  I watched the Steelers play Monday night football, but I can't say that I really payed attention, but it was a nice distraction for me.  My body did get rest that night, but I can't say that I slept that night.  At one point she woke up, looked over at me, was happy to see me (familiar face), grabbed tight to my arm (saying, please don't leave me), snuggled in tight so that her face was touching mine and feel back to sleep.
Tuesday, December 20th at 4:30am Ava woke up for the day!  I was so anxious to get home, but we were not sure when Dr. R would be in hospital to release us.  She came around 10am and Ava started to throw another major fit (kicking, screaming, crying, biting, scratching).  Dr. R asked if this was typical and I told that she was exhausted, in a strange place and poked and prodded by too many strangers.  I just wanted to get home and back to normal.  I wasn't having any success getting Ava calmed down so Dr. R took her and walked the halls.  Later Dr. R said it took her 10 Christmas trees to get her settled and she wasn't sure if she would!  I know one day this independent side will serve her well.  Needless to say my body was very sore, remember how I wrote how strong she is, well you can't put her down on hospital floor so I would hold her during these fits and my arms ached!  Ed soon came in and we were home by 1pm.  Ava, Blake and I took a much needed nap.  Ed needed one too but offered to stay up and keep the monitors next to him so that I could rest.