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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Updates

1. John had his follow up appointment yesterday with the surgeon. Everything is looking good (I thought everything was looking gross myself) and sent us on our way with instructions to get a splint and complete our physical therapy as directed. His cast was removed, staples in his head were taken out, x rays taken, physical therapy exercises were learned and a splint was tailor made to fit him. John has permission to return to St Louis for the rest of his care. However, John does not have permission to drive himself to St Louis or anywhere else for the next several weeks.

2. The car situation has been resolved (we think). We have spent the majority of our time the last three days trying to shop for a new vehicle and arrange for payment of said vehicle. Things are complicated by many things including the fact that our checkbook is at home along with the title from our now totaled Expedition. Also, we are not from Minnesota and have to pay St Louis sales taxes and our banking institutions are in Seattle, Washington. Nothing has been easy this last week. However, we are now the owners of a 2009 Toyota Sienna. I'd like to tell you I'm happy about this, but to be honest I'm not. I'm ready to be done with the complications and red tape and paperwork and overeager sales people who assure you things will work and in the end they do not. I think happiness will find me later, hopefully soon.

3. Our current plan is to drive home tomorrow depending on the weather and how everyone is feeling. It will be good to be home again where there is a possiblity things won't be so difficult and we can start working on our next long list of tasks to complete from medical forms, insurance paperwork, and followup appointments to schedule.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy...

Anniversary to us today. It was low key and relaxed. Just what we needed today.


PS One of the losses from the accident is my cell phone. If you're trying to get ahold of us, you'll need to use John's phone number (or e mail me for the number). I spent a chunk of time calling my doctor offices to update their records.

PPS After all my calling around, I am pleased to report that all the cookies I have eaten over the holiday are not contributing to gestational diabetes. Blood work was all clear - bring on the pie.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Week Past

We are busy busy busy. We're figuring things out and making lists. Things that are lost, things that are damaged, things that need to be done. At the top of every list I want to write in big letters: REMEMBER WHAT MATTERS IS EVERYONE IS OKAY. Christmas has come and gone in a blink of an eye - a fuzzy, unfocused eye.

I do have pictures to share and stories to tell, but my heart just isn't in it. This last week has been one of the more difficult in my life and I just can't find it in me to write about the everyday stuff just yet. Or fill you in on why I hated dogs for 15 minutes last week. But, it is coming. I promise.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hospital Update

I know people are looking for more information about us. Luckily, there wasn't all that much that needed fixing in the end. John was admited to St Mary's Hospital in Rochester (a great place to be) yesterday and consulted with doctors about the treatment of his hand. We elected for surgery to take place yesterday on the three center fingers of his left hand. The surgery itself was about an hour and half and surgeons reported everything went well. Two pins were placed in the ring finger on John's left hand to hold the bones in place. His hand is expected to recover with the possibility of some stiffness in his joints. Only time will tell. John spent the night at the hospital to receive antibiotics and should be ready to go home sometime this afternoon.

We have some bumps we are going to have to clear before we are back on track again (physical therapy/occupational therapy, vehicle decisions, travel decisions, insurance claims to be filed, medical claims to follow up with, and check up appointments to coordinate). I think we're all starting to feel like the problems are becoming more managable and life as we knew it will be possible again (which sounds kind of dramatic, but what we've been through is just so overwhelming in so many ways).

We'll be back when there is more to tell....Happy Holidays everyone

Monday, December 22, 2008

After Shock

**When I first started to post about the accident, I included a lot more information. It got really long and wasn't really important. However, I want to keep a record about it, so I'm leaving it here. Again, this is from my (Kelly's) perspective and doesn't include the information about what was happening at the time with John. He is welcome to come in a insert his own perspective.**

When we started to roll, I shut my eyes. When the car stopped, I opened the my eyes again and tried to process everything that had just occurred. Our car was laying on the driver's side in the snow. William was seated next to me and was crying loudly. I looked him over quickly and he appeared scared, but unhurt. I took a moment and assessed myself and found I didn't have any pain either. I looked in the front of the car and saw John was bleeding, but his eyes were open and he was moving around. I then looked forward to the windshield and saw it was smashed in and a man was standing in front of it, asking if we were okay. I was startled that someone else was there to help before I even figured out what it was we needed. Someone else was there before I even had a chance to decide we needed to get out of the car - that is how quickly we had help. The stranger and John pushed the shattered windshield out of the way and he was able to climb out of the car. Another stranger pulled open the back hatch of the car and asked if we were okay. I reported that I thought we were but I needed to get out toddler out before I could get out myself. I started moving to pull William out of his carseat. He wasn't wearing shoes or his jacket, but I handed him out to the stranger in the back of the car. He was still crying. I was only wearing one shoe (I had taken one shoe off after getting back in the car) and was trying to located the other shoe. It was loud. I could hear cars driving by, William crying and people yelling at me to get out of the car and asking if I needed help. I kept yelling out to them I was fine and I was trying to find a shoe. I found my shoe (and noticed my unzipped purse was tipped upside down on the seat). I left everything but my shoe and climbed out of the car on my own.

Standing up outside of the car, I could tell everything was fine. My neck was stiff, but not in any pain anywhere. I got a few reassuring bumps from the baby inside that allowed me to turn my attention to the rest of the situation. Two women were holding William. One had him in her arms and the other was standing behind him trying to hold his head still. He was outraged about the person trying to hold his head still and was crying/yelling very loudly. John was sitting on the ground next to the car holding William's sleep sack against his hand. This was the first time I realized his hand was hurt at all. I didn't ever see the injury on his hands until many days later (I am okay with that). He had small rivers of blood running down his head all the way around. John looked kind of dazed, but he had 3 different people around him asking questions and helping him.

John and I had not spoken to each other all, but I felt that William needed me most at that moment. I went to the women holding him and they eagerly turned him over to me. Someone had called 911 and the dispatch had instructed them to keep our heads still by holding onto our necks until medical professionals had arrived. William was very, very upset. He kept saying over and over again: Oh no! Car! Oh no! Car! Daddy! Oh no! Oh no! Car! Daddy! Oh no! Finally, I turned my body so that he couldn't see the car or John sitting next to the car. He continued to cry, but was not as upset.

There were people everywhere. I am guessing that somewhere between 15-20 people were running around in the median of the highway offering their assistance to our little family. People calling emergency services, people picking Christmas gifts up from the snow, people working with John until medical help arrived, people offering assistance to myself and William. Some of the people were completely freaked out and in disbelief that we were okay. John and I were probably the most calm people on the scene of our own accident. Someone asked me if there was anything I wanted from inside the car. I told them I needed my purse with all of my identification/insurance cards/phones inside it. Someone retrieved my purse - my wallet was missing. Someone else found a cell phone in the snow and handed it to me. People continued to search for my wallet (I thought I was going to need it in order to call my insurance company and get towing for the car. At this point, I thought we would all go to the local ER and be checked out and released an hour or so later because I thought our injuries were relatively minor).

One person stopped to ask me if anyone nearby would be able to come and retrieve our belongings. At that point it hit me that our car wasn't a very secure location to leave things with about half of the windows missing and the snow starting to fall. As I looked around I found that there was a lot of our stuff that was falling out of the broken windows and into the snow. I also realized that they weren't going to let me stand on the side of the road and go through my belongings piece by piece before bringing us in for medical attention. The third thing I realized at this point was I had NO IDEA where we were. So, I had to ask them. Iowa City was the response. In that case the answer was a big NO. We didn't have anyone nearby who could swing by and pick up our belongings. Suddenly a guy stepped out of the crowd and introduced himself as the Fire Chief from the volunteer fire department of Hills, IA. He offered to call in his daughter with a Jeep to load our belongings to take to the fire department in Hills (just a few miles south of Iowa City. When we were ready to leave town, we could swing by and pick up our things. I don't know if I've ever been so thankful for someone. He left me about 15 phone numbers to get ahold of him and reassured me that everything would be taken care of.

Someone else asked me if there was anything in the median that I recognized as ours that should be retrieved. When I looked up and down the median, all I could see were little brown circles standing out on the white snow - cookies. I was bringing John's dad a huge batch of monster cookies, probably about 12-16 dozen. It appeared that every single container had broken open and spread themselves across the median. I told the people that they were my cookies, but I didn't want anyone to pick them up. I looked quickly and saw a few totally demolished Christmas presents in the snow and didn't recognize anything else as valuable and/or ours. I didn't have a whole lot of time to look as an ambulance had arrived on the opposite side of the highway. It had maybe been 2-3 minutes since the time of our accident.

(At the time, I didn't understand why the ambulance would have come to the opposite side of the highway. I thought our car had rolled over once and stayed next to the highway, somehow. Turns out we started out on the other side of the highway and rolled to the opposite side across the median. Whoever saw us start to roll called EMS and told them we were going Northbound and that is where the ambulance came to. However, our car stopped right next to the Southbound side of the highway and we had to be moved through the snow several hundred feet to the ambulance. It wasn't until much later in the evening when John and I finally had an opportunity to talk about things and read the police report that I/we realized we had rolled multiple times across the median. When we realized how spectacular our accident was, we suddenly understood WHY all those people had been in such a panic. They saw us roll spectacularly across the median and then walk out of the car with pretty minor injuries.)

The ambulance works asked about William's condition and then mine. William was wrapped up in blankets (his coat was still in the car) and he was still sobbing. After answering all their questions, they decided it was in our best interest for me to carry William back across the median through the snow to sit in the ambulance where it was warm (and out of the way). As soon as we got in the ambulance, William immediately stopped crying - just little hiccups here and there. He snuggled into my side and sat quietly on the bench in the back of the ambulance. Once it was quiet, I realized we were going to need some help getting ourselves and our belongings anywhere - so I pulled out the phone someone had picked up from the snow and called my poor mother. I didn't have very much information for her except that we had had an accident and our car wasn't going to be able to get us to Rochester. I told her I thought we were going to be taken to a hospital for evaluation and for John to get cleaned up. I told her that our injuries were minimal - but needed to be checked out. I thought by the time they got to us, we would be ready and waiting. My mom deserves a medal because she took the news very calmly and told me to call when I had more information. She would get things pulled together ASAP and hit the road with my dad as soon as they were ready.

During the phone call, the medical professionals were all assisting with John. I don't really know what they were doing as William was glued to my side. William and I sat in the ambulance for awhile while (I assume) they prepped John for transport. During this down time, I dawned on me that I had not told anyone yet about our pregnancy. I was dressed for traveling: roomy sweats and long sleeve T shirt topped by my Arctic grade winter coat. You would be hard pressed to tell what gender I was let alone the fact I was 26 weeks pregnant. Let us just say that I was in BIG trouble for not reporting this fact immediately. No one was reassured by the fact that I felt fine and I was absolutely certain that nothing was wrong with me. People started to hustle around a little quicker and William and I were left alone again while they worked to get John across the median safely through the snow. In the quiet moment, I knew that there wasn't any way I was going to be able to remember these moments accurately...everything had happened so quickly. I started wishing I could take a picture of the scene. Along the way, someone had brought our [large and expensive] digital camera to the ambulance for safe keeping along with my wallet and William's favorite security blanket (still no shoes). However, by the time I thought about taking a picture, they were getting ready to load John into the ambulance. I didn't think the medical professionals were going to be very understanding about my wanting to take a souvenir photograph of the scene before we sought medical attention. Especially after my slip on the pregnancy bit.

William was strapped into the built in car seat (so neat! I didn't know they had these!) and provided with a stuff giraffe from the ambulance driver and sheriff stickers from the undercover police man who had stopped to help. John was loaded into the ambulance and I belted myself in. Although I think he would have normally liked it, William got a little shook up again when the ambulance turned on the siren to take us to the hospital. This was my first opportunity to talk to John since the accident - and I didn't know what to say. There were 3 medical professionals and William in the back with us. So, I think I just said "Hi" and "We're all okay" and then I kept a running commentary for William to distract him from everything going on.

When we got to the hospital, they unloaded John and I carried William into the emergency/tramua area. John was wheeled into one room and I started to follow. The nurse stopped me and told me it would be better for everyone if we could have seperate rooms. William wouldn't be as freaked out, the doctors could focus on helping John and I would be seen to a little more quickly. Although I wasn't happy about being seperated, I went along with it. Our log in time at the hospital was around 12:35. I didn't know it, but I wouldn't be seeing John for another 3 hours.

William was checked out in a matter of minutes by a nurse/doctor team. They were gentle and quickly pronouced him okay. They told me to keep an eye on him for anything unusual for the next 48 hours in case something came up. Then it was my turn. My neck was a little stiff and sore which landed me on a back board with a neck brace. Several nurses took turns with William, finally taking him out in the hall to watch the cars drive by while I was being examined. They put me in a hospital gown (didn't even get to take my own clothes off) and felt up my spinal column for injuries.

The nurses fed William lunch and changed his diaper for me. Everyone was being so nice - but really I just wanted to hold my baby and be with my husband. I felt helpless laying there and trying to describe where exactly inside the diaper bag the raisins and diapers were located. Laying on my back is very uncomfortable at this stage of pregnancy - but due to the possible back injury I had to stay put on my back. I was getting crabby. Different nurses floated in and out of the room holding William so I could see him and him me. Everytime someone came into the room, I would ask for information about John. At one point (the when is fuzzy), someone reported that John was doing well, but was going to have to lose part of his finger. THIS MOMENT was the first time I realized that John had more than just cuts and bruises. I asked to see John and....well nothing happened. I was still strapped to a back board with a neck brace with a hospital gown loosely tucked around my body. An ultrasound machine was wheeled into the room and I had to remind everyone many times that this baby HAD to be a surprise. No one could tell me the gender of the baby - especially when John was down the hall having his life changed.

It was incredibly frustrating and....well frustrating to not be able to do anything or be with John while a huge decision was being made. I called my parents again to update them and they suggested it might be time to call John's dad. They offered and I agreed. An IV was started (AHHH!!! I HATE needles! I tried to talk them out of it, but no luck) and blood was drawn. A family from the scene of the accident showed up at the ER with items for us. They brought John a new sweatshirt, William a Mickey Mouse doll and Spiderman Slippers. They had a notebook, pen and M&M's for me. We visited for a few minutes and it became clear that they had witnessed our accident with their (7ish year old) son in the car. I couldn't bring myself to ask them about what happened to us. It didn't feel real anymore. Eventually I was taken for X Rays of my neck to rule out injury (with double lead covering for NewBaby). People coming in and out of my room would ask as they were leaving if I needed anything. My response: I need to see my husband. After the X Ray, my wish was finally granted.

John was just in the room next door and he wasn't losing a finger. He had enough feeling in his fingertip that the doctors had decided to reattach it. They weren't sure if it was going to be something that could be saved - only time would be able to tell. We were told that John would need to see a hand surgeon 24-48 hours after the accident to determine what would happen next. John and I visited quietly while a doctor continued to sew his finger. I reassured him that I was okay, William was okay, Newbaby was kicking and rolling around. We held hands as well as we could through the rails of our beds. I couldn't see him because I was still strapped in a neck brace. John told me that he was going to be okay, finger or not. I told John the doctors needed a minimum of 4 hours of fetal monitoring before they would discharge me to leave - I needed to get a start on that so we could eventually go home. With that, I was wheeled out of his room and back to mine.

Nurses packed up all the stuff we had brought in the ambulance (which turned out to be a lot) and loaded up my bed. They threw William on the bed for good measure and took me upstairs to Labor and Delivery to begin my monitoring. The nurse pushing my bed asked me if I would mind making a quick stop. I agreed - really, what else was I going to do? I was stuck in bed and she was in charge. When the elevator stopped, she took William just outside the elevator doors and I heard him squeal excitedly : "HELICOPTER!" The two of them stood and admired the helicopter for several minutes while I layed in bed hoping the doors wouldn't close and whisk me away to another area.

My room in L&D was big and private. The nurses lifted me to a new bed (come ON already people! I could have done it myself!) and started the monitoring after some more personal examininations. By this time (nearly 3pm) I was both starving and had to use the restroom. I wasn't allowed to eat until my bloodwork was cleared and I was offered a bedpan. I didn't have to go that bad, so I waited it out. After nearly escaping into the hall, unplugging my monitors, resetting the computer and calling the nurses' station twice all in under 8 minutes, help arrived. An assistant was brought in to help me with William, videos were aquired to help entertain him, and milk and crackers were brought to keep his belly full. Several times during my monitoring session I had been in contact with my parents. The weather in southern MN and northern IA was blizzard conditions. It should have taken them 3 hours to get to Iowa City, but the snow was slowing them down. We made plans for my mom to go be with John in the ER and ask as many questions as humanly possible about his condition and follow up care before fetching from my L&D tower room.

Roughly an hour into things my labs cleared and X Rays were read. I was able to go to the bathroom by myself (luxury!) and I was able to eat something. I ordered dinner for William and myself and my lovely assistant went off shift. I had a little bit of freedom, but it was a struggle to stay in the bed with the monitor on me while holding the wiggle worm that is my son. At roughly 6:15pm, John walked into the room. William yelled "Daddy" and I cried. We were both so happy to see him. John looked terrible - he was bandaged and his head was pretty bloody. We hugged and I let him know what was going on with us. I was relieved to finally have some help with William until me parents could arrive - I called to update them about our locations to find out they were very close by. Then I was able to get busy. I called the towing company who took car of our car to find out what we needed to do. I called our insurance company to report the accident and the location of our car. We fed William some dinner and ate a little bit ourselves. During this short time, I realized that John wasn't going to be able to handle William as normal with his hand injuries. He was unable to pick William up or use his left hand to complete tasks at all.

At about 6:40pm, my mom and brother were brought into my room. There was more excited yelling by William and some tears on my part. We put them right to work. William was handed over to grandma (they were both glad about this arrangement) and John went with my dad and brother to the tow yard to pick up our belongings from the car, to the firehouse to pick up our presents and then to purchase a new carseat for William (after an accident you can't keep using the same one). We thought I would be discharged around 7:30ish and we would be on our way.

A doctor came in before I was to be discharged to talk things over with us. The monitor had picked up two short decellerations of the baby's heartbeat in the four hours of monitoring. The doctor thought this was probably due to the baby moving and the heartrate monitor picking up my slower heartrate instead. However, since they couldn't be sure, I had to stay on the monitors for an additional two hours from when the last decelleration had occurred. The earliest I could be leaving was now 9pm. Driving back to Rochester for the night was becoming less and less of a possibility.

The nurse staff changed over and a new nurse came in to introduce herself. We visited for a few moments and she commented about me leaving in the morning. This was news to me! We asked for some clarification and she left to find us some answers. I was starting to panic. I needed to be with John and William. We needed each other after everything we had been through and John wasn't able to take care of William on his own. Another ultrasound machine was wheeled into my room and we again discussed the gender surprise requirement. The doctors wanted to look again at our placenta and check the fluid levels around the baby to be sure they weren't causing the decellerations. Everything checked out perfectly and we were left to wait.

Just after 9, the nurse came back and told us that I would be free to leave as long as we were staying in the immediate area and I would come right back to hospital if I experienced anything out of the ordinary. I made my promises and packed up our stuff quickly before they had time to change their minds.

We checked into a hotel for the night and put William to bed. It was about 10:30pm - over 2 hours past his bedtime. He fell asleep quickly and John and I went through 2 huge plastic trash bags of our stuff that had been rescued from the car. William woke up screaming and wouldn't go back to sleep at 11:30pm, so I snuggled him in next to me in the big bed. He fell asleep immediately.

The next morning we cleared up some details (back to firehouse for some forgotten items) and then drove on to Rochester. The roads were still not great and I was on edge the whole way - it was not a trip that I would want to take again soon. Before we left Iowa City, I briefly considered moving our family to Iowa City and taking public transportation for the rest of our lives. On the way to Rochester, I tried to work out something similar so we wouldn't ever have to ride in a car again. I have never been so glad to get out of the car when we got to my parents' house and promised myself I wouldn't be getting in a car again anytime soon.


We'll just call this section photographic proof.

After John was discharged from the hospital and my parents arrived, they went to the towing yard to salvage what they could from the inside of my car. Keep in mind by this time it was dark, snowing and very very cold outside. John had a very very injured hand and was trying to take pictures of the car as we were pretty sure we weren't going to be seeing it again.

Poor Clifford, we'll miss you (Clifford the Big Red Truck)
Front view: shattered windsheild
More windshield, possibly what cut John's hand?
Front of the car from the inside. Obviously, it sat out in the snow for most of the day. John, my dad and brother had to dig through the broken glass and snow to find our stuff inside.
A very bashed up driver's side
More driver's side. Caved in roof, smashed windows, dented in sides.
And the almost untouched passenger side where William was riding. Amazing, no?

Injuries
We don't have any pictures of ourselves until a few days after the accident. Not surprising, but we were just operating in survival mode. So, I've pulled these pictures from our stash.

December 23rd: McGarry Rochester Christmas. John had just been discharged from the hospital. You can see his casted arm from his surgery.

This picture shows both William's and my injuries very well. Mine is the dark spot on the side of my face next to my right eye. William's is the small dark spot above his right eye. Keep in mind, William had a HUGE run in with our coffee table before the accident happened. That injury is the largish bruise next to his right eye.
December 24: John's staples. Hard to see through his hair, but he had a total of 9 staples.
The cuts on the other side. Still hard to see through all his hair.

December 30th: The left hand 8 days after surgery
December 30: right and left hand comparison 8 days after surgery.

Thankful

This isn't the message I thought I would typing this evening, but it is one that has to be done. Most importantly, all four of our family members have arrived intact at Grandma and Grandpa's house. However, this will definitely be one Christmas trip we will never forget.


Please keep in mind, all FOUR of us are okay. We are healthy and whole and thankful to be that way. Our story could have ended very differently. This story is told from my (Kelly's) perspective, but has been pieced together from listening and talking through events with a number of different people.

On Saturday morning, we left for Rochester for our Great Christmas Adventure 2008. We were excited and happy to be making the trip, ready to be on vacation for the next week. After driving 3 hours, we stopped to go to the bathroom (necessary when traveling with this pregnant chick). About 30-45 minutes after we got back on the highway, something went wrong*. Our car (my truck for those of you who keep track of these things) started to swerve and spin on the highway towards the median. We were traveling at highway speeds when our car entered the median**. When the car hit the snowbanks/dirt in the median, it started to roll over. Bystanders reported that our car rolled several times across the median and came to a rest just before the shoulder of the highway lanes going in the opposite direction.

All four of us were taken by ambulance to the University of Iowa Emergency/Trauma Center and fully*** checked out. Here is a quick run down of everyone's conditions:

John- Many, many cuts to his head/hands/shoulders from the breaking glass of the windshield. The cuts on his head required staples to close in several places. One of the fingers on his left hand was severed (cut almost all the way through). We are supposed to get more information about what is going to happen with this finger tomorrow. Various bumps/bruises.

Kelly- A bruise on the right side of her face, a bump on the right side of her head. Very stiff muscles in neck/upper back.

William - A small bruise on his forehead, a very small scratch on his left leg.

I can't tell you how incredibly lucky our family was yesterday. Things could have turned out very differently for our family and I'm am completely overwhelmed by....how huge this accident could have been. Yesterday was one of the hardest days of my life, although I didn't realize it at the time. At the end of the day, we felt we were incredibly blessed and lucky when all four of us could just be in the same room with each other.

Over the next few days/weeks our family is going to need some time to process what has happened. We know that at least one guardian angel was watching over our family yesterday keeping us safe. However, things aren't going to be easy. John will have some recuperation time after his significant hand injuries. Belongings (including my car), have been lost. Feelings are fragile and close to the surface. I have more to share with you, but it is going to take time before things on this blog get back to the normal, fun, lighthearted news more typical of my writings.

So, I'll close for now - but keep this in mind: family is one of the most precious gifts out there. I came close to loosing mine this weekend. Grab your family right now and appreciate that moment you have together. I'm glad I still have the chance to.


*We're not sure what went wrong. The road conditions were fairly good, we weren't changing lanes, going around curves, passing other cars, etc. It feels like whatever it was came out of nowhere.

**In this case, the median was a large area with a ditch in between the two different directions of the same highway.

***We were at the hospital for a LONG time. They were very exhaustive in their examinations/monitoring. Although I was uninjured and appeared to be okay, I got a lot of extra attention due to our pregnancy. Because I am pregnant, they required me to be monitored for 6+ hours with fetal monitoring equipment/ultrasounds before they would let me leave the hospital. I was the last person to be discharged.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Leaving tomorrow...or why I hate all dogs today

We are leaving town tomorrow and have a lot to tie up tonight. Here are a couple cute ones of the big boy:


We've taken out some of the baby toys to get William used to seeing them around the house. By doing this, we're hoping he won't try to dump his new sibling out of the swing or steal toys away from them. Also, I've had my neighbor's 9 week old baby here for a few hours this last week and it has been good to see that everything still works.


Feeding a bottle to Ernie in the swing. Honestly, he was feeding Ernie the bottle just before we took this picture.




Stacking and sorting. Notice all the squares are together, all the circles are together, etc...



Now for the rant: or why I hate all dogs. Most of the people in our neighborhood own dogs. It appears that most of the people in our neighborhood put their dogs out to relieve themselves without tying them up and just call them after an hour or so has passed. As a result, many, many dogs relieve themselves in our yard. We [read: John] spend time every week picking up dog waste in our yard even though we do not own a dog. We [read:John because I am not allowed to go near the cat box] also scoop out our cat box every week - so that end of things is taken care of also.

Anyhow, today I went out to get the mail and I carefully picked my way across the front lawn to avoid the land mines. I got close to the mail box and sped up when all of a sudden I started sliding. I looked down and found that I had slid an impressive distance on a pile of dog *(^&%*%&^%. In my new shoes. Not happy. Not happy at all. So, I therefore declare that dogs are no longer my friends. They may be man's best friend, but not mine.*



* I realize this has a lot more to do with the behavior of my human neighbors than the dogs. The poor innocent dogs are really not to blame. Their owners should take responsibility for the behavior of their dogs. However, when you are cleaning off the bottom of your shoe with your toddler in the background saying "Yucky mama. Mama yucky." you can't help but be unhappy at the one who put the poop there in the first place.

**Of course I don't hate YOUR dog! Your dog is cute!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Scrambling

We're making lists and checking and rechecking and rechecking again. We're getting our craft on and biting off more than we can chew. But! Things are getting done and we're leaving town in a few days. Then, Christmas will officially be started! In honor of this, here is my top favorite things about this time of year:


1. The holiday cards: I know they are cheesy, but I love getting real mail! Even better when it is from people I really like and care about. I love the pictures, the updates, and keeping up with what is going on with everyone's lives. So! If you haven't sent me one yet, get up! You have work to do!

2. Full houses: I love the chaos of too many people in one house. The noise, the constant activity. Somewhere in this house, something is always happening. The comings and goings the games and inevitable missing items. The jokes, the hugs, the sleepy breakfasts with too little sleep. This has always been my favorite part of Christmas. With a 2 year old who needs to nap, I'm finally getting to see why it is better to have a little bit of space for everyone. But, in all honesty I can't think of anything more fun than camping out all night long under the Christmas tree with 15 family members and waiting for Santa. As long as there are cookies.

3. Cookies! For the first time in weeks we don't have treats sitting out on our counter from a party or event that we are attending. The only reason for the lack of treats is that we are leaving in 2-3 days and won't be home for awhile (unless you are looking to break into my house. Then you should know my neighbors with the big, mean, biting dog will be staying here on and off while family is visiting.). No word on the gestational diabetes testing that was done last week. In just a few short days I will consider myself clear, results or not for the holidays!

4. Traditions: I love the traditions that my family works to keep alive: we all have matching stockings. We drive to North Dakota nearly every year to be with family (in 29 Christmases, I've only NOT been in North Dakota 4 years, all of which have occurred after we got married - it is called compromise. The weather has never kept us away) We celebrate Christmas Eve with my mom's parents and Christmas Day with my dad's parents. We attend the candlelight service on Christmas Eve. The new ornaments every year (note: get on this for our kids soon) which all add up to a huge collections of ornaments and stories. The yearly pictures in front of the tree.

5. New this year: Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash. It is bubbly. It is red. It tastes yummy - and it looks great in a wine glass! I'll be drinking me plenty this holiday season as no wine is allowed. Don't let the 7-Up Pomegranate Version sway you. It isn't as good.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Most Enthusiastic Cow there ever was....

Last night was our church's Christmas program for the Sunday School kids. William is not officially a Sunday School student as he doesn't meet most of the requirements (3 years of age, potty trained, follows directions). However, the director of the Christmas program needed another kid to fill the position of "COW" during the program and she asked me if William could be in it.

Before agreeing, I had to remind her of a few things:
1. William generally doesn't listen
2. William is not going to sit still
3. William is not going to be quiet when you need him to be
I didn't want us to ruin the program for her of the other kids if she had something a little more....refined in mind than what I knew William would produce. She agreed that it would be okay if things got a little chaotic with him involved.

So, without further ado, I give you William's acting debut. The high school kids were playing and singing a song called "Friendly Beasts". Each verse is about a different animal and as they sang, a kid dressed up like that animal walked up to the front and sat down around the manger. William's verse went something like this:

“I,” said the cow, all white and red,
“I gave Him my manger for His bed,
I gave Him hay to pillow His head;
I,” said the cow, all white and red.

And here is how he did:
video


video



*His costume is a recycled dog Halloween costume from this year.

PS This video does contain footage of William. It is worth looking at, even if you have a slower internet connection!

Without Permission

I totally don't have permission to be doing this - but I don't think she'll mind.

Cana Christine [insert friend's last name] was born 12/6/08 at 9:55am. She was 8lbs 4 oz and 20 inches long. And......


Here she is ! Isn't she beautiful? I think so....


I was able to talk to Jessica for awhile last night and she sounds wonderful! Everything seems to be going really well for them (as well as can be expected with a newborn in the house) and I am so happy! Now, the next thing on my list is to go and get over this stupid cold so I can get my hands on this baby when we are home for Christmas! 6 days and counting!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's a Good thing...

that it is the end of the year and I am certain my Mother of The Year Award is already in the mail.

A little background:

1. We are trying to get ready to be out of town for an extended period of time over the holidays (extended=more than a week). We have a few gifts to buy, gifts to wrap, Christmas letters to send, groceries to buy, work parties, friend parties, church parties, cats to tend, packing, bedrooms to paint and the small detail of my gestational diabetes bloodwork to get taken card of by the end of next week along with the general stresses/demands of daily life. I'm not complaining. We've done this for the last 7 years of our marriage and I really love our Christmas traditions. It is just a lot of work getting there.

2. I am pregnant and a little hormonal. If I am being fair, I would have to say that I am a little more on the side of crazy this year that normal. I admit it. But, I really don't know what to do about it except decorate the bedroom, bake the 40 different kinds of cookies and then cry about it. All right now, no waiting.

3. NewBaby is currently feet down in my belly. While I love the bumps and pokes, they are becoming stronger every day and becoming uncomfortable sometimes. Especially because the target of many of the pokes/bumps is now my bladder/pelvis area. It is like 48594819819897846513518 times a day you suddenly need to go to the bathroom urgently (if this offends some of you, you may want to check back at the end of March. I fully intend to discuss my cervix with you later in this pregnancy. Just not today). The sensation lasts only 2-5 seconds at a time. This is usually long enough for me to stop what I am doing and move towards the restroom. Then the pressure stops and I realize the restroom isn't quite as urgent as I thought. However, plenty of the time I still do need to go and I take care of business. Not a problem once, but when it happens all day it can make a girl crabby.

4. Yesterday I woke up with a little cold that is making me drag. Everything is taking extra effort and being tolerant of other people is requiring some extra energy. Especially when that other person is two and has some very definate opinions about what they would like to do.

THE REAL STORY
Today I shut William's hand in the car door. It was just after noon and I had was on a roll. We had been to: the grocerry store, the post office mailing Christmas cards, the lab office for my hour long diabetes test and dropped somethings off with a friend. I was on fire. But, I was crashing. I was tired, hungry, had a car full of grocceries to unload, a full list of chores to complete during nap time and a sweet little someone was stepping on my bladder.

I unloaded William from the car and leaned back to shut the door (leaning is now required in order to not shut the belly in the car door). I felt William shift in my arms toward the car door and I realized he was probably reaching for the door as he was NOT happy about me carrying him. Quite suddenly his whining stopped and his body became very still in my arms. I turned to look and saw his little hand trapped in the car door. I had to open the door to get his little fingers out.

Because it was noon, our doctor's office was closed for lunch and John wasn't at his desk. So, I did what any horomonal woman would do. I called my mom. At work. Almost barely holding my horomonal self together. I wish I could publish her phone number here because she did an AMAZING job talking me through what I needed to look for and advised me about what needed to be done. She also told me several stories about how she shut my brother's fingers in the door more than once. No nurse would have done that. However, she already has a full time job and probably doesn't need you all calling - plus I'm not sure I want to share.

Anyhow, his fingers are brusied, but not broken. We're keeping a close eye on the fingers/hand to be sure nothing shows up tomorrow, but he was using it normally only minutes after the accident happened. I am pretty sure I am more tramatized then he is...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Decorating?

One of the 100,000 things I'm working on is picking out and putting together some type of boyish decor for William's new Big Boy Room. I am totally uninspired and don't have any good ideas. All I need is a picture to get me started. Help anyone?


*What I am looking for is a Big Boy Room that will work for a few years without needing to be redecorated. Maybe until he is 10 years old? 13? 18 years old?

None of us follow sports at all which is all I can seem to find. So, boyish but not sporty. Something he will like now and will work for a long time (nothing cartoons). See? What else is there?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Welcome....

Baby Girl! She arrived this morning and the new mama and baby are doing well (and so is the daddy)! Congratulations to Jessica and Chris!






PS I know the name, but I'm waiting for official permission to share (plus I want to make sure I have it spelled right!).

Friday, December 5, 2008

Blocked Duct Work

Do you think this is the reason our house is so cold?


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The cat has found one of the two open vents in our house right now (we shut all the other vents in an effort to keep William's room above 54 degrees)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Music to my Ears

Better than any song I've ever heard is this.

We had our 24 week doctor appointment this morning with my doctor. Everything is looking great and measuring perfectly. Normal, normal, normal... it is a good place to be. We were able to look at the results from the ultrasound done last month which looked perfect as well - which is what we were figuring because no one has called us to report anything differently. I need to go sometime this month from the glucose screening to determine if I have gestational diabetes. If that test comes back positive, Christmas could be a real bummer. Anyone out there want to volunteer to do the diabetic diet with me?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Santa Time!

Our school district puts on a holiday party for preschool aged kids which includes some special time with the big guy himself - for free! The wait was long, but there were some fun activities to keep us busy while we waited. A special thanks to Dada, who came with us even though he is feeling a little under the weather.
One activity: shoveling "snow". William thought this was great. Mama had a hard time breathing with all the flying shovels in the air...
More shoveling. If you look carefully, you'll notice the snow has fallen off the shovel and onto William's right shoulder. He thought this was hilarious...
Throwing "snowballs" through the target. These kids behind William looked super familiar to me. Only after stewing about it for close to 2 hours did I realize where I knew these people from (this is Mookie and Connie from the park)!
Coloring craftiness... this activity lasted only .25676451 seconds before William was done. He was really only interested in coloring on the paper belonging to the little girl to his right. No interest in his own paper despite what this picture looks like.
More craftiness. Again, it looks like William is helping. In reality he is trying to spread glue over every possible surface. We learned tonight the child has a serious love of glue stick. Will do anything to get one. By the way, didn't I make a cute stocking full of toys for myself?
Mama being crafty again and William gluing again. Nothing will distract him from his glue. Note to the Grandparents: even though he loves glue, this does NOT mean he needs to find anything with glue in it underneath the Christmas tree.
And finally it was our turn to sit with Santa. I was so proud - he didn't cry this year either!
Who is this guy? Still not crying...


Although, to be fair, he wasn't exactly happy either!


PS The posting is going to have to slow down here for awhile and I put my cute little elf hat on to get us ready for the holidays....consider yourself warned!

Monday, December 1, 2008

More from the Cell Phone Archieve

Here are some more pictures from my old cell phone. These are from the day we took William home from the hospital (Jan 28, 2007). He is really bundled up because I think the high that day was around 9 degrees. More tomorrow...today was a lot of catching up with mail, bills, e mail, phone messages, laundry, etc.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Birthday, Etc

Friday was a busy day. When we are home visiting, there are a lot of people to see and a lot of things we like to do. Traditionally, the day after Thanksgiving, I put up the Christmas tree at my parent's house. This year it was fun because William thought the tree was AMAZING and fun to help with.

Friday was also Grandpa's birthday, so we had some celebrating to do! We had dinner and then opened presents before John and I took off to see one of my best friends from high school, Jessica. Jessica is due to have her first baby is about two weeks! So, we got in a long adult chat - it might be our last one for a long time!

The first piece of the tree

Look how excited he is! Ohhh!!!! putting up the tree!

Wow! He's never even seen us put up a tree or decorate one (we don't have a tree at our house).

William decorating the Christmas tree with the bungee cords.

Helping Grandpa open his birthday presents

Reading a birthday card with Grandpa

Grandpa reading his card from Ryan

Thanksgiving Pictures

Whew! Yesterday was busy! So, here are some of our Thanksgiving pictures! Unfortunately, I didn't get any of the food or table because I admit I was too busy eating. I know you understand. We very much enjoyed having everyone here and visiting for the day. After eating and a small rest, we pulled out the Wii and played some games. Which, I did get pictures of!


Great Grandpa bowling
William getting in on the fun...

Only he doesn't understand the idea of taking turns. It is hard to play a balance game with a little help.


William trying to ski. Unfortunately, he isn't heavy enough for the board to pick up him standing on it.



Which means he needed some help. Which, he was NOT excited about

Grandma, Ashley and Kyle bowling (actually, only Ashley is bowling)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

We have so many reasons to be thankful today. We had family together and a lot of laughing. That is all that is that really matters. The food was amazing and it was a lot of fun to watch William interact with all the different family members. He is a little confused on the terms "Grandma" and "Grandpa" right now seeing as there are multiple Grandmas and Grandpas in the house this week. Some are great grandparents, but we're not going to get picky about the exact titles. With 3 grandmas and 3 grandpas in the same house, things are bound to get confused. I'll be back tomorrow with pictures and maybe more - but we have a lot on deck for tomorrow also. More family, a few friends and Grandpa's birthday to celebrate. We can't wait!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy 22 Months!

William turned 22 months old today! Here are some photos to tide you over (although they aren't that great themselves) until the real blogger can add to this post.


William is checking out a bit of snow.

Picking up a snow ball.

Stacking the snowball on top of another pile of snow.

Help out the Hometown Historic Site

Mayowood, a historic site in my hometown is a finalist in a competition being put on by the Hampton Inns. If the Mayowood site wins the competition, they will get a lot of money to help with restoration, etc. Click here to vote for Mayowood!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Okay

First: we arrived in Rochester with almost everything we were supposed to bring.

Second, William has started doing something so manipulative it can only be described as highly entertaining. Most of the time anyway. He has turned our daily word guessing games into demands for things he can't have by disguising them as innocent questions about the names of objects or the plots of books. He is sneaky I tell you.

Currently when William desires something, he will run through all the words he has that could possibly relate to that item. He has a LOT of words for a kiddo his age, so this can be time consuming and a little frustrating for both of us. A little like playing Taboo, minus the light hearted laughther and the hourglass timer with the sand grains.

He will start saying words, sometimes repeating himself over and over until I figure out what it is that he wants.

I will stand completely baffled, racking my brain and searching our immediate envirnoment for something that may have caught his eye.

For example, if there is a toy on the kitchen table he can't reach, he'll start out by asking for a car. Sure! I think. We have 456876846518981981 matchbox cars in the basket. So, I walk out of the kitchen and towards the basket when the request becomes more urgent. Car! Car! Table!

Aha! There IS a car on the table just out of his reach. Problem solved.

However, things have gotten more tricky recently. Now I have to figure out what he wants and be careful about my response.

For example, yesterday we were looking at books. In one of the books, William was pointing at an object. I admit, my full concentration was more on the little alien kicking my bladder from the inside than what William was talking about. William pointed at the object and said "Num nums". Yep, the kids are eating a snack in the picture. So, I said "Yes they are eating a snack"

William's reply was "cookies?"
Hmmm...judging from the picture it is possible... so I said "Yes, it looks like they are eating cookies."

William then popped up out of my lap and said "Okay! Cookies! Okay!"

Wait....did I just say we were going to eat cookies?

Monday, November 24, 2008

On Raising a Polite Child

John and I are apparently raising a polite child. Although we think politeness is a very important trait, I admit we haven't spent a great deal of time discussing the finer points of etiquette with William. It just hasn't come up in conversation.

For those of you we will be seeing in the next few days, I need to explain this word we've been hearing a LOT of over the last few days: 'elcome. The translation: you're welcome.

Somewhere he has picked up that when you do something nice, someone says thank you and the other person says you're welcome. Only he can't be bothered by the thank you part. So, when I hand him his cars he'll reply "'Elcome!". I would estimate we hear 'elcome at least 50 times a day for a wide variety of things. When he does something nice, when I do something nice for him or even John. Not altogether correct, but still very, very cute.

Somewhere, someone must be modeling politeness. I should really figure out where he is getting it from....

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Through Sickness and Health Blog, I do Take Thee...

Are you impressed? I haven't missed a day in November yet. Even though we've been running like crazy and had the plague visit our house.

We got new cell phones a few weeks ago and we were finally able to get the priceless photos off of my cell phone. Why we had so much trouble is a long story that I don't find very interesting. Anyhow, this week I plan to entertain you with these pictures.

Please note: these pictures are great quality, but they are special to me because oftentimes it is the only picture I have of William doing something because the other camera isn't always with me.
I call this set: The Many Faces Of William




These pictures were taken one after another when William was roughly 6 months old. He is looking very serious because he is trying to figure out how to cute me out of my cell phone.