Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My Grown Up Christmas List

So I had this idea over the holidays to share my grown up Christmas List. I know that Christmas is officially over, but I still wanted to share. Maybe you can share yours too - either here or on your own blog.

1. First and foremost, I pray for everyone to have a wonderful relationship with our father and our savior.
2. I pray for each marriage to be a celebration of the covenant we make to each other as we vow to love, cherish, trust, and obey each other. I pray that we continue to make Christ the center of our marriages and that we love each other unconditionally each day.
3. I pray that my children see each day the love that Mommy and Daddy have for each other and for them. I pray that that they live a happy and fulfilling life and that hurt stays far away from them. I pray for their safety and for their health.
4. I pray for this economy to turn around soon. I pray for those losing jobs and homes and that they can find some stabilization. I pray for those with jobs and homes still in tact to continue making wise decisions and living as simply as they can for a little while.
5. I pray for peace for all of us - just simple peace.

And last, but certainly not least,

6. I pray for Pediatric Specialists to soon be able to pick up all their oxygen equipment so that my youngest daughter can go everywhere she wants to and no longer be limited by oxygen cords. I pray that the rest of her life she knows no limits - anywhere.

I'm a firm believer that some of the best gifts are those that can't be wrapped in a beautiful package beneath the tree. These to me are some of the best gifts.

Kelly

So I've become a terrible blogger!

Sorry for the delay family and friends - we have been so busy enjoying the holidays! Let me catch you up!

Kathryn:
She never did catch a cold!! We came very close, but in the end she has yet to develop anything more. Christmas was very special having her home the whole month. We actually were able to enjoy it this year versus last year. She really seemed to understand a little about the presents and her eyes would light up with each new toy. Santa brought her a rocking piano and a little people home play set. She also got a new toddler rocking chair from Nini that seems to be a big hit! She loves to climb in it and has learned to turn her self around, then flashes the biggest grin because she is so proud of herself. Other toys that were a hit were a Fisher Price train from Miss Cheryl, our nanny and a matching zoo playtoy, fromGreg's parents. She also got a few outfits, a huge, adorable, pink and green travel bag with her name on it, some books, and some stacking blocks (and some money and giftcards!) Her biggest treat though is that we took down the twin bed in her room and have made a toy corner in her room! She loves it. Maddie gave Kathryn her old kitchen for Christmas - it was Maddie's present from Santa last year and Kathryn adores playing (loudly) with it! Maddie gave it up to make way for this year's present from Santa - more in a minute. Kathryn also qualified for Occupational Therapy through Alabama Early Intervention and we started that yesterday. She did great! Her therapist, Andrew, brought a straw cup for her to start learning from and by last night she had it down pat! Of course, she does better with sweet tea in it, than her Pediasure. (There's a southern baby for you!) Kathryn took five steps unassisted last night and is getting braver about walking each day. And last but not least, Kathryn has FINALLY cut two teeth, just in time for Christmas (come on folks, "all I want for Christmas is my two . . . ")

Madelyn:
Madelyn had a wonderful (two hour!) end of the year Christmas party with her class at school on Thursday the 18th and has been out of school since. Miss Cassie gave them their presents at the party and I think that my five year old was the only one who put her hand over her heart and said "oh my heavens" as she opened her gift! It was too cute. Maddie went with Nini and Pawpaw that next Sunday to the McWane Center to see the Polar Express in the Imax theater. the kids got to go in their jammies and she had so much fun! Maddie absolutely could hardly wait this year til Christmas. She asked me frequently if Curtis and Bernard were helping Santa get ready - guess we watched the three Santa Clause movies a little too much? Anyway, Christmas Eve we went to service at church in the afternoon- Maddie's choir sang and then we came home for our Christmas Eve dinner of homemade beef stroganoff. We put out the reindeer food so Rudolph could find his way and then headed off to bed early so Santa could deliver the toys. On Christmas morning, Maddie ran to our room, said she was off to see what Santa brought and then took off - so we have no Christmas morning paparazzi pictures of the big surprise face. She got exactly what she had been asking for - a Barbie doll house. And Santa even left a Ken doll to compete with the 12 or so Barbie girls that she already has! Other big hits with Maddie for Christmas was the Leapster she got from Nini, a Barbie car and two beach barbies from Uncle Beau and Aunt Britt, a Barbie styling set and bedroom from Greg's parents, a Leapster game from Uncle Eric, a book, a Hungry Hippo game, and the game Guess Who Extra.

Greg and I:
Nothing special with us! I had off the 18th and 19th of December to spend time with Maddie at her Christmas party at school. Then the week of Christmas, I was off on Christmas Eve at noon and don't go back to work until January 5th!! Greg only worked two days last week and will work two days this week. It's been a nice schedule for a few weeks. For Christmas, we received a check from Nini and Pawpaw so we purchased a Blu Ray player for ourselves! That was a wonderful gift since our DVD player had begun to call it quits! We also got an outdoor firepit from Greg's parents, a waffle maker, some wonderful gift cards, and a little bit of money to pick out something for oursleves. We also received a McWane Center membership AND renewal of our Zoo membership. These are probably some of my favorite gifts as we can use them as a family ALL year long!! (We are actually headed to the McWane Center today to break in the membership!)

I think one of my favorite gifts is something that my sweet husband gave to me. On Christmas morning, as we all sat around our prematurely DEAD Christmas Tree (I mean ours died EARLY this year), my sweet husband told me in front of my parents that he would concede and next year we can get an artificial tree!!!!!!!! I was so excited! I know that we have only been buying real trees for nine years now, but those pine needles stick with you for months people!! Anyway, that was the biggest treat to me. If you know Greg, his Christmas "thing" is that you should buy a real Christmas tree. Anyway, he loves me that much that he has now blessed the artificial tree. I want you to know that I wasted NO time and the day after Christmas, we went to Lowe's with some Christmas money and bought not one, but two artificial trees!! Next year we are planning to do one in the living room like we usually do and now one in the den too with all the kids ornaments on it! The one for the living room was originally $248 and we got it for $37 on clearance - oh yes we did!! The kids tree is a slim one and was originally $198 and we got it for $44. So two trees for $88 total - call me a bargain shopper!! Just so you know, Greg still plans to get a real one each year too, just a smaller one to put in the yard with white lights on it. (As long as there are no pine needles in my house, it's fine with me!!)

So there we are in a large nutshell. I have had so much fun living life at home this year and out of the hospital, that I keep forgetting to share it with you. I have several wonderful blog ideas and then just ran out of time to actually sit at the computer! We hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas!

Faithfully, Kelly

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Nothing?

Still a little bit of a rattly (a word, really?) cough and a stuffy nose, but nothing major progressing just yet!! Still praying for minor ailments!!

And anxiously awaiting Christmas through the eyes of a five year old!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Cold, cold, here it comes?

But praying a LOT that it won't. Or at least that we can get it treated before Christmas day when the only option is Children's!

Pray with me!!

So what are the mittens really good for?

Ever wonder what the mittens that the Starbucks gift cards come in are really good for? Well, leave it to a preemie mom to figure this one out.

So, how do you comfort a five year old?

Tuesday night we had dinner with Maddie's two best girl friends in the whole world, Jalyn and Logan. The reason for the dinner was twofold - hey, it's Christmas, AND dear little Logan (and her family) are moving to South Carolina the Monday after Christmas. So Greg and I have known for about two months, but we weren't sure how to tell Maddie. Well, we decided to tell her on the way to dinner. We tried to play it up a lot and explain how excited Logan was to live at the beach, but it didn't really fly. Maddie's first concerns were how Logan's toys were going to feel about the move, and when did she plan to come back to visit her house. When Greg and I explained that the toys (and stuff) would go with her and that the house would not, I think she felt a little bit of comfort. It took about five more minutes of thinking, then the backseat of the car became very quiet and the tears began to roll. Poor Mom - because when she began to cry, I did too. It's hard for a five year old to grasp this kind of thing.

Dinner went very well and I think that the girls sorta forgot about the moving thing and just enjoyed playing together. The girls swapped presents and Jalyn and Maddie gave everyone a Snapfish flipbook of three years worth of photos. Logan gave the girls a picture frame with a picture of the three of them from her spend the party a month ago and a collage frame with pictures from the past three years too! And Logan gave each of the girls a shell from her new home. (On a side note, Maddie has a wooden nativity set in her room because she loves to play with my mom's collection of them when we go to Nini's house. We would frequently catch her carrying Jesus and she would always say "Nini, I'm being very careful," which meant "I'm carrying your Jesus around." Anyway, Maddie's nativity set is now complete, because the manger that Jesus is lying in is the shell from Logan's new home.) Anyway, that night would not have been complete without a few more tears over our sweet friend Logan. And as a mom watching a five year old contemplate this big life change, I think I shed the most. Maddie has an absolutely huge heart and I love to watch it grow.

Here are the three amigos (Logan, Jalyn in the middle, and Maddie)!! We will miss Logan, but look forward to her visits!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Praying for nothing, but anticipating something

Well, Kathryn sounds like she is coming down with a cold again. She has started to have a rattle sounding cough so we are holding our breath and praying that she is not sick, but anticipating that she might be. Guess we will know within a day or so! There goes the cough again - sounding yuckier by the hour. Oh pooh - here we go again, possibly.

Pray with us for no cold!

Kelly

Friday, December 12, 2008

One Year Ago. . .

We were just settling in with Kathryn at home for the very first time! My how things change in a year! Kathryn had her synagis shot this past week and she is weighing in at 15 lbs, 4 ozs - hefty!! Anyway, she is now facing forward in the carseat - I know she isn't 20 pounds yet, but we have a doctor's ok to do it!! She absolutely loves it - she looks around as if to say, you mean you guys were here in the car with me all along and I never knew it!! She smiles from ear to ear almost every time in the car now (for short trips, mind you!)

We haven't been able to start the weening of oxygen again. Her little sickness over Thanksgiving must have inflamed her lungs. On oxygen she is fine, but when we take her off she doesn't last more than 10 minutes without dropping her sats. I called Dr. Lozano's office to ask about it because it worried me a little (since she had done so well with 8 hours before). Anyway, they said that it was amazing that Kat, with lung conditions, was able to weather her little sickness at home without increased oxygen. They said that ususally "lung babies" would require increased O2 or possibly rehospitalization for winter time sicknesses. All that said, they told us to be very cautious about having her around large crowds of people that would want to hold her and to definitely steer clear of wood burning fireplaces or smoke of anykind, and she should be good to try it again soon! (No complaints here, we definitely would like to stay away from the hospital this year!!)

Maddie had her school and church music programs this week and today her class is going on a field trip to the Old Baker Christmas Tree Farm! She is so excited!! Tonight the girls are spending the night with Nini and Pawpaw while Greg and I go to our Sunday school Christmas party! It's Kat's first night away, so I am a little anxious. Maddie on the other hand has been looking at me as if I am chopped liver because she can't wait to get to Nini's house!

Uh oh, the munchkin is waking - gotta run!!

Faithfully, Kelly

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Some new pictures - finally

So, everyone is well again at our house and I thought I would finally post some new pictures! We are headed to Colombus Georgia for the day for Gause Family Christmas with my stepdad's family! This coming week, we are busy each night with holiday gatherings and then we just sit back and enjoy the rest of the season!








Daphne and the Chicken at Riverchase UMC Trunk or Treat












Kathryn Ellis unplugged!





Kathryn on the move at Nini's

























Kathryn and Maddie at the TCDC Thanksgiving Feast-no cannula!









Maddie, Kat and Dad - Kat unplugged









Talking about the Christmas angel









Kathryn











Picking out the tree








My two angels at Hanging of the Greens!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Small Hiatus on the Weaning

So we have taken a small hiatus on the weaning process. Kathryn got her second dose of the flu shot on Monday and has been sick ever since. What do I mean by sick? Try fevers up to 104.3. But don't worry, at 3 am in the morning, the nurse keeps telling us that we are ok to keep her at home as long as she is under 105. Excuse me? I think that children were not meant to have fevers that high. Her only other symptom is that she has a very congested nose - poor thing. She frequently blows large snot bubbles during the middle of the night and sounds like a grizzly bear. But her sats are just fine!! Anyway, after 4 days of this, I am taking her to the pediatrician today (again). We went on Tuesday and they thought that everything looked fine, she was just having a flu shot reaction. Well, after 4 days of high fevers, I would like some answers! Stay tuned on this note.

On other news, we have had a nice week (if you can overlook a cranky little one!) We have had my aunt and uncle in from St Louis and my brother, sister-in-law and baby Reed in from Montgomery for the Thanksgiving holidays! We have enjoyed some wonderful family time, excellent food (including Dreamland ribs - yummy!!), and sleepless nights!! Maddie has actually spent three nights with Nini and Pawpaw because she wanted to be around all the "fun". (Guess that means that me, Greg, and Kathryn aren't fun.) We are decorated in the house for Christmas with the exception of the tree, which we had planned to get this weekend, but it hasn't stopped raining since yesterday around lunchtime. Greg also plans to decorate the outside of the house once it stops raining! We are also headed to Lowe's this weekend to get a new grill. Our gas grill called it quits last week and Greg has since found out that the company who made it is now out of business. We thought we were out of luck, but Lowe's (where we bought it) has offered to give us a store credit for the value that we purchased it for almost three years ago, which means that we will get a new (free) replacement. I love free replacements!!

Better run to get ready for the doctor's office!

Kelly

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving - Please Don't get the Flu Shot

When Maddie was one, she got a flu shot and stayed sick for several months. I swore I would never do that again. Kathryn got hers on Monday, at the doctor's instruction, and now . . . sickness. I HATE the Flu Shot.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Kelly

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008

We'll try again!

We didn't quite make it to 8 hours today - will try again, but she made it 5 1/2! She fell asleep for a nap around that time and her sats dropped to low 90's and upper 80's. She couldn't bring herself back up so we put her back on the oxygen. Next go around, we will hook her back up at nap time and then take her off when she is awake. (that was our instructions anyway - guess that's what we get for disobeying!!)

Kelly

Up to 4 hours - trying for 8

We have been doing just fine with 4 hours off of oxygen! Today will be the first try for an 8 hour day!! Pray for Kathryn - she's just beautiful without her cannula!!

Kelly

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I passed!!

That's right, I am now Kelly Ellis, Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist!! That and $1.29 will get you a 20 oz coke at Walgreens, but I still feel special!! It was pretty tough!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Up to 2 hours

Tomorrow we are up to 2 hours without oxygen - we kinda did it today too, but not officially. She is doing so well without it!! I took some pictures yesterday of Kathryn unplugged at Nini's house. She was so thrilled to have free reign. I will post them soon.

I am busy studying for my certification exam which is this Tuesday - please pray for a passing grade! I'm nervous and anxious and VERY ready to get it over with!

Kelly

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Good so far

Kathryn has had 2 days now of 30 minutes without her oxygen and she is doing just great. Her O2 saturation is exactly where they want it to be - in the upper 90's! One more day of 30 minutes and tomorrow we double it to one hour!! Keep praying that her little lungs are ready for this!! She is one tough fighter! We all knew that in the hospital, but now that we can see her personality, she truly is strong willed!! She is definitely going to be our tough one to raise - you can see the rebellious streak already.

Keeping on the weaning process . . .

Monday, November 10, 2008

What we've been up to!

My time is so limited lately, so the thing that suffers . . . . my blogging time. I know, I know, I created this thing so that I could keep family and friends in touch with us and now I am becoming out of touch. I honestly even debated on continuing with the blog and here I am again. Who am I kidding, it's my outlet and I get to pretend that I am an author occassionally. It's some great ME time - which all you moms know is pretty rare and VERY precious!! So, here is what we have been up to lately. . .

Kathryn is now on Periactin for her appetite and it seems to be working well. She received her second injection of Synagis today (they come to our home - FABULOUS!) and she has gone from 13 pounds, 10 ounces last month to 14 pounds, 11 ounces in just 28 days!! Half way to porker! She is a fantastic crawler and will be walking any day now - can you believe that? I think that she will be one of the tiniest and shortest walkers I have ever seen. She still wears size 1 shoes which is very difficult to find in anything other than a crib shoe - because, HELLO?? , kids with size 1 feet aren't expected to be walking!! We officially discontinued the diuretics last week and as of today will be starting to wean her oxygen. Today will be just 30 minutes, but by next Monday we should be up to two hours a day. She continues to impress us and prove that she is God's little miracle!

Since I last posted, we had a wonderful end of year soccer game and party afterwards, a fun trick or treating experience at Greg's office, and a nice Halloween night at Nini and Pawpaw's! Maddie and Kathryn enjoyed trick or treating and Kathryn officially said Mama for the first time that night!! Go ahead and scold me though because I have no pictures. That day, my camera battery died and I was unable to take any pictures. Pawpaw took some wonderful ones so when I get them, I will be sure to post a few!

I have been studying a little the past week or so for my certification next Tuesday the 18th. At this point I am ready to get it over with, but I certainly pray that I pass!! This past week, Maddie and I also fought a cold, mine a little more significant than hers. It resulted in a trip to the doctor for me complete with a steroid shot in the backside and now I am finally feeling better almost a week later. Kathryn showed a few signs of catching it, mainly just a stuffy nose, so she is on a five day steroid treatment too, but she is just fine now. Greg and I also had the March of Dimes Blue Jeans for Babies kickoff last Thursday morning and were on the early morning news again. You can watch a clip here .

I also visited Christmas Village last weekend - one of my favorite pre Holiday events. It's a huge craft show and I was able to get a few wonderful Christmas presents!

Well, that's about it for us right now!

Hope all is well with your families!

Faithfully, Kelly

String of Posts coming

Stay Tuned!!!

My days are crazy lately!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wacky Week

Kathryn is taking to the Pediasure a little bit, but not like gangbusters. I called her nutritionist yesterday and they are prescribing a baby dosage of Periactin for her. This is an appetite stimulant to hopefully help encourage her to eat like a crazy woman!! I hope to pick it up today and get her started on it right away and be able to report next week that we have a small semblance of a porker! (Hear me when I say that I am joking - I hardly believe that Kathryn will be referred to as a "porker" for quite some time in her life!)

Last weekend, we sorta stayed quiet around here. Maddie had a birthday party to go to on Saturday and Sunday afternoon was our church Trunk or Treat! Maddie dressed as Daphne from Scooby Doo and Kathryn is a chicken. I will try to post pictures soon!

We have a crazy fun filled week this week also! Last night, I took Maddie to see High School Musical 3 - very cute movie!! Tonight is our last soccer game of the season (and thus a party)!! Tomorrow night is choir, Thursday we do trick or treating at Greg's work in the afternoon, and Friday is Maddie's Halloween party and parade at school and then trick or treating that night! Whew!! Then on Saturday we collapse!! Actually, I will spend a fair amount of time each weekend from here on out engrossed in study as I prepare for my certification exam on November 18!!

Anyway, that's our world this week!

Kelly

Monday, October 20, 2008

Great news at clinic

So last week was filled with birthdays! Cousin Reed turned 1 and Nana - my grandmother - turned 89. Greg and I also got the opportunity to go out without the kids for our quarterly Sunday school supper club and we had a great time! On Sunday, Maddie's choir that she is a part of sang in church and they did just fabulous!

Today was BDP Clinic and I think it went wonderful! Let me back up a bit, last week was Kathryn's 6 month checkup with her eye doctor and he said that her eyes have flip flopped from far sighted to near sighted in the last 6 months. He said it seemed significant and that he didn't doubt that Kat would acquire glasses before she is 3. As a mom, I left in tears because I can imagine all those mean kids out there making fun of my precious miracle one day. Plus I am ready to get rid of equipment, not acquire more, and to boot - glasses aren't cheap! Anyway, after I sucked it up and realized that this is truly not an end-all-be-all type issue, I was much better. Kat also received her first synagis injection of the season last week and her weigh in was only 13lbs, 10ozs. I was devastated - I just knew she would be 15 or 16 pounds by now! We also went to her pediatrician last week for her 15 month check up and shots and they added back Zantac. So needless to say, I was praying hard for good news today!! (And God heard me!)

Here are the changes in a nutshell:
1. We discontinued her iron supplement - FINALLY!!
2. We changed from Neosure formula to Pediasure - FINALLY!!
3. We have a weaning plan for her diuretics that would hopefully lead to discontinuation of those by Nov 4!!
4. We are turning her Oxygen down to 1/4 liter!!
5. One week after discontinuing her diuretics (Nov 11), we can start weaning her oxygen
What that means:
3 days of 30 minutes off of oxygen, then on the fourth day double it to one hour
3 days of 1 hour off of oxygen, then on the fourth day double it to two hours
3 days of 2 hours off of oxygen, then on the fourth day double it to four hours
You get the picture!!!!!

This O2 weening is only for daytime hours until we go back to clinic on December 1. If she is napping or sleeping at night, she'll still get the oxygen. If my calculations are right, this will mean that she is doing 8 hour stints of daytime without oxygen (and possibly longer by that point) by Thanksgiving - !! What a gift!! Fear not though, especially if she comes off of the oxygen as planned, we will be keeping her away from large crowds and any travelling to limit any possibility of illness that could push her backwards!

I have been praying for this good news!! We are on our way to a cordless baby!!

Pray with me for one other issue we are facing - Kathryn is apparently on food strike and is not interested in bottles, baby food, people food, anything! We get small levels of cooperation, but not much! Please pray with me that it improves soon!

We actually have a quiet week the rest of this week!! How amazing!

Faithfully, Kelly

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Birthday to Maddie!!

We had a wonderful birthday weekend for Maddie!! She had her birthday party last weekend and invited her two best girl firends over for a spend the night party - we know, we sure are brave!! The girls were sweet as ever! They had pizza for dinner, then we decorated our own cupcakes, and then they watched the new Barbie movie. For breakfast, we took them to Chappy's in their jammies and they all thought that was great fun!!

Friday Maddie took cupcakes to school. At school, she wore the birthday crown, the birthday t-shirt, and got a lot of special treatment. I also went to school and was a "celebrity" reader to her class. This past Friday night, we asked Maddie what she wanted to do for her birthday. She wanted to go see Beverly Hills Chihuahua at the movie and then eat dinner at Joe's Crab Shack!! The four of us went with Nini and Pawpaw to see the movie and eat and we all had a great time. I absolutely can not believe that she is really five years old!! I was telling her Friday afternoon that five years ago at that moment, Greg and I were meeting her for the first time and she said, "Could we talk about this in a minute, I'm reading a book!" Promptly put in my place!


Saturday, we went to get Maddie a Barbie case for her newly found Barbie collection. She got 6 for her birthday from various people - two from Greg and I. Barbie is her new favorite thing and she has promptly decided that every other doll that she previously had is complete mush and NOTHING compared to Barbie! Isn't it funny how quickly Barbie becomes important? She also went Saturday night with Nini to see a magician! She definitely had a wonderful birthday!! She also racked up with 6 Barbies, 3 movies, a butterfly pavillion, Color Me Gems, a painted bulletin board (also her new favorite!!), money, and plenty of wonderful new clothes from the Children's Place.


Here are a few pictures!


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PAWPAW!!

It's Pawpaw's 62nd birthday!! Happy Birthday Pawpaw!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Happy Fall Y'all

Hope you like the new picture above - we had a wonderful time on Saturday at the Pumpkin Patch! (And notice - baby's got a new pair of shoes!! Kathryn's first shoes! She needed them since she is now standing up a lot!)
Here's a few more pictures from our house lately. Enjoy!










Kathryn lost a toy under the table so she went in to find it!










With her new found talent, Kat crawled into the kitchen!










Maddie and the Great Pumpkin!













Maddie did the bungee jump at the Great Pumpkin Patch - she's fearless!









Sisters in their jammies! They adore each other.

Have a great week! Kelly

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Past Week

Sorry for not posting the past week, but it's been a week of soccer, choir, and study!! Nothing wild and crazy for us. I have really picked up studying lately for my certification exam! I am studying to be CAMS certified which is certified anti-money laundering specialist! I am well on my way in the books, but still plenty to go and the exam is on November 18!! I am trying to spend any of my free time lately preparing for that (what free time, right?) I do plan to spend the weekend before the exam locked in a room so at least that will be two-three days of extreme study!!

This week, we are gearing up for the Pumpkin Patch (Sat), a visit with Uncle Beau, Aunt Britt, and cousin Reed (this weekend), Maddie's starfish week at school (means I have to make a poster for her - HOMEWORK), soccer (Tues), choir (Wed), two United Way speaking engagements (Tues & Wed), Pawpaw's birthday (Wed), my monthly committee meeting at Children's (Thurs), and celebrity reading at Maddie's school (Fri) (oh - and studying in my free time!) And did I forget to mention work somewhere in there! WOW!

I don't know about where you are, but the weather here is so nice lately!! I wish our house windows weren't painted shut, or we would open them and enjoy the breeze!

Oh and we got wonderful news yesterday that our insurance has approved for Kathryn to receive her monthly Synagis injection at home this winter with no copay!! We start those in October and they go through April!

Have a blessed week!! Kelly

Friday, September 26, 2008

ABSOLUTELY WIPED OUT!!

So I am writing this post at work because I am officially brain dead and will be leaving work (for the week) in a little while anyway! So what has the Ellis Family been up to this week you ask . . . . what have we not, I answer. Monday Greg and I were on the lunchtime version of the ABC local news talking about the Breakfast for Babies event this week to raise money for the March of Dimes. I did not actually see the clip, but several folks tell me they saw it. Tuesday, Maddie's school had a field trip to the Homewood Library and then we had her weekly soccer game that night. I don't think her team won, but the kids have so much fun!! Each week at the end of the game when they ask who won, we keep telling them that both teams keep winning. So far, they have not caught on yet!! Wednesday morning, Greg left on a business trip to Washington DC, Kathryn had physical therapy and Maddie had choir. Greg was due back from DC last night around 6:30 and this is what happened to change that:

2:30 EST he called to say that he had made it to the airport but the flight would be an hour late 3:30 EST he called to say that his flight had been cancelled and they were trying to figure out how to get them home
4:15 EST he called to say that he was on a flight leaving at 5:20 to NJ that would then turn around to get him home to Birmingham (go figure)
5:30 EST he called to say that they had gotten on the plane to find that the flight had been delayed until 5:40 but that now due to rain, they were going to have to sit in the plane on the runway until they could take off at
6:30EST
7 something EST he called to say that he had finally gotten to NJ and that he should be leaving sometime after 8:00 headed home
11:15 CST - he makes it home to find me, Maddie, and Kat all in our room asleep. He carries Madelyn in her room.
2:15 am we wake to Maddie crying who has thrown up in her bed (she says that she just coughed too hard??)
4:15 alarm goes off to get up for the Breakfast for Babies event this morning at Chappy's Deli

The breakfast went well this morning - it was very early and dark out when we started at 6:00am!!!!! We were interviewed on the local Fox station at 6:15 - here is a link to check it out - notice that we are a bit tired!

http://www.myfoxal.com/myfox/pages/ContentDetail?contentId=7519132

So tonight we have some friends staying with the girls so we can attend a Sunday school function. It's a wine tasting event and I am certain that I am sleepy enough to fall asleep BEFORE they even pass out the wine samples. I believe that Saturday and Sunday will include some large amounts of rest as we gear up for next week!!

We have Maddie's birthday spend the night party in just one week - I can NOT believe that my baby is going to be 5 years old!!

Wishing you a restful weekend and praying for one at my house!!

Faithfully, Kelly

Sunday, September 21, 2008

More words, officially crawling, and TV appearances

So Kathryn is official crawling. Mind you, she is not a speed demon by any means, but she goes all over the den floor now!! She also has perfected da-da and she loves to call Greg from across the room and then she gets tickled when she succeeds and gets his attention! Much to Greg's dismay however, she also gets my attention and Maddie's attention by calling us da-da too!

Gotta run, Greg and I are giving testimony in church services this morning and we will be on the noonday news on ABC3340 tomorrow. We are speaking tomorrow on behalf of an upcoming event next Friday called Breakfast for Babies in benefit of the March of Dimes. As you may remember, we are the ambassador family for the Blue Jeans for Babies event in Birmingham coming up in November. This coming Friday there will be a $6 breakfast at Chappy's Deli that benefits the March of Dimes as well. We are being interviewed tomorrow about the event and how March of Dimes has touched our lives. We will also be at the breakfast on Friday so we hope to see you there. Email us if you would like more details!

Faithfully, Kelly

Lucky me!!








I was fortunate enough last night to get to see Jim Brickman in concert at the Hoover Library. It was a very small setting and very neat to get to see him play. Greg kept the girls and I went with my mom and two of her friends!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

First words, Pizza, and Gas

Kathryn said her first word last weekend - she is now a huge proponent of "Bye-Bye!" Our nanny, Miss Cheryl taught her that and low and behold it was her first word. She has since moved on to the occasional "da-da" and of course who gets left out in the cold as the last word spoken (again), but ma-ma! (Can you tell that Maddie said da-da first too?) I am trying to reassure myself that da-da must be easier to say!

Maddie came home from school on Friday and told me that they had pizza for lunch and that she had brought some home for me. I am looking at my dear thoughtful almost 5 year old like "yeah right" when I look into her school bag to find a gallon sized zip lock baggie with a styrofoam plate holding a large slice of lunchroom style cheese pizza. I turn around to tell Maddie thank you and am slapped in the face with the world's largest grin and Maddie says, "I love you mommy!" She said that they got two pieces of pizza each and she didn't want her second one, but she didn't know if I had eaten lunch so she asked her teacher if she could bring it home to mom. I didn't eat it, but what an adorable thought!! Madelyn has such a kind heart!

Friday afternoon I was feeding Kathryn and about halfway through her bottle she rared back and pushed the bottle away. I am the self proclaimed Nazi baby feeder because I desperately want my tiny tot to grow, so of course I shove it back in her mouth and she again pushes it away. I can't figure out why she is being so ornery as Kathryn continues to squirm in my arms. After a few seconds, she lets out the largest poot I have heard from that small of an individual and then get this . . . she laughs. The little devil actually thought that passing gas was funny!!

I love being a mom. Faithfully, Kelly

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

First Soccer Game

Madelyn and her friends had a great time at their first soccer game. The girls played so well and went head to head with the boys. I was so proud of Maddie!! Her team wears burgundy jerseys and they picked their name tonight, so we are now routing for the Red Strikers!! Here is a quick picture or two from the game!!



Here are a couple of other photos too from the last few days. The first one is of Kat this past Saturday. She was all dressed up in her Auburn gear and I was changing her cannula and stickers so I snapped a photo of her without both - doesn't she look beautiful without them!!
This next one is of Kathryn in her new dress that our dear friend Kate made for her!! It looks just adorable on her!! Thanks Kate for making it. (Here she is showcasing her ability to go from lying on her back to getting back up to sitting - you heard me right!! - And Daphne, you won't believe how she does it!)


Here is one of Maddie and Kathryn snuggling in Kathryn's crib.

Kathryn's new favorite way to play. She thinks her toy bucket is an excellent hat!! (And she thinks that it is very funny to put it on her head.)


Last but not least, a new video of the girls playing in Kathryn's crib. Kathryn thought that this was very funny. Turn up your sound and listen to the giggles!!
video

Faithfully, Kelly

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Camping, First Day of School, & First Soccer Practice

We had a wonderful time camping this weekend. It was very nice weather and the girls and Greg and I enjoyed being outside all weekend. We got up to the campground on Friday afternoon and got our stuff set up while we waited for Nini and Pawpaw to arrive that evening. (The camper was already there!!) We enjoyed a weekend full of fishing, relaxing, swimming, football, and enjoying some really great camping food like wings, hotdogs, and steaks!! The campground was just outside of Gadsden so only about a 45 minute ride for us!! The van looked like we were leaving for weeks (concentrator and oxygen will do that to you), but after two nights we were headed home Sunday afternoon!!

When we got home, we decided that Sunday and Monday (Labor Day) would be great days to finally tackle some outdoor projects we have wanted to do such as putting up lattice around the base of the deck and tilling/seeding a part of our backyard. Well you can sense what happened next, it ended up that Greg did all the work because someone had to watch Kathryn (who by this point was a little put out with the idea of spending anymore time outside). Poor Greg spent all Sunday afternoon and Monday from 8 am til 5pm working so hard and he finished!! It looks so great - I really do wish that I had been able to help!

Tuesday I had one more day away from work and Maddie had her school tea in the morning. It was so nice to get her back to school and seeing all of her friends! She seemed so excited to see everyone. Here is a picture of her on her first day back to school!




Tuesday night, Greg and I had to split up for events! It was parent orientation at Maddie's school so off goes mom to that at 6:00 and at the same time was the first soccer practice for Maddie (Greg got that duty). (And Kathryn stayed home with Nini!) Here are some pictures from her first soccer practice.




Let me just say that I love her new teacher this year. Miss Cassie seems just great! She is very detailed and organized which is right up my alley!! They are going to learn so much this year in 5K - they are scheduled for math, spanish, phonics, writing, reading, etc. They have homework every week, fieldtrips every month, and tons of neat things that they will do in the classroom to learn responsibilities. I can't wait to see how much she grows this year!!

I'll leave you with some random pictures from our house lately - sorry it's been so long since I have posted pictures!!






Faithfully! Kelly

Friday, August 29, 2008

United Way Video??

Ok, so I am trying to figure a way that I can share the video. I am hoping to cut only my part, but the only way I can share it is if I make it a private post. So, if you are interested in seeing it, please email me or let me know and I can forward the password. I will let you know when I get it posted.

Kelly

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The zoo and our upcoming weekend!!

So yesterday, I took the girls to the zoo and then we had lunch with Nini and Pawpaw and went by Pawpaw's office to meet his work friends. Both of the girls behaved themselves quite nicely. We were planning to go bowling in the afternoon because it said on the website that it is smoke free - WRONG!! Poor Maddie was so sad that we couldn't go bowling but when I explained to her that the yucky smoke wasn't good for Kathryn's lungs, she said that if it meant not going bowling, she just wanted to make sure that Kathryn could breathe - AWWWWW, too sweet!! Maddie is such a protective big sister! Anyway, last night Maddie had choir so she was pretty thrilled with that and quickly forgot bowling.

Greg is headed home in just a little while and we are taking the girls to the McWane Center for the afternoon. This evening and first thing tomorrow we are preparing for another camping weekend away. This is only our second time to go away from home with Kathryn but we really enjoyed the last camping weekend so much and it seemed like a mini vacation!! We are going to a campground near Gadsden and will get to stay for two nights with Nini and Pawpaw in their camper. We figure we better travel now before fall/winter comes back around and we have to go into semi "lockdown" again during the flu season! Hopefully this is the last winter we have to worry about this with Kathryn!

We hope that everyone enjoys a long Labor Day weekend. We should have plenty of wonderful pictures to share from our weekend!

Faithfully, Kelly

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Celery, Soccer, and the Big Movie

So, I'll bet you are confused by the title? Friday night we went to eat dinner with Nini and Pawpaw at the Cheesecake Factory and Kathryn remained fussy at the beginning of the meal. Puffs were not keeping her satisfied. So I gathered her up and sat her in my lap - which is a little tougher now that she is a reacher and a grabber! Anyway, she reached and then she grabbed my celery from my plate and then she gummed every single piece! So we have a celery gummer!!

Maddie is all ready for soccer - we got her cleats, shin guards, soccer socks, soccer shorts, and her new bag came in the mail. She and Greg practiced on Sunday and I must say that she seems to be a natural! Of course, both of her uncles played so I think that she comes by that talent in the family genes!

I am on vacation this week and am spending the time with my girls (and cleaning the house during rest time and in the mornings while they still sleep). Anyway, yesterday we went to the big movie and Kat did so wonderful!! She feel asleep at first and then woke up as soon as the first loud noise started. She never fussed, watched some of the movie, and then took a nap. Of course, it was a Monday afternoon 2:00 movie and luckily, Maddie, Kat, Nini and I were the only people in the entire theater!! Our own private showing!

I think I have been failing to mention Kat's milestones, so I thought I would give a brief update:

  • she has been sitting unassisted for several months now
  • she is attempting to belly crawl, not very well yet though
  • she is "eating" some finger foods - like Gerber puffs, small amounts of bread, mushy banana
  • she still has no teeth
  • her bottles are still only 4 ounces or so
  • she does ok with baby food, but she could easily take it or leave it
  • she pulls to standing from her knees in her pack and play
  • she loves the exersaucer and her bebe pod (like a bumbo)
  • her favorite toy to play with appears to be books
  • she still takes the type of paci she had at the hospital as a preemie - she won't even consider another kind
  • she still wears 3-6 month clothes and some 6-9 month, and about to move to size 3 diapers
  • she adores bath time!
  • she looks beautiful without the cannula and stickers (I get to see it briefly when I change them)
  • she still has never slept a night in her bed
  • she smiles a lot and she does a lot of baby babble - no words yet
  • she adores Maddie - they already have the sister bond
  • she loves pulling a blanket up to her face and "hiding"


Better run - time to feed the munchkin!

Kelly

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Ellis Household Happenings!

Kathryn is now officially pulling to standing as of this past weekend. She only does it in her playpen and her bed, but still enough to frighten you when you walk around the corner expecting to see a baby sitting down and there she is staring at you!!

Madelyn is signed up for soccer this fall -- her first stint in organized sports. Well, she's almost 5 - I don't know that you can call it organized, but I think that she will love it!! We ordered her a soccer bag for her cleats, shin guards, and ball. She is so excited!!

Greg and I are just the boring parents - we know you check the blog to see what's going on with the girls!!

Faithfully, Kelly

Monday, August 18, 2008

Maddie and Dad at "work"



Maddie and Daddy hard at work at Camp Cosby! Maddie thought she was something else in her girly pink hardhat!!

I love my family!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The rest of our week

Kathryn is doing just great on 3/4 L of oxygen - I think we will have no problems turning her down to 1/2 L in another week!! I am so glad to see her dropping her oxygen levels and handling it so well!

Wednesday of this week we had our Wednesday night kickoff program at church so the whole family went!

Thursday, Kathryn had her six month follow up with Cardiology and they gave her an excellent report. They advised us to come back in a year and a half when she is almost 3 - isn't that wonderful!? One less doctor visit!! Thursday was also my first meeting with the Children's Hospital Patient Parent Advisory Council that I was asked to be a part of. We were able to see some information about the new Children's Hospital that they are building in Birmingham by 2012 and it looks fantastic. I hope we don't have to go back to living at Children's again, but if we ever do, I hope we wait til then!

This weekend has been filled with snuggle time and errands for me and Kathryn. Madelyn and Greg went to Camp Cosby yesterday to help clean up with a group from his work. Maddie was so excited all week about going to work with Daddy!! She told me when they got home that Daddy works pretty hard when he is at work - I think Maddie thought that was what Daddy does everyday. She said she helped pick up the biggest sticks I ever saw - Greg says they were about the size of a ruler, but she thought they were huge. Isn't that cute?

Faithfully, Kelly

Oh - and I got my United Way video back from Regions. It's very neat!! I'll figure out a way I can share my part (if I can).

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Clinic Update and the United Way Lunch

Clinic Update:

Great Clinic visit. We got the ok to drop two meds!! We also were told to ween Kat to 3/4 liter of oxygen for the next two weeks and if she tolerates it, then go to a 1/2 liter!! (That is amazing!!) So far today, she has done excellent!! Kathryn's weight gain has slowed the last two months to 10 grams a day where for the previous four months she was at 14 grams a day, so that was a little bad news, but the doctors aren't making any changes right now. So. . . . until October, that's the clinic news.

United Way Lunch:

All went well - at least I thought so!! I think I was asked to do another one right after I spoke, but I am not sure. Will update more on that later!!

Thanks for the prayers for the United Way event. My fears were calmed!

Kelly

Monday, August 11, 2008

Monday Madness at the Doctor

BPD Clinic visit today at 2:00. I am hoping for some changes today!! Will update later . . . .

Friday, August 8, 2008

Chocolate milk - am I allergic?

Well for those who know Maddie well, you know that she has thrown up every time in her life that she has had chocolate milk. So recently she told my neighbor that she was allergic to chocolate milk just as she had ordered a chocolate milkshake for Maddie (because that is what she had asked for with her lunch at Krystal)! Of course I received a panicky call at work from Christine . . . "um, Kelly, is Maddie allergic to chocolate milk? She just asked for a chocolate shake, I ordered it for her, and now she tells me she is allergic to chocolate milk!!" So I of course tell her, "no, she's not allergic" and then I explain why Maddie might have said that.

So yesterday afternoon, Maddie says that she would like to have some chocolate milk and here is the conversation:

"mom, can I have some chocolate milk?"
"no maddie, you know that you always throw up when you drink chocolate milk"
"well, moooooooom, you said I'm not allergic"
"that's right, maddie, you aren't allergic, but you still throw up each time you drink it - do you really want to get sick"
"well, I just won't talk to you each day I can't have any"
"that's wonderful - it will be a very quiet week - thank you maddie"

PAUSE FOR APPROXIMATELY 1.5 SECONDS (probably less)

"but mooooooooom, pleeeeeeeeeeeease?"
"i thought you said you weren't talking until you could have some"
"well that starts tomorrow"

What a simple and adorable conversation with a 4 1/2 year old. It reminded me of how quickly we, as adults, abandon our convictions too! Whenever it becomes inconvient for us to stand up for what we believe in, we jump ship. I challenge myself and each of you to hold strong to your convictions and be steadfast in what you stand for and the choices you make! Wow, I hope to uphold my challenge!

On another note, I ask that you start praying feverently for me and my upcoming speaking challenge - I mean engagement! I speak on Tuesday at the Birmingham area United Way Agency Kickoff luncheon about our blessed receipt of services offered and funded in part by the United Way through Children's Hospital. I haven't been nervous until today when I began to talk through my "speech" and started to wonder how I will make it through without tears in front of a large group of executives! The only way I know is with prayer - so I humbly ask for your assitance in joining with me to pray that words from my mouth will make a difference!

Faithfully and humbly his servant!

Kelly

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Oh shoot - I got called!!

In the mail today was my notice that I have been called to my first ever jury duty. September 15 it is. Like I really have time for that right now. Oh pooh!

A nice relaxing night

Last Friday night, Greg and I spent the night away from home for the first time since Kathryn's birth (other than Children's Hospital - which doesn't count!) For our anniversary in May, my dear sweet husband gave me a gift certificate for a night to Ross Bridge Resort. Well we finally were able to use it and we checked in Friday afternoon around 3:00 pm. We spent the afternoon around the pool and I was able to enjoy a massage. For dinner, we ate there at the hotel and had a nice time relaxing on our balcony overlooking the pool. Around 6:45 pm, a bagpipe player stood overlooking the pool and the golf course and played Amazing Grace. We had a wonderful uninterrupted night of sleep and woke to a fantastic breakfast buffet!

All in all, it was time wonderfully spent and a very relaxing night away from home. My mom, Nini, stayed at our house with Madelyn and Kathryn and they enjoyed every minute of their time here too!

The rest of the weekend was spent with fun chores, yard work, church, and a diaper shower on Sunday.

Nothing eventful this week so far. Gearing up for next week when we have three doctor's appointments, Wednesday Night Kickoff at Church, a speaking engagement for Birmingham United Way, and a meeting at Children's Hospital for the Patient/Parent Advisory Council that I was asked to participate in!

Please pray for the Birmingham United Way event. I was asked to speak at the United Way Agency Kickoff luncheon for the Birmingham area next Tuesday August the 12th. From what I was told, the attendees are executive directors of the agencies that benefit from funding through United Way. I am speaking of behalf of my association with Regions Bank and our experience as a family with Children's Hospital. I know that it will be easy to speak since Kathryn's story is so easy for me to tell, but please keep me in your prayers that the right words are spoken and the right meaning is conveyed!

And last but not least, it appears that Greg and I will be appearing on local news on ABC 3340 on September 22 at the lunchtime news hour. There is an event in Birmingham on September 26 that is called Breakfast for Babies that will benefit the March of Dimes. Since we will be the Blue Jeans for Babies Ambassador Family in November, they asked if we would be willing to help for this event too. Sooooo, . . . . we will be interviewed during the lunchtime hour that day and talking about our association with the March of Dimes and about our beautiful preemie daughters!

Faithfully, Kelly

Friday, August 1, 2008

The photo shoot

We had a great time at our 1st birthday photo shoot! They took 108 pictures - here are a few of the best ones!! Sorry it took a little time to get these posted!


Look Who's One?








I love my girls!!! Kelly