Sunday, January 31, 2010

Snow Caves

I loved going to Girl's Camp as a teenager. "Rough Camp" was so much fun -- skits, hikes, testimony meetings around the campfire, fun leaders, no bathroom facilities, etc. We definitely knew what it was like to camp without the basic necessities. Oh yeah, it was rough!

Ryan got to go on his very first camp as a Boy Scout with Jack this past weekend up in Big Cottonwood Canyon. Since he isn't 12 years old yet he had to have his dad chaperon. Gavin was the lucky guy! They got all prepared with head lamps, extra warm sleeping bags, snow clothes, layers, food and equipment. Ready to go brave the freezing temperatures and sleep in snow caves. It really was as bad as it sounds. They were all freezing cold all night long, boys were crying, and Gavin couldn't stop looking at his watch hoping to see the morning hours and time to go home. They survived, barely. And got home in time to jump in the hot tub and warm up.

I'm thinking my girl's camps weren't so rough after all.

Ryan and Jack at dinner--cup of noodles

As part of their rank advancement the boys had to plan and prepare the dinner and breakfast for the patrol. They went all out with Cup of Noodles. They are gonna make great missionaries one day!

Gavin and another leader slept in this snow cave after they dug out all of the snow. It's built under a picnic table.

The highlight of the night was sledding under the bright, full moon which also served as a "Beacon" to the boys.

Pulse Oximeter Update

My last post got comments and emails from parents interested in purchasing a pulse oximeter so I felt I needed to give this disclaimer--I know most doctors do not like parents having a personal pulse oximeter in their home. They fear parents will not notice the signs of respiratory distress and will only rely on the pulse oximeter results.

I know the signs of respiratory distress and all three times that Morgan was admitted to the hospital for pneumonia and supplemental oxygen she did not have ANY signs of respiratory distress-- no labored breathing, no retractions, no loss of color to her lips, etc. She had a fever, cough and low oxygen levels. On the other hand, my son who has asthma can have all the signs of respiratory distress but still be around 90% on his oxygen saturations. Even though his oxygen isn't low he still needs to go to the ER, his body is able to compensate with increased respirations, labored breathing and retractions but only for so long.

My point is that a pulse oximeter is helpful when there aren't other signs of respiratory distress. It is an additional piece of information but not the only one. I know that Morgan would have gone several days with low oxygen levels before showing any signs of respiratory distress. And I wouldn't have ever known without the pulse oximeter.

One more thing--if you are considering buying a pulse oximeter, look for one that is recommended for pediatrics. And be sure to read the directions--nothing like taking in your child when you didn't do the oximeter right and their oxygen was just fine. :) It can take some time to get a good, accurate reading on little, wiggly fingers. Make sure you have a good signal and the pulse rate looks correct. I usually try to get a good reading for a minute to make sure the oxygen levels are accurate.

P.S. I still love my pulse oximeter!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Every Breath You Take

I LOVE my pulse oximeter! I'm a big believer that every household with children should own one. It's more valuable than any thermometer. It's what helps me know if Morgan or Ryan are too sick to wait to go to the doctor's and need to go to the ER . Morgan got a fever last week and wasn't acting like her energetic self. I checked her oxygen -- 95%. Not bad but a little lower than her usual 98%. The next day she still had a fever (102) and complaining her tummy hurt. I checked her oxygen -- 90-91%. I knew she was on her way to something bigger than a cold. I took her into the doctor's office. I was told her lungs sounded good but she had a borderline ear infection and to wait to see if she got better before starting antibiotics. That night I checked her oxygen before I went to sleep-- 79% (normal oxygen levels are above 90%). Off to the ER. If it weren't for the pulse ox, she would've been happily sleeping, hypoxic all night. Also, Morgan has been hospitalized 3 times for pneumonia. All picked up by my trusty pulse ox after doctor's visits on the same day.

We got to the ER a little after midnight on Wednesday night. The triage nurse asked me why we were there. I told her Morgan had a fever and oxygen levels below 80%. All of the nurses turned to look at us. They took us right back, hooked her up to oxygen, suctioned her to see if that would help get her oxygen up and sent it to be cultured for the viral panel, and sent us to x-ray. Her x-ray looked like viral pneumonia and her viral panel came back positive for adenovirus and metapneumovirus. Double whammy. 2 viruses and pneumonia.

Wednesday night -- the ER

She was admitted into the children's hospital under the premise of getting her off the oxygen and hopefully home within 24 hours.

Thursday-- Eating well, finally keeping her oxygen tubing on and needing about 1 L of oxygen.

Thursday night--miserable with high fevers--104 (ice packs under arms in picture) and keeps crying, "I'm sick! I'm sick!" Finally get fever down to 102 after Tylenol, Motrin and ice packs.

Friday-- still a little feverish. Not eating or drinking very well so she had to have an IV started (3 pokes). Follow up x-ray to see if any new bacterial infections going on. X-ray unchanged.

Friday night--she fell asleep around midnight and a few minutes later her oxygen started crashing. The nurses and respiratory therapist rushed into her room, increased her oxygen as high as it could go on the nasal cannula. Nothing happened. They put an additional oxygen mask on her. Still low. They deep suctioned her 6x and still low. The ICU doctor came into her room and did an assessment and told us Morgan needed to be moved into the ICU where they could use higher levels of oxygen and give her the additional support she needed.

It was such an awful experience to watch her go into respiratory distress. I think it was even worse than watching her recover from open heart surgery (but that could just be from time and memory loss). I honestly feared I was losing her. She was struggling so hard to breathe -- retracting everywhere and sucking her nostrils in with every breath. It quickly put everything into perspective. There's absolutely nothing worse than watching your child struggle and be so helpless. I felt guilty for ever being frustrated with the challenges that come with having a daughter with Down syndrome. All I could think about was how much I wanted all of those challenges. How much I needed Morgan. How much we ALL needed Morgan. I called Gavin and he came right up to the hospital and gave her a blessing. She was then transferred to the ICU and started on High Flow Nasal Cannula 15L at 100%. Her oxygen came back into the 90% and she was no longer struggling to breathe.

Saturday--They suctioned and poked her all night long. We finally got to sleep around 9 am. This is late Saturday morning. This is how Gavin and I slept with Morgan. She wanted us right next to her all of the time. "Sleep by you?" as she patted the spot next to her on the bed. I loved sleeping right next to her!

Sunday-- Feeling a little better but still not too excited about having visitors.

Sunday Night-- Still in the ICU but back on the regular nasal cannula and doing well.

Monday-- She was moved back to the regular floor in her own private room. A completely different child -- happy and laughing again, talking, eating, enjoying visitors/phone calls and having fun playing with her daddy. She asked Gavin, "We go home?" and when he told her not yet. She said, "Oh man!"

coloring with dad

Loved her doctor's kit from Uncle Scott, Aunt Jolie, and Ryder

Tuesday-- Feeling all better and really wanting to go home, but still needing just a little bit of oxygen -- 0.5 L.

Enjoying grandma's visit

Loved spending the afternoon with her school aide, McKenna

Wednesday--We get to go home!!! She slept through the night without oxygen and was given the okay to go home.

What a crazy week. We went there thinking we'd be home the next day and it quickly turned into a week. Gavin and I switched off every 24 hours who stayed at the hospital. My mom stepped in and took care of all the kids at home. Neighbors and friends brought in dinners. Friends and family sent Morgan balloons, stuffed animals and gifts. But the biggest support came from all of the friends and family that offered to keep Morgan in their thoughts and prayers. I left updates on how Morgan was doing on facebook and was overwhelmed by the comments left by so many friends. I even had one sweet friend who decided to fast for Morgan. It was overwhelming to know so many were fighting this battle with Morgan. I know that it is because of those prayers, fasting and priesthood blessings that Morgan recovered so quickly. Thank you so very much for being there for us!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Yummy cake recipe

Cinnamon and Sugar Bundt Cake
1 box of yellow cake mix
4 eggs
3/4 c. water
3/4 c. vegetable oil
2T. almond flavoring
1 sm. vanilla instant pudding mix
8 oz. sour cream

Preheat oven to 325. Mix all ingredients on high for 4 minutes. Grease pan with butter. Cover pan with cinnamon/sugar mix. Pour in cake mixture. Sprinkle cinnamon/sugar on the top. Bake for 55 minutes.


P.S. The cake in the photo has icing on it to hold the Disney guys on the cake. It's better without any icing--Just the cinnamon/sugar topping.


We gave in and started renting the series of Lost. Several people told us how great it was and that we should hurry and watch it before the final season started in February. I honestly didn't realize the full impact of our decision -- the time and dedication it would take to watch 5 seasons. It was a lot more time consuming than I'd ever imagined. They really packed in a lot of episodes (42 minutes each without commercials) each season! We finished the last season finale tonight and it's bittersweet -- I'm so relieved to have my evenings and weekends free again but I'll also miss watching it. It's become our nightly ritual, cuddled up on the couch, both of us taking our turns falling asleep during different parts of the show, waking up enough to start 'just one more episode', and going to sleep way too late every night. We'd talk about going out and then decide we'd both rather watch Lost more than go to a movie. Luckily I won't have to miss it for long, the last season begins in a few weeks. And I can't wait!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Meeska Mouska, Mickey Mouse!

Ever since our trip to Disneyland, Mia has loved Mickey Mouse and everything else that goes with him. The first words out of her mouth every morning are "Mickey House?" asking if she can watch Mickey's Clubhouse while she eats breakfast. This made choosing her birthday theme extremely easy--Mickey and his friends.

My big 2 year old!!!

We had two celebrations and two cakes -- her first celebration was on her actual birthday with just our family. I made a cinnamon pudding bundt cake (thanks Annie for the yummy recipe) for her first party. Ryan took a bite and said, "FINALLY, A cake that tastes better than the frosting!" We usually have lots of cake left over for a few days but this one was all gone by that night. So it may not be the cutest cake but it was the yummiest.

Mia's invitation from last year still gets 5-10 hits a day from the weirdest places around the world. Luckily I didn't put any personal information on it and decided to do the same with her invitation this year. But I'm still a little nervous that people will be able to find us by looking for the happiest home on earth.

Oh Toodles . . .

Ready for the guests to arrive

We had almost 4o people at her party ( half of them kids). It was so nice to have so many family members come and help us celebrate! I decided to follow the Mickey Mouse theme for dinner and did a hot dog buffet dinner. Hot dog, hot dog, hot diggety dog. Everyone seemed to like it except for one family member who let us all know she felt like she was eating school lunch and wasn't happy about it.

We played "Pin the ears on Mickey" and the kids wore a big Mickey Mouse hat to hide their eyes. Grace won the game by getting Mickey's ears the closest to the right spot. Cameron won for making it into a more mature game and by turning Mickey's ears into the perfect bra for Hadley.

Her 2nd cake--Minnie Mouse

Opening presents

The lucky parents of this cute girl (the bottle will be the first thing to go now that she's a big two year old!)

We were so surprised and happy to have nan in town for the party!

And grandma and grandpa made it back from Mexico just in time for the party, too.

In honor of her 2nd Birthday, here are a few things you might not know about Mia:
  • Loves to dance and has quite the moves.
  • She thinks both Jack and Ryan are named "Jack" which is funny because Griffin thought they were both "Ryan" when he was two.
  • She calls herself "Mimi".
  • She's quite the couch potato and loves watching movies (yes, she's only two). A few of her fav's-- Mickey's Clubhouse, Beauty and The Beast, Ice Age, and My Neighbor Totoro.
  • She prefers drinking her bottle over eating food and says, "I don't like it", "It's yucky", "It's old" before she even knows what I am making. This has gotten better now that she's no longer getting whole milk.
  • She is adored by everyone in the family!

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Jack was asked to give his first talk as a youth speaker in Sacrament meeting last month. His topic was Jesus Christ's birth. Jack's always been extremely independent, never asking for any help on schoolwork, science fair projects, reports, etc. Everything he does is always his own work without any parental assistance. Sometimes it's a little more obvious than others, like when a poster project is quickly done with sloppy writing on the title and subtitles and the other students have their stuff all typed up nicely and pasted on their poster. The nice thing is that he's always gotten perfect grades and he knows he earned it, not his parents.

Obviously he didn't ask for any ideas or help with his talk or act nervous (completely opposite of me who has an extreme fear of public speaking). I kept waiting for him to start working on it during the week. Nothing happened. Then Saturday night he spent about 5-10 minutes on the computer and announced his talk was done. I asked him what he was speaking on. "The Nativity". Perfect!

On Sunday morning about 15 minutes before he needed to leave to church to start getting the sacrament ready, I asked him if I could read his talk. It was a very different Nativity Story than I'd expected. It was an unbiased, historical, non-Christian view of Christ's birth and life. I asked him what references he had used to write his talk. Wikipedia. I started laughing and panicking a bit. I showed his talk to Gavin who had the perfect solution. He opened up his scriptures to Luke 2 and had Jack read this account of the nativity story. Jack had found his talk. He read Luke 2 and gave his personal testimony of his Savior and it was amazing!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

By the looks of my old journals, I used to be big fan of New Year's resolutions. I wrote them in my journal at the beginning of every year, the same goals year after year -- read scriptures daily, exercise, lose weight, marry Gavin, etc. Apparently never achieving those goals in the previous year. Maybe that's why I don't write down my official resolutions anymore.

But you know who IS a big fan??? GRIFFIN!

I think he somehow realized it was a new year and time for some big changes! Remember the post (4 months ago) about the challenges of getting this boy to sit down on the potty in order to become fully potty-trained? I looked all over the internet for ideas of what to do. And finally gave up and put him back in diapers. A few days ago I took off his diaper when he woke up and left him in his jammies. He used the bathroom a couple of times that morning and was staying dry. I was busy in the kitchen when I realized I heard him grunting in another room. Fearing the worst and not in the mood to clean up an accident in his jammies, I asked him what he was doing. "I'm just getting my poopies out mommy."

I ran to find him just getting off of the toilet. What the crap? Literally! He did it all on his own!!! All those months of stress and wondering if he would ever get it . . . and I just needed to wait 'til he was ready. We had a little celebration and then he asked if he could now open his poopie toys. The Star Wars action figures he had been looking at for the past 6 months.

I'm surprised the box still looked this good after 6 months of just playing with the box.

Proud to be a BIG BOY!

We are now on day 3 of no accidents. I need to start weaning the gift giving. The 2nd day he got Darth Vader and Princess Leah action figures and today he got a Star Wars shirt. At this rate, his rewards are gonna cost more than the diapers ever did! Hope he's okay with just a sticker tomorrow! He now carries the 4 Star Wars guys with him everywhere we go. I'm trying to get him to quit calling them his poopie toys . The cashier at Target looked at me all funny today when she heard him ask me for his poopie toys. Go figure. It's looking like 2010 is gonna be a great year for us!

How about you--Do you set and write down New Year's Resolutions?

I loved this post and list of resolutions at Happy Shining People. I'm really gonna try to implement a few of them in my own life. Especially the one about being there, ready for my children when they walk through the door at 3:00 every day.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Year's in Vegas

Getting ready for the BEP concert with a Mac make-over

Lots of laughter

Black Eyed Peas Concert

Walking miles and miles on the strip

Breakfasts at House of Blues

Adding Bling to our boys' wardrobes

Bringing in Twenty-Ten!!!

Billboard's New Year's Eve LIVE! show

Having Kris Allen say "thank you" after declaring my love to him in the casino minutes before the show.

Taking too many pics of Carmen Electra. Gavin even got a smile from her when he screamed, "I love you!" and then told me that he didn't really mean it.

Walking around Mandalay Beach

Shopping at Miracle Mile and the Forum shops . . . and lots of free gelato samples

30 seconds of fame. We made it on tv. Barely. Look closely.