Wednesday, December 12

All is well... *yawn*

Well, I hope everyone is assuming that since we haven't updated the blog that things are going fine. That is the case, and with a newborn in the house, there's not been much time to update the blog. I also wanted to wait until I had some better pictures, but that hasn't happened yet.

Things are going pretty well with all of us. Owen is doing just fine. He eats about every 3 hours and is a pretty sleepy little boy. We are still going to the doctor periodically for weight checks just to make sure he's gaining properly. He has had two weight checks showing he was borderline in the weight-gain department. Otherwise, he's very content and easy to take care of. He's growing more alert each day and I can't wait for that first smile in a few more weeks!

Kate is doing about as well as I expected. She loves her baby brother, but she had some issues with James and me (James especially) at first. She was acting out and doing crazy things for attention - especially negative attention. But, she's a great helper (too helpful, most of the time) and seems to be getting used to sharing us with Owen. James and I are adjusting to sleepless nights, though I feel like I was a little ahead of the game getting several nights of decent sleep toward my recovery while Owen was in the hospital. I also feel like there's less stress this time, since I have a better clue of what I'm doing, so the stress doesn't compound the sleeplessness like it did with Kate.

Thank you so much to all of our friends and family who were and are keeping us in your prayers and checking up on us. The offers for help and meals were many, and I want you to all know how much we appreciate you. It is so nice to have such a great support system.

Like I said, I don't really have many good pictures, but here are a few of Owen at home. I promise I'll try to get some of him awake!

Thursday, December 6

Safely Home

Just wanted to report that we got Owen home yesterday. It was good to finally have my whole family under one roof. After a two hour wait for a special "prescription tube of diaper rash cream" he was finally released from the Children's NICU at 4:30 yesterday. Kate was very excited, more excited than I have seen her in a long time, to see and finally touch "baby brother". We will see how she adjusts to he new brother being at home today. We will hopefully get some more pictures posted soon. Thanks again for your thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, December 5

Another Busy Couple Days

It looks like Owen will get to come home today. He was stable all day yesterday without any kind of assistance (IV, hood, etc.). He was doing so well that I got to go in to work for the day (oh' joy) and Angela was able to spend much of the day with him. He is feeding well from the bottle and even better from Angela. They ran his blood gas levels in the morning and they were normal, they did a chest x-ray yesterday which showed his lung was better, and he has not had any more episodes of any kind. He was doing so well yesterday that they did his circ. and a car seat test to make sure he will do fine on the ride home today. I hope to have him home by this afternoon. We will keep you posted on his progress and will post more pictures after we get him home. Thank you for all of your prayer and support. God has been good to us to get us through this and to give us great friends and family.

Monday, December 3

A good day

Owen started out his day by removing his IV (for the second time in two days). So, while he was "disconnected", they decided to just send him on down for his esophogram. The esophogram checked out fine and didn't find anything wrong. In addition, another x-ray showed the "something" in his upper right lung to be clearing up. Based on these two findings, they decided to stop antiobiotic treatments, keep the IV out, and to try to feed him. He did well with his first feeding and we showed up in time for his second feeding. I don't know if he was really hungry, or just has too many Coley genes (some of you will get that), but he was gulping down the bottle so they had to pace him by stopping and letting him catch his breath so he wouldn't choke it down. They had also removed his oxygen hood, so he was doing everything on his own today. We're still taking things one day at a time, but he appears to be working things out on his own so far. He looked great and it was so nice to feed him and hold him! God is good! Thank you for your continued prayers and we'll post another update tomorrow.

Sunday, December 2

An update on Owen

Well, we haven't had time to really inform everyone of the events that have taken place since Owen's birth. When the pediatrician made rounds the morning after his birth, he found fluid in his lungs and noted that Owen was having to breath too hard to get enough oxygen. Since our hospital is very limited in neonatal provisions, he needed to be transferred to the neonatal ICU at East Tennessee Children's Hospital to be treated as necessary. Upon arrival at the hospital, he appeared to be breathing fine on his own and things looked great. However, after he was fed, he had fluid in his lungs again which had to be removed and he needed an oxygen hood to stabilize him. This continued until they decided to put him on an IV and stopped feeding him bottles. He's doing fine now on the IV with an oxygen hood and his breathing is fine. The doctor thinks he may have a fistula (a small opening) between his esophagus and trachea or somewhere in this area. They will perform a radiological trace on Monday to look for this. He also has "something" in one of his lungs that appears to be either an under developed portion of his lung or an infection, so he is on antibiotics just in case. Please keep him in your prayers as the doctors try to determine what is wrong and then what needs to be done to make him better.

It has been difficult on everyone having a newborn in the NICU. I am now home and will be able to spend more time with him. It was strange being in the hospital without my baby, though they were great to give me a pass each day I was in the hospital so I could visit Owen. Kate finally got to see him for the first time today through the window at the NICU, but she doesn't understand what's going on. James will be glad to have one less place to drive to as he was making rounds between Farragut, West Knoxville, and downtown to check on each of us.

I will try to keep this blog updated with the latest news as I have time. In the meantime, here are a few more photos.

Saturday, December 1

Please Welcome Owen Benjamin Hemrick

Another guest blog by James while Angela recovers.
We are happy to announce the birth of Owen Benjamin Hemrick on 11/30/07 at 1:09am. He was 8 lbs. 4 oz. and 21" long. Below are a few pictures. More to come later.

Tuesday, November 27

Wonderful Thanksgiving Break

I've really been neglecting the blog lately, so I guess I should update it at least this once before the baby comes (which has to be soon, right??). James's parents came to Knoxville for Thanksgiving this year and we had a wonderful visit. Laura and I prepped a few menu items on Wednesday then James and Laura cooked on Thursday. We had a wonderful late afternoon meal then headed to the Fantasy of Trees that the East Tennessee Childrens Hospital holds every year at the Knoxville Convention Center. Kate is always asking to go see the Christmas trees at Target, so I thought she would enjoy this outing. We all had a nice time wandering around and looking at the trees. Actually, Kate was more enthralled with each baby we saw than any of the decorated trees - even her favorite color the orange ones (and you KNOW there were orange ones!). Still, Kate's favorite part was probably the carousel ride, which she rode twice and cried about when it was time to leave.

(I have to make a little note about this photo - Kate never stands still like this for a picture or for any other reason, but there was a little girl right next to her posing for the camera, so she decided she could do it too - she kept looking over at the other girl to make sure she was doing it right and holding her hands just so - it was too funny to leave out)

Friday, we all went to cut down a Christmas tree. We did this last year and loved our imperfect, aromatic, locally grown Virginia Pine, so we decided to do it again this year and make it a tradition (at least for now). We wanted to have it done before the baby comes, so it was sort of now or never, as they say. At least it was chilly (it was in the 40's), so it didn't seem too early. Kate had fun running around and looking for stamps with Nana (they had placed 8 stations with stamps throughout the fields and gave us a paper to collect all 8). Hot chocolate and candy canes rounded up a fun little outing.

Saturday, Tom and Laura had to leave and James got to work putting up the tree. I think James would agree it was one of the least painful tree-standing experiences we've had in our ten years together. I'm sure that's because I was minimally involved (James was probably thankful I couldn't and didn't do much to "help" or "advise"). James and I strung the lights (again mostly James as I found the tree would poke my belly if I got too close!) and then we all decorated the tree when Kate woke up from her nap. Kate had fun pulling ornaments out of the box, unwrapping them, examining them, and hanging them on the tree. We only had to move a few, as she tended to put them all in the same area. I thought she would be wanting to touch the ornaments a lot, since she liked the Christmas trees at Target so much, but she hasn't shown much interest since we decorated it. And I think I figured out she actually prefers to see the fiber-optic village scene decorations with moving trains and ice skaters, which are right by the Christmas trees at Target. We've spent lots of time looking at each one the last few times we've been.

Today (well, once today actually begins), James goes back to work after a nice little break. Kate and I have gotten spoiled having him home so much. It was nice to have this extra little bit of time to get some decorating done and spend some time together with just the three of us before the baby comes and shakes things up. Kate is really turning into Daddy's girl lately, and I wonder if she somehow knows I won't be able to be there for her as much once the baby's born or if it's just a natural part of her growing up, which she is doing so quickly. Every day I'm amazed at the things she says, the observations she makes, and the independence she displays. The other night at bed time she wanted to brush her teeth all by herself and wouldn't let me or James even leave her bedroom or open her door to watch. She shut her door behind her and we could hear everything in the bathroom next door - her clambering up to the sink, turning on and then off the water, her little battery-operated toothbrush running for a minute while she brushed, and then she reappeared with a big smile, very proud of herself. She really is growing up so fast. I keep wondering what things this new little child of ours will be doing to amaze us and knowing that it will all be happening before we know it. Is there someway to make this whirlwind slow down? Cliche, I know, but ever true.

I can't even begin to express how thankful I am for all of the many blessings in my life. I just try to thank God every day for at least one of them.

Thursday, November 8

Four Weeks and Counting...

I am now 36 weeks pregnant and really ready not to be pregnant any more! For those of you who don't keep track by weeks, 40 weeks is the due date. I don't know if any of you check the time stamp on my posts, but they are usually some ungodly hour when I should be sleeping. My hands are so swollen and numb right now it's difficult to type, but the doctor said that's normal - sort of a pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel syndrome. Great. It's better when I'm not lying down, so... here I am sitting at the computer.

I had a doctor appointment Tuesday with an Ultrasound to make sure the baby is in the right position for labor. None of the pics we got were worth posting here, but we did get to see the baby's face - so cute! Everything looks good and the doctor said at this point, if I go into labor, they won't stop me. That really brought it home that this baby could come at any moment. It's still not likely for a few more weeks, but you never know. Not that I wasn't aware of that already, it just got me in gear to really get all the last minute stuff ready. Kate and I went to Babies R Us yesterday to get a few things we've been needing for the baby (were newborn diapers always that tiny!?!). This weekend we will be pulling all of the "equipment" that babies come with (swing, bassinet, bouncy seat, bath, etc.) out of the storage room and finding a place for them in the house.

Whatever our preparedness level is as far as all of the stuff goes, it is just stuff and we're all anxious to welcome our new little family member. Kate can't get enough of the babies we see when we go out and is now asking if her baby brother is coming home soon. I really think she's getting this, though I'm sure she's not ready for the changes it will bring to her world. Nor am I, for that matter, but we'll all adjust and we'll make it through the difficult parts together.

Now, if I can just get my Christmas shopping finished before the baby is born...

Friday, November 2

Happy Halloween... Bgock!

Some of you have already seen pictures (I think James couldn't wait to send out pics of his little chickadee - I wonder who had more fun?) but I need to post them here too. I wasn't sure what to expect of Halloween with Kate this year. I was dying to make this costume for her, but was afraid she wouldn't wear it. Then, I had visions of my little brother as a toddler being spooked by all the ET costumes (remember those days??) and figured she would be too freaked out to enjoy the night. All that would be fine, I just wasn't getting my hopes up for lots of fun.

As it turned out, Kate did wear the costume I made (and had a blast making, though it had fallen apart by the end of the night...), she did some trick-or-treating with Daddy - two rounds, and was only scared by one gorilla costume and one inflatable jump-around. She even walked around the whole night wearing those silly chicken feet! She was a trooper! Hope you enjoy the pictures. By the way, to those of you who are aware of my level of creativity, I got the idea for the costume from the internet - props to Martha Stewart. There was also a comb to wear on her head, but Kate doesn't do things on her head, so we ditched it.
PS - Rebekah, do I look pregnant enough here?

Monday, October 29

Fall Break with My Girl

Last week was fall break for Knox County schools, so there was no Mother's Day Out. This isn't really a big deal as Kate only goes 2 days a week and only for about 5 hours, but it makes a difference to both of us and I was a little worried that she'd go stir crazy and/or I'd be exhausted. But, we ended up having a pretty good week. Monday was cold and rainy and we just ended up hanging around the house all morning, playing with toys and watching a little TV (I won't go into the harried trip to Target that afternoon, but let's just say Kate is definitely more of a morning person... even after a nap). Tuesday I decided we'd brave the mall. I knew the play area would be crowded, but sheesh! There was hardly an open spot on the parents' bench! Kate played for a while and then we decided we'd rather walk around, so we did that and then had some lunch at the food court and a little ice cream for a treat before heading home. Wednesday we had a really fun play date at Micah and Josiah's house. The kids played and played and the moms got to talk. Josiah is four, Micah and Kate are four months apart and Rebekah and I both have babies on the way who will also be four months apart - yeah! Thursday was a gorgeous fall day and Kate decided we should go to the playground, so we headed to the park and then to McDonald's for cheeseburgers. Friday, Micah and Josiah came over to our house to play while I went to the doctor (everything's great, we'll have another ultrasound Nov. 6 with about 4 weeks remaining). At the end of the week, Kate was glad to have her daddy back after all of his travels. I could really tell she had missed him. They have lots of fun together. And, on top of it all, Kate's using the potty nearly all the time (at least at home, but even a lot of the time when we're out). Lots of fun, but not too tiring. It was a good week. I really tried to enjoy my time alone with Kate, as we don't have too much more time before the baby comes, and it's going to be a difficult adjustment. She's such a special and fun little girl and I'm so lucky to get to spend my time with her.

Thursday, October 25

Missing My Family

This is a guest post by James. I have been traveling the last two weeks and over three trips have been home a total of four days over the past eleven. In that time I have seen both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and been in the Atlanta area five times (four times in the airport and once by car). This time away from Angela and Kate has made me appreciate my family all more and has given me time to reflect on the impending addition to our family. It is amazing the little differences I see in Kate after just being away from her for three or four days. It is also amazing for me to see how Angela holds everything together while I am away. She is a great mom. Thanks also to Debbie who came to help her while I was gone most of last week. That was a life saver. My traveling should be coming to an end as we get closer to the early December due date of baby ??? (we really need to come up with a name), but even though I missed my family terribly these last few weeks, I am thankful for them and the time I had to reflect on their absence and the joy we are in for with our new arrival. Absence does make the heart grow fonder, but it also makes time drag when you can't wait to get home.

Thursday, October 11

This is for real

There's something about my brain that prevents me from getting too involved in the whole new baby thing until the last few weeks of my pregnancy. That's how I've been this time and I remember it being the same with Kate. We didn't get her room ready until about 6-months along, she didn't have a name until the last month or so, things like that. Don't get me wrong, we were thrilled to be having a baby, this time too, but it seems I couldn't fully engage in the whole thing until the end.

I knew at my last doctor's appointment when she said, "Well, you only have about 2 months left" that it would really hit me soon. And it finally has this week. We're starting to really discuss and narrow down name choices, I'm trying to decide how to finish the nursery, and I washed some new baby clothes (they're so small!). I keep telling myself that soon there will be another tiny person in our house that will completely change all of our lives forever. I'm finally beginning to imagine it.

Tuesday, October 2

Even better

Kate started saying "I love you" last week. I thought her "so much" version was pretty cute, but there's nothing better than hearing "I wuv you, Mommy" from my two-year-old. She's also started making up songs and singing them. They generally consist of only a few words sung over and over, but it's pretty cute. Yesterday she kept singing "Meigsy jumper" in this high pitched voice. She and I talked once about how Meigs is a jumper (she jumps on you when she wants something) and now she likes to tell me that. Here's a video of Kate's performance yesterday morning.

James and I sat down last night and took some video clips from the latest tape in the camcorder. Here's another clip of Kate playing catch with James. I love her form. I don't know why she holds her hands that way, but she always does.

I noticed that Kate is in her pajamas in both of these clips. She really does wear other clothes during the day, she's just a morning person and it seems like the best time to catch her at her best.

Thursday, September 27

Making cookies

On Monday, Kate and I were hanging around the house and were both really bored by late morning, so I racked my brain to think of something fun to do. I came up with making cookies. Kate loves to help make things. I think her favorite part is cracking eggs. It's pretty funny - she taps the egg gently on the edge of the bowl, just as she should, then crushes it in her hand no matter how many times I try to coach her to pull it apart with two hands. Luckily her hand is small enough that only part of the shell crushes in and we don't get TOO many shell pieces in the egg. We always do this over a separate bowl. Anyway, it made for some cute pictures. The recipe we used was Nana's "James Cookies" recipe, which just uses a cake mix. Her 2-year-old attention span isn't nearly long enough for a real cookie recipe. Oh, and she really enjoyed licking the spoon.

Saturday, September 22

Where are we?

Here we are!

Ok, so it's been another month since I've posted anything here. It's been pretty hectic around here with traveling, birthdays, anniversaries, switching every room in our house but the master and kitchen, general life with a two-year-old and a being pregnant mom. Mostly, I'm trying to just get through my days so I haven't been much into blogging about them, or really spending any time on the computer at all. Kate is in the throws of two-ness and is so funny and so frustrating all at the same time - she wears me out. When (or, more appropriately this week, if) she takes a nap, I'm taking one myself and in the evenings by the time Kate is down I just need to relax with James until it's time for bed. Not trying to complain, just hoping I'll get some clemency from any readers I have left! James will be out of town a lot in October, so we'll see how it goes. You may not hear much from me then either. In the meantime, here are some random thoughts and happenings from our life.

I let Kate's MDO teacher pressure me the other day about potty training (it was really more me feeling guilty than her pressuring, but she did comment) and so I tried putting Kate in panties one day this week. That went over like a lead balloon. I lasted 2 hours after going through 4 pairs of underwear. She never would tell me or even go on the potty at any time - all I got was "Uh-oh!" after the fact. I don't know if she's not ready or I'm not, but I don't have the patience right now to push her. Her teacher is just going to have to deal with the diapers and the fact that Kate is the youngest in the class. She's doing really well in there though. Her teacher tells me she's getting pretty comfortable - speaking out in circle time and being assertive on the playground. The day before UT's home opener they had "Wear Orange Day" at MDO and we had received a little Vols cheerleading outfit in a bag of hand-me-downs the week before, so she wore that to school. All she wanted to do that morning was run or give cheesy grins, so this is the best picture we got. Go vols!

This summer our church held only one service and we were encouraged to bring our children to the service. We brought Kate to the first part of the service for the worship music and then took her to her class before offertory/communion. Now we're back to regular services, but Kate still asks to hear the music every Sunday, so we're still taking her in. She points out the guitars and drums and watches very intently, sometimes even trying to sing along. She loves it! And so do I. It's really a great feeling to worship with my child. Last week they did a rockin' version of Power in the Blood - everyone really gets going when we sing a great old hymn and Kate thought it was great! They ended with that one and in the quiet after the music stopped there was Kate's "Do it again?"

Kate's been calling James by his first name for a while now. Not all of the time, but a lot. We've gotten her to call him Daddy James most of the time, but sometimes it's just James. I'm Mom now. She went from Mama to Mommy at 18 months and now at 2 she's calling me Mom. I guess it's better than Angela (sorry James!) but I thought she'd be a little older before I became Mom. She thinks she's so grown up and has to do everything by herself.

Kate turned 2 on August 24th and it was not a very exciting day, but we did stretch out presents across the day (and more) so she didn't mind. We had breakfast and opened some presents here before hopping in the car to head to NC for Grandfather's 60th birthday the next day. For a whole month before Kate's birthday, she kept saying "Kate bike birthday" so we hid her tricycle in the back of the car and gave it to her at Nana and Grandfather's house and it was a hit. She's getting pretty good at maneuvering it around by herself but still can't pedal. James bought her a stroller and little baby doll with GG's birthday money last week and she's loving that stroller! It converts to a shopping cart so she can push lots of stuff around. I'd post a picture, but she either won't be still or slow down enough to take one or she only wants to look in the viewfinder and won't let you take her picture, so I don't bother much lately.

Monday, August 20

Lack of content

I know there's fun stuff going on, but my mind has been on other things, so I haven't been posting here. It's been so hot, I've been trying to keep Kate from going stir crazy while staying out of the heat. Even Kate tells me we can't go to the playground "No go playground, Mommy, too hot!". We did go to the play area at the mall three times this week. Once was yesterday with some friends after church and we had a lot of fun catching up while the kids played. It's a great place for toddlers to play if it's not too crowded with older kids.

I though I'd go back in the photo archives and post some of the pictures Kate's Nana and Grandfather took while they were keeping Kate in June. Most (all) of the pictures are with Nana, as Grandfather is the designated photographer. I really don't think she had time to miss us while we were gone. I wonder who had more fun, Kate or N & G?

Saturday, August 11

So much

The words "so much" seem to describe Kate these days. She's just overflowing with things to tell us about. It seems her vocabulary exploded over the weekend while I was gone. Maybe it just took time away from her for me to notice how much she's growing up. She now recognizes when someone is sad and even that actions have consequences (like "No, we don't hit", "Yeah, Mommy sad"). The other day she gave me a big hug and said "So much." I think this is her way of saying I love you, as I am always telling her I love her 'so much'. I've been trying to get her to tell me that she loves me, but I didn't expect her to say it that way and it was precious. Now I see her hugging the dogs and telling them "so much". Needless to say, some of the effect was worn off by that scene. But, it's still nice to hear her tell me that.

For entertainment's sake, here's a funny picture of one of the wacky things she does lately.

She will walk around with the flashlight shining in her face saying "Need sunglasses!"

Saturday, August 4

Weekend Without Mommy

Angela is in Nashville this weekend with Debbie antiquing. It is a much deserved break for her and time for her to spend with her mother. It also gives Kate and Daddy time together before the baby comes. I think it will be the first time that just Kate and Daddy have been alone for several nights. We will see how Daddy survives.

So, I am going to make my first post in Angela's absence. Today, we went to the "water park" at one of the county parks here in Knoxville that is on the lake. Kate loves to go there and get completely soaked even though she still does not like to get her face wet in the bath (kind of strange). I think today though she may have been more excited getting ready to go than she actually was once we got there, although she did have a grand time playing in the water and then going to see the boats on the lake. While we were getting her bathing suit on she told me she had to have her water shirt so she would not get cold (this was a problem during swim lessons at the YMCA apparently). She also had to make sure we had a towel, her hat, and her sun glasses. She has really taken to wearing these in the car, much to the amusement of the people in the cars that pull up beside us. Hope you enjoy Kate in her get-up to go the the "water park" as much as I did.

Tuesday, July 24

Last week's excitement

This picture was taken from our front porch last Thursday morning. No, thankfully, it's not one of our cars but our neighbor probably has one pretty bummed friend! James and I both woke up at 3AM Thursday morning to the sound of a constant car horn. James looked out the front windows and saw a fire inside the car. He called 911 while I went and got Kate (whose bedroom windows face the street straight out from this car). I didn't know if a car could explode if a fire were to go on long enough, but I didn't want to find out with my child 30 feet away! James tried to inform the neighbor, but he and some friends were partying in the basement and didn't hear the doorbell (or door James' pounding!). They finally realized what was happening and ran out to try to extinguish the fire (which was now raging through the roof and a window) with a garden hose. They quickly saw the futility in this attempt and the fire department arrived on the scene. They put out the fire, but could never get the hood open to check the engine compartment. Note the banged up hood where they pounded it with a sledge hammer and pried with a crowbar for about 10 minutes. After the fire was out and everything had died down, James took Kate out to see the fire truck and we had to watch it out her window for a while before going back to bed. James' comment the next morning about all the excitement was "I think it's time to move."

More pictures

James and I have gotten into Sushi lately. I know most of you are turning up your noses, but it's good - yes, even that made with raw fish (though raw fish is off limits to pregnant women). James has even tried to make it a few times, and it's turned out pretty good. Anyway, our grocery store now carries fresh sushi, so we have it at home a little more often. Kate likes to play with the accoutrements. (No, she's not really eating Sushi - she tried it but didn't like it).

I've mentioned how Kate likes to help out - her latest favorite chore is dishes (though I try to avoid her help with this one). The other day James was hammering nails in the deck and Kate decided she needed a hammer to help Daddy hammer the nails.

James decided a few weeks ago that we need to compost. He researched on the internet how to go about it and dug a hole in the corner of the yard where he placed a bucket for our compost-able items. I'm all for recycling and I'll save scraps in a jar, but I don't touch the bucket - there are supposed to be worms in there! Anyway, Kate's second favorite chore is helping James stir the compost in the bucket. She's always wanting to go check on the bucket.