Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy 2008 - From Home

Asher in the ER on FridayAsher in his room.Asher getting a percussion treatment.12/31/07: Asher going home...second time in one month!

Asher gets to go home today at noon after successfully being off oxygen for 24 hours. We will continue nebulizer treatments at home for a time every 6 hours now (they were hourly, then every 2, 3, 4 and now every 6 hours. He is actually on Xopenex!), and he will go back for a checkup next week. For now, he is just on the heart monitor and his IV is hep locked. I have had many ask how much he weighs now. He was 7lb 11oz on Friday morning and this am was the same weight including the wires, monitor and IV board. I am sure he will become a hungry boy again once he feels better. Just a few hours until he is back home where he belongs, just in time for 2008.

Thanks for all your phone calls, emails and prayers for Asher. 

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Update from Children's Hospital...

Perhaps I should start at how we arrived at Childen's Hospital. I took Asher to see his pediatrician on Friday morning after having 2 bad nights of many coughing spells with what appeared to be apnea. Asher's doctor did not hear wheezing and was not as concerned with the cough as we were. His O2 sats were 89% initially, but increased to 97%, so the Dr. felt better about that. After initially thinking he would send us in to Children's for a RSV test and chest X-ray, he reconsidered and sent us home on nebulizer treatments.

Well, about 3 PM, after Asher had not nursed since 8:30 in the AM, he became listless. We were having difficulty waking him, he was grunting and retracting with each breath. So, Chris stayed with the girls while I took him to Children's.

Upon arrival, they checked us in and his O2 sats were at 84% (you want it closer to 100%). The ER nurse calmly moved us to a room, where 6 or more RNs and the Dr moved in, started an IV and started talking about putting Asher on the ventilator!! I do not think staff uttered anything to me for the first 1/2 hour as they focused on stabilizing Asher. He was receiving hourly nebulizer treatments, O2, many blood draws, etc, etc.

After 3-4 hours or so in the ER, Asher's blood gases improved on oxygen enough that he avoided the vent and was able to move to the step down ICU unit. We are extremely lucky that we got here early enough so Asher's symptoms could be treated. It turns out that he was RSV positive. He has responded well to the nebulizer treatments, percussion, finally started to nurse, and he was taken off the oxygen at noon today. He has to be off of the O2 and stable for at least 24 hours before going home. Since going off the O2 today at noon, Asher has been wide awake, something he has rarely been since birth. He is now getting his afternoon respiratory treatment.

We are to plan on going home Tuesday and be happily surprised if we get to go home tomorrow. Good thing Chris is still home on Holiday break and we have grandparents to watch the girls so Asher can have his Daddy here, too. Chris has gone home a couple times, and I went home today for a couple hours before feedings. We both miss the girls so much!

So, Asher turned one month old yesterday, in the hospital of all places. His 1 month picture is of him with an IV and O2! What a month Asher has had...


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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Our little 4 week old...

That's right...Asher Wade is 4 weeks old today! It is hard to believe it has been that long already. Asher is beginning to be awake more now, typically for a few hours in the morning. He does not seem to mind tummy time and holds his head well. He is quiet for the most part, crying to tell us when he is hungry. However, he did get his first of probably many colds on Christmas Eve and has been quite misterable. He has a bad cough that seems to scare him as he turns red and tries to catch his breath. It is scary having a newborn in the height of flu season...I will say that much. He has been sleeping in his chair for the last few nights to help with the cold. Good thing there is a nurse in the house!

After nearly a month, we are all adjusted to being a family of five. We were adjusted after a couple weeks probably. We did not have anyone stay with us or anything, so we were forced into adjusting immediately. Chris and I are amazed at how well Alivia and Addison have done. Addison has started to help with diaper changes now and comes out of play to see what is going on when Asher cries. They are both little helpers. Chris and I have also handled the sleepless nights and busy days with 3 kids better than expected. We have always liked a good challenge. Asher himself is far from a challenge right now though.

Until next month...

* Pictures to come later.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Alivia and GabbyCrazy house of lights and stuffChristmas Family PhotoBaby CenterNew double stroller from G and G GraybillEating Angel Cake for Jesus' Birthday

We continued the Christmas celebrations Christmas Eve, but the location was changed a bit. Many of Chris' family was sick (tis the season) so we went to Chris's Aunt and Uncle's house near our home. After a few hours at their home with family, we decided to attend the 8:30 Mass. What a beautiful Mass. I think we will make that Mass our new tradition. We arrived at 8 pm and sat just behind where we normally sit. The kids were rather tired by the end of the Mass, however. After going by the crazy house (see picture), we headed home to prepare for Santa.

Christmas morning was just the 5 of us to open our presents. Grandma Bet and Grandpa Bill arrived just before lunch and we did the gift exchange with them. Alivia really got into Christmas this year and was excited about every present she opened (even if it was not for her!). Addison really did not care until she or Alivia opened something associated with her babies...then she would jump off the couch to check it out. The girls both got new dolls, bottles, a baby care center, a double stroller and a doll house. They were thrilled with all the baby things (and thankfully Grandpa Bill had to put the big things together!). The other games and toys will be played with later, I think.  Asher was content as he slept through the clothes, car and his first tractor he received as gifts. Asher had woke from a nap Christmas Eve with a cold/cough that continued to get worse on Christmas. What a first Christmas, little guy!

Chris' favorite presents were his PS3 games and mine were my new running shoes and cookbooks from Chris. My mom wondered if the shoes were purchased to help me keep up with the kids. All of us agree, however, that our favorite present this year came early...Asher! We are lucky to have him share Christmas with us.

We had a wonderful Christmas shared as a family. It is always sad to see it all over, as next year our kids will be another year older. So, this year, I am hoping it will go by slower so we can enjoy every moment!

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Addison or Mommy?

1st Bottle

Today Asher had his first bottle. With Addison, I was not very good about giving her a bottle early on. That caused Addison to never really take the bottle well (which was not a good thing for a baby in daycare!). So, I wanted to try to introduce the bottle with Asher sooner and give him one often so I am not his only food source. He did really well. So, I guess Chris and I will be able to go out on dates someday.

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Let Christmas Begin

Addison, 17m, Alivia, 3 years.Our decorated homeGreat Grandma Marci & AsherSanta BabyAsher and Great Grandma Vera
Our Christmas gatherings started yesterday. We had my family in our home, but they brought all the food. That was so nice! Alivia has been sick the last couple of days, so I do not think she would have up for the trip to Iowa. We had a nice dinner and the girls opened the season's first presents. Alivia is so excited this year. Addison, who we thought would really be fun this year, has shown little interest. Once she gets one present, she just wants to play with it and not move on to the other presents. We will see if that changes as the presents continue. Asher has slept through most of the events, but has been held a lot.

Today was onto my Dad's side of the family in Iowa. Alivia and Daddy stayed at home in hopes of Alivia mending before Christmas. Addison, Asher and I went to Great Aunt Norma's house for some dessert and good company. It was nice to see everyone. Addison loved their dogs and traveled to everyone's laps.

Tomorrow and Christmas Day we have more family events to attend, and we hope to attend Mass at Chris' parents church tomorrow. Let's pray Alivia is up for all of the parties because she is too excited to miss them.

Merry Christmas to you all!

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Chris has a Good Heart

Yes, Chris has a good heart! I know, you all think you knew that already. So, let me explain.

Chris was diagnosed with asthma probably 8 to 10 years ago. On a recent check-up of his asthma, the doctor heard a loud "click" or murmur when listening to his heart. His doctor was quite concerned and referred him to a cardiologist. After an appointment with the cardiologist, a stress test and an echocardiogram, Chris received what we knew all along...A clean bill of health saying that he has a good heart! There was an explanation for the unusual click that both his family practice physician and his allergist had been hearing (but an explanation that I am unable to repeat).

So, Chris came home happy that he did not have to work out because his heart was healthy. I reminded him that he may have a good heart now but needs to work to keep it that way. So, back to the treadmill it is...

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Visit to Santa

Today Alivia, Addison, Asher and I decided to go and visit Santa. Being the smart Mommy that I think I am, I decided it would be better to take our 3 kids right away in the morning when they are in their best of moods and when the Mall would hopefully be less busy. I was right on at least one account.

The mall was quiet. There was not a line at Santa's workshop. I walked Addison up first to sit on Santa's lap and she burst into tears. Oh no, then Alivia started to cry (I wonder who the leader is out of these two girls...hummm...). I got Asher out of the stroller and into Santa's arms where he continued to sleep (Thank Goodness for one laid back child). Addison calmed down with her taggie blanket and sat on a present NEAR Santa. Alivia, eventually, sat on the far side of Addison as far away from Santa as possible. I snapped one picture, but the memory of this morning will last for many years to come.

As I was telling my a short time, people will be asking me, "So, what do you do all day long?" It is too bad I did not have video of my morning to help answer that question. Believe me, I rarely sit down let alone eat a bon bon.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Asher Wade at 2 weeks old

Asher's 2 week check-upNaptime at 2 weeks

Asher is now 2 weeks old. It seems to us that he has been here all along. He has blended into our family just fine over the last couple weeks. Alivia loves to hold Asher any chance she gets. Addison likes to sit next to me as I feed Asher, giving Mommy and Asher hugs and blowing Asher little Addison kisses.

Asher had his 2 week check-up today and has surpassed his birth weight at 6lb 11oz, 20 1/2 inches (which I am sure is wrong but whatever). He is doing well. Last night he spent his first night in his room in his crib and did fine. I was worried I would not hear him cry in there when I am sound asleep, but it worked out without a problem. He pretty much eats and sleeps with a few hours of awake time when he does tummy time and looks around at what his wild sisters are doing.

I am doing better than I expected with the 3 kids while Daddy is at work, too. Today was the test taking Alivia to school and then going to Asher's appointment with Addison. We did fine. I have yet to go shopping for little boy clothes. Luckily, his Daddy and Grandparents have or he would be wearing pink (and we just can not have that!).

Asher's next appointment is at 2 months. Until then...Happy Growing Little Asher Wade...

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Christmas Sugar Cookies

This recipe is from Betty Crocker's Cooky Book published in 1963. However, this is a family favorite no matter how old it is! I love this cookbook!
Ethel's Sugar Cookies
3/4 c shortening (half margarine, half butter crisco)
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Mix shortening, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Stir dry ingredients together and slowly blend in. Chill at least 1 hour.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Roll dough 1/8" thick on lightly floured surface. Cut with cookie cutters and place on baking sheet. Bake 6-8 minutes watching closely. Recipe can be easily doubled.

Can top with Easy Creamy Icing (Recipe from Grandma Bet)
1 c powered sugar            1/2 t. vanilla
1/4 t salt                           1 1/2 T. milk

Blend all ingredients. Add enough milk to make easy to spread. Add food color of your choice. As you can see, Alivia liked to top with lots of sprinkles!

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Monday, December 10, 2007

In the name of the Father, the Son, & the Holy Spirit...

...Asher is Baptized. He was baptized yesterday at 1:45 pm at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church along with 9 other babies (8 boys and 1 girl). The Grandma's are Asher's Godparents. Asher did well, not even opening his eyes for the event. It turned out to be a small gathering afterwards. I tried to keep in small anyway so it was not so overwhelming 10 days after he was born. However, with people sick, working, and the weather not so good, it was much smaller of a party than I anticipated. We have a lot of food for lunches for the week!
Now, let the training of practicing the Catholic Faith begin!
Austin Family in 2007Asher and his cakeCousinsAsher Wade

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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Take Nothing For Granted...& Don't let evil win!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007. I was sitting down to nurse Asher and decided to turn on the TV. What I found will forever change me. Breaking News: There was a shooting at the Von Maur store. Anyone who knows me knows that if I did not have a newborn, I may have been shopping at that store on that day. Many people in and around Omaha could have said that, "It could have been me." Chris had gone out to run errands for me. What if I would have sent him to Von Maur instead of the Gap to buy something for Asher? We could picture where the events unfolded on that day. The shooter was on the third floor, the floor with the children's department, gifts and the free gift wrapping. We have a number of gifts under our tree with the pretty gift wrap from Von Maur. The employees that lost their lives on that day were people that had nicely waited on us. May eternal light shine upon them.

As I went out to a Christian bookstore yesterday to pick up some things for Asher, both Chris and I thought aloud how going out to run errands had cahnged. I could not say it better than the following article,

"It should teach us we need to be right with God every day. It should remind us to hug and kiss our loved ones at every opportunity, to bury the hatchet with those we hold grudges against, to embrace new neighbors moving next door, to visit our ailing grandparents more often, to tip the waitress well, and to help co-workers when they're swamped and we're unencumbered.

The bottom line is hope. Without hope in Christ, I hang it up. I've had enough. But we all must press on with hope. Without hope, none of the family, friends and loved ones grieving the unspeakable losses suffered this week can even begin the healing process. Omaha will never turn the corner and would be forever be defined by this pitiful act of selfishness and cowardice.

So pray. Ask for the grace to make it through this ordeal that has touched a city and a nation. Support Westroads and Von Maur by returning to your holiday shopping the moment the mall reopens. Don't live in fear. Don't let evil win."

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Homemade Play Dough

This recipe is not to be eaten. :)

What you'll need:

1 c. flour

1/2 c salt

2 tsp. cream of tarter

1 c. water

1 TBS. vegetable oil

Food coloring

1. Combine flour, salt, and cream of tarter in a saucepan. In a bowl, put water, oil, and food coloring. Gradually stir wet ingredients into the dry ones until mixture is smooth.

2. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until a ball forms. Remove from stove and cool.

3. Have your child knead the play dough until smooth. Then, start playing. Store in an airtight container. Dough can last up to 4 months. Repeat for other colors.

Alivia helped me make this yesterday afternoon. Both Addison and Alivia played with this homemade creation for a long time!

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

1 Week Later


Alivia and AsherAsher WadeAddison feeding her baby doll.Alivia, Addison, & "Baby Asher"

It has been one week since Asher's birthday. I have to say, the adjustment at home has not been as difficult as I thought it would be. Having 3 kids ages 3 and under is not that bad, so far. I even took a nap today! However, Chris is still off work. So, reality will really not set in until Monday.

Asher is doing well. He is getting bigger everyday. He is a good baby, eating and sleeping with only a few hours of awake but quiet times a day. Alivia just loves to hold him and is so excited to be a big sister. Addison, I believe, is missing some Mommy time and sometimes sits right next to me or gives me hugs while I feed Asher. She is doing quite well, though. We still get our individual time whenever possible. I love watching Addison take her baby around the house wrapped in a blanket (or her taggies or a towel as pictured) feeding the baby a bottle. Alivia tries to nurse her babies! They are just too cute to watch.

As far as having summer babies versus winter babies, I vote to have babies in the summer!  I always took the girls on stroller rides from day one, and that is just not possible with temps in the 20's and 4 inches of snow on the ground.

Sunday Asher will be baptised. His Grandma's will be his Godmothers. We are hoping for only a few flurries so everyone can make it to help us celebrate.

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

At Home at Last


All My ChildrenMommy, Daddy & Baby AsherAsher, dressed like a little bear, to go out into the cold.Counting Toes

After a wintery start to Saturday, Chris, Asher and I were able to come home to the girls in the afternoon. Alivia was awake from her nap and could not wait to hold Asher. Addison was a little slower to warm up to him after her nap. Addison is curious and likes to rub Asher's head, but she is otherwise occupied with her own activities. As I guesed before Asher was born, Addison likes to sit right next to me when I feed Asher. When she does come to me to be held, I do try and put Asher down or drop what I am doing to give her the attention she is used to getting.

Our first night at home was mostly spent awake. So, today, when Grandma Austin called asking to bring Asher to their 60th Anniversary party, I had to dig deep to get everyone ready and out the door. It was nice to see family and have them meet Asher, but after little sleep, I really just missed my naptime (and I think the girls missed their naptime, too). I am hoping we all get a little "quiet time" tomorrow.

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