Wednesday, February 3, 2016

"I Don't Know How You Do It." Well, let me tell you.

When I tell people what I do - I'm a Pediatric Critical Care Nurse - I often get the same response. "I don't know how you do it. I could never do that." If I had a dollar for every time I heard that, I wouldn't need to be a nurse anymore, I could retire. But I'm sure I speak for my peers, as well as myself, when I say we know how and why we do it.

I started my nursing career in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at a nationally-ranked Children's Hospital. The PICU can be a rough place. It can also be an incredibly magical place. I remember crying nearly every day before and after work for the first three months I worked there. Knowing I could miss something that could cause my patient to crash was incredibly stressful. But because I knew I could make a difference each day, I kept entering those PICU doors for 5 more years. I loved the children and the families I met in the PICU.

A couple years ago, I started working with that hospital's critical care transport team. Our team is made up of a Pediatric Nurse, Pediatric Respiratory Therapist, and sometimes a Neonatal Nurse Practioner (if it's a sick newborn, or we are heading to a delivery). We travel by ground and air transporting kids- premature neonates to teenagers- to that same nationally-ranked Children's Hospital. We are an extension of the PICU. I use my same skill set, just in different surroundings.

Sure, I still find myself crying occasionally about how unfair and cruel life can be, but I can't imagine working in any other field. As sad as this world is, I get to see incredible acts of humanity and miracles that give me goosebumps. I always swore during nursing school that I would never work with kids. In fact, every time I stepped foot into the Children's Hospital for clinicals, I would cry. I couldn't handle it. My clinical instructor would actually make me sit in the lounge because I was such a hot mess. I was already a mother and just kept imagining what those parents were feeling. I guess I see why people say what they do about not being able to do what I do - I once was one of those people.

Being a pediatric nurse in a critical care has given me something that I really needed. Perspective. Perspective on life. Perspective on what's REALLY important. It's frustrating when I hear people complain about petty things. I want to jump up and shout, "Hey, come to the PICU for a couple hours and you'll be so happy with what you have!" Witnessing a child take his last breath completely changes you. Doing compressions on a tiny little chest is a feeling you don't forget. Hearing a mother screaming her baby's name as he leaves this world is deafening. Rocks you to the core. Things no longer matter.

And as many sad stories as there are, there are also the miracles. The little boy who walked again after a terrible car crash, the little girl with the beautiful smile who had her heart operated on and is now thriving, the baby girl who nearly died of urosepsis and is now a rambunctious toddler- that's why I do it. For those kids. For those families. Kids have amazing spirits. They are filled with hope and innocence. They are resilient and don't give up. I am so thankful that God has put me in a field where I can see Him working everyday. I may not always understand His plan, but that's not for me to figure out. All I can do is have faith and know that I'm where I'm meant to be and care for those He puts before me.

My career has made me come home every night and hug my children a little tighter than I did the night before. It's made me treasure the times when I just get to hold them and rock them to sleep. Kissing their chubby little cheeks. Nibbling on their little toes. Hearing every little belly laugh and holding on to that sweet sweet sound.

I know how I do it. I do it because there's nothing else I can imagine doing. The things I've seen and learned in the past 7 years have made me who I am today, and for that, I am thankful. We may not always get a "thank you" or "job well done," but we know we make a difference. That's why and how we do it. I'll never forget what one of my friends told me prior to my interview in the PICU and I just didn't think I would be able to do that job. She said, "Someone has to care for those sweet, innocent children. Why not you?" Yeah, why not me? So thankful I entered that interview. My life hasn't been the same since.

Life is short, too short sometimes. Honor the ones you love and hold them close, say the words you want to say - you don't know if you'll get the chance to do so again. It can all change in the blink of an eye. Literally.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Are You Wearing Gloves?

Are you Wearing Gloves?

As a nurse, I often wear gloves whenever touching my patients, both for their protection and for mine. However, I have noticed there are some times when gloves need to come off.
I had a patient in the PICU, quite some time ago now, who was going home on hospice. He was just a teen, dying of cancer. His grandma took care of him. We waited for transport to come pick him up to go home, for the last time. He had lung cancer so whenever he spoke he'd get very winded. He had to pull his oxygen mask down whenever he spoke in order for me to hear him, which of course made him even more winded. He kept his eyes closed most of the time, he was just so worn out.

As we were waiting for the transport team, I was just cleaning up his room, gathering his belongings, wearing my gloves. His grandma had already left to wait for him back in their hometown, so he was alone. He pulled down his mask while I was straightening up and said in a weak, hoarse voice, "I am not ready to die." I turned to look at him and asked him what he said, and he said it again. His eyes were still closed, but he wanted someone to know, someone to hear him. I don't know if he had ever told his grandma that. I sat on his bed and held his hand. He didn't say much else, but he felt the need to make sure someone knew he wasn't ready to go. He put his mask back on, but opened his eyes to look at me. He had a couple tears streaming down his cheeks. I felt so sorry for him. It wasn't fair. This young kid with so much life to live was going to die too young from an ugly, unforgiving disease. I can't imagine the feeling of struggling for each and every breath. I attempted to comfort him, rubbing his hand and just listening - even though nothing else was said. Then I realized I still had those dumb gloves on. So I took them off and threw them in the trash. Then I held his hand again. When I did this, he smiled. The gloves felt like a barrier. He's a person, I'm a person and at that moment in time, he just needed a person. Transport soon came and I told him good-bye and that he'd be in my prayers. He kept his eyes closed the whole time, saying nothing.

I often wonder if he's still on Earth or if he's home with the Lord. I'm thankful to him for letting me see how important it is to take the gloves off. I'm sure many of my RN friends have had similar instances where wearing gloves felt impersonal, cold, or distant. But the gloves serve as a metaphor. We have to remember that we're all human, and we all want the same basic things. Someone to listen, someone to love us, someone to be our friend. Take the gloves off. Get rid of the barrier. Let your walls down. You never know what someone is going through. And you never know when they will tell you their biggest secret. I'm so thankful I had the opportunity to realize that I've been wearing gloves many times. Protecting myself, not letting people see the real me. And often, when you remove your gloves, you can see the 'real' in every one else.

So just ask yourself this, are you going through life with gloves on?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Lil' Miss Kindergarten

So Addison has been in Kindergarten for just about 2.5 weeks now. There's been ups and there's been downs. Lemme recap.

Ike and I went to Meet the Teacher night about a week before school started. Addison has Mrs. Turner, who is just a sticky ball of happiness. In fact, our neighbor told us she thinks birds and mice get Mrs. Turner ready in the morning - just like sweet Cinderella. Oh Lord. I have to admit I was pretty jealous of Mrs. Turner. I knew she would be seeing my daughter more than me. That's a hard feeling to take. Even though I work three days a week, I still had both my kids with me the other 4 days a week. Now I feel like I only see Addison on the weekends. It has really been an adjustment. Anyway, Mrs. Turner highly encouraged us to promote independence and to let our children ride the bus. Addison really wanted to ride the bus from the get-go, but I was reluctant, as was Ike. I remember learning and seeing too much on the bus. And that was back in the late 80's, early 90's. I can't even imagine what it's like now.

Addi & her BFF are in the same Kindergarten class. - This pic is from Ice Cream Social Night
So August 15th came. The day before I went to the store to prepare for the day. I bought myself a bottle of wine and some chocolate covered donuts to ease the pain I knew I'd feel that day, as I had been dreading it since she was 3 months old. I remember holding my then 3 month old baby girl and looking out the window in August of 2007 watching all the kids get on the bus for their first day of school. I remember watching the moms and dads taking pictures and wiping tears away. I watched all this from her nursery window, just bawling, dreading the day I'd have to send my baby away. I would no longer be able to protect her all the time. That thought just killed me in 2007, but here I am dealing with it now in 2012. That day in 2007 feels like just yesterday. I can't believe it was 5 years ago.

I got up early to pack Addison's lunch and prepare myself for the day. I woke Addison up around 7:30 by whispering, "Addison, today's your first day of Kindergarten." Well she popped right up outta bed like it was Christmas Day with a big grin on her face. That excitement of getting woken up everyday has already worn off though. Anyway, I got her all ready, fed her some breakfast, and started to take pictures. Of course I had found a cute idea to make a chalkboard sign from Pinterest. See below. I went the cheap route and found some black cardboard and luckily chalk worked on it. So I was my typical self and took 8,562 pictures.

My little poser
Cam looks so ornery here.

Kindergarten is here
We walked down the street to the bus stop. Our neighbors were there to greet us. They had a table out filled with breakfast items, but Addi had already eaten. Of course she took a few donut holes though. That girl can chow down on some donuts. I wonder where she gets that? Hmm. Anyway, I took a few more pictures and some video at the same time - I am very talented. The bus came and this is when I pretty much lost it. Addison looked so tiny compared to that giant bus. Her book bag was bigger than her little bitty body. All the neighbor kids seemed so much bigger than her. She took the first step onto the bus and I started bawling. This was her first step into her next chapter of life. She'll be in school until at least 2025 when she graduates. And I have faith after that she'll go to college. So for the next 17 - 18 years my daughter will be in school. I'm jealous of all that time she won't be with me. I want to always be the one she turns to. I want to always be the one she looks up to. I want to be her biggest influence. I want to be the one to teach her about love. And life. And while I will always be there for her and I will always be a big influence on her, there will be a lot of times where she may not think of me as the most important person in her life. That's hard to accept. But it's part of life and we've all been there. I just hope she always knows her how much I love and adore her.

This is when the waterworks started
So back to the story, I broke down once she got on the bus. We started to walk back home, with me carrying Cam. I held Camden tight and hugged and kissed him - like I was willing him to stay my baby forever. Ike had his sunglasses on, but I'm sure he was a little teary-eyed. Our baby girl is growing up. Of course I got in my car and followed the school bus to the elementary school because that's how I roll. I got some more pictures of Addison walking into school. She made one last turn to wave to us before walking in the building. I cried again and went home to comfort myself with the wine and donuts and I think I hugged and kissed Camden more than ever before. He kept saying, "No Mommy, no kiss me!"

One last wave
 That day felt like an eternity. Her bus doesn't drop her off until about 10 til 4. I felt like I watched the clock all day long. The wine and donuts did indeed help me chill though. Though I was out of it by 2:00. Mission accomplished. Cam and I walked to the bus stop and once the bus came, Addi came running down to us smiling great big. She loved her first day!

First day was so much fun!
The Friday of her first week I was at work until 7:30. Ike texted me and told me that Addi had chewed a large hole in her leggings. My child has turned into a moth. Ike said it was a little bigger than the diameter of a quarter. What? How? Why? were my questions. I wanted so badly to find out if something was upsetting her or what. Ike said she said she didn't know why she did it. She hasn't been very good at telling us about her day, even though we ask her 20 questions. So of course I was worried something bad happened. I texted my mom and she came to the rescue. She went to pick up Addi and took her to Steak 'n Shake and SuperTarget. My mom said they had the best time and Addi kept telling her how much she loves Kindergarten. My mom asked her if there was anything she didn't like about it and Addi told her no. My mom asked her why she chewed a hole in her leggings and she just said that she was nervous. Guess she's going to be like me. A nervous nelly. Luckily there's medication for that. She's also been having more frequent nightmares and of course, she's been really tired in the evenings - leading to crankiness and crying. Oh joy.

Overall though, it's been okay. It's still an adjustment and I hate that I don't get to be with her nearly as much as I want or as I used to be, but I realize this is how it's supposed to be and thousands of other parents are going through this too. I just don't know where the time has gone. I want to get it back, but I can't. I want to hold that little 3 month old baby girl in my arms again, but I can't. It's awesome seeing her grow up, but it's sad too. And I'm sure I'll be even sadder, but so proud the day my Lil' Miss Kindergarten becomes Lil Miss College Graduate. I'm sure that day will be here before I know it, just like her first day of Kindergarten was. In the meantime though, I'm just going to enjoy the next few chapters of this beautiful story.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

This One's Random

Disclaimer: This entry is completely random. It is highly unorganized and if this is the first entry that you've ever read from my blog - I apologize. I'm not always so inconsistent with my thoughts.

I haven't written in about a month. We've been so busy. I feel like everyday we have somewhere to go. Luckily, it's all been fun stuff and we've made lots of fun memories! I'm trying to cram as much fun stuff into this summer as possible - I think I'm a little depressed with what is coming my way in two weeks.

In case you don't know, my daughter starts kindergarten in less than 2 weeks. I'm not coping well. I feel like every year she starts school is one year closer to her leaving me. So sad. I only have about 13 more years with her living with me! No!! The past five years have gone way too fast. I'm really trying to enjoy these last few days of our summer together. It's just going to be so weird not having her here on my days off. I'm also trying to enjoy Camden more because I am starting to realize he is probably our last child. Even though he's going through the Terrible Two's in full effect, I'm still trying to cherish him being so little because it does go so fast and I'm never going to get this time back. But trust me, his Terrible Two's have been much worse than Addi's were. Anyway, before I go off on that tangent, I love watching my kids do new things and develop as little people, but I hate that they aren't babies anymore. I always shudder when I hear parents of older children say they just wish they could go back to the time their kids were little. I hate it because it makes me feel like a bad mom because sometimes I get so frustrated with them. I know I'm not alone and most moms lose their shit and yell *loudly* occasionally. I just try to remind myself that they're little, they are still learning and they aren't always going to be so small. They've got little hands, little voices, little bodies but both my kids have big personalities and are both stubborn as can be. But they're my life and I love them to pieces. Wouldn't want it any other way.

Love them
Camden has been super funny this summer. He's always doing stuff to make us laugh. I have a feeling we will be visiting the principal's office frequently once he starts school. This one's going to be a class clown, I can already tell. One problem, he is always saying, "Damn it," in context. We have tried ignoring it, telling him we don't say that - but nothing works. He won't stop saying it. Any suggestions would be appreciated. He's also learned how to wink, but you'll see, he uses his whole face. And though he's all boy, we still find him occassionally putting on Addi's jewelry, heels, or tiaras. See Exhibit A below.

Cam's Facial Wink

Exhibit A
This has been the hottest and driest summer recorded in Indiana. Unfortunately, because of the drought, we've only taken the boat out a couple of times because the lake is so low. Last year I broke the propeller because I hit a low spot when I was driving and that was a costly mistake - one I don't want to make again. Not to mention, there's a warning out because the lake we go to is full of blue slime algae. Yummy! Ike and I did get to have a fun weekend at a different lake with some of our friends from BSU in mid July. They have a lake house down there. It was so awesome and relaxing. Lots of laughs. I even shot a gun for the first time. No one needs to know it was just a beebee gun, that will be our little secret. That is my new goal. No, not to learn how to shoot a gun (though I would like to do that too)- to own a lake house someday. That is so the way to live. I also want to learn how to play the guitar - random, but it is a goal too. Told you, this entry is random.

The Guys
The cup doesn't lie
The Gals
How many times I almost shot someone
Our view from the lake house
My sister's sister-in-law got married a few weeks ago. Addi and Cam were included on our invitation, so we all went. It was a beautiful wedding, outdoors too. My sister saved us seats in the second row. So the ceremony started and Addi loved it, but Cam, not so much. He just wanted to run around. But he was quiet and we were able to keep him still long enough to get through the ceremony. However, during the vows, Camden farted really loud. Ike and I both have inappropriate laughter and couldn't stop laughing - silently of course - which is really hard to do. During the reception, Camden was a pimp on the dance floor. He had several ladies trying to dance with him and people screaming for him when he was dancing. He is a mini version of his daddy. At our wedding, way back in 2002, Ike had a circle around him while he was dancing to Michael Jackson. I tried to come in and dance with him and basically got pushed out of the way! He didn't want me stealing his spotlight I think. We still joke about it. Ike and I are both exhibitionists and I think our son inherited that trait as well.
Now that is pretty cute, you gotta admit
Addi's pose is hilarious and Cam is trying to figure out what she's doing

Loving the Dance Floor
Showing his b-boy skills to the ladies

He's a true Party Rocker
Today, my mom and I took the kids to the Indiana State Fair. I love going to the fair and eating the food, but Ike hates it so we haven't been there since before Addi was born. He swore he'd never go back - he hates the food, the people, the atmosphere, everything about it. Anyway, my mom was kind enough to go with me, so we took the fair train down to the fairgrounds. The kids loved the train. I think that may have been Camden's favorite part, other than the tractors at the fair. Part of me hopes he'll become a farmer - there's something so endearing about farm boys. I think I secretly want Ike to wear a cowboy hat, Wranglers, and some boots. That'll never happen though- he can't even stand the State Fair.

C'mon ride the train
Tractor Love

Farmer Boy
Addi's gotta do a fabulous pose, Cam follows suit
Both the kids got to ride the pony, named Copper, at the fair too. We went to the petting barn, which gave me slight anxiety since I've taken care of kids in the PICU that have contracted E. coli and various other diseases from farm animals. I kept telling them to not touch their mouths or noses after petting and then we went immediately to the hand washing station. Stressful for me, but the kids loved it - although I probably stressed them out with my nagging.

Addi with Copper
Check out that face
Mama's anxiety level is through the roof
I really wanted to get an elephant ear and eat some more junk but it was so damn hot that all I wanted was ice cream and a sweet tea. So I guess I'm going to have to wait to get my elephant ear fix when we go to the pumpkin patch around Halloween. But I will get one then - no excuses. And I'll eat that elephant ear like a BOSS - you just wait.

Next update will be after Addi starts school - stay tuned!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Huh, It's Halfway Over?

I can't belive June is over! How's that possible? We've had a great summer so far, but it's going way too fast.

Addi graduated preschool in May. I didn't cry nearly as much as I thought I would, but I definitely did when I saw her wearing a cap and gown and walking down the aisle to "Pomp and Circumstance." I still can't believe she's going to be in kindergarten already. I don't know if it will truly hit me until the first day of school - August 15 - when she walks out the door to catch the school bus. Oh let's be honest, I'm probably not going to let her ride the school bus. I think the school bus is where I learned way too much from the older kids on the way to and from school. I don't want Addison experiencing the same. But I'm sure there will be days that she'll ride the bus, so I better start mentally preparing for it now.
Where'd my baby go?
Camden moved to the potty training class at school. So we purchased a potty for him at home too. One day, before bath time, I took off his diaper and put him on it and told him to go pee-pee. He sat for a minute, while I filled the tub. A little bit of pee came out! I was pleased and put him in the bath tub. Then he says "Poop" and I said, "Do you have to poop now?" I turned around to set down the washcloth and then turned back around to see him holding out a little turd in his hand. WTH? Did he pull it out of his butt? I mean it literally happened within two seconds. He handed it to me (don't worry I grabbed toilet paper) and I threw it in the toilet. I asked if he needed to go any more, to which he denied. Well, at least he didn't leave a floater in the tub.

We've been boating quite a bit this summer too. I love boating. I grew up going to the lake nearly every weekend in the summer. Those are my favorite childhood memories. My Mom & Dad still had a boat and then when my Dad passed, my Mom kind of left it to all of us to share. It's been great to help create those same memories for my kids. A few weeks ago, we left home around 9:30 to pick up Subway so we could eat it for lunch on the boat that day. We let Addison get something there too. We just brought Cam a PB&J. So we had our typical day on the lake, had our Subway for lunch and went out cruising again. We decided we would do some more swimming before we headed back to the dock since it's just been so doggone hot. Shortly after anchoring, Addison had a panicked look on her face and said, "Mommy, I need to poopy." Uh oh. So while poor Addi is sweating it out, Ike and I brainstormed on what to do. 1) We could pick up anchor and head back to the dock. This however would take at least 15 minutes to do. The look on Addison's face told us we did not have that much time. 2) We could lower her into the water and let her poop in the water. The problem with that is one of us would have to go in with her to pull down her pants and hang on to her because even with a life jacket on, she won't float out in the lake not holding on to one of us. (This is whole other issue). However, it would look perverted if one of us was pulling down her pants, not to mention that unlucky parent would also have to get hit with a floating turd. We debated on our second option for a while and Addi was turning paler by the minute. We didn't have long. 3) The trash bag. This made the most sense. So - Ike and I turned into complete White Trash on this day. We surrounded our daughter, trying to hide her from view while she shit in the trash bag that I had to hold open. I guess desperate times call for desperate measures. Needless to say, no more Subway for Addison.

The Cap'n
Daddy's Girl
My Loves
I just realized this post should have been titled "Summertime Shits." Sorry, I didn't realize how much I talked about poop, hope you weren't eating when you read this.

We've also been spending tons of time at the pool, going to cookouts and kids' birthday parties. Here's some more pix from our fun summer so far. I just can't believe it's almost over!!! I hope you're enjoying your summer as much as we are enjoying ours.

Cruisin the 'hood
Mama & Papa's Night Out 
Bathing Beauty

Friday, June 22, 2012

One Year Down, Lots to Go

I can't believe it'll be the one year anniversary of my Dad's passing on the 25th. I truly feel like I've had a harder time coping with his death this year than last year. I think the shock has completely worn off. Reality has finally hit and it sucks.

I am really dreading Monday, needless to say. However, I don't know why I am - it's not like that day is going to hurt worse than any other day. I think about him every day, wish I could talk to him every day, miss him every day. Maybe it's just because I'll be reliving the events of June 25, 2011 in my head. Remembering it hour by hour. I'll be at work, just like I was last year. Remembering getting texts from Christi (my sister) that she was going with Dad to the cardiologist and then that he had to get some lab work done. Then around 4:00 finding out that he had to go to the hospital to get a blood transfusion, and that he'd probably have to stay overnight. I remember being at work and crying because I felt so helpless. Luckily I was able to leave early. Shortly before I left work I got a text from my Dad - the last one I ever got - saying, "Keep the faith." I was able to leave and get there when he and my sister were in the ER. I noticed he didn't have any stuff with him and I remember asking him why and he said something like, "I don't need anything because I'm planning on going home." Yes, he did indeed go home. And I really think he had some inkling of what that night was to hold. I have an entry about him possibly knowing his fate. You can read that here. I got to be with him that night for the last few hours of his life and as bad as it was, I'm so thankful I was there. You can read the back story of what happened that night here.

Maybe I'm dreading Monday because it's already been a year, it's gone so fast. I feel like so much has happened this past year and the kids have grown so much and I'm angry and sad that my Dad isn't here on earth to enjoy it with us - or maybe because it's ONLY been a year. Only one year has passed and I still think about him all the time. It feels like forever since I've talked to him. One year down, lots more to go.
At my Ball State graduation in 2001

Nursing school graduation 2009
Love this one of my Mom & Dad in the 70's - Dad was pimp tight
My Dad loved his grandkids - here with Addison in 2007
Loved boating
I think another reason I'm having a hard time is because secretly I've kind of always felt like things that happened that night were my fault. As a nurse, I know certain procedures can cause the heart a lot of stress. My dad did not want to be intubated, but ended up being intubated and I really think that sent him over the edge. Not just physiologically, but emotionally. Christi and I were not in the room when this all happened immediately upon arrival to the ICU. For some reason, we were told to meet my dad up there from the ER. Looking back, I don't know why the hell I didn't demand that we travel with him. That's how it works at Riley - family travels with the patient. I'm still pissed at myself for that whole situation. I think had I gone with him, he would have never been intubated - even if that meant he would have passed sooner. I know as a nurse you have to be the patient's advocate, but even more importantly, as a family member you are the biggest advocate the patient has. I was my Dad's biggest advocate but I didn't do my job. I just worry about what he was thinking or if he was scared or what. I realize they wouldn't have intubated him without his approval, but I just wonder what happened en route to the ICU and upon his arrival there that made this happen because he was pretty coherent when we left the ER, then once we saw him in the ICU it was like he had done a 180 degree turn for the worse. I have major feelings of guilt over this. I let him down and I let myself down. I know my Dad has forgiven me. I just hope one day I can forgive myself.

Getting ready to walk me down the aisle - 2002
I spoke to my Dad's cardiologist at Dad's funeral and he stated that my Dad would have only lived about 2 more weeks, if that. The cardiologist was the one who ordered the blood tests and who ordered him to go to the hospital to get a blood transfusion. He had done an ECHO on my Dad at the office that day and said that the aortic stenosis had gotten so bad that his ejection fraction was only about 15%. Not good. I realize that my Dad would have passed around this time last year regardless, but I still feel somewhat guilty for letting things go down the way they did. I hate that he had to go through what he did that night. But my mom always reminds me that she is so thankful that my sister and I were there. We were with him in his last hours. He could have been at home alone or it could have happened during his drive home from South Carolina. What then? That would have been just as devastating, if not more so because he would have been alone. No one should die alone. At least we were there to hold his hands, tell him all the things we wanted to say, and pray over him while he took his last breaths. I'm thankful for that.

Another story that I've never told, but one that I will treasure from that night is when Ike came to the hospital. My Dad had mentioned to Christi and I not to have any one come up to the hospital to see him. He was kind of a private person about his health issues, and even when I took him to get a stent in 2010, he made me go home against my will. He just never really wanted visitors in the hospital. He was tough and didn't want people to see him in that weak, vulnerable state I guess. Anyway, I had called Ike throughout the night but kept telling him I thought things were going to be okay, but once we got up to the ICU and I saw the way my Dad looked, I just knew. So I called Ike and told him he needed to come to the hospital to say good-bye. Ike and my Dad were pretty close. He was kind of like the son my Dad never had. Ike had to wait for his mom to get to our house to stay with the kids, as he came up to the hospital after the kids were asleep and of course we didn't want to wake them and bring them to the hospital. So Ike finally got there and I met him in the hall to bring him to the room. At this point, my dad was still intubated, but still somewhat with it. I didn't tell my Dad Ike was coming, but once we got back to my Dad's room, I went in, grabbed my Dad's hand and told him Ike was there. My Dad looked at me and shook his head no and I thought he was pissed that I brought a visitor, even though it was just his son-in-law. But then he immediately let go of my hand and reached out for Ike's. They just looked at each other, both with tears in their eyes and Ike said a few things that I can't remember, but I'm so glad he got to say good-bye too. Just typing this makes me cry. I know Ike can't even talk about it without tearing up. I know that moment means so much to him, as it does to me.

In the Touchdown Club @ a Colts game getting ready to watch me cheer
Ike and my Dad - buddies
And as hard as it's been for me, I think about my Dad in heaven and that's what gives me peace and comfort. I can't even imagine how perfect it must be. How my Dad is in perfect condition and that I'll see him again. So though it's the year anniversary of his death, it's also his first birthday in heaven. Very comforting. I'll try to remember it's his heavenly birthday on Monday when I'm reliving the events of last year. Though it's sad for us here on earth, I'm sure he is happy and watching over us. I need to remember he is happy. Yes, my Dad is happy now. 

Charleson, SC 2011 - about one month before he passed
So as I said, it's already been a year but it's only been a year. I have lots more to go. But I'll "Keep the Faith." 

Thanks Daddy. I miss you and love you so. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Addi's Mermaid/Pirate Birthday Bash

Addison's 5th Birthday Party was a success! We had a Mermaid/Pirate theme because she really wanted mermaids involved (see previous post about SC), but wanted to invite some boys too - so we didn't want to leave them out. 

Here's the link to the invitations we ordered on Etsy - click here

We held her party at a Splash Pad near our house. It was nice because there was not a lot to clean up and the kids were all exhausted after the party. I didn't have any games because I didn't think it would be easy to round up 20+ kids who were having fun playing in the water to interrupt them with something unnecessary. However, they did get interrupted with food and cupcakes, but I think they were okay with that. 

For food, I made Strawberry Rice Krispie treats in the shape of starfish - those were a huge hit and I should have made more as they were gone within the first 45 minutes of the party. I was going to do PB&J in the shape of fish, but I got too busy and just decided to buy Uncrustables. Easy and convenient. Also had the Meijer brand Starfish & Friends cheese crackers. Then had watermelon and blueberries mixed together. Juice boxes and water bottles were in the cooler. For the cake, we stuck with the mermaid theme and did Ariel because I didn't want to pay $100 for a specialized cake with pirates and mermaids. A lot of grocery stores (Target, Meijer) have the cupcake cakes which are perfect because no cutting is involved. We did have to buy extra cupcakes though since the cupcake cake only had 24 cupcakes. No biggie though.

Food Table
Cupcake Cake
Make a Wish Baby Girl
Splash Pad Fun

The Loot Bags consisted of Pirate's Booty snacks, Finding Nemo fruit snacks, gold coins, pirate stickers, tattoos, pencils and eye patch for the boys and mermaid pencils, notepads and lipgloss rings for the girls.

Loot Bags

Camden doesn't quite get the point of an eye patch