Saturday, December 30, 2006
Christmas Eve, our local NBC station came over and interviewed Daniel and I about our experiences - Daniel's experiences overseas, mine at home, seeing the new baby for the first time, being home in time for Christmas etc... It appeared on several newcasts Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I am hoping to have a link created so you can see the clip. My brother in law is going to help me set that up when he has a chance.
A reporter for our local paper saw the TV newscast and asked to come do an interview. He came to the house and did an hour long interview and this is what appeared on the front page of the paper the next morning. It was a large color photograph. We made the front page with news of Gerald Ford's death and Saddams death sentence. At least we were "GOOD" news!
I thought it was a really nice article. And I must give credit to my father for the photography. He took this picture, which is a cropped portion of a larger picture, at the airport the night Daniel arrived. I will touch on the whole arrival night in the post that I haven't finished yet. Since I don't have enough copies of the actual article in print to send to everyone - I hope you enjoy reading it online.
It's been interesting how many people have seen the article and had no idea Daniel had even been gone. Even some of our neighbors that live on our street didn't know - but then again, because I was living alone I was very quiet about it to people I didn't know well.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
So here's the whole story - Daniel arrived back in the US on Sunday, Dec 17th. He called me around 2pm from New Jersey! Can you believe that? I told him I would come over and pick him up!! It was hard knowing that he was 2 hours away and we couldn't see him. He said as he flew over eastern PA he could see our town and the highways around it. It must have been so hard to be so close to home and have to go all the way to west Texas before returning here! As of Sunday night he knew he would have processing all of Monday and Tuesday. At that point he was hopeful he could return home on Wednesday.
On Monday however he found out that they have to have an exit interview. They were scheduled on Wednesday and Thursday and they do them by rank. So Daniel, being only a Captain wasn't scheduled until Thurday morning. They had a reservation for him to return to Harrisburg at 9:30pm Thursday night. Well - if you know Daniel he has a way of talking people into things. He talked his way into an earlier interview - he just waits around and talks to the right people. It also helped that he had a friend who was a Colonel who went to bat for him. He called me Wednesday afternoon around 1pm. He told me he had already had his interview and would be arriving in Philadelphia at around 12:35am that night (Wed night, early Thurs morning).
As excited as I was, I was also a little stressed out. I thought I had 2 days to get ready for his return. Wednesday I would clean the house etc... and Thursday I would get laundry done, change sheets etc... Now I had a few hours to get everything done. Luckily, Daniel's office manager's college age daughter had come over for the day to help out. She mostly spent the day entertaining Ainsley which was a fabulous help. She also wrapped presents, made lunch, and folded laundry.
She left around dinner time and the kids and I ate some leftovers and ran Chase to basketball practice. On the way home we stopped off at the pharmacy for some large black markers and poster board. We needed to have some welcome home signs. When we returned home around 7:30, my sweet visiting teacher ( who had already spent several nights at my house helping me) called to say she and her college age daughter were coming over to do whatever I wanted. They came and folded laundry (so much laundry with a baby) put sheets back on the bed and helped the boys with their posters and helped me hang giant letters on the garage door that said "Welcome Home Soldier!! What a blessing they were.
I put Ainlsey down for bed around 8:30 and she slept til about 11:40. My mother called around 11:30pm to ask what time Dan's plane arrived. I told her 1:35AM (it had been delayed an hour) and that we were getting ready to get in the car. She said, "OK, we'll see you there". I couldn't believe they were going to come all that way at that hour but I am so glad they did because with 3 children that may have been too asleep to walk inside, a stroller, 2 cameras, 3 posters and a baby - I was so glad to have the help.
I must thank my father again for the photography displayed here. These pictures wouldn't have been taken if I was in charge with all that was going on. My dad even brought his trombone and was going to play the Army's fight song (as we go marching along) as Dan came down the terminal, but the plane arrived 10 minutes early and by the time we got to the gate people were already coming off the plane. We were too busy fumbling with getting the baby out of the carseat and cameras and posters ready that the trombone never made it out. (Although Daniel was on the last row of the plane and nearly the last person thru the gate so we probably would have had time if we'd known that). The trombone finally made it out of the case as we arrived back to our cars. It echoed generously thru the parking garage and Daniel sang along. Chase said that was his favorite part of the night! I have some of it on video and if I can put it up on the blog, eventually I will. It was a wonderful night!
Here are a few more photos from the evening!
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Around 8 or so Chase came in asking me if we were going to church. I said yes, we'll just be a little late. OK - alot late. Finally I just worked it out with myself that we were just going to make it for Primary cuz no matter how fast I think I can move - I just wasn't going to make it for Sacrament meeting. I quickly fed the baby, got a shower, blew dried my hair, found an Sunday outfit that 1) would actually fit since I have't tried on any dress clothes since having the baby and 2) I could nurse in, then I bathed the baby and got her dressed, Oh and Ainsley would actually have to be dressed and have her hair done too. I had all but forgotten about her. Then I had to remind the boys to eat and get church socks and shoes on, rounded up dishes to go back to people at church, got the baby in the car seat and we were off. Chase was nice enough to get Ainlsey cerael this morning and make me a bagle to take in the car.
So we arrived at the church around 10:20 - just as Primary would be starting. But 2 blocks before we got to church I saw at least 3 ward members driving the other way. I thought to myself - "Well I might be late, but look at all the people leaving church early - I shouldn't feel so bad". Well as I got closer and closer more and more people were leaving the parking lot. Then I noticed our whole ward out in the parking lot visiting and getting into their cars. WHAT? Yes - Just My Luck! There was a gas leak and they canceled church after Sacrament meeting! I am so glad that I rushed around the house today getting 5 people ready for church just to get there to turn around and come home. Hopefully the Lord will bless me for my intentions.
On the bright side - dear Sister Hubbard offered to take my big kids home to her house. So I have a few hours of free time that I am now off to use. I may wrap presents, I may clean my room, I may begin our Christmas/New Years cards (I am not sure when they will make it out), I may take a nap or just enjoy holding my baby without needing to help anyone else. Whhooo!
Saturday, December 16, 2006
I just have to tell SPH1 how thankful I am that she was able to come. I would have never survived that week without her. I am barley surviving now but am able to get thru a day at a time knowing that Daniel has begun his journey home.
We love Gramma!
And I feel like during these last few days of flying solo, my older kids have really gotten the shaft as far as attention. I am either cranky from not enough sleep or I don't have 2 hands to help them because I have a baby in my arms or they have to do things or tell me things with a screaming baby in the background (which is very distracting and stressful). So after a busy day of chores and bribes to get everything done - I finally had a fun activity planned to give them some attention and to make it finally feel like Christmas. We were only able to do this activity because of this:
We finally had an hour or so without the screaming. But our swing isn't working properly - I don't know if I put it together backwards (Where's a man when you need one!) or if the motor is having problems because I put in brand new batteries. The swing only works for a little and just slows to a stop so we took turns running over to the swing and giving it a big push inorder to keep Piper asleep.
So we made a few Christmas Cookies - Peanut Blossoms. We made them with caramel kisses and they are pretty yummy. Here's a short run down.
**** I will have to upload these pictures a bit later. Blogger isn't letting me upload anymore right now. So pictures coming soon.***********
Got great news yesterday. I got an email from Daniel yesterday saying he was out of Iraq and was at an Air Force Base in the country of Qatar. Then I recieved a phone call about midnight last night saying Daniel had arrived in Kuwait. He's not sure how long he will be there before they fly them back to Texas but he was hoping he would be shipped out in the next couple of days. We still don't have a definite date for his arrival home but we are now hopeful that it will be by next Saturday, the 23rd. Please pray that will. We thank all of you for your continuous prayers on our behalf and we are overjoyed that this period of separation is almost over.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Monday, December 11, 2006
Sunday morning I stayed home with the baby again while everyone else attended church. I've never had a winter time baby and I am a bit paranoid about germs and RSV etc... Anyway, while at home I turned on the news and saw that Donald Rumsfeld had made a surprise visit to Iraq to thank the troops since he will offically be leaving the Pentagon next Sunday. HMMMM..... I thought.
Daniel didn't contact me at all on Sunday so I dropped him an email late Sunday night asking him if everything on base was ok, to contact me when he could and if his visitor had been Donald Rumsfeld. He gave me a call this morning assuring me that everything was ok. He had several patients on Sunday and our late night chat (early morning for him) was missed due to his physical fitness test he had to take at 5:45 AM. (So much for letting your breakfast settle!) I will brag on his part (cuz he never would) - he did the best you can do on situps and pushups - 75 in 2 minutes. And he came in 40 seconds shy of getting the best you can do for his 2 mile run. He ran a 7 minute mile though - I think that's pretty good and he led the pack of 8 he ran with.
And Yes - Donald Rumsfeld was in Mosul. He visited the base that is adjacent to Daniels - FOB Marez. It's just a mile or 2 from Daniels base. Daniel has been there a time or two but wasn't given permission or notice in time to make it there for the visit. I guess they shut down all communication prior to those visits so word doesn't get out about their high ranking visitor until after the visit is complete. Cool Huh?
Friday, December 08, 2006
Once on the site you go to the right hand side and click Holiday Greetings. Then you click on the state of PA. Then you search for Daniels name. There is a video and an audio option. It was neat to see him in "live action". First time in almost 3 months. He looks good! Check it out.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
It's been a week since my last post. We are doing quite well. Piper was able to come off the biliblanket last Thursday afternoon and her levels Friday were the lowest yet at 10.48. Yeah!! She had a Drs. appointment on Wednesday and the doctor told me she looked great. Her color is now rosy not yellow and her eyes are white not golden. She had gained 14 ounces since she left the hospital a week ago. She left the hospital at 7-13 and weighed in at 8-11 at her appointment. The doctor was very pleased and said she is obviously getting enough.
She has become somewhat fussy when not being held in the last few days. Ainsley was the same way until she was about 2 months old. Piper is happy in your arms and will sleep soundly until you lay her down. How do they know? Usually within 5 minutes of being put down she starts to fuss again. I am so thankful for the helpers in my life. Except when they fight about being the helpers and whose head should be directly in front of her face.
This is the reason I am able to post this blog right now and use two hands to type -
My mother-in-law (SPH1) is here right now helping me and can I just say "LIFESAVER". Normally I get hesitant to ask people to help me cuz I don't want to burden them but poor SPH1 right now. I fear we are wearing her out! I told her I am going to use her while I can because next week I have to fly solo. I have been getting up with the boys but going back to bed as soon as they leave. SPH1 takes care of Ainsley and holds the baby if she's up before I am. She also holds the baby while I do my daily nighttime instant messaging with Daniel, otherwise I am typing one handed and it takes forever to have a conversation. (I am glad Daniel will be home soon so I won't have to worry about IMing with one hand anymore). She's also been doing laundry, making meals and babysitting so I can get to appointments etc... We saw a news segment this week about new moms being much more proned to mental illness in the first 3 months after giving birth. They said the peak day is day #19 (the day SPH1 leaves to go home). I hope I don't have a meltdown!
Would you like to see something ridiculous? Good thing I didn't have any other ailments or my bracelets could have reached my elbow! I had one for my patient information, one for my allergies, one for my blood information and one that matched the babies.
The other problem was the bruising. I had my own issue with bilirubin going on. I got 3 sticks - 2 for drawing blood and one for the IV. At first I had 3 small purple dots but as the week moved on I got HUGE yellow bruises surrounding the sticks. (Just like when I got my wisdom teeth out - I had yellow and purple bruising from my cheeks all the way down my chest. My father told my grandmother that it was because the doctor braced his knees against my chest to pull my teeth out. Funny Dad! ) The lighting for the pictures can't capture it well but believe me, it was UGLY. The lab tech taking Piper's blood for her tests asked me if I got slapped. I said no - my husband's not even home - just kidding honey. I told her I had had blood taken a few days ago.
It's all worth if for my baby Piper!
Monday, December 04, 2006
Hey everybody! I though that I might drop a line and a photo to tell everyone hello and let you all know that everything is going well. This is a paicture of me in my "full battle rattle." We had the luxruy of getting to go to a monestery that was built in the fourth century. It was a fantastic trip. My time appears to getting short in Iraq and I will soon be home to visit with family and friends. The time sure has gone quickly. I have learned a lot on my tour and have been extremely impressed with the prowess and talent of my collegues. The 399th CSH has been blessed with a great group of providers and everyone is better off because of it.
The other picture is at the monestery with Dr. Heathcock(Radiology) and Dr. Apostle(Emergency Medicine). We're actually standing on the ceiling. Sturdy, Huh?
Let me just let you all know that I am doing well. Your prayers have helped me greatly. I want to publicly acknowledge the greatness and accomplishments of my beloved Lady. She is absolutley the best! What a beautiful baby girl, so very precious and all without the presence of her husband. I really admire you and can't wait to see you again. Thanks for being my best friend! I love you Lady!
Last, is a picture of me doing what I do. I hope everyone is happy and is enjoying the gift of the spirit during this special season. Be nice to everyone and help out when and where you can.
I miss you.......and........I'll see you soon!
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Birth- She came out covered in vernix. None of my kids had ever really had any (Sharon commented that perhaps she wasn't really due for another week or so, but at 8 pounds I'm glad I didn't have to wait the extra week). It really looked like someone had spread cream cheese a quarter inch thick all over her body. But when it was all cleaned off, she had the softest skin I had ever felt. My Dad remarked that it felt like you were touching whipped cream. The sad thing was once she was put under the phototherapy, her skin really dried out and started peeling. :( I also thought she was SO little when she presented. I said - Wow she is so tiny. The nurses all looked at me funny and said - "She really isn't that small", "she's bigger than a chicken, what do you want?" I thought for sure she was 6.5 pounds, but no she was 8 pounds even. That is only 2 ounces smaller than Ainsley was but Ainsley seemed so much chubbier.
Oh and because Dad wasn't there, I got to cut the cord.
Mom enjoying Baby!
Here's Piper with her very puffy yellow eyes finger feeding. Also note the IV in her head.
This is how Piper felt about coming home!!!
But even at home we weren't out of the woods yet. She came home on a biliblanket which is a 5 inch by 20 inch band which they can lay on or can wrap around their belly exposing them to ultraviolet light. She had to be on this at all times while at home which meant she had to stay near an outlet all day and all night. Brielle called her a little "glow worm".
We got some good news today. Her levels were her lowest yet. The Dr. said we could take her off all the lights and get a bilirubin check done tomorrow to see if her levels stay stable with no lights. The poor baby though - she has about 18 holes in her heels and I am not exagerating. There may be more than that. I am sure glad she doesn't have to walk on them. I had no idea that out of each of these holes they fill a baby test tube of blood. I thought it was like a diabetes prick and they test a drop of blood. But no they milk that heel until they fill their little tube and the poor baby sobs. The mother almost sobs too. I am glad I have only had to witness it twice so far (I guess tomorrow will be 3 times).
She sure has some big fans at our house!
Now we just can't wait to have that priceless picture of our sweet Piper in her Daddy's arms!
Sunday, November 26, 2006
A new baby!
Lady wanted me to update everyone, as she hasn't had a chance to get online for a few days. Lady went to the hospital on Wednesday morning to start the induction process... and at 1:55am on Thanksgiving day, Piper Lea came into the world. She weighed in at 8 pounds even, 21 inches long. Lady says the nurses in the nursery keep exclaiming over how long she is laying there in the isolette (sp?).Despite a less than effective epidural, Lady came through with flying colors. Piper is dealing with some blood incompatibility issues, and so has to remain at the hospital for phototherapy until bilirubin levels come down some more. She has both Rh incompatibility (even with the Rhogam shots) and blood grouping incompatibility (i.e. A vs O). Lady gets to stay overnight at the hospital (free of charge) to continue nursing baby Piper, until the bilirubin levels drop below 11 (I think...feel free to correct me Lady!)Congratulations and lots of love to Lady and Man! We'll look forward to some pictures, once everyone is home safe and sound!
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Monday, November 20, 2006
My wonderful partner Lady made a suggestion that is certifiably true. "Why don't you write a blog and update everyone with what you are doing and how everything is going? There are a lot of people who are really interested in you." So, here goes. I have been pretty busy recently in the operating room with cases that range from repair of injuries to ears, noses and eyes to localized infections of the throat and tonsils. Most recently I have seen three perforated eyes. These unfortunate individuals have to be transferred to another hospital to see an opthamologist because I do not have the expertise in Globe (eye) injuries. On the other hand, if there is a problem with orbit (eye socket) or the soft tissues of the face, that is my expertise. I recently had a patient from which I had to remove a large piece of shrapnel from underneath his eyeball. He recovered very well with out incident. Some of this may be graphic for some of you, but I think it's important for you to know and understand the nature of the things that I am doing and to realize that people get hurt, suffer and sometimes pass away in war. I am very proud to have been trained in the medical arts and to have knowledge and hopefully wisdom for the benefit of my fellowman. I am also proud to be able to represent my country, family and practice here in Iraq. I have been very fortunate during my short stay here in that I have been blessed with growth on many fronts (physically, emotionally, and spiritually). My love and appreciation for my beautiful and supportive wife has deepened greatly. She is unbelievably tough and inspirational. Lady, I adore you, and want you to know that I think of you and pray for your well being constantly. I also need to thank all of you for your prayers for protection. I can honestly say that I feel the protective powers of our Lord surrounding me and keeping me safe. I am filled with grattitude for the great fortune that I have experienced because of the wonderful people who are in my life. My family, partners, friends and associates have all been so good to me and have shaped and directed my life for good in ways that I could never have done on my own. As I close this short update, please continue to pray for the safety of those sevring our great country and please pray for the people of Iraq that they can assume responsability for their country and want it to become a safe place again. Please lend a helping hand to anyone in need wherever you find yourself. YOU can be a great influence for good with very small efforts to help others. I love and appreciate all of you! See you soon!
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Brian's Family -
Lot of helpers blowing out the candles!
Why is it that the most exciting part of the cake is getting to lick the ends of the candles. Our kids fought over who got a candle to lick - don't they know they are getting a whole piece?
Stacy with baby Slater, Ainsley with blue lips from her icing!
My sister Brielle and her 8 month old came home with me so I will now have someone staying at the house overnight with me. The 3 year old girls spent the night with Mamaw to their sheer delight. My boys can't seem to get anything done with their 8 month old cousin Aspen around. They want to sit next to her, read to her, play with her, make her laugh, get one more hug before bed from her... I wonder if they will be this engaged with their new sister. I feel a sense of relief that Brielle is here in case labor comes on during the night. Although there aren't many nights left because we have made an appointment for induction on Wednesday morning. ( I really wanted MY doctor to deliver me, more that I wanted the kids to be in school when the baby came). So unless the baby decides she wants out earlier, we'll have her on Wednesday, November 22nd which is my maternal grandmother's birthday. So that is kinda special! Two days early sounds good to me too because I'm feeling kind of FULL!
Thursday, November 16, 2006
I finally finished this baby's quilt. I think in the past few days I have finished getting things out, washed, and put together enough that I won't be so stressed if she decides to come tomorrow. (Although there is now a kink in my perfect plan for her to be born the Monday after Thanksgiving - my doctor will be off the week after Thanksgiving. She has a new partner that would deliver me if I went then but I have only seen her twice and I would really like to have the doctor I have been seeing from the beginning. My doctor told me I've progressed further than I was last week and would be induceable if I would like to come in next week. She is on call all next week - the week of Thanksgiving. So we may be pushing our Thanksgiving to Saturday and having this baby mid-week).
This quilt is just a typical ragquilt - I used 7 inch squares in a random pattern. It's flannel on both sides but this is the first one I did with batting. I had leftover batting from Wood and Woodine's quilt so I decided to make this one a little thicker - since this is a winter baby. It's a lot more time consuming to add batting. I didn't buy enough fabric for the back. I bought the back fabric first and wasn't sure how big or what pattern I wanted the quilt. I slowly collected the fabrics for the front from different places and then came up with the size and pattern but now I didn't have enough of the back - I wanted a checkerboard on the back with the hot pink/aqua (alternating). I didn't feel like running out for more back fabric because I had gotten the fabric at different places and I really needed to start the quilt. So I came up with what I thought would be the best with what I had. I don't like it at all. But I LOVE the front. We'll just always have it front side up.