Wednesday, April 2, 2014

An Unplanned Trip

For several months Ella has been saying that food gets stuck in her throat.  Sometimes, while she was eating, she would pause, put her hand to her throat and swallow, then she was fine.  I, honestly, didn’t think much of it.  She had a barium swallow done in August and they didn’t see any significant narrowing, so I figured it was something we could address on our next visit to Cincinnati.

Then Monday March 17th happened.  It was about 11 pm and Ella had been asleep for hours.  She woke up gagging and choking and unable to breathe.  Finally, after a few seconds she threw up some blood and started breathing again.  Ella had choked on her own phlegm.  This was bad.  Really bad.

I hate to say it, but I don’t panic very much anymore when it comes to Ella.  We’ve experienced so much in her 6 years of life that in many ways I feel like I’ve seen it all.  But this incident caused me to panic…I mean seriously panic.  To the point where I didn’t sleep all night.  I just lay in bed listening for her.  Praying she would breathe the entire night.

Joe called Cincinnati Children’s Hospital first thing the next morning and the awesome EB nurse got to work.  Within a couple of days we had Ella scheduled to go in for a throat dilatation.  Basically, they go into her throat with a deflated balloon catheter and slowly inflate the balloon to stretch out any narrowing in her throat.  We decided that since she was going to be under anyway, we’d go ahead and have her teeth cleaned too.

On the night of Wednesday March 26th we flew out for our whirlwind trip.  Thursday morning at 6 am we checked into the hospital and got Ella all situated for her surgery.  I don’t care how many times a parent has to leave their kid in the operating room, it is always difficult.  No matter how big or small the surgery is, no matter how amazing the doctors are, it is heart wrenching to leave your precious child.  Joe and I cry every single time…and Thursday was no different.  I am convinced that they strategically plan the OR to be a long walk to the waiting room so that parents have several minutes to pull themselves together before going back into civilization.

I have to give a quick shout out to Joe’s sister Maureen.  We are beyond thankful that she was willing to come to the hospital and help us with AJ.  We really don’t know what we would have done without her.

In a nutshell, Ella’s throat was about 95% closed (insert another panic attack)!  It was a very good call to go in when we did.  As far as her teeth, we are running into a situation where she is losing her baby teeth, but her mouth isn’t big enough for her adult teeth.  Things were very crowded in there!  She had already lost 3 baby teeth on the bottom and the 2 adult teeth that were coming in were really cramming things up.  The dentist (who we had never seen before, but who we now totally love and will see every time we go for a visit) pulled 7 of Ella’s baby teeth, 4 on top and 3 on bottom.  The first few days of recovery were rough, but now that Ella is getting the hang of eating with her back teeth and now that her gums have healed, she’s doing great.

I am reminded, once again, of what a blessing Ella is and what an incredible little girl she is.  I was afraid that she would be upset about losing so many teeth.  That wasn’t the case at all.  In fact, she was very excited that she didn’t have to feel it when her teeth were pulled.  She is also beyond thrilled about the financial prospects with the tooth fairy.  As far as her throat, it was sore for the first day, but now she is very happy that she can eat anything she wants to and doesn’t have to worry about things getting stuck.

Joe stayed the night with Ella in the hospital while I went back to the hotel with AJ.  We left to come back home Friday afternoon.  Unfortunately AJ didn’t sleep well at the hotel and cried half the flight to Cincinnati and half the flight home, making our travel even more stressful.  We were all very glad to be home Friday night!  We were so happy to be home, that we didn’t even leave the house on Saturday.  Joe and I agreed that the kids could sleep as long as they wanted to, and all 4 of us stayed in our pajamas all day.

Ella had a lot to say about our trip and her surgery, but here are a few highlights:

 *  Before her surgery we were talking to Dr. A who was going to be doing her dilatation.  She pointed to her throat and said, "It's right here." showing him where the stricture was.  After the surgery he told us that she was exactly right.  Where she pointed was the exact place where the stricture was.

 *  “Hey dad, do you like my teeth?” followed by the biggest smile she could give him.

 *  While sitting in her hospital bed, Ella spent a lot of time practicing saying words.  Without your teeth some words can be hard to say.  Finally she said, “Well, at least I can say the important words; mom, dad, AJ, Sabrina.”

 *  Ever since the surgery Ella has been calling herself either toothless or snaggletooth.

 *  And of course, the most important thing she said was, "Daddy, you were right: even though I have to see a lot of doctors, Cincinnati is still a fun place."

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

More snow!

I LOVE SNOW!!!  I fully embrace any and all snow.  Growing up in Wyoming, snow was just a part of winter.  I can only remember a few Christmases that weren’t white.  My elementary school had a huge hill and every year at the beginning of winter my mom would go out and buy a large roll of big, black garbage bags.  Every morning I’d grab a bag and shove it in my backpack, put on my snowpants (yes, I wore them every day to school, as did all of my friends), dawn my hat, scarf and mittens and head off to school.  Every recess was spent sledding.

I love living in Northern Virginia, but every winter I miss the snow.  Sure, we’ve had some significant snow in the past, but for the last 2 years we’ve gotten nothing.  In fact, if I remember correctly, the entire snowfall amount for 2012 was something like 2 inches…total…and not all at once.

On Monday December 9, 2013 Alexandria got snow.  Enough snow that school was closed.  This also happened to be the day AJ was born.  On Tuesday December 10th I spent the entire day sitting in my hospital bed, holding our sweet son and looking out the window at the falling snow.  It was then that I decided that AJ was good luck for snow.  In fact, AJ and I spent hours alone watching the winter Olympics and with each event I wondered if that would be his sport.  Maybe he wasn’t born to be a baseball player…maybe he is born to be the next Shaun White.

Since then we have had 8 more snow days (although one of them wasn’t for actual snow…it was for freezing temps).  We have already gotten enough snow to satisfy my snow loving heart.  And yet, AJ in all his snow good luck, is bringing us more snow!  In fact, it’s snowing as I type this.

Dear AJ,

Thank you for the awesome snow this year.  We have loved it!  But…it’s spring now.  I’d like to see the flowers and hear the birds sing.  I’d like to be able to take you outside for long walks.  I’d like to be able to walk to pick your sister up from school.  You can stop with the snow…for now.  Save up the rest for next winter.  Thanks.

Your loving mother

Thursday, March 20, 2014


I have never done a Throw Back Thursday post before.  I don't do Twitter and I never use hashtags.  That said, I came across this video the other day and it was just too cute not to share.  Ella was almost 4 years old.  She had just come home from school and was eating her after school snack.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

I'm totally that mom

Remember this post several years ago?  You probably notice that Ella is still wearing big bows in her hair.  Yes, she's almost 7 years old.  As long as she's ok with wearing them then I'm still going to put them in her hair.

But now that there are 2 children in the picture, I've totally become another kind of "that mom."  Now I'm the kind of mom that loves for my kids to wear matching clothes.  Ok, maybe not completely matching, but definitely coordinating.

 So cute!  Too bad AJ has already outgrown this awesome red tie shirt.

 Adorable kids on Valentines Day.  Too bad school had been cancelled due to a blizzard, so no one besides Joe and me got to see them looking so cute.

I especially love the coordinating Big Sister, Little Brother t-shirts.  Ella loves advertising that she's a big sister, so she is always proud to wear this shirt.

If I thought I could get away with it I would dress them in matching clothes every Sunday for church.  I can feel some of you rolling your eyes through the computer.

My newest dilemma is Easter.  Obviously they must coordinate, but it's really hard to find clothes in size 6 and size 6-9 months.  At this point I might just have to go for something in seersucker and hope for the best.  The obvious next question is, do Joe and I get clothes to match too?  Easter is the one time a year we could actually get away with that, but I don't want to be over-the-top cheesy.

Ahh, the problems that a mother of 2 faces.  After all of this intense thinking I'm going to need a nap!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

She Knows!

Well, it’s official.  Ella finally knows about this blog.  I’m not sure how we made it 6 ½ years before she found out, but we did.  We didn’t purposefully keep it from her, it just never seemed to come up.  I usually post when she’s in school or sleeping (like right now).  And as far as I’m aware, no one who reads the blog has ever mentioned it to her.  But now she knows…she knows that her entire life from birth until now has been on display for the world to see.

There’s a PBS show called Arthur.  Ella was watching the other day and a girl on the show, Muffy, decided to start a blog.  She blogged about everything, including disagreements with friends.  In the end, blogging turned out not to be a great outlet for airing grievances.

During the show Ella asked the obvious question, “What’s a blog?”  I explained it to her, then mentioned, “You have a blog.”  You can imagine Ella’s surprise.  She kept saying, “I do?”  I then went on to explain that we’ve had this since she was a baby and we just tell people what’s going on in our lives and show pictures.

Her response was funny.  She asked a lot of questions, but didn’t want to see it.  She does, however, plan to write a personal message to you all in the near future.  She said, “I want to wait until something exciting happens.”  Unfortunately, Ella’s definition of exciting is very different than my definition of exciting.  For example, I thought yesterday was very exciting…Ella had a great time, but she didn’t think it was exciting, she just thought it was fun.

So…since Ella doesn’t feel like there’s anything exciting to post about, I’ll go ahead and fill you in on the boring, mundane life of the Murray’s.

First and most noteworthy, for the first time since 2 weeks before AJ was born, I actually cooked a meal!  In fact, I cooked 2!!!  I felt like this was a huge accomplishment as the mom of 2 kids.  Both dinners were healthy and delicious.  This is big news, people…big news!

In other significant news, the Olympics have begun.  I love watching the Olympics, both summer and winter.  I have never known anyone who participated in the Olympics, but I can’t help but tear up every time I watch them.  All I can think about is how hard the athletes have worked and how much they have sacrificed to get where they are.  It’s an amazing accomplishment, whether you leave with a medal or not.

And finally, yesterday Ella and I had the opportunity to attend the GA Mother Daughter Tea.  I was a GA, which means that I love GA’s and I especially love the fact that Ella is a GA.  The GA Mother Daughter Tea is something I’ve been looking forward to since Ella was born…of course she just learned about it a few weeks ago.  It was a great time with friends from church!  We’re both looking forward to going back next year.

Today is the Children’s Valentine Party at church.  Each child is allowed to bring one parent as a special guest.  Ella had asked me to go with her.  Unfortunately I woke up in the middle of the night feeling pretty terrible with a runny nose and cough, so this morning I decided it was best for AJ and me to stay home while Joe was Ella’s date for the party.  I’m sad to be missing out, but I know he and Ella will have a great time and I can’t wait to hear all about it.

I feel so blessed to be a part of a church that invests so much in their children.  It is wonderful to attend a place where you know that they aren’t just happy to see the adults, they are just as happy to see the kids.  We are equally as blessed that Ella enjoys attending the activities and looks forward to them each week.

That about sums up the excitement in the Murray life.  AJ wasn’t mentioned in this post, but he continues to do well.  Eating, sleeping and pooping, just like a baby is supposed to do.  Sabrina is doing much better.  Now that she realizes that we aren’t going to completely neglect her, she is coming around to accepting this new creature.  In fact, if AJ is in his bouncy seat she always goes over to check on him.  And if he’s crying she always comes to make sure he’s ok.  She’s such a sweet dog.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I'm just a little bit busy

So I’ve just had a few things occupying my time over the past several weeks.  As you know, AJ entered the world, so I’ll pick up after that.

2 days before Christmas 3 out of 4 Murray’s came down with strep throat.  Talk about miserable!  Thank heavens for antibiotics!  We were feeling better by Christmas and ready to tackle the day.  Christmas day was a great time with GiGi and PawPaw celebrating with us.

On Christmas day my brother and his family (The Burbs) headed to Virginia to spend a week with us.  It was great having them here!  I think all 4 were completely smitten with AJ, but probably the most smitten of all was Nate.  Wherever AJ was he wanted to be.  If AJ was sleeping in his pack-n-play, then Nate was standing next to him making sure he was ok.  If AJ was in his bouncy seat, Nate was hovered over him watching him and playing with him.  Probably the greatest activity of all was when all 3 big kids (Ella and her 2 cousins) got to give AJ a bath.  They each had a wash cloth and gently washed his skin to make sure he was all clean.  It was absolutely precious to watch.  AJ was the perfect baby and the kids were the greatest helpers.

The Burbs did get to do some minor sightseeing around DC by going to the Air and Space Museum and the Museum of Natural History, but mostly we just hung around our house and played Chess, Words with Friends and ate.  The snack table was a big hit and I think that’s where Curby and I spent a majority of our time.

The Burbs and Paw Paw left on New Years Day.  We were sad to see them go, but were thankful for all of the time we had together.  GiGi stuck around for another week to continue helping me out around the house.

My cousin Lindy and her daughter, Kit, came to visit us on Saturday January 4th and meet AJ.  We always love getting together with their family!  Unfortunately the visit was too short, but it was so nice to see them and have them meet our new little guy.

Ella went back to school on Thursday January 2.  However, school was short lived at ended up being canceled on Friday due to extremely cold weather.  She was able to go back Monday, just in time for me to start getting ready to handle things on my own.

On Sunday January 5 AJ attended church for the first time.  He did great in that he was awake for all of the singing and slept through the entire sermon.  I’m sure he was sleeping because he was really meditating on what our pastor was saying.

January 5 was also Ella’s church choir Christmas concert.  Yes, it’s after Christmas, but the concert was originally supposed to be on December 8th, but snow, ice and cold weather canceled the performance, so they postponed it.  Ella, of course, did a fabulous job and sang loud and clear.  She looked so beautiful in her Christmas dress and I couldn’t have been more proud of her.

GiGi left on Wednesday January 8 (insert tears).  It was great having her here for so long to help around the house and with Ella.  We still miss having her, but I know she’s having a good time with Paw Paw.

Ever since then I’ve been trying to get in my groove.  Our house is a complete disaster, but I’m slowly working on that.  I finally caught up on laundry, and fortunately we’re eating well thanks to generous families at church who bring dinner by.

AJ is doing great.  He’s growing well and sleeping like a champ!  The kid goes to sleep around 10 pm every night and doesn’t wake up for 5 whole hours!  Do you know what 5 hours of sleep does for parents?  It’s awesome!  He then wakes up to eat, and then goes back to sleep for another 3 hours.  This is definitely a sleeping schedule I can live with.

Ella is the awesome big sister you all expected her to be.  She helps me pick out his clothes and will throw away his diapers…but not the poopy ones.  She loves to sit next to AJ when he’s in his bouncy seat and will bounce it for him and talk or sing to him.  She loves to sit on the bed and have him come cuddle next to her.

That said, Joe and I are really trying to make an effort to do special things with just Ella.  Yesterday Ella and I went out to lunch just the two of us, then she helped me go grocery shopping.  Joe has been good about doing activities with just her so that she knows she isn’t pushed aside.

The family member who is not handling AJ’s arrival so well is sweet Sabrina.  She is the neglected middle child.  She has started acting out, not listening and chewing up things.  We’re trying to nip it in the bud and give her some extra attention as well, and so far we’ve seen some improvement.  We took her for a walk and to the dog park yesterday (even though it was freezing) and I think that did some good.  She’ll come around eventually, she just needs a little extra TLC.

All that said, we’re doing well as a family of 4.  Everything feels right and just the way it should be.