Monday, October 29, 2007

Miracle Worker

Aunt Ellen came to visit last week (she is the 3rd oldest of the Murray kids). It was great having her here to hang out and spend time with Ella. She was GREAT with Ella! Maybe it’s the name connection.

I should let you all know that Joe and I are a bit paranoid with Ella. Maybe rightfully-so, but we rarely let people hold her, and when they do we don’t venture too far out of fear that something will happen and we will need to nab her back. Mostly we’re afraid of her getting hurt, but Ella also tends to “freak out.” She will start screaming and wriggling all over the place. She’s a good baby for the most part, but when she’s not happy she makes sure everyone knows it!

So Ellen came to visit and jumped right in to help out. From the first day she was so good with Ella. She could get her to fall asleep without using the bottle, which is a miracle in our book! Ella is a sleep fighter, so we were shocked when Ellen could lull Ella to sleep without a fight! She also knew how to hold Ella the way she likes…facing out so she can see the world, yet snuggled in so that she knows she’s protected. Ella didn’t really cry with Ellen. She just kind of chilled out.

Joe and I wish we knew Ellen’s trick. Maybe she is just more patient than we are. Maybe Ella just likes her better. Who knows? All we know is that for 4 days Ellen was a miracle worker with Ella.

Of course Joe and I never actually cooked for Ellen. The closest she got to eating a meal at our house was having toasting an English muffin and Joe making coffee. The rest of the meals we either ordered in or went out to eat. I really do know how to cook. Granted, we usually eat meat and veggies, but I don't know how to cook a steak without burning it.

For those of you who don’t watch TV, or just don’t care about baseball…the Red Sox won the World Series!!! Woo Hoo!!! I am a Red Sox fan, so I am very excited about this win, but I will say that I’m a bit disappointed with them sweeping the Rockies . I’m a western girl, so there was a part of my heart that really wanted the Rockies to win, or for them to at least give the Sox a “run for their money.” Oh well, I’m glad the Sox won and that nasty curse is ancient history!

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Sincere Thank You

This past Monday night, friends hosted a reception event to honor Ella which truly touched Katie and I so dearly. The event's main purpose was to raise money for Ella's as well as for any other child with EB in our church medical expenses (currently, Ella is the only child in our church with EB) not covered by insurance. There were terrific silent-action items that people bid on, and the event was a huge success raising approximately $30,000. We were incredibly floored by this outpouring of love and generosity! Words cannot express how much this effort means to us!

There were many caring people who lended a hand in putting the event together (from gift sponsors to volunteers), and we would like to specifically mention and thank a few who led the effort:

Karen Johnson, my former colleague at Valente & Associates, was the brain-child of this event. From the day Ella was born, she had been diligently scheming to create such an event to help us out. Like many, she loves little Ella, and felt compelled to lead the charge to seeing this event culminate in what it did. She enlisted the interest of others who comprised a host committee including Mike Bell, another friend and Valente & Associates colleague; Amber and Jeff Burton, Eric Dell, Jim Ellis, Scott Fleming, Mike Gula, Joe Rachinsky, and Mike Gula. All of you are such wonderful people and cherished friends!

Others who played an instrumental role in the event include Mark and Claudia Valente, my former boss, who opened up the 9th floor penthouse of the office to host the event; Katie Horgan, Rachel Evans, Jenni Stein, and Beth (i forget your last name, sorry) who all worked so hard to ensure that the details of silent-auction items were in place, guests had nametags, and overrall, all necessities were in place.

We can't forget to thank the hundreds of you who contributed to the event by mailing in a check. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts! These resources will help us cover Ella's hospital bill as well as a very expensive genetic test that we hope will provide us a more clear medical prognosis of Ella's EB.

One of our favorite Bible verses is, "Where your treasure is, there lies your heart." We know that the hearts of many our with Ella and her Mom and Dad!

As for little Miss Ella, she was dressed to the 9’s in a beautiful navy blue dress with a pink onesie. It had ballet slippers on it! She acted pretty good considering it was nap time. She did ok for the first 2 hours, then she was done. As soon as Joe sat down to feed her she fell asleep and slept through the drawing and presentation of the auction winners, and Barbara’s talk about EB.

As far as life with Ella, she is really enjoying her voice. It’s hysterical! She makes all sorts of noises in a wide variety of ranges, and she even seems to carry on a conversation with us. We will start talking with her, stop, and then she starts talking. And she has started chewing on her hands. This poses a problem because she gives herself blisters on her fingers. We try to keep mittens on her hands, but she has figured out how to get them off. It’s so funny to watch. We put the mittens on…she rubs her hands against her sides until the mittens come off…we put the mittens back on…she rubs her hands again. We have a smart kid.

Not much else to report on the home front. Joe is in the thick of classes, and I am back in the swing of things at work. We’re both exhausted and wonder when Ella is going to start sleeping through the night. The bad news is that I was 2 years old before I slept through the night, so it may be a while.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

What's In a Name

When Joe and I were discussing baby names we didn't put too much emphasis on their meaning. We were going to name a boy Alexander because that was my maiden name, not because it means "defender of men," although that would be a great name for the future President of the United States . So when we decided on the name Ella it was solely because that is my grandma's name and we liked it. And the night before Ella was born Joe and I started discussing the name Joella. It wasn't until she was born that the decision was officially made (although I think adding the Jo was in Joe's plan all along). Joe took one look at her and said, "Her name is Joella...she looks like a Joella.". It wasn't until later that we found out that Joella is the female version of Joel, and it means "Jehovah is God!" What a powerful name! And how appropriate for our little girl.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Ella's New Toy

No, Joe and I didn’t go shopping and find the most magnificent toy since the music playing turtle. This is a toy Ella discovered all on her own. It’s her voice and she loves it! Sometime between Tuesday and Wednesday Ella figured out that she can make noises…lots of different noises. It’s hysterical. She just lays on her blanket and talks to herself, then she’ll smile about all of it, and start talking again. There is a new video showing her talking. She does this funny lip thing where she sticks out her top lip and tucks her bottom lip in. Now she talks all the time (I don’t know where she gets that) and this morning she started squealing. We have a funny kid.

Wednesday I came home for lunch and while Ella and I were playing she let out the cutest little giggle I have ever heard! I almost cried. I just can’t believe that we thought we were going to lose her, and now she’s growing and developing so much. God is so good! Joe said that she had giggled at him earlier in the day while he was changing her diaper. Of course I've been trying to get her to giggle ever since, but it isn’t working out so well.

On another note, we had family pictures taken yesterday. It was a lot of fun. The photographer came to our house and took pictures around our house, then we walked down the street to the park and she took more pictures there. Of course Ella didn't smile once the whole time she was here! As soon as the photographer left Ella took a 2 hour nap and woke up all smiles. Luckily I was able to catch some good pictures of her smiling. You can find those in the October photos section.

We also want to welcome Andrew Jarrod Quigley to the world! Joe's sister Katie, and her husband Jarrod had a baby boy on Thursday October 11. We are very excited to welcome this little guy into the family. The last 4 additions to the Murray clan have been girls, so I know the boys are excited to have another boy in the bunch. This also makes the Murray grandkids an even 10. Grammy Janet sure has her hands full.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Not so fast

I knew it wouldn’t last. Ella only slept in 3 to 4 hour sections on Saturday and Sunday nights. I miss those 6 straight hours of sleep. Sure it only happened once, but it was love at first sleep! She did, of course, take a 3 hour nap yesterday, so what she didn’t sleep at night she made up for during the day.

Joe and I got a little reminiscent this weekend. We took Ella to walk along the Tidal Basin where Joe proposed to me. She loves being outside and looking around. We think she had a good time. I’m sure she’ll visit this place several times throughout her life. The weather was absolutely beautiful! Very un-fall-like. I’m torn because on one hand I really like the warmer weather, but on the other hand we have all of these cute fall clothes for Ella and she hasn’t been able to wear any of them! The good thing is that she can continue to wear her cute summer clothes.

What is going on with all of these recalls lately? Ella is almost 16 weeks old and already I’ve had to check for recalls on 2 of her things. Luckily neither of them were recalled because they were new enough models, but I can’t help but wonder what other things she might have that are dangerous and will be recalled soon. What if…heaven forbid…her favorite music playing turtle gets recalled! What would we do? Luckily her hands can’t get recalled and for now that’s all she chews on.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

6 Hours!!!

WOO HOO!!! Ella slept 6 hours straight last night! That is the longest stretch of sleep she’s ever had. It probably won’t happen again tonight, but it was nice that we got a full 6 hour stretch of sleep. Then when she woke up at 4:30am, she ate and went back to sleep for another 4 hours!

We’ve added some new pictures and video of Ella in her new Washington Nationals outfit, thanks Aaron Chang. He hooked Ella up with her cute outfit, and another one for next year, and the Nationals bear that you see in the pictures. Aaron commented that he was tired of seeing the Mets onesie all the time.

On another note, Joe has joined a fall softball team. For those of you who don’t know Joe, he is a huge baseball fan (if you couldn’t tell from the Mets outfit). During the summer he plays on one of our church softball teams (FBCA #2…who won the championship I might add), so for the fall he was recruited to play for a team at his school, Catholic University. Having the baseball history that he has, Joe takes softball very seriously. He gets out there and has a lot of fun, but is willing to “go the distance” for his team. Over the summer this resulted in a white t-shirt that ended the season a nice clay color, a torn pair of workout pants, several pair of clay stained socks, and a severely scraped up knee. Unfortunately while playing for his fall team last week Joe dove to catch a ball, and ended up scraping his knee all up. Of course its much cooler to just let the wound “air out” than it is to protect it with a band-aid, so his scraped up knee got blood all over our white sheets! I know what you’re thinking, we shouldn’t have white sheets in the first place. Well, the nice thing about white is that I can bleach all the blood out. Today he came back from softball and his wrist is all bruised. At least a bruise won’t bleed all over our sheets.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

She's Growing!

To your right you will find a new picture category, October 2007 Photos. We decided that the other folder was getting a bit packed, so we’d start a new one for each month. Ella is still as cute as ever! My favorite picture is the one of her yawning. The dress and hat outfit were a gift from a couple in our church, the Bull’s. There are also a couple of new videos. She’s getting so long!

We had a big breakthrough this week! Ella’s right foot is all healed and looking fabulous, so we decided to take a major risk and not wrap it and see how things held up. We did put Mepilex on the heel (its this padded foamy stuff that protects her skin), and put a nice thick and soft sock on her foot, then put a little bit of tubifast (the things that look like tights that hold all of her dressings in place) on the shin to make sure the sock doesn’t fall off. So far its been 3 days and things seem to be looking good. She did get a little blister on the top of her foot from kicking, but all in all it seems to be working out well. Now we just need to get the left leg in the same position. It’s doing well, but not as good as the right foot.

Ella has also gotten used to taking baths. She cries for the first 30 seconds, then realizes that she likes the water. The worst part is probably taking her out of the bath. We wrap her in a towel the best we can, but she still gets cold and starts crying. Of course we do what we always do, shove a bottle in her mouth.