Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hannah's Hospital Experience

My next blog post, I had planned to upload Christmas Pictures and tell all about what we did. But, due to new developments, that will come tomorrow.

For starters, our family spent Christmas sick. Not one person, but all 7 of us ended up with a cold and cough. Yes, one started it, then later in the day, the next person also had it, and then the next day, and so on and so forth. I remember asking how many days Spencer or Hannah had their headaches to know how long until my headache would go away.

Anyway, Saturday Emma woke up pretty sick. Gardner and I debated on whether I should take her in to see a doctor. Being the weekend, there is no doctor, but I would have to take her to Urgent Care. I opted to just wait it out.

Sunday Morning, Hannah seemed to be sicker than before. Gardner also mentioned that perhaps I should take her in to Urgent Care. I also opted to wait it out. But after hearing Hannah cough and watch her panic in her face, I agreed to take her in.

Her cough was barky and it reminded me of croup. She would cough and have a hard time getting air. She actually asked at one point for me to take her in.

So, I showered and went in early. I knew it didn't open until 10am, but got there at 9:30 and waited the half hour. We were the second person there and just talked while we waited.

Finally, we were called in. She listened to Hannah and decided to she needed a suppository. Then she proceeded to ask me to give it to Hannah while she checked on another child. Oh the joys of being a mom. But Hannah preferred me doing that to her than the Doctor. The doctor came back in and Hannah started one of her coughing fits. And the doctor got the panic look in her face and eyes. She grabbed her window and opened it and asked me to stand with Hannah at the Window. Germany has the windows that really open. No Screen. So our heads were out the 2nd floor window.

Then she told me that Hannah needed to go in the Ambulance. I was thinking that was interesting since the Hospital was right next door. But, ok. So the peramedics come and carry Hannah out to the Ambulance. Hannah sat on my lap in the ambulance. It was better for her to sit than to lay, for her to get air, and they also had the top of the ambulance open so fresh cold air could come in.

After a bit of driving I finally asked which hospital we were going to, as it wasn't just next door. We ended up going to a hospital 20 minutes away that had a Kids Clinic to the hospital.

After we arrived, she was examined by the doctor in the ER. She got an IV in her arm. She was a trooper. She didn't flinch or cry a bit. She also took 6 bottles of blood. We went to get Chest Xrays to make sure she didn't have Pneumonia (which she didn't) . Then went through the maze on our own trying to find the Kids Section of the hospital. All I knew is I was looking for something called K5. I asked and asked, and really, a lot of the staff didn't really know where K5 was.

We finally got there and she was weighed, measured and got her first breathing treatment. After that, they showed us to our room. We were in a room with this 18 month old baby.

We got a bit settled and I called Gardner and told him he had to try to get the van from where I left it. Problem was, it was in underground parking and I had the ticket to get the van out. Those not familiar with Germany will wonder why I didn't just leave the ticket in the van. In Germany, most places to pay for such parking is in a building or further away from the parking lot where the car is. And some places, you need the parking ticket to get into the parking garage where your car is. So you always take it with you.

Gardner was able to get the van out. He used the call button at the parking garage and explained the situation and they let him have it.

He then came to the hospital and stayed with Hannah while I ran home. I gathered some stuff together for Hannah to be entertained and clothes for us as well. I also called the Beckers from our church, and they came and stayed with the kids a bit.

I got back to the hospital Sunday afternoon and stayed there until they released Hannah Tuesday Morning. It was nice because they have 4 beds in a room. Two for Kids and two for Adults.

Hannah's days consisted of Sleeping, Breathing Treatments, Videos on our Personal DVD player (there was no tv in the rooms), Nintendo DS and doing Math Homework from school. She was hooked up on saline through her IV the whole time. Plus 30 hours were spent with her finger taped up to the machine that tells you what your oxygen level is. She really couldn't go anywhere. She was confined to her bed. And we had to ask for her to have a few moments of freedom just to go to the bathroom.

By Monday night after she no longer had to have the oxygen level machine on her finger, she was getting restless and wanted to go home. She started getting giddy, laughing and kept wanting to try handstands on her bed.

When the doctor came in this morning and was talking to me, he was telling me that it is really rare to see a child of Hannah's age have croup and as bad as she had it. Most family will remember that this isn't the first time Hannah has been hospitalized for this. And that worried him a bit more hearing that. He said that chances are that she would get it again and they gave me something to help out incase that happens. And if that didn't help, she would need to come back again because she will need the breathing treatments. We are hoping it doesn't come to that again.

A few things about our stay: The 18 month baby that we shared a room with. Her mom did not stay the night with her. And she cried a lot. Seriously, every hour she started crying for 10 minutes. It made a very long night. The mom didn't come back for her until after noon the next day, and she was released. Hannah and I really enjoyed the second night where it was just the two of us. It was quiet and we slept so good. The other thing I told Hannah she would appreciate her regular roommates of Shantal and Emma more. And she agreed.

I also have never been kicked out of a Hospital before. And I so felt kicked out. lol After the doctor came in and told us we were released, the nurse asked me right then and there to get our stuff and get out of the room so they could clean it. We were out within 5 minutes. We had to wait in the Lobby for over an hour for Gardner to arrive to pick us up.

I asked Hannah a few questions about her Hospital stay and these were the questions with her responses.

Me: What was the best thing about being in the hospital?
Hannah: Riding in the Ambulance, except the lights were not flashing and didn’t make noise.

Me: What was the worst thing about being in the hospital?
Hannah: Getting the IV

Me: What was the scariest thing about being in the hospital?
Hannah: Getting the suppository

Me: What was the most fun thing about being in the hospital?
Hannah: Breakfast in bed.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Our Saturday

Today is Saturday. Although, I am going to upload it to the blog on Sunday.

Anyway, we spent the morning in Venlo, Netherlands. I wanted to get a way and do something as a family and some of the kids still had Christmas shopping to do. So we all got in the car and drove 45 minutes to Venlo.

It was nice to go in the grocery store and drool over things we can't buy here in Germany. Oh boy, the variety of chips that were in the chip aisle. The kids went crazy. They wanted everything they saw. Unfortunately, I still couldn't find brown sugar. I am on a never ending search.

The kids had a blast and wanted to stay longer. But sadly, Gardner had to be to work at 3pm today. The kids said we had to come back again soon. And I think Gardner and I agreed with them.

While we were driving home, I was talking to Ian. And all of a sudden, Ian said a new word. HOME. HOME. HOME. I said it once, that we were almost home, and he kept saying it. It became fun for him and he would giggle. I would say it, and then he would say it. It is so fun to hear a new word come out of his mouth.

So now, we are up to 5 words: Mom, Emma, Hi, Hello and Home. I am excited to find out what his next word will be.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

My Sister, Coleen

The last few days have been pretty hard on me. Emotionally, I have been a wreck. My little sister, who I might add is not so little as she is 30, got married yesterday. She is one of my best friends and I couldn't be there. This totally and completely has broken my heart. I have cried for many days before hand. I never thought me not being there would be so hard on me. I know we could never afford for me to fly out there. But oh how I longed to be there yesterday with her.

Yesterday, a few hours before the wedding ceremony, we were chatting online together. I couldn't believe that she was online the day of her wedding. But the selfishness in me was happy she was talking to me. Telling me how she was, what still needed to be done, ect. It made me feel a little more like I was there.

I woke up this morning knowing she was married. I started wondering about how everything went.

Gratefully, I know that my parents are up early. And I called them before 7am their time. I wanted the scoop. I wanted to know everything.

I am still wishing I had been there. And I can hardly wait to get the video of the wedding. I've been grateful for every picture that has been sent to me, and every picture I have found uploaded onto Facebook and blogs. I didn't have to wait long to see some.

I just want her to know how much I love her and if I could turn back the clocks, I would try even harder to be there. But chances are, the outcome would probably still be the same. I miss you so much Coleen and can not wait until the day you and Matt can come out here to visit us.

Here are a few pictures of my sister, Coleen and her husband Matt that I have received before the wedding.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Happy Anniversary

Today is our 15th Wedding Anniversary. It is crazy to think we have been married for fifteen years.

I decided to make Gardner something for our Anniversary. And I needed the kids help. I wanted to make a Picture Frame for his desk at work. And I planned on putting pictures of the kids inside.

So the kids and I did a mini photo shoot one day. It is so dang hard to get all the kids to look at the same spot at the same time, and smiling. I kept getting Spencer looking at Ian, or Ian grumpy. My rule is the bigger kids look at me while I get Ian to do what I want him to do. But after I took my picture, I could see that one of the bigger kids didn't follow my rules. lol

I did get a few good pictures, dispite the wetness outside or the crap all over my house. Next year, I am going to think ahead and get photos of the kids before the weather turns yucky. lol

I have some pictures that I took that day plus the frame I made for Gardner. It is one that rotates, two different sides. I have been wanting to add these pictures for a good week on the blog. But I knew I couldn't let Gardner see them.

I did upload two pictures on facebook that I wasn't using and Gardner instantly saw them and asked that the kids make him a picture frame for Christmas with a certain picture. I told Gardner I didn't have time for such a project right now. He didn't understand how it could take much of my time. I just couldn't let him know that I already had one done.

Unfortunately, he isn't getting the picture he wanted. But obviously my idea was a great one because I already had the frame for his desk done. I hope he likes the pictures I chose.

Over the last 15 years, We have had really rough times and also the most amazing times.

  • Going from thinking we couldn't have any children at all, to having 5 fabulous kids.
  • Seeing those fabulous kids for the first time
  • Grieving the Loss of Holden.
  • All the different places we have lived: Utah, to Colorado, to Wisconsin and now Germany.
  • We have had Physical Illnesses during these years as well.
  • Camping as a family
  • Our 10 Year Anniversary Cruise
  • Spending Holidays together
  • Having had Exchange Students and Au Pairs Living with us
  • Dealing with Spencer getting beat up at school
  • Watching our favorite Movie together
  • Long Road Trips
  • Living a part twice due to work
  • Finances
  • Tempers
  • Shantal and Spencer's Baptisms
  • Times alone together
  • And the list just goes on and on and on.

And yet, we have endured it all and grown closer to one another. Our love for each other is continually tested and yet strengthened. I look forward to many more years together dispite how hard they may be. Because I also know they will be glorious and filled with happiness.

Gardner I love you and am so grateful for you in my life.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Few Things

This past week, we had a few things happen.

Spencer had his birthday party. He had 5 friends come over and spend the night. I didn't know if I would ever get to bed and I was so tired. Luckily, they were all quiet enough for me to go to bed at midnight. And for inquiring minds.....Spencer got legos, legos, legos and um....oh yeah, legos. lol

Ian woke up around 1am one night and had thrown up in his bed. Ironically, this was Thursday Night, the day before Spencer's Birthday Party. I was up all night with Ian. (that is why I was so tired for Spencer's Party). He threw up a total of 6 times during the night. I was about to take pictures of Ian of all the things a two year old does when he is up at 2am. Because some of them were funny. But I finally got my camera after I had the idea. After the first picture, he started throwing up and I never got my camera out again.

Ian had his last Play Group Gathering this past week. He loved going there with me and loved the teacher that puts everything together. This was our official time with her as everyone else in the group is starting Kindergarten in January. So we will be moving to a new group. She gave all the kids these cute Lady Bugs she made. It has legs out of Candy. Ian was so happy to have his own candy. He was kind enough to share them with Emma.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Der Weihnachtsmann

On Saturday, we went to our church for a Christmas Party. And of course, no Christmas party would be complete without a visit from the big man himself. Here in Germany, he is called der Weihnachtsmann.

They called all kids under 4 years old to come up first. Emma just b-lined it up to the front. No worries, no second thoughts. Everyone said it was so cute. She went right up and sat on his lap. She was the only person to sit on his lap. Everyone else just stood next to him.

The bigger kids had to sing songs in order to get a gift. They sang in a group, not solo. My girls were happy about that since they didn't really know the songs they were supposed to sing. Spencer wasn't there but they were very generous and gave us Spencer's gift to bring home for him. Unfortunately, Gardner loved Spencer's gift and broke it within a few minutes after opening it. It was a flying Helicopter that states on the package to use outdoors. Too bad Gardner didn't read it sooner. It kind of crashed into our ceiling and broke. Spencer was OK. I think Gardner has his eye out for another one.

One thing I learned this day, that I need to teach my kids more about gift giving instead of gift receiving. Hannah cried so hard while we were there because she didn't like the present she got. Oh my, the drama while we were there. (it was just like on St Nikolaus and the drama and temper tantrum Hannah displayed because she wasn't happy with the Polly she got in her boot.) They bent over backwards to help make her happy and exchange her gift for something that was a bit more likeable to her. If I had my way, Hannah would still have her original gift.

Since that day, we have talked at length about being grateful for what we get and how we should say "thank you for thinking of me" . Christmas is about giving and not receiving.

I wonder if by Christmas my kids will be grateful for the things they get or if we will be graced with more drama and temper tantrums. I guess we will find out in 10 days.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Happy Birthday Spencer!

Yesterday Spencer had a birthday. He turned 10 years old. It is amazing to me at how fast time goes. Day to day, time seems to be so slow at times. But as I look back, how did my baby boy get so big?

The day started out with me baking 26 soft pretzels in the oven for him to take to school for his birthday treat. He had sport in school. And when it is your birthday and you have sport, you get to choose what the class does on that day for sport. Can you guess what he chose? Soccer. And too bad Shantal is in his class. She was so mad about this decision.

After school, Spencer normally has soccer practice. But as I got him there, there were all the boys and one coach standing there telling us that practice was canceled. The field was locked. They do this from time to time when there has been too much rain. It basically floods the field. Spencer was very sad about this.

We got home and I immediately started dinner. One of his favorite things to eat is Chicken Chow Mein. And Spencer stayed in the kitchen and helped me the whole time. He cut the celery, and did a lot of stirring. He was so excited to work with me in the Kitchen.

At night time before bed, we played Swap as a family (without the two younger kids who were already in bed). Spencer loves this card game and it made his birthday complete.

At first Spencer was a bit disappointed in the day he had. He didn't get much in the form of presents. Money is tight for us this year and so all my kids were told they could choose a present from Mom and Dad or a birthday party with their friends. Of course, they all chose a party. But I couldn't let the day go without giving Spencer a little something. So he got a small box of legos. And then Hannah also gave him a little something. Pokemon Coloring Poster.

I'm glad in the end, Spencer decided it was a pretty good day after all.

Happy Birthday Spencer! I love you a lot and am so glad you are in our family!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Month in Photos, Part 2

Here is what we have so far for December. This is such a busy time of year. And just think, we are not even half way through December yet.

St Nikolaus was on December 6th. The kids left their boots by the front door and got Chocolate and presents.

On December 5th, Emma had a St Nikolaus Party at School. Of course, St Nikolaus showed up and watched their program and had gifts for everyone.

Here is Emma dressed up during her St Nikolaus Party for her part in the Program.

We once again went against the German Tradition and put up our Christmas Tree already. The looks we get from the Germans is funny sometimes. They just think we are crazy. Most Germans put their tree up on Christmas Eve.

We had our second Snow Fall. Shantal showed up after school with this Snowman in her hand.

Saturday Night, December 6th, we had Gardner's Work Christmas party. It was a formal event and I had not worn my formal dress in 5 years. It was fun to get all dressed up.

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Month In Photos

I have become a Blog Slacker! I know it! Sometimes I think about blogging and then remind myself I have so much I need to Blog about (heaven for bid I should Blog about events out of order), And then talk myself out of it.

So in order to get back on track, I decided to do a Month in Review through Photos. You will get November in this post (with the exception of Hannah's Gymnastics Meet, as it already got its own post). And I will put the beginning of December in the next post.

Let's see if I can get everyone caught up on our busy lives here in Germany! And for the record, these things are out of order. Blogger likes to upload things that way.

We got Snow!

It had been so cold that I was building a fire almost every day. We even roasted Marshmallows and made Smores!

We spent a good portion of November with kids sick. Ian was real sick one weekend and would just lay anywhere I was. And I happened to be in the Kitchen one day and saw this.

Shantal turned 11 on November 10th. She was actually sick on her birthday and had to stay home from school. Luckily, her party was later on in the week and she was better by then.

We had St Martin's where the Kids made Lanterns and walked through the streets singing St Martin songs. Then they went singing door to door to get a ton of candy.

Gardner got a Promotion at work where we are getting a Company Car. We are getting an 8 passenger Van. We did a lot of test driving. This is the Mercedes that we test drove for a weekend. Unfortunately, the Mercedes is out of our price range, but we are happy to have found a van big enough for our needs. It will be ready for us in either February or March.

I was just playing with the camera one day taking pictures of Ian. He is just so darn cute.

March 2007