Friday, March 29, 2013

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to all! The girls have already received some fun Easter goodies from Grandma & Grandma Richter and their aunties. These ears were from Auntie Erin. Glad I snapped a few pictures so that I could share them today.

I'll be back with more Easter fun and goodies after the weekend. We're staying home this year after being gone constantly or home with sick kids in the months of February and March. We need the time at home. It'll still be crazy around the house - but we'll be home. We're also looking forward to going to church at our home church for Easter with the girls. Cozy. Home. Goodness.

Wishing you Easter blessings. Rejoice with your families. Be glad in what we've been given. It's all a beautiful gift to be so very thankful for!

We love you!


Grace used to call icecream "ah-beak" when she was little. Looks like Annie has her mothers taste when it comes to ice cream. Must. Have. More.

I made some chocolate malts the other day and Annie thought they looked really interesting. And she's at the stage where everything MUST go into her mouth to learn about it. Must taste it. Full on engulf it into her mouth.

Well she didn't get a taste of the malt, but she had a good shot at spilling it all down the front of her jammies (right after bath). Oh, and excuse the crazy hair - immediately after bath she always looks so crazy haired! Or lack there of on the back side still!


What do you mean to tell me this milk comes from a cow...and not a can of powder?
Cows milk?

I'll be back with more soon. We are getting home from a weekend in Wisconsin with my bestie. It was the best time. Sneak peek - we spent a long weekend with these guys. She's the most beautiful friend, mother and wife I know! Love her! I'll be back with a longer post about our visit soon.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Momma Bear

Those of you without kids: Glory in the days when you use your sick leave on yourself. And use it. Those of you with kids: Bank your days as much as possible, and power through work even when you're feeling your worst. You get it.

Even though Momma didn't have many (if any) sick days left after using them for maternity leave and then taking care of Little One when she had Influenza A, a Momma just can't leave her sick littles. Momma Bear comes out. I have a more than capable husband that I can count on, but when they are so sick, I just can't let them go.

These were taken toward the end of her nasty brochiolitis road. She was nearing recovery, but still not well. I loved her little expressions in each of them.

There is no healing like healing in the arms of your Momma, Momma's make everything right. That's why I was so happy that Cody's mom could be there with us when Annie had Influenza A, and why I was elated that my Mom could come and help us when Annie was in the hospital with bronchiolitis. It's good to have Nana/Grandma around to help with the family stresses of having sick children. They help take care of Cody and I, the house, Little One, and most of all - have helped give Grace some of the attention she needs when we are focusing on sickie.

These are pictures that I love. I love that I'm in them, because it doesn't happen often. I love that she's clingy to my side. And I love that I have them for my own memory.

Sick Baby...take 2

As I've alluded to several times, Little One got sick again. It was one long stinkin' road to recovery. Just about a month ago, to the date (of getting sick again) she had Influenza A. We thought we had our fair share of scary sickies. I thought Influenza A was bad, and it was. But this was a different kind of bad.

FYI - this is long, and mostly for my own personal documentation. Browse the pictures to get the quick dirty details.

She had her regular 6 month check up on a Thursday. Got her shots and checked out healthy. The next day daycare texted that she had a slight fever and wasn't feeling well. So we picked her up. Momma's inclination that day was that she had Influenza B - she just seemed achy and cranky and her head seemed heavy (I think I even told my Mom I thought it was the flu). However, I knew her legs could be sore from vaccinations. Saturday and Sunday came and at this point we were thinking the fever was a result for her vaccinations and irritable from possibly teething. She went through the whole weekend with a low-grade fever and just irritable. Nothing too serious seeming at the time. Monday hit and we knew she still wasn't her normal self. Around the same time, Grace had some tummy trouble and spiked a bit of a fever. There were so many variables on what Annie could have been dealing with - we just figured it was a common cold + teething + shots.

Tuesday rolled around and this Momma knew something was up. Still didn't know what. So I took her in. Basically, right away the nurses called the Dr. into our room. Her breathing was out of control, and her oxygen levels were low. She was working way too hard to get oxygen. They ended up sucking her out with small feeding tube type hoses hooked to a vacuum type machine. The nurses used the snot they garnered to bring to lab for a culture to test for Influenza and RSV. They gave her some time to rest, hoping that with her snot cleared out she'd be breathing better. No such luck. We waiting awhile in the room until the lab results came back. She napped comfortably in my arms after all the drama of getting sucked out. She was still working pretty hard, even while resting. They came back and no RSV or Influenza - somewhat surprising, and irritating because I wanted a quick diagnosis. At this point, they could still hear her breathing from across the room and her respiratory rates (RR - number of times she's breathing in a minute) were way too high. Our Dr. decided to admit her into the hospital to get it all worked out.

Of course, they had some trouble with our drama queen getting an IV set in, only took three tries! Cody and I waiting in the hallway and tried to keep a conversation going between us to drown out her little cry. Before we knew it she was on oxygen, IVs and they were monitoring her RR and oxygen levels. She had eaten that Tuesday morning around 7:30, but they didn't want her to eat until her RR was under 60 - just in case she were to aspirate her milk into her lungs, causing pneumonia. We did a chest x-ray shortly after getting hooked up to IVs and that came back with no pneumonia, but showed that her diagnosis was bronchiolitis.

Her nasty sickies went on through the entire day on Tuesday, and into Wednesday. On Wednesday morning she still hadn't improved much, if any. We'd periodically take her off oxygen to test her out to see if she could hold her own without. No luck. We stayed at the hospital on Wednesday night too. I think it was Wednesday late in the afternoon she went off oxygen completely, but still had a high RR. Thursday rolled around and she was still breathing fast and heavy and working too hard. They didn't have an answer for why she was breathing that way, when she hadn't had a temp since Tuesday and her oxygen levels were looking good. She continuously had nebulizer treatments and often got her nose vacuumed out just to keep things moving in the right direction.

So, the Dr. ordered another chest x-ray. Poor thing, scared and screaming while getting that done. My eyes fill with tears every time she gets poked, prodded, and laid out for some procedure. Her chest x-ray came back the same on Thursday as it did on Tuesday. Which was good news - nothing new. But, I was also just wanting answers. I didn't have any. Late on Thursday afternoon the respiratory therapists and our Dr. came in, we spoke about what was best for Annie, home or staying at the hospital another night. The only things she was getting at the hospital that she couldn't at home was the IV. We tried slowing bottle feeding her that day - she was so excited to eat again. It had been 2 days since she last ate from a bottle. We decided to take her home that evening, we were only a few minutes away from the hospital if we needed to come back.

Having her off IVs, in our arms, and in the comfort of our house was very nice. She perked up immediately when we got home. Was so excited to see big sister again, and THE CAT. WOW! The cat. Exciting stuff. She was still working pretty hard to get oxygen, but we were ready to do whatever it took at home to heal her fast. Nebs every four hours, snot sucker at hand, slow bottle feeds, lots of sleep and snuggles.

Cody stayed home with her on Friday, and I flew to Sioux Falls for work stuff. Half my mind was on work, half was on my sweet little. (Hope my boss doesn't read this!) Friday I was pretty concerned for her, and concerned getting her back into care and on IVs/oxygen to help her relax. We powered through. Everyday over the weekend she improved a little. Her RR dropped by the 10s each day. Thank goodness. God is good! It was just taking time, and I think Him for patience.

Through all of this, Grace of course was very concerned for her sister (and told anyone any everyone she knew that Annie was sick in the hospital). Grace did come to visit Annie briefly on Tuesday night. I was glad she did so that she could see her sister was doing okay. She had a pretty yucky vision of what it looked like for Annie to be in the hospital I think. Once Grace saw that she was somewhat alert and could play with toys and still visit with us, it helped calm her down.

You'll notice a few things in the pictures below: I was exhausted. Annie was exhausted. She loved her paci in there (I think it soothed her sucking that she wasn't able to do from a bottle). We snuggled constantly. She loves blankees (just like her mother and sister). She slept a lot (thank God!). She was trying so hard to be alert and healthy and play with toys - even the iPad. We called her oxygen monitor her glow toe - she thought that thing was pretty cool. The baby leggings (meant for crawling) were perfect for her little exposed legs and feet.

Also have to note that the first picture on the top left is after Annie and I woke up one morning. Her eye was half glued shut (still has clogged tear ducts) and I was looking mighty fine too. I probably would have looked better if my eyes were half glued shut also!

I think that about covers Annie's first hospitalization! Poor little thing.

We also want to thank EVERYONE who supported us through this. Our family, friends, co-workers and the staff the hospital and clinic. Those that sent texts, made phone calls, or just lifted us up in prayers for rest, healthy bodies, and knowledge of the staff. It was appreciated. Thanks to my Mom for driving out in some nasty weather to keep me company and to run charge on Grace. Thanks to Cody's parents, Kevin and Michele (and all my sister in laws) for the continuous check-ins so we knew you were thinking of us. Thanks to my Dad for checking in and the funny texts. Curtis - right Dad? Thank you to Cody's Grandparents who stopped down - unfortunately they couldn't get too close to her or hold her so they wouldn't get sick. And again, thanks for ALL of your prayers.

A special thanks to my best friend Jen (who is also conveniently a nurse and deals with babies everyday). I swear she has a special ability to "be there for me" in a way that it feels like she is actually in Pierre, South Dakota. Rather than 10 hours away in Wisconsin. She's impressive, everyone needs a friend like her.

And thank you to my friend Tasha in Pierre who continuously checked in on us, and offered to do anything we needed her to do. It's comforting to know that we have someone right here in town that we could ask to pick up Grace, feed the cat and dog, hang out with Grace, or just run and get me a coffee. She arranged for Grace to go to daycare with her kids on Friday and then picked up Grace and hung out with her until 8 when I got home from Sioux Falls so Cody could concentrate on Annie. Friends are amazing. I'm so happy I have good ones.

My co-workers. I feel bad calling them that - because they are really friends. My boss sent an awesome e-mail to me along with several other folks in the office while we were in the hospital. They let me know they were thinking of me, and were praying for Annie. My boss told me to not worry about one thing at work, that it was all taken care of. My manager let me know she had shared Annie's story with her mom in the southeast part of the state and her mom would sharing with her "prayer warriors" at church. It touched us. We are so blessed and thankful.

Update: for those of you wondering what bronchiolitis does, here is a small TERRIBLE drawing of the situation. Those of you with medical minds, please ignore my Lehman terms and drawings. 
Sorry for the super long message, but I wanted to make sure we would be able to share this story with Annie  when she gets older!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Day in the Life (7)

Well hello!
I'm back! Here I am with my Ma at my 6 month appointment. And man, was it terrible. Too many shots - ouchers!!! They pretty much told me the normal:

  1. I'm cute. Duh
  2. I'm just a peanut. Ma's been trying to stuff my face, but I just give her the old sour face. 
  3. I'm smart. Of course, I'm like my ma. 
  4. I'm pretty.
  5. I'm cool.
  6. They all loved me. 
The basics. 

I don't even want to talk about being sick. Mom said she was going to post a slew of pictures so that we can look back on it and remember. I don't want to remember that garbage! Masked doctors, pokes, prods, listening to my heart and lungs with cold utensils, needles, blood, oxygen, no food, all thanks. Mom can talk about it. She's hoping I don't remember any of it anyway. Out of sight, out of mind. For a 6 month old at least. Now, where's my chew toy?!!

Little Miss Picky

This girl. She is everything I didn't expect her to be. I thought Grace would take the lead and this one would sit back and relax. I thought she'd be my bump on a log. I thought she'd go with the flow. Nope. She's making sure she's in the limelight too. And that makes me happy and proud.

She's the one who's bottle can't be too cold or too hot. It's gotta be just right. She's a picky little eater so far, primarily enjoying peaches, carrots and now pears. Everything (even her favorites) get a sour face upon the first few bites. No water in a sippy, no fun flavored pedialyte in a bottle or sippy (not warm or cold) when she was sick. Nothing. Stick to the basics Ma.

I caught a few pictures of her trying to figure out finger foods. She could get them in her fingers, but was pretty confused once she picked them up. She couldn't figure out where they went anymore.


She's such a petite little peanut, that I'll give her anything she'll take. Stinker. Hoping once she gets some teeth she can start exploring more foods! Avocados are next on my list, mostly because they are one of my favorites! Quac from leftovers anyone? Yes please!

My Love

The hubby and I don't get pictures of ourselves nearly enough. Here's on of us a few weekends ago while we  got away from the kiddos for a day when we went to a wedding in Minnesota.

Again, all terrible quality with just a iPhone picture, but none the less, it shows we are happy married and there are two people that take care of our littles!!!

Love this guy. He's my cleaning lady. He's my rock. He's my laughter. He's my support. He's my nurse. He's my chef. He's my pick-me-up when I've had a bad day. He's my partner. He's always thinking of me. He's the one.

Sister Love

For the longest time I couldn't imagine my life with more than one child. Grace was it. She was a little shining star who ran every show she was ever a part of. Even when I was pregnant I couldn't imagine having another kid. Probably because we just had Grace for 5 years. But now, I couldn't imagine life without another little one around.

And I especially wouldn't want to give up Grace's wonderful way of being the best big sister around. Annie has such a special love for Grace, she could be super crabby, but Grace can always make her happy again. A sister isn't something that I could ever imagine my own life with, I have always been happy to be an only child. But Grace, she's different. And I'm glad she gets to be a sister. 

These were taken on my phone, so the quality is a bit low. Seems that since Annie has been sick, I've been lazy with our camera and picture taking. Apart for random moments around the house. I'm happy to have my phone to capture some of these little things.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Simple Saturday's

We love it when we get a rare opportunity for a "simple Saturday." They come few and far between for our busy little family. They are the days when showers/baths are optional and sweatpants are a must.

It was great having a simple Saturday this last weekend. Annie was on the mend for her sickies and Grace was worn out from a long week at school.

Tiny sneaks. Annie was an exception to the sweatpants rule. She hadn't been out of jammies for more than a week!

The girls all snugged as bugs in Momma's bed for an afternoon nap.

My heart is full. My life is blessed. Cody and I love these two little people more than we ever thought possible. Seeing them together, wrapped in each others arms and happy as could be warms our hearts. So blessed!

This last weekend when we took Annie out for some fresh air, some good friends of ours met up with us at the hoppin' Pierre Mall. Nick and Grace share birthdays, Nick is just one year older. These two are hilarious together. His mother and I may already be arranging their marriage (since their wedding is halfway planned already) or at least making sure they are prom dates! It's funny, because they actually look like they could be siblings/twins.

Good thing that Annie isn't moving around yet, because Anni, Nick and Grace have taken up all the room in this little toy at the mall. Crammed in there! Tasha, their Mom, is a good friend of mine. She was so kind to us when Annie was sick. Grace even checked out their daycare for a day (ours was closed, and it was ncie to be able to send her somewhere where she knew a couple kids) and hung out at their house for an evening. Was so nice to be able to call on them when we needed help.

This is what the weekend is for. To relax, unwind, and enjoy each others company.

Monthly Photo Series: 6 Months

This post is WAY behind. We've had quite the last few weeks around the Richter house. These photos didn't turn out quite as good as some of the other monthly photos that we have done. The lighting wasn't good, Little One was on the brink of getting sick (can see it in her eyes), and I didn't have my A-Game on with my camera. Bummer. But, none-the-less, here they are.

These days Little Miss Little One is pretty busy. She's loving toys, and stuffing them into her mouth as soon as they reach her finger tips. She can scoot in circles when she's laying on her belly and loves to smile at anyone. At her official 6 month appointment, she weighed 14 pounds 12 ounces. However, just a few days later, she got sick. Again. And lost some weight. Update on that later. She's still a bit particular on the foods she eats - her favorite are carrots and peaches. We're trying to expand her tastes a bit. She isn't quite into putting finger foods in her mouth yet, rather she just scoots them around her tray and ends up pushing them onto the floor for the cat to play with. 

Recently, she's been quite proud of a new trick. When trying to get her to eat a few weeks ago, we ended up teaching her to smack her lips. It's adorable. And she looks a lot like Great Grandma Fran when she does it. She's charmed many with her lip smacking cuteness. 

Soon we'll be back with 7 month pictures!