Sunday, September 16, 2012

Happy Birthday Liam

Today you are 4! It's pretty crazy to me that I have a four year old. What an eventful and fun year it's been. You got the new role of big brother and you are so great with Grace. You love to give her kisses and hugs and you love to make her giggle. You are so caring and protective of her it melts my heart.
You are so active and are always on the go. These are some of your favorite things from this past year: You love to have dance parties, play Kung Fu, cuddle and watch a movie, play Super Mario on the Wii or swim in grandma and pappa's pool. You love gymnastics, playing soccer or dart guns with Daddy downstairs and you love making silly faces for any picture we take of you. You love to help out with anything we are doing like baking, building a fence or fixing something. The only thing you don't like helping with is cleaning   :) Your favorite TV shows to watch are Max & Ruby, Backyardigans, Dora & Diego and I'm sure you'll always love Cars.
Liam, you have definitely grown up a lot this year and I am so happy that I could be home with you for every day of them.  Happy Birthday big boy, we love you!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Grace is 11 months old today! I can't believe she's almost one. I often think back to this time last year and remember the things I was feeling and thinking, not knowing what the next few months held for us and not knowing what to expect. I am so thankful and continually praise God for how everything turned out. Other than a cute scar on her bum, Grace is a perfect healthy baby. She is such a blessing.
She is starting to pull herself up on things and walk along the furniture. She loves to watch her brother and always giggles at his goofiness. She got her first tooth last week...finally! She also just started making a certain noise at the dinner table every meal that drives Josh and I crazy. It sounds like a cow giving birth. We hope it's just a phase :)

Happy 11 months Gracie!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Back to Blogging!

Wow, 11 months...that's pretty bad. I have no excuses. I had meant to post more while we were in Edmonton with Grace but that never happened. Then when we got back home, I just never got back into blogging. It's so nice to look back at older posts and see what we were doing in the past years. It's like looking at a scrapbook. So I'm going to try and get back into blogging again. This coming from a mother of two who will be going back to work full time in a month. If I haven't been able to blog being home full time, I'm not sure how I expect to be able to do it now. But I'm gonna try.
 Here are a few of my favourite pictures from this past year. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Grace's birth story:

Here is the birth story and update of our little Grace.

I had moved into the city and was staying with our friends Leah and Ryan (note: Grace's middle name is named after Leah) because Liam’s labour had been so quick and they didn’t want me to deliver in Bonnyville. Well it was a good thing I was in the city because this labor was quick! My contractions started around 1:50 in the morning and were already 1 minute a part. I had no slow start into labour. It just hit, and hit hard. I woke up Leah saying that we should probably head in because they lived a good drive from the hospital, and called Josh who was in Bonnyville, 3 HOURS AWAY!, telling him to get his butt in the car and drive. Leah and I hopped in the truck, and drove to the hospital running through most red lights and counting and breathing through the contractions. They were already unbearable even though they had just started. I am so thankful Leah was there for me in this whole experience. She was amazing. I would definitely say our relationship has deepened from this experience…she has definitely seen me at my worst :)

When we got to the hospital we were a little discouraged by the staff at first cause they didn’t seem to have any records of my pre-natal appointments and it was frustrating having to tell them things that we assumed they would already know. Not an easy thing to be explaining the last 3 months of your pregnancy while you can barely breathe. Again, Leah was so great and made sure what I had told her in the past weeks was being asked or done. When they realized how quickly my contractions were coming they put me in a room and measured me but I was only 4 cm. I was so upset because I was in so much pain and was hoping to be closer. They measured me probably around 2:40 but by 3:00 I felt like I had to push. So they measured me again and realized I was already fully dilated! They had stuck me a few times to get an IV in my hand but had no time to give me anything because I was ready to push. My water hadn’t broken yet, and the doctor didn’t want to break it himself as they had found out from our many ultrasounds that I had a higher level of amniotic fluid. So on my 2nd push, my water broke and it flew halfway across the room. It was actually quite funny and the doctor was walking by just as it happened and had to dodge out of the way. I then pushed for 17 minutes and Grace was born at 3:18am. She came out crying which is always the best sound in the world. She weighed 7lbs 6 oz which includes the tumor so her weight will drop after the surgery. I got to hold her for a couple minutes before they brought her to the NICU. I called Josh who was shocked to hear that his little girl had been born so quickly. I of course hoped that Josh could have made it for the delivery, but was so happy that Leah was there. God knew what I needed in that time, and I was very fortunate to have such a great friend helping me get through the pain.

They brought me to my room on level 2 and told me I could go visit Grace (on level 4) whenever I felt stable enough. I rested for a couple hours and waited for Josh to arrive. We went to visit her around 8 o’clock that morning and she was in a little incubator with tubes and wires all over. They had her on C pap to help her breathing so you could hardly see her face. It was very hard to see her like this. We found out the doctors come around 9 to do their rounds and we wanted to make sure we were around for that. They let me hold her after the rounds and they took off her C pap and it was great to finally see her face. She looks so much like Liam but also a lot like my baby pictures. I got to also breastfeed her and she feeds so well! She was supposed to be transferred to the Stollery right after she was born but they had to wait for a bed to open up for her. It was actually such a blessing having her at the Royal Alexandra for the extra night since I was also there recovering. They could page me down in my room at any time and I could go up and feed her or see her. My sister Sarah was able to come and help out and she stayed overnight for my first night. It was such a blessing having her there to bring me up in the middle of the night since I couldn't walk too well. Grace was then transferred to the Stollery on Friday around noon and it’s a lot harder not having her as close.

The last three days have felt like 3 weeks. They have been very exhausting as they are always up in the air for new things we learn or places we need to be. Sometimes I feel like I need to be in 3 places at once while trying to also be with Grace as much as possible. It’s very hard to have any sort of schedule as we never know what each day brings. It's also been very hard being away from Liam so much. We try to see him as much as we can but he's hard to have at the hospital so he's been hanging out with Leah & Ryan. Again, another thing that these two amazing people have been helping with. Liam has a great time with Leah, Ryan, and Tyson but I know that he is definitely ready to be home. We are all ready to be home.

Grace has been doing amazing. From the first time we saw her in the NICU with wires and tubes everywhere to this morning where they got to take everything out or off of her. It has been amazing holding her without worrying about any of the wires. Her MRI is booked for tomorrow. They don't know the exact time as they could call her down early if they have a random opening so I will be at the hospital all day waiting to go down with her. I am definitely nervous as she will have to be on anesthesia so she doesn't move at all during the MRI. Please pray that the MRI goes well and they are able to get good images for the surgery which is booked for October 3rd. They are hoping the tumor isn't growing above her pelvic area. If it is, they will have to make an incision on her bum as well as her tummy area and remove the tumor from both ends. If the tumor isn't growing that far, they can remove everything just from one incision on her bum. This is what we're hoping for as the surgery won't be as complicated.

Wow, didn't realize this post would be so long. But I guess there is a lot to update. I had been hoping to update this more often but am so exhausted by the end of the day when we get back from the hospital, I just want my bed. Again, we want to thank you all for your prayers and support. Grace has been doing so well and we know it's the power of all your prayers. Thank you!

To end off here are a few pictures of our sweet little Grace:

Friday, September 16, 2011

Happy Birthday Liam

Today is Liam's 3rd birthday. I can't belive my baby is 3. He's grown up so much in the last couple months and surprises us constantly on the new things he is learning and doing. I am so proud of him and am excited to see him as a big brother. He is going to be so great with his new baby sister.
Because we had to head into the city sooner than expected, we threw Liam a last minute party at John and Tam's last Saturday. We invited some friends and family and had a little pool party. It was nice to be outside and enjoy the last hot day we'll probably get this summer.

Swimming in the pool with Papa Phillips

Liam telling us how old he is now. 3!

Liam ready to hit his pinata.

Autumn enjoying the yummy cupcakes

Isaac and Liam. Cousins and best friends.

Liam was also able to stop by Tina's last Monday for a little party and cake. All his daycare friends packed him a little rubbermaid of toys and activities to bring to Edmonton.

Then today Josh was able to come up for Liam's birthday. I had a little false alarm yesterday at my doctor's appointment so Josh ended up coming to the city last night just to be safe. But it's nice to have him here for Liam's birthday. We went out to Cora's for brunch this morning and Liam had his favorite...waffles. Thanks Jason for introducing us to such a great restaurant :)

Josh excited to dig into his crepe :)

Then we just hung out for the afternoon. Liam catching up on some cuddles with Daddy

Tyson, such a cutie!

Leah painted Liam's face like a tiger and he was very excited.

She also decorated her house with Cars birthday decorations and made one of Liam's favorites for supper. Kraft Dinner and chocolate milk :)

Happy Birthday Liam! Even though there has been so much going on lately that you don't understand, you have been such a brave boy and I am so proud of you. There are no words to describe what you mean to me and what you bring into my life. I love you. Happy birthday bud.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Another Update

I want to start off by thanking everyone for all of their support and prayers for our baby girl. They mean so much to us and as I have mentioned before, have given us a lot of peace throughout this time.

I wanted to add a quick update on our baby. We have been continually going into the city every two weeks for ultrasounds, fetal echos and prenatal appointments. On August 10th, we had a video conference meeting at the Children's hospital in Edmonton. Our doctor in Bonnyville was on one TV, our doctors and nurses from the Royal Alexandra hospital were on another TV, and we were at the Children's hospital with the neonatal specialist, a pediatric surgeon, and a social worker. This meeting was to make sure everyone was updated and on the same page with our baby. It was also a time for us to get a lot of our questions asked and to prepare us for what would be happening after our baby was born. We were very grateful to be apart of the meeting and all the effort they put into it. The main thing we learned was that everything is still up in the air until she is actually born and they can do a proper diagnosis of the tumor and what it's affecting. We do know that she will need an MRI after she is born for the surgeons to have a better idea of what will all need to be removed. She will also need her tailbone removed as this is where most of the mass is. If they don't remove the tailbone, the tumor has a better chance of returning. After the meeting, the social worker gave us a tour of the children's hospital and the NICU. It was very overwhelming to walk into a room filled with babies knowing ours would be one of them soon. But it is nice to be prepared and have a picture in our mind of where our baby will be recovering.

At our last appointment on Wednesday, our doctor decided he wanted me in the city right away as he thinks I'll be delivering early. Our next appointment is this Thursday so Liam and I are moving into the city tomorrow. Our good friends Ryan and Leah just moved to Edmonton this summer and are letting me stay with them until the baby is born. We are so grateful for Ryan and Leah and the hospitality they have shown to us. They have been such a blessing! Josh will stay in Bonnyville to work until the baby is born and then we will move into the Ronald McDonald house as it is closer to the Children's hospital.

Our doctor is still wanting me to deliver naturally and go full term, if this baby lets me :) I am currently at 35 weeks and I praise God for every week that she is continually inside me. We want her to be well developed and healthy so she can endure the surgery. She is measuring in the 95th percentile of weight which is also very encouraging. At our last ultrasound they estimated her weight at 6lbs 8oz.

As I've mentioned, I will try to keep this blog updated as I'm in Edmonton. Again, we appreciate all your prayers and support!

Here is a belly picture of me at 35 weeks:

Thursday, September 01, 2011


We've been so blessed these last couple months from our family and friends. When we returned home from our summer holidays in Vernon, Josh told me to come look outside in our backyard. John had dug up our whole yard and got it ready to put new grass. It was in a pretty bad state so John came over with his tractor and removed old trees, old cement blocks and ordered new sod to be laid for our yard. We had torn down our old deck last year and hadn't done much to it since so John tampered the ground and got it all ready for us to lay our stone patio. Another thing we are hoping to do this summer.

We then walked into our garage to find that it had also been cleaned out by Tammy and Marie (a friend and youth from our church). It had been another thing on our to do list, but was never getting done. I don't even want to think of how gross our garage was so I was very thankful to Tam and Marie for cleaning out all the of junk, dirt, and loads of pop bottles out of our garage. Josh's grandpa also came by and fixed our garage door which Emmett had torn a hole through a few years ago. It was such and unexpected surprise and we are so grateful for everything they've done for us.

Here are some pictures of our yard. Liam has loved having his Papa Phillips over all the time. I have to try and distract him or get him to just watch John work from the window otherwise he can be a little nuisance and it's a little tough for John to get any work done. :)

Liam watching John from the door.

Of course he didn't last too long at the door and was down there helping out too.

The sod took awhile to come in, so we were very excited when it finally arrived.

Grandpa Brown, John, and Josh all helped lay the sod.

A new fence is another thing on the to do list :)

Yay for new grass!!

As well as re-doing our whole back-yard, John, with the help of Josh and Marie, has also been over here on his days off re-shingling our garage roof which was also in a pretty sad state. As you can tell, our house needs a little maintenance :) It's been wonderful to have all his help!

And then yesterday, we had another blessing from our other friend Marie. She is an amazing cook and offered to come by and cook us some meals to put in our freezer for when we get home from Edmonton. She made us soups, casseroles, chili and meatballs. It's going to be hard for me not to eat everything right all looked so yummy. Thankfully she made too much of one soup so we got to have a little sample for supper last night.

Liam helping Marie make one of the soups.

We`ve had so much support from our family and friends and we thank you all so much!