Sunday, December 28, 2008

It makes you stronger....

That's what they say about going through a tough time!!  It's kinda humorous to look at my previous post, and how I wrote about Christmas Eve being my favorite day of the year.  You wouldn't believe the day I had.  Without going into enormous detail, (or making it look like a pity party) here are the "highlights"!

The night of the 23rd had been very unsettled for Nate - waking up every 45 minutes to an hour.  In the morning, he was still coughing, as he had been for several days, and he threw up.  Don left for work, and shortly after I took Nate's temperature.  It was ranging in the 101-102 range.  He was acting very lethargic and subdued - very unusual for him.

I took him to urgent care and thankfully was seen right away.  The doctor we saw was not comfortable with the sounds he was hearing when listening to his heart (that's my boy!) or his lungs.  He sent us to emerg at the hospital.  Once again we were seen quite quickly as he had called ahead to talk to the doctor on call and explain some of the specifics.  (Nothing is routine when there is a heart issue involved!)  They took 2 chest x-rays and confirmed that pneumonia was starting in one of his lungs.  Since it was too early to determine whether it was viral or bacterial, to be safe, Nate was given an Rx for antibiotics.  So, off to the the drug store, back to Grandma and Grandpa's, where I had dropped Brady off when I left in the morning (and who ended up keeping Brady with them for the afternoon), and back home.

That was 3 hours!  The rest of the afternoon he would sleep in my arms for a while, wake up for 5-10 minutes and then go back to sleep.  He threw up after every dose of antibiotics, but at least his fever was coming down after the Tylenol!

When Don got home from work, I sent him to Mom and Dad's where the party was starting!  I just didn't know what I should do, but staying home with Nate seemed logical, as much as I was so sad that I was missing the family time.  Not 20 minutes later, my 2 sisters showed up at my door, and in their beautiful way, encouraged me to get Nate and myself together and come to Mom and Dad's, even if we just rested there, at least we'd feel more part of it!

I didn't go to Brady's first ever Christmas concert, but Don video taped his performance!  He did just awesome!

The rest of the night consisted of food, family, presents, steak, homemade ice cream, crazy games and just being family.  Thankfully, Nate had some longer rests there, and I could join in the fun times with family.  

Kerry and Kathy and their family joined us via Skype this year....not the
same as being here together.  Miss you guys!!!!!

Nate was 'Mamma's Boy', but you could hardly blame him.
What a trooper he is!

Just my family getting a little goofy before
getting to the real game.

This was one of the gifts from Grandma and Grandpa.  When we got home that
night, we had to set it up in Brady's room.  He's slept there every night since!

This picture is from Christmas day.  Still looking a little dopey, 
but there was a remarkable improvement.  Much more active and alert.
(Still prefers his heart meds over his antibiotics, though!)

Here's Brady's song for Grandma and Grandpa. I think he surprised them by singing all 3 verses!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


The last few weeks have been pretty crazy!  But mostly crazy in a good way.  It seems like I always find a few more projects I want to do at the midnight hour!  And because most of these things are gifts, I can't show you!!!!

Tomorrow is my favorite day of the year.  This year Christmas Eve is going to be even better since we'll have our big boy in the Sunday School Christmas program.  I have to admit, I'm just a little worried of what he might do once he gets up there in front of everyone.  His latest thing is to pretend that he's a giant and walk around kinda like Frankenstein making these loud, low growls.  Hmmmmm, could be interesting at church!

It feels like the only day outings I have are to the clinic or hospital.  Between regular baby appointments, blood work, immunizations, RSV injections, etc., it feels like I've always got places to go.  I'm so happy with the excellent care Nate has been receiving.  We're blessed with wonderful doctors and nurses, pharmacists, and lab techs!

In other 'Nate News', I am very ready for our "owl" to start sleeping at night.  It's been a challenging few weeks, with little sleep.  I need to work on being a little happier during those middle of the night awake hours....poor Don.... Thankfully the Lord gives energy for each and every day (and forgives us for the times we act or say without thinking!).   

I saw this at etsy and thought I'd share it with you!


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

You know it's Christmas...

I've been waiting very (im)patiently for my Christmas indulgence to arrive in the grocery store....and finally it did.  I'm totally a candy junkie - and around Christmas time these jelly slices and the squares are always in abundance at Mom and Dad's.  I think me and my brother devour the majority of them.  I think I'll play a mean trick on Kerry and just mail him one slice.  They don't get these treats in bulk in their area.  But before you go and feel all sorry for him, let me assure you that when Mom and Dad go to Toronto at the end of December, they'll be bringing him a box, I'm sure!

Another sure sign of Christmas is the annual school Christmas concerts.  I just got back from one this evening.  Loved it!!  Adria totally rocked.  And I hear Katelyn was a star herself on bass the night before, but I had to miss that one.  

Brady turned 3 yesterday!  What a fun day - it's great to spoil them on their special day!  He was so excited he insisted on setting the table all by himself!

And here's my other BIG boy!  Is he not the cutest?  Yes, that's his mother's strong opinion!

Speaking of cute....what do you think of this lovely couple.  Quickly take a peek before I get a call from Mom telling me to take if off!!  We took some great pictures right after the snowfall this morning!


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Weekend Recap

We're back from a fabulous weekend in Winnipeg.  Here are a few of the highlights! 

Saturday was the Variety Children's Heart Centre Christmas party!  This was very new territory for us, we really didn't know what to expect.  It was held at the Children's Museum - we found out to be a very FUN place.  There were over 300 people there, as this was for all the heart patients and their families.

And it was fun!  The kids had a free for all reign over the entire museum, after a yummy pizza supper (all donated by local restaurants).  Then there was a visit from Santa, complete with presents for all the kids.

A really cool thing for me was to see families with several children - and not being able to tell which child was the heart patient.  This whole evening was a 'normal' party.  No waiting rooms, tests, exams, or questions.  Just special kids doing very normal party things!  A very welcome relief, I'm sure, for some families in the middle of very non-typical circumstances.  Another thing....whenever I'd make eye contact with another parent, we'd share a smile of understanding.  No words were ever needed  -  just a smile that communicated our love of our children and the certain journey that everyone in that building was on.

The evening ended with me having a conversation with someone I didn't know - but to him I looked familiar.  (What would an evening be with out playing the Mennonite game?!)  After trying to figure it all out, a very cool connection was made.  He is married to one of the Heart Clinic nurses, and she grew up in Winkler; her mom used to work for my dad; she knows my sisters (and had heard there was 'another'; and my dad said she even spent time at our house when she was really little while her parents were away on a trip!  Makes a world a little smaller, and the Clinic a little more 'homey' when you can make a connection like that!

We also had time to connect with some very dear friends this weekend.  I've been blessed with such awesome girlfriends!  We've known each other since grade school and have gone through a lot together - and even though we're separated by the 'great abyss' (ha ha) from Winkler to Winnipeg, every moment we do spend together is so precious!  Love ya girls!!  (And we've all had a baby within 6 months of each other - how cool is that?)

We had the best accommodations at the Hildebrand Hilton!!!  Thanks Bonnie and Kenton for your gracious hospitality.  It was so great to spend time with you!!

Here are some visual memories from the weekend!

Why is it that only Santa and I were able to look at the camera???  C'mon Don - work with the camera!!!

I'll take one ticket to Philadelphia.  Can I go via Mississauga?  I've got some cousins I'd like to see!

Next stop, Regina????   Oh dear!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Rock around the Block!

"Go for a walk around Poplar Bay to look at the Christmas lights and the Christmas trees."

Those were the instructions for Brady today. Don and Brady got bundled up and went on their little adventure. Little did I know that there were only a handful houses with lights/trees lit up - but Don did get a shot of Brady in front of one. (Ironically, the one that I can see from our house!)


I just had to laugh when I saw that picture.  I couldn't resist zooming in to catch that great "CHEESE" smile!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas Carols and Christmas Treats

I just got back from the Christmas baking exchange with several friends.  My freezer is stocked with some very delicious goodies.  Hopefully putting them in the downstairs freezer will keep the temptation to nibble at bay!

Today's Advent activity for Brady was to sing Away in a Manger and video tape it!

I wasn't sure how this would go, since we haven't sung that song this year yet - and I doubted that he would have remembered it from last year.  I'm guessing they must be singing it in Sunday School, because he did seem to know the general flow of the song!  Here it is:

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

On the Second day of Christmas...

First I have to show you my Christmas present.  He's all wrapped up and under the peaceful.

Nate and Don were on the floor, just cuddling and Nate gave in to sleep.  How precious to see my little babe under the tree!

Today's Advent activity was to decorate and color a Christmas tree!

Getting ready for a fun baking exchange with friends tomorrow.   I made raisin butter tarts and cranberry tarts.  I only did two 'quality control' samplings!  

I won't show you a picture of what the rest of my kitchen looks like!!!

Good night!
Sleep tight!

Monday, December 1, 2008

On the First Day of Christmas...

I'm so excited for this season of Advent.  It's neat to see how much more involved and aware Brady is of the real meaning of Christmas. 

He was very excited to open door #1 on the Advent Calendar.

After eating the chocolate treat inside, Brady "read" the note inside.  It said that today he should go outside to make a snow angel.

Nate had his own way of relating to the Christmas story (ie. chewing on the Nativity scene).

Saturday, November 29, 2008

What a week!

Teeth are highly over rated.

That's what I would have told you at the beginning of this week.  Now, that's me speaking as a mother of a baby who is in the middle of the teething process, and not as a dental assistant or dental health advocate!!!  But, then Brady picked up a nasty cold and being the sharing kind of brother that he is, passed it on to Nate.  Then me.  As diligent as I was with hand washing and all those other precautions you take, we still got it bad!  Funny how something like a cold would normally be annoying - but something you just take in stride.  Now with Nate's condition 'just a cold' is a loaded statement.  We just keep praying that he will stay safe and healthy this winter season.

So, needless to say, we've had some very long (or short, depending on how you look at it!) nights.  My perspective has certainly changed.  Once we kick this cold thing, teething is going to feel like a breeze! 

  Here's my cute little Nate.  When Brady saw this picture, he said it was him when he was a baby.  Though there are similarities to Brady, he's seems to be showing a few of his mother's traits.


Some of the little Schmidt grandkids.

Friday, November 28, 2008


Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to my brother-in-law,
Happy Birthday to you!

Did you know it's this guy's birthday today?  
He's turning forty *cough* ish *cough*!

By the way, he takes his coffee with cream!

An Ode to my Brother-in-law

My brother-in-law is quite a guy
He has a cool plane that he loves to fly.

He plays the drums, the sax and pool
All his kids think that he's pretty cool.

Tonight he's taking the family to watch "Bolt"
and he'd better not doze off or Kali will give him a jolt.

He married a 'Schmidt' so he's pretty smart
If you see him say Happy Birthday to Rich, you old fart lark.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Going to the Service

Just thought I'd share a memory from last week.

Kids have a way of making you laugh just when you need it.

We were getting ready to go to the family memorial service for my Grandma Schmidt.  Brady needed to change clothes and put on something more appropriate than his football jersey.  If you know Brady and his love of his much too small jersey (which he'd wear 24/7 if he could) you'll know this would be no easy task. 

Don and I told him "We're going to a service for Oma Schmidt".   He suddenly got really excited and started chatting away.  Straight to his bedroom, very excitedly, changing into proper attire.  He was talking non-stop.  Every once in a while I picked out "lady bug" and "at the service" and "airplane".  Don and I were both baffled by this sudden excitement and motivation to change clothes and get ready to go.  We were actually in the van, driving to the memori
al service when it hit me.

We're going to a circus.

Now it all made sense.  And it was time for some very quick damage control.  You see, the Harvest Festival, to Brady, is known as the circus.  And the ladybug and airplane - some of the rides he went on over and over.

I tried explaining to him that this was a church service for Grandma Schmidt.  Apparently that didn't help, as he starting talking about the circus (ie. fundraising lunch with an inflatable bouncy ride and other activities) that our church had a few months ago.

Okay, time to take service out of the equation!  We explained.  He then understood (mostly).  Enough said!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Saying Good-bye

This past weekend, our family said good bye to Grandma Schmidt.  She lived 103 years!  What a legacy she has left.  You'll remember some precious pictures I have from a previous post.

My dad (the youngest of his siblings) spending time with his mother.

I am the youngest of 20 grandchildren.  Nate is the youngest of her 52 great grandchildren!
There are also 13 great-great grandchildren!   

It was great to reminisce with the whole family!  I even learned a few things about Grandma that I didn't know!

We love you Grandma!

See you in Heaven!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Quick Nate Update!

We just got back from Nate's appointment.  I was praying for 'good news'!  Here's the run down!

Nate did really great for his EKG and echo.  The tech who did the echo did not know Nate's background or history.  About 30 seconds into the echo he asked us - 'Do you know what's going on in here?  And would you care to tell me?'  We all got a little chuckle out of that, and it reminded me how uniquely special our Nate is.  You would never know just looking at him, the complexity of his heart condition.  Our tech took some extra time to show us Nate's heart on the screen, which was helpful to put into real images all of the different aspects we've come to talk about so easily.  He showed us in 'real time', the leaky tricuspid valve, and how so much of the blood that was being pumped was coming right back down into the ventricle.  He commented how there was a LOT of leakage.  My heart sank right there.  

After the echo, we had some time to sit and wait before seeing the cardiologist.   I told Don - prepare yourself to talk about surgery.  It was good to have the time to just try to wrap my head around the idea.

When we went in to see our Dr., she told us there was little change from last time.   And even though the leakage is still quite high, the good news is that he is not yet in heart failure.  For that reason, they are comfortable holding off on that surgery (tricuspid valve replacement) until he is a bit bigger or until he would begin to show signs of heart failure.

Nate also started his RSV injections - once a month for the next 6 or so months.  This is to help protect him against RSV.  Older children and adults may get RSV but not even know it, but for babies under the age of 2 who are "high risk" with either heart or lung issues, or are preemies, this virus is can be very serious and cause hospitalization.  They stressed how important it is to protect him from anyone who has cold or fever symptoms.  

The other good news it that it was a very quiet ride home.  Nate slept the whole way (rare!).  After 4 Timbits, Brady also fell asleep.  Huge thanks to Auntie Bonnie, Owen, Avery and Rylan for letting Brady play there all afternoon, and for the yummy lunch!!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Don brings home the latest addition to our family!!

One week ago, we met a fabulous couple from Edmonton.  How did we meet them?  If you can believe it, through Kijiji!!!  Here's the story....

Don and I have been searching for a jeep for months.  Until now, we've only had one vehicle.  With Don working in Morden, it meant no motorized means of transportation for me - which I've been totally fine with.  I have put lots of miles on my stroller and Chariot.  But this winter, it was becoming clear that I'd be needing my own vehicle - more appts with Nate, and just needing to get out of the house!!  And so the search began.

If anyone has ever shopped for Jeeps - you know they are hard to come by in these parts.  Alberta and Ontario, for obvious population base 
reasons, seem to have a lot more.  We've spent a lot of time checking into the ads on auto trader and other sites.  Most jeeps are sold within hours of being listed!  And seeing as how we can't just zip up to Edmonton or Calgary to look at one on any given evening, the probability of us getting what we wanted seemed to slim!

Last Monday, one popped up into our radar screen 
on Kijiji!  Don called (and wasn't the first)  and had a wonderful conversation with T, the original (and very loyal) jeep owner.  She wasn't going to sell her jeep to just anyone who offered her the cash!  (I'm totally understanding the protectiveness owners have over their jeeps - just ask my mom about her green "Tienne" baby!)
To make this story short - she picked us!  And what followed were a series of fun 'getting to know you' emails.

Don got back from Edmonton this afternoon - very proud of his new set of wheels.  I was so touched by the gift package T sent along with Don.  (We had talked about sending Don to do some shopping at West Ed Mall, before he'd come home, they just got a Bath & BodyWorks!)  Take peek at the pampering I'll get in the next little while!  Those peppermint candy looking things are actually peppermint bath fizzies!!   When's the last time you got a care package like that from the people who sold you a vehicle?  

What a blessing!

Friday, November 7, 2008

It's something

Well, it's November 7th and still no trees...

However, this snow has gotten me a bit more motivated, so in the 3 minutes that I had, I did get started.

Here's the before:

And here's the after:

Did ya see it?  Hee Hee!!   Like I said, I had 3 minutes!!!  The real mantle-scape will come...but for now I'll just enjoy my Christmas berries!!

Here's Brady - loving the snow!  He's outside shoveling the front yard as we speak!


Sunday, November 2, 2008


My friends that know me well, know that I am all about Christmas.   Christmas music, Christmas decorating, Christmas gatherings, Christmas baking, and on and on!  My middle name should be Christmas (although Carole Christmas doesn't really roll off the tongue, so I'll stick with Carole Renee!). The truth is, that to my parents, I'll always be their "Christmas Carole", seeing as I was born on Dec. 26th. Maybe that's why Christmas has always been the most special time of the year for me. Throw in our wedding anniversary on Dec. 1st and you've got another reason to celebrate!

For as long as I can remember, my family has always gathered on Christmas Eve. I think that is my favorite day of the year - I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate Christmas than with my family. After the Church program, everyone heads to Mom and Dad's for the best meal of the year. Dad bbq's the biggest, baddest steaks you've ever seen! It used to be steak, salad, garlic bread, and home made icecream for
 dessert (also made by Dad). Now, with the growing family, for some reason the menu has also grown to include beans and schmaunfat, potatoes and more salads (and of course, candy for Kerry and me, the sugar addicts... remember those orange slices?).   We always read the Christmas story and have a time of prayer before getting to the presents.  We try to get some hot tubbing in too.  It's such a perfect night!

Now, back to the part about being late....
As long as we've been married, Don has given me one rule about decorating for Christmas....It CAN NOT start till November 1st! That is the day that I always look forward to. Before setting up the trees (there are 5 of them, but really, 3 are in a cluster in the living room, so that actually only counts as one, plus one in the dining room and one in the sunroom!) I first have to set the mood. This ALWAYS involves putting in a very old but classic Christmas CD by Amy Grant from the 80's. This has got to be one of my favorite songs!

So fast forward to last night, about 4:00 in the morning, while I'm up with Nate. I suddenly realize it's November 2nd...and the thought of starting to decorate hasn't even crossed my mind. Talk about reality check. Suddenly those things just don't have the priority they once did. Although I have to remember that life still needs to include all the 'normal' things that it always has.
So, I will get to the trees sooner or later. But for now, I'll just prepare my's never too late for that.

This is definitely NOT a picture of my house, but a girl can dream, can't she?!

I just had to add this, I'm sure my family will LOVE me for doing this!  Last year, we played a little game.  Everyone got a piece of paper and had to hold it behind their back and try to rip it into the shape of a Christmas tree!  It was a lot of fun.  Some turned out a little better than others!