Sunday, August 25, 2013

Under the weather

This little man isn't feeling well
I know it's hard to tell from the picture!
He is so good natured I can't even stand it.
But he is coughing and his O2 sats are up and down, and this mama is a bit discouraged.
It's so hard to know what to do with this little man.
Taking him into the ER almost always results in a admission and a 3-4 day commitment of being at the hospital. 
Now if that is what he needs then yes we will be there. But other times he is fighting a virus and all they do are breathing treatments and o2 and we can do that at home. 
It's always a hard call to make. One that I pray fiercely about and hope I make the right decision. 
Either way this little trooper is a delight. I can learn a lot from his good natured personality. I'm sure that is one of the reasons he is here with me. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

School is in the air

Those lazy days of summer pass by in the blink of an eye. 
And back to the grind we go. There is something so good about routine for these kids of mine, and for that reason we embrace back to school and all hoopla that comes with it!

Here is this years line up:
Maddie: 4th grade

Ava: 3rd grade

Nora: 2nd grade

Jack: pre-k

Henry: mamas boy!

It's going to be a fun year!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

It's great to be 8!

4 of our 5 children have birthdays within a three week time span. (I know, I know...what's that all about.)
So back in July we celebrated this sweet one:
She looks real thrilled right.
 Poor Ava wasn't feeling so well on her birthday. She decided to try a price if cake and it didn't stay with her for very long. But her brothers and sisters had no problem enjoying the cake for her.
Why the safety glasses??? I'd like to know that myself...
So Ava had a bit of a rough day but the real treat of turning 8 is that Ava could be baptized. We decided to wait a couple of weeks for the baptism for family to get into town. 
While we waited her Aunt Nikki took some really cute pictures of her:

She so got to go on a baptism date with Mom and Dad. We had dinner at PF Changs. And we got to chat with her about her upcoming baptism. We wanted to make sure that she understood the promises that she was making with Heavenly Father and the promises He was making in return. 
It was a lovely night. And Ava beamed at having both parents to herself. That doesn't happen much in a family with 5 kids. 
Art put her up there to take that picture and she was very nervous about getting in trouble for sitting there.
We topped the night off with shopping for her baptism dress and getting her ears pierced. 
I think the ear piercing pics are on Arts phone and I need to get them but she was pretty upset about the ordeal. She was all smiles until that pain hit and then it was big crocodile tears.  I'd like to say she got over it quickly...
We sure love our Ava girl. She's is growing up fast. Here are 8 great things about Ava.
1. Her smile can light up a room
2. She is the comic relief in the family
3. She is very creative ( one time she played all afternoon with unopened salad dressing bottles) pretending they wee people.
4. She is a mother hen.
5. She is great at technology. I think in time she will teach me a few things.
6. She's a snuggler. She loves to climb up on my lap. Sometimes I have to remind her that she is getting a little big for sitting on laps, but most of the time I enjoy it. 
7. Ava is a foodie just like her mom. She always has turned her nose up at typical kid food....forget Mac and cheese she wants the good stuff!
8. Ava has a dynamic personality. She keeps life exciting. 
Oh how we adore you miss Ava.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Birthday Boy!

Every year I am always so shocked at how my kids have grown. It's hard to believe that this handsome boy is now 5. He is the first boy in our family and he is spoiled rotten by his sisters. 
I asked Jack what he wanted for his birthday dinner. He chose ice cream, very typical of this little boy. 
5 things I love about the birthday Boy:

1. He is a rule follower. He loves being obedient. What mom wouldn't love that.

2. He is a protecter. He guards his baby brother. It's not unusual to find Jack telling our home nurses which toys Henry likes, and what they need to be doing for them. 

3. He love to cook. When it's time to make dinner, He always grabs an apron and joins right in. He won't ever help out in the kitchen without an apron. 

4. He likes likes to be clean. He is much neater then any of my girls!

5. He still climbs into bed with me. And that means He isn't all grown up just yet, so I plan to soak it in for a little while longer. 
We are sure happy we have Jack!!
Happy Birthday buddy. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Doing Things a Little Different

        Henry is HOME. After over 4 months of Henry being in the hospital we finally got to bring him home the day before Thanksgiving. We were so excited we could hardly stand it. We had been working hard to get things ready for him here at home.

        We spent the day saying goodbye to some very special friends.
 Have I mentioned how much we grew to love the Drs and nurses who cared for Henry??
 They will always hold a place in our hearts.
Then we packed up and brought our little boy home!! It didn't take long for the excitement to fade and for reality to set in. Of course we were so happy to have Henry home but our life was going to be forever different. I spent Thanksgiving at home with Henry while Art took the kids to eat with his family. Because of Henry's respiratory issues it is important for us to keep him away from large crowds and is going to be different. 
         Our little (or not so little anymore) family has had the tradition of going to cut down a Christmas tree on Thanksgiving weekend. We have tried different places over the years but we loved where we went last year and the kids were already asking to return to that farm.  Determined to get a tree and keep some normalcy for our other kids, we made a plan to get a tree on Saturday.  Art agreed to stay with Henry and I loaded up the children. We bundled up for our tree "cutting" adventure.
We left the house and the kids were surprised when we arrived here:

     Yep, that's right, we are at Target. Because of Henry's breathing issues I didn't want to put him at risk by bringing new possible allergens in the home. We ALWAYS opt for a real tree. So much so that we didn't even have an artificial tree. So we went to "cut" one down together. 
It didn't take us long to find one that we loved.
On the way home we couldn't help but stop for donuts because we knew dad would be doing this:

Donuts and Hot Chocolate..what could be better?
Then we proceeded to decorate that new tree right up!! There was much glee as ornaments from years passed were unwrapped and memories flooded the air.

Dad and Henry decided to do this:
I started the day mourning the fact that our tree cutting experience would not look like it did in years past

And at the end of the day I realized that traditions are far less about what you do, and more about who you do them with.
I sure love this family of mine! They are crazy to the core, but they are mine! 

Monday, November 5, 2012


         Lately my heart has been so full of gratitude, that I fear it may explode. I feel very thankful that Heavenly Father trusts me to be Henry's mother. 
         Sure there are those days where I am overwhelmed with this great responsibility. I cry and wonder how I will ever be able to be enough for Henry and for my other children. But then I look at this sweet face and instantly my heart swells with gratitude all over again.                                                                 
Henry has these eyes. They seem to look straight into my soul with so much trust and adoration. Reminding me how blessed I am.
       I also have so much gratitude for so many friends and family who have served our family since Henry's
birth. My dear sweet friends saw to it that I had babysitting set up for my other children everyday that I needed it. I never had to request or ask. They just did it. And not for just a week or two. They have continued day after day, week after week for the last almost four months. Never tiring or allowing me to feel as though I am a burden. They cleverly have promised that taking my children was more of a help to them then a burden.
     Family has stepped in as well cleaning and babysitting and ensuring that not one need has gone unmet. 
I can't write a post about gratitude without putting in a word for the angels at Children's Hospital. Henry has been blessed to have been cared for by some of the most amazing people I have ever met. I am in awe as I have watched those dear nurses tend lovingly to my son and so many of the tiniest and most precious little babies. The Doctors, the therapists, the surgeons, even the sweet ladies that run the family center. Our family has been touched by so many wonderful and caring people it would be impossible to express the amount of gratitude I feel. 
    As we prepare to bring Henry home next week, it would be impossible for me to recount the experiences we have had up to this point. But it would be suffice to say it has been nothing but a roller coaster ride, with many difficult moments, and also some of the sweetest moments we have ever had. I haven't written on this family blog for some time now, but I hope that it can become a place for those wanting to keep tabs on updates about Henry's health and also on the rest of our family. Henry has been through a lot these last few months and he is a strong little boy. Most recently he had to have a trach placed to assist him in the difficulties he was having with his breathing. He also recently had casts placed on both of his legs to correct his club feet. We are busy learning all of his care in hopes to get him home next week. He will have a home care nurse that will come at night to watch over him during the duration of the time that he has his trach.  We could not be more excited to get him home.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Meet Henry

Henry Joseph Cartwright was born to our family on July 10th 2012. He tipped the scale at 5lbs 4oz.
He was born 6 weeks ahead of schedule, but his story started well before that. At our 20 week ultrasound we got the news that no parent wants to hear. Something was wrong. Our sweet baby was not moving his limbs as he should. We were sent to specialists who gave us a generalized diagnosis of Arthrogryposis. Really that term is just describing his symptoms of stiff joints. There was and still is no clear answer as to what caused this or why it happened as there is hundreds of causes.
Our world was turned upside down with this news. What would it mean for us. What kind of life would our little boy have. We worried and wondered but quickly we were blessed with peace.
We have already been blessed to have seen many miracles in Henrys life. The first was his birth itself. I was at a routine visit with the Fetal Treatment Center. I had an ultrasound and we discussed plans for his birth. A c-section was chosen based on safety for Henry. I mentioned my contractions I was having and the Dr suggested I head to the hospital just to get checked. I was annoyed at this seeming inconvenience but I went anyway. The contractions were showing that Henry was stressed. His heart rate was dropping occasionally with the contractions. The decision was made for us to stay over night as a precaution. Our other kids happily with their grandparents, Art and I tried to get settled for the night. A few minutes later the Dr came in to check me and they realized that I was starting labor. A c-section was ordered immediately. Within the hour my baby boy was born silent and blue wrapped in the cord multiple times. The Dr who delivered him spoke of how tightly the cord was wrapped around him and said multiple times "i've never seen anything like that." They rushed Henry away to be stabilized and I came to realize that had we waited much longer Henry would not have made it. We know that we had heavens help in getting him here alive.
First photo of the little man
                  My tiny baby was transported to Children's hospital and a new journey began.