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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas vacation part one

Caleb's recovery from RSV was slow and difficult. I spent the first few days of his illness taking him to the doctor and driving him around town to help him sleep in his car seat. One day, I put the DVD player in the car for Luke, and we went for a ride. Thank goodness for Luke's easy-going personality. Thank goodness also for Don taking the boys to and from school, so that I didn't have to take Caleb into any other germ infested sites. The steroid treatment that they gave him had a side effect listed as making him more vulnerable to getting sick. That was the last thing we needed!
We were in survival mode. House work was on the back burner. One day, I felt so frustrated, that I headed back to our bathroom during one of Caleb's naps to clean. It was a small part of the house. But at least it was something clean!
As the dust cleared from our crazy week, I realized that I needed to make preparations for our holidays down South. The boys' end-of-the-year activities were well under way, and although I was sad that I couldn't attend, I was more concerned about helping Caleb get totally well before our trip.
So the first leg of our journey started on Friday morning, December 18th. I had sent notes to the boys' teachers letting them know that we were leaving early. We were headed to Atlanta for the first night: to Sarah and Chris's house. Caleb did GREAT!!! The first 25 minutes or so -- getting out of Lexington -- were the most painful. He cried a lot. But he finally fell asleep. When he woke up, I fed him, we all ate lunch, and then he watched some of his Baby Einstein DVD. Don had invested in a sort of platform sort of thing from Best Buy that fit in between our two head rests. The older two boys watched movies on the DVD player mounted there. It fit just above Caleb's rear facing car seat. We had also invested in a smaller single screen DVD player just for Caleb. I would place it at his feet in his car seat. That worked out well, too.
We had snow in Tennessee, and some traffic to deal with off and on. But the most painful traffic was the last hour or so in Atlanta... Trying to get off at Sarah and Chris' exit was excruciating: we traveled a few miles in almost 30 minutes or something crazy like that. The boys were amazing--even Caleb!!! He would start to fuss, and I would just reach back and rub his head. He would keep watching his Baby Einstein DVD, and settle down. Unreal. Thank you, Lord!
When we arrived, Sarah and Chris were gone to a Christmas party. But Sarah had the house looking amazing, Christmasy, and there was even music playing in the background. A wonderful respite for weary travelers. :)
Jon David and Luke LOVED sleeping together on the futon. It reminded me of all of the times that Sarah and I used to sleep together on trips with our family growing up. They were giddy with excitement.
The next day, we had breakfast and just hung out. It was great. It was the Nicholsons' first time to see Caleb.
And it's pretty hard to post this picture without commenting on Sarah's photogenicness--although that's not a word.
Jon David had received a joke book from his teacher as a Christmas gift. GREAT idea!! He was on a roll reading Chris joke after joke. Jon David would read a joke, and give Chris the punch line, and Chris would laugh out loud every time! It was so sweet. And it really sounded like he was cracking up!

Hats off Chris. And love the hair!

Sweet Sarah made cookies with Jon David and Luke. Below is the evidence of Jon David's over exuberance about the sprinkles...

Oh, and she played a cool science game with them too. It was like a children's science trivia or something. They enjoyed it and did surprisingly well. Leave it to Sarah to have a science game in the house!

We had such a great time, Sarah! I can't believe I didn't take any pics of Emory that day! The boys had a great time playing with her. Thanks for being such a great sister and hostess!!!

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Above and below: Caleb @ 3 months.

Hopefully the title of this post will shed some explanation for the time laps since the last one... Well, besides the time of year. :)
So let's go back to the first Monday in December... . I had decided to host my fusion group--a group of seminary wives that meets once a month to chat, share prayer requests, etc... Part of my motivation was to be on location with Caleb, so that I could more easily put him in bed if I needed to, and not have to miss out too much on group time. He was awake at first and did well, considering that he had the sniffles... at 3 months!! We had decided that if he wasn't improving by morning, we would take him to the doc. When it came time for him to go to sleep, I nursed him to sleep but he quickly woke up when I attempted to put him down... Second attempt, also a failure. I decided that I would let him cry.
Enters the hero of the day: DON. He had taken the older two boys to childcare so that he could study, but told me that he was willing to come home and help out with Caleb if I was in a bad spot. So while Caleb screamed, I sent the SOS text message. Don promptly arrived and held him for probably almost 30 minutes while he screamed off and on, fighting sleep. When it was time for Don to go pick up the big kids, he came out and said that we needed to take him to the doctor tonight. Caleb was sounding a little "rattly" and wheezy... So as soon as Don left, I began getting Caleb's hooded, footed fleece on and fitting him in the car seat. I quickly explained the situation to my friends, who were also on their way to get their children. I think I left before all of my guests... Everyone was so nice and offered prayers, help with the kids... thanks, friends!!
There was not a whole lot of time to think. I acted quickly, and headed to the nearest ER: Jessamine County Ambulatory Clinic. Thank the Lord, they had me back in a room in no time. Thank the Lord, also, for Caleb falling asleep on the way there. They gave him a nebulizer breathing treatment. He did ok with that, protesting towards the end. I had to hold him in place for 10 to 15 minutes. He was diagnosed with RSV. I was very nervous, but the doctor reassured me that it didn't always have to be like the horror stories I had heard. She guided me through what to watch for. Unfortunately, with RSV, since it's a virus, you just have to wait it out. As good as the service was, it was 11ish by the time we got out of there: with a prescription that I wanted to fill right then. The nearest pharmacy that was still open was in Lexington--30 minutes away. Thankfully again, Caleb slept in the car. And on the way home, around midnight, I stopped by McDonald's to try the new brownie melts. Yum! A timely blessing for an exhausted soul. :)
Within 24 hours, I was back at the ER... Don and I saw Caleb's ribs retracting a little bit , and since that was something to watch for, we didn't want to mess around. Again I was seen quickly, again Caleb had to do the nebulizer breathing treatment. This time he HATED it!!! He protested vehemently. I had to hold his little writhing, screaming body and hold the cup over his mouth at the same time. And then they made him do it AGAIN, b/c they weren't sure how much he got the first time. They also gave him some steroids, and sent me home with a prescription for more. So once again, I went to the pharmacy before returning home, but this time I think I made it before 10:00 to the one in Nichoasville.
The next morning: Wednesday: more retraction, slight blue line above the mouth, slight flaring of the nostrils. Even though I had an apt. with the pediatrician that afternoon, I called in and they told me to come on in. This visit was the turning point for us. It was so nice to be seen by a pediatrician, and to get a more clear explanation about that to watch for, etc... However the ER docs were really great too. I just really appreciated the Ped (well, actually, it was a nurse practitioner) for taking all the time I needed and wanted to explain Caleb's situation. She prescribed the nebulizer treatment for us to use at home. After this visit, we felt like things started to look up, and Caleb began to improve slowly but surely. We didn't feel quite as panicked every time his breathing seemed rattly. We just gave him his breathing treatment.
By the end of the week, he was significantly better. We then had one more week before we left for our Christmas vacation down South. Don still had finals week, etc...
Don and I have struggled though this semester. It's tough when someone in the family is sick all of the time. The most difficult by far was Caleb getting sick, of course. Sometimes, it feels like you are all alone--without family to help, and sometimes it's hard to feel God, too. I look back now, and I can see His work, though. He helped Caleb and I at the emergency room: the doctors saw us quickly and he slept in his car seat. Also, He provided Don with the flexibility to help me during this time. Even though Don had to sacrifice study time, he was still able to finish his semester strong. I am so proud of him, and thankful to God for providing.
During all of the craziness, the boys still had school, and holiday activities. Luke sang in his December program. I had to stay home with Caleb, but Don and JD got to go. Here are a couple of clips. I know I am biased, but do kids come any more precious than Luke Jombers? ;)

I don't know if the illness brought this about, but Caleb has developed a squeak! :) It's kinda funny. Here he is "squeaking" at Don. I wanted to leave you all with an encouraging image of this sweet baby. Thanks so much for praying for him, everyone!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Thanksgiving of our very own.

A Caulley family first. After much deliberation, we decided that traveling South for both holidays with an infant would be too difficult. We opted to stay in our little Wilmore, KY for Thanksgiving, and to travel over Christmas when we all have two weeks off. I dearly missed being with my family! But it turned out to be a neat opportunity for our small, yet growing family, to make some unique memories together.
So we started off by roasting marshmallows in the backyard over a fire pit that Don beefed up. It was Thanksgiving Eve. We made smores and ate them. It was cold, and Caleb didn't last too long. But we had fun anyway! :)

On Thursday morning, I put the Turkey in the oven. Don did the dressing. A GREAT job, might I add. He also figured out how to make gravy! He made the pumpkin tea ring. When he went to take it out of the oven, he thought it didn't look quite right, then realized that he had forgotten to add flour. Classic. So I made another one later that evening. Good times. I was proud of him for trying!! I made Grandaddy's mashed potatos. Don also did the green beans, and opened the cranberry sauce. I was so impressed! It turned out great. Delicious. My husband rocks.

Side note: Caleb already LOVES his brothers. He cheers right up if he is grumpy and they come to talk to him and play with him. Jon David and Luke both are very helpful with him. They tell me when he is crying, and stay by his changing table if I need them too while I step away.

On black Friday, I went shopping with a friend. We found some great deals at Kohl's. Love it!
Then, Bama/Auburn game. Close one!

Saturday, we went to get a Christmas tree.

Caleb was a good boy in the car seat and stroller. :)

And then, we decorated, of course!

...with a little football on, too, naturally.

Caleb Thomas -- 3 months. And sweet Luke James.

Touch of reality: we have all been sick off and on since Caleb has been born. Most recently, Luke has an ear infection, and a low grade fever with cold symptoms. All three children have had a cough. And Don and I cycle in and out of feeling under the weather. We could use prayers for complete healing! And for not getting discouraged. Thankfully, the sicknesses has not kept us from having some fun. And God has taken care of us.

Below, a short video of Jon David reading a Christmas book to Caleb unsolicited. Unfortunately, I thought Don was trying to take a picture--not video footage. So my voice is much louder than JD's. Oh well. There ya go.


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