Monday, February 28, 2011

Sophie's Main Squeeze

The love of Sophie's life, at least during our stay in Utah, was definitely my parents' voluptuous yellow lab, Lucy.  Sophie would pretty much giggle non-stop whenever she was close to Lucy.  She likes Tucker (their other dog), too, but Lucy will lay around and let Sophie do whatever she wants to her, so she's Sophie's very favorite. 

Sophie's favorite thing to do?  Feed Lucy scraps from her high chair tray.  She would just laugh and laugh while Lucy devoured pretty much anything she was offered.  She's definitely a dog lover.  Maybe we should get one...

...or maybe not!  I'm pretty sure she ingested more hair in 2 weeks than most people would in a lifetime.  She really likes licking things...

Anyways, here are some more pictures of Sophie being her adorable self:

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Trip Out To Utah!

So, we had been planning to drive out to Utah for quite a while, since Michael had a conference for work in Salt Lake.  When Danica got sick a couple of days before we were supposed to leave, we thought about rearranging plans for me and the kids, but decided it would be best to still go, and we could change plans from Utah if I needed to go see her, etc.

So, off we went!  We started our drive on Thursday morning, Feb 3rd, and had a great trip out!  Seriously, it was so well organized!  We only drove for 7 or 7.5 hours each day and had hotels with pools so the kids had things to look forward to.  Then, most exciting of all, we stopped off in Fort Collins, CO on Friday night to visit with a dear friend of mine, Anna.  We haven't seen each other since we were about 14, but that didn't matter a bit!  We had such a great time.  She's married now with sons Ryan's and Calvin's ages, so those boys had the greatest time together ever.  Ryan keeps asking when he can see his new friend again.  So cute. 

So that was definitely the highlight of our trip out.  Thanks for letting us stop by, Ben and Anna!  Hopefully we'll make it out there again sometime soon (ish--I need a while before making that drive again!).  We had a great time!

Little plug for Ben and Anna, by the way.  Anna's had some crazy medical things making it difficult (life-threatening) for her to have any more kids biologically, so they are really hoping to be able to adopt a new little brother or sister for James and Jay.  Let me just tell you, you could not find a sweeter, better family.  So if you know anyone who is looking for adoptive parents, please send them to their adoption profile here.

They are seriously the best!

So, without further ado, here are a couple of pictures of our visit with them!

The boys, having the time of their lives!  Ryan's favorite thing: James.  Ryan's second favorite thing?  James' pop gun.  Pictured below. (Anna's carrot cake was a close third.)

Me and Anna

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hello from Pittsburgh!

Hi, all!  It's been about a month, so sorry.  But we've been busy.  Quick recap:

-Danica in hospital
-Drive to Utah
-Ear infections
-Ryan's 5th Birthday!
-Drive to Idaho
-Allergic reaction to penicillin
-Drive home from Idaho
-Fly to Pittsburgh

So now I'm just sitting here, kicking it with Danica while she has dialysis. Actually, she's unconscious, so I'm mostly just kicking it with myself.  But anyways, I got here on Thursday around lunchtime and it has been so great to be here with her spending time together.  We've mostly been doing madlibs, playing scrabble, watching the first 4 seasons of Modern Family, and of course talking a lot.  It's been so nice to be able to spend some one on one time with her.  A big thanks to Michael for staying home with the kids, you're the best, Honey!

So things are going well for Danica today, after a pretty bumpy road the last week.  They were going to release her on Wednesday, but then they found that her hemoglobin count went way down, so they did a scope into her stomach and found an ulcer that was bleeding pretty profusely.  So it was a big bummer for her that she couldn't go home.  Zack was already even on his way to pick her up.  So that was a let down.  But they fixed the ulcer Thursday morning, and it went really well.  They were doing the procedure when I got into town, so I checked into my hotel across the street and when I got over to the hospital she was just coming back from that, and was pretty heavily sedated, but definitely still Danica, cracking jokes and being pretty funny.

I think Thursday night was a pretty rough night, she's just really tired of being here.  It's been a month, I really don't blame her!  Anyways, so I slept in her room on Thursday night and on Friday we got the good news that her blood level numbers were up high enough to finally do the kidney biopsy they're been trying to do for a couple of weeks.  So she had that done yesterday.  Best part?  She could eat afterwards!  This poor girl has been on a "nothing by mouth" diet for pretty 2 or 3 whole days.  Plus she's on steroids, which increases your appetite.  I can't even imagine.  Anyways, I picked her up a nice chicken pot pie, corn bread and yams from Boston Market and she finally got to eat, poor girl.

So, today is looking up!  We'll have biopsy results by Wednesday, and then hopefully they will actually know what's going on.  Her numbers were up higher today than they were yesterday, and they were pretty good yesterday, so that's great news.  If all goes well, she'll be going home tomorrow.  Let's hope it does!

It has been great to be here with her.  It's sad that it's taken her being in the hospital for me to get my hiney to Pittsburgh to spend some quality time with her.  And I'm sure it will only get more fun once she's not drugged anymore :)

So stay tuned for more news and posts from our whirlwind month.  I think I'm going to start on them now and schedule them to be posted over the next week or so.  It will pretty much be REALLY EXCITING!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I know, I'm sorry, I have owed you all an update for a while now, but things have been pretty crazy around here, so I have been neglecting my blog. But first off I just wanted to say how much I appreciate all the care and concern that has been expressed for my sister, Danica. It's been a really touching experience, so thank you.

Danica is doing much better than when she was admitted, which isn't hard, since when she was admitted she was literally at death's door. She is now stabilized and slowly (very slowly) regaining her kidney function. She still needs regular dialysis, but hopefully in the near future she won't need it as often.

Whatever it was that led to her sudden kidney failure is still something of a mystery, and appears to still be working against her. The immunologists and hematologists there are conducting ongoing testing. In the meantime, she has to have daily treatments in which her blood plasma is replaced with new plasma (plasmapheresis) to remove the antibodies that are attacking her blood during a 3-4 hour long procedure.

Since the underlying problem hasn't been solved yet, she has to stay in the hospital for at least one to two more weeks and maybe even several weeks longer than that. Sometime soon I'm hoping to head out to Pittsburgh to spend some time with her and keep her company.

Anyways, that's the update on Danica. Thank you again for your thoughts, prayers, and concern for her. We are all grateful to you.

Here are a couple of pictures we sent to Danica.    If you can't tell, this one spells out "get well":

And sweet little Ryan, as soon as I told him that Danica was sick, thought for a minute and then ran to the bathroom and got out his beloved blue m&m chapstick and told me he wanted to send it to Danica, along with a picture of him and Cowie, because he thought that those would help her feel better.  Here is the picture of him and Cowie that we sent along with the chapstick:

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Can you spare a brother some change

Ryan had earned a dollar a few days ago and decided it would be nice to share with Calvin.