Happy Birthday Oliver!

Last week our Oliver celebrated his fifth birthday. It was especially exciting because Oliver has been counting down to his special day for months. Throughout the last year he taped up pictures from a LEGO booklet on my bedroom wall so I would know just what to get him along with his own drawings of what to buy. In the days leading up to his birthday he reminded me that birthday's "are really fun if there are balloons".

Oliver is a sweet boy who knows what he wants and I love that about him. He's the first to offer a compliment and a very obedient child. He wants to make good choices and I can't imagine loving him more. I'm happy to report that Oliver's birthday was a happy one. He woke to the gifts he was hoping for and even a new bike! We took him out for dinner and ate cake to celebrate five years with our darling Ollie boy.

Spring Break At Home.

Yesterday was the first day of Spring Break around these parts. We're all so happy to have a rest from our normal schedules! After we were lazy all morning and the big kids' piano lessons were over we drove to our favorite place to buy Saltwater sandals. It's tradition!

A trip to the park and an evening at the driving range rounded out our day. It was a simple kind of day but I've started to realize that children don't necessarily need big extravagant vacations to make them happy. They need a little change from the routine, a frosty and an extra hug from mom. Vacations are wonderful but staying home and finding adventure in your own backyard is wonderful too.

Henry's Hands | An Update.

It's been a month since my last post. In that time I have thought about this space and wanted to give you an update but there hasn't been time to sit down and write up my thoughts. Those first few weeks after Henry's accident were rough. I was an anxious mess. Generally, I don't do well with wounds. I can handle scrapes from little bike crashes but Henry's hands were so, so much worse than that. In the beginning dressing changes were like my own personal nightmare. He was still in so much pain and his wounds were so raw, it took everything out of the two of us to get through them. But you know what? Everyday the dressing changes got a little easier. And Henry's hands began to heal! 

Two weeks ago Ryan and I took Henry back to Harbor View for his burn clinic appointment. We were so happy to go because we could see the progress he was making and were told over the phone it would possibly be our last appointment. Boy, whomever it was that gave us that information was sorely mistaken. At our appointment we learned that for the next year we can expect to visit the burn clinic every 3-4 weeks and that Henry will need to meet with his doctors through adolescence, perhaps longer.

Henry's right hand was burned more severely and has developed quite a bit of scar tissue. That tissue doesn't like to grow and stretch. Since there is still a lot of growing left to do we were instructed to stretch Henry's hands every ten minutes. Every. Ten. Minutes. The stretches we do will hopefully help prevent any future surgeries and loss of mobility.

So it looks like this is our new normal. Henry and I spend a lot of time playing with great big balls and small-ish toys to get his hands stretching naturally. Then, of course, we do the not so fun stretches. Some days are so good and some days are down right hard. I find myself counting down the minutes in the evenings until Ryan get's home to give me some relief. It's a lot like having a newborn.

Thankfully, Henry is happy! He is no longer on pain meds and developmentally he's right where he should be. I keep thinking how blessed we are that this happened while he was so young. He won't remember any of the pain he's experienced and hopefully we can prevent future pain by following his doctor's instructions. As for the other children, they are all doing great. They were present when the accident happened and witnessed the chaos that followed but have handled the changes to our "normal" routine better than could be expected. It's a miracle kids are so resilient!

Friends, thank you for the prayers and kindness you have shown our family. It is so heart warming to hear of your children praying for our boy. How good you are to remember him.

Henry's Accident.

10 days ago our little Henry had an accident. It was Sunday evening and we were visiting Ryan's parents. We were all gathered in their great room chatting and watching the Olympics. Ryan's dad had just turned off the gas fireplace because the room was getting stuffy when suddenly I heard Henry whimpering and saw that he was touching the hot glass. It was as if he was paralyzed- he was in shock and couldn't pull away. Ryan was two feet from him so he quickly pulled Henry from the fireplace. I snatched him up and ran for the kitchen sink to run cold water over his hands. We instantly saw the extent of the burns and put him in the car and drove to the emergency room. When we reached the emergency room they whisked Henry back and gave him a morphine shot almost immediately to help with the pain. This sequence of events took place in 10 minutes but felt as though time had stopped.

It was traumatizing to see my sweet baby in so much pain. I've gone over and over in my head how we could have missed seeing him get close to that fireplace. There were 10 of us in the same room, merely feet from him and no one saw exactly what happened. We don't know if he lost his balance and fell or if he saw his reflection and touched it. Within the last 10 days we have visited the emergency room 3 times and flown to Seattle to see the burn specialists at Harbor View Medical Center. Henry has second and third degree burns on his hands, forehead and nose but he's taking everything in stride. He's doing better than me, I think. One of the most challenging parts of this trial is having to stretch his little burned hands 5 times every hour he's awake. (Henry's burns cover all of the creases in his palms and fingers. If we don't stretch his hands we risk him having limited mobility and use of his hands in the future.) It's a painful process for the both of us. His entire life I've tried to shelter and protect him from pain and now I am the one administering it.

Even through this trial it is easy to see the blessings we have been given. There are far too many to list. How thankful I am that my Heavenly Father is aware of Henry, loves him and has sent angels to comfort him. I feel comforted and uplifted too. Thank you for the prayers, emails, cards and healing thoughts you've sent our way. It has taken me awhile to update this space but many of you have reached out since I posted the news on Instagram and for that my heart is full. You are good to us.

For now, we aren't exactly sure of the prognosis. On Friday, Ryan and I will remove the bandages the burn team applied 8 days ago which will give us more of an idea how things are healing and how the stretching exercises are going. Thanks to technology we can email pictures of Henry's hands to our doctors in Seattle and they can decide what the next step will be.

Party Blower Valentines.

Valentine's Day is an occasion to celebrate so what's better than handing out cute party blower valentines to your friends? Audrey and Oliver are so excited to give these to their classmates this year. Originally, Oliver and I had other plans for his valentines but the second he saw the party blowers his mind changed pretty quickly.

If you're a last-minute-valentine-maker like I am, you're in luck! You can download the free printable right here. I bought our party blowers at Wal-Mart but you can find them almost anywhere in red. I used this cute scalloped heart punch but that's totally optional. If you don't have one on hand or don't have time to order one, just cut around the red heart. You will need a hole punch large enough for the party blower to slide through. I used this 1/2" circle punch.

You can find more of my original Valentines ideas here: