Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hiking, Hunting, and Fishing in Vacationland

For about twenty years I have not been able to figure out why Maine is called Vacationland. Who (besides the Bush's) vacations in Maine? What in the world is there in Maine? Well, now I know.

Brian and I recently spent 19 1/2 hours in Freeport, ME. Now I can kinda see why Maine is Vacationland but it's a different kind of vacation then what I would normally consider a vacation. This is vacationland for those who like the outdoors. Things like hiking. Or kayaking. Or hunting moose. Things that are not vacation-y to me at all.

This also explains why L.L.Bean does so well in Maine. They actually have a campus of retail stores in Maine. We're talking TONS of square footage. From what we saw there is a Hunting & Fishing store, a Flagship store (mainly clothes, coats, and of course, boots), a Bike, Boat, & ski store and then an Outlet store. This is the outdoorsman/woman mecca.

Look at the huge L.L.Bean boot outside of it's flagship store! How can you NOT take a picture in front of that thing??!?!

But then I got a little nervous when we walked into the hunting store and this was on the door:

YIKES. What is the need for a firearm in Freeport unless you're holding up an outlet store? Maybe bringing it in for repairs? So maybe Maine is like the South??

This is the stuffed moose that was mounted above our table at lunch. It's weird to eat a meal with a dead moose hanging over you. It felt a little unsanitary.

All joking aside, we loved Maine and especially Freeport. We would love to go back again but with our schedules it probably won't happen for another 15 years. Here's to our Maine Trip 2023!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

9 Out of 10 Dentists Recommend...

This is a picture of a tube of IcyHot. While some might think that this tube of IcyHot resembles a tube of toothpaste, I'm pretty confident that most will not agree.

Last week mom and I were still at Kristen's house for Maddie's surgery. Mom was getting ready for bed upstairs and I was trying to find my cell phone downstairs when I heard an awful noise. I ran up the stairs to see my mother with her hand to her mouth.

Unbeknownst to her, she had grabbed the large tube of IcyHot instead of her incredibly small and clearly labeled tube of Colgate toothpaste and brushed her teeth. Completely and thoroughly brushed her teeth. She later said (after the effects of the IcyHot wore off) that she noticed something was different but she just thought it was a new kind of mint flavor with a noticeable slow burn. By the time she had finished brushing she was starting to realize that something was not exactly right.

She had some concerns as to whether or not she could die from the IcyHot but I was laughing too hard to really think deeply about that. Time has proven that ingested IcyHot, while it won't kill you, will spread a lot of laughter among many, many people.

I have kept my word and have not posted any of the FIVE pictures I have of her trying to get the IcyHot out of her mouth. I should get free babysitting for that. Wait. I already do. THANKS MOM! I LOVE YOU!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

So...what have you done this week?

I took a lot of pictures last week for Maddie's surgery. I thought I'd make a couple of posts about the different things that happened.

If you read my sister's post, there is no need for me to go over everything. So I'll just re-cap a lot of the details on Maddie's surgery.

Oddly for Maddie, she had a very difficult time sleeping the night before the surgery. She probably felt the apprehension that we were all emitting.

I had set my alarm for 4:30am so that I could be ready to go to the hospital with Mark, Kristen, and Maddie at 5am. After finally going to bed at midnight I think I woke up every hour. Finally at 4:15 I just decided to get up and get ready. As I walked into the bathroom my mother popped out of no where to announce that Kristen had been up most of the night with Maddie. Apparently Maddie wanted to eat but obviously, due to the surgery, she couldn't.

There was nothing that I could do about that so (according to my mother) I shut the bathroom door in her face. About 20 minutes later I was ready to head to the hospital. I walked into my bedroom to find Kristen in my bed with Maddie. "Kristen - what are you doing?!? We're leaving in 20 minutes!" "umm, no...we're leaving in 1 hour and 20 minutes." "what??.....oh my gosh, I never changed my phone to central standard time." I had actually set my alarm for 3:30am CST. So the good thing was that I was able to take care of Maddie while Kristen showered and got things ready for the surgery. The bad thing was that I had no idea what kind of night was ahead of me in just 18 was going to be a very long day and upcoming night (the honest to goodness worst night of my life).

Here is a picture of Maddie on the way to the hospital at 5am (central standard time, for those of you who haven't gotten off eastern time yet). At this point she has no idea what she is in for. Later, Kristen and I decided that Maddie would never wake up in the middle of the night again. The one night she has problems sleeping we take her to the hospital, cut her chest open, stop her heart, and then stitch her back together. That'll teach her! I think we just cured any sleeping problem Maddie would ever have.

As most of you know, my sister blogged the whole day so we could all keep up with the status of the surgery. There were at least 10 people from her congregation (Hillsboro church of Christ) in the waiting room at any given time. That doesn't include all of Mark's family and our family. We took up 1/4 of the waiting room.

I love Vanderbilt Children's Hospital. This was our second stay there and I can honestly say that if my children ever need service from a children's hospital, they will be medivac-ed to Vanderbilt. The staff is loving, caring, and completely understanding of when we had questions...lots of questions...along the lines of: how many of these procedures have you done? how do you know how much pain she is in? on a scale of one to ten, what is she now and when will she be a one? what is that tube? what does that monitor regulate? etc....

Anyway, there was a flat screen tv in the waiting room that let you know the status of your child. We didn't actually need this screen since the attending nurse in the surgery was calling us every 1.5 hours to let us know what was going on SPECIFICALLY during the surgery. It was weird to receive the call telling us that they had just stopped her heart and she was on bypass. As in - a machine was keeping Maddie alive. They had stopped her God-made machine and we were depending on the man-made machine. It made us a little nervous, to say the least.

Obviously the surgery was a success! But what about Ruthie?! What was she doing the whole time? Did she have any sympathy pains? Did she miss her sister? NO. She couldn't care less that Maddie wasn't around. She was loving all of the one-on-one attention she was getting. She was made to be an only child and she will be very surprised when Maddie returns this weekend. (what? where did that chick come from? I thought they had gotten rid of her for good!)

Here is Ruthie after finishing her lunch. Mom never noticed that Ruthie was in a high chair that was completely uneven. But, then again, neither did Ruthie.

Auntie Katie and Ruthie. She was very cuddly that morning. That afternoon she puked on me. I guess that's how love is.

Ok, I attached this picture out of order and I'm too tired to move everything around. Here is Mark's mother (the girls call her Bobbi) talking so sweetly to Maddie. The thing I love about this picture is Maddie's face. She is plotting. Plotting her revenge on all of us involved in the surgery. Her eyes rested on each of us as we stood around her and I know she was memorizing our faces so she could remember who we were and what she was going to do to us when the time was right. I will never turn my back on this child for the rest of my life because I know she saw my face.

One of the best things about this week (other than the successful surgery) was that my friend from college, Ashley, came up to Nashville to visit. I got to meet her son Noah (who looks exactly like his father). Ashley is the kind of person that oozes goodness and sweetness (but is still funny and down to earth). If you're lucky enough to be around her, try to get some of that ooze on you because it will make you want to be good and sweet just like her. That's why I'm standing so close to her in this picture - I need as much of that as I can get since I was not naturally born with it like she was.

I can't say this enough - thank you all for your prayers for Maddie's surgery. We've said this before but I will repeat it until the day I die - we are thankful for the doctor's, their equipment, and for Vanderbilt - but it was God who we trusted the whole time.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Note to Self

Dad flew me and mom down to Nashville this past Monday afternoon so that we could all be together for Maddie's surgery.

Mom is under the impression that the backseats of the plane have more legroom than the co-pilot seat so I was given the role of co-pilot and mom cozied herself in the back.

Now, the only reason the backseat could possibly have more legroom is if the co-pilot has the seat scooted up to the very front of the plane. I don't exactly like that position because I don't like to fog up the instruments when I breathe. I prefer that my father be able to read what direction we're going in, what altitude we need to be at, and how much fuel is left in the plane. Little things like that.

After we stopped in Parkersburg,WV for a bathroom break and we were back in the air, I scooted my seat back to a more appropriate distance from the instrument panel. Mom immediately knee-ed the back of my seat and told me to move up. Instead of grabbing the door handle to pull my seat up I instead grabbed the "steering wheel" of the plane and pulled up. I think you can guess what the plane did. After my father corrected my slight deviation of our flight plan my mother got her legroom. And really, isn't that all that matters?

So this is just a reminder to myself that next time I need to scoot the co-pilot seat forward, there is no need to propel the plane into outer space.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Quick Post

I just wanted to let you all know that Maddie's surgery is complete and was successful! There were no complications or surprises. Thank you all for your prayers and THANK GOD for giving the doctors these amazing capabilities!

We will get to see Maddie in about an hour - only 2 can go in at a time so I'll probably be one of the last ones - but that's fine. Nothing else matters now that it's all over!

There are a few funny things that happened this morning that I'm sure either me or my sister will be posting about.

Now we all feel like sleeping. We are all exhausted and relieved, and basically just thankful to God.

Here's to a (hopefully) good nights sleep!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Maddie's Heart Surgery

So the day that most of my family has been preparing for is upon us. Tomorrow my 11 month old niece, Maddie, will have open heart surgery to close up the hole in her heart.

We have full confidence that God will take care of us and Maddie and that he has given powerful talent to the surgeons and nurses who will be working on her. We're still emotional wreaks though. So primarily, please pray for Maddie to heal quickly. Please pray that the surgery goes well and that the doctors have all had wonderful mornings, love their jobs, and want to make this the best surgery they have ever performed.

Please go to my sister's website for details: .

I'll try to update as well but I have no idea what my schedule will be like in Nashville.