Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas to our family and friends

Turn off the music player at the bottom of the page before you play this video.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Specialist Aaron Aamot...A Hero Comes Home

Today the oversized American flag that flies in our front yard is at half-staff. Specialist Aaron Aamot’s body was returned to Ferndale, WA today to be laid to rest. Aaron is from Custer WA and attended Ferndale schools. Ferndale is just south of Custer both are small towns, just like so many other little towns dotted across the USA who have suffered a loss of their local heroes.

You see the news on TV, read it in the newspaper, it comes across the internet, and it is not until you are standing in a crowded street, no one is talking, it’s cold but no one is leaving, and everyone is waiting for a hearse to pass by, that it all hits home.

Friends who started Whatcom Homefront, that sends care packages to soldiers in war zones sent me an email and asked that I send it out to all my friends, which I promptly did. Then our local Harley-Davidson dealer gave permission to send the email to our Harley Owners Group which we did. We posted it on our chapter Facebook page and our chapter blog. A simple request, line the streets with people holding an American flag and signs to show support for the family and honor this young man who lost his life serving his country.

Waiting silently on the sidewalk in the cold crisp autumn air an Alaska Airlines plane circled overhead to line up for landing. This must be Aaron’s flight home. And then the unexpected, the Alaska Airlines plane circled Ferndale one more time before landing. Aaron’s last salute to his home town and those waiting to honor him.

Tears streamed down the solemn faces of those standing quietly holding American flags as the hearse finally passed by proceeded by a van with the color guard inside. Then the family drove by in multiple vehicles, and you could see the pain on their faces and their tear streaked cheeks as they looked out at the crowd who were watching them.

Young children, grandparents, and every age in between, people who didn’t even know Aaron or his family, but we all came to honor this young man who gave all for his country. Retired and active military personnel saluted as the hearse drove by; a WWII Marine in his dress uniform stood at attention with his flag and a sign.

I didn’t know the family. I didn’t need to know them to stand and hold a flag in his honor. When the motorcade procession was over people began to drift away from Main Street, stopping in front of the funeral home to place flowers in a make shift memorial and leaving their flags in a large garden pot by the door as they walked by.

May God bless this family and heal their breaking hearts from the sadness and grief.

Baby Kyler 11-09-2009

6 pounds 11 ounces and 19 inches long

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wednesday art card donation for charity

Wednesday art card donation for Stampadoodle.  Watercolor paper, acrylic paints, watercolors, ribbon.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Four Agreements

My life is great, husband, children, grandbaby, family, friends, but every once in awhile you hit a few bumps and it causes you to step back and try to figure out how to get make things right in your world.  My son Michael sent me this excert from the book The Four Agreements.  A friend shared this with him when he was having a few bad days.

1. Be Impeccable With Your Word

Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

2. Don't Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering.

3. Don't Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

4. Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Baby Kyler

Kyler is now 5 pounds, nursing from a bottle, wearing t-shirts, sleeping in an open bassinet, and had his air tube removed.  He does not like being burped.  He is healthy, happy, and his mom and dad can hardly wait until he can leave the NICU unit and they can take him home.

My heart is in Las Vegas with my grandson Kyler, my daughter Kelly, and my son-in-law Kyle and art is sort of the last thing I have been thinking about is art.

Scrapbooking is not my comfort level but due to unforseen events, it looks like I am back to designing the scarpbook pages for the girls at GRADS.  I havea to give the Mt. Baker Chapter Harley Owners Group Ladies of Harley a big thank you for supporting the GRADS program by donating the money to purchase the scrapbook materials each month for 18 girls.  Their teacher Patty has told me I need to do a page for Kyler each month like she does for her twin grandson.  Maybe this will motivate me to  get more creative.  I hope.

I'll post a picture after we have our class in two weeks. 

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Baby Kyler

Kyler is now 4 pounds 11 ounces.  He is starting to learn to nurse from a bottle and may soon be moved to an open bassinet.  He is healthy, happy, and growing. 

Please keep Kyler and his mom and dad in your prayers.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Happy 1 Month birthday Kyler


Home again. I’m packed, all the last minute things you throw in a suitcase. I’m ready…sort of. Kelly asked me to sit on the sofa and snuggle with her before I need to leave. It takes everything I have inside of me to hold back the tears but my voice cracks when I try to talk. I stay as long as I possibly can before kissing my baby girl good-bye and one last hug. I can’t cry, I can’t cry, I can’t cry. I need to see where I am driving.

Traffic isn’t too bad on the I-15 freeway and soon I arrive at the hospital. Baby Kyler is finishing his feeding and is warm and snug in his bassinet. I reached in to touch his cheek with my finger tips and then cup his head with my hand. He never stirs. I read “Goodnight Moon” to him then just stand watching the new man in my life, who has stolen my heart. His nurse talks with me and says what a good baby Kyler is. Feed him, change him, read to him, talk to him, and he is good. He is healthy and doesn’t require constant monitoring like some of the babies in the NICU unit. Kyler was so peaceful I couldn’t bear to open the bassinet to kiss the top of his head. Instead I kissed my finger tips and placed them on his head. I did this three times, once for great grandmother Breshears, once for grandpa Larry, and one for me, grandma.

I called Kelly to tell her I was leaving the hospital and that Kyler was perfect, just waiting for his mom and dad to visit tonight. This is no much harder leaving this time. It will be 2 ½ months before I see them again. Kyler will be so big at Christmas.

I returned the care to the car rental building and took the shuttle to the airport. I checked in through security, took the tram to my gate and then I called Larry. I am sure he must have wondered if I would really come home. I love Larry, body and soul, forever and ever, but the little guy is tugging on my heart strings.

Kelly said we should just move to Vegas so we could be close to baby Kyler. Maybe I should have played the slot machines while I was in Vegas and we could have retired in style. Maybe Larry should buy stock in Alaska Airlines.

The stewardess on the plane saw my tears and asked if I was okay. She brought me another napkin when I explained my tears and said she would pray for baby Kyler.


09-30-09 Wednesday

9-30-09 Wednesday

I took Kelly to the base hospital to take care of some of her insurance paperwork. Kyle called and said we could come out to the flight line to see where he works.

I saw the base commander on his way to pick up the Saudi prince, whose jet was sitting on the tarmac. The prince was going to get a personal tour of the base, just like me, well sort of. If anyone saw Top Chef in Las Vegas they had an episode at Nellis AFB this year and some of the people Kyle works with and the base commander were on the show. I saw the Blue Thunderbirds, the Red Horse Squadron, and way too many different types of jets and planes for me to remember. Kyle demonstrated with several of his co-workers a 60K tunner loader used to load and unload pallets of supplies onto the planes. It was fun to see where Kyle works and see how vast the base is.

Kelly and went to the hospital to see baby Kyler who was very content lying in his bassinet with a full tummy. He is now taking 35cc of milk. Kelly changed his diaper, took his temperature, and he slept thorugh it all. Kelly kissed him good-by and we left.

I dropped Kelly at Hooters Casino to take care of her work insurance paperwork and then we stopped at Lowe’s to find a few things to fix up the house. Kelly fixed salad and French bread for dinner.

When Kyle came home he had deep pink roses for Kelly. He is so sweet to her. And he had a card for me. Gotta love the boy. He loves my daughter, gave me a beautiful grandson, and calls me mom.

Kyle helped us hang the wooden letters spelling out Kyler’s name above his crib.

I checked in for my flight on line. I am taking Kelly’s wedding dress home with me to hang in her closet. Two suitcases, one inside the other. It all fits. Kyle came and gave me a kiss good-bye because he will leave for work before I get up in the morning.

09-29-09 Tuesday

09-29-09 Tuesday

Four weeks ago today, Kyler was born. Kelly and I went to the hospital early today to drop off more milk. They are increasing the amount they give Kyler every nine hours and fee him every three hours.

He looks so peaceful and rested. He tries to open his eyes when Kelly talks to him but sleep wins out. We stayed for about half an hour before we left.

Costco for groceries and then it was home for a rest.

Kelly and Kyle put Kyler’s crib together and grandma supervised. The new rug for Kyler’s room is down, the baby clothes are washed and put away just waiting for Kyler to come home.

We took a CPR class at the hospital tonight and the instructor also covered care seat installation.

Baby Kyler was stretching and looking at his mom and dad as Kyle read to him. Kelly ran her finger tips across his little head and down his cheek

Kyle changed Kyler’s diaper and the nurse took his temperature and weighed him. 4 pounds 3 ½ ounces. He is almost out of milk again so Kelly and I will make an early morning run again tomorrow.

The nurse swaddled Kyler up and let Kelly hold him for about 45 minutes. I left the three of them alone for a little while. I went back to the nursery and got to kiss baby Kyler goodnight on the top of his little head. 2 kisses. Sweet dreams baby boy.

Kyle has to be at work early so he went to bed and Kelly set up the diaper Jeannie and I took the stroller out of the box and she put the all pieces together. She likes putting things together and doing things for her son is important. Now all those cardboard boxes are in the garage waiting for recycle day next Monday.

Kyler - Monday 9-28-09

09-28-09 Monday

Today Kelly and I are shopped for the items that she still needs for baby Kyler. Sort of a whorl wind shopping circle around the North West section of Vegas. We stopped for lunch at Sweet Tomatoes, a salad, soup, and pasta bar then it was time to go home and rest.

We stopped at Target before going to the hospital when UPS called and said we needed to arrive at the UPS center by 8:30 PM if we wanted to pick up Kyler’s crib. There had been a mix-up in the shipping address and was taken to her old address. Kelly said “mom we have ten minutes so forget driving like a mom and grandmother and drive like you’re single”. About four miles in Vegas traffic, through the spaghetti bowl overpass (twist, turns, loops) across town and I got us there in twelve minutes. The agent was holding the door open and helped us load the crib into the car. Back to Target for a mattress and then the hospital.

Kyler finished all his milk Kelly brought to the hospital on Saturday. He is taking about 2 ounces every three hours for a total of 16 ounces a day. They are increasing his feedings every 9 hours. Kyler’s PICC line has also been removed.

I read “Goodnight Moon” to baby Kyler and then we left him swaddled up in his bassinet.

Diapers, wipes, washcloths, towels, changing table, bed, stroller, car seat, mom, dad….baby Kyler has it all and all he really needs is lots of love and that he has.

I love watching Kyle and Kelly with their son. They talk to him, touch him, sing to him, and he knows when they are with him.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

09-27-09 The baby shower


When I picked up my rental car, they were out of full size cars, so they gave me a Dodge Journey SUV. Good thing because the back end is loaded with gifts. I dropped Kelly off at Kelly Walkers home and headed to Costco and Albertsons to get the food for the shower.

Let the party begin. We had lime sherbet punch, sandwiches, pizza, chips, dips, snacks, M&M’s, and Nikki made cupcakes with baby faces. There were about 15-16 at the shower, some of the girls had to work and couldn’t attend.

Nikki and Kim had games for everyone to play with the favorites, trying to find a safety pin in the bowl of rice (it’s not as easy as it sounds…no one won) and the all time favorite was trying to figure out which melted, smooshed up, candy bars was in each of the 6 diapers. Everyone laughed, joked, and Kelly wound up guessing all of them correctly.

Baby Kyler wound up getting just about everything he could possibly need. A stroller/car seat combination, pack and play (sort of like a cradle/playpen), diapers, clothes, bibs, diaper genie, more clothes. It took a little arranging to get everything in my SUV when we headed home.

Kelly asked Kyle to help me unload a few things when we got home. Needless to say he was a little overwhelmed when he saw what was inside the vehicle. The living room looks like they are just moving in with all the boxes and bags. Kelly showed Kyle everything they received at the shower. They were truly blessed today with kind and caring friends and family.

A short rest and we head off the hospital to see baby Kyler. He is now 4 pounds 2 ounces. The boy is on a growth spurt! Kyler is sleeping and Kelly is exhausted so we only stay about an hour at the hospital and then head home.

Kyler 9-26-09


I woke with a sinus headache on Saturday morning and couldn’t sleep in. 7:45 AM and I am wide awake. Vitamins, Tylenol, sinus medication, and Starbucks coffee in a bottle, I should be feeling better soon.

Kyle went to the gym and Kelly and I are going to go garage sale shopping today and see if we can find some fun things for Kyler. After a trip to Babies-R-Us and sticker shock, we need to find some bargains, and we did. A glider rocker for $25.00 and not $300.00. Kelly said Kyle would come through the door, see the rocker and that would be as far as he went. Good thing I didn’t bet with her, I would have lost.

Kelly and I drove to the airport to pick up Marissa’s husband Brian because she had to work and Brian was returning from a training mission.

Nap time.

4 pounds. Wow. How amazing. The doctor said Kyler is on his last bag of vitamins, fats, and nutrients and when it is gone they will see how well he does off of it. If he is okay, they remove his PICC line in about a week. They will then take Kyler off caffeine and see how he reacts. There was very little residual left from his previous feeding.

Kyler had his eyes open when we arrived, lying on his tummy. He really responds very quickly to Kelly and Kyle talking to him. He ties to lift his head and move around as he listens to them and feels them touch him.

I brought a new Golden Treasury book with about 10-12 stories so Kyle would have something new to read to Kyler. Kyle was excited to read a story to his son (The Seven Little Postmen) rhymed and made sense.

It was Saturday afternoon in Vegas so we used city streets to get to and from the hospital. Kyle had dinner out with a friend and Kelly and I made a quick trip to the mall to find something cute for her to wear to the baby shower tomorrow. Other than the fire alarm going off in the mall, starting to evacuate, sort of, she found a cute tank top and cardigan sweater.

We stopped for tacos on the way home and early to bed. Tomorrow is a big day.

Kyler 9-25-09


We slept in a little and made a stop at Starbucks on the way to the hospital. A full shot of caffeine for me, a pumpkin mocha for Kelly with less caffeine, and a no shot, caffeine free strawberry-banana smoothie for Kyle. A few short blocks away Kyler had already had his morning shot of caffeine.

Baby Kyler is sleeping on his side and begins to stir in his bassinet as mom and dad talk to him and touch him. Kyle reads “Oh The Places You’ll Go”, not his favorite book, but reading to his son is a priority. As I look at my son-in-law, I am thankful he loves my daughter and grandson as much as he does. I am also thankful to have Kyle as part of our family.

I cupped Kyler’s head in my hand as Kyle continues reading, then placed a kiss on my finger tips and touched the top of his head. Kyle gave Kyler his pacifier and he seem to do really well with it.

The nurse got Kyler for Kelly to hold him, kangaroo style (skin to skin). I left the new parents alone with their son to have some quiet family time.

Please continue to pray for all the babies in the NICU unit. So many of them were born younger than Kyler have had so many more problems, even some of the ones born closer to term, are not doing as well as he his.

Nap time for the adults so we headed home. Kelly and I ran a few errands later in the day while Kyle went to the gym. Kyle was home when we returned but had a nasty looking bruise on his left side and was pretty sore. We decided to stay home and watch a movie. We'll go tomorow when mom and dad both can go. 

Kelly and Kyle called the hospital to check on Kyler and track his progress. All is well with Kyler and it’s time for bed.

Kyler 9-24-09

9-24-09 Thursday

I’ve had my red bag packed for a week…well almost; I keep adding little things to it. The red bag is filled with baby shower gifts. Scout the talking-singing dog from Leap Frog that is pre-programmed to say Kyler’s name. Bath towels to match the colors in Kyler’s room, books, toys, clothes, gifts from Norma and Patty Karcher. There’s a scrapbook with a special page for Kyler already made and enough supplies to keep Kelly busy for a long time. And photo paper for the computer to fill up those scrapbook pages. The rental car is booked and I’m checked in online for my flight.

Tuesday evening our new Harley trike arrived at H-D Bellingham. We picked it up on get grab my leathers and we would go for a short ride before I left for the airport. It’s a little different riding and not seeing over the top of Larry’s helmet will probably be my biggest adjustment. The fact that Larry has had the trike less than 24 hours and wants to ride it everywhere is a major plus for changing bikes. This will take the stress off his bad knee. We didn’t have the new communication system figured out so we had to just talk loud with our helmets bumped up against each others heads. Larry will have all these little details figured out by the time I return.

Larry dropped me at the airport and left after I got my bag checked in and a boarding pass in hand. I always get a little nervous flying alone. Did I forget something? This time I need to get my rental care and drive from the south end of Las Vegas to Nellis Air Force Base, and do it at night in a construction zone. Getting the car back to the rental return will be the hardest task.

This is such a different trip today than 2 weeks ago. Instead of worrying about an emergency surgery and emergency transport teams, this visit is all about visiting and celebrations. I am so excited to see baby Kyler. I know at 3 pounds 10 ounces he is still tiny, but he is almost a pound more than the last time I saw him, 2 weeks ago.

I used my 30 day base pass and arrived at Kelly and Kyle’s house about 9:30 PM. I unloaded my bags and we headed to the hospital. The nurse fills us in on Kyler’s progress since the day before. He is now 3 pounds 14 ounces and he fills out his little body. Kelly thinks he would have been between 7 and 8 pounds if he had been full term. Kyler tried hard to keep his eyes open as mom and dad talked to him. Kelly held Kyler during his feeding. When it was Kyle’s turn to hold the baby, Kyler spit up on him.

Even if Kyler were not my grandbaby, he would still be a really cute baby. I like the way he scrunches up his forehead and makes little faces. Wonder what he dreams about? Kelly said he doesn’t really cry any more when he gets a blood test but take his temperature, change his diaper, or give him a bath and he can cry and let you know he’s mad. The little guy is tired and we are too. Sweet dreams Kyler.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

Lungs...Ihave lungs...I can cry!

September 20, 2009

Kyler is now 3 pounds 6 ounces and gaining. They are soon going to increase his milk to 2 ounces and deliver it by a pump over half an hour. Kelly said he knows something is up when they start taking his temperature, changing his diaper, and getting him ready for his feeding. Now they use a syringe and do a gravity flow to feed him. Kyler still is receiving air, not oxygen. He also receives his caffeine twice a day.

Kyler has discovered he has lungs. He can cry and make himself known to everyone in the nursery. Not the little squeaky cry in the beginning, three weeks ago, but a full cry. Kelly said she thinks he cries just to hear himself cry. I told her this is just another step in Kyler taking control of her life and Kyle’s and they lost the battle the day they first set eyes on him.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Kyle and Kyler...father and son bonding

September 18th, 2009

Baby Kyler is doing well. They have increased the amount of milk they are feeding him and he is digesting it well. He weighs over three pounds now and after his feedings he usually wants to take a long nap. His nurses all think Kyler is really cute and they take good care of him. The nurses are also really good at answering questions for Kelly and Kyle and giving them updates when they come to visit. Kyler really likes it when his mom and dad hold him and does not like to be put back in his bassinet.

The baby shower is a week from Sunday so grandma is flying back down for a week. I have a suitcase full of presents, some practical and some fun. I even have a new book for Kyle to read to Kyler. Can’t wait to see baby Kyler and how much he has grown since I left. I hope he remembers grandma’s voice.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Kyler...September 13th

Kelly called about 9:30 PM to give me a grandma update on baby Kyler. They have given Kyler some medicine to help him digest the milk. He’s little and his system is still trying to make everything work correctly. They did another x-ray to make sure there was nothing wrong with his digestive system and it is good. The lights will probably come off in a couple of days and they have reduced his air to 1 liter.

Dirty diapers, wet diapers, it’s all a good thing.

Kelly and Kyle visited with Kyler Sunday morning and then went to Kim and Tony’s for dinner. Kim’s daughter is visiting and she is pregnant and due in December. Kelly Walker was there with her children. It was a full house for dinner.

Kelly and Kyle went back to the hospital in the evening. They each held Kyler for an hour and he did really well holding his body temperature. Kelly said Kyler pretty much slept through them holding him with just an occasional open eye and back to sleep. Kelly said that Kyler started crying when he had to be put back in the bassinet, spitting and throwing a fit. Guess Kyler knows where he feels safe and secure…his parent’s arms, as it should be.

Kelly read to Kyler earlier today and Kyle read “Good Night Moon” to him before they left.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Day 12 - September 12, 2009

Kyler was sleepy this morning. They have started his feedings again at 3 milliliters every 3 hours. They think they may be able to take the lights off in a couple of days. Everything else looks good and he is back on track.

Kelly got her haircut today. A short A-line style to make it easier being a new mom and getting ready fast. Kyle and Kelly ran a few errands and then it was back to the hospital in the evening.

Kyler is digesting his food but still is tired. It’s not easy being so little and having a bad day like yesterday. Sort of wears a little guy out. He is still getting his caffeine twice a day. Kyler was still a sleepy head tonight but was moving in his sleep quite a bit. I told Kelly that even though he may have been too tired to open his eyes, he found a way to let her know he was aware of her beside his bassinet.

Kyle and Kelly both left the hospital more upbeat tonight and in better spirits.
Please continue to pray for Kyler and all the babies in the NICU unit at Sunrise Hospital.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday September 11th

Well today baby Kyler had a setback. They began giving him 8 mil of milk and he was not digesting it. They did an x-ray and determined he is fine except for some gas in his stomach and he is not passing it. They have put him on an IV and taken blood for test so his little hand is bruised. He had several episode last night of sleep apnea so they have put his air tube back in his nose. They have also placed one of the lights back over his bassinet. What else? He lost a little weight because he didn’t digest the milk.

It is very hard on Kelly and Kyle today visiting their son. Kyler is so tired from the procedures that he slept the whole time they visited with him earlier in the day.

They think that Kyler was given to much milk and could not digest it. They removed the gas from his stomach but his body functions are not back to normal. He is on an IV drip for several days and will have another x-ray tomorrow to make sure nothing else is causing a problem. His protective eye band was placed back on him because the lights been turned on again.

The little guy was still pretty tired and slept with his parent watching over him during their evening visit.

Please continue your prayers for baby Kyler and his parents.

Thursday September 10th, 2009

It’s 8:30 AM and time to get ready to go to the hospital and then the airport. My ticket is purchased but I need to check my suitcase when I arrive at the airport. The drive from the hospital to the airport should only be about 15/20 minutes but it will be noon time in Las Vegas with the weekend crowd beginning to arrive in town.
Baby Kyler is asleep on his tummy. They just finished feeding him and he is content. We keep looking at him trying to figure out what is different today. Kyle realizes the air tube has been removed.

In his sleep Kyler grabs at his feeding tube and Kelly pries his little fingers loose. The nurse said she has seen babies pull it out. Kelly asks about Kyler’s weight and he has gained another ounce and is now 2 pounds 14 ounces. Almost back to his birth weight. He is doing really well on the breat milk and will be at 4 ½ pound in no time at all.

Kyler’s nurse is pregnant and due a week after Kyler’s real due date. She looks at Kyler and rubs her tummy and baby girl. Looks like Kyler has won over another nurse. Before she moves on to check the other babies, she comments on how cute he is. We all agree.

Kyler tried opening an eye but sleep won out. I had one more chance to read to Kyler and Kyle laughed because “Good Night Moon” seems to make him move around, and it did. We are satisfied to just site and watch this sleeping baby that we love so much.

Almost time to leave for the airport. I cupped my hand around Kyler’s head and he tried to open his eyes. His little body is squirming as I ever so gently touch his head and soft hair with my thumb. His eyes open and he sort of rolls his eyes backwards to where I am standing over the bassinet. Kyle said he was trying to look at grandma. I kissed my finger tips and placed them on the top of his head. I closed the bassient door and moved to the other side to look at Kyler’s face one more time before I left. Kelly said I would cry and I had to fight back the tears. Sweet dreams baby. Don’t forget my voice and I’ll be back in a couple of weeks.

Kelly asked if I minded being called grandma. No! I’m loving every minute of this and proud to have a grandson, my first grandbaby. When Kyler is big enough I take him for special trips to get hamburgers and play at the playground.

I promised Kyle I wouldn’t spoil Kyler with too many toys. Clothes, books, and lots of hugs, kisses, and love.

Traffic was light on the way to the airport. Check in was quick. The security line was really long. Two good-byes in one day is almost more than I could take. I kissed my son (son-in-law is just not enough to describe Kyle) good-bye, knowing he is taking care of my daughter and grandbaby. This is comforting because I know how much he loves them both.

Kissing my daughter Kelly good-bye was really, really hard. I know she is in good hand, but the mom in me wants to stay and take care of her. Ten days ago she had an emergency c-section and I remember how hard it is to be dependent on someone else to drive you places and do things for you. I had my mom and I feel like am abandoning her. I’m not; I know that mentally, my heart says something different.

I found a Starbucks and had the first cup of coffee in 10 days other than bottled Starbucks. Grandma needed a caffeine shot like Kyler. The plane is boarding early and I try to sleep the first half hour. It’s a long flight home and home seems like a million miles away from Las Vegas, even though it is only 2 hours and 40 minutes on this direct flight. Not as long as the flight I took on the day Kyler was born.

I made Kelly promise to give me daily updates and pictures. Maybe it will help the next two weeks go by quicker. I doubt it. Next visit is the baby shower.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

9-9-09 Wednesday

Wednesday 9-9-09

Kelly and Kyle spent the morning taking care of paperwork on base, making sure baby Kyler has medical coverage and a pediatrician when he is released from the hospital (this is one of the requirements for his release when he is ready).

Kelly didn’t get a lot of sleep so she napped in the afternoon after lunch. I fell asleep in the chair and when the phone rang I woke up to find Kyle had come home and was curled on the sofa with Kelly.

We left for the hospital about 4:00 PM. We arrived just in time to see Kyler getting his diaper changed and he peed on the nurse. So while the nurse changed Kyler’s bedding she needed Kelly or Kyle to hold him. She picked him up as an experienced nurse but to new parents it looks a little scary and Kyle reached right out to hold his son. When she found out the first time he had held Kyler, she moved Kyler around a little so he was snuggled up closer to dad.

Next was Kyler’s feeding and then his shot of caffeine. He didn’t have any episodes of forgetting to breathe today. Good job Kyler! Kelly said he needs to have 7 days in a row before it is safe to remove the tube that supplies air.

The nurse left the bassinet top off so we could spend more time with Kyler. Kyle read to him and I just admired my new grandson. I gave hugs to a couple of the nurses who were on duty the day Kyler arrived. The staff has been wonderful about answering questions, giving helpful suggestions, taking the time to just talk with Kelly and Kyle to make them more relaxed. The nurses all seem to love our baby Kyler.

Nikki came to visit to I went to the family room to wait while she had a chance to see the baby. Before Nikki left she came to say good-bye to me and let me know she is getting married in Oct. She will be a beautiful bride.

We left right before 7:00 PM to have dinner at BJ’s, across the street from Red Rock Casino. This is one of Kelly and Kyle’s favorite restaurants and Larry and I took them there when we were in Vegas in April.

Kyler was on his tummy when we returned with his legs pulled up under him. He tried to open his eyes but he had just been fed about an hour before and his tummy was full and he was tired. I read “Good Night Moon” to Kyler for the last time this visit. Next visit, grandma will have to bring more books.

Kyler raised his head up and turned it to the other side. The nurse said he was strong baby. She moved his head back to the other side and wrapped him a little tighter. We said our goodnights but Kyler wasn’t letting go of Kelly’s finer. She gently loosened his fingers and I whispered sweet dreams to him. Kelly kissed her fingers and placed them on his cheek and Kyle told his son he loved him.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

1 Week...

1 Week – September 8th, 2009

Kyler is one week old today. On the way to the hospital the kids were singing along to the music. When Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” came on they said that this was Kyler’s song and sang along.

When we arrived at the hospital they had removed his lights and a blanket was over the top of the bassinet to block out some of the noise and keep the heat in. He has gained an ounce and now weighs in at 2 pounds almost 13 ounces. He is digesting his milk well and they fed him while we were there. If he keeps progressing this well then they will increase the amount they feed him in several days.

Kyle decided if he was going to read to his son, he would pick the book. He has been reading The Ultimate Athlete, so he started reading to Kyler where he left off from the last time he read from the book.

Kelly changed Kyler’s diaper and then the nurse got him swaddled up so Kelly could hold him. Because the nurses were all busy with another baby, Kelly got to hold Kyler about twice as long as she normally does. She can start kangaroo holding tomorrow (skin to skin). Because Kyler is a preemie, they only like to have him out of his bassinet once a day so he does not get over stimulated. The nurses teased Kyle that he had to change a diaper before Kyler could go home.

If Kyler’s progress continues well, they will remove his air tube in a few days. They have it on the lowest setting now and it is air flow only, not oxygen. His preemie hats we bought for him are still way too big but he needs to wear one when he is out of the bassinet. I think Kyler is doing so well because we visit as much as possible, talking to him, touching him, and reading to him. We have been in and out of the hospital at different times and we haven’t seen other parents spending the amount of time that we do with Kyler.

Before we left, I got to kiss baby Kyler. Such a sweet baby and cute and handsome, and beautiful. Can you tell I’m a grandmother and really really love this baby boy?

Kelly is thinking ahead, knowing I will be going home in a few days. She asked if I could make some casseroles and put them in the refrigerator so they can just warm up food and not worry about cooking for a few days. Then she decided that since I was cooking, could I make special breakfast for her. Special breakfast is an egg, bread, sausage, cheese casserole that my mother made years ago for a holiday breakfast and it became my kid’s favorite breakfast at every major holiday.

We got home from the hospital and I left Kelly and Kyle to rest and I went shopping for food. Kelly requested chicken enchilada casserole, wild rice and chicken casserole, and a ham, broccoli, and rice casserole. I cooked and told the kids to go to the hospital to see their son together.

By the time they had returned I was finishing up putting the last casserole in the refrigerator and the special breakfast was coming out of the oven. The kids decided to eat breakfast for dinner. Somehow I knew Kelly wouldn’t wait till morning.
Kelly and Kyle said that Kyler slept the whole time so they didn’t stay quite as long and will go back tomorrow afternoon.

Day 7 part II

I awoke about 8:30 Am and thought Kelly was up and getting ready without waking me. No, it was Kyle starting breakfast and trying to let me sleep in. I sent him back to bed, finished fixing breakfast, served Kelly and Kyle breakfast in bed, and then we all went back to sleep after calling the hospital to check in on Kyler. It’s been a long week.

Kyle had to load the passengers on the plane and load their luggage before he could board the plane. He then had to unload the passengers, unload their luggage at the next stop. He did this all the way home, over and over again. He didn’t care; he was coming home to his family.

Kim and Tony met us at the hospital for their first NICU visit with Kyler. Only three people are allowed at the bassinet at a time so I waited in the lounge with Tony and later Kelly stepped out with me so Tony could go in. They think our baby Kyler is pretty amazing and they should since they are the Vegas grandparents.

Kyler does not have an infection. The problem with his leg was either a reaction to the tape or something they used to clean his leg. His skin is very sensitive right now. They have decided to put a new PICC line in because it can last up to 30 days and an IV can be a matter of days. At first they were going to leave the IV line in as a backup, but then decided to remove it completely. Baby Kyler didn’t fuss too much when they put the PICC line in. It runs from his ankle up his leg and into his chest. Scary! He has gained an ounce and seems to be digesting the milk without to many problems. He is now on a three hour schedule for feedings.

Mary the charge nurse who helped get Kyler set up when he arrived last week was on duty today. She checked his progress when he came in and told me that he was doing just fine. All the nurses say he is spunky, feisty, lively, active, a mind of his own.

We left around 3:00 PM and went to Tagashi House for lunch. Then it was home and nap time before the evening visit. Kelly wanted to fix Kyle’s favorite dinner, onion burgers, and her grandmother’s recipe.

Off to the hospital. Kyler is resting with his legs out of the roller blanket they try to keep him snuggled into. Exerting his power and control. We each take turns reading books to Kyler. Kelly read Who’s My Mom, Kyle read Hop On Pop, and I read Good Night Moon.

Kyler has had a big day changing out his IV and PICC lines and everything looks good this evening. He is sort of worn out and sleeping with an occasional leg that kicks straight up into the air. He recognizes his mom and dad’s voices and he takes hold of their fingers as they touch him and talk to him.

His nurse check in with Kelly and Kyle and give them his updates since we were there in the afternoon. She calls Kyler the “little man”.

I kissed my finger tips and placed them on Kyler’s cheek then said goodnight. I left Kelly and Kyle alone with their son and went down to the family lounge to wait.

I’m not sure how I am going to leave this baby and go home. Maybe we could move?

We stopped at Dave’s favorite store on the way home, “Wally World” better known as Wal-Mart to pick up a few things. It’s only two blocks from the main entrance to the base so it is convenient. We watched a movie after we got home and just sort of kicked back and relaxed. Three visits in one day. Whoopee!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Day 6 and the early morning hours of day 7

Day 6 and part on of day 7

Sunday September 6th, 2009

Kelly and I had planned to get up and go to church with her friends Marissa and Brian. We didn’t wake up until 11:30 AM. I think the sleep did us both good. I fixed Kelly breakfast and we stopped to buy books for Kyler and then drove to the hospital.

The nurses don’t think Kyler has an infection. All his test are coming back negative and it was probably an allergic reaction to the tape. His leg looks better today and this is good news.

Kyler is on his tummy and looks like he is trying to do push-ups. He picks his head almost off the bed and it drops back down exhausted, and goes back to sleep. I read his grandma book to him “Good Night Moon,” and he settled into a deeper slumber.

Today there is only one light left on to give Kyler is Las Vegas tan. We are looking forward to the day when they turn the last light off. Kyler begins to wiggle his butt and stretch. The nurse said Kyler like to keep at least one leg stretched out but sometimes when she checks him, he will have his legs crossed. The first time the nurse brought Kelly to me after she was born and I took the blanket off to check out her fingers and toes, she had her legs crossed. Like mother, like son.

Kelly put her hand into the bassinet and Kyler wrapped his hand around her finger and held on. He reacts to her voice and touch; he knows who his mommy is. Kelly said the hospital treats over 700 babies in the NICU unit every year. This is the only NICU unit in Nevada.

Kyler is finally resting quietly so Kelly and I quietly slip out after she gives him a kiss on the top of his head and one on his cheek, before going home so Kelly can rest and take a nap. We will return in the evening.

I fixed pasta salad for Kelly’s dinner and we were watching TV when the doorbell rang. 10:49 PM and Kyle has arrived home. Not on emergency leave, he is back to stay and will be redeployed in about 6-8 months. For now he is where he needs to be, with his wife and baby. The first tears I have seen Kelly cry since Kyler was born streamed down her face as she wrapped her arms around her husband and gave him a kiss.

Kyle has been up for about 60 hours but wants to see his son. He worked a shift, caught a flight out to Romania, Ireland, Maine, and then Las Vegas. I don’t know if we will ever know who made the final decision to let Kyle return home, but I thank God they understood and let him come home. I am so happy for Kyle, Kelly, and Kyler.

Kyle gave me a hug and a kiss and when he found out we had pasta salad asked if I could just stay and not go home. I told him I didn’t think Larry would let me stay. He showered to get the desert sand off and then we headed off the hospital. Kyle bought gifts in Ireland for Kyler when he had a layover. He is going to be such a good dad. I am lucky to have a son-in-law who loves my daughter and grandson as much as he does.

Monday September 7th

We arrived at the hospital and got our security passes. It is approximately 12:45 AM when Kyle and Kelly scrubbed in and entered the NICU nursery at the hospital. Kyle had the most incredible look on his face as he said hello to his son for the very first time. Kelly had asked me scrub in first so I could already be in the room and take pictures. Seeing Kelly and Kyle standing over the bassinet, both of their hands touching their son, was a prayer answered.

Kyle was overwhelmed seeing his son for the first time, as we all were the first time we saw baby Kyler. Kyler is so perfect, just tiny, that after a few minutes you look past the tubes and only see the baby. Kyler reacted immediately upon hearing his dad voice. He began to squirm around, lift his head and before I left the new parents alone with their son, Kyler opened his eyes.

I went down to the family waiting area and thought as I was sitting there how much I will miss my daily visits with Kyler, watching his progress and growth. I know there is email, photos, and phone calls. How soon will they let me come visit? Wait I’ll be back at the end of the month for the baby shower.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

9-5-09 Day 6...Part I and II

9-5-09 Saturday

Part I

I met Kelly at the hospital in the afternoon. I gave her a kiss and did a quick check on baby Kyler. The paddle is on his right hand now and he has an IV inserted. His right leg looks sort of blistered and red. They found an infection on his PICC line and had to remove it. They are giving him antibiotics and antibiotic cream on his leg. They are running blood test and the first one is negative for anything serious. They will continue to run blood test for several days and cell count for check his white cell count and protein levels.

Baby Kyler continues his two shots a day of caffeine. He is taking breast milk every six hours by a tube. He is still getting his Las Vegas tan and doing. The night before Kyler only had on episode of shallow breathing but he self corrected quickly without the nurses needing to give him a little massage.

Kelly and I both read to Kyler today. We need to find him some more books or he is going to have this one memorize and when he starts talking it will starting quoting the book.

Kelly was getting tried and hungry so we left for the afternoon and will return later tonight. We stopped for a quick bit to eat, sort of on the run and then a stop at Target to get a few things she needed. We took a short cut down the strip (I know this doesn’t sound right but she does know how to get around this town) and over to the other side of town to the fight shop. She wants to buy miniature boxing gloves, the size you find on a keychain and have Nikki make her a mobile for Kyler’s room.

Kelly showed me how to enter the base from a side entrance and saw the fighter jets mounted on large cement post with their noses pointed in the air. This is a historical reference of the older aircraft and an amazing art and photographic shot. Pictures another day.

Nap time and then back to the hospital sometime after 8:00 PM.

Part II

I dropped Kelly off, parked the car and scrubbed in. By the time I arrived Kelly was holding Kyler. She said he sometimes looks like an old man when he scrunches up his face when he gets made. He can look anyway he wants…he’s the boss and she knows it. We notice last night he has chapped lips and today they have started putting something on them to help them heal up. I told them last night I wanted to put my chap stick with SP45 on his lips so maybe thought I was serious and beat me to it. Kyler’s foot and leg looks much better tonight.

Kyler seems to get the hiccups every night about the same time. Kelly said he did when she was carrying him also.
When they put Kyler back in his bassinet they took his temperature and he held it while Kelly was holding him. That is a really good sign that he can maintain his body temp. I read to him again and he slipped into a deeper sleep.

Right before we left Kelly got to change his diaper. This is progress. They do weigh his diaper afterwards to check his intake of fluids and what comes out.

It is almost midnight and we are going home to get some sleep then start our routine all over again tomorrow.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Day 4

Day 4 – Sept. 4th, 2009

Kelly had visited baby Kyler earlier in the day. The nurses said Kyler had a bath and did not want to be placed on his side or his back. He wanted to lie on his tummy and when he did he pulled his little legs up under him which pushed his ohhh so tiny butt in the air.

8:30 PM Kelly and I left for the hospital. There was a warm wind blowing and a light mist covering the windshield of the car as we drive to the hospital. As we look out across the valley we can see lightening strikes in the distant hills. This is the first night since I arrived in Las Vegas that I have driven Kelly to the hospital at night. Looking at the lights on the strip seems so foreign from previous trips visiting here were you sort of seem mesmerized by the glitz and glamour. This time the lights are shinning on a little star at Sunrise Hospital.

I dropped Kelly off at the front door to the hospital and went to park the car near the emergency room entrance. After 10:00 PM the only entrance to the hospital is at the emergency room, in or out and after 10:00 PM you must leave your ID at the desk until you leave. I like this security system.

I scrubbed in and as I walked around the corner of the curtain to Kyler’s bassinet, Kelly was sitting in a chair on the other side holding Kyler in her arms. She had a smile on her face like the Cheshire cat or the cat that ate the canary. She was waiting for me and laughed at the look on my face. She asked if I was going to cry. No! Get tears on my baby? No way.

Kyler was snuggled up in a receiving blanket cradled close to Kelly where she rocked him gently in her arms and cooed softly to him. I’m not sure how long she held him, but didn’t give him up until the nurse said he needed to have the lights put back on him.

The nurse said he is feisty and has a mind of his own and up to mischief. He has pulled his heart monitor off twice, his protective head gear off once, move his wiring and he puts up a fuss. The nurse said he has taken control.

I read Kyler his Dr. Seuss book and he quieted down and went to sleep for a short time. When the nurse put his vitamins into his IV bag he began to cry. Kelly gave him his pacifier and because he can’t quite hold it in, she held it in place and Kyler again settled down. Next it was the hiccups. I know they are normal but watching his tiny chest contract over and over again was sort of scary. He didn’t seem upset by them and after several minutes they stopped.

We spent about 3 hours at the hospital but it is so hard to walk away and say goodnight even for a few hours when we will return.

Kelly is doing amazingly well. She is upbeat, what little tummy she had is disappearing, and she is eating well and drinking lots of liquids. She and Kyler both would do much better if Kyle could come home for a short visit but it doesn’t appear that the military is going to let him come home. Kelly said it was almost like Kyler was looking for his dad and if he arrived early, dad would be there for him. Just get big and strong Kyler, your daddy loves you and will be home soon.

I Kissed an Angel

Thursday 9-3-09

Kelly slept most of the night and she looks rested and relaxed. I fixed her scrambled eggs with bagels and cream cheese for breakfast, and she ate most of it. She showered, fixed her hair, did her make-up, put on a cute little summer dress, and she was ready to go visit her son. Look good, feel good.

Kyler is sleeping under the lights getting his Las Vegas tan. He is finished with his antibiotics today and is being fed every six hours and doing well. Because he is so small, he sometimes forgets things…like breathing. So now baby Kyler is getting shots of caffeine, twice a day. Kelly sits by Kyler’s bedside caressing him, talking sweetly to him, and letting him know his mommy is right there for him.

Marissa, Kelly’s friend went with us to the hospital and she is amazed by how tiny Kyler is and yet so perfect. The comment everyone seems to make when they seem him the first time.

Kyler begins to move around. He likes being stretched out, not bundled up and swaddled. A tiny squeak of a cry turns into a protest of unhappy faces and flailing arms. I asked the nurse if she could do something to help quiet Kyler and relieve Kelly’s anxious nerves. A pacifier! Kyler already had one in his bassinet and he took it right away…no more cry’s and he quickly drifted back to sleep with mom resting a hand on his soft downy head.

We took pictures and videos to send to Kyle and all the relatives and friends. We spent about three hours at the hospital, but it seemed much shorter. I asked the nurse if she could remove the bassinet top so Kelly could kiss Kyler good-bye. Just as we started nurse to walk away the nurse asked if grandma would like to give him a kiss. Kelly laughed and said I was going to cry on Kyler. I didn’t. I waited until after I kissed him to cry. Today I kissed an angel sent by God. The top of his little head was warm and soft and my first thought was I am never going to wash these lips again.

Look out Larry; I think baby Kyler just stole my heart.

I took the girls to lunch at Blueberry Hill, a small restaurant near the base. It had pages and pages of menu items and everything served all day and fifties music played in the background. The girls ordered breakfast and I had lunch. We dropped Marissa off and then it was time to take a nap. Kelly went back to the hospital in the evening and I ran a couple of errands for her. I can actually get off base and find my way back again. I have a 30 days visitor pass so I can come and go without Kelly.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Kyler - day 2

Day 2

Wednesday September 2nd, 2009

Kelly called me around 8:00 AM and said they were going to discharge her from the hospital. Michael and I showered and headed off to the hospital.

Kelly had already been up walking the night before and again this morning. It has been just a little over 24 hours since she had major surgery, a c-section, and although she didn’t get much sleep last night she is talkative, witty, and impatient to see her baby Kyler.

We made a quick stop at Babies R Us for a few things and then we were off to Sunrise Hospital to see Kyler.

Kelly didn’t get to hold Kyler but she sat next to his beside and held him, her hand covering his tiny body and he moved when she touched him and talked to him. He held the tip of her finger with his tiny hand and quieted down as she spoke softly to him and touched his silky head.

Michael had to fly home later that day so Kelly had us bring the Dr. Seuss book “Oh The Places You’ll Go” that she had been reading to Kyler while he was still in the womb. It was sweet to watch and one of my favorite lines is, “Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way”.

Kyler is breathing on his own and will start regular feedings tonight. He had his first bowl movement and that is a good sign that he body functions are working. Kyle called the hospital in the early morning hours, he is in Iraq and there is a 10 hour time difference. The nurses are wonderful keeping him update on Kyler’s progress and they put the telephone up to Kyler so he could hear his daddy’s voice.

We took pictures to send to Kyle trying to show him how big his son was. Kelly’s fist is as big as Kyler’s head. Her index finger is as long as Kyler’s forearm. Everyone thinks Kyler looks just like his dad. He’s strong; he’s a fighter, and a survivor.

The charge nurse said the nurses and staff would become Kyler and Kelly’s family and support team to help them and her family all the way through until Kyler is discharged from the hospital and goes home.

A whole floor at Sunrise Hospital is devoted to neonatal care. One of Kyler’s roommates is a little girl born at 24 weeks and she has been there 2 weeks and doing well. Another baby was jus arriving with a full team of nurses and doctors. Doctors are available for questions and the nurses are dedicated to their little charges that arrive in the world sooner than expected.

Kyler’s lights are off, his protective eye gear is off, and he can see mom for the first time!

Before we left for the afternoon Kyler’s nurse was getting him ready to insert an IV. He cried that tiny little squeaky cry, almost like a baby kitten’s mew, protesting being disrupted from his sleep. Kelly spoke softly to him and soothed his cries away.

I asked if Kelly could kiss her son goodbye and the nurse said yes. The nurse held baby Kyler aloft and Kelly placed several soft kiss on the top of his head. The nurse then asked Kelly if she would like to hold him. I don’t think she could have answered yes any faster than she did. The nurse placed Kyler into Kelly’s waiting hands and she held up as close as she could and kissed him several more times. I couldn’t cry, I needed a picture for her to look at later and send to Kyle.

The Red Cross is working to see if Kyle can get a family emergency leave for a couple of weeks to come home and be with his wife and son.

It’s almost midnight and Kelly and I are reflecting on our time with baby Kyler. She wants some mother daughter bonding time; she wants to compare c-section scars. If it makes her smile and relax, okay.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Happy Birthday Kyler O'Neal Danger Atkinson 9-1-09

Tuesday September 1st, 2009
Kyler O’Neal Danger Atkinson
2 lbs. 15 oz.
15 inches long

Kicking and punching right up until delivery and then he got quiet. They did chest compression on the little guy for a couple of minutes and then he was breathing on his own. They did give him a shot to strengthen his lungs and when he was stable he was whisked away from the Nellis Air Force Base Hospital to Sunrise Hospital near downtown Las Vegas.

So how did the morning begin for me? I heard the phone ringing and wondered why Larry wasn’t answering it. Just as I was about to wake him, I saw a light in the door way in realized someone was in my bedroom just as Michael spoke to me. He said he had been calling and I needed to get up, that Kelly was on the phone and had been calling me. I grabbed the phone and all I heard was mommy I’m in labor, come now. Michael grabbed my suitcase and I tried to think about what I put in a suitcase.

Larry drove me to the Bellingham airport and the Alaska/Horizon desk person said sorry you are too late to get out on this flight, security is closed. I saw people going through security and begged her, told her about my daughter in surgery and my grandson, and with a stone face she said no it would take 20 minutes to get you a ticket (it takes less than 5 minutes on line). I pleaded before sinking to the floor sobbing. I heard Larry talking with her and then he helped me up and said he would drive me to Seattle as we left.

Michael called and said he was packing a bag and told us he would meet us in town. I don’t remember much about the drive, except lying in the back seat praying that God would watch over my daughter and grandson. We arrived at the airport and Larry pulled out our suitcases and I kissed him good bye and ran for the ticket counter. A kind agent helped us find a ticket counter and a stranger took charge of us and ushered us through security. She said she didn’t work for the airlines but she had to be someone special because we went to the head of the line and right on through. She helped all the way to the N gates where she also happened to be going. The gate was closed and we told that they wouldn’t give us a ticket, the doors to the plane were closed, and again I was too late. We watched and they plane sat there for at least another 20 minutes as we were told we should have never been allowed through security with the pass we were given by the Alaska ticket agent.

We took the train back to concourse D and started again with our story at customer service. This agent looked appalled at what we had been through and told. She put us on the next plane out and upgraded us to first class. Waiting for that plane was a relief but 2 ½ hours seemed like an eternity.

Kelly Walker picked us up at the airport and we went straight to Sunrise Hospital per Kelly’s instructions to check on baby Kyler, or as the doctors were calling him since his birth, baby Danger. The whole second floor is a neonatal intensive care unit or NICU. Kyler is in bed 2022. We were greeted with a nurse who had our names on a list and told how to scrub in. Wash, disinfect three times and if we touched anything after we entered the room we had to use another disinfectant.

Tiny cannot even describe baby Kyler and yet he is perfect in every way. Ten toes, fingers, hair the nurse said most women would dye for because it is platinum, blonde, brown, frosted, all of that combined. He is lying fully stretched out and lying under the lamps to help with jaundice and his skin tone which is pink but the nurse said was a little too red. Michael called this the Las Vegas tan. He is just amazing. Kyler is breathing on his own but with a c-pack machine to give him air in his passages. He is on antibiotics for three days just to be safe. They say he can cry a soft little squeaky voice and he has a temper when made and scrunches up his face. They also said he quiets down quickly when talked to. Danger…MMA fighter…watch out.

We took pictures and when I put my finger next to his tiny hand he held onto me. If had not already stole my heart before, he certainly owned it now.

Next stop was to see Kelly and give her a report on Kyler. She was sleepy and wide awake. We showed her the pictures on the camera and told her all about her baby Kyler. She had only a quick glance before the NICU team took him away after delivery. Then Kelly told us how her morning began.

For two days she had been to the hospital telling them she didn’t feel well and that Kyler wasn’t moving around. They told her she might have a kidney infection but the test result didn’t show anything. She thought her water broke but after the exam they sent her home after placing the fetal monitor higher on her stomach than the baby was positioned. One the third day she woke at 3:00 AM and started calling friend. She drove her self to the hospital where she was admitted and dilated to 5cm. Now it was going to be an emergency c-section.

She said it didn’t feel like she had a baby because she was numb during delivery and she had no baby to hold or look at. She had one thought and that was to walk down the hall and show the nurses she could go home and therefore go to the hospital to see Kyler. Her mind was made up and she was determined that on Wednesday she would go home. We kissed her goodnight and hoped she would get a little sleep.

Praise be to God for watching over Kelly and Kyler. Thanks to my wonderful husband who said go and helped me get to Las Vegas as quickly as possible. Thanks to Michael (now know as uncle Michael) for holding me, holding me together, and getting me to Las Vegas without totally breaking down. To uncle Jim who held vigil waiting for news and praying for Kelly and Kyler. Thank you to family, friends, and complete strangers who added Kelly and Kyler to their prayer chains across the US. To my mom and her amazing church and thier prayer chain. Thanks to my sister Mary who kept family and facebook updated so everyone knew what was going on. Thanks to Kelly's aunts, uncles, and cousins who sent emils, text messages, and phone call to check on her and let her know they were praying for her. Thanks to my small group, my HOG famil, and friends who called and sent emails with well wishes and prayers for Kelly and Kyler to have a safe postive outcome.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Our summer vacation...1,650 miles in 6 days

When you tell most people that you are going on vacation, they immediately think of national parks, beaches, amusement parks, museums, resorts, etc. When you tell friends that don’t own a motorcycle that you are taking the vacation on the bike, most sort of wince and ask why. When you tell them that you are also going on vacation on the bike with three other couples, most people can’t even imagine the experience. Well Larry and I could and we waited impatiently for the months to tick away and it was finally time to leave. What a way to go!

We arrived at Sehome Starbucks, a favorite pre-arranged spot to gather for rides, have a cup of coffee to wake us up, and a last pit stop for about an hour. Dave and Lorie, Dave and Dawn, Bill and Marla, and Larry and I all had our bikes packed with rain gear, snacks, drinks, clothing, leathers, whatever you can get on your bikes and still ride it (for some of the women that included hair dryers and curling irons). We headed off at about 7:00 AM on August 19th for our first destination of Seaside Oregon.

We took the Keystone Ferry from Whidbey Island and rode down the Hood Canal in 90 degree weather. Just north of Raymond we stopped for lunch and after several minutes our server, who was a young college age male stopped and looked at Dave M. and said you are the “alpha male”. Now as my husband pointed out, probably all men who ride a Harley or participate in manly man sports, think of themselves as an alpha male, but there is always one who just stands out, and that would be our Dave M. I did however point out to him that in a pack of wolves it is not the alpha male who is the true leader, but the alpha female and that would be Lorie. Dave quickly jumped to a new topic as we smiled and laughed.

We slowly peeled off the layers of clothing as the day wore on and we rode south. Just before Astoria Oregon, we were glad we still had the jackets on, as the sea breeze whipped across the inlet making white caps across the water. A little evening traffic and tourists manipulating the roads and we arrived at the Sundowner Inn in Seaside. It was kickstands down and we quickly unpacked, showered, and moved our chairs outside where we gathered for a cold drink before dinner. We were only a block away from the main drag in town and the restaurant had a thirty minute wait so we walked down by the beach to watch all the bonfires that were being lit and fueled by young twenty-thirty somethings. We strolled down the other side of the street and browsed through a small art/gift shop before heading back to the restaurant. Well it was another thirty minutes before we were finally seated and some of us were eyeing the seagull bread as we waited. Norma’s restaurant has been featured in Sunset Magazine, Bon Appetite Magazine, and won an AAA award. Full and satisfied we headed back to our rooms for sleep and an early morning ride down the coast.

Thursday morning we pulled out of Seaside at 7:00 AM and stopped for breakfast at Manzanita. The local café had great food and service. We stopped in Tillamook but it was a little early for ice-cream. We took the self guided tour then headed back down the coast. The fog shrouded the trees in a ghostly outline as we took the twists and turns down the coast road. We took a break in Newport Beach to walk along the wharf, get a shot of caffeine, see the wax museum, and Lorie bought her taffy. Next stop was Florence for lunch and we found a little place that was almost closing for the day but gladly served us lunch with a smile on their faces and joked with us. We spent most of the day riding in a light fog all the way down the coast, finally finding sunshine before we arrived in Coos Bay. A pit stop for gas and we headed to the local Harley dealer. When you are on a bike you just need to stop and see what they have that is different, new, or must have. It was a nice break and now we were on our way to Roseburg to our hotel for the night. Misdirection by a not-so-nice local had us headed up the freeway to a wrong exit and then winding our way back through unfamiliar streets until we could see the hotel sign. It’s always one bad egg that causes a stink, but the hotel staff and the restaurant staff were nice and that (and our cocktail hour) made it all better.

Friday morning we had a continental breakfast at the hotel and then headed out. The morning was spent winding our way around the mountain road next to the Umpqua River. It was a beautiful ride and the river had small rapids, quiet ponds, and occasionally you would see a fisherman standing in the stream. Crater Lake loomed ahead of us and it is hard to image the enormity of it. I have flown over the lake numerous times going back and forth to California but up close it is breathtaking. We had lunch at the lodge before we headed down the south east side towards Klamath Falls and then headed north to Bend. Dave took us on a spiraling road to the top of Pilot Point where you can look out at the whole valley below and every way you turn there is a mountain to see. Bill ordered pizza and Caesar salads for an army while we sat around laughing and talking in Dave and Lorie’s hotel room. We sat in the hotel lobby breakfast area to eat dinner and tried our best to give away the extra food to anyone who wandered to close to our tables.

Rise and shine. Breakfast at the hotel and we were headed north to Mt. Hood. I always get a little nervous thinking about mountains and steep hillsides, even more so on a bike. The climb up Mt. Hood really wasn’t bad at all. Mostly trees and an occasional steep slope but the roads were wide and well maintained. The Timberline Lodge was majestic standing just above the tree line. It wasn’t very crowded and plenty of parking. We walked up a not so steep incline but wearing motorcycle boots is like wearing five pound weights on each foot and counting every step. In today’s world I don’t think you could every duplicate the craftsmanship that went into building the lodges that dot our national parks. The timbers came from old growth trees that mills don’t even have the machinery to cut now days. Skilled laborers, and locals who were trained, built and made everything in the lodge from the wrought iron hinges, fireplace screens, the benches, and woven floor to ceiling woolen drapes in Indian designs. It is definitely a bygone era that needs to be preserved and treasured.

Back down the mountain and over to Parkdale for lunch in a little converted gas station to café. Dave M. grew up in this area of the woods so he showed us where he used to fish and swim in the summers at Lost Lake (E-e-kwahl-a-mat-yam-lshkt, meaning “'heart of the mountains”) (Oregon has 19 lakes named Lost Lake) near the little town of Dee that is no more. The tree lined road gently took us upwards to a quiet little resort that was full up. We stopped for ice cream at the store and a photo opportunity of the most photographed spot of Mt. Hood. Back down to road and on to the Columbia River. We went through Mosier and stopped at the Rowena Crest for a brief rest and a view of the river below. This was the old road, named the King of Roads, along the Columbia River and the roads and rock walls were built by the WPA and it is considered one of the twenty-five most beautiful roads in America. We pulled into our hotel and as usual took our showers, had a cold drink, and Lorie had made dinner reservations at Romul’s, an Italian restaurant. Lots more laughter, stories, and memories to treasure.

Sunday morning we crossed back into Washington and drove west up the Columbia River before heading north into the Columbia River Gorge towards Mt. Adams. We stopped at Trout Lake for a quick break then up into the farm lands and winding, twisting roads that were both breathtaking and heart stopping at times. Down the tight and very narrow road, where the fog line on the other side of the road sometimes disappeared over the edge. We stopped in the old mill town of Klickitat for lunch. The mill is gone with only the cement floors remaining and some old rusted machinery left standing to the edges. We made a loop and headed north to the Maryhill Winery. They have a beautiful grass 4,000 seat outdoor amphitheater built into the sloping hillside where they hold outdoor concerts during the summer months. Musicians played on the garden terrace covered with grape laden arbors that led into the wine tasting room. We drove down the road to Stonehenge, a WWI monument dedicated to the local soldiers who lost their lives. It sits on a bluff overlooking the Columbia River and while it is an amazing sight to visit it is also a stark reminder that these men fought so that no one after them would have to sacrifice their lives; and yet memorials are still being built for each new war to honor the sacrifices of our young men and women. We were back to our hotel in time to take a short rest before meeting up for cold drinks, conversation and dinner. I can’t remember the name of the little restaurant where we had dinner, but the service was great and the servings were large.

Day six, Monday morning, and we are heading home. We were on the road by 7:00 AM and made good time. Usually on a Monday morning you have the typical big rigs crisscrossing the state to deliver goods and clogging up the roads. We must have been just ahead of them. We made a couple of pit stops before heading up the river road at Yakima towards Cle Elum where we gassed up. We headed up Blewett Pass and stopped at a little restaurant that Dave M. said serves the best meatloaf sandwich, so most of us sampled the recommendation. We slowed down for Leavenworth but didn’t stop; we were close to home and wanted to get over Stevens Pass and ahead of the commute traffic on Interstate 5. We dropped down on the other side of the pass, stopped for gas, cold drinks and removed some of the cold weather clothing we were still wearing. We took the direct route home which was stop and go in Monroe and then began the challenge of dealing with traffic and crazy drivers. Trying to keep four bikes together on the freeway in a staggered formation is pretty hard to do when cage drivers only care about where they want to be and think bikers should just move out of the way. One particular driver split the group, rode the bumper of Bill and Marla, honked when we passed him and found a safe distance to move back into the lane, moved over and up on Dave and Dawn when they also signaled and moved over; then the cage driver honked and moved his vehicle towards them. The driver backed off when he saw Dawn’s camera and we do have a picture of his license plate for proof of road rage.

The rest stop at Smokey Point couldn’t have come at a better time. Breath in, breath out...feel the tension leave… We were only about an hour away from home now. The ride home would be easier since most of the traffic was behind us now. Over Bow Hill and now we waved and pulled off one by one as friends headed on to our own homes.

It seems like longer than six days and yet I wasn’t ready for it to end, except of course I would have had to stop and do laundry someplace along the way if we had been gone any longer. Next year we will have the trike and I can pack more. Yipee! Next year? Wonder where we will go.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Kelly and Kyler

My daughter and my grandson.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wednesday Card - Be Yourself

Silk flower, eyelet paper trim, rub-ons, and an original poem.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Kyler O'Neal Danger Atkinson

The first Doctor appointment

Baby Atkinson is nine weeks and doing well. He or she has an arrival date of November 16th, 2009, which is my father’s birthday. If it is a boy, his middle name will be O’Neal, my father’s middle name, but it is also the middle name of my son Jim who Kelly will be giving the baby a name for.

Kyle heard the heart beat and Kelly said he freaked out, but in a good way. He hasn’t been around babies so all this is new to him, but he is being a very loving and supportive husband to Kelly. I am sure he will be a wonderful father.
Kelly wanted her grandmother to be the first to see the sonogram pictures and she emailed them today. Kelly said since I told her my mom is my best girlfriend then she picked my mom as her best girlfriend and she likes to tease me about it. We both win.


Kelly and Kyle have decided to let the doctors tell them the sex of the baby when she is far enough along to determine what the sex. I can hardly wait to buy pink, or blue, or green with flowers or monkeys, or whether the Harley outfit should have pink or blue on it. Not so fast.


Baby A had the hiccups when Kelly went to the doctor and it made it a little hard to hear the heartbeat because Baby A would move around so much. Kyle wasn’t sure hiccups were a good thing for his baby but Kelly assured him it was not different than one of them having hiccups.


Baby A is 16 weeks and doing great. He or she does not like to have his heart heard. Every time the doctor thought she was ready to listen, baby A moved and hid. Eventually he/she was found and a strong healthy heartbeat was heard. This baby is already taking control. Watch out Kelly and Kyle.

Kicking…like dad

June 24th Kyle felt the baby move for the first time. A MMA fighter in the making.

Introducing: Kyler O’Neal Danger Atkinson

Today, June 30th, Kelly and Kyle found out the sex of baby A. It’s a boy. Kyler is strong and healthy and both parents are on cloud nine. Me too!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Wednesday Art Card Donation...Russian Doll

This is my Russian doll card for the Wednesday donation at Stampadoodle. She has felt flowers, glitter, ribbons, rickrack, fabric leaves, metal studs colored with alcohol inks, and wiggly eyes.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Psalm 46:10

Be still, and know that I am God.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

From Boring Blue to Muddy Mississippi

We have begun the house project of 2009. Paint. No more boring, depressing blue. I like blue, don’t get me wrong. But a blue house, blue carpet, blue paint and blue wallpaper everywhere you look was way too much for me when we bought this house.

So one step at a time. Paint is cheap, at least a gallon or so at a time. I stripped all the blue wallpaper in the bedrooms before we moved in. Removed the frilly, not womanly feminine country (I love country but this was outdated country) curtains and painted our master bedroom cafe au lait with white trim and the master bath white. I’ve changed the bedding several times but the wall color always works.

Kelly’s bedroom had little lambs on a border and we got rid of that really fast and painted everything a clean white so her dark midnight blue moon and stars would show up better.

Michael had the pink room so we stripped it down and painted a clean white palette and gave it a more masculine look.

Then I had to take a break but after one winter in Washington with dark grey skies and overcast days, I broke out the paint brushes and painted the living room a pale creamy yellow. Funny, I didn’t even notice the blue rug anymore.

The old dining area, which is now a sitting area off the kitchen, became a shade darker yellow than the living room. And the best part was no more blue border. So that only left the kitchen, and the pantry which is sort of open to the kitchen. I spiced it up a bit and went for a French New Orleans bolder deeper yellow. Now the blue, yes I said blue, counter top looked almost grey not blue. The blue and white tiles sort of receded because the yellow color said look at me.

I used all three colors of yellow and sort of did a faux French painting technique in the entryway to get rid of yet another shade of blue. I went up the staircase with bright white paint to open it up and get rid of the dark dreaded, “what is at the top of the stairs feeling” all that “blue” paint gave the staircase.

Now that the kitchen looked brighter the cabinets looked horrible. Cha ching. Of course paint can fix almost anything. I painted all the base cabinets black after Larry added some additional trim molding so they weren’t flat fronts. New hardware from my favorite store…EBay. The kitchen island got hand painted doors with chicken, cows, sheep, and stars. I painted the upper cabinets red then Kelly helped me crackle them with a creamy white paint and then we glazed them to give them an aged look. New hardware and the whole kitchen looked fresh and clean. Five weeks from start to finish and a little paint.

While Kelly was gone one summer, I stripped the blue wallpaper out of her bathroom and painted the murky blue wall with bright white semi-gloss paint. Four coats is what it took to cover that horrible blue paint. Two coats of primer and two coats of paint. Wow. Four 100 watt bulbs really can light up a bathroom. Again the blue Formica counter tops looked almost grey and the dark midnight blue flooring was no longer shooting look at me. New rugs, new towels. Hallelujah the upstairs was done. That is if you don’t count the linen closet and the master bath linen closet which are peach and blue. Doors closed. Another day, another week.

This worked until the kids moved out and then it was time to mix it up again. The old sunroom became the new dining room. Hunting coat red went up on the walls with white paint on all the woodwork. Wow. What could I do next?!

The small guest bath downstairs. You guessed it. No more blue. I stripped layers of blue wallpaper, flower wallpaper, gunk, junk, and more paper..and then painted, I bought every craft size bottle of copper paint I could find in the county and mixed them (I couldn’t find anyone at that time who sold copper paint in quarts) and painted. New curtains--it was good…for now. Okay so paint did not distract you from the old white 1970’s cabinet with outdated hardware and fake marble Formica top. Another day, another dollar.

Onto bigger and better things:

The study, which we took on last fall. Stripped the old paper, rebuilt the fireplace wall and installed a new high efficiency gas fireplace that really warms the room, new flat screen TV for Larry, and paint. I used cream paint on the upper walls, mocha on the lower wall paneling, and the dining room red on the fireplace wall. Gone was fake stain to make the paneling look like oak, the busy border and one of the chair rail moldings was gone. The blue green wallpaper that covered the top half of the walls was gone as was the blue paint underneath, and the green we found, and the builder’s beige.

Well that only leave my studio left untouched by my paintbrush and it will have to wait a little longer. With a very large wire dog kennel that the dog sleeps in at night, and my stuff which I am sorting through to make the studio cleaner and more efficient, I will live with the grey green walls. Yes you heard me right. But underneath the grey green walls, lies a shade of blue. I removed an ugly yellow ceramic duck head towel holder and what did I behold…blue paint. I’ll just hang a picture and wait. But I do know the paint color my room aspires to be someday-- Shimmering white with a pearlescent sheen. Black and white hounds tooth curtains, white sheers (I already have those up), and two new cream shabby chic work tables already in use; and the ugly white fan (you just cannot use a fan in an art studio with lots of bits and pieces of paper, gold leafing, glitter, etc.) will come down to be replaced by a crystal chandelier with a drum shade. I can see it now.

But right now what I see is the outside of my home that is crying out, paint me. Now! Bob Gibbons the painter, the Harley friend, the nice guy, power washed the house and said you really need to do this now before it gets worse. Okay. We finally agreed on a set of colors, muddy Mississippi for the main body of the house, French cream for the trim, India ink for the shutters, and cranberry bog red for the front door. Ready set go. Not so fast. Prep work. Stop! Houston we have a problem… Seems the old LP siding is finally wearing out. Okay it’s really all a disaster…Bob could push a finger through some of it. So Bob called his carpenter friend to check it out and hopefully it would be just a matter of new siding with no damage underneath, and maybe we caught it early. Just new siding will still set us back a thousand dollars, or so, more than we had planned to spend but there isn’t much we can do about it. Better to fix it now than have to come back and do it later and paint again.

June 12th, Friday morning, Bob was ready to go. He sprayed the porch roof the cream white and already the house has begun to look newer. The front of the house is prepped and all the extra Victorian doodad trim has been removed, plastic covers everything not to be painted and the paint sprayer was turned on. Wow. My little blue country farm house is metamorphosing into a sleek, updated, modern, contemporary county home.

Let’s see? It has taken me ten years to paint all but one room inside the house so if the outside of the house had been left up to me, it might have taken me another ten years to complete it. Better to leave some things to the experts who are quick and efficient. Good thing we have a friend who is a painter.

Well it was all moving so smoothly. That should have been the warning signal…Trouble under the bedrooms windows in the front of the house. When we first moved in one window wall was damp. It dried up in a few day and no more problems. Well, just no problems that we could see. Bob called his friend Bill and what was to be a replacement of some bad siding became a complete tear out of the upper part of the house. Between building codes being different from 1974 to today, to previous contractor shortcuts, siding that is known to fail, no weather sheathing, and windows that were installed improperly, a simple paint job morphed into a major remodel of the front of the house upstairs. Thought that was it? No! The wood door between the house, the garage, and the sporting goods room that at one time was used as a passageway to the backyard, was rotten and the hardware was rusted and couldn’t be removed. We decided that since we never use the door, we had Bill remove it, replaced the door with siding, sealing the doorway off, and cut off the old hardware. Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?

Dry rot on Monday, so on Tuesday the windows were removed, and the framing is being rebuilt and the damaged wood removed. We have had 28 days of no rain and now it looks like that is about to change which means the work is on hold and the paint will also have to wait. One window is back in, and one window is covered with plywood. The inside of both bedroom walls will probably have to be patched and painted but that will probably be a nice winter painting project for me.

If the rain holds off, the shop is sort of ready to go. We knew one panel of siding needed to be replaced but we found a second panel and another one needs to be renailed. Larry and I took the truck up to the back yard and pulled out 7 beautiful elderberry trees that sprung up from small shrubs last year that we hadn’t even noticed, and had become full blown 15 foot trees right up against the back of the shop. Sad they couldn’t be saved. Sadder still is all the perennials that had to be cut down so that Bob could paint the shop. At least they will grow back even though they won’t bloom this year. So if the weather holds Bob will begin painting the shop cranberry bog red tomorrow. I guess the bonus in all of this is the weeds are being removed at a much faster speed because of the painting.

Amazing what paint can do to a home. Now that the old shutters have been removed, the house is sporting a fresh new color of paint, and the windows trimmed out they way they should have been, we aren’t going to put the new black shutters up. The house looks so clean and pretty and I don’t want to mess up the look with fussy shutters. We do have new black coach lanterns on the front of the house and the back deck. Last night we heard a loud crash and Larry went to investigate with Deuce the brave dog, and when he flipped on the porch light, wow, a new 100 watt bulb, the porch ceiling painted the creamy white and you could actually see outside. Turns out it was just one of the unused shutters that had blown over making the loud crashing sound.

The trim is being finished on the house and the shop. The torn off old siding has been removed and disposed of. The cupola on top of the shop has been repaired and all the windows trimmed out with new wood. The house and the garden finally look like they fit together.

The front door is being painted the same cranberry bog red as the shop. It’s going to say to say welcome to all our guests who come to visit. Of course the weather has turned and it is rainy and windy and the front doors are wide open to allow the paint to dry and cure. This is coat one of three. I teased in an email to friends that we may have to leave the doors wide open all night and sit by them to guard from pesky intruders, like skunks, stray cats, or opossums.

Bob painted the new wood house numbers and put them up this morning and now the UPS and FedEx delivery people will know exactly which house is 2612. Of course we can no longer tell people to turn onto Nubgaard and we are the third house on the left, just look for the blue house, because it is no longer blue. Yahoo!!!!!!!!!!

I will work on the front porch and back deck this summer to refinish them with a fresh coat of stain and we will do a more yard clean up. I need to trim the rhododendrons and putty and paint the front porch posts but this will be part of my summer project, one that I need to do quickly so the house looks completed. Maybe next year we will build the porch railing.

Carpenter Bill (who at heart is an arborist) is going to come next week and trim the big pine tree on the East side of the house, remove the pine needles off the roof, and clean the gutters which are full of needles. He said he will also take care of my big red leaf maple out front that lost three limbs from the hard winter we had this year.
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