Monday, April 27, 2009


I know it has been awhile. There have been some friends that have been pushing me to update my blog, but I find it so hard to sit in front of the computer at the end of the day when I have spent most of it in front of the one at work. But Sean has been moved to 2nd shift M-F indefinitely, so I try to wait up for him and this gives me a good focus. Yes, that means we never see each other during the week. I leave at 7:45 am, he leaves at 2 pm, I get home at 4:30 pm and then he gets home at 11:30 pm. That's why I try to stay up. Maybe I shouldn't, since I don't get very good sleep any more, but I miss him...

In February was our semiannual Make a Blanket Day (MBA) at the mall. Mom created a pattern for her boo challenge quilt and Mary Balagna helped her and she and her husband came up with a beautiful name for it: Tori's Torrific Quilt!They secretly gathered the proceeds from the pattern as it sold at MBD, whether just the pattern or the kit, and gave them to our family! It was a lot too! What a blessing! And what a special way to remember our girl. Those ladies are so amazing! You should have seen all the work being done there! I would like to have more time to spend on that organization.Mom working hard at our paper piecing project.

Tori's Torrific Quilt Pattern made by Mom (Soni Uhler)

The kids with cousins in front of the one made and displayed by the patterns and kits for sale.

Our dear friend Sue Atteberry

Caleb celebrated his 6th birthday on the 12th of March and the Saturday following. He got to have a party and invited some church friends, family (especially his cousins), and his best buddy from school. He had a good time and loved being the center of attentions.

I guess the wish took some thought.

I love this picture! :)

I had training up in Chicago around my birthday, so I got to sit in class and enjoy the long trip home as my present. But the kids had made me cards and Sean got me flowers, the new Mary Higgins Clark book and a beautiful card, and he made me dinner (lasagna - mmmmm). It was wonderful to come home to that, though the training and trip itself was pretty good.

We spent Easter with Sean's family and it was wonderful. We got to spend time with his brother and his family too and we were so glad to do that. Besides the fact that my kids adore Danielle and Devon, we enjoy spending time with Tony and Crissy. They were here in Illinois after Tori passed away, but with so many people here, we didn't have much chance to spend with them. We got a new to us van just a couple of weeks before the trip, so we didn't have any worries about the drive. That is a relief!!
Here is Caleb on too much Easter Candy. It is lengthy, but very amusing. Enjoy!

Work ends for me soon! I am so excited! We are done on the 15th and the others don't go back until the middle of July and by then our baby will be here, so I won't be going right back. The little girls are done with preschool for the summer already! They miss the staff and the attention that they give them. The girls and Sean are meeting me tomorrow for lunch and are so excited! Well, Ms. Mary is too...

Isabelle and Daddy got to go on a special trip to Springfield with the Gifted Program of the Decatur Public Schools. I am not sure what all they did, but they had a wonderful time and I know they visited the state capital. Belle's friend Regan went too with her mom and they had a great time together. Sean didn't enjoy the bus ride so much though.

Belle and I got braces on the 30th of April.........Ouch! Ouch! She is taking it better than I am, but she does only have four brackets on top and four on the bottom, so that's my excuse. Plus I am older. She looks adorable! I need to get a better close up of her now. Dr. Cavanaugh was wonderful as was her staff. It wasn't easy, but they made it a good experience. Now if the sores in our mouths would go away....
Well, enjoy the pictures and video. Sorry it has taken so long to update, but it hasn't been an easy few months. Maybe next time I will add more pictures of Nora and Olivia. Oh! and baby. I do have picts, but I need to go to bed now... Love to all of you and thank you for your love and strength!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Next Year, We're Skipping January!

As we have struggled with the loss of our 20 month old, we are also struggling with c-dificile and shigella, both of which attack the digestive areas. They have almost identical symtoms and together make a very mean bug. We have all had some sort of issue or another with one or both of them and were hoping that it would finally come to an end. It started with Nora on the 8th with the throwing up, it included Olivia, Grammy, Papa, Tori (who's little body couldn't handle them with the steroids), myself, and even Sean a little. Well, this last Thursday, Isabelle came down with it and was behaving just the way Toria did. We were so scared. Sean had already left for work, so I called my brother-in-law Sean to come give her a blessing and I called the Dr. He said to take her to the ER. So Sean carried her downstairs and then out to the van. He followed me to the ER and carried her in and then headed off to take Spencer to school and to go to work.

We got there around 9:00am and finally around 2:30pm they sent us up to the peds floor. They said that because of family history, they wanted to hospitalize her and get her started on antibiotics through her IV. It took a whole bag of fluid just to get her to pee, so she had been pretty dehydrated. They gave us Saturday as the day she would probably be leaving. She was constantly up going to the bathroom, but was pretty worn out on Thursday. By Friday she was so much better and was up by 4:30am and ready to start the day. Daddy stayed with her Friday night, but not before he went down to the ER with me so that I could get tests done, since my Dr. wanted me to. I spent 2-21/2 hours down there to confirm that I was not dehydrated and get a stool sample. They sent me home with the promise of test results soon...

Saturday, we found out that Belle had to be in the hospital until her antibiotics were complete - on Tuesday! We were really discouraged, since she was feeling so much better, but she was still running to the bathroom a lot. Sean again stayed with her Saturday night and I headed over around 1pm on Sunday. We spent some time together and then we had to see Daddy off to be home for the kids. Belle had not been getting very good sleep and fell asleep around 7pm. Aunt Sara and Daddy came up to visit, but she was so out of it that when I tried to wake her up to tell her she had guests, she just said "I don't care." and turned over and went back to sleep. We got a kick out of that! She slept through the night and didn't wake up until 12 hours later. Her nurse was so wonderful that night and tried so hard not to disturb her. By Monday she was bouncing off the walls! We kept bringing her things to do, but when you are stuck in one room...

My Dr. called and said that the test results showed that I had both bacterias and that I would be referred to the Center for Disease Control. I don't know how much more I can handle of this mess. Belle's Dr. also told me that she wouldn't be leaving until Wednesday! Sean and I were very unhappy and I ended up calling Dr. Brooks office. His receptionist called me back and let me know that it would be Tuesday. Mom brought the little girls up and I took them home so that the three of us could get a nap. Between the Health Department wanting to know every detail so that they might find a common connection between our cases and others that have shown up, and all the different doctors offices calling, there wasn't much napping for me. When Daddy and Caleb both got home, we all headed over there and Daddy even stopped and picked up some pizza on the way. It was a big celebration for our last night there.

She got the all clear to go and we were out by about 12:30pm on Tuesday. It was such a relief! During this time, Sean and I have spent so little time together. We are still trying to deal with the lose of our Tori and to not have each other to lean on has been so difficult. Being able to focus on the here and now with Belle has helped me, but as I am home while Sean takes a shift, I feel it so heavy again. I can only imagine how this has been for him. Yesterday, Mom went to pick up the girls from school and our sweet health person had to tell us that the girls couldn't come back to school until their stool had been tested. The health department had called them, but hadn't bothered to call us! I was so upset. And after many stool samples at the hospital, we got a call that Belle has to give another today...When will it be enough? Oh, and my niece, Saucy, went to the ER with similar symptoms last night. At least they let her come home after hours of tests...

I am tired. Emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally. I have seen a great many blessing these past few weeks and I hang on to them for dear life. We have felt the love, support and prayers of those near and far and we thank you so very much. With Sean working days now, things have been a little easier. I was planning on going back to work today or tomorrow, but I guess I have to wait till next week when I also have the all clear. My employers have been so wonderful and understanding and I am grateful for that. If this stuff would just leave us alone now...Next year, we are skipping January.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Our Sweet Victoria Grace

For those of you who have met our little Tori Grace, you may know that she is a handful. She is always going (and going and going) and into everything. She is full of smiles and giggles and has brought great joy to our family. To write this is necessary for me. It is in my heart and that heart hurts so very much right now. Well, on Wednesday, I ended up having to take her to the emergency room because she was having such a hard time breathing. We have a nebulizer at home, but the medicine cup was lost and it was useless. At the hospital we received a new one and after various tests, 3 breathing treatments and two doses of some steroids, we were on our way home. She had a follow up visit with her wonderful pediatrician on Thursday and then again on Friday and by then was doing much better. We continued to give her breathing treatments and other meds at home and felt she was doing great.

Sunday morning was a busy and hectic time. Tori was being her normal sweet self, busy and into everything. We have afternoon church and Sean had worked the night before and was sleeping, so as Tori was very ready for her nap, I left her asleep next to her daddy. When we came home from church, Sean was sitting on the side of the bed with a freshly bathed Tori who was just laying in her arms. She had started throwing up and having diarreha. Sean had to work, so I spent the evening up in our room holding her and cleaning her up. The kids and Grammy came in to watch a movie with us and Tori just laid there. She was really listless and was breathing rapidly. I debated about taking her back to the ER, but decided to put up the port-a-crib in my room near my bed and ended up getting up with her through the night changing diapers, trying to get her to take water, and then cleaning up the throw-up. She rested on and off, as did I. Nora came in my room just before 1 am with diarrehe issues and I helped her clean up and climb into bed. I contiuned getting up with Tori and then at 5:30, Nora came back in with another accident. Tori was breathing and seemingly resting a little better.

At 6:30, Sean got home and as he was preparing to lay down, Nora came in a third time. I got up and check Tori before going to help Nora, but at that point, she was no longer breathing. She was still very warm and flexible, but she wasn't responding. Sean grabbed her up and immediately started CPR and I called 911. He threw off her jammies and continued the cpr as he raced her down stairs to be right there with the ambulance. My mom and dad were up at that point and they held Nora as I flipped out and Sean practically threw her at the paramedics as they came in the door. They did all they could and rushed off to the hospital, but there was just nothing that anyone could do. Her heart wouldn't start again.

As I look back on these last couple of days, I find great strength in the knowledge that I have been give of families. I know that I will see my Notorious again and that after the resurrection, We will be able to finish raising her, that we will be together, all of us as a family, forever. I am so grateful for the time we had with her. She was our ball of sunshine and our "E" that eats everything. She was learning so much and into so many things.

We have felt the outpouring of love from family and friends near and far. Our home is filled with hope and peace that Sean and I so desperately have needed. The children are doing well. They don't stay down long and bring us great comfort. Many have offered to take them, but we have needed them here close to us. And they know that we are right here if they need us. They have there moments of sadness, and we can be there to hold them. We want them to know that we love them and want them. I was afraid of giving off a different message if I sent them to friends houses, like I was sending them away. I think they need us now as much as we need them.

For now we don't have answers to why she died, but we know that she is with our loving Savior right now, holding his hand with those fat little fingers, tickling her own tummy, and looking for some food to eat. We love her dearly and miss her with all our hearts, but we will be with her again. I know.