Tuesday, April 30

Little Chomper

I went to Target yesterday and stocked up on baby food.  Call me crazy, but I had so much fun filling my cart with peas to peaches.  I loaded the cart with sippy cups, bowls, rice cereal, baby juice, and those fun little pouches of baby food.  I can't believe where they have come since I last fed a baby.

Tyson and I were over the moon excited to take this next first step with our little peanut.  Penelope gagged and almost threw up, upon taking her first bite.  As time went on she couldn't get enough of her rice cereal.  She kept trying to take the bowl from me.  In between bites I had to keep taking her bib out of her mouth.  That girl will eat anything she can get her hands on.  

While feeding my little brother Josh, when he was a younger, I can still remember giving him one bite and taking one bite for myself.  I loved the plums and vanilla as well as the banana.  I used to beg my mom to buy me baby food.  Weird girl, I know!


First Bite from Janessa Parker on Vimeo.
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Sunday, April 28

On My Mind

This past weekend was a busy one.  I think I jam packed it full of events, so I could distract my mind from Penelope's surgery.  It has been so difficult to not let my mind drift to the negative aspects of the surgery.  There have been wonderful people who have already been praying for Penelope and other tender moments along the way.  

As I was driving home from the hospital the other day I was having a moment.  I was listening to the hymn "I Know That My Redeemer Lives." I was so overwhelmed with emotion.  I was having a hard time keeping it together.  All of a sudden a man on a Harley passed me.  There is nothing that reminds me of my dad more than the sound of a Harley.  I immediately knew he was with me and would continue to be with me.  I knew he would be there for Penelope as well.  Although it was just the sound of a motorcycle, it was everything I needed at that moment.

 Tyson was also able to give me a blessing the night after we spoke with the surgeon.  I needed to feel at peace and have my mind at ease, after hearing all of the risks of the operation.  The blessing has helped me out immensely.  I was also able to talk to my second father, Dave Killpack. He knows exactly how to help calm my heart.  He also has given me many blessings over the years and the perfect advice.  He talked to me a lot about faith and reminded me that I can do hard things.  I am so grateful I have so many strong people that I can lean on.

I came across this quote today and it just hit me.

"Imagine yourself as a living house.  God comes in to rebuild that house.  At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing.  He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised.  But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominable and does not seem to make any sense.  What on earth is He up to?  The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards.  You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace.  He intends to come and live in it Himself."
- C.S. Lewis

I can only hope and pray I am learning what I am supposed to from all of this.  I hope I can stay strong. There are so many times I want to let all of my emotions and thoughts get the best of me.  I know that if Penelope could talk to me, she would tell me that everything is going to be okay.  She is already helping me with every smile and sound that she makes.  I love being her mom more than anything.  She is my whole world and is teaching me every day.  
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Thursday, April 25

Surgery 101

Finally, Tyson and I were able to meet with the heart surgeon, that will be performing Penelope's surgery.  We have had so many questions and have received no answers, up until this point.  The day finally came to know the details of the operation.

As soon as they called Penelope's name my heart started to race.  That dreaded day when Tyson and I would hear the words that our daughter would be having open heart surgery came.  Her doctor will be Dr. McDonald.  Don't worry, Tyson and I did our research and were happy to know he would be the one performing the surgery.  He was a very nice man and did a great job explaining everything.

At different times I wanted to grab the box on Kleenex that was sitting on the table in front of us.  I wanted so much to break down and hold Tyson's hand.  Somehow I was able to keep my emotions under control.  I had Penelope safe and asleep in my arms to keep me occupied.  I could see the worry and pain in Tyson's eyes.  I wanted all of this to be a bad dream. 

I don't think either of us understood the extensiveness or complexity of the surgery until today.  I did't go online to do much research beforehand, for fear I would freak myself out.  Dr. MacDonald showed us a model of the heart and explained what he would be doing.  He also showed us her CT scan.  It was absolutely amazing to see her tiny heart on the computer screen.  It was so amazing to see every detail of her heart.  

They will have to go through the front of her chest, after which he will detach her left pulmonary artery from where it is currently and attach it where it needs to be.  He will have to dissect many sections of her heart, separating her esophagus and trachea.  He showed us on the CT scan how small her LPA is, in comparison to her right artery.  Her LPA is about 1/4 the size of her RPA.  He went on to explain how he was going to make an incision and put some extra material in between to make the artery larger. 

The risks of the surgery were hard to hear.  I have prepped myself the best way I know how, to hear what I had to hear.  He told us to that bleeding is always a risk since they are going to be working around one of the largest arteries in the body.  He explained the risks of a blood transfusion and the use of a bypass machine if needed.  He said there is a 50% chance they will have to use the bypass machine, which in turn would complicate the surgery.  There is also the risk of infection as there is with any surgery.  

We asked if this was going to be the last surgery for her.  He said that because of the size of her LPA and the scarring that will be involved there is a chance there may have to be another surgery down the road.  This hadn't even crossed my mind.  

We asked what would happen if she never had the surgery.  He explained to us the complications with her breathing and eating that could occur.  Both of which are obviously important.

The surgery could last anywhere from six to eight hours and her stay at the hospital should be between five days to a week.  I was bummed when he told me that when she is in the PICU we won't be able to stay over night with her.  Just thinking about being away from her breaks my heart.

We asked the doctor how many of these surgeries he has done before.  We were shocked when he told us, he has only ever seen something like this once in his lifetime.  He said her condition is so rare.  He did bring us comfort by saying although he hasn't ever done this particular surgery, he has done more complex and similar surgeries.  

We left the consultation feeling a bit overwhelmed.  It was good to finally have our questions answered but also disheartening at the same time.  I of course called my mom immediately.  She always knows how to make me feel better.  

She told me about a picture that sat on a doctors desk that she used to work for.  As soon as I saw this picture I was overcome with comfort.  I know that the Lord will be guiding the surgeons hands.  I know that with the Priesthood, my husband, and prayers and fasting, Penelope will make it through this.  She is much stronger than me and gives me so much strength.  I love my Savior and am at peace knowing he will be with me every step of the way.

When researching the bypass machine I was again comforted to find that President Russell M. Nelson worked with a team of doctors that created the first bypass or heart and lung machine.  President Nelson was also the first doctor to perform a successful open heart surgery, using a heart and lung machine, in Utah.  

Nellie's heart surgery is schedule for June the 5th.  They are trying to coordinate with the anesthesiologist schedule.  We are lucky enough to have Tyson's good family friend as her anesthesiologist.  He is the medical director of anesthesiology at Children's Hospital and is a member of the church.  Knowing that there is someone with the Priesthood in on Penelope's surgery brings me so much comfort. Also, looking back and seeing how Penelope's heart condition was found is nothing short of a miracle.  I know Heavenly has a plan and is so aware of Penelope.

I love this scripture.  It helps me gain strength from trials.

2 Corinthians 12:10
Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak ,then am I strong.
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Wednesday, April 24

RandmonNESS Take #4

I don't think there is anything cuter than a baby freshly out of the tub in a bath robe.

Meeting Tyson for lunch is one of our favorite things to do.

Bows have taken over my life.  I cannot wait for this Boutique to get here. 

Penelope loves visiting her Grandpa at work.  All of the ladies melt over her.

Did I say bows have taken over my life, house, kitchen table, counter, and guest bedroom.

Penelope will put anything in her mouth, even if it is another babies arm.

Nellie has this new thing of scratching her head like a monkey to put herself to sleep.

I think I have the happiest baby alive.

Nellie finally rolled over from back to front.  I missed it gosh dang it!  I went to put something away and when I came back I found this.

She hasn't stopped rolling since.

The dreaded bronchoscopy is finally over with.  Nellie did great!  She had a harder time with the anesthesia this time.

Children's Hospital needs smaller gowns and socks.... Oh wait no they don't.  They look adorable on chubby babies.

I love seeing Ty snuggle with his little love.

Nellie likes to growl.  All of the nurses thought it was comical.  I knew my baby was coming when we were waiting for her to wake up.  I could hear her a mile away.  I also heard the nurses telling her to not eat her blanket.  Growling and eating anything and everything is what my baby does best.

My friend Britt gave Nellie this darling outfit.  She knew how much Tyson loves basketball.  I was so happy she could finally fit into it.

Have I mentioned that Target has thee cutest baby girl clothes.  I think this one is my favorite thus far.  Don't worry that Nellie had a blow out in this outfit.  Sad day!

Pedicures are the best!

Nellie even got her toes painted.  The ladies were in love.  I was totally fine with them holding her until the kisses all over the face started happening.  Strangers kissing my babies mouth/face is Not okay.

Big girl can sit in her stroller without the car seat attachment.  Time please slow down.

Winter Water Factory has adorable baby clothes.

Someone has started to figure out her jumper.

Sophie the Giraffe also doubles as a bink.

I listen to this song on repeat daily.

Sonic's Happy Hour can fix anything.  I got the call this morning to schedule Nellie's heart surgery.  I have been anxious all day.  We get to meet with the surgeon tomorrow for the consultation.  It will be so nice to have this all behind us.

The aroma of fresh banana cake has filled my house.  Recipe to come!

I will be teaching Zumba two days a week, starting Wednesday!  Goodbye baby weight.
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Tuesday, April 23


Unfortunately they are going to be doing away with google reader, as of July 1st.  Fortunately you can be ahead of the game and create an account with Bloglovin.

Hope this helps!
Follow my blog with Bloglovin
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Blog Face Lift

The very talented Rylee Blake gave the blog a much needed facelift.  

She was so easy to work with and is beyond creative.  

Contact her if your blog is in need.  

You will not be disappointed! 
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Monday, April 22


Let me preface, by saying there are a LOT of pictures in this post!  There was so much beauty all around.  I couldn't help myself.

This past weekend we headed to Monterey.  There was a lot of anticipation on my behalf, seeing as I had never been there before.  I was anxious to get out of town and enjoy some quality time with my little family.  

Tyson's cousins were generous enough to let us stay at their house in Salinas.  We also had a list of all the hot spots to hit, thanks to Tyson's other cousin.

Friday morning we went to the Sea Otter Classic.  We were able to support my friend Megan on her circuit race.  Unfortunately, a piece of her bike literally fell off on her second lap.  She was unable to finish the race.  It was a a major bummer.  Luckily she had a great mechanic who was able to fix it for her race on Saturday.

We walked around and looked through all of the vender tents.  I have never seen so many bikes or cyclists in my entire life.  This was a huge event.  We were happy to be able to see Meg's do what she loves.

Later that afternoon we went Fisherman's Wharf.  We were on the hunt for crepes.  Tyson's cousins Ashley said they are her favorite.  We got there and they were done serving them at three o'clock.  We missed them by a half an hour.

So off to the taffy and candy we went.  I love stocking up on some good candy.

Each of the restaurants were handing out samples of clam chowder.  Old Fisherman's Grotto was the best.  It was the creamiest clam chowder I ever did taste.

Don't mind the chowder on my face.  It was that good.

Later that day we went and watched Tyson's cousins little boy Noah play baseball.  It had been years since I had been to a little league game.  It was fun to watch him and think about watching our kids playing sports one day.

That night we met back up with Megan and Josh to eat at Gino's.  They had the most delicious blackened chicken alfredo and artichoke bisque soup.  Italian food is my favorite.

Saturday morning we woke up early to meet Andy at the Ranch.  It was one of the most gorgeous places I have ever been.  It reminded me of my childhood.  I love horses and being out in the country.  The smells and sounds were such a great reminder.

I think horses are one of the most majestic animals.  I love soft spot by their nostrils and their chiseled jaw bones.  The smell of the horses and the leather from their saddles are two of my favorite smells.

Tyson and I had a lot of fun riding them.  It got me wanting to take riding lessons.

After riding the horses we were excited to hit Cannery Row.  We ate fish and chips and went to the Monterey Aquarium.  It was pretty amazing.  My favorite exhibits were the jelly fish and the open sea.  It was magical seeing the sharks, enormous tuna, and turtles swimming right before our eyes.

After the aquarium we went to Pinkberry.  I cannot walk by a Pinkberry and not indulge.

We had a blast Saturday night.  We ate home made Chili Verde, rice and beans.  It was outstanding.  We stayed up late talking with Andy, James and their friends.  We laughed so hard we cried and played a little Taboo.  Their dogs are awesome.  They have a Great Dane and a Boxer.

I had Stuart the Great Dane stand up on me, just to see how big he really was.

Sunday we had a delicious breakfast and went on 17 mile drive. The views were breathtaking.

The color of the water was gorgeous and the sounds of the seals was surreal.

The Lone Cypress was even more beautiful in person.

We ended our loop on Pebble Beach golf course.  I couldn't believe the views.  I can't imagine playing a round of golf on that course.  The homes that surrounded the course were ginormous.  

Everything we did was a blast.  I am already wanting to plan our next trip to Monterey.  I feel so blessed to live so close to so many beautiful places.  Penelope is the best baby to travel with.  She never makes a peep and smiles no matter where we take her.  I loved spending so much time with family and friends.  This past weekend was so rejuvenating and everything my soul needed.