Friday, June 28

Beach Bum

Our annual Newport Beach vacation, is just around the corner.  That means it is crunch time for me, to get back into shape.  Here are a few of my go-to beach items.

Beach Bum


1.  My skin gets so dry after I bake in the sun all day.  The smell of this lotion is fantastic and feels great on my skin.  

2.  As I get older, I am starting to take care of my skin a little more.  This is the perfect hat to shade those rays from my face.  Even though I do love that time of year, when my freckles come out.

3.  You can never have to much water.  I love how this bottle keeps my water cool and stores so much of the essential H2O.

4.  Having my nails painted is crucial.  I love anything bright a fun for summer.

5.  I am in love with these sandals.  I had a pair every summer growing up and have since started the tradition for me and Penelope.  They are beyond comfortable and are perfect dressed up or down.

6.  This perfume reminds of being at the beach 24/7.  There are not many smells I love more, than the scent of summer.

7.  This swimsuit is to die for.  I love that is covers up those newly acquired mommy hips and has that vintage flare, I love so much.

8.  This lip gloss gives the appearance of a more plump lip and makes your pearly whites glow.

9.  I am obsessed with my sunnies.  I don't go anywhere without them.   


I am looking for a good read while I am at the beach.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

What are your go-to summer essentials?!?!

Monday, June 17

Father's Day Part 2

Seeing as it was Tyson's first Father's Day, I wanted him to feel extra special.  He woke up to a new shaving kit that he had been eyeing for quite some time.  I also got him a tie, a picture of Penelope to take to his office, and his favorite donuts.  Kiersten and I made him German Pancakes with homemade syrup and fresh strawberries.

He took a nap while Kiersten and I went through a box of my dad's old things.  We sifted through old pictures, letters from his mission, and yearbooks.  It never gets old looking through his things.

Here are just a few of my favorite pictures.  It's crazy to see the similarities between my dad and brothers.  They have the same build, smile, hair, and interests.  Father's Day is always a little bittersweet.  I love to remember the good times I had with my dad.  He always had a way of making me feel special.  I miss making him laugh and seeing his eyes twinkle.  There are times when I look at Penelope and wish so badly I could see my dad with her.  I know that they would have a special bond.  I take comfort in knowing we will all be together one day.  I know my dad is smiling down on me and was with Penelope through her surgery.  I feel him by my side and still feel his nudge of encouragement to fulfill my dreams.    

I feel so blessed to have Jon as my father in law.  He is such a great example of love and generosity.  He is constantly serving others and wanting to make sure we have what we need.  He always goes above and beyond in everything he does.  I know that I can always turn to him for advice.  I love watching Penelope and him together.  Penelope see's him and instantly smiles.  She constantly looks up into his eyes.  He spoils us all like crazy.  GiGi even gets spoiled.  We tell GiGi when we are going to Grandpa's and she immediately runs to the door.  Thanks to Grandpa she has a whole plethora of treats and toys.  Our yard is beautiful thanks to his hard work.  He is our handyman and I appreciate him teaching Tyson the ropes.  He raised an amazing son and I'm so grateful for all he does.

We finished off the night with a delicious tri-tip dinner and strawberry shortcake.  

I am the luckiest girl to have these men in my life!
 photo signature_zpsc2e4f28b.png

I'm Coming Home

My sister got in late Thursday night.  I couldn't have been more happy, that she came to be my support.  Knowing that I would see her in the morning is what got me through the night.   I wasn't 100% positive if we would be going home on Friday, but I had high hopes.  I didn't think I was possibly going to be able to make it through one more night at the hospital.  

I was by myself Friday morning and enjoyed some down time with Penelope.  They came into get us, for what hopefully was going to be Nellie's last x-ray.  It was so nice carrying her without any tubes or wires.  I held my breathe, as I awaited the results of the x-ray.  Dr. MacDonald came in and said the x-ray looked perfect.  He ordered and echo and said if everything looks good, we would be going home.  

The echo seemed to take forever, as I was anticipating going home that day.  We waited only a couple of minutes to hear the results.  The PA walked in and said we were good to go!  I immediately called Tyson and told him to head over to the hospital.  Tyson's mom also came to help.  We had accumulated so much stuff over the past week.  

I got Penelope dressed her new outfit.  It was so good to see her in clothes.  She smiled as if she knew she was free.  We got the discharge papers and were on our way.  As we drove away I took a look back at Valley Children's Hospital.  I was overcome again with pure gratitude.  I had my baby in tow and couldn't be happier.  

We celebrated by eating the yummiest lunch at our favorite restaurant Sakanaya.  I had the most amazing feeling all day and still do.  I don't think I realized how much stress I was holding onto, until we got home. 

Penelope is on three months of blood thinners, a yucky medicine called Lasix, and tylenol as needed for pain.  She doesn't like her Lasix at all.  Even though she hates it, she is still able to get it down.  I am luckily able to hide the aspirin in her baby food.  We have to give her a sponge bath for ten days and cannot pick her up under her arm pits for six weeks.  I never realized how much I used her underarms for support.  We are learning and making the adjustments we need, so that she is comfortable.

She is doing amazing in spite of everything that she has been through.  If you did't know her, you wouldn't think anything was wrong.   The only difference we really notice is her smile.  She does this little half smile now.  It is still cute but we miss that big cheesy grin.  

I am so unbelievably proud of my little girl!  I tell her every day how strong and brave she is.  I hope she will look back on this experience when she is older and realize how much she was blessed.  I hope she will be able to see, that the hand of the Lord was with her every step of the way.  I hope she will realize how much love others have for her and especially from us as her parents.  

Sunday we were able to remove the dressing that was covering the hole, where Nellie's chest tube came out.  I couldn't believe how quickly her skin healed, a couple more days and we won't be able to see it anymore.  We follow up with the doctors this Friday to make sure everything is going well.  We will do annual follow ups with her cardiologist to make sure her LPA grows with her body.  If it happens to not grow with her body, they will be able to stretch her artery, without her having to undergo open-heart surgery again.  

It was amazing to have my sister with me to end this journey.  I am so luck to have her.  I also don't know what I would do without Tyson.  I thank my lucky stars every day that he is mine.

We have and are continuing to be blessed with meals, from our Relief Society.  I don't know what I would do without the gospel.  I am so grateful for the knowledge I have and for the support system of others.  I hope to always remember the compassion and charity that has been shown in my family's behalf.  I cannot wait to pay it forward.
 photo signature_zpsc2e4f28b.png

Saturday, June 15

Happy Father's Day!

It is Tyson's first Father's Day today!

I couldn't have hand picked a better father for my children.

He encompasses the every quality a father should have.

Penelope and I are blessed beyond measure to have him in our lives.

He is the glue that holds our family together.

The first moment I saw Penelope and Tyson together, my heart about burst.

Penelope knew his voice immediately and starred right into his eyes

There is nothing I enjoy more than watching the two of them together.

They have a special bond that I always hoped they would have.

Tyson is the most kind, loving, generous, hard working, patient, father I know.

He has already blessed Penelope's life so much through honoring his priesthood, providing for her needs, and comforting her when she is sad.  He stood by Penelope's beside every day and every night while she was in the hospital, not only when she had RSV, but when she had her open-heart surgery.  He held her hand and sang her to sleep. 

Happy Father's Day Babe!!!!
 photo signature_zpsc2e4f28b.png

Thursday, June 13

Day 8: Home Stretch

Last night ended up being a little rough.  Penelope's last IV ended up going bad.  They were going to put another one in but decided to try and give her medication orally.  I was so erie of her taking that darn medication, but much to my surprise, she got it down just fine.  I was so happy to have her last IV out.  She was happy to have both of her feet free at last.  When it came time to take her blood, they were unable to get what they needed out of the first draw.   They ended up having to poke her heel to make up the rest.   I was so happy to finally have it all over with and to have her last IV out.  She was happy to have both of her feet free at last.

The days here are getting more and more routine and we are adjusting to the new schedule.  We woke up and headed down to the x-ray machine.  P's x-ray came out clear once again.  This was great news.  I was anxious to hear what Dr. MacDonald would say about her chest tube output.  He came in and kept things short and sweet.  I finally heard the magic words that today was the day the chest tube would come out.  I don't think I have smiled that big in a long time.  The PA came into the room and immediately removed the tube.  I was surprised how quickly he took it out.  I couldn't believe they didn't even need to put a stitch in, to hold her skin together.  Penelope was uncomfortable for only a minutes time.  She soon realized how great it was to no longer have that tube in her.

Dr. MacDonald said they will take another x-ray and echo in the morning.  If everything looks good, we will finally get to go home.  Hip Hip Hooray!!!! I asked him about he blood levels and he said everything looked great.  His report was music to my ears.

Tyson's mom came by this morning and brought me another Jamba Juice.  I could get used to drinking a Peanut Butter Mood every morning for breakfast.  She watched Penelope while I ran and picked up some gifts and a card for Dr. MacDonald.  I also wanted to get Nellie a few things.  I got her an outfit to go home from the hospital in and a stuffed sea hoarse that sings.

I brought back In N' Out and we talked while Tyson's sister Jana came to visit.  Nana Parker and aunt Cindy also stopped by to visit.  They brought the cutest stuffed bunny for P and some tasty popcorn for us.  It was as good as ever to have visitors.

Later in the afternoon I was able to spend some alone time with Penelope.  It was peaceful and tender.  I talked with her and made her laugh.  I nursed her and held her close to me.  It was especially nice without all of the wires hooked up to her.  Once she fell asleep I tried to lay down for a minute.  It ended up being a little difficult because the patient in the next room was coming out of anesthesia and was having all sorts of problems.  The poor kid was not making sense and cracking me up.  I really did feel bad for him though.  He was in tears and yelling on and off.  It is beside me why they don't seal off the rooms here.

Cara came by later and kept me company till Tyson got back from another work appointment.  It has really meant so much having her here every day.  She brought Nellie the cutest outfit and me my favorite sugar cookie.  She couldn't be more thoughtful.

We had the privilege of having Stephanie Ryan come take photos of our stay here in the hospital.  She said she was just paying it forward.  I got a little sneak peek on her camera and it took everything in me to fight back the tears. Stephanie has such a talent and captured more than I ever thought possible.  Dr. MacDonald even stopped by for the pictures.  I really wanted that and was so happy he made time in his busy schedule to do so.

We were able to give Dr. MacDonald a gift basket full of cycling loot, a Starbucks gift card, and some other treats.  He has completed multiple Iron Mans and shares a love for cycling.  I had hoped he would like it, I was elated when he lit up.  He loved everything about it.  It was the least we could do for what he has done for our daughter.

Here is what the card read:

Dear Dr. MacDonald,

I don’t think we can fully articulate, just how much love and appreciation we have for you.  In touching our daughter’s heart, you have touched ours.  There is no one we would have rather performed her surgery.  We so appreciate all of the time and devotion you dedicate to your job.  You are a fascinating man and are an answer to our prayers.  We are so grateful for the care and kindness you have shown, not only to Penelope, but to us.  You radiate the essence of kindness and a true passion for your job.  Throughout this journey you have set our minds at ease and helped ease our burdens.  I don’t think we could ever thank you enough, for the gift you have given our daughter.  We are eternally indebted to you. There will always be a special place for you within our family.

From the bottom of our hearts thank you!


Tyson and Janessa Parker


We ended the day with Tyson's parents bringing us CPK for dinner.  They have been amazing through this entire stay.  They have brought countless meals, taken care of GiGi, checked on us even when they couldn't be here, strengthened us through prayer, and uplifted us with there hugs and encouraging words.

Tyson's cute cousin also came by to say goodnight.  We are hoping she can get feeling better soon and can go home as well.

I knelt in prayer tonight with nothing but a heart full of gratitude.  I witness to the miracles that take place on a daily basis.  I have a deeper love for those around me and want to help in any way that I can.  My testimony has grown leaps and bounds.  I know that God lives.  He hears and answers prayers.  The priesthood is a blessing in my life that I could never take for granted.  The Atonement can heal broken hearts and grant us the comfort we need through any trial, no matter how big or small.  When we put our full trust in the Lord, we will be blessed beyond our capacities.  Life is such a wonderful thing and I am so grateful for the hills and mountains that have been put in my path, that have strengthened me and made me who I am today.  Our trials can truly turn into our greatest blessings.  The Lord will always make a way if we but have faith in him.

My love for Penelope cannot be measured.  I am beyond blessed to get to be her mom.  I cannot wait to see the places she will go in this life.  I have a deeper love and appreciation for Tyson.  He has been my rock through this entire experience.  He has remained positive from the beginning and has strengthened me to new heights.  I love my family with all my heart.

I could have not gotten through this experience without each one of my family members, friends, strangers, nurses and doctors.  The way others reached out to us gave me the hope I needed.  I appreciate every thoughtful comment and the visits, gifts, treats, meals and so much more.  


Hopefully we will be home safe and sound in our own beds tomorrow night!

 photo signature_zpsc2e4f28b.png

Wednesday, June 12

Day 7

I am happy to report, that today was a much better day than yesterday!  Luckily there always seems to be the calm, right after the storm.  The days are starting to really mesh together here.  I am happy that I will be able to look back and read what happened each day because for right now, everything seems to be a blur.

My prayers were answered yet again.  Last night when the phlebotomist came in to draw Penelope's blood, I cringed thinking Penelope would cry in pain.  Much to my surprise, she didn't make a peep.  The phlebotomist got what she needed, on the first poke.  I couldn't have been more relieved.  

The morning started out bright and early, with me taking P for her daily x-ray.  She did perfect!  She held completely still and left her arms above her head like a good girl.  The x-ray came out terrific and showed no signs of fluid around her heart.

Dr. MacDonald came in to report that Nellie's fluid from her chest tube had significantly decreased.  He  gave us high hopes that if everything continued to go well, tomorrow they would be able to remove her chest tube.  If that were to happen, we would be out of here by Friday.  I got an instant pep in my step.  I didn't want to get my hopes up, but at least I had a gage to go off for now. 

Tyson's mom brought me a Jamaba juice and a clean change of clothes.  She also brought Penelope some clean blankets.  What a relief it is having our home and family so close to the hospital.  My sister-in-law Jana came by to visit, as well as Cascia.  She brought a bag full of taffy that was extremely tasty. 

Grandpa Parker came today on his lunch break and brought Nellie a stuffed dog that also resembled GiGi.  It is so cute and soft.  P snuggled with it all day long.  Our brother-in-law Brandon also stopped by on his lunch break.  It is always nice having visitors.  It definitely makes the days go by quicker.

My friends Gina and her cute daughter Lindee came by to visit.  They also brought Lindee's adorable daughter with them.  Our friendship developed all from good old Instagram.  They brought the sweetest gift basket full of toys for Penelope, treats for us, a wonderful book, and the most beautiful pink tulips.  Seeing them brightened our days beyond belief.  It's amazing how great people are and how they help me strive to be better, through their examples.

Tyson's cousin Stephanie and aunt Jennifer stopped by and brought P her first pillow pet and a basket full of delicious snacks.  Later on Tyson's other cousin Katie and Jake came by.  They brought bags of popcorn and Root Beer.  As more people came throughout the day, I couldn't believe how generous everyone was to our little one.  Just their smiles alone have helped lift our spirits.  Penelope has sure been spoiled, but has loved every second of it.      

Tyson's parents and sister Cara helped keep Penelope company while Tyson and I went and grabbed dinner.  It felt good to leave the hospital room.  I was starting to forget what it felt like to be outside.  Dinner was delicious but I was anxious to get back to my baby.

When we got back from dinner, Dr. MacDonald stopped by to check the output of P's chest tube.  He said it was still draining too much, that he wasn't sure if it would be able to be taken out tomorrow.  I knew that was a possibility, so it didn't come as much of a surprise.  I was still happy to hear that it was still slowing down.  We chatted about cycling for a bit and wished him well.  I sure do love that man.  He really will be part of our family forever.

Some other highlights of the day have been:
= Nellie discovering her glowing toe
- Making Nellie laugh, while dancing around her crib
- Being more comfortable with picking Nellie up
- Nellie eating perfectly and getting back on her old routine
- Feeding Nellie bananas for the first time
- Snapping a picture of Nellie looking at me through the bars of her crib

(if you look really close, you can see P's tiny eye)

The more I am in the hospital, the more I recognize the special spirit that is in each room.  I can look back on the different times I have been in and out of the hospital, visiting others and I can remember how good it felt to be there.  As much as it has been hard to be here, I am grateful for the comfort I have felt while being here.  There has been an overwhelming outpouring of love we have felt on a daily basis and a closeness to the spirit.  I have really been able to recognize the hand of the Lord through this experience.

  I received a couple of great quotes from Tyson's cousin Katie, that really helped me out today.  This one especially touched me.

"There are few things more powerful than the prayers of a righteous mother."
-Boyd K. Packer

Being here in the hospital has really put things into perspective.  There are so many people here that are watching their loved ones and children struggle.  I was talking to one of the nurses the other day and she was telling me, how some of the kids here can easily stay up to a year.  I honestly couldn't image the strength that they and their parents must have.  

Our window is right by the landing pad of the life flight helicopter.  My heart goes out to each child and their parents, every time it lands.  This experience has really helped me realized the little things that I take for granted.  I miss squeezing my baby, carrying her on my hip and standing her up on my legs.  I miss taking a bath with her and getting her dressed in real clothes every morning.  I miss my comfy bed and my puppy.  In the end missing all of these things, will make me appreciate them so much more.  We have one week down and five more to go, until I can pick Penelope up from under her arm pits and believe me I am already counting down the days.

Here's to hoping for a great day tomorrow!
 photo signature_zpsc2e4f28b.png