Monday, December 21, 2009

A Little of This and That

"They" say the baby is the size of a lemon at this point. 14 weeks and I'm breaking out the maternity pants just in time to eat my body weight in food for the holidays. {The best thing about maternity clothes is that your belly never gets that "my belt is cutting off blood supply to my abdomen" feeling when you've eaten too much.} Yes, that's about 2 months earlier than I needed maternity pants with Caleb, but why fight it?

In other news, Pete is off of school for two weeks! My semester is over, and Caleb can count to ten, so we figure all education can stop until the New Year. Saturday and Sunday brought us almost 2 feet of snow, so we're getting creative with things to do at home, but somehow, we'll manage to survive all this relaxation.

We're looking forward to the holiday festivities, as well as celebrating Caleb's 2nd birthday and my Bala's un-numbered birthday {because she's timeless:)} tomorrow, December 22. We wish you the best-- may the holidays bring happiness and safety to you, wherever you may be.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Round Two

Peter and I decided that we've done such a good job keeping Caleb safe and healthy (there should be a font for sarcasm on blogs) that we're gonna go ahead and do it to another kid.

Due June 21, 2010.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Once a Fan, Always a Fan

Pittsburgh Steelers LogoImage via Wikipedia

I think I'm going to start watching Hockey. I love the Steelers, but this is just starting to get painful. We've always been a "come from behind" team, but I think we've forgotten which way we're suppose to be headed. Is this how Browns feel ALL the time? So sad for them.

That being said, I love me some Steelers-- win or lose.
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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Chemists Know How to Party

Pittsburgh has some great museums, thanks to Andrew Carnegie. One of my favorites is the Carnegie Science Center. Pretty much, my dream is to work at the Science Center some day. Despite the fact that we probably won't ever live in Pittsburgh again (there aren't many Naval Bases here) I can still dream, right?

Anyway, my grandfather (known as Papa) is a retired Chemist, but he still participates in some of the Chemical Societies here in the 'Burgh. Each year, the SACP (Society of Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh) holds an evening at the Science Center. Peter, Caleb and I were able to join him and Bala, as well as my sister Shayla, and her husband (Sean) and her son, Dean. Caleb and Dean had so much fun running around, playing with the robots and checking out the INCREDIBLE train display. The Science Center also has an entire floor designed for children, and Dean and Caleb spent most of the night trying to see just how wet they could get in the water displays.

The SACP also has a Santa come each year and Caleb actually sat on his lap! I thought he would scream and cry, but he sat there in amazement.

Of course, we didn't bring the camera, so we don't have pictures, but we sure had a fun night!

Thanks Papa!
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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Happy Birthday, Sorta

Caleb's Party - 3, originally uploaded by jaaron.

Caleb's birthday arrives at the time of year when one is:
1. Running around in a chaotic mess --OR--
2. Getting severly annoyed at all the people surrounding us who are running around in a chaotic mess,

Knowing this, and remembering the miserable FAIL we got for his first birthday celebration, Peter and I decided to celebrate the birth of our little monster a bit early.

We did a Halloween/ Birthday Party and had a bunch of friends and family over. Peter's parents were kind enough to open their home for our party when the weather promised not to cooperate. They graciously put up with my crazy party planning and welcomed all with open arms.

Since the party, almost a month ago, Caleb has told us Happy Birthday everyday and frequently sings "Happy Birthday to You" over and over again. We went to Toys R Us the other day (it was Caleb's first time in the store) and he walked up and down the isles singing Happy Birthday to everyone he saw.

Thanks to all the friends and family who came to celebrate with us! My siblings (minus Katie) were all there and it was great to spend some time with them.

Happy Birthday (almost) little boy!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Things I Heart

Because I feel as though I have been in a rather nasty, complaining mood lately (Pete has pointed out that I feel as though I've been in such a mood, because I have, in fact, been in such a mood... whatever.) I think I need to write a list of things that make me happy, even though they may drive me crrazzzzyyy at times.

WARNING: This list is comprised entirely of things Caleb does and absolutely contains run on sentences.

1. A few days ago I was wrestling with the surprisingly strong toddler, trying to be a good mother and actually wipe the snot off his nose, instead of just letting it run straight into his mouth, like I normally do, and I came up with a brilliant solution. I stopped struggling, looked at him and asked, "Do you want to see the yuckies on your nose?" Thrilled, he responded "Yesh." And I took him to a mirror and showed him. He then let me wipe them all off while he watched. He was thrilled. He has not stopped asking to see the yuckies on his nose every four seconds for days now-- awesome :) Sigh. Win some, lose some.

2. When I see Caleb, I usually greet him with, "Hey, baby." He now responds in like.

3. Every morning Caleb wakes up and asks, "Grandpa ride tractor?" He's more than a little obsessed.

4. When Caleb wants to be held he grabs my shoulders and gives a big hug. He then snuggles in and pulls his arms between my chest and his, while laying his head on my shoulder. It pretty much melts my heart.

5. The other day Caleb saw me crying (I was reading something sad) and he got very concerned and asked, "Mommy sad?" He then crawled up on my lap and said, "Mommy need hugs and kishes."

6. He runs around kicking a tennis ball with surprising accuracy. He asks me everyday for a "sicker" ball. I would buy one, but did you know soccer balls cost $20!?! He's sticking with the tennis ball for now, and we're pretending that he's improving his agility skills.

7. Anytime Caleb wants to do something, he looks at you very sincerely and declares, "It my turn, peas." How do you argue with that?

8. When I put Caleb down for a nap, you can hear him counting to ten, over and over again until he falls asleep. I have no idea why.

9. He does the best rendition of "Popcorn Popping" I have ever seen. This kid has serious Jazz Hands. He also demands that we sing it over and over and over and over again. As soon as we finish, he yells, "Again!"

10. He recently spent a few days with his cousin, Dean, who is only a few weeks younger than him. Since then (it's been about two weeks) he asks me everyday "Where Dean at?" Anytime he wants to play with something, it is labeled, "Dean-Dean's car" or "Dean-Dean's block" or "Dean-Dean's" anything. If he gets really sad that Dean is not around, he tells me that Dean-Dean is sleeping.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lions say Rawr

Somehow we only took a picture on Peter's phone of Caleb for Halloween. Sad.

Peter's mom made the costume and he was sooo cute!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I am Medicaid

Recently I've been hearing a lot about service. It seems as though this theme has been everywhere lately, and I'm guessing it's because I need to hear the lesson over and over again.

Not surprisingly, I've been thinking over the service that has been offered me. I've been ridiculously lucky (or blessed) by acts of service in my lifetime. The one act of service that comes back to me over and over again, might seem a little strange, but stick with me, I think I might be able to put it into words.

We found out we were pregnant with Caleb as Pete was applying to medical school. Not knowing what we would face, we tried to be as prepared as possible. Peter signed up with the Navy, through the HPSP, which has been a huge blessing in and of itself. Through HPSP, Peter's medical insurance was covered, but mine was not. Knowing that I was pregnant, we realized how difficult it could be for us to find affordable insurance--if any at all-- so we swallowed hard and signed up for the student insurance program.

Swallowed Hard? Yeah. For the luxury of paying $40 a visit (do you remember how many visits you have to go to when you're pregnant? Yeah, a lot), $150 per hospital admission, plus $100 a day in the hospital-- PLUS no prescription coverage, lab work coverage, ultrasound coverage, etc, we got to pay $8,500. Nice huh? The Navy covered the cost of Peter's part of it, so we paid out the additional ~$5,000 and budgeted for the bills that were sure to come in.

Somewhere during the last few months of my pregnancy, some friends mentioned that they were on Medicaid, and that as a student you can qualify if you have children or are pregnant. This news was phenomenal, since we had learned that to add our future child to our plan would cost us about $7,000 more, for a grand total of $15,500 +copays. Awesome, huh?

Stay with me, I have a point.

We jumped through hoops and finally, after a long struggle (another post entirely) we were approved for Medicaid. Medicaid came in a paid for all of our additional out of pocket expenses for Caleb's birth. What a relief! It meant that we would actually have some cash reserves in case of an emergency. Without Medicaid, we would have spent every dollar to our name, quite literally.

Fast forward about a year. From January 2009 to August 2009, Caleb was admitted to the hospital 12 different times. Sometimes the admission was just for a 24 hour observation, sometime it was for a week or two at a time. We knew how lucky we were to be in Philadelphia, where the Childrens' Hospital of Philadelphia is-- the number one Childrens' Hospital in the country. We received INCREDIBLE care--never once were we given a hard time because we were on welfare insurance.

Never once did a doctor stop and say, well, we should run this test, but your insurance won't cover it. Never once did a doctor say, sorry, I don't accept that insurance. Never once were we turned away. We were served time and time again. Served by doctors who knew that they wouldn't get paid well for treating Caleb. Served by nurses who cared for him as if he was their child. Served by IV team after IV team, who rushed to calm Caleb when they couldn't get an IV placed. Served by the tax payers who's incomes helped to cover the cost of Caleb's large health bills.

Without Medicaid we would be bankrupt. We never could have afforded his surgery, his tests, his consults, his treatments. Without Medicaid, we would have a very, very sick little boy. Instead, I have a beautiful toddler who didn't want to go to bed tonight. I have a little boy who loves soccer, tractors and the moon.

I know the sacrifice it takes to fund programs like Medicaid. I know that we are being served by those who pay into the system. I know that we will probably never cover the costs of Caleb's medical bills with our future taxes. But I also know that I don't deserve health care any more than anyone else. Why should I be able to have health insurance when others go without?

I cannot imagine what it would have been like to have a sick child and not be able to take him to the doctor. I cannot imagine what it would be like to lose your home because a loved one needed medical care and you couldn't afford it.

I am the face of Medicaid. Too often, we feel like people on welfare are "those people, over there." We think they aren't our friends, our family, our neighbors-- But they ARE. I'm on Medicaid. And I am grateful. I am proud of a country that offers me health care. Without Medicaid, Peter, very seriously, would have had to drop out of medical school and get a job so that we could cover the costs. Because of Medicaid, and the SERVICE, it provides, he is able to finish his education and become a *hopefully* productive member of the health care workforce.

Isn't it our responsibility to serve others? Isn't that our duty? With all we have been given, isn't it our turn to serve those around us-- those we don't know, and don't understand? Sometimes the service we provide goes to those we feel might not be deserving. But that's not our job, to decide, who is deserving, and who isn't. Our job is simply to serve.

I know that there are families out there, experiencing what we went through, but without the comfort of health insurance. My heart breaks for them. And so tonight, my act of service is to show this side of Medicaid, to show this side of "Welfare."

I am Welfare. I am Medicaid.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Real Life

So I've been catching up on blogs lately and I have to say, most of them make me want to vomit. Is that bad?

Seriously, the majority of the blogs I just read mentioned, quite seriously-- without sarcasm-- how their children are better than everyone else's children. And, of course, how they are better parents than anyone else.

They love it. They never get impatient with their children. They can't understand why anyone would ever want a babysitter just so they could have a *break*. Why would you have children if you didn't want to watch them? (I totally copied that word for word from someone's blog).

REALLY? You never think, "Holy crap, this child is never going to have siblings!" Or wonder why in the world you thought it was a good idea to have a screaming, snotty nosed, teething toddler? You never crave interactions with other adults? You never get tired of having absolutely no idea what, ";ifjadsjhadhflsdjafdkjhadfsjkhl" means when it comes out of your kid's mouth?

I LOVE being a mom. I love watching Caleb learn. I am constantly amazed at how incredibly resilient children are. And I want to have more of them. I'm constantly asked when Caleb is going to have another sibling... wouldn't I like to know!! I would love to have another baby!

But being a mom is tiring. There are days when I cannot wait for Pete to come home. There are days when I cannot wait for Elmo's World to come on. There are days I seriously consider daycare.

I firmly believe that you cannot forget who you are as an individual when you become a parent. Yes, much of parenting requires major sacrifice. But there is a REASON why you are a parent. You have something very specific to offer this child, and that is based on who you are as a person. If you lose touch with your self, what do you have to offer this kid?

Anyway, I probably shouldn't publish this post/rant, but I'm going to.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Mean Mommy, Nice Grandma

One of Caleb's favorite new things is tractors (and trucks). A few weeks ago, Caleb had the chance to sit in a firetruck and it's been a complete obsession ever since. He's also completely in awe of the lawn mower, telling everyone, "Mommy mow grass!". The lawnmower lives in the shed and is often "Night-night" because Caleb thinks he should get to sit on it ALLLLL the time.

I'm usually mean and tell him that he needs to do something else, and this is the reaction I get:

On the other hand, he also has Grandma to make his life perfect. (And my life perfect as a result). Tonight I walked into the kitchen to see this:
Making cookies with Grandma. Not to get all mushy, but I just have to say, I'm so glad I have such a wonderful mother-in-law. Not only did she raise a pretty nice gentleman for me to marry, but the love and tenderness she shows my child makes me teary eyed at times. She's a woman I would be honored to resemble someday. I have a long way to go, but I know where I'd like to end up.

Ok. Mushy-ness over.

The Meaning of Life

Sunny, Autumn afternoons, speckled with the setting sun.


Picking things up when they fall down.

Trying with all our might.

Pure joy.

Friday, October 9, 2009

'Da 'Burgh

Over the last weekend in September we had the great chance to visit family in Pittsburgh. Obviously, my family is from there, but Pete's brother also went to school in the chosen city, married a fine lady and settled down there. Last month they had their third child, a "little" boy (8 pounds 10 ounces), Benjamin Lars Knickerbocker. We went out for the blessing and really enjoyed getting to see all the family.

We also had the chance to sneak a visit or two in with my side of the family as well. My sister, Shayla, and her husband were out of town for the weekend, so we took care of the little munchkin while they were gone. It was so much fun to see Dean and Caleb play together (and completely exhausting). Maeli totally assumed the roll of oldest cousin and I was so glad that Caleb had the chance to play with his cousins for the weekend.

So thanks for making it super convenient to see family, everyone! Once our place is a little less under construction, you'll all have to come on this way :)

Saturday, October 3, 2009


You'll all be happy (well, I hope you will) to know that I survived the half marathon. Actually it went pretty well. It was pretty hot there at the end, and LOTS of hills throughout (what's that about anyway?) so by about mile 10.5 I was mentally over this whole running thing, but after a few prayers and being passed by a kid who was seriously 6, I kept going.

My first goal was to finish. My second goal was to finish under three hours. (I like to make goals I know I can make). My third "super stretch" goal was to finish under two and a half hours.

I ran it in 2:07. I'll take it. I'm off to an appointment with a tube of icy-hot.

Friday, October 2, 2009

I've Officially Lost It

I'm running a half-marathon tomorrow. Without the stroller.

I love running with the stroller. It completes me. It makes me think, "Crap, I can't stop now, Caleb will start crying." It's the only thing that gets me to run.

Maybe I'll be walking this half-marathon.

I think this may turn out to be a disaster.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Us Lately

So pretty much things have been chaotic, with a summer of Medical Boards, Hospitalizations, Surgery, Vacations, Moving, etc. But, heck, when isn't life chaotic?

Here's a few things we've been doing and after this, instead of trying to go back and document everything, I'm just going to start fresh. Phew. That makes me feel better.

Caleb's "tiger" aka "Guy-ger"
Caleb's not really a clingy kid, so I don't know if I would officially call this his 'lovey' but he sure does love it! He asks to bring it with him anytime we get in the car and he hugs it tight when he falls asleep. Grandpop Knickerbocker and Barbara got it for him before he had his surgery and he just loves it to death.

PS- Yes, I know, tigers have stripes, not spots. He still thinks that horses are cows, so I'm just glad he at least knows it's in the cat family.

Anything that has a wheel is a car. He loves cars. And trucks, and tractors, and cows. He's turning into a real farm boy. Who would have thought? A month ago he was still scared of grass. Apparently the transition hasn't been too hard on him.

Allison, Kay and Sage

Friends! Jake and Allison came to visit for the Labor Day weekend/picnic (they moved to the midwest last year). It was good to see them, even if it was only for a few hours. Kay and Allison were trying to get the perfect amount of smile in this picture and Sage is obviously not impressed.
I know that girls are supposed to hog the phone when they turn 13, but I've been a little surprised at how much Caleb demands to talk to people on the phone! His favorite phone conversations usually go like this:

Caleb: Hellow? 'Owareyou?
Person: Hi Caleb!
Caleb: Cows!

He loves talking to Nana, Keke (my sister, Katie) and Daddy on the phone. When he talks to Pete, he always says, "Daddy, Where are you?" It's super cute.

He's so dang cute. Just thought I would put that on record.

Anyway, there are two other members of our family, other than just Caleb (shocking, I know!).

Pete just finished his Cardio rotation and is starting his Pulmonary rotation on Monday. So far he still likes "doing" things, not just talking to sick people (heaven forbid a doctor talk to sick people!) so things like surgery, anesthesiology, Radiology, etc. are on the list. If you ask him what he wants to do with his life and he gives you a straight answer, please let me know. I have not had that experience as of yet.

I'm still working on classes and hanging out with Caleb. Our place here is under a *bit* of construction-- as in we've had carpenters, electricians, plumbers and inspectors here for the past two weeks. We think we have about two-three weeks left and then hopefully (fingers crossed) things will all be done!

Sigh. There. We're all caught up. Lovin' it.


Umm, Is It Still July?

Caleb, Me, Lauren (holding one of the boys) and Amy
The only picture we took of the three of us the entire time we were there. Lame.

Ok, so maybe I haven't blogged in awhile. Oh well. Right before Caleb's surgery in August, I was able to get outta town for a few days to see some of my favorite people in the world. Amy (now lives in San Diego), Lauren (lives in Raleigh) and I grew up together and consequently went through many cycles of loving and hating each other. Isn't that what best friends are for?

Lauren just had twin boys, Quentin and Jackson, at the beginning of the summer. Doesn't she look fabulous? Amy and I decided to coordinate our trips to meet the little fellers, and we had a mini-catch-up-with-your-best-friends-from-high-school/help-Lauren-with-the-twins visit. (I'm not sure we helped that much.)

Yeah, to top it off, Lauren had made an additional two trips to the hospital since delivering, once for an emergency appendectomy and once for an infection from said appendix removal. I can't believe how well she is pulling everything off for such a crazy chaotic time!

Caleb pretty much just ate the entire time he was there. He loved it. He would keep pointing to the babies and shouting, "Baby! Crying!" We got to go watch Lauren's husband, Marcus, play a game of basketball and Caleb was so into it. He would follow the ball back and forth on the court and clap and shout when someone scored.

The little monsters we went to visit. They are so dang cute.

Amy is having her first child (another little boy! We're thinking of starting a professional sporting team with this crew) in December, so we pretty much sat around the entire time, passing babies, changing diapers and talking about what its like to be pregnant or have kids. It was great.

Thanks girls for the great time together!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Alzheimer's Association

Hey everyone-
I sent out some information before about the Memory Walk my mom is going to do in honor of her father, who died of Alzheimer's over 20 years ago. All the funds she raises go to help research better treatment and hopefully a cure for this disease.

You can copy this link to find my Mom's fundraising website for the Alzheimer's Association's Memory Walk.

If you click, "My Team Page" you can sign up to join my mom's "team" and create a webpage of your own. Then you can send out emails asking all of your friends and family to donate. If you don't feel like making your own page, please pass along the information for my mom's page.

She's hoping to raise $1,000 in honor of her dad. The fundraising page has only been open for a few days and she already has $150. Even if you can only donate $5 or $10, please donate. Every little bit helps.

Thanks so much.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


As many of you know, Pete and I just moved out to his parent's place in Parkesburg, PA. His rotation schedule is going to have him out of town for about 6 of the next 12 months, so we thought this would be a perfect chance to save some money on rent in the city.

We're really sad to be moving away from friends, but we promise to visit often and we extend the same invite to all of you-- come out! There is **gasp** grass here. And, as Caleb likes to remind us constantly, there are cows. Lots of them. So if you find yourself tired of the concrete, come out our way-- we're love to have you!

We're slowly but surely getting things unpacked... ok, so that might be a lie. We're TRYING to get things unpacked, but its going slowly.

Caleb doesn't like unpacking. Neither do I.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Obituary of a Lovely Lady

Vontella Burr Farr, 101, returned to her heavenly home and her eternal companion on August 20, 2009. She was born August 5, 1908 in Burrville, Utah to William Clark and Emma Constance Olsen Burr. She married Elvin Erastus Farr, September 28, 1929 in Sparks, Nevada; their marriage was later solemnized in the Salt Lake LDS Temple.

She dedicated her life to her husband and family. She deeply loved being a mother and a grandmother. She loved to learn. She knew the value of hard work and her motto was "How can I help". She was loved and adored by her grandchildren for her kind and loving example. She touched the lives and hearts of many with her compassion, pure love and sense of humor.

She had an unwavering testimony of the Gospel, with a great love for her Savior. She faithfully fulfilled various church callings. She and her husband worked as ordinance workers in the Salt Lake Temple and served a mission at the Los Angeles Temple Visitors Center.

Vontella leaves behind her children: Betty Jean (Chester) Tillman, Alachua, Florida; JaneRae (Jack V., deceased) Smith, Centerville; E. Lyle (Shirleen), Greensburg, PA; Wayne L., deceased (Faye) Farr; Carma (Royal A.), Armstrong, Salt Lake City; Elizabeth (Lynn K.) Bryson, Enterprise; 35 grandchildren; 106 great-grandchildren; 27 great-great-grandchildren and two sisters, Lula Davis and Ada Neff, St. George.

Among many welcoming her into Heaven are her husband, Elvin; son, Wayne L; granddaughters, Diane Higley, Jolyn Armstrong; grandson, Alan W. Farr; great-grandsons, Brant A. Best and Benjamin W. Eberle.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m., Friday, August 28, 2009 at the Centerville LDS 6th Ward Chapel, 900 South 400 East, Centerville, Utah. Friends and family may call Thursday evening from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. at Russon Brothers Bountiful Mortuary, 295 North Main and Friday morning at the church one hour prior to services. Interment-Lakeview Cemetery, 1640 East Lakeview Drive. Bountiful.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Gma Farr

Five Generations with Spouses.
Aug 2008.
Vontella Farr's 100th birthday.

My Great-Grandma Farr turned 101 earlier this month. On Thursday she passed away. I've been wondering how to write up this post since I heard the news. Years from now, I want Caleb to know what an influence this remarkable woman was on me. How her appreciation for the small things in life taught us all to slow down and lighten up.

I want him to know that she let us pick out whatever cereal we wanted when we went to visit. Even if it wasn't on sale. Even if she didn't have a coupon. Even if it had sugar. I want him to hear the stories she had to tell about the Native American Reservations and the friends she had when she was just a little girl. I want him to see the sparkle in her eye when she would talk about her husband-- a man who has been waiting for her to join him for twenty years.

I hope he knows how feisty she was. And how gentle. I want him to read the letters she wrote me. I want him to know that chicken soup and a handful of nuts can cure any illness-- at least according to Gma. I hope I can share with Caleb the pure joy she had when family was around. How she would never ever sit down to the table while people were eating, because she was shuffling around in the kitchen.

Most importantly, I hope I can teach Caleb that you don't have to be "important" in the eyes of the world to be important to those around you. I hope he can see that she shaped the lives of hundreds of people just by being a mother, a grandmother, a great-grandmother, and a great-great grandmother. By loving the people surrounding her, she quite honestly changed their lives.

I don't know how to teach him these things, but I hope I can. I hope I can learn them for myself.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Big Apple

A few weeks ago, in between hospital admissions and surgery, we decided to escape the craziness of our lives and go someplace to relax... Of course, that means a trip to nice, calming, NYC, right?

OK, so at least we got out of our house and the hospital :)

My reason for going to NYC.

Pete's reason for going to NYC.

What Caleb thought about NYC.

Check out Caleb's expression. It's amazing.

We took the Staten Island Ferry over to the city (which is an awesome way to get to New York, I highly recommend it). Pete wanted to go check out a store called Bonobos where he's gotten a million pairs of pants in the past. That's right-- we went to NYC so that my husband could go shopping.

We spent the day wandering around, checking out the Bonobos headquarters and Canal Street. We looked at the construction going on to build the 9/11 memorial and wandered through Wall Street and the Financial District. Unfortunately, Tiffany's was closed so we didn't get to buy you all the trinkets I had planned, but maybe next time.

It was a great day and it reminded me why we like to be a family. Sometimes you forget that when you're rushing from appointment to appointment, from class to class and from playgroup to CHOP's ER.

We never remember to take family shots. Even though Caleb and I look ridiculous, I'm glad we have this one.

On the ferry ride there.

On the ferry ride back. Caleb, minus his pants. Oh well.

Since then we've been trying to get back into the swing of things. We're moving at the end of September so things are starting to feel hectic, even though there's nothing we can do right now. If it's not one thing, it's another, right?

My favorite picture of the day.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Don't forget to send me an email or leave a comment so that I can add you to our blog invitations.

It goes private tomorrow morning!


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Death Panels

I have been anxiously watching the healthcare debate in hopes that both sides will give a little and we can get a compromise between all private and government run health care. This week this issue of "Death Panels" came out of nowhere and seems to be occupying the debate. While I don't believe that anything in this debate where there is SO much money on the line happens by chance, it is at least worth talking about.

Doctors do not like to talk about end of life care. We spend so much time trying to keep people alive with one more procedure or one more test in hopes of finding the magic bullet. It feels like the enemy lurking at the end every hallway.

I saw this week a sad example of waiting too long to have an honest discussion about end of life care. I "met" an elderly man who had long since shed any remaining parts of humanity and had become mostly machine. He was completely unresponsive and was drowning in his own saliva. He had not had a frank discussion with his doctors prior to getting sick about what kind of heroic measures he wanted. I am quite sure that if he had been conscious enough to make a decision he would have begged for the welcome relief from his worn out body.

It is no secret that we spend a ton of money on medical care in the last month of life. The number approaches 40% of every healthcare dollar spent. There are ethical issue here and no one is denying that. I believe, however, if the doctor and the patient would just sit down and have a frank discussion about end of life care, that a lot of wasted pain, suffering and money could be saved.

The patient, not the doctor, will be the one to decide when enough is enough. But the doctor and the patient need to talk more about it.

I can't understand why this is such an explosive issue. If you know anything about healthcare, you know that no one is going to pull the plug on grandma until the pt or the family member are darn well ready.

I hope that this coming week can be filled with a real debate about something actually found in one of the proposed bills. We don't need to make things up to debate about, there is plenty already there.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

P Town Here We Come

Nope, I don't mean Provo. I mean Private. I never thought this day would come, but here it is.

Send me an email or leave me a comment with your email address if you would like an invitation to read our blog. Seriously, even if you are a blog stalker from a friend of a friend, let me know. We love being able to share our craziness with everyone-- just not crazy people :)

I'll check the comments every day and remove people's addresses. Or email me at
afarr04 {at} gmail {dot} com

I'll be changing it on August 18


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Home Again, Home Again

Yay! We're home! Caleb did really well last night and this morning, so they discharged him this afternoon. He's been such a trooper and we're so proud of him. He periodically pulls up his shirt, points to his new belly button and says, "Owies", but he's distracted pretty easily and he moves on.

The real hero in all of this though, is my mother-in-law. Pete's mom came down Friday night and stayed with Caleb for the night. It's one thing for grandparents to take the kids for a weekend trip, but it's another thing all together to come hang out in the hospital with a sick kid. Especially given that Caleb had just spent the day throwing up all over the place-- she was willing to handle it! Pete and I were able to sleep at home Friday night and it was the break we so desperately needed.

Between my parents coming up to stay with us on Wednesday and Pete's mom coming on Friday, we don't know how to appropriately show our thanks. You guys were wonderful!

Thanks for the support and prayers and words of comfort. We're hoping this is the last stay at CHOP for... umm... ever? Keep your fingers crossed.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Post-Op Day 2

Caleb has been having a little bit of trouble keeping food down-- and by a little bit of trouble, I mean, he's not keeping anything at all down.

He seems to go through cycles:

~Wake up happy
~Want to play
~Drink something
~Keep playing
~Realize that eating was a bad idea
~Get lethargic
~Throw up
~Go to sleep

So far we're staying positive and assuming that he just has an ileus which is rather common after surgery. It's a temporary paralysis of the intestines and it fixes itself on its own-- it just takes time. We're about to go down to have an X-ray of his abdomen, just to make sure that it's not anything more. (Plus we really just love spending tax payer money on medical tests-- kidding!)

Yesterday we were totally bummed that they wouldn't let us out of here. We figured that we would be able to eventually get him to eat and drink all on his own and we didn't need to wait around in the hospital for it to happen. We were wrong. Today Caleb's vomiting has consisted of gastric substances, meaning he's throwing up stomach acid and bile. And it's projectile. Is that enough detail for you? It should be, because seriously, it's gross.

So please keep your fingers crossed and pray to whatever Deity you pray to that Caleb will be able to keep his food down and his body will start functioning normally. We're ever so grateful that it's NOT something serious, but we would like to skip out on this joint.

He's hanging in there like the tough guy that he is, but it's sad to see him so defeated. We like the loud, obnoxious Caleb-- not the sad, lethargic one. And yes, you can remind me that I said that when he turns 13.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Caleb went through the surgery really well. He slept most of the day yesterday. My Mom and Dad came up to spend the day with him, which allowed Pete and I to get out of here for a little while.

He's thrown up every time he's had anything to eat, so we're just waiting for him to be able to keep food down before they can discharge us. Keep your fingers crossed!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Family Fun

This past weekend we had two fantastic family gatherings on Pete's side of the family. We ate food, we played cards, we ate food, we told family stories, we ate food, we laughed at family jokes. And then we ate some food. I think that's how it went... I'm in a bit of a food coma. We're talking crabs, cheesecake, hamburgers, sausage, pasta salad, potato salad, seven layer bean dip, mint oreo brownies, I could go on....

Every year Pete's Grandma Knickerbocker's side of the family (I think... give me a break, I'm "new" at this) gets together for an annual crabfest. They all sit around a table and eat crabs-- for hours-- which means they get about 8 ounces of crab meat in total. Just kidding-- they are much more efficient at eating crabs than I am. I love this tradition though, because they do it at a time of year when there are not any holidays, so no one has any other obligations. Pete's cousins, Aunts and Uncles all come in and we have a blast. I'm really hoping that we'll be able to make it when we are who knows where for residency.

Anyway, this year, we added an extra get together, with another side of the family-- don't ask me how they are related-- its taken me this long to figure out the crabfest. :)

We all went out to Pete's parent's place and had a great cookout (see, more food!) and the cousins all played the in pool together. Caleb was completely soaked, several times. But he loved it!

So thanks Knickerbockers for being such a fun family :) I sure do love y'all.

He posed this way all on his own.

I swear he had a cute outfit on before he found the water!

But how can you complain with that grin?

****In other news, Caleb goes in for surgery tomorrow morning at 6:00 am. We should be in the hospital for one day, maybe two, provided everything goes as planned (which is silly, since we don't really have a plan). If they find that they have to resection part of the bowel, we'll be there for three or four days. All I can say is modern medicine is amazing!****

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Caleb woke up happy from his nap the other day.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Home Sweet Home

We're writing this from the comfort of our own home. They've decided to go ahead with the surgery. Since it isn't emergent surgery, they discharged us and we'll call tomorrow to get everything scheduled. It should happen sometime around the first or second week in August. We're glad that we are finally progressing past the endless cycle of tests, but sad that it means Caleb has to head to the OR.

Thanks for everything you have done. I don't think I would have made it through the day without the visitors and people stopping by, especially on Wednesday. It was a life saver.

On to the Operating Room.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Caleb was admitted to The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia on Sunday night for another intussesception. This is his third one in about six months. As our doctor explains, when a child has one intussesception you think, oh, that's interesting-- and you move on. They're pretty routine. When a child has a second one, you think, oh, that's strange-- and you start to keep an eye on it. When a child has a third intussesception, something is definitely going on and it's time to get serious about it.

So far we've had a full colonoscopy, an upper endoscopy, a CT scan, a high resolution ultrasound, X-rays and an upper GI small bowel follow through. He currently has an NG tube in and an IV, so he's been able to stay hydrated with the IV and he gets some nutritional supplements through the NG Tube.

During the colonoscopy they found that his Ileocecal Valve (ICV) is inflamed and irritated. If they cannot find the cause of the irritation with a few more tests then they are thinking that they will do a small surgery on Friday (maybe Monday, who knows?!) where they would insert a camera into his adomindal cavity to check things out. If that doesn't provide any answers, they might have to open him up (just a bit!) and manually "run his bowel." Which means they'll pull out his bowels and feel for something the old fashioned way-- with their hands.

We'll let you know what they decide! Thanks for all your support and prayers. We know we couldn't do this without all of you.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


We've been in CHOP since Sunday and it looks like we'll be here till at least Friday-- a little longer if they end up doing surgery. They've promised us that they won't send us home until they know what's going on.

Sorry, I know that there's a lot I'm leaving out, but that's about all I can do right now. Hospital couches do not lend to a good night of sleep :)

Friday, July 17, 2009


Well Caleb's Sitz Marker Test went really well and they are letting us do the rest of his tests on an out patient basis. Yay!

In other news... he has the Chicken Pox. Confirmed by the doctor this morning. Apparently you can still get them even after you've had the vaccine. He only has about 5-10 spots on his body, so it's not bad at all, but he's "contagious" so we're having fun in isolation.

See you all in 4-7 days.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

I've Lost Count...

... of how many times we've been in the hospital at this point. And Caleb IS NOT a sick kid! Believe me, I have seen sick kids while we're at the hospital. THOSE kids are sick and Caleb is the maniac running around the place with his IV drip wheeling behind him. Seriously... don't believe me? Ask just about any nurse at CHOP what a lion says and they'll know-- Caleb made sure of it.

Anyway, looooooooonnnnnnggggggg story short, Caleb went in for his GI follow up appointment on Wednesday. Instead of the "everything looks fine, come back in a year for a check up, stay on the medications" etc that we were expecting, we were greeted with "Caleb really should be admitted for 5 days while we run some tests."

Lame. Peter is gone this month in Baltimore and the idea of 5 days in the hospital for some tests made me want to cry (OK, so maybe I leaked out a tear or two) so the doctor took pity on us and said we would run one test at home over the weekend and re-evaluate on Monday. Apparently they are concerned with some of his lab/test results as well as his drop in weight (we have to do pediasure-- has anyone done this? Any suggestions?).

They think he:
A. Has an internal hernia... not really sure what this means, but sure, we'll go with it.
B. Has something obstructing/slowing things down in his colon.

The test we are doing at home (called a Sitz Marker Test) times how long it takes for something to make it through the intestines. We'll go in on Monday for an X-ray and CAT scan and from there we'll decide if we can come back home to play or if we must terrorize the nurses for another week. They did make us stay in the observation area for a few hours, after his appointment, just to make sure his stools were not TOO bloody (TMI? sorry). After some good ol' IV fluids, strict instructions on how to feed him, and flirting with everyone he saw, they let us out to come home and chill.

We'll keep you updated!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

What We've Been Doing

Just Hangin' Out:

Get it? Just hangin' out? "Cuz his diaper is hanging out... Ok, so only I think I am funny.
My "Bala and Papa" Farr-- aren't they too cute?!
Jenny, Ying, and Maeli
Maeli, Grandpere and Nana
Papa, Maeli, Bala and Caleb


Caleb playing with my grandfather-- "Papa" Farr
Being terrorized by Dad
Thinks the camera is funny.


At my parent's place in Maryland.

Maeli, mid flight.
Sophie wasn't too sold on the moon bounce


You know your day is shot when your child looks like this by 7 AM


Nana and Sophie
Sophie and her lamb
Peter and Caleb
Maeli and her new friend Ying


Pete and I at the Maryland Symphony Orchestra Concert on the 4th.
My brother, Tracy, and his beautiful wife, Hanna
Their daughter, Sophie, in a classic "What the heck are you doing" expression.
Hanna at the concert
My sister-in-law, Jenny, and my niece, Maeli. They are in the States (they live in Hong Kong) for six months, yay!


I've been planning on making this quilt for, oh, about a year now. Better late than never, right?
It's a rag quilt, so the edges are snipped.
Are you shocked at how domestic I am? You should be.

That about sums it all up.