Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Our Journey to Springfield

This past weekend my mother, Evan and I traveled to Springfield IL to visit a special family. I have been looking forward to this trip and could not wait to meet Courtney and the Westlake crew. Brenna, as I mentioned before, is almost 11 months old and also has Harlequin ichthyosis. So many things have seemed to connect us from the start. Obviously, both having a child with the same condition but also Courtney and I are the same age, our birthdays both fall on the 11th of the month AND her husband's name is EVAN!!! So cool!

We got off to an early start Friday morning, leaving my parents house at 3:45 am. Unfortunately we had a layover, but thankfully everything went smoothly. We arrived into St. Louis, MO at 9:30 am. (By the way, Evan was such a charmer on the plane. We had so many compliments on how well behaved he was and he was trying to give the man sitting next to us fist bumps!) We rented a car and headed to Springfield.

Once we got to the Westlake house we relaxed and talked and it felt so comfortable. Seeing Brenna was so exciting and Connor is absolutely adorable! Evan was due for a bath so I 'set up shop' in the kitchen as I chatted with Courtney about his bathing routine. Before we headed to Springfield, my husband and I worked really hard on Evan's skin so it would be easier for me to manage on my own while away from home. So I did not have to put in as much 'elbow grease' as I normally would. After his bath, I was able to see what their routine was with Brenna. I asked questions and was impressed with their set up as well. They got right down to business!

Before we went out to dinner for some Horseshoes we snapped a few pics of our freshly bathed cuties together. Evan was so interested in Brenna and kept trying to touch her face and hold her hand. I really feel like he knew that Brenna was just like him. It was sooo adorable. We were melting. :-)

So precious..

And if this one wasn't blurry... but absolutely adorable!

After dinner, my mom took Evan back to the hotel so I could spend some time with Courtney and Evan W. I couldn't tell if I was imposing and should have called it a night but I was so excited to be there and couldn't wait to talk some more. It was great to talk in person about our birth experiences and Courtney was nice enough to share lots of Brenna's birth pictures with me. Although, I knew Brenna's story and related to Courtney's birth experience, it was totally different hearing her story in person. 

Saturday we had an eventful day out on the town, or I should say city. Courtney was nice enough to do a little photo shoot of Evan at her studio. Then we stopped at a park to snap a few of me and Ev together. After our photo shoot we all headed out for lunch in downtown Springfield. It was a gorgeous day so after lunch we walked from the cafe to the museum. All of the buildings were so beautiful and historical. We then arrived at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum which was incredible. It was great to relearn the history of Abe Lincoln and learn many new things as well. There was so much to see and many of the displays and exhibits made you feel like you were back in the 1800's. One very clever room was set up like a TV studio, recording the Presidential election campaign on a station similar to 'CNN'. Courtney and Evan stayed with my Evan so my mother and I could go into one of the exhibits that was not so baby friendly. It was a play/movie/presentation of Abe Lincoln which was very theatrical with gun shots, explosions, smoke, and vibrating seats. (So glad we didn't bring Evan in!)

Saturday night we snapped some more pics of the kids playing together. Evan was again very interested in Brenna, especially whichever toy she had in her hand. He was acting like that typical two year old who only wanted what he didn't have. And Brenna was doing some excellent reaching to try and get her toy back! Priceless!
Happy and content with a toy...

Wait a minute, what do you have Brenna?

Hey, Evan that's my toy!

And I'm gonna get it back!

Saturday night my mom took Evan back to the hotel again so us parents could go out for a drink. It was so great to have another evening where we could talk and relax without worrying about the kids. I was able to meet some friends of Courtney and Evan who were very nice. I felt as if I fit right in and knew all of these people my whole life. It was such an amazing weekend and I felt so comfortable with Courtney, her family and friends. Not only did we have such a connection prior to this visit but meeting them in person really made me feel like I had a new family. My husband was unable to come due to his work schedule so I cannot wait for him to be able to meet this family as well. We will definitely see them again at the FIRST Family Conference 2014 if not sooner. :-)

Thank you Courtney and Evan for a wonderful weekend. You both are amazing and are doing such a wonderful job raising your beautiful children. Connor is absolutely precious and Brenna is doing so well thanks to all of your great work. I would also like to thank Courtney for inspiring me to finally reach out to the Ichthyosis community. I have met life long friends who we will be forever connected to. She also inspired me to create this blog to help raise awareness for Evan and others. Courtney wrote a post about our visit as well and has some fantastic pictures that you should definitely check out!



  1. Glad to find your blog through the Westlakes. Sounds like you had a great time in our little city! Come again!

  2. They are so precious! I'm so glad that you got to meet. I think that connection is the most valuable thing FIRST helps us with.

  3. I want to hear all the details. So glad you had such an amazing trip. Kisses to Evan and see you soon. Love you

  4. Wow! What a miraculous event. Sounds like you are all great mothers, too (god bless grandmas :). And so glad you got to see some of the historic Springfield. I live in IL and have never been to the Lincoln Museum. However, I did recently read "Killing Lincoln" so if you have some spare time LOL in the winter days load it up on your bookreader and breeze through it. Off topic, but thank you so much for your blog, DeDe. I met Westlakes (ONLINE) thru my son's wife. I've been following since almost day ONE, and now I get to meet you too! I as well think it is so cool about the EVAN name thing. No coincidences in the spiritual world! Take care!!!