Thursday, August 11, 2011

It's been a while, huh?

Yes, it sure has been a long time since I updated this darn thing. I think part of the reason is that emotionally, I have been doing OK. I came back to my blogging earlier on when I just had all this emotion inside of me that I had to put out somewhere. I figured if I put all of my thoughts into typed words, that it would cathartic. And it was. But then, silly me, felt that I would feel better. Well, I did but then I realized that it helped me to deal with the thoughts rather than "get over them." I find I still cry randomly. Mostly when I am driving alone. I think of LJ's past or all the possibilities of the future and the tears come. Sometimes just starring at him is enough to do it. He is just so amazing and the thought of how fragile his life is just really cripples me at times. BUT, not as much as it used to. It doesn't build up too quickly since I have been able to put a lot of my worries here.

So enough with the heavy stuff. What has been going on here? Looks like May was the last time I updated. SOOOO we went camping Memorial weekend and the weekend of the 4th of July. Camping is something the husband and I share as a hobby. We bought a camper last year and we are finally putting it to good use. The plus side is that we are always dry, it helps with the storage of alot of our camping gear, and we have kitchen convinces. However, it is incredibly expensive to tow which nearly contradicts why we wanted it. We are lucky to have enough parks within 4 hours of us that at least makes it do-able. The kiddos love going out into nature and I love that the hiking all day makes them crash at the end of the day. Here is little miss on a hiking trip

And of course, the boy

We've filled our summer with trips to the park, swimming, biking, visiting grandparents, and camping trips. It is hard to believe that the summer coming to and end. Somehow, in the middle of winter, the dreams of summer make it seem so long with an infinite amount of time to get and out "do things."

A new adventure for Kait this summer was dance class. For months she has begged to take ballet. So I caved and signed her up. Leotard, tights, dance bag, tap shoes and ballet shoes bought. She was in absolute heaven the first three times she went. THEN, the last two times she decided that she wanted a long break. To be honest, I wanted to be "that parent" to makes her keep going because, well, she is just so darn cute when she does it and it was quite a bit of start up money to get all the gear. But I know better, I told her we have to finish out the session and then she can take a break. But I also reminded her that anytime she wants to go back, she can. I hope she misses it :) In the mean time, she still loves gymnastics and we continue to go to that weekly.

Well I will wrap this up for now. I have more things to post about but I will try to space them out. I think I will be back regularly for a while now. Not because I am struggling, but really, just to share about life.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

There is a woman that I know

There is a woman that I have known for almost a year. We were put in contact through a mutual friend since I have a child with a heart defect and she was pregnant with a child who also had a heart defect. Those outside of the CHD community don't realize the instant connection a heart mom has with another heart mom. There is just an emotional understanding, something I really don't wish on anyone. We connected first on Facebook (of course, right?). I answered the questions about carrying a baby with a CHD, ultrasounds, delivery options, possibilities. I loved all the updates. Eventually, we were texting. Not much but here and there. The big day came, the baby was born with an uneventful delivery of a handsome BOY! :) A couple days later, baby would be going in for surgery sooner than expected. I made the call to her, our first phone conversation. We laughed about the size of our kiddos (hers was 9 lbs and LJ, 4 weeks early, was 8 lbs). I encouraged her with how much of a fighter her baby was. She was getting ready to go eat - the last text that I got from her. Little did I know her world would change.

The next day I was working in the yard and preparing for a camping trip. Then my phone rang, it was our mutual friend. Baby didn't make it. I was angry. I screamed....cried...admittedly, probably threw a pillow or ten. It was hard. I cried for her. I cried for me. It affected me so deeply but that is not the point of this post. I knew a phone call right now would be inappropriate but I sent a text that I was praying for her. And I did every single day. About 3 days later, there was a reply. "Numb." She didn't have to explain any more than that. I just kept sending daily texts to remind her that I was praying for her. The next few months, well, she is the only one who could really describe it, I won't due it justice. But we texted a much my husband would comment "you never even met her!." There were actual phone calls mixed in as well.

Then the day came that my phone rang. It was her. Big news.....she is pregnant and completely, 100% terrified. I mean, how could she not be? It wasn't exactly in the plans and she thought it was the worst timing. (Today, I strongly beg to differ, it was perfect timing). There were a lot of emotional struggles. I prayed everyday for God to bring her a healthy baby, not because a baby with a CHD is a terrible thing, but it was important for her not to feel broken. I also prayed for a healthy BOY. Not for a replacement, but again, for a sense of not being broken.

Today, she is a bit more than half way through her pregnancy. The baby - A BOY! And 100% perfect. 100%! The reason I am sharing someone else's story: this woman is one of the strongest women I know. She is a daily inspiration to me. She has been through my worse nightmare and even though she was completely terrified, she is pushing through. She shows the world that her life will never be the same since losing her son. However, a new sense of normal can be found, even if it is unexpectedly.

Friday, April 29, 2011


It's almost May.....Really? Seriously? Where did April go? I had so many plans for April and I got to about half of them. The time just seems to fly by much too quickly. May brings in the summer which ends up being booked every weekend. I look forward to the warm weather and all that it brings. Time to break open the camper and stock it for the summer. Hopefully it means that soon I will be packing away the kiddos winter gear and pulling out the dresses (for Kaitlyn) and shorts (for them both).

Of course I want to lose 20 pounds (ok not 20) so I look amazing in a swimming suit, but let's be honest, that won't happen just as it didn't happen last year. I want to get the boy potty trained, but let's be honest, it will probably happen in the fall. So many things that would be so wonderful but in all honesty, we will just be too darn busy and I CANNOT WAIT! We are definitely an OUTSIDE type of family. Bike rides, trampolines, gardening, camping trips, walks, baby pools, etc. Any reason to be out on a nice day. SO BRING IT ON!

On a wonderful coupon side note, I made a trip to walmart yesterday

2 full sized bottles of Old Spice Body Wash
1 full sized bottle of Nivea Body Wash
2 packages of panty liners (18 )
3 rolls of dental floss

subtotal before coupons $15.06
After coupons $3.09

8 items for $3...that is less than 50 cents each. Yep, I'll take it. If most of them didn't expire yesterday I would have described the coupons more.

I am definitely jumping back on the coupon bandwagon. I jumped off about 2-3 weeks ago ..things were just getting crazy and I wasn't getting around to checking them out. I was price matching and hitting up CVS but not so much the coupon match ups. So here I go, back into the game.

My little princess also turned 4 this week...a topic for the next post. But let me tell you, it stirs up all sorts of emotions and I will get into next time around. CHEERS!

Monday, April 25, 2011

I cut myself off

This weekend was set up to be a hectic one. Hubby was working until Friday night (we recently agreed to changing his schedule) something that was not happening when we made plans to go back to our parents' homes for Easter/the kids birthdays. This meant that we would be leaving town early Saturday morning and returning Sunday late afternoon....a very busy weekend made busier by the shortness of the trip.

The alarm went off at 5 AM on Saturday morning. We packed up the car and off we went. Three or so hours later we were pulling up in front of my parents' house. Know what I did? I DID NOT BRING MY PHONE. Nope. I made the decision to cut myself off. If someone needed to get a hold of me, there are several other avenues. I wasn't anticipating any major news so I just didn't bring it. To further that thought, I did not open facebook. I admit, I opened my email once on Sunday morning to make sure nothing crazy was happening (it wasn't).

I took that short trip to just focus on MY FAMILY, on being together, on living in the moment and just sucking up all the goodness I could. It was nice. I watched my kids open presents, hunt Easter eggs, pig out, eat cake, love on all of their family, and I didn't think twice about if there was a text sitting on my phone. There wasn't updating anyone but the present family members on my life and how things were going. And you know what? Nothing crazy happened.

Of course there are a million pictures that I took.....on my mom's camera. Hopefully those will get back to me soon. But it was a nice weekend. A nice week of connection in the midst of being disconnected.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Birthday, vomitting, ER visits

Well, the titles really gives details as to why it has been silent here. Two Friday's ago, LJ started vomiting. He wasn't keeping anything but water down. Of course, this is two days before his 2nd birthday so I was hoping it was a fast acting bug. All day Saturday he pretty much was on the couch and vomiting. We celebrated his birthday Saturday and he was able to muster a smile for the cake and pictures but shortly after, there was blue vomit on my floor (from the icing). Saturday night it visited me taking me out of commission all day Sunday. Kaitlyn caught it Sunday night. The hubby skipped it all together...not fair. Kaitlyn was fine by Monday morning, as was I. LJ, on the other hand, was still vomiting. After a trip to the Dr and his inability to keep down pedialyte, we headed to the ER. No tests later, they gave him Zofran and sent us home. The zofran kept him calm so he could sleep but he was vomiting by the next morning. All week, he would eat something solid and it would come up. Needless to say, I was a wreck. For those who are not privy to the life with a heart baby, any signs of not feeling well and your mind jumps to heart failure. It's programmed in, not sure how to remove it. If LJ's potassium goes crazy, then so could his heart. Dropping weight is a nightmare for a heart kiddo and just seeing him not keep things down, it's hard. After 5 days I was worried that it wasn't a virus anymore and that maybe he has a blockage or early signs of failure. Yes, I was in tears with the nurse. I was a mess. Frustrated was putting it lightly. Day 7 came, he vomited. I told the nurse that he did it again that I was packing him up and going to Children's Hospital in St Louis (a three hour drive) since his cardiologist is there and they are more equipped to handle this. Over reacting? Maybe. But I was set to do it. Hearing that they couldn't do anything for LJ here since he was moderately hydrated was making me angry. LJ took pity on his mom and didn't vomit again. We have our happy little boy back and a week after his birthday, we were finally able to give him his present, a water table :) Here's too a healthier spring! BRING ON THE WARM WEATHER!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Someone once asked me, after being involved in the community some, if I ever have survivor guilt. Do I feel guilty that my son made it and others have not. Selfishly, I can answer no. That sounds horrible, doesn't it? I do not have guilt that my son is here. But there is guilt that I have a child here. Gosh, that doesn't make sense. From what I understand, survivor guilt is when you ask "why not me?" or in my case "why not my son?" And I don't think that. It also does not mean that my heart doesn't completely break when I hear of the struggles or passing of a heart kiddo. That doesn't mean that I don't cry every morning when I catch up on how each kiddo is doing. That doesn't mean that I don't pray for God to show his grace and offer peace. There is no guilt that my son is here. I feel incredibly blessed and pressured to make sure that LJ is a true testament to the grace God has and is an inspiration to those who are struggling with defects as well. Here is where the guilt (I guess you can call it guilt) lies. When talking to moms who have lost a child, I do feel incredibly guilty talking about LJ. If he is sick, if he is reaching milestones, if he is doing something incredibly goofy that makes me smile. I just can't bring myself to share LJ to those moms who are going through more than I am. I feel guilty because I can talk about that and they cannot. If LJ had a bad night I keep it to myself. I am sure that mom would have a million horrible nights if it meant that their child was back in their arms and doing as well as LJ is. It keeps me in perspective of things but almost makes me feel like I hide him away. Even after asking flat out if it bothers them, and it doesn't, I still can't do it. Or if something slips out, it immediately feel awful.

Friday, March 25, 2011

And that is that

So we found a new daycare. One side of me is soooo excited and the other side of me extremely sad. To help ease the transition I wanted to bring the kids to meet the teachers over one of my lunch breaks so that it wasn't a huge shock. That morning I told Kaitlyn that I was going to take her to her new school to meet her teachers and she was excited. "Good," I thought, she isn't scared to at least meet them. So I dropped the kiddos off at the old place and first thing she mentions is that she is going to her new school to meet her teachers. I was slightly embarrassed but it has to happen, right? It is obvious that we have to find a new place.

I went to grab the kids who were excited to see me in the middle of the day. Each of Kaitlyn's classmates gave her a big hug before she left, without prompting. Wow, that hurt a bit. She is not going to be with these kids in a week or so. They all love each other so much. I bit my tongue and held back that burning tear. We pulled up in front of a very cheerful looking house. "We're here!!" and Kaitlyn screams "YAY!!!!!!" I wasn't too optimistic because she can be brave from a distance but can hide quickly when put in a situation. We walk in and Kaitlyn immediately runs to take part in circle time and is participating without any encouragement. LJ also runs and sits as well. I worked on some paper work and the kids played. We even went outside for playtime there. Kaitlyn made a new friend. Their arms were around each other as they sat on a bench and when we were headed out, we had to convince them to let go from their hug. Of course, LJ charmed the pants off all the teachers and laughed a lot!

We left. Since then Kaitlyn wakes up every morning wanting to go to her new school. Even after I mention that it means not going back to the old one where her friends are, she still wants to go.

So that is that. She is thrilled and cannot wait. The only one sensitive to this whole transition is me. I found that I am much more affected about my daughter surroundings than she is about herself. She is excited about this new adventure and her new friend. SHE LOVES THIS CHANGE! My daughter, the one who melts if our daily routine is thrown off, is just thrilled about changing up everything about her day. Lesson learned, stop fretting change, be excited. Thanks Kait! Thank being said, three of her friends from her old daycare will now be starting the same one as Kaitlyn :)