Wednesday, February 26, 2014

"spaghetti dinners"

Crazy how a spaghetti dinner can trigger thoughts about way back when.
Now, I'm not going to go TOO far back with my memories...just a few years. Almost 10 to be exact.

When Jed and I first got married, life was perfect. 2 incomes and minimal expenses. Then we decided that apartment life wasn't for us. We wanted a house...and children. Jed told me for now, it was one or the other. Well......we found the perfect house for a great price. It was a fixer upper but we were young and somewhat newly weds...we could do it! Thanks to special permission from the sellers, we were able to come in early and paint before signing on the house. I know that was risky; but we wanted it done before we moved in and the apartment lease ended.
And guess what we found out the week we became home owners?!?!?!?
We were expecting!!!!!
Crazy how things work out. 

Now...back to the spaghetti dinner. When we were both working, we rarely ate meals at home. But once we started having children, meals were the only way...the cheapest way. Spaghetti was something that was a regular menu item for us.
 1) it was cheap
 2) super quick and easy to make 
 3) it reminded me of Monday night dinners at home. 
And with my coming from a large family, I had only prepared it for a large family. Meaning the whole package of meat, a whole jar of sauce, and a whole box of noodles were used. We could eat dinner all week after that meal...haha, no lie
Now, spaghetti is a rare occurrence around here. But I made it last night. It was something quick and easy. 
I was stirring some spinach into the sauce (don't tell the kiddos) and Jed walked into the kitchen. I asked him if he remembered the spaghetti days. Big smile and a nod. Yep! those were the days.

In the last 10 years, I've learned to cut recipes in half and sneak veggies into sauces.

yes! these thoughts were brought to you by a spaghetti dinner.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


My head is full of thoughts.
Good thoughts. Sad thoughts. Happy thoughts.  Incredibly silly thoughts.

Thinking is good, right?!  hmmm...let me think about that ;)

Some thoughts quickly lead to prayers. And other thoughts lead to action.

I wish that when would someone would pop into my head, I could instantly send them a quick word of encouragement. a hug. a pat on the back.

I wish a lot..but wishing is good. It helps me to think. And well, thinking is what got me to do this posting.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sunshine & Accomplishments

 Thank God the sunshine is back in our forecast. I'd never survive as a Northerner during their 9 months of winter (well, at least it seems like they have winter FOREVER). Sunshine is like a dear best friend. It's sunny disposition makes me glow; it warms me, tenderly hugs me, and provides a crispy touch when I get a little "too" lazy.
All that being said, I ♥ sunshine. My kids crave it. Being outside is second nature for my kiddos.

As a mother, I am thankful for sunshine. It provides an outlet for the kiddos' energy. Something that I haven't seemed to accomplish.

Now, let's talk about accomplishments. I've been slacking in this area. I know, I should give myself credit. My kids are happy. They have clothes on their backs, food in their bellies, and a roof over their heads. But sometimes, those days when you can't even find the list you compiled to help motivate the getting of things done. Yep! I've been having those days. I should almost add
-get out of bed
-make coffee
-drink coffee
-say "I Love You!"
to my list...then I'd most definitely get 5 things done in a day's time. ;)

So many things this momma wants to do...but life happens. It doesn't stop for a list. As long as my kiddos are happy, Life is good. It's a grand adventure being a mommy. You never know if you'll be stepping in puddles indoor (shout out to potty training), decorating a large necktie (T is the letter of the week), or realizing your toddler shut off the fridge during her last venture to "look at the food". Oh, it's glorious!


Friday, February 7, 2014

I was Aware!

Since hearing of Lily's heart diagnosis, anything heart related is near and dear to our hearts ♥ I like to help make others aware because I remember when it happened to us. I seriously had no idea about heart problems with babies. 
I like to think that spreading awareness and sharing our story has helped other moms, heart families, and extended families of heart patient. I am so thankful for the one mom that I reached out to. She could have tossed my email aside and gone on with life. But her help was incredible. She was a mom of twin boys born on Christmas Day (25 days after Lilyann). One was born heart healthy and the other was born with a Ventricular Septal Defect. His required open heart surgery. And he had surgery before Lilyann. It was amazing to see the difference between a heart baby and healthy heart baby born on the same day. This momma shared her story with me and answered any question I matter how off the wall it was. I never met her in person, but her sharing made the task of open heart surgery just a bit easier. (Crazy, huh?!) I know, how can I say open heart surgery was easier to bear? 

surgeon talking with us after Lily's surgery
 We were in the hallway after talking with the surgeon and the wheeled Lily passed us to head up to the PICU. I remember this moment...all emotions surfaced. I just wanted to hold her. I remember turning into Jed and just crying.

I was Aware! I knew what to do expect. I knew there was going to be tears. I knew there was going to some very special nurses and doctors working with MY baby. I knew God was on our side. Each parent deals with it's own emotion. No emotion is the same.
This momma shared her before and after pictures of the surgery. She shared a pic of the PICU room. She shared it all. She made me Aware. Now, I know that not every heart story is the same; but it helped to have someone who had "been there, done that" walk me through it. 

I hope that by sharing our story, it is making other people aware.  

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Ventricular Septal Defect

Diagnosing Children:

Severe heart disease generally becomes evident during the first few months after birth. Some babies are blue or have very low blood pressure shortly after birth. Other defects cause breathing difficulties, feeding problems, or poor weight gain. Minor defects are most often diagnosed on a routine medical check up. Minor defects rarely cause symptoms. While most heart murmurs in children are normal, some may be due to defects.
If the heart problem is significant, your child's pediatrician or family physician will likely refer your child to a pediatric cardiologist. Pediatric cardiologists are trained to diagnose and treat heart problems in infants, children and young adults. They have the training and equipment to find out what tests and treatments your child will need, and how often your child will need heart checkups in the future.

Lilyann was diagnosed with a Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD). Usually a VSD will close on it's own over time. But in Lily's case, this was not happening. While it wasn't getting bigger, she wasn't thriving. The next step was to repair it. This meant open heart surgery for our little girl.

It was a lot to take in at that time. Knowingly passing your child to "strangers"...pretty much putting her life in their hands was the hardest decision. But a good decision. The doctors fixed her heart. Lily is so proud of her zipper. When asked about it, she tells about how the doctor fixed her sick heart and gave her a zipper.

Monday, February 3, 2014

February is Heart more ways than one

February is National Heart Awareness Month. February 7th-14th is Congenital Heart Awareness Week. 
Ask me about this 6.5 years ago and I wouldn't have had a clue as to what you were talking about. Oh, I would have understood about Heart Awareness...taking care of your heart. But the other stuff, nope!

Hearing about it from your child's pediatrician isn't the best way, either. I was so dang emotional to even pay attention...I just knew it was hurting my child. Once I got home, I researched as much as I could about Congenital Heart Defects, echocardiograms, pediatric cardiologist, rapid breathing, blue lips, and "hole in the heart".

Crazy how one doctor appointment can change you and your child's life. 

The above picture was from our first hospital stay. Lily was diagnosed as Failure To Thrive. At this time, she had only gained 1 lb since she was born (she was roughly 3 months old)

I can't believe it's been 6 years since we found out about our little girl's CHD. I'm even more amazed at how far she's come since surgery. It's incredible! 

I will continue to share little moments from our time in the hospital and at home before and after heart surgery. I'm hoping these posts will help to educate and raise awareness. And if need be, help that mommy or daddy dealing with their heart baby.