Monthly Archives: February 2008

Not Smart

We were driving home from visiting the Children’s Museum in Salem. Grandma and Grandpa were following behind. We were in town and not to far from home when Dorothy noticed that Grandma and Grandpa weren’t behind us anymore.

“Daddy, Grandma and Grandpa aren’t behind us anymore.” We looked into the rearview mirror and saw her concerned face.

“It’s ok Dot, they’ll be fine,” we answered.

“But what if they don’t know where to go,” she insisted.

“I wouldn’t worry about that. Grandpa is pretty smart you know.” Daddy called back.

With out even thinking or batting an eye Dorothy shot out, “No he isn’t.”

Paul and I busted up laughing – so did Grandpa when when he found out. 😀


Later tonight our school is having a “Leap-day Lollapalooza” – how cool of a word is that? “Lollapalooza” – some words just make me tingle. 🙂 Anyway, happy leap-day to all of you – we will have to be sure to call and wish Paul’s nephew a happy birthday – since he only gets a call on his actual birthday once avery 4 years. 😀


Filed under Dot, Humor, Things Kids Say

A Valentine for Dot

“Look at what my teacher wrote,” were Dorothy’s first words as she came in from school on Valentine’s day. With her arms full of small valentine cards witht he latest cartoon heros and candy entincing her toddler brother’s chubby fingers she rushed to me where I was juggling a fussy baby, and trying to do dishes while making dinner at the same time. In the corner of my eye I saw a red paper heart that she was thrusting eagerly toward me.

I wanted to look at it, I really did, but we had company coming that night and I was up to one elbow in dishwater and the other in tomato sauce. And a frantic baby to boot. It was really rotten timing.

“I want to look at it, really I do Dot, but can you show me as soon as I am done here and sit down to feed the baby.”

She looked slightly dissapointed, but I could tell she understood. The problem was that we both forgot. A few days later my husband asked me if I read the Valentine the teacher gave Dorothy. I felt color and dismay flood my face as I realized I had forgotten all about it. “You really should read it,” he told me.

So, read it I did. I was expecting the usual trite “Happy Valentine’s Day. You’re a great kid,” kind of message. Not that the teacher wouldn’t take time to make it personal, I just know how busy teachers are. I think that is why I was so amazed as I read Dorothy’s valentine. It wasn’t a trite message. In fact it was a sweet, endearing, and acurate message allauding Dorothy for all of her good points. (this was especially great because Dorothy sometimes has a hard time making good choices and gets scolded rather often, so pointing out all the positive is HUGE) I was in awe. Not about the things that she had written, or that she had noticed these amazing qualities of Dorothy’s – I already knew that. I was in awe over the fact that a teacher who is incredibly busy took the time to write a personal and acurate message to my child. But, my awe didn’t stop there. I knew that she wouldn’t write such a message to only one child in the class, but that she would have painstakingly written a message to every child in her class – all 23 of them. That is a lot of hand written personal messages when you think about the time she would have poured into them with all the other things she has to do.

That means a lot to a parent. Especially this parent. It means that this teacher cares about her students as individuals and takes pains to let them know they are of value. I feel truly fortunate that our Dot has such an amazing teacher.

I took the time to read the valentine out loud with Dorothy and the glow on her face was as bright as the sun.


Filed under Dot, Education, Parenting

We’re on a Streak!

We haven’t darkened the door to our Pediatrician’s office in 2 whole months! Wow! And in the middle of winter at that. And, the reason we were at our doctor today was for James’ WELL child check-up. Woot!

Well, our streak won’t last long, how can it with 5 kids? March will start a whole new ball-game. We get to take Dorothy in for some minor testing for some things that I won’t mention here (so as not to embarrass her) – just know it is nothing life threatening. But it will require a trip to our ped and possibly a nearby hospital to check things out. *Warning Tangent Ahead* Interesting though how things work out, I was talking to Dot about the upcoming Doctor visit and an incident came up that she hadn’t mentioned (I think she forgot) about something a little girl asked her to do at school a while ago. She informed me that she said “No.” (good girl) which made me extremely proud of her, and I notified the school of the little incident, to hopefully nip it in the bud. Anyway,I mentioned because I think some things happen for a reason so that we can find out about other things, and that being said I am rambling and most likely, none of that made any sense whatsoever. Now, back to topic…

And then there is Jacob’s Well-child check up in March too.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, in fact the reason I was writing this post was that it was so nice to talk about visiting the pediatrician over well children for a change rather than sick ones. 😀

James, 2 months today, is now a whopping 13 pounds. He is smiling like a true champion, beginning to coo and make other adorable baby sound, and loves watching people around him – especially his sibblings. Oh, and he is sleeping through the night too (I am so spoiled, I know). He got three stabs in the leg and spent the rest of the day crying if I set him down for longer than 5 minutes – though I can’t blame the poor kid, shots are no fun.


Filed under Children, Dot, James


Elizabeth has a teeny tiny black and white stuffed kitten. I don’t remember where she got it, I think is might have been a happy meal toy she recieved from a Birthday Party. She loves the thing and calls it Oreo.

When Grandma and Grandpa, Aunt Sandy & Ucle Joe, and Aunt Pamala & Uncle Paul (and girls, Laura and Emma) were all here for James’ baby blessing she wanted desperately to show them Oreo.

She looked in her room and couldn’t find it. She looked in the family, living room and Jacob’s room and couldn’t find it. She looked in the bathroom, kitchen, and garage. Still no Oreo. Her cheaks were stained as she tearfully told me she had looked everywhere, including under furniture, and she still couldn’t find it. “I even prayed,” she cried broken heartedly. I wanted to cry too, I felt so bad for her.

“Elizabeth,” I said, “this is Grandma and Grandpa’s last day why don’t you enjoy being with them and join us in having fun. Oreo will turn up sooner or later.”

She nodded her head and then looked up her eyes drying rappidly. “Mom, when we find it, will you take a picture of Oreo to send to Grandma and grandpa?”

“Of course.”

“And Aunt Sandy and Uncle Joe?”


“And Aunt Pamala, Uncle Paul, Laura and Emma?”


With that she gave me a huge hug and took off, all sunshine and smiles, to spend time with the family.


The next day I was chatting on the phone with my Mother and Father. They are on a mission in Florida and couldn’t come to the baby blessing, so I was filling them in on the details. In order to seek some quiet while we visited I slipped into my office. While I was chatting my eyes were studying a black and white blob on the old yellow shag carpet. I gasped as I realized what it was I was staring at. There sat little forlorn Oreo.

I got off the phone and brought Oreo to Elizabeth who greeteed him with squeals of delight. “Make sure you take a picture of him.” She reminded me.

I give you, Oreo – the Lost Kitten:


So, Elizabeth’s prayers were answered after all, and Oreo gets to meet all of you. Some might say it was luck that I found little Oreo. Personally I find it as an amazing testament that Heavenly Father loves us so much that he will help a little girl find something so trivial as a miniature cat. Prayers are answered – even the seemingly minor ones.


Filed under Children, Lizy, Miracles, Religion

My Favorite Posts

Now that I am done with my CHD awareness campaign :-), I owe Jenefur a reply to her tag. She tagged me ages ago to do a meme and I am just now getting around to it…

Rules: Go back through your archives and post the links to your five favorite blog posts that you’ve written.

Link one must be about family
Link two must be about friends
Link three must be about yourself
Link four must be about something you love
Link five can be about anything you choose
Post your five links and then tag five other people. At least two of the people you tag must be newer acquaintances so that you get to know each other better.

Well, this is a bit harder than I thought it would be, but here it goes….

Stamp – is a favorite post of mine focusing on family and coming together to fight battles.

Warrent is rather a funny post about an adventure a friend of mine and I had.

Conclusion is about my battle with a lawnmower.

Life Lessons is about one of my great loves.

Finally post #5 – I figured I needed something to get you all laughing so here is A Bone to Pick and a Carpet to Clean for your enjoyment (at my expense, I might add).

Allright, now I get tag five of you to share some of your older favorite posts.. (no favoritism here, I promise) 😀

Zen Mama
Feather Sky
Awesome Mom


Filed under Meme

7 Ways CHD Has Changed My Life

This one is a bit similar to the reason why I am happy though focuses more on changes, both dramatic and small.

1. They Mommy Paranoia – I have never been a paranoid parent – I was never one to over-react over hurt children and illnesses. In fact I always erred on under-reacting. Not any more. I don’t think I over-react, but I definitely keep a closer eye on all of my children when they start complaining about stuff or get quite sick – especially our new baby.

2. Second Guessing – Because of the situation in which Jacob’s defect was discovered I have gained an annoying habbit of second guessing myself. Although there was no way of knowing something was wrong, part of me still says I should have noticed – so that has created a complex where I feel that sometimes I can’t trust my own judgement. Personally I think it is pretty normal with Moms and Dads who have children with serious illnesses. Thankfully, the feeling of not trusting in my own judgement as much is ballanced with trusting in God more.

3. Preparedness – I am more prepared for emergencies both small and large. It caught us by surprise this whole heart defect thing. On the rare occasion I had heard of a heart defect I figured that thye were few and far between. Before Jacob none of my children had had anything worse than a nasty cold. I lived in a bubble where I never realized that any of these terrible things could happen to my family. That bubble has been burst and it is a good thing. I have a large first-aid kit in my car for what ever could happen. I have an army of phone numbers with me and an emergency cell phone. My family and I have been working on making sure we have our 72 hour kits up to date. This experience has just made me aware that you never know what is going to happen in life and a little preparation goes a long, long way.

4. Family and Marriage – Having a child with CHD, or any serious illness, has a huge impact on family dynamics. Jacob was our fourth child and it hit our children hard – especially our second daughter. Suddenly our three girl’s long wished for baby brother was in the hospital and Mom and Dad were gone almost constantly for weeks on end. While we tried our hardest to spend at least an hour or two every evening with our other children it still affected them dramatically. When I took Jacob in for his minor, one-day, procedure last year (two years after his surgery) my second daughter anxiously asked, “Is he okay, how long will you be gone? Will you be gone really long again?” She was anxious and rightly so. The effects can be lasting and take time and years of love and patience to find a place where everyone can feel secure and stable again.

Marriage can be strongly affected too. Paul and I pulled together and were grateful that we had each other to lean on. We cried together, we prayed together, and came out of the experience a lot closer, and, in Paul’s case, a lot grayer. 😀

5. Trust in God – When everything is completely out of my hands and there is no one to turn to, no comfort to be had, I know that I can turn to my Father in Heaven and that he will lift me and give me the strength to carry on and make it through. My love for Him has grown.

6. Zest for Life – All of our children have it, our Jacob has it in spades. I have learned to encourage it, relish it, and love it. To see the world as they see it, so fresh and new. Taking time to enjoy even the smallest things. Learning to be my silly self again and not always the serious Mom. It is a rediscovery of who I am and who I want to be. You never realize how much you take for granted until you almost loose, or loose, some one close to you.

7. Service – I can’t even count the numerous people who dropped everything for us and served us in ways they didn’t even know. Both strangers and friends.

There were blankets that we recieved that were made and donated to the hospital, there was an easter dinner for all the Pediatric patients, families, and staff, there was an annonymous food card so we didn’t have to spend money on food, a friend found out we had nothing our first night at the hospital and went and bought us all the bare essentials, there were meals brought in to us, there were friends handling calls so I didn’t have to constantly go over all the details, there were hugs, there prayers in multiple countries and multiple religions.

The list goes on and on.

After receiving such amazing love and support from others I am more eager to give. I know what a difference it makes and I am eager to teach my children to love, help, and serve others.


Filed under CHD, Heart, Religion, TGA

7 Ways You Can Help


1. Donate Blood – Most children with a CHD that requires open heart surgery need at least one blood transfusion, and many, like our Jacob need 2 or more, then some of those children will have two or three surgeries. Without blood from donors like you they would loose their lives.

2. Donate Funds – I know most “typical” families like ours struggle with finances, but if you find it in your abilities, a donation to a reputable foundation goes a long ways. Research for CHDs is grossly underfunded. The Children’s Heart Foundation is one foundation that is dedicated to funding research of congenital heart defects. It is through this research that better repairs, like the arterial switch Jacob recieved, become available. There are many foundations that help fund research and help families, etc.

3. If you know of a local group in your area support the group – it doesn’t have to be through monetary donations either, often they can use helping hands in planning activities and fundraisers, etc.

4. Become an Organ Donor – I know of a number of children who are alive today because of heart transplants.

5. Work for a Cause – you can have your own mini fundraiser and donate the funds to an organization or family in need – Elizabeth’s Lemonade stand this summer was a huge success.

6. Educate – share what you know with others – you never know when you might be talking to a future parent of a child with CHD

7. Support, support, support – most important of all is the support you offer to families whose children are in the hospital due to CHD and other illnesses. A simple visit, a meal, a hug, all these are things that will change their lives and do far more than you could ever imagine.


Filed under CHD, Heart

7 Pieces of Advice for CHD Parents


My two cents worth for parents of a child with CHD or any other serious illness

1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – and the same question numerous times at that! You need to know everything you can about what is going on. No question is a stupid question.

2. Speak out if you think something is wrong – you know your loved one best.

3. Join a support group when you feel ready – we didn’t feel ready until after the surgery because it all came on so suddenly. Not only can you recieve support, but give it as well.

4. Ask for help when you need it.

5. Accept help when it is offered – you need someone to lean on and they want to help in any way they can.

6. Cherish every moment.

7. Treat your child as normally as possible – encourage them to experience life to its fullest capacity.

1 Comment

Filed under CHD, Heart, TGA

7 CHD Statistics

Here are 7 statistics taken from The Children’s Heart Foundation

1. Congenital heart defects are America’s #1 birth defect. Nearly one of every 100 babies is born with a CHD.

2. Congenital heart defects occur frequently and are often life threatening, yet research into them is grossly under funded.

3. More than 50% of all children born with a congenital heart defect will require at least one invasive surgery in their lifetime.

4. Congenital heart defects are the #1 cause of birth defect related deaths.

5. There are 35 different types of congenital heart defects. Little is known about the cause of most them. There is not yet a cure for any of them.

6. This year almost 40,000 babies will be born with a congenital heart defect. 4,000 of them will not live to see their first birthday.

7. In the last decade death rates for congenital heart defects have declined by almost 30% due to advances made through research.

Leave a comment

Filed under CHD, Heart

7 Reasons I am Happy to be a Mom to a Child with CHD

Seems like a bit of a funny title – no one is really happy to be the mom of a child with a defect or other health issues and challenges, but joy can be found even in the hard times.

1. I take more time to ENJOY the children rather than worry about whether or not the dishes are done.

2. I have a closer relationship with God, my husband, and family.

3. I have a new appreciation for life and the wonder of how glorious it is.

4. I don’t take as many things for granted – I realize every moment is a precious moment that can be lost and never retrieved

5. I have met a whole lot of neat people that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. Lets face it – no one WANTS to be in this situation but great friendships are formed because of it.

6. I remember to snuggle a little longer, and to never let the kids leave without a hug (they will love that as teenagers, won’t they?)

7. I realize that when I lack the strength to carry on, the Lord picks me up and carries me the rest of the way.


Filed under CHD, Heart, Religion, TGA