Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Quarantine: Day 2

Well, Day 2 in the bubble didn't go as I had planned. I ended up with what was either a stomach bug or food poisoning, but either way, I was not in any shape to care for my boys, so hubs ended up coming home from work to take over. I needed to be especially conservative around Chase and limit my exposure to him just in case it was a bug of some sort. I spent most of my day in bed while hubs entertained the boys. I think it's safe to say Chase played his fair share of Wii U today. ;)

Speaking of Chase, hubs and I were talking last night that he seems to be getting tired more quickly and more frequently than before. You know how a 4-year-old that's way overdue for a nap would behave? Yes, that's been Chase lately by 6:30pm or 7:00pm, even after a good 2-hour nap. He's been much more grouchy and moody than we've seen in the past. And he definitely is getting winded quicker than before. It's a big effort for him just to go upstairs to his room now. And he starts breathing heavy when walking across the street to our neighborhood playground. Thankfully his oxygen saturation hasn't decreased (he's still in the low to mid 80s), but we know that it is most definitely time for him to have this third surgery, the Fontan.

We have to discontinue his nightly aspirin 2 weeks prior to his surgery, and I can't decide if I'm happy or needing to vomit now that we have almost hit the 2 week mark. I've said it before, I definitely want to get this behind us and have a healthier, pinker, post-Fontan 4-year-old. But ohmygoodness is my mommy self so very afraid of what it's going to be like this time -- handing over our son for his 3rd heart surgery after we've been privileged to know and love him and raise him for almost 5 years. I'm human, and therefore I'm fearful of the "what-ifs" an operation like this brings. But I'm so thankful for the promise my Lord has given me in my heart. I'm grateful that He has a plan that is much better than anything I could come up with myself. And while I will still be afraid, my trust is in Him and I can rest in that.

Sorry I don't have any pics or fun anecdotes from our day today... But there's always tomorrow!

As always, thank you all for your thoughts and prayers along this journey. We are so grateful for each of you who care enough to read along and lift us up in prayer during this time! God bless you!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, April 21, 2014

Quarantine: Day 1

Day 1 in the quarantine bubble is underway, and it's been a good one so far! I did venture outside with the boys for a little wagon ride and some solo fun on our neighborhood playground. I felt bad, though, because one of our neighbors was out walking his dog and came near the playground, so I packed up and hurried us outta there like the poor man had the plague! I don't think he noticed necessarily, but it cracked me up a bit and made me wonder how I can better handle these situations in the future. Can I put Chase in an actual bubble when we venture outside? Should I carry a large poster board sign with us that says, "Stay Back 100 Feet" or something? I guess the good thing is it's only for a short time...

Here are my sweet boys... and E's first wagon ride! He did great and really loved the fresh air and new scenery.

I'm finding some fun and exciting ways to pass the time inside, with one of my most favorite things ever: SHOPPING! I'm on the hunt for some summer shoes for E and I found some sweet gems that I can't wait to get on his chubby toes!

These are Salt Water Sandals Sea Wees and I'm just smitten! Excellent reviews everywhere I've looked, very reasonably priced, and ridiculously cute! I can't wait to see E's chubby toes stuffed in these! It's hard to believe he'll be walking around in these over the summer months.

I saw a little neighborhood boy at our playground over the weekend in these burlap bimini Tiny TOMS and totally imagined them on E. In fact, I'd love to get a pair for Chase, too. They're so darling and are the perfect summer shoe to pair with shorts or even to dress up with khakis for church. Much to my dismay, they come in a variety of other fabrics as well (including chambray and mixed denim... adorbs!), so I figure I'll try my best to start with one pair to be sure they work for us before starting a little collection. ;)

Another favorite way of mine to pass time seems to be venturing onto some sort of newfangled diet or exercise program. I thoroughly enjoyed how I felt at the beginning of the year when I tried the 21DSD and Paleo. Unfortunately, I've fallen off that wagon and gained back some of the weight I had lost, and of course have been feeling miserable with that added weight around my middle. Much to hubs' relief, I'm not jumping on any new bandwagons these days, but I am going to make an improved effort in making better choices for myself and my family. I cannot tell you how much we (I) have been hitting the drive-thru or nearby restaurant for meals lately. It's ridiculous and totally out of hand. My plan is to focus on making healthy meals that steer clear of grains, gluten and sugar (so mostly meat, veggies and fruit). I mean, really, I have nothing but time on my hands these days, so surely it will be a win-win for all of us!

Prior to quarantine, I've had an unusually large volume of "stuff" on my plate: obligations at LO's school (as PTA Communications Chair, 1st grade class Room Parent and volunteer), obligations at Chase's school (class volunteer/helper), singing in our church choir and on our Praise Team for 3 Holy Week services, E's 1st birthday party, Team Manager for LO's soccer team, hubs with the flu, then myself with the flu, both boys with ear infections, my Sienna getting hit by a woman making an illegal left turn directly into the side of my vehicle (who, by the way, refuses to respond to her insurance company's attempts to contact her, so they are unable to "complete their investigation" and assume liability for the accident, so we're looking at possibly having to use our own insurance to replace the sliding rear passenger door---grrrrrrr!), and I'm certain there were several other things that have demanded my attention over the past several weeks. All of that to say that I am ECSTATIC I can finally put my focus where it belongs -- on Chase's upcoming heart surgery -- and enjoy the extra time we have together during our quarantine.

One thing I've really wanted to do to prep for Chase's Fontan has been to make him fun hospital gowns to wear while inpatient. I finally had some time to work on a CARS one over the weekend, and I'm excited at how it's turning out! It's not finished yet, but almost! Check it out:

I also picked up some Mickey Mouse and Toy Story fabric:

I really really really wanted to find Super Mario fabric and Despicable Me (minions) fabric but both of these proved IMPOSSIBLE to locate locally or online (such a shocker!). But in a rare moment of brilliance, I was able to find both Super Mario and Despicable Me twin sheet sets at K-Mart of all places! Win-Win!!! Now I have two fun pillowcases to use at the hospital, and plenty of fabric to make him hospital gowns of his current favorites! I'm excited to see what he thinks when I get them finished.

Whew! Guess that's enough for a Day 1 Quarantine update, huh? Kudos to those of you who stuck around and made it this far into this post!

Oh -- wait -- one last thing. I shared a pic yesterday of Chase with his pink and blue fingernails but failed to mention what a huge kick LO got out of seeing her brother with painted fingernails! She posted a note on their whiteboard and it was just too cute! She's so crazy!!!

Sunday, April 20, 2014


It's hard to believe the countdown is on... Chase's third (and last planned) heart surgery is just about three weeks away. We've known since June 2009 that our son would be born with a Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS). Essentially, the left side of his heart didn't develop properly and we were told he would need a series of three operations on his half-heart to allow him to survive.

While I am obviously anxious about this upcoming surgery, I will be happy to finally have it behind us. It will provide Chase with an improved oxygen saturation (he is currently in the low 80s rather than at 100% like those of us with healthy hearts), less cyanosis (in other words, his fingers, toes and lips will be more pink than blue) and increased energy/endurance levels. As if I don't already have my hands full, right? ;)

Hubs and I finally had "the talk" with the kids last week. LO and Chase are now aware of Chase's upcoming heart surgery. Chase knows he had surgeries on his heart when he was a baby (he's seen pictures), but he has a very limited understanding of his current anatomy and physiology, mostly because we've been blessed with his incredible health through all of this, but also because we know he will live his entire life with this condition and we've been happy to give him as long as possible without having any concern over it. Plus, he's only 4, and there's only so much a 4-year-old can understand.

We've been reading an excellent book with him that was recommended by a fellow "heart mom" called Franklin Goes to the Hospital. It talks about going to the hospital, having surgery, X-rays, etc. and has been really easy for Chase to understand. It's nice because it's prompted some questions from him and random discussions about our upcoming trip. We've been able to start helping him understand what to expect. I'm so grateful we can talk about it now so our entire family can begin to prepare!

So of course quarantine starts tomorrow. LO will still attend school, hubs will attend work (sporadically and only as necessary) and I will still attend church, but we won't be having ANY visitors in our house nor taking Chase ANYWHERE in public. It's imperative that he stay healthy for the weeks leading up to his surgery because if he gets so much as a cold, we are looking at the possibility of rescheduling his Fontan. Let's not even talk about the arrangements already in place (rental home in Charleston, removing Chase from his 2x/week private school, grandparents lined up to help with the kids, preparing Chase for surgery, etc.). So yes, it's extremely important that all of us -- especially Chase -- stay healthy!!!

I'm sure we'll find plenty of ways to have fun, stay busy and keep our minds occupied in the weeks leading up to surgery. If tonight is any indication, Chase is gonna be a riot! LO picked out pink and blue nail polish for she and I to use for our manicures tonight, and Chase insisted on getting in on the action, so he now has pink and blue fingernails, too! LOL!

Love this boy!!!!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Tooth! Finally!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014. Little E's very first tooth finally popped through and made an appearance! His bottom left tooth! I'm so thrilled for him!!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

E's 1st Birthday Party!

Last night was the big celebration of E's 1st birthday, but I will be very forthcoming by mentioning my sweet baby boy is still a mere 11 months old! We needed to celebrate his big milestone birthday a little over 2 weeks early due to the pending quarantine bubble my family will be entering after Easter Sunday in preparation for Chase's Fontan (3rd heart surgery) at the beginning of May. This is a happy post though, so let's dwell on the fun times!

I made a "Happy Birthday!" banner for E just as I had done previously for LO and Chase. I reuse these every year and simply modify the graphics to fit the theme of each party. This year's elephants may turn into next year's Elmo!

I also made a photo garland using pics of baby E from birth through 11 months. I'm okay that there isn't a 12 month shot on here because, again, my baby isn't 1 yet! ;)

Side note: Sorry for the terrible photos. It seems I've lost a big chunk of my "perfectionist" personality once I found myself with 3 little youngsters at home to contend with. No worries, though! I'm mostly okay with it.

Here are some (poor) shots of the individual pics...

A few pics of the foodstuffs...

The big birthday cake! This bad boy is much larger than it appears! Again, I'd like to note that I'm no longer a perfectionist and there are several little things I would've liked to do differently, but overall I was happy with the outcome. It's a 4-layer cake alternating chocolate and vanilla bean layers, filled with white chocolate chip buttercream and frosted with vanilla buttercream. It was quite delish! I did have to purchase actual dinner plates for the cake as it was very evident that a dessert plate just wouldn't do!

A little smash cake for my little guy! I kept his simple with just vanilla bean cake with vanilla buttercream. He was a BIG fan. More on that below...

I made elephant cookies and chocolate covered Oreo cookies as little Thank You gifts for our partygoers.

The cookies were super cute! I had fun making them and look forward to doing other designs for future parties.

Oh, yes. The big boy (baby) of the hour! This is the only shot of him where you can see the outfit I made for him. It's a blue and white seersucker jon jon (short all) with an adorable birthday elephant appliqué.

This is a post-party pic of the much-loved outfit. It's a hot mess but you can see how adorable it was!

Time for spaghetti! E was a big fan!

Let's not forget big sister and big brother enjoying dinner, too!

Cake time! We had no way of preparing for the destruction that was about to ensue. Boy loves him some cake! It didn't take long at all for him to get his fingers into that frosting once his cake landed on his high chair...

Moments later... he's tearing into the cake!

The happy times were over when Daddy tried to take his cake away. He was terribly upset until Daddy decided to give it back.

So, just in case you missed it...



We had a super fun time celebrating with our closest family and dearest friends. E did great all night and didn't seem the slightest bit uncomfortable with all of the attention all night long. He was up way past his usual bedtime but didn't seem phased a bit! It was a fantastic party, but I'm looking forward to his actual birthday on April 30th when we can start his day off right with birthday pancakes, a few more gifts and lots more love and attention from his adoring family.