Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2011 Recap... Better Late Than Never!

The guilt has overtaken me and I feel compelled to sum up 2011 with a blog post. I'll warn you: it's not the shortest post ever. But hopefully it'll be entertaining. :)


January 2011:
Do you see this sweet little BABY we started 2011 with? Ohmyheavens. I could just squeeze him! Note his unsteady, wobbly standing in this video:



He was having physical therapy once a week to help him get mobile. Later that same month... first steps!!!



And what about his big sister? She was as happy as ever!



February 2011:
It seems I spent a lot of time talking about LO's behavior issues. I vividly recall the attitude we were getting from her and how lost I felt. We tried some new techniques from a book and started to see some improvements.

It was also in February when Chase's cardiology appointment resulted in scheduling an unplanned heart cath. :( His echo showed some narrowing in his LPA and his cardiologist, as well as the team at MUSC, determined it would be necessary for him to have a cath to try to balloon the narrowing. This was NOT the news we wanted to hear. :(


I also shared a series of guest posts from fellow heart moms to raise awareness for Congenital Heart Defects. You can read them here (Noah), here (Mary Clare), here (Aly Jean), here (Anna Grace), here (Brandt) and here (Bodie). :)

February also brought the devastating loss of a sweet heart warrior, Travis DiCarlo. I vividly remember where I was and what I was doing when I read Nicole's updates following Travis' 4th surgery. I literally could barely get out of bed for 2 days as my heart was breaking for the DiCarlo family. Travis was just 3 days older than Chase and his loss really hit me hard. Please continue to keep Nicole & Roger in your thoughts and prayers as the first anniversary of their loss is approaching. God bless them and hold them and their family close during this time.


March 2011:
This month we took a trip to Cincinnati, Chase had an ER visit at Cincinnati Children's Hospital with what was diagnosed as RSV, and we headed to Charleston for his heart cath. The cath was successful in that they verified he IS a candidate for the Fontan (Praise the Lord!!), they ballooned his LPA, which didn't show any flow restriction (whew!), determined he COULD wait for the typical Fontan timeframe (age 3-4, approx. 30 lbs.) AND he was returned safely to us... looking pretty good, all things considered.


We also decided to start Chase in speech therapy, and I seemed to do a lot of sewing last March, too. See? And see? I also had my first ever blog giveaway!

April 2011:
I spent a LOT of time on my new hobby: sewing. I made this amazing (IMO) black & white quilt for Chase's physical therapist, who we had to say "see ya!" to in April because our little man was a walking pro! Daddy also wrote an informative post about living through an HLHS diagnosis as a father/husband, which was pretty awesome of him. In an effort of full disclosure and total honesty, hubs and I were in the midst of the hardest season of our marriage we had ever encountered. We had made it through Chase's diagnosis, two heart surgeries and two heart caths, and the emotions of it all were finally catching up to us. I hadn't prayed so hard for my husband or our marriage in my life!

May 2011:
This month brought Part II of hubs' perspective on being an HLHS father. We also had some fun at the park with the kids.



My birthday and Mother's Day were also "celebrated" during May (hubs should enjoy those quotes -- haha!). The kids and I enjoyed some fun in the sun playing in the backyard together, too!



Chase's speech therapist also recommended that we have Chase checked out by an ENT to see if he has any fluid in his ears, which could be contributing to his speech delay. We met with a local ENT and awaited the results... I also took a bit of a blogging break during the month of May last year.

June 2011:
Oh the joy of another procedure at MUSC! It was determined that Chase needed to have tubes put in. Imagine his excitement when we told him:


Haha! The poor kid! June 7th was his tube surgery at MUSC and not surprisingly, he did great! We had some issues with the right one after we got home, which would result in another trip to MUSC in the coming months. I didn't blog much in June, but I did enjoy spending time and making precious memories with these guys:


We also had some technology issues during June. From my mishap of epic proportions (busting the front glass on my iPhone) to Chase knocking my laptop on the garage floor, rendering the hard drive completely dead. Good times, huh?

July 2011:
July was a big month for LO! From her first dentist appointment to her 4th birthday parties (Yes, plural. See here and here.), it was a lot of fun!



I'm sure we also spent lots of time playing outside, going to the pool and/or playground and just enjoying a fun summer together.

August 2011:
I played a little catch up on my blog since I hadn't been posting as often. We also took a little family vacay to Hilton Head, SC for a much-needed getaway.



It was while we were on vacation that I got "the call" with an offer for a part-time job I had applied for. Completely stoked!!! Woot!!!

Chase finally started talking a little bit more. See? August also brought a repeat trip to MUSC to replace Chase's right ear tube. Good times. But obviously the tubes have helped his speech, thank goodness!



September 2011:
September was very light in the blog posting department. With preschool being in full swing, then adding soccer to LO's schedule, and working part-time for the first time since becoming a SAHM, and planning Chase's 2nd birthday party, free time was VERY hard to come by, and what little I had obviously wasn't spent blogging. But we did have fun with a trip to see Sesame Street Live, which the kids really enjoyed.



And of course LO loved playing soccer, too!


I think finding an amazingly delicious copycat recipe for Starbucks Hot Chocolate was the only other thing I apparently deemed post-worthy in September.

October 2011:
Chase's 2nd birthday was by far the biggest highlight of October! He had such a blast and it was so wonderful to celebrate two years of having God's blessing in our lives in the form our our little rock star! I made his birthday cake, which, I thought, turned out pretty decent and tasted amazing!


We had a great time celebrating our little guy, but we also learned through that party that it would probably be the last big birthday event we have at our house for either of our kids. We'll be keeping things low-key from now on.

It was crazy to stop and think back to where we were 2 years prior during October. Packed up a U-Haul and headed to Charleston for Chase's birth and first surgery. With a 2 year old in tow. And no clue what the future held. By far it was the scariest time in my life, and I wish so much that the current me could've told myself then that Chase would be a thriving, crazy, 2-year-old toddler! Oh, the fears and uncertainty that would've relinquished! But I'm so very grateful for the journey we've been on with Chase. We've learned so much about ourselves, our family and those who would be there to support us along the way. We are so grateful!!!

October was also the month that we started on our journey of building a new home! I never took it seriously in the beginning because it seemed to good to happen to US, so I just went along with it -- not getting too emotionally involved -- until I could see that hubs was absolutely serious! Yippee!!

November 2011:
Our big boy moved into his big boy bed!!!


Still can't believe how huge this kid is. Seriously. We also had our 6-month check-up with cardiology, and were so very happy and blessed to hear that everything looked great! We were still on schedule for a 3- to 4-year-old Fontan, depending on Mr. Hefty's weight gain over the coming year or so. He's already up to a chunk o' monkey 28 lbs., and considering his surgeon wants him to be between 30-32 lbs., I'd say it's quite likely our little rock star will be rocking the Fontan in 2012. I don't want to even start thinking or talking about it until it's a sure thing, so, moving on...

Chase had his 2-year check-up with his pediatrician as well, and all was well. Not much more to report during November, except...

Oh, that's right!!! We bought a house!!!!! Officially signed the papers on Wednesday, November 30, 2011. Woot!!! :)

December 2011:
During December, I had a bit of a debacle with how LO was being punished at school. I was glad to see my blogging community agreed with me. Seriously. Making a 4-year-old run laps?? Ugh.

Chase got his second round of Synagis for this season, I had to work on Christmas Eve, and we had The. Most. Hectic. And. Least. Enjoyable. Christmas. Holiday. EVER. Between working part-time, being overextended with volunteer/ministry commitments, family gatherings and several meetings concerning our new home, time was something I just did NOT have enough of. That resulted in the Christmas holiday being one great, big "TO DO LIST" with things getting checked off as they were done. Work Christmas Eve? Check. Christmas Eve service at church? Check. Christmas Eve gathering at my mom's house? Check. Christmas morning service at church? Check. Opening presents with kids in 10 minutes or less after church? Check. Driving out to hubs' side of the family for Christmas dinner? Check. It literally wasn't until Monday morning, Dec. 26th, that I could finally breathe and relax. I HATED the way my family's Christmas holiday unfolded this year. I do NOT like to rush around. I like to ENJOY the holiday and STOP to be THANKFUL for what it really means. I'm already thinking through how we'll make next year a complete opposite from this year. Christmas is too important to me to treat it like a "To Do List." New Year's Eve (after I got home from work) was nice and quiet. It was a wonderful way to start the new year. Hubs and I were in bed at 11:30PM. Ahhhhh...

So there you have it! A super crazy-long post to recap 2011! Whew! And in case you missed it, take a look at this...

Chase - January 2011:


Chase - December 2011:


My baby done growed up.