Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Chase's 4th Birthday!!!!

I don't have a lot of time these days (soverytruetrustme), so today's post will mostly be in photos. Of course I had to share a recap of our special little guy's FOURTH (yes, 4th!) birthday party! We are continually amazed by this rock star of ours, and it is SUCH a blessing to see this miracle of ours living life before our very eyes! When we received the diagnosis of his congenital heart defect (CHD) at our 20-week ultrasound appointment, we spent the following few days in a state of, well, it's hard to put a word on those few days. Suffice it to say, celebrating our son's 4th birthday party was not even in the galaxy of thoughts in our minds. Wondering if he'd survive his first week of life was pretty much the main fear that consumed our thoughts. So to be where we are today is nothing short of a miracle and complete blessing!

Now on to the celebration!!!

We started his first of two scheduled parties with a Friday night shindig at Chuck E. Cheese's (his choice, not mine... obvs). He was quite excited about it, and insisted on wearing his Super Mario (Fire Power) costume mommy made for Halloween. :) Before we get to that, though, let's get a glimpse at what little E thought of his first time at good ol' CEC:

This pic says it all! Overwhelmed much? Haha!

Now on to the bday boy (and his celebration cohort, LO)! Chuck E. is getting ready to come out and throw some tickets to the "crowd," but first, they have to do a little song and dance. Chase wasn't too sure about it but was happy to go along with whatever his big sister did!

After the tickets were tossed out? Hilarious. Chase grabbed one in the air and sat down with it to marvel at his treasure while all of the other kids were scurrying about trying to nab as many as they could.

Such a proud (and oblivious) boy, that one!

Back in full Fire Mario garb, he busted a move with the balloon guitar provided. It was upside down, but man could that thing jam!

Next up? A guitar pick medal medallion thing. He was thrilled. LO (in the background)? Maybe notsomuch. ;)

Happy birthday boy!

Now on to the cupcakes. Chocolate chocolate chip cupcakes with chocolate ganache buttercream and sprinkles. I think I nailed it.

Make a wish! Oh, and please ignore the mostly-gone-but-still-there remnants of a pumpkin he had painted on his face at his school's harvest festival earlier in the day...

Ready to dig in!!!

I think he was just showing off here...

Next up? The highlight and most anticipated party agenda item: the Ticket Blaster. He chose big sis to head in and collect tickets with him (even though a certain mommy begged him for the honor and was denied).

I'm pretty sure they're discussing strategy here before the blaster started.

Game on!!! I love the look of sheer joy and excitement on Chase's face!

Post-blast inventory.

Counting it up!

Now it was on to the gifts! Yay for presents!

Loved this shot! By far one of the best faces of the night, and it was for the FREE FISHER-PRICE CATALOG that Gramma & PaPa threw in with his present (you know, so he could start browsing and selecting Christmas gift ideas). Kids.

Just love this shot of my little Fire Mario birthday boy. Love him bunches!!!

Mario? Meet Mario.

The next morning was his actual birthday, so of course we started out with birthday pancakes! Disclaimer: I had the focus on my camera lens set to Manual -- without realizing it. Hence the HORRIBLY POOR focus on EVERY shot below. Sorry!

Ready for pancakes! And for that durn hat to get a run in the washing machine. Geez!

He's so handsome. And fun. And I'm so lucky. Like crazy.

Makin' a wish!

More presents? Don't mind if I do...

Haha! I think he liked the Despicable Me 2 Operation game!

More opening!

Lots of Mario goodies!

Not the best pic to end this post with, but it's late and I'm tired. We had a super great party Friday night and an AWESOME day of family fun on his birthday on Saturday. Chase is such an amazing gift from God and I am so blessed to be his mommy! There just aren't enough words for me to express how I feel about this kiddo!

Happy 4th Birthday, Chase! Mommy loves you bunches!!!!!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Preparation.

As I sit here thinking about where I was 4 years ago at this very moment, I find it hard to put into words the emotions and fear that overwhelmed me. I was laboring with Chase at MUSC in Charleston, SC. A planned induction. An expected heart defect. Almost 4 hours from home. And So. Much. Worry & Fear.

I thought I'd throw back to 2009 here for a moment, and repost the entry I wrote 2 days before Chase's birth. I wouldn't post to the blog for 2 more days -- after my sweet warrior's birth -- so this is as close as it gets to summarizing the thoughts in my mind as I headed in to have this baby boy of mine. A sweet little boy who, though about to be born with only half a heart, had already wholeheartedly captured mine.

October 24, 2009


I'm truly having a hard time believing the time is almost here!

Today is SATURDAY.

I'm going to be admitted to the hospital TOMORROW.

Chase will be here on MONDAY.

It's all so surreal! I am happy to report that I finally got around to packing my hospital bag today. I guess that's part of what makes an induction so convenient -- I can plan accordingly. And it's no surprise to me that Chase hasn't shown any signs of making an early debut. But now that the bag is packed and I'll be heading to the hospital in less than 24 hours, I think it's time for it to finally settle in that I'm getting ready to have a baby!

Although the future is VERY scary to me and I fear for my son's health and survival in the coming days, I know that ultimately we are all in God's hands and that He has a perfect plan for my family. I'm not at all loving that I will have ZERO control over our circumstances. I'm not loving the fact that I most likely will not be able to hold my son for the first time until the night before his surgery, which very well might not be scheduled for 7 or more days after he's born. I'm not loving being 3-1/2 hours from home -- from our friends, our family, the house we call home. It's really weird to prepare to go to the hospital to give birth to a baby that you know you won't be bringing home with you anytime soon. I almost feel like I'm just going in for a "procedure" of some kind, and then a few months later, I'll get to go back and pick up a baby to bring home with me. It's so strange! I've never felt anything like this before. But I'm truly anticipating that God will do wonderful things over the next several weeks and I'm so grateful I get to witness His work first-hand!

- Posted using BlogPress on my beloved iPhone 5

Friday, October 25, 2013

Epic Win

I'm taking every victory I can get here lately -- none too big or too small. With the mess of things I've been trying (unsuccessfully) to juggle recently, I don't necessarily go looking for additional ways to add to my crazy. But there was one thing that required my attention:

Chase's hair.

This kid. I'll tell you, he's been through more in 4 years than most adults will experience in a lifetime -- 2 open-heart surgeries, 3 heart catheterizations, several outpatient surgeries -- but if you come within 5 feet of this kid with a comb and some scissors? It's major meltdown central.

I don't know why. He's been that way for, well, basically forever. Not a fan of the haircut. As in, hold-him-down-kicking-and-screaming-while-the-poor-stylist-tries-desperately-not-to-cut-herself. He seriously handles hospital recoveries better than haircuts.

So rather than subject an underpaid stylist to put up with that kind of crazy, I opted to... wait for it... attempt it myself.

It was the perfect setup, from cartoons on TV to sitting in his own chair. But it still went down like mad. Luckily no one ended up scarred, bleeding or bald. 😉

I figure, after all he's been through, he can have this. The haircut crazy frenzy meltdown. Every. Single. Time. But I think it relieves some stress having him perform this madness in the comfort of our own home.

Not the best Before/After pics, but I promise it's much improved! My big kid!!! Four years old tomorrow!!!

- Posted using BlogPress on my beloved iPhone 5

First day of 1st Grade!

Here I am, ready to receive my Mother of the Year award!

Seems I started a post about LO's first day of 1st Grade (which yes, happened to take place over 2 months ago) but never managed to publish it on the blog! OMGeez. I'm awful!

Here she is striking a pose for the camera before leaving for school:

Isn't she just darling?!

Here she is right outside of her new 1st grade classroom:

My beautiful girl!!!

One last stalker-pic of her in the classroom before mommy left...

She had a great first day! And needless to say, she's enjoyed the past 2 months of 1st grade! LOL!

Just as a fun comparison, let's see her first day of school transition from K3 through First Grade!

She's growing up so fast!!! I'm so proud of this sweet girl of mine!

Coming up soon... CHASE'S 4TH BIRTHDAY WEEKEND!!! Two days. Two parties. One amazing little fighter. And one mess of a mommy! We are SO. VERY. BLESSED. to have our sweet boy with us. He's been through so much! God is good! I can't wait to celebrate!!!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Five Months!

Happy 5 Months, baby E!

After last night's late-night vent session about time and the lack of it these days, I'm trying desperately to get myself together today. This has included a much-needed albeit minor update to the blog design for fall, the inclusion of baby #3 in the header graphic (welcome, little E!) and a 2-weeks-late 5 month photo session with the little guy this morning.

I'll admit this time and again: it is NOT an easy task for 1 person, 1 baby and 1 50mm lens to make magic happen. Hence the complete lack of a smile on the little guy's face. I tried to get Chase to help me make him smile, but that wasn't half as much fun as playing on the iPad, so I lost out there. If you know how to make a baby smile while simultaneously taking said baby's photo, I would LOVE to hear it!

Just a little recap on where we are 5 (and a half) months into things with baby E. He's SUPER AWESOME in the baby sleeping/eating departments. All of our kiddos have done well with these areas at an early age and I promise we haven't taken it for granted! Sleeping a good 8-10 hours at night around 2 months, then stretching out to a good 10-12 hours by 4 months is nothing short of a blessing! Especially when you have bedtime and morning school routines for two older kiddos to contend with! And he's been a great eater, as evidenced by the massive 15 1/2 pounds of baby pictured above. We're starting to settle into a feeding schedule -- about 4 times per day -- and I couldn't be more ecstatic that he's a nursing champ and that my supply has kept up with him! My long-time readers can remember the significant milk supply issues I had with LO and Chase, so I consider it a HUGE blessing to be in such a great place with him (not to mention the amazing frozen stash in our recently-purchased chest freezer!).

I admit I haven't been working terribly hard on getting him to roll over, sit up, etc. I know these are milestones he should be reaching around this age, and don't get me wrong -- he's close. He has rolled over two or three times (tummy to back), but I'm just not in a hurry to see this guy grow up. I guess that's pretty normal for the youngest/last baby (or so I'm told). For now I'm just enjoying those squishy cheeks and plenty of love and squeezes with my sweet baby.

Life as a stay-at-home/part-time-working/full-time-PTA-volunteering mama is HARD WORK. Don't let anyone ever tell you otherwise! At times I wish I worked a full-time job because it would eliminate a LOT of the "stuff" on my plate as a SAHM, but I wouldn't trade these special years for anything! I'm learning firsthand how quickly time passes (did I mention that little guy above will be HALF A YEAR OLD in TWO WEEKS!?) and I'm feverishly considering my options to allow me to put a greater focus on my children and family during these special years that will be over in a fleeting moment. Too many distractions and not enough quality time. That's what life boils down to for me these days. And believe you me I won't stop 'til I figure out how to balance it all... even if my FAMILY is the only thing left standing in my new & improved day-to-day routine!

(Hopefully) coming soon to the blog: The past few months in PICTURES. We've been up to a lot these past few months, and it's time to share with y'all (Read: document our life here on the blog so I have something to refer to when updating baby books and so my old-lady brain doesn't forget all the fun we've had)!!! :)

Thanks for hanging in there and being patient with me and my lack of updates, friends!



What a rare commodity. Seems I've been running short on it here lately.

And by lately, I mean the past 6 months or so.

My head is swirling with a zillion thoughts on how to get back some of this precious gift of time.

Give up my part-time job?

Walk away from my position with the PTA?

Get another mom to room parent my 1st grader's class?

Quit one of the few church ministries I've always been called to serve in? ((Oh, wait -- I already did that last month.))


There are so many things I need more time for.

Time for my family.

Time to blog the events and milestones I don't want to forget.

Time to play with my kids.

Time to update my almost 6-month-old's (!!!) baby book.

Time to sew my kids' homemade Halloween costumes / dress up play clothes.

Time to clean my house. It's seriously filthy and overlooked.

Time to plan my precious boy's 4th birthday party.

Time to pray and pray and pray and pray some more over Chase's next heart surgery that will take place most likely in May.

Time to update the blog about Chase's cardiology appointment earlier today.

Time to cook healthy meals for my family.

Time to grocery shop.

Time to spend in God's word.

Time to actually date my husband (without 3 kids & a drive-thru on the agenda).

The list goes on and on and on. I'm sure every mom can relate. It's not easy to balance work, family, volunteering and other commitments that require our time. I give kudos to those moms who were wired with the ability to work a full-time job while raising a family and still manage everything else with ease. I'll fully admit I am NOT wired that way.

If you would've asked teenage me what I wanted to be when I grew up, the answer was always the same:

A wife and a mother.

I'm there now. I've arrived. But I'm letting too many distractions keep me from doing my best at these two incredibly important roles that I've waited so long to fulfill.

I find myself missing out on the two weeknights of quality family time that I'm home each week by sitting at my computer, putting the needs of my daughter's school ahead of my family.

I find myself missing out on the ministry opportunity of singing in the choir each Wednesday because I'm so tired and overwhelmed by life to find the strength or willingness to go.

I find myself missing out on the relaxing yet productive Saturdays at home with my family because I'm commuting and working for 10 of those precious hours every Saturday.

I find myself missing out of the joy of worshipping with my family and setting a good example for our kids by attending church on Sundays because I'm too tired from working the day before and am just so desperate for some "downtime" with my family.

I find myself missing out on sharing in special school events with my children because although I volunteered to help with both LO & Chase's field trips, I just realized tonight that they are BOTH next Friday.

With Chase's first 4th birthday party that night.

Followed by Chase's second 4th birthday party the following morning (What? If anyone deserves two parties, it's this Rock Star Heart Warrior of mine!).


If you've read this far, way to go! Regular readers will know I always keep it real here. I'm being incredibly open and transparent with my struggles tonight -- that's for sure! If for no other reason, it's a wee bit liberating to me to put my thoughts out here so I can come back later and see that maybe it wasn't really as bad as it felt like at the time. Maybe?? And brain dumping on my blog has always been a good source of release for my crazy. ;)

So thanks to those of you who made it to the end. I covet your prayers as I work through some difficult decisions in the days ahead. Your support means so much!

Now to try and fit in some time for a few hours of much-needed sleep.


- Posted from my beloved iPhone 5