Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week

Did you know that Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week is coming up February 7th-14th? Did you know 1 in 110 babies will be born with a congenital heart defect?  My oldest little dude, Colin, was born with a ventricular septal defect, or VSD, one of the most common at-birth heart defects.  VSD is where there is a hole in the wall that separates the bottom chambers of the heart.  For Colin, it was discovered at his one month check-up - his pediatrician could hear the issue in the blood flow via stethoscope.  We saw a specialist and were told that the hole would most likely close on it's own, but tabs would be kept on the issue at each check-up appointment.  I honestly can't remember the exact statistic, but it was that of a high percentage of VSD cases usually resolve themselves in the first year.  (i.e. no need for surgical intervention.)

For some reason, Colin's hole hadn't closed at his one year check, so we were referred again to a heart specialist for more detailed tests and to talk about the possibility of having a surgical patch done.  Incredibly, when we went for the appointment with the surgeon a few months later, the updated ultrasound showed the hole had closed! We were so thankful to have avoided surgery!

Not every child with a CHD is as lucky, though.   For little Mercer Deal, daughter of designer and maker-mama, Whitney Deal, heart surgery was necessary only days after birth to help correct her CHD.  You can read sweet Mercer's story here on Whitney's blog.  Having grown up knowing both Whitney and her husband and their families, Mercer's story hit particularly close to home.  I cannot imagine how scary that time must have been.

To honor upcoming CHD Awareness Week, Whitney has designed this precious kid's tee:

image source: Whitney Deal 

I love, love, love the saying! So perfect for this cause.  All of the proceeds from the tees go to Mended Little Hearts, a non-profit organization that provides assistance to tiny heart patients and their families.  Please be sure to check out the shirts at Whitney's Etsy Shop and support this incredible cause!

**Love and light to all the precious littles and their families dealing with congenital heart defects.**

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Soon-To-Be Eight...

Camden, Colin (as The Assistant), and I ventured downtown today for a little photo shoot to document Cam's upcoming birthday.  (He will be eight on Friday! *ka-thud*)

My littlest little is looking so grown up, y'all, I can hardly stand it!!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Recipe for a Perfect Day...

1.  Daddy/Hubs off work 
2.  baseball
3.  costumes
4.  imagination
5.  silliness
6.  kite flying
7.  sunshine
8.  Bella-dog
9.  snuggles
10. love 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Beautiful Mess

 Sometimes life's greatest messes lead up to the most beautiful life...

If we're talking about my hair, though, well that's just a hot mess - hehe!  As I was uploading images off of my camera, I found this shot...taken by a very sneaky 10 year old.  This quote has been floating around in my head for the last month, so when I saw this, I thought it kind of, with my mind-of-its-own hair, wrinkled clothes, and disheveled bed.   ;)

Where Has All the Sunshine Gone?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Drinking More Water, When You Get Tired of Drinking More Water

I love water, but to drink as much as I should, I get sick of it pretty quickly.  That first glass is great, but after about two, it's a chore.

The last few weeks, Les and I have been making our own infused water with lemons, cucumbers, and mint leaves.  It is so good!!  The lemons give it a nice tart flavor with the cucumber and mint to balance it out.  It's made drinking more water tons easier!

Here's the recipe we're using:

In a gallon container:

2 lemons, sliced
1 large cucumber, sliced
10-14 mint leaves, snipped from mint plants

Fill the container full of water (ours is just from the tap), and add the sliced lemons and cucumbers and mint leaves.  Let it sit in the fridge overnight and wa-la!

To make this more cost effective, I fill the container back up with water throughout the day to get more use out of the lemons, etc.  I've been known to use them over into the second day as well. ;)

Do you have a favorite infused water recipe? Please share! I'd love to try yours!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Life is...

so stinkin' good right now.  Twelve days in and this "Be Present" stuff is working so well that I think it needs to be my theme for life.  Maybe it's that, maybe it's us having found this incredible new church and finding a renewed faith.  I just feel so light - moreso than I have in a really long time.  I'm even finding myself coming to terms with the health stuff I've been dealing with for the last several years - chronic pain/fatigue/fibromyalgia - whatever it really is, I know I've let it have way more power over me than it deserves.  Funny how as cliche as it sounds, it really is about your attitude towards can let it override everything or you can dig in, accept it, and realize you need to live in spite of it.  Perhaps my biggest problem was getting stuck on the "why me" and living in anger and bitterness over it...wondering when my "break" in life was going to come.  The thing is, my life is pretty darn amazing, but a bad attitude will cloud even the brightest of days.  A bad attitude on top of life's obstacles and, well...yeah...not a lot of good feels there.

If I'm being honest, my anger and bitterness were the catalysts for distancing myself from God and church...and subsequently, my distance lead to the entire family's shift from our faith.  Until two weeks ago, we hadn't attended church at all for several years.  I started questioning God after everything that happened with our apartment in 2006/2007.  It was one bad thing after another and when I thought the worst had happened, something else came along to add to the tally.  I felt like doors weren't just closing for us, they were being slammed in our faces.  My prayers went from: "Are you serious, God?" to "I hate you for letting this happen to us."  I didn't understand.  We tried to be good people...why was God punishing us over and over?  Why? Why? Why? My attitude towards everything was negative.  We finally settled into our new house, a brand new modular that I should have been thanking my lucky stars for, but instead I hated because it was nothing to me but a constant reminder of everything that lead us there.

Camden was just four months old when we moved into the house...two weeks prior, we'd been given news for which nothing could have prepared us.  I knew when he was born, something was wrong, but when he wasn't moving his arms and legs properly and still not holding his head up at nearly four months, we decided to see a neurologist.  She told us that he had experienced a brain bleed in utero and would likely never walk, talk, probably never even sit up.  My world, already tilted on it's axis, darn near imploded at that point.   All I could think of was, 'Did the black mold we were exposed to in the apartment do this?'

Anger level = a baseball bat, dark alley, and the owners of those apartments.

The owners offered to settle with us only if we signed a release saying they would not be responsible for any health issues of our unborn baby.  Did they know all along the health issues we might face with him? (We ended up refusing to sign, they refused to settle.)  Looking back now, I realize we should have dealt with things so much differently...we should have sought help in how to handle it.

For years afterwards, my punishment to God for  "abandoning" us, was to abandon Him.

And thus, years of never really being happy and constantly, constantly dwelling on the past, and the "why's"...oh, the "why's."

All that to say, now eight years out, I'm thankful for a God that remained even when I turned away.  Camden's neurologist told us his damage was permanent and nothing we could do for him would change it...but yet today he doesn't just walk, he RUNS, he plays sports, and has won the handwriting award at school two years running.  Pretty cool for someone whom modern medicine could do nothing.  (Because it wasn't modern medicine, you know?)

I've always wanted to know the answer to why.  My mom says when I first learned to talk, I was always asking "Why??"  "But why, mama? But why?"  Maybe I don't need to know why.  "Why" had me stuck in the past.  "Why" kept me from having peace and living in the here and now.

Time to just give up needing to know all the answers and reasons, time to really let go of the past...time to just