Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Flu Shots

This morning I took the kids to get their flu shots. Our appointments were at 8:30 am and since I am a stay at home mom and never drive in work traffic, I grossly underestimated the amount of time it would take to get there. We arrived around 9 with both kids echoing the comments I make under my breath at other idiot drivers. Stuff like, Geez! Come on! Go! And the kids are taking turns going "why is that lady in your way mommy?" and "Why did you say go?" Anyway, since I was a half hour late I felt I couldn't rightly complain about being made to wait an extra fifteen minutes. Both kids did pretty good with their shots and we left the office at 9:30. Which is the same time I was suppose to be at Mom Connection with the two dozen bagels and cream cheese I was bringing for snacks this morning. Once we got there and I dropped off the bagels and took the kids to their respective classrooms I tried to focus on the speaker and her message about learning to let go of your past through confession and forgiveness. Phew! It was a rocky start to the day, but we made it!

The rest of the day was better. Although Drew and I are both feeling the loss of our DVD player. It just stopped working a few days ago and now we have to find other things to do in the afternoon while Ava is napping. Drew has been practicing his letters a lot lately and also playing on the computer. I have been using that time to prepare dinner. Today I made tonight's dinner and got tomorrow's crockpot meal prepared.

After dinner I headed over to Sutter for tonight's Hearts of Hope meeting. It was my first time setting up and running the meeting by myself and there were some hurdles. Like when I arrived half an hour early to see my speaker waiting for me outside the classroom because it was full of pregnant ladies and their husbands. I guess our room was double-booked and since they were already in it we had to find another spot. After locating another room I had to make signs to let people know where we were and look for people who might be lost. We finally got started about a half hour late (anyone noticing a theme here?). Once we got started though, our meeting was great! We had a couple of new people tonight and our speaker was our CNS (clinical nurse specialist) from UC Davis. She has been the pediatric cardiology CNS for 25 years! She talked about failing hearts and how they are treated. It was very informative and she even had slides and handouts. We had time for questions at the end and heard about some of the advancements and research that is being done currently. It was a very hopeful evening!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Kid-free weekend

This weekend my aunt and uncle asked if they could take the kids with them to visit my cousin in Oakland. It took me about 2 seconds to say, OK! They picked the kids up on Friday around bedtime, and brought them back today at 4. I missed them a lot while they were gone! Normally I don't really mind being away from them for a short time, but I think it was different because we were at home. There is just something strange about being at home without the kids here.

Anyway, I still had to get up at 5:30 to run 9 miles with my friend on Saturday, so no sleeping in, but I did get to sleep through the night without interruption! When I got home Dan and I tried to think of all the things we wanted to do with our freedom. We ended up going shopping (I got a new anniversary watch), having lunch, seeing a movie and visiting my friend Gina (who had brain surgery on Friday) in the hospital. Gina looks amazing and is doing so well after her surgery that she might get to go home tomorrow! That evening we decided to go out for Indian food since we can't normally take the kids to do that because it is too spicy. It was so good! We were both stuffed!

Sunday morning we attended our marriage class, then had church. Afterwards we just relaxed at home enjoying our last few hours before the kids got back. They had an awesome time visiting Heather and John in Oakland. They went to the park, visited animals on a farm, rode a steam engine, played soccer, ate pancakes for breakfast, looked for dinosaur bones in the backyard and snails in the garden, and came home with balloons! They had their own little mini-vacation.

Now we're just getting back into the routine and ready for our week. Hope everyone had a good weekend!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

pumpkins, calcium, energy, sickness

Aren't these the coolest pumpkins?! My aunt grew them in her garden, and when they were still green she wrote the kids names on them with a pen. The pumpkins healed over the pen marks and grew with their names on them! Drew keeps asking when we're going to "hatch" them. I asked what he thinks is inside and he said popcorn. When I asked Ava, she said baby chicks. Too cute.

This is Drew enjoying his well deserved lollipop after his blood draw on Tuesday. It was for our last appointment with endocrinology (hopefully). Dr. Styne has been following Drew since he was a baby and was in charge of his calcium levels. Drew was weaned off calcium in March, so as long as these levels look good, we are done with endocrine! The doctor said some very sweet things, like this is what we've been working towards for so long, that Drew is a great kid who has come through so much and admiring his new pinkness and energy levels. I know it sounds crazy to say I'm a little sad to have one less specialist, but these people become like a part of your family. We will miss Dr. Styne, but not the pokes!

Yesterday I brought Drew to the gym with me and when I went to pick him up the childcare worker told me he got a good workout today and was running around the whole time. As I watched him I got teary AGAIN. I told her, you probably don't know this, but he had open-heart surgery three months ago. And it is just amazing to see him like this. She asked if he was so energetic before, and I told her no! He could barely walk up stairs before, he was the only 4-year old who wanted to sit in his stroller. I wonder how long it will take me to get used to this, before it just seems normal. Right now it is a daily reminder of how incredibly blessed we are. I should probably write a letter to Dr. Hanley.

One other tidbit of news is that Dan and Ava have been sick since Friday. Ava I think is all better now, with just a remnant of a cough here and there. Dan is probably about a day behind her. And so far Drew and I have remained healthy! We have been taking zicam, drinking fluids, and trying to stay away from them as much as possible! I am so glad that we've been able to keep Drew healthy (so far) and I think it must be a good sign that is immune system is improving. Yay Drew! We'll be calling on Monday to set up our flu shots though!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

In the news

I think I forgot to mention that we were interviewed by News 10's Jennifer Smith at the Hearts of Hope BBQ. You can see me and Drew if you check out the following link:

Hearts of Hope: Children with Heart

Monday, September 22, 2008

Seven years ago...

Today is our anniversary. We've been married for seven years, and it's been 12 years since we met and started dating. I still feel like I won the husband lottery! Dan is the most generous man I've ever met. He freely offers his time in taking care of his family, whether that means working hard to provide for us, getting up with the kids in the morning so I can get a little extra sleep, making lunches for everyone or just spending extra time with the kids. He is so supportive of my volunteer work with Hearts of Hope and of the time I spend training for crazy half-marathons. He truly wants what is best for me, and usually puts my needs before his. I am honored to be his wife, and I just hope that he feels half as lucky to be married to me as I feel to be with him. Honey, I promise to love you all the days of my life!

We were planning to celebrate by going out to dinner tonight. Unfortunately, Ava got sick on Friday and Dan got sick this morning! We were still going to try and go out, but Dan just didn't feel up for it. So we are hoping to postpone our little celebration until next week. While it's somewhat of a disappointment that we didn't get to go out tonight, it still better than last year when we spent our anniversary in the ER with Drew and eating cafeteria food in the hospital. At least we were together! Maybe next year we'll all be healthy enough to celebrate on our actual anniversary!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Heart Walk 2008

Today we participated in our annual Heart Walk. Drew and I ended up going by ourselves because Ava had a runny nose this morning. Since we were planning to spend the afternoon at a BBQ for heart families, we decided we didn't want to take any chances with sharing her germs. And since it was just the two of us, I didn't get very many pictures. But my good friend Gina and her family were there and she promises to send me hers!

We did the one mile loop and Drew was able to walk most of it all by himself! It was really amazing. He never would have been able to do that before this last surgery. After the walk, he made two trips to the bounce houses and jumped until he was drenched in sweat! This kid has more energy than he knows what to do with. I know I'm an emotional mush, but watching him jump today just really struck me. Three months ago we were in the hospital and he was fighting a serious infection. We were exhausted and could hardly imagine that this day would come. And here he is, jumping his heart out! I'm just so proud of my son. He is an amazing kid and I am so glad that God blessed us with him.

After the walk, we headed over to the Hearts of Hope Family BBQ at a splash park in West Sacramento. And again I felt my emotions leaking out. It was awesome to see all the kids together, comparing their scars and running around and playing. I don't think I can even adequately describe the feeling. I guess it would be some combination of pride, relief, gratitude, acceptance, understanding and love. It was an awesome day for Hearts!

And, if you wanted to donate and haven't yet, don't worry! There is still time! There is a contest to see who can get the most online donations in the month of September and we'd love to win! And if you can't donate in September, they take donations through the end of the year. Just click on the link on the top of the page and you will be taken to our donation page. Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who supported Team Drew this year!

me and Drew before the walk

Drew walking all by himself

Drew and his heart buddy, Casey, at the finish line

Bouncing after the walk

At the BBQ

Drew and some of the other heart kids

The kids enjoying the park

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Kira


This is my friend Kira and her baby, Ross. I met Kira about a year ago at our first Hearts of Hope support group meeting. She was pregnant with baby Ross and had just found out three days before our meeting that her precious baby would be born with a serious heart defect. She was still in shock and my heart broke for her, because I knew all that she was facing, and she didn't know yet what was in store for her.

Well, it turns out that none of us knew what was in store for her. Kira was born with her own congenital heart defect and had surgery as a baby and at 7 years old. She was told to live a normal life, that she would not have any future problems with her heart, that her kids would be fine, that pregnancy would not affect her heart. Baby Ross saved her life because had it not been for his heart defect, doctors may not have monitored Kira's heart. And after delivery she developed an aortic aneurysm. Baby Ross had his Glenn procedure at Stanford in July and Kira had her baseball-sized aneurysm removed on Sept. 5 at the same hospital. After surgery she had a massive stroke. She has recovered enough from her surgery to be moved to an acute rehabilitation facility here in Sacramento. She has a lot of work ahead of her to strengthen her right side and regain her speech.

Please keep Kira and her family in your prayers. I know that they would love it if you left them an encouraging message on Kira's blog.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Through the eyes of a child

Before I write the rest of this post, I wanted to tell you that Drew and I visited Ari today at the hospital and she is doing so much better! She was able to run around without her IV pole for a few hours today and the kids spent some time in the playroom together. The doctors are even saying that she might be discharged this week! Praise God!


So, the other day Ava was taking a nap (or so I thought) and I took the opportunity to check my email. While I was on the computer Drew picked up my camera and took a picture of me. I showed him what it looked like and he wanted to take another one. So I let him play with the camera, knowing I could delete whatever pictures he took. I was surprised at how much he enjoyed it! He was walking around the house taking pictures of all sorts of things! Here is an example of how he sees the world around him:

mom

dad working in his office

Ava's room where she is...

not sleeping!

Not a bloody glove, but Dan's golf glove

Drew's toes

the empty laundry basket

a balloon

the TV

one discarded sock (and the cute toes it used to cover)

Drew's shoes

the light, way up high

a family photo

and one of his dinosaurs!

And that is only a small sample of the pictures he took! I guess maybe I should get him one of those kids digital cameras for Christmas...

Monday, September 15, 2008

FTT and the AHA

Today while Drew was at preschool I took Ava to Fairy Tale Town with her little friends. We had a very fun morning exploring the park and saying hello to the animals. I even got my first picture of Ava and her friend Keilani BOTH looking at the camera and smiling! Aren't they so cute sitting on Cinderella's coach?!

I also took this sweet picture of Drew today for our Heart Walk fundraising webpage. The walk is this weekend, and yes I waited until the last minute to register and start asking for donations. But who could say no to this face?


If you can't, click here to support Drew and the American Heart Association! :)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Busy Weekend

I can't believe it's been an entire week since I've posted!

Our first full week back in preschool went well. Drew had his share day on Monday and shared a picture of his family. Tuesday was our first Mom Connection meeting and we had a yummy brunch and the kids had fun in their classrooms. Wednesday I joined the Community Bible Study that meets at Drew's preschool and also squeezed in my gravity gym class before it was time to pick him up. Thursday was enjoyable because we didn't have to get up and get ready to go somewhere quickly. We ended up going to the library for story time and checked out three dinosaur books. Friday was preschool for both kids while I ran four miles and had my class at the gym.

Then, Friday evening was our women's retreat for church. I was the MC. The weekend was a lot of fun and we focused on being Christ-like friends. I didn't get home from the retreat until late Saturday and then got up at 5:15 Sunday morning to run 10 miles for my training for the Cowtown half-marathon. The reason for the early morning was that I had to be done in time for our marriage class before church at 8:30. After church we had a carnival with lunch provided for everyone and bounce houses and waterslides for the kids. And after that I made a quick trip to the hospital to visit Ari, who is doing much better, thankfully.

Anyway, with all that going on I am exhausted! I am going to bed early so I can get up early and catch up with all the laundry and preparations for the week tomorrow. Here are a couple of photos from the weekend.

Drew at school on Friday

Ava at school on Friday

Ava eating watermelon at the church carnival

Drew doing the potato toss at the carnival

Ava and Abby

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Milestones


Drew came home from preschool on Friday with a black eye! Apparently they were playing a game where they were running back and forth and Drew collided with a little girl. His first shiner! It didn't seem to bother him too much and I'm just glad we didn't have pictures scheduled.

Drew also had his first homework assignment for preschool. He had to fill out and color a worksheet about him to bring back to school to share. He has always had a bit of a fine motor delay and I have been worrying about his writing abilities. Tonight he did such a fantastic job coloring in the numbers and I was so proud of him! I know that coloring is a step towards writing and he was working so hard at it. He even wanted to continue coloring in his dinosaur coloring book after his assignment was finished. He was very proud of himself!

I know that many kids color a lot earlier (Ava can color just about as well as Drew can), but I guess this is just another one of those things that is a little bit sweeter to me. He's had to work so hard and overcome so much and I am just one very proud mommy.

Concentrating on coloring

Look how proud he is!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

He Swims!

I meant to post this adorable video from Drew's last day of swim lessons before we left for our cruise, but I ran out of time. Here is Drew, who now knows how to swim all by himself! He's made such progress since we started swim lessons. I am so proud of him!

video
I love how he wiggles through the water!

Ava's first day of preschool on Friday went very well. I actually used my time to go to the gym. I forgot that I signed up for a gravity class on Wed & Fri and it goes for two more weeks. After that it's definitely pedicures on Fridays. When I went to pick Ava up I asked how she did. They said she did great. I asked if she got in trouble. They said no. I asked if she listened and they said yes. I asked if she was sassy, and they said well, yes. Apparently she wanted to paint but refused to put on the smock so she decided not to paint. That's my girl! She certainly has a mind of her own and she didn't want to wear that smock.

A couple of days ago Drew and I were at Costco and they were giving out samples of carrot juice. It sounded gross to me, but Drew wanted to try it. It was special purple carrot juice. Well, he loved it so much that I bought some (three bottles of it). And now they both love it! Here's the proof:


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

First Day of Preschool

Hooray!

It's time for preschool to start again!

This year Drew is going 3 days a week, and Ava will be going on Fridays. Yes, you heard me right, I will have three hours every Friday to be childless! I would like to think that I'll be getting pedicures and taking naps during my free time, but in reality I will probably be cleaning bathrooms and going to the grocery store. Oh well, it will be easier to do those things by myself too.

Here are the little munchkins this morning before Drew's first day of school, and Ava's preview day. For some reason the picture looks blurry.

Drew did fantastic today and went right back into his usual routine. He did not bat an eyelash when I left and didn't even seem to mind that he had new teachers and new friends in his class. He's been singing school songs ever since we got home.

Ava did well at her preview (moms stay for the preview day), but I find myself wondering if the teachers know what they are getting into with her. She can be very stubborn sometimes, as she has been demonstrating all afternoon. This girl is trying to slowly kill me! But I will not be broken! I am still the queen of this house! At least for now...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

We're Back!

We're back from our cruise and it was wonderful!

We had a great time eating, drinking, going to shows, going to dinner and sleeping through the night with no interruptions! We snorkeled, played bingo, laid in the sun, went down the big water slide, ate, made new friends, spent some time at the spa, did a little gambling, a lot of drinking, and even worked out together. Oh, and Dan won the genius contest, which should be no surprise to anyone who knows him. You'll have to ask him to show you his trophy.

I thought four days was the perfect amount of time on the boat. I don't know if I would have wanted to stay much longer than that. I even started to miss the kids. Although I wouldn't have wanted them on the cruise with us. Every time I saw a family with kids, I just thought to myself, "I'm glad I'm not doing that!" Although the kids were very excited to see us when we got home (and we were excited to see them too!), Ava quickly reminded us why we loved our vacation so much. She had a screaming tantrum at bedtime at Grandma's house and cried for about an hour of the seven-hour car ride home today. Vacation's over!

Practicing in case the ship went down!

Our cabin, complete with towel monkey

At the Captain's dinner

On the catamaran, the Elation is in the background

On the way back from Cabo, a little tipsy

New friends at our table for dinner