Wednesday, April 13, 2011


For those of you not up on toddler lingo, that's "To infinity and beyond!"  It's one of the top phrases to come out of E's mouth these days.  He's usually flying Buzz Lightyear around when he says it but there have also been several characters (not just Toy Story specific!) to take flight in this household.  :-)

Yes, saving those Burger King toys from the early 90's has finally proved useful!  He has carried Buzz and Woody, well, to infinity and beyond, it seems!  They go to church, the store, the bathroom (following me, of course)...everywhere that little boy goes, they go.  Poor Buzz is showing it.  His space suit is a little grayer these days.

We found a book at Lowe's the other day (yeah- Lowe's.  Who would have thunk it?) that had most of the Toy Story characters tucked away neatly in the back of it (small plastic ones).  It even came with a "play mat" (laminated poster of Andy's room).  Oh my goodness!  He has carried those tiny things around with him (some are too tiny to trust him with and have been put away) almost as much as his two big guys.  It's so cute to see him setting the toys up and talking to them (who knows what he's saying) until he jumps up with one (or two) in hand and yells, "FEE-BEYO!!" LOL.  Love it!

We are full into the "terrific twos." Hehehe..yeah.  He's such a strong-willed child!  He tempers that by being the sweetest, huggiest, "I love Mommy/Daddy-ist" little boy, though!  Because he and I spend most of our days together, I miss out on the greeting he gives to Dillon when he gets home ("HI Daddy!" and runs to Dillon to be swept up in his arms).  The other night, we had his aunt Misti come over and watch him while we went to dinner and ran some errands.  I was the first to walk thru the door and it was so cool!  I heard this, "HI Mommy!" and then he ran to me and hugged my legs (b/c I had my hands full).  Hugging my legs might have been sweeter than wanting me to pick him was the perfect little welcome that I needed.  I LOVE THAT BOY!

Bedtime.  Oh, how I long for you and loathe you. Most kids, I've heard, get to bed by 8pm and sleep until 8am.  Some, it's rumored, even have to be awakened by their parents to get going in the mornings.  Our kid didn't get that memo, apparently.  Yes, we did get a taste of the good life a few days after the time change.  But it was short-lived.  He was still going to bed at the same time, but he was waking up TWO hours later.  It was so freaky at first that we would end up going into his room to make sure things were ok (despite having a video monitor).  Most mornings, we found that he was already awake but just not calling out for us.  It was bizarre yet lovely.  Oh, and super-sweet, too.  One of us would go up (around 9am) and open his door and get a sweet, sleepy-faced two year old who was so happy to see us, he would simply say, "HI Mommy/Daddy!" and give us big hugs.  Happy.  HAPPY!  Where did this child disappear to in the past week?  It started with him waking up at 8:45 one morning.  The next, 8:30.  Dillon kept saying it wasn't going to last- that the sleeping in was a fluke.  I didn't want to believe it.  The next morning? 8:00.  NOOOOOOO.  Sigh.  Today? 7:10.  We're back to the way it used to be. He gets so distraught with having to go to bed. He says, "Night night, couch, Mommy," indicating he wants to sleep there with me.  I'd love nothing more to snuggle with my boy, but I want him to develop independent sleep habits.

We are going to be switching pediatricians soon, not because something happened, but because we live too far away from Dr. Myint's office.  Our current pediatrician (as in, the one we are switching to) is 5 minutes from our house.  Yeah.  With this kid, 5 minutes is GOOD!  He is already proving to be a boo-boo magnet (but is such a tough kid!) that I figure the next time a doctor is needed, it's going to be something like that and NOT heart-related or illness related.  It's good to have someone close by and the entire staff at that office is amazing.  We just need to convince E of that!! ;-)

Heart stuff.  Well, that's going well, as far as we can tell :-).  We see Dr. Thomas in June. It's been almost a year since we've had his heart checked on.  I can't believe we made it that far!!  WOW!  Please pray that things will be hunky dory and that Ethan will do well for the EKG and echocardiogram.  Neither are painful but both require him to be still (and not cry too much).  Yeah.  I just hope it's never bad enough where he has to be sedated.  He already wigs out just when we want to weigh him.

We are trying to get him out and about as much as possible.  I know that his mind is like a sponge and I want him to learn, learn, learn!!!  We wanted to take him to see Thomas the Train when he was in Grapevine a couple of weekends ago but it happened to be the same weekend as our heart walk (to raise $$ for CHD research) and we were too pooped.  I felt bad but then realized that he'll never know what he missed out on.  Still, I wanted to "make it up" to him, so we (me, Dillon, and Dillon's dad) took him to the aquarium in Fair Park this past Sunday.  We rode the "train (DART rail)" and he thought that was pretty cool (sans all the stops).  He was ready to get off each time the train would stop (and you don't realize just how many stops it makes until you ride with a 2 year old!).  Once at the aquarium, it was hard to keep him contained.  Our way of looking at the fish was definitely not his way.  At all.  One would think you'd start at the first tank and methodically make your way around.  Well, this kid was like a pinball and he wore his daddy out!!

There were two really cool experiences we had while at the aquarium: seeing an octopus and petting stingrays.  Yes, we saw sharks and albino alligators and teeny, tiny seahorses but the two things that really stood out was the creepy, red octopus and the velvety-soft stingrays.  They have this exhibit next to the octopus/starfish tank that has rubber octopus tentacles hanging out so the kids (or adults!) can feel of them and pose for pictures, etc.  Well, Ethan wasn't too sure about them until Daddy and I got them and pretended that we were gonna get him (tickling).  After that, he was grabbing and pulling and swinging them around, happy as a clam.  We saw the tank nearby and a little flash of red, so we squatted down to investigate (actually, I think E had pointed out the starfish).  Well, here swooped/swished the biggest, creepiest octopus EVER!  It was so neat to watch it move across the glass and make itself pretty much invisible in the darkness of the rocks.  Even though the glass was made where you could really lean into it, Ethan chose to keep his distance.  The stingrays were VERY cool.  I admit, I was a bit freaked at first.  They'll swim right up to you as long as you keep your hand still.  One of the workers told me make a fist and a hoard of them flocked to it (kind of freaking me out).  She said it makes them think I have food.  Thanks, lady!  I don't want to be taunting the very species which was the death of one Steve Irwin, the craziest crocodile hunter to ever grace this earth!  But, seriously, we were assured that these guys were harmless.  Ethan was content to play in the water (he'd get them out quickly if he was paying attention to the stingrays swimming up to check him out) and we kept warning him not to splash.  He delighted in the fact that I fed the stingrays a little fish and a piece of shrimp.  I think he was more mesmerized by the dead minnow in my hand than the creatures swimming around him.  He did end up touching one.  He left his hand in the water and was listening to something his Grampy was telling him and one came up and brushed against his fingers.  He jumped!  It was cute!  All-in-all, it was a great way to spend a Sunday.

Well, blogger friends, I have written a novel.  I need to update more so I don't have so much to say.  Yeah, right.  I always have a lot to say!!!

UPDATE on Annabelle.  She got her new heart this week!!!  Please pray for her as her body adjusts to living with a WHOLE HEART instead of half of one (she had HLHS) and for the family whose baby gave her life by losing his/her own.

NATHAN is home and doing well!  He needs prayers for gaining weight, fluid balance, and being able to wean from his vent settings (trach).  I know there's something I'm forgetting..

Please pray for all the heart babies- not just at Medical City, but around the world.

Thanks for hanging in there.  I promise to do better.


Friday, March 11, 2011



Wow.  Our little charmer is growing up so fast!  I can't believe some of the things he says and does these days!  One thing we are having issues with is him sneaking upstairs to the playroom (while we are downstairs- distracted- like good parents ;0)).  I'll usually either hear him stomping around on the landing between the two flights of stairs or hear his train going after he's successfully made it to the top.  I've reminded him that he needs to ask first so we can watch him go up the stairs and make sure he doesn't fall and get boo boos.  His prompt response is "sawwy" in the uber-most pitiful and repentant voice ever.  He'll come give a hug and a kiss and then he's all happy again as he hops away to play.  If caught in the act before too many stairs are climbed, he'll come over, say "Hop up" and reach up for one of us to scoop him up.  Then, he promptly gives a kiss and a hug and then another kiss for the cherry on top and says, "Peeeeease!"  Ok.  What CAN'T we give him after that cuteness???

I try to jot some of the above examples of sweetness and hilarity into my notes on my phone, just because I want to remember the tiniest thing from when he was little.  I mean, I was just thinking today about how it's so very hard to remember what it was like when he was a baby.  These thoughts came to mind as I was staring at the back of his cute little boy head while he napped, snuggled against me, on the couch this afternoon.  As I lightly played with his hair, I thought, "Where did this little kid come from and what happened to my baby?"  It was then that I realized just how hard it could be to recall things from the past 2 years.  Such a short span of time!  What will it be like when he's 10? 20? 30? How in the world will I be able to cling to all these precious memories?!?!  It saddens my heart- though each day there is something new that makes me smile or warms my heart.  It seems like for every new memory, 10 are wiped out!  Maybe it's me and my "hard drive." LOL.  I'm old.  This is why we blog....and why I need to blog more!!  Argh!!

Right now, I have three pictures of my little man staring back at me as they are propped up on the front of my computer.  Ethan is probably 4 or 5 months old in them.  Looking at the pictures, I remember where we were and sort of what we did that day but, beyond that, it's hard to remember Ethan actually BEING 5 months old!  One picture is of my dad holding him.  Those photo ops didn't happen often as, each time we'd get back for a visit, his mind and body would be slipping more and more away.  It went from me being a little nervous about him holding our little squirmy worm to him not being able to hold him at all b/c he didn't have the strength.  The pic standing before me just now is so special, but it's hard to remember that there ever was a day where Dad COULD hold him and interact. Man, I'm thankful for pictures!!!!  I can't wait to show Ethan tomorrow and hear him say, "PaPAW!" in the super-excited way he exclaims things he's discovered or notices.  LOVE it!

I haven't blogged since my dad died, have I?  Oh.'s been a while, huh?

I kind of thought he would live for a lot longer.  I know things were looking kind of grim, but he's one of the toughest cookies I've ever known and VERY stubborn (I had to get it from somewhere, right??).  I just knew he'd tough it out another 5-10 years just to prove people wrong.  Ah, but his heart was with my mom who left us in 2003 and, well...once your heart goes, your body is soon to follow.

Dad passed away on January 25, 2011 at 6:25pm.  He had been batting urinary tract infections and had just been released from the hospital a couple of days before.  It happened so quickly- questionable behavior around 12:30 that afternoon and then an ambulance ride to the ER.  His lungs were filling with fluid.  His body was shutting down.   It happened quickly.  It happened peacefully.  I wish I could have gotten there in time.  I had gotten word he was in the ER and that I should start thinking about coming home sooner (we had planned a trip for later in February).  As things declined, we hurried to pack up the car (planning to drive through the night) but dear old Dad just couldn't wait any longer.  I'm 100% ok with that.  He needed the rest and release.  I just hate it that he never got to hear Ethan say his name.  We drove through the night, anyway, just so we could get there.  It seemed like the thing to do.

Ok.  What else is going on around here?  Ethan knows most of the alphabet.  He absolutely loves reading letters and will find them EVERYWHERE! He gets SOOO excited!  It's so funny.  It seemed like he wasn't ever going to get it.  We've had his Alphabet Train since before he turned 1 and I used to sit in the floor and call out the letters on each block as we stacked them.  Well, he wouldn't even slow down long enough to care and just delighted in destroying my stacks! It got to where if I thought about it, I would point out letters here and there.  It really helps that he watches shows like "Word World" and "Super Why."  I guess there's just something about a cartoon character that makes learning a lot more fun than listening to Mom. ;-) My thing is, he knows the letters in their capital form.  How in the world do you teach them lower case letters?  He sees lower case b's and d's and calls them "P!"  ;-)

From a health standpoint, he seems to be doing great.  He's still a grazer as far as eating goes, but he will pack away the strawberries and eggs if given the chance.  He's not as big a veggie eater as he used to be (why does that happen??) but I'm just glad he eats!  He burns it off as fast as he takes it in, though!  We go back to see Dr. Thomas in June.  Yes, June.  It's been FOREVER since we've gotten a peek inside that little ticker and we are fighting the urge to see if we can move his appointment up!  The ol anxiety is starting to creep up.  I mean, he looks and acts GREAT but he was looking and acting great the day they found the scar tissue in his pulmonary artery and told us he'd need surgery.  Ah, the woes of a heart parent!  Man, though!  After meeting so many heart families in the past two years, we consider ourselves very fortunate that this is all we are worried about.  So many babies and kids have such uphill battles to face and some, sadly, have lost.  You rejoice with the milestones but grieve (hard) for the losses.  It hurts.  It takes a big toll.  Sometimes, I wish I'd never heard of CHDs.

Well, I think I've written enough for a month's worth of blog posts in just this one so I had better go.

Heart hugs and prayers for our friends:  Nathan (hopefully going home soon after spending his first 9 months of life in the hospital), Bowen (recovering from his 2nd open heart surgery and doing great!), Garon (Tetralogy of Fallot- having a tough time), Kyle (post-Glenn and trach), Thomas (upcoming surgery), Caiden (upcoming surgery) and Annabelle (awaiting her sparkly new heart).  If I have left someone out, I apologize.  We pray for these little ones daily.

If you're in the Dallas area, come walk with us April 2nd as we work to raise funds and awareness for CHDs!  It's $20 to walk (per adult).  If you can't walk, give :0):  Our team name is Heart Budz.

Much love,


Thursday, January 13, 2011

From my heart to yours..

The writing bug always seems to nip at me in the wee hours of the morning.  It would be fine if I didn't have a sweet little boy who knows nothing of the term "sleeping in." This post may not be what it would have been, had I let the urge to write overtake me...but, we'll see.

I know I've only posted a couple of times here about congenital heart defects.  I guess the main reason is that I do a lot of updating on Facebook.  Not about us, mind you- Ethan is doing just fine and there shouldn't be anything to report until we see Dr. Thomas in the summer (and that is a routine check up)- but because we're now part of a "family." I like to keep everyone in the know about "our" heart babies and kiddos.

It boggles my mind, even though I know the statistic "1 in 100," but it's crazy how many people we know now who have children with CHDs.  You really don't realize just how far "into" it all you've gotten until you feel like shouting from the rooftops at the slightest bit of good news.  Seriously.  This happened to me just this week.  I follow lots of little ones' stories on Facebook, Twitter, and through friends of our support group.  There have been so many highs and lows and, sadly, a few losses.  It seems like, lately, there was bad news after bad news (but only after GOOD news- that's where it gets ya.  You finally see some light at the end of the tunnel and then someone reverses the tracks and you're sent careening somewhere entirely different for a while!).  Well, after this, at least two families I know of got some really good news on their kiddos' status and that was enough to send me over the moon!  Actually, make that three.  A precious little boy was born, feared to have HLHS and it ended up he had an obstruction in his aorta (of the three outcomes the doctors prognosticated, this was the least invasive to repair).  He had his surgery yesterday and is doing quite well.  His parents literally witnessed a miracle in their son.  I can't fathom the joy they must have felt- but I also know the fear of letting your baby go into the arms of the waiting anesthesiologist to take him to the OR to have his little heart operated on.  What a roller coaster.  Join with me in praying that their ride stays smooth and they are able to get home very soon.

I'm not sure where this blogsite is going to go.  I don't know if I should keep it "random" or if I should just dedicate it to "heart stuff."  My life IS pretty random, but the "heart stuff" will always be part of it.  I guess we'll just have to wait and see, huh?

By the way, speaking of "heart stuff," Congenital Heart Defect Awareness week is coming up!  Please be thinking of how you can give back to those who save tiny (and big) hearts. I have some ideas so, if you are needing help, look to this blog or shoot me an email or something.  Our support group (Amazing Little Hearts) has some activities planned for those of you in the DFW area (including a blood drive!!  GIVE BLOOD!) and I'm hoping to get something going with our very favorite pizza joint here in McKinney (as far as a fund-raiser goes).

Our friend, Matt Hammitt of Sanctus Real, has just completed a cool project filled with songs inspired by his family's CHD journey with their little heart warrior, Bowen.  I'm so excited about this!  I'm not sure when everything will be ready for release, but you can bet your sweet bippy I'll be blasting the news all over the Internet when I find out.  His little boy is gearing up for his 2nd open heart surgery in March.  Please check out Bowen's progress here.  You can find out more about the band at

Prayer requests:
Baby Annabelle- she will probably be listing for a heart transplant soon.  This isn't the path they expected to travel down, but they are doing what they can to adjust and prepare.
Baby Nathan- what a tough little dude! He's trying so very hard to get out of the hospital before he has to have his 2nd open heart surgery (the Glenn).  Things just keep cropping up to keep him there.  Pray that he can get outta dodge soon!
Baby Caiden- miracle boy! Pray his recovery from his OHS yesterday is speedy and smooth
Baby Garon, who just turned 1 year old along with his twin, Aaron (BOTH boys have Tetralogy of Fallot)- pray that this little man can grow strong and get home to be with his brother.  He's had lots of ups and downs lately.
Baby Bowen- his Glenn surgery is March 2.  Pray that his blood sugar levels stay stable and he stays nice and strong and healthy between now and then.
Baby Hudson- had his Glenn today
Dylan- had his Fontan today.
Dr. Mendeloff- he is the surgeon making all these hearts whole (except for Bowen and Annabelle, who live out of state :-)).

Know that there are so many I haven't mentioned here- the pediatric cardiac unit is at capacity as we speak.  Pray for these little ones and their families.

Thank you!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Because I'm up way past my bedtime but wanted to update this..

I'm copy/pasting what I just wrote on Ethan's CaringBridge page :-)

I can't believe 2010 is coming to a close already!  It's been a great year for our family, despite my father's declining health/battle with dementia.  If you think about it, please pray for him and those back in Alabama who are caring for him.  I miss the "good ol days" when the worst thing that happened was a lost set of teeth.  At this point, he's not able to get up out of a chair by himself.  

Wow.  Sorry for starting off with such a sad paragraph there!  It's just that, I was reflecting on "our" year (as far as Ethan's heart health) and kind of looked past all the issues with Dad.  I didn't want to leave it at "It's been a great year..." without including him b/c, while it's been a good year out here in TX, it's been kind of bad at times back home.


We have had a big December!  Ethan turned two, as you know, and we closed on a new (to us) home in the great city of McKinney.  Since he's two, we could have gifted him the stairs in our home for Christmas AND his birthday, because he sure does love tromping up them and scooting (on belly or bottom) back down!  Santa who?  No, we couldn't do that!  While we didn't get a great photo-op with Santa (the two pics we have, I'm practically in Santa's lap with Ethan clinging to me for dear life!), I tried explaining the wonderment of belief in preparation for next year and E did score some great loot from the jolly fellow clad in red.  Next year should be a hoot!!

We had our annual Amazing Little Hearts holiday party on the 11th (the day after movers came and moved most of our stuff from our old house to the new, leaving my inlaws to figure out the rest- bless them!) and it was great, as always.  It was really neat to see "new" families with their babies OUTSIDE the hospital- it's hard to believe Ethan was ever that small!  It's also great to be able to see Dr. Mendeloff and Dr. Thomas in a more relaxed setting.  Dr. M is still on level with Santa as far as popularity!  There is always a long line to say thanks, share a hug,  or snap a quick photo.  We love our doctors!

Christmas Day, we joined the rest of our ALH families who could make it and took food to the Congenital Heart Surgery Unit at Medical City for staff and families to partake.  What a hit!  I have never seen so much food, and so much variety!  We had traditional dressing and the normal veggies, ham and rolls, TAMALES (homemade!), HUMMUS, stuffed grape leaves, various salads and yummy desserts.  We ate well and the nurses and staff were shocked at the spread we left for them.  Our families are awesome!  It's great to give back, especially after you've spent your baby's first Christmas (and New Year's) in the hospital.  

One thing we can be thankful for through all of this (and all the ups and downs and losses I've seen in the lives of families around me, whether in person or via the Internet) is that we don't take anything for granted with Ethan.  Sure, he tries our patience and sure we get onto him for different things but, we love that little boy more than anything on this earth and we know how special he is and how lucky we are to have him with us.  He is definitely a firecracker but tempers that with amazing charm and sweetness.  One of my favorite things he does lately happens at bedtime.  Dillon and I have a routine where we both help get him changed and his teeth brushed and we both take him to his bed and let him "jump" in (after we've had our hugs and kisses).  We then say our prayers and tell him good night.  Used to, that would be enough and it's finally OUR time to just do whatever.  For a while now, he's been calling out for us, usually with a "Yayayayayaya!"  It is comical to make him wait and see what other forms of "Yayayayaya!" he comes up with.  Every once in a while, he'll throw in a "MAMA!" or "DADA!" but it's mostly, "Yayayaya! Ya ya!  Yayayayayaya!"  Anyway, one of us will go in and he'll immediately lay down, expecting to be covered up and then we leave again.  Now, when I go in there, he'll wave his hand towards the ground (asking me to sit in front of his bed), stretch out his little arm and say, "Hand," wanting me to reach thru the slats and hold his.  This means I'm going to be at least 5-15 minutes in the hole on my "me" time but do you think I sternly say no and tell him to go to sleep?  No way!  I know these days are short and I love the feeling of his little fingers wrapped around my index finger (and sometimes my thumb if he's really ambitious and gets me with both his hands!).  

I sit in front of his crib, stroking his little knuckles with my thumb and try and remember what it was like when those little fingers only took up 1/4 to 1/2 of my finger.  Where has the time gone?  My baby boy is becoming more of a big boy every day and it pierces my heart yet warms it at the same time.  I love him with every fiber of my being and promise him every night, during the sweet time when he clings to my finger for all it's worth, that I'll not take a minute of our time together for granted, all the while asking God to help me be the mom that Ethan deserves.  I pray for Dillon and me.  I pray for our family.  Sometimes, I sing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" or make up some other song that when I'm done, I wish that I could remember the words.  I know these moments won't last forever.

Thank you for taking the time to stop by and read this.  Thank you for joining with me in praying for families with heart babies/kiddos and those others who have kids who are facing serious health issues.  Ben Clough and Bayleigh Phillips come to mind, as well as those who just spent their first Christmas without loved ones or lost loved ones (even yesterday- rest in peace, Susie).  May 2011 bring you many blessings and that you will take the time to stop and appreciate life and the good AND bad around you for it's through the bad we learn to savor the good.  God loves you.  He has a plan for you in all this crazy madness.  

Happy New Year!

Amy, Dillon and Ethan 

Tuesday, December 07, 2010


Recently, I received a neat little gadget to test out and review.  It’s called the LifeDiscipler (  Some of you may have seen it in the most recent Family Christian Stores catalog but for those of you who have never heard of it, rest easy.  It’s the new kid on the block in the land of electronic Bible gadgets.
The LifeDiscipler looks like a small mp3 player.  In fact, the “main button” underneath the screen resembles the wheel of a certain “fruity” mp3 player some of you probably own.  It’s not quite as advanced, but it gets the job done and lends some familiarity and intuitiveness.
One thing I noticed right away (and the developer pointed it out in the letter he enclosed with the product) is that the LCD screen isn’t backlit.  This saves the consumer quite a bit of money in the long run but, for this iPhone addict, it was hard to adjust to.  I have a Bible app on my phone that I use a lot and I also read books via several other apps.  The fact that I’m used to such a larger (brighter) screen kind of was a handicap to getting used to the LifeDiscipler.  However, the makers weren’t thinking of only the techies when they developed the product.  They have strived to make it as accessible as possible and as affordable as possible.  Just know that you will need to be in a well-lit area to properly view the screen.  Also, if you want to share (have someone look on with you), you’ll be better off just passing it back and forth.
All this talk and I haven’t really told you what the LifeDiscipler does!  Well, it’s kind of like a concordance with a few more bells and whistles.  Turn the gadget on (easy to find on/off switch on the back) and after the logo appears, the main menu greets you.  Without reading the instructions, I was able to navigate the menu items without too much difficulty.  It took a quick glance to see what the difference between “search” and “subject” was (both bring up the topical list from A-Z but when you click on “subject” to access the list, you can actually have the device send you verses on your topic in 15, 30, or 60 minute intervals.  Find a verse you really like?  There’s an option to add it to your favorites.  Needing to hide His word in your heart?  Scroll to the bottom of the verse (the same place where you’ll find the “favorites” option) and click “memorize.”  It files each verse away for you!  There are 44 different life subjects with more than 1500 verses.  One downside that could be a potential hang-up for some is the fact that there is no one translation that the LifeDiscipler uses.  Each verse is from a different version of the Bible.  There is no way to edit this. Versions I have come across are:  TNIV, NIV, NLT, NKJV, NCV.  Again, not a major flaw- but to each his own.  
The MSRP on the LifeDiscipler is $29.99.  If you enter the coupon code “GROW20,” you will receive 20% off!  This code is good through December 30, 2010.
For me, I still like the feel of the pages of my Bible turning in my hand. When I need to find a verse while on the go, I’ll probably use my iPhone.  BUT this is a nifty little tool- especially for times when you would like to pass the time productively (while in a waiting room, on a coffee break, etc) and if you don’t already own a smartphone (or would rather chunk it out the window than spend another second with it!).  If you just read that last sentence and agree with me, “Anger” is the third choice down on the “search” menu! ;0)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Homeless for the Holidays

The nice people of BuzzPlant sent a DVD for me to review recently.  It's called "Homeless for the Holidays" and we finally got to watch it tonight.  In case you have an itchy clicker-finger, here is the movie's website:

It seems like finding a good family-friendly movie isn't as difficult to find anymore and, for that, I am grateful.  I am thankful that there are people who make sacrifices so that we can gather around the television without having to worry about covering little eyes and ears.  "Homeless for the Holidays," while having some "cheesy" moments, doesn't fail to deliver in this aspect.  The movie actually is approved by the Dove Foundation and I have to agree with their assessment.  It's so refreshing to sit down and enjoy a show without any awkward moments.  In fact, the only time I squirmed in my seat was when I tried to put myself in the lead character's and his family's shoes.  Without giving anything away, this film has a great storyline and will make you think about your own life.

Cheesy?  Yes- there are some parts that I hate to use that word to describe, but there is really only one scene that I think the movie could have done without and maybe the final cut won't have it (grocery store).  As far as the "faith-based" part- none of that was cheesy at all.  :-)  Nothing was cut-and-dried or storybook- some things you think might happen won't.  I like that it wasn't too predictable.

One of the best parts about this movie is that it's based on a true story.  When you walk away from it, you won't be thinking, "Yeah, right!  Like that would EVER happen!"  Well, I hope that, regarding the things that play out in the ending, that these things never will STOP happening and that we will all strive to be like the Baker family.

If you get bogged down in the middle, please hang on and bear with the film.  You won't be sorry.  Ah, and watch the credits for some pretty funny outtakes!

I know this was done on a very small budget and I applaud the producers and actors and everyone involved.  I'm very thankful for a film that makes my family think and reminds us what the Reason for the Season is all about.  I hope that, as people view this movie, they will focus on the story and not so much the smaller details.

If any of you are interested, you can buy "Homeless for the Holidays" on DVD in select Christian bookstores as well as the website mentioned above.  Here is the link again:  In fact, I just saw it advertised in our Family Christian Stores circular :-).

Happy viewing and Happy Thanksgiving!!


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Heart strings yanked on, once again!

Ok.  I am full of restless energy tonight and I thought I would take it out on you guys.  Yes, all three of you!  ;-)  I don't even know who reads my entries but, you are in for a humdinger tonight!!  Maybe.

So, this "heart world" sure can take you for a ride.  One minute, you are celebrating a victory and the next, you're trying to figure out what hit you b/c things change like *snaps* that.

Rest easy- Ethan is 100% A-ok.  He is presently snoozing on the futon.  YES, the futon (in his room).  He has decided his crib is meant for WWF type moves and not for sleeping!  I don't have to worry about him falling off the futon b/c it slopes toward the back so he's as snug as a bug in a rug.  I love that kid so much. I got to spend all day with him (We were out all afternoon, just he and I and then Dillon is not feeling well, so once he got home from work, Ethan and I had more adventures on our own) and it was so much fun just watching him.  We went to Chick-fil-a and after getting a few pieces of chicken and fruit into him, we headed into the play area.  There were some older kids  in there (the eldest being 6) and he had a BLAST! Someone was looking at our house today, so we had to be out for 2 hours.  Usually, on days like this, we end up at good ol CFA (I'm surprised they don't have a booth named after us) and that means plenty of playmates for Ethan.  We actually met a little boy who is a day younger than him!  He was a firecracker and loved doing what the big boys were doing.  I'm kinda thankful Ethan is a bit more reserved (now, if he were alone, he would have been jumping all over the place).  I was a tad nervous that someone was going to get hurt, but they all did well.  After that, we took a break to "eat more chikin" and then more playing.  This time, his playmates were little girls.  He LOVES little girls!  I rested a bit easier b/c they weren't anywhere near as wild as those boys were!  He had a great time.  He had such a good time that he fell asleep while we were shopping at Target!  Yup.  Leaned right over on the handlebar of the shopping cart and nodded right off into dreamland.  Poor kid!  Once we got home, though, it was full-speed ahead and we played outside the rest of the afternoon.

Ok- back to what spurred me to write.  I just wanted to make sure you guys knew Ethan was good.

"My" heart babies.  They are mine because I pray for them, think about them, worry about them, weep for them, get excited when I see their pictures and want to buy stuff for them, just like a mom.  Of course, I have NO WAY of knowing exactly what their mommies and daddies are going through, so don't get me wrong there!  I just want you to realize how much I love these precious ones.  Yes, even ones I have not met.  I rejoice when things go well and cry and rail when they do not.  Today hasn't been a day of rejoicing for at least two of "my" kiddos.

Little Bowen had been doing pretty well, heart-wise but just hasn't been able to have a good, steady blood sugar reading.  His is waaaaay too low.  Doctors are trying to figure out the cause and have even mentioned possibly transferring him to another hospital, which sent his parents reeling b/c they never imagined being in the hospital for as long as they have.  Something I have realized is that, even though the "heart stuff" works itself out (for the most part), something else seems to crop up whether it's feeding issues or something else.  It kind of waylays you (is that the proper spelling?).  I know that Matt and Sarah are missing their daughters a lot and don't want to spend more time away from them than they have to.  They had asked for prayers to that end and then today, Bowen started having seizures :-(.  At the time Matt updated, he was acting normal but they think he could have had a stroke.  I did some reading about hypoglycemia in infants and saw that seizures and other issues are part of the "side effects."  Oh please, won't you pray with me that this was a one-time thing and that there are no lingering effects from what happened today?  Pray that the doctors will figure out why his blood sugar is so low and find a remedy for it.  Pray that Matt and Sarah will feel the peace that passes all understanding and that they would feel God holding them close.

Nathan has been doing fairly well.  He continued to battle fluid build up and some other things (had to have a couple heart caths and a stent placed) but was able to feed from a bottle nipple a few times (even drank 40ccs of formula out of one!  That is half of one of his feeds!!! Otherwise, he gets his nutrition via his g-button)  Well, he was grouchy and fussy the past couple of days and ended up needing a blood transfusion today.  He also had a bit more fluid than they'd like so they gave him an extra dose of IV diuretics.  The IV is something he needs to get off of in order to go home, as well as learn to breathe using the home vent (different settings than the hospital vent).  He was able to practice 4 hours yesterday but tuckered out.  Because of how rough he had it today, they didn't want to push him.  Please pray that things go back on the upswing for him.  He's been in the hospital every day of his 4 months of life. He also has only had one of the three stages of surgery to restructure his heart (both he and Bowen were born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome), and the 2nd stage usually happens around 6 months of age.  His parents would like to have him home for a little bit prior to that, if possible.

UPSWING ALERT!  Greta has been having a great couple of days!!  If you recall (I think I wrote about it), she was having a terrible time, post-Fontan, with fluid issues.  I mean, they were pulling up to 600cc's of fluid off her little body!  She had a couple of procedures (and heart caths) and something finally worked!  She's starting to eat again and has no chest tubes and even removed her oxygen (yes, SHE removed it) last night.  Her sats stayed where they need to be, so she's officially tube-free!  They are hoping she gets to go home in the next couple of days.  That would be WONDERFUL!!

So, after writing all that, I don't feel as jittery as I did when I started.  I just feel like shouting from the rooftops for everyone to stop what they are doing and pray for these babies.  1 in 100 babies is born with a heart defect.  It's estimated that 9 die per day.  NINE babies.  Every day.  I just think about this and it slays me.  One thing that has been plaguing me lately is this. Think about your child being born- maybe he/she was diagnosed prior to, maybe not- and then going through surgery and fighting through so many things and then not making it.  How in the world do these parents cope?  I know two very strong women who experienced this recently.  I'm not sure I'll ever be brave enough to ask.  I mean, it ripped my heart inside out when we found out about Ethan- both for his first surgery and his second.  His second was so hard for us b/c he was 4 months old and we'd really bonded with him.  We were terrified of losing him.  Praise God that it wasn't his time and he made it through everything and is still with us.  I am praying the same for the babies mentioned above.  There are also several others that I've "met" via prayer requests online, whether it be Facebook, a blog or Twitter.  Annabelle is having her Glenn procedure tomorrow morning.   Another little one, Logan, is being transferred to another hospital to undergo a procedure soon, as his heart isn't in good shape right now.

Please pray for these and for the others out there yet to be diagnosed.

Thank you!!!