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Thursday, February 23, 2017


Today was Holly's yearly routine cardiologist appointment.
As a refresher, Holly has two Congenital Heart Defects.  The first being a PDA - in simple terms, a hole in a baby's heart that is supposed to naturally close after birth but does not.
Although Holly's PDA was not life-threatening, it was determined that she needed to undergo a procedure to help close the gap.  Typically, inserting a small coil device via heart cath would be sufficient, but in Holly's case, the hole was on the larger side and a plug was needed.
The second heart defect is Pulmonary Valve Stenosis - a narrowing of the pulmonary valve which carries blood from the heart to the lungs.  To fix this problem, a balloon is inserted (via heart cath) into the pulmonary artery/valve to stretch out the valve to a more appropriate size.
Both procedures were done in August 2014.  The PDA has completely healed itself now and her body has become one with the plug.  The routine visits are for the stenosis issue, to be sure as her heart grows that the valve grows with it.
That brings us to today.
At the hospital, the first stop was, of course, the bathroom.  And, of course, Holly asked where we were.  Tears were instant the moment I said 'Doctors.'  

She was so mad she refused to talk, look, or sit by me in the waiting room. 
Until I busted out the IPad and started watching her videos. 

I did not get any pictures of the next part as this child was clinging to my hands every moment, but I am happy to report that Holly did allow the nurse to take her blood pressure, oxygen level, get her height, and her weight!  That is quite the improvement!!  It was not without tears and wailing, but she did it!!  AND she scored herself a new kitty for it too! 

But she was still mad at me. 

Until she got bored. 

The doctor came in to do his part of listening for the murmur and sending us on our way for our yearly ECHO.  And you might have guessed, more tears ensued.  BUT BUT BUT!!  She got to watch Doc McStuffins!


With the exam and ECHO over, all we had to do was wait for the results.  This was very happy making - for both of us. 

Holly's valve gradient (which is the severity of the narrowing) last year was a 15 on a scale of 60.  A 'mild' case.  No biggie. 

Today's gradient has her at a 20 now.  A 'mild plus' case.

What does that mean? 
Nothing.  For another year.  If we go back next year and her numbers remain the same, it is more of nothing for another year.  But if we go back and her gradient is even higher, there is the possibility of having another balloon valvuloplasty in the future.  The overall point is - she's fine, she'll be okay, nothing we have to watch for.

But every now and then if you can remember to send up a prayer for her, that would be most appreciated. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

On the ball

There were a lot of factors that went in to deciding to leave my job to be a full time stay at home mom. The pros far outweighed the cons and thus the outcome.  But there was one little pro that I did not put on the list, a little something that will make you (as well as myself) laugh the moment it is spoken.
"I will have time to get so organized and be on the ball and get all my pictures in order for the kids' albums and I'll write on the back of each picture and graduation will be easy peasy!" 
Funny statement, huh? 
Although I know this state of organizational bliss will never be reached, I still have to attempt to take baby steps towards it, right?
When Bree entered preschool, I found these 12x12 scrapbooks. 

I bought one for Bree and Jake with the intentions of keeping simple scrapbooks of their school pictures.  On each page I insert a 5x7 portrait and their class composite.

Or if need be, the 5x7 goes on the front page...

...and the class composite goes on the back.

Still very simple.  But then explain to me why I have had to search high and low, in every tote, drawer, cupboard, closet and beyond to try to find these kid's school pictures?!  How have I managed to not keep this once a year, one picture, 5 minutes of my time scrapbook up to date?? 
To top it off and frustrate this momma's heart, I cannot find a 5x7 of Jacob's second year of preschool.  At first, I could not find any picture, not even the class composite.  But after much digging and disturbing of dusty areas, I found a wallet picture!!  And then, lo and behold, I found the class composite!
 It will just have to do.  I'm sure as I'm getting organized (wink wink), I'll run across the 5x7 and fix his book.  To be sure this mishap does not happen to Holly, I promptly ordered her matching scrapbook, purchased the school themed papers, and have her school picture and class composite stacked together, ready to go in.... the moment the scrapbook arrives.

Look at me.  I am so on the ball.  Until next year.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The End

We have reached the end of Jacob's first wrestling season.
Two practices a week (which also means two extra baths a week) since November are over.  Archbold tournament and Wauseon tournament are in the books.  The last hurdle to round it out is the Patrick Henry Tournament.
Jacob stretched, flipped, cartwheeled, ran and crawled to warm up.

Then it was time for the 6 year old bracket to start.
My heart took a little plunge when Jacob walked out to his mat with his opponent behind him.  This six year old was ripped, stacked, built.  Whatever you want to call it, this kid was a tried and true wrestler and it didn't take long to out power Jacob.  

Jake doesn't show much emotion after his matches.  Whether he wins or loses, he's pretty stoic.  But a slight altercation with his sister in the stands moved him to tears.  Losing that match really bothered him.  Break. My. Heart.

I was highly nauseous and anxious and emotional when Jacob's age group came up again.  How do sports moms handle this season after season after season?

The skill level for this match was more on even playing fields.  Jacob fought hard.  He did not get pinned.  But he still lost with a final score of 13 - 7.
Oh, Jacob, I am so proud of you.  Wrestling is hard.  There is no team to back you up.  Out there on the mat you are alone, fighting for the win. That takes courage and confidence that not everyone possesses.  I hope that you hold onto and remember that from this day forward.  No matter what circumstance you get into, you have the strength to get out of it.  I believe in you.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Countdown Begins

Call us crazy but...
We are not the vacationing type of people. 
Yes, we like to go on vacations but with camping all summer and doing weekend trips to the surrounding areas in the fall, winter, and spring, there isn't a need to do annual vacations in our life.
If it has been 5 years since your last trip to the Outer Banks, its time to go back.  And if you happen to have a sister who goes yearly and you get your family on her waiting list for their 2018 trip, then its time to start saving! 

And if one of your kids was 4 inches too short and the other 2 inches too short to ride rides at Disney, then you can logically deduce that waiting three years should give them enough time to grow to appropriate heights thus meaning.... its time to start saving!
That is two pretty huge vacations back to back and will require a lot of saving over the next year. 
 And it may seem weird to start saving for something 1.5-2 years in advance.  Or maybe its not the norm thing to do these days but life is ever changing and the days and weeks seem to fly by.   As was the case with our first Disney trip, if it cannot be paid for in cash - for either vacation, we will not be going.  Period.
 Let the saving begin!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Monster Jam

Surprises are the best, don't you think?  Just sit back, relax, and be wowed at the work and effort of someone else.  Kids, on the other hand, have 1,001 questions and never give up until they can guess correctly.  Such was the case on this day.
The kids were given outfits to wear, told firmly to put them on "No questions asked", loaded into the van, and then hit the road. 
First stop on the surprise outing was Pizza Papalis!
Spaghetti and meatballs for the children.

A salad for my little weirdo.
Loaded tater tots for the whole family.

And a super yummy pepperoni, Italian sausage, and feta cheese cheese pizza for us grownups.

Then it was onto the Huntington Center where Bree was wise enough to know that the Walleyes play there.  However, there was much confusion when the ice was all covered in dirt and there were monster trucks sitting there. 

It didn't take Jake long to figure out that the trucks were going to jump over the hill in the middle. 
We were at none other than

The one and only thing every single person warned us about is how loud Monster Jam can be so we came prepared.  I wish I could be that stinkin' cute in earmuffs. 

And then they were off! 
Jacob was instantly mesmerized....

...but Holly wasn't so sure she wanted to be there.

In case you have never been to Monster Jam, the event is broken down into four events.
Timed Obstacle Course


But first a fresh load of loose dirt needs to be brought in to make the donuts even better.

One of the trucks (Mechanical Mischief) had some um... mechanical problems after his freestyle and had to be towed away. 
After each truck performs in each event, you get to cast your vote on how they did.  The top and bottom score from the judges are eliminated.  The remaining three judges scores are added up.  Then they add in the audiences average vote and the final score per truck is ranked.  The first place winner in each event gets 8 points and the truck with the most points at the end of the night is the overall winner.

And the winner at our first Monster Jam event was.....

They even have a special truck ceremony for the winner.

All in all it was a good evening.  The kids seemed to love it and no one walked away with a headache from the noise.  I called that a win!