Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Can you describe yourself in 10 words?

Tabitha at I Choose Bliss did a post where she was able to describe herself in 10 words.  I love her description!  It is exactly her. 

But 10 words.  10 adjectives - not 10 things like mom, wife, etc.  I wasn't so sure I could do it, but I wanted to try.

Well that is five.  I'm halfway there.  And I'm stuck.  Going to bing some people adjectives.
(I don't like their pic today).  
I found this great foreign language website with a huge list of English words used to describe people. I could be annoying, eccentric, gregarious, lascivious, obnoxious, virtuous.  They really have some cool words, but those don't fit me. 
I'm not eccentric - I'm more of a plain person.  Solids and jeans and flip flops and such.  I guess that makes me more...more.. what's the opposite of eccentric?  The computer says normal is the opposite of eccentric.  I don't think normal counts for this exercise.
Let's see, I'm
That makes seven.  And I'm still struggling.  I need three more.
I only need one more and I just can't seem to do it.
I give up.
This exercise is hard.  Give me one adjective you would use to describe me.  And if you think it's easy- you do it!
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. ~Dr. Seuss

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Happiness Project - from Leigh vs. Laundry

Leigh runs the most wonderful project - The Happiness Project.  I have been meaning to join in for a few weeks, but I don't remember until after I've already posted. 


Today - I didn't forget (yeah me!).

It's easy shmeasy!  Just post a picture of something that makes you happy!  For me, it's the ocean.

Join us! What makes you happy?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Why does that matter?

Have seven year olds, have questions.  That is the story of my life right now.  Only problem is the latest question is beginning to get on my nerves. 

T1: Why isn't there school today?
Me: Because it is a holiday.
T1: Why does that matter?

T1: Why do I have to feed the dogs?  I fed them last night.
Me: Because I am taking care of your brother.
T1: Why does that matter?

T1: Can I have dessert?
Me: No, if you are still hungry there is food left from dinner.
T1: Why does that matter?

Me: You're game may be cancelled tonight.
T1: Why?
Me: Because the fields are very wet from the rain.
T1: Why does that matter?

What does your child say to get on your nerves?

Friday, March 26, 2010

FFC: Army of Women

As moms, daughters, sisters, wives, friends, we are an Army Of Women.  We can make a huge inpact on the world around us.  The reason I created Friday's Featured Cause was to spread the word about causes' that are near and dear to our hearts.  We can raise awareness and funds all among ourselves.  If you want to guest post on your cause, please go here!

Apparently the the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation and the Avon Foundation for Women, a global leader in breast cancer research, know how awesome women are, because they came together to form the Love/Avon Army of Women.

I believe that each person reading this has been or knows someone affected by breast cancer.  It is rapant in our world.
Almost 2 years ago, my husband's aunt died after a long battle with cancer.  It started in her breast, and she battled it into remission.  When it came back, it came back into her brain.  She left a huge family behind that still mourns for her.  Unfortunately, my story is not uncommon.
  "More than 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States each year, and more than 40,000 will die from the disease this year alone."
The Love/Avon Army of Women believes that if we ban together we can make a difference and we can fight breast cancer.

Army of Women has 2 goals:

  1.  To recruit one million healthy women of every age and ethnicity, including breast cancer survivors and women at high-risk for the disease, to partner with breast cancer researchers and directly participate in the research that will eradicate breast cancer once and for all.
  2. To challenge the scientific community to expand its current focus to include breast cancer prevention research conducted on healthy women.

That means that every single one of you reading this (as long as you are female) qualify to join the Army of Women!  Sign up, and then you are able to partner with a research project.  You'll be able to choose which research projects suit you best - or if any at all. 
Yesterday I signed up for one that was done online regarding finding information on breast cacner.  Yes, it can be just that easy.
But they need more women. More women willing to give of their time to help cure breast cancer! Who is with me???

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Weaknesses, I don't have any weaknesses!

Mama's Losin' It
Ask someone who loves you what one of your weaknesses are.  That's what Mama Kat said to do for this week's Writer's Workshop.  Who wants to do that? (well if you want to - go play along here).

I didn't want to - and I sure as hell wasn't going to ask my husband what my weakness is.  He'd come up with a whole darn list. Then I'd have to defend myself against all his crap leading to an epic battle of good verses evil.

I'd like to stay married, so no thanks.  I did however ask my best friend, who loves me no matter what.

Me:  I'm working on a project - need to ask you, What is my weakness?
BFF: You want to help everyone.  What is the project?
Me:  Why is helping everyone bad? Nope, not telling the project.
BFF: I think it is good to help people, just you need to take care of you too.

Well.  I guess it could have been worse.  She could have said my weakness was dirty old men.

Honestly - I know all they psyh crap that Oprah shows every week.  Mom's don't take care of themselves enough.  We need to put ourselves first.  If we don't take care of ourselves, we won't be able to take care of anyone else.  BLAH BLAH BLAH.

She is my best friend and she is right.  I have extreme issues with doing anything for myself.  I shut right up when she said it.  I didn't want to talk about it anymore with her, because she knows me best.  And she'll argue with me.

You guys, well, you guys can't argue until I actually post this.  So I get to voice my opinion first.

Helping people is not a weakness.  I love to help people.  I love to be a Mommy and care for my family.  I love to care for those outside of my family.  I will go out of my way to help someone who needs it under one condition.  They help someone else when they are able.  If you are a lifesucker (meaning you suck the life out of others) then sorry- no can do.

I give of myself because I enjoy it.  Yes, there are times when I get run down - exausted - a little frazzled.  But those times are worth it.  I was born to be a mom, to give to others, to take care of others.

So what if I believe others should come first.  Why is that a big deal?  Why is it a big deal that I only own 2 pairs of jeans, if I am able to make sure my children have enough.  I can wash my own, and mine don't get as dirty.  Why is it a big deal that I skip my trips to the dentist to send the kids?  I believe that if my family and those around me are taken care of- then that is all that matters.  I make do because I want to, not because I have to.

After stating my case I disagree, giving to others is not my greatest weakness.  (I still love you BFF).  I may need help from time to time taking care of me, but not too often to worry.  I believe my greatest weakness are those new Reese's Whipped. What's yours?

Wherever you go, go with all your heart. ~Confucius

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

10 years from now...

First off - this is all Desert Rose's fault!  If I hadn't read her post I wouldn't have realized a few things.

It started off innocently, she was talking about where she would be in 10 years.  I was reminded of the same projects from high school and middle school.  I thought they were neat then.  Especially since I've gotten half of my predictions right.

When I was 10, I was told to predict myself at 30.
have gone to college, be a model, be married, have children, own a large house, have a dog

Well, we do own a house, but it is not a large one.  Not when there are 5 of us and 2 dogs, not just one.  I'm still working on the model part though.

When I was in high school, I was also told to predict myself at 30.
have graduated college, married, with children, own a house, work with my father in the trucking business

Technically, I never graduated.  I have 7 credits left.  At the time, there were not enough teachers for my major and it was going to take me 2 years to get 7 credits.  I was paying my own way and didn't think a part time job was going to suffice. blah blah blah excuses.  Anyway, I accomplished the rest of my dreams.

On to the future.

10 years from now I hope to be in a bigger house.  If not, the twins will be hanging off their bunk beds and T2 will hit his head everytime he tries to climb in.  Why? Because they will be teenagers (shrieks)!!!!!!!
And little man will be a tween.
And I will be 40!

10 years from now I may be in a mental institution.  Where will you be?

Adolescence is a period of rapid changes. Between the ages of 12 and 17, for example, a parent ages as much as 20 years. ~Author Unknown

Monday, March 22, 2010

Books = Crack

I decided late last night, that if no one else understood you guys would.  We are all writers, so most of us are readers.

I'm a reader of various types of fiction.  I'm not big on sci-fi or romance novels, although I've read a few.  I prefer a good murder mystery (love Patricia Cornwell or James Patterson).  I'm also in to novels, such as work by Pat Conroy or Jodi Picoult.  Beach Music is one of my favorite books.  It takes place in the south - close to my heart, and is full of character, family, and plenty of story.

When the Twilight series came out, I understood the passion behind the readers, I just didn't believe it was for me.  I didn't want to read about vampires, or some story for a love sick teenager.  Science fiction and romance are not for me, especially all rolled into one.

Then a friend gave me Twilight.  She handed it to me about a month ago actually. 

Saturday night I found myself with nothing new to read, nothing to watch and a sick husband.  I figured what the hell and dug out the book.  At the least, it would lull me to sleep.

HA - I was so wrong.  That book was my addiction from very early on.  The more I read the more I couldn't put it down.  I got up to pee and to refill my glass, that was it.  I read until it was finished, not caring that it was 2 am and the boys would be up in a few hours.  I was loving the damn book and couldn't figure out why.

I still didn't know why Sunday either.  When I found myself at Wal-mart on Sunday afternoon, looking for a shower caddy to stop little man from pouring out all the shampoo, I knew I would be buying the next book.  I couldn't wait on the library - they're not even open on Sundays.  I had to get the next book.

And where was I at 8:30 last night? In the chair, thrilled that the boys were quiet in their beds.  Thrilled hubby still wasn't feeling good.  I had me a book to read.  And yes, I finished it one night.  I kept saying to myself, when he transforms, you can put it down.  When she figures it out you can put it down.  But I never put down the damn book.  It was like crack.  A crazy addiction that had me up until 2am- because I had to finish the book.

Now I understand ladies, now I understand.

I also understand that I am not going looking for the next book until I get some sleep.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Jack of Hearts: Friday's Featured Cause

Friday's Featured Cause is a new series I have started to bring light to the many causes we advocate for and support.  This week's Feature is from Robin.  For more information on the series, please click here or see the sidebar.

"Your son’s heart is the size of an apple and it should be the size of a walnut, said the nice doctor who was called in to review Jack’s emergency echo in the step-down nursery of the children’s hospital where my ‘31-week’ twins were supposed to be “feeders and growers.” He may need a heart transplant."

I am staring, but it is not registering. The room is spinning. I am trying to breathe, but I can’t quite seem to get air in and out. I must sit down. I witness a flurry of activity as I can hear them talk about intubation, drug-induced coma. I feel like I am watching a scene from “ER.”

Fast forward more than five years and this drama moved from the small screen to the big and plays out like a feature film. The world kept spinning from that day on in 2004 and then abruptly stopped in April 2008 when my son, Jack, simultaneously mouthed and signed the words to me “All done Mama, all done” through his C-PAP mask when I arrived in his hospital room. No more. He was done fighting. No more cutting, no more fear. He wanted to have the last word.

So it was that day he earned his angel wings -- April 14, 2008. A day I will hate for the rest of my time on earth.

Press the reverse button on the DVD remote and rewind the story. What happened from that summer day in July 2004 to April 2008?

Jack was transferred to a new hospital after being evaluated as a candidate for a heart transplant. We learned that his heart was enlarged and not able to squeeze effectively. A conditioned called cardiomyopathy and likely caused from the viral infection I got while pregnant. He would either get better or need a heart transplant they told us.

He received an angel heart on October 17, 2004 at the age of four months after waiting 72 days on a ventilator. He smiled a big grin as they wheeled him off to the operating room to remove the heart that we gave him and place a new one in from a child who had a tragic ending. In a matter of six hours the world as we knew had changed completely.

They told us nothing about the angel heart. Not what happened to the donor child or what state it was being flown in from? We just knew the child had the same blood type as Jack and was somewhere around his size.

The heart did not function well from the beginning. We heard comments from the doctors that it was in “shock” from being “on ice.” We learned that the heart was out of the body for the longest amount of time possible for transplant. That meant the heart came on a plane ride anywhere from 4-5 hours to Minneapolis.

With the help of a lot of drug support, Jack’s donor heart functioned adequately so that he was able to finally join the real world and be reunited with his twin brother, Cooper, at home for the first time at seven months of age (Cooper had no health issues).

It is amazing the healing effects that a loving home provides for children, both mentally and physically.

The years between 2004 and 2008 were spent making many happy memories, but they were not without drama. Jack had many up’s and down’s with his new heart -- more than half of his life was spent in the hospital (two Christmases, one Thanksgiving, one birthday). He needed a pacemaker as the natural pacemaker in the donor heart was really screwed up (his heart rate would get too slow, or he’d get SVT and require cardioversion). Then the pacemaker wires fell off. It was after his third open heart surgery that they told us he would need a new heart. This donor heart was not going to work. It was too stiff and there was nothing they could do to support it. No drugs to solve that problem.

Another experience where the room is spinning and I see their mouths moving, but I can’t make sense of what they are saying.

There was one big problem (as if being told your child has to endure another critical surgery isn’t enough), Jack’s surgeon (otherwise known as “The Witch Doctor”) said she wasn’t sure he deserved another heart. She thought he did something to the donor heart. Huh? Now, we had a contentious relationship with this woman from the beginning. It had something to do with everything about her. She was loud and a foul-mouthed bully. She was a bull in a china store. It was her way or nothing. She did not like to be challenged or questioned. I will never forget the cold stare of her beady brown eyes for as long as I live. To this day, I still question whether or not she really had a heart and I am certain that the devil does walk among us.

Her take was that maybe Jack had some congenital disease (like ALS “Lou Gehrig’s disease”) that did something to the donor heart, and if so, they are not wasting another heart on him.

After unnecessarily wasting the summer of 2007 battling with her, trying to get a second opinion of which she was not happy about, and ultimately trying to get Jack into another program in another state, she finally agreed to re-list him. Jack was able to go home with a PICC line in his arm that delivered life-sustaining medication. He was much weaker, could not walk without the use of a walker, and his fluid status and kidney function were always major concerns. But he was happy and reunited with his brother.

The witch doctor would not list him as a 1A (top of the list) unless he lived in the hospital. If he was going to live at home, he would be listed as a 1B.

Jack went to preschool with his brother (and a nurse), as we were trying to make life as normal as possible for him. He loved school! Even though he would get very tired and his tummy hurt a lot, he loved going to school.

We had a nurse come weekly to our house to draw labs as we needed to keep a check on the functions of his organs. The hospital urged us to bring him in-patient so his transplant status could be upgraded to 1A and we get him a heart faster. His labs were starting to decline.

It was the second worst mistake of our lives. The first was going to the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital in the first place. (At the time we went there, we were new parents, distraught, and didn’t know anything about anything.)

We thought we were making the best decisions for him. We trusted.

The intensive care unit where he resided was not the same as when he was a baby. The nurses were over loaded and forced to double up on critically ill children. They were forced to do more with less. It was awful. Attending physicians were visiting from other hospitals and were overloaded and it would take three days for them to get up to speed on the patient load.

Right after Valentine’s Day, Jack acquired hospital-grade influenza B and his PICC line was infected with another patient’s poop. It made him horribly sick. He suffered. He got so fluid overloaded that he no longer had a neck.

We knew we were losing him.

There is so much more to this story…the in-between details…like the surgeon accusing us of making him sick because we were run down, her downgrading him so she could go on vacation, but not telling us…

The day he died, they had decided to intubate him and put in chest tubes to remove the fluid that was building up around his lungs. Jack knew what they were doing and didn’t want it. He was fighting the intubation and biting the tube. He was done – “All done Mama, all done.”

On April 14, 2008, I held my son for the very last time on this earth. He was finally at peace. He didn’t look like my son as the extra fluid on his little body had changed his physical appearance. As day turned into night, I sat there holding him in the rocking chair where I had logged too many hours rocking him, as if I could somehow stop time and not face the inevitable. “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” played on the CD player, over and over again. We knew we had to leave. We had to get home to Cooper. But how do we walk out of this room?

Some of the nurses had packed up Jack’s room and belongings and loaded our car for us. Our babysitter had Cooper, so it was just Todd and I.

The charge nurse came in to check on us. We were sitting in the dark except the light above the sink. She knew us from our long tenure there. We asked her to please make sure they treated Jack with dignity as they came to pick him up to take him to the morgue. We requested no autopsy. No more cutting.

And just like that we were supposed to walk out of the hospital with one less child in our lives.

Our loss, Heaven’s gain.

It was only three months later when we starting investigating things about Jack’s medical care and we accidentally learned his donor’s identity, Baby Richie. We learned he was three months old, also premature, and his “father” broke almost every bone in his little body. He had cigarette burns, damaged lungs and ultimately, brain damage from his “father” hitting his head against something. We learned more about his story when my husband visited his mother in prison. She is serving out an 18-year prison term in New Mexico for her part in her child’s death. She told Todd about how her husband would shoot her with drugs while she was pregnant and beat her. He beat her up and that’s when she went into labor and apparently went into cardiac arrest at some point while she was delivering Richie. The day that Richie died at the hands of his ‘dad,’ she was out asking family members for money. Her husband was at home alone with Richie and getting high. According to the police report we were able to obtain, after he found Richie not breathing, he went outside to bum a cigarette and smoke it before he came in and called 911.

The district attorney in the state of New Mexico called baby Richie, “tortured.” It wasn’t just child abuse, it was torture. We told baby Richie’s mother and her parents, who were the ones to ultimately sign the papers for organ donation, that little Richie’s heart received an abundance of love while it was with Jack.

Baby Richie’s ‘dad?’ He hung himself in jail while awaiting arraignment.

We now know why Jack’s surgeon didn’t want anyone else getting involved with his case.

We are currently involved in an investigation into Jack’s care. We have involved our Governor’s office, state senators and the Office of Medicare/Medicaid, who found the U of M program to have deficiencies.

What advice can I share about my son’s journey in healthcare?
  • Advocate for your child. Speak Up!
  • Know that you are the most important person your child’s healthcare team
  • Get a second opinion without the aid of the current doctor. Have it be completely objective
  • Talk to other families whose children have been operated on by your child’s prospective surgeon.
  • Take notes and write it all down. Have a third party with you when discussing your child’s plan of care. You are stressed and might not hear everything you need to.
  • Don’t be afraid to have people removed from your child’s medical team, but know it could be an uphill battle.
  • Sometimes traveling out of state for your child’s medical care is the best option. It is just a small amount of time in exchange for the best care.
  • Check the medicine that is being administered to your child in the hospital.
  • If you are headed for a transplant, get informed. Seek out people who have been down the road. Don’t just speak to the people that the hospital suggests. Be armed and informed! Transplant and listing is a complex system!
  • Question, question, question
  • Take lots of pictures in the hospital – the good, the bad and the ugly. Hopefully, it’s to show your child how absolutely remarkable he/she is and what he/she has already overcome at such a young age!

Robin Hicks-Corbo and her husband, Todd, are advocates of healthcare rights for children and ethical practices of medicine. They have a Caringbridge website ( and are currently working on launching a website that tells their story and offers help to others families facing medical care issues. They are also writing a book on their experience. You can also follow their Tweets on Twitter at: @Justice4Jack and @renegademama

Thursday, March 18, 2010

What do you do when you have over 50 balls in your house?

You play sports.
Lots of sports.

Sports all year long.

When the twins were born, dear hubby just knew they would be car fanatics just like him.  By the time they were 1 1/2 years old - we knew otherwise. 

My husband looked at me the other day and asked how we ended up with jocks.  Like I know?  Not that we are couch potatoes, I'm actually a coach.  But there is a huge difference between loving and playing one sport verses trying to play 3 a year.

The twins are 7 and we are already making up sports rules. 
  1. No one plays sports during the winter (mommy and daddy want a season off - and don't want to freeze to death)
  2. Only one sport/after school activity during the school year. 
    • Which means soccer or football, but not both
    • Which also apparently means they can play two sports over the summer (rugby and summer league baseball are current choices)
  3.  Mommy and Daddy only buy 1 set of required gear per season.  If you lose a cleat halfway through the season, you buy a new set.
  4. Good Sportsmanship carries over into everything you do. 
    • if Mommy hears bad sportsmanship at home, that means you are out of the game and run laps around the house.
    • if heard at a game - it's up to the coach, but Mommy will be furious
I'm thinking there may be more rules as they grow - but that is it for now.  If you have little sports fans, this is what you have to look forward to.  It is wierd if you are not used to it.

What is your child a fanatic about?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Gonna catch me a leprechaun

In honor of this fine festive day- I've painted the blog green. Almost as cool as the green river in Savannah.

The twins had a most awesome school project due today. They had to make a leprechaun trap.
Rules: must me made out of scrap materials, no store bought stuff. Leprechauns’ are small, so don't make a trap for a giant.
Tips: leprechauns are sneaky, they don't read signs, and like shiny things. (reminds me of men)

We spent half of Saturday working on these wonderful pieces of art, and then afterwards they wrote stories of how they caught their leprechauns.

While they wrote, I dreamed. If I caught a leprechaun, he'd have a pot of gold. A pot of gold these days, is not worth a whole heck of a lot. Especially not a small pot. So I would let him keep his gold, if he lived at my house. Then there would always be a rainbow over my house, making it beautiful every day.

I could also hold his pot of gold for ransom, and he could do things for me.

  •  he could crawl back in the back of the dishwasher and clean out the drain, that I just can't reach.
  •  he could slide down the gutters, cleaning out the pine needles.
  •  I could train him to repell behind the couch and pull out the missing toys, socks, and crackers

There are all kinds of things I could find for him to do, that would make my life just a little simpler.

What would you do with your own leprechaun?

Never iron a four-leaf clover, because you don't want to press your luck. ~Author Unknown

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Slipcover of life

I recently bought new slipcovers for our couch and loveseat.  We've needed them for about 2 years, but have dealt with sheets covering the cushions.

Two years ago we brought home a dog from the pound.  A beautiful mutt - boxer, pit, maybe a little lab mix.  My gentle giant.  I love her dearly, but we learned very quickly not to leave her alone in the house.  While we are home, she is fantstic, when we left, she ate our couch cushions. 
Maybe it was because they tasted good.  Maybe it was out of spite.  Maybe it was because of all the kid crumbs hiding inside.  No matter the reason - she ate them. Now she is crate trained, or goes outside.  When we are home, she is allowed to roam free, and often sleeps on the same couches she ate.

I am now in love with the new slipcovers.  Spill something on them, you don't have to worry about upholstry cleaning, just whip it off and throw it in the washer.  So easy!

I wish other parts of life were that easy.

Just imagine, make a mistake and wash it off.  Screw up your checkbook - just throw it in the wash.  Forget to send lunches for the kids, ahh - it'll comeout in the wash.

Maybe we need to spend a little more time washing out our life, and not taking things so seriously.  I believe that a lot of us have more stress in our lives than we ought to. What if we could wash out the problems, and live stress free?  We'd all live longer, I'm sure.

What do you want a slipcover for in your life?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday's Featured Cause: Heart Defects - the story continues

I realized after the party that a lot more people are affected by heart defects and don't know where to turn.  Many comments wanted more information on statistics, support, and even little man's story. 

All the questions and concern inspired me to start a Friday feature program of my own.  On Friday's I will feature causes and the blogs that support them.  While many of the posts will be about heart defects (as it is so close to my heart) - I will also post about other causes/blogs that need to share the spotlight. 

If you are have a cause that needs shining on, Fill out my form! /short questionnaire and you will be featured.

Today I want to continue Little Man's story for all of you to read. 
We last left off with the introduction that changed my life.

After the doctor left, I called my husband.  I tried to be calm, but I needed him so badly.  I needed him to come back to us.  Unfortunately life doesn't work that way.  Life moves on, even when you want the world to stop.
The twins had to be picked up from school, I had to listen to a lactatian consultant. Things just kept happening.  Dear Hubby jumped on the internet as soon as he got to the house, waiting on the twins to get off the bus.  Yes, internet was against doctors orders, but we wanted all the information we could get.

My husband researched all he could before he came back to see me and Little Man.  Little Man was doing good, the hospital put off all regular procedures (immunization, etc) until the next day to avoid anymore trauma to him.  I continued to hold him for all life was worth.  He looked so big and healthy (9lb 4oz), I couldn't believe that deep inside there, something was wrong with his heart.  HIS HEART, the one do or die thing that we all need to survive.

As Dear Hubby and I watched our son, we decided not to tell anyone.  We wanted more information first.  We didn't want the looks and stares of others, we wanted him to be treated like a normal child.  As we left the hospital, I felt like we were going home to a whole new world.  As the twins we doting on their new brother, I was spending every waking moment on the computer - I had to know it all.

Some of the information was great, I learned more about the heart in the next few days than I ever wanted to know.  It is amazing how many parts of the heart there are, and how many defects are out there.  Did you know there are over 40 different types of heart defects?

Here is a picture of a regular healthy heart, and below it is how ebstein's anomaly changes the heart.
Image courtesy of tour2india4heath

I also learned that there are a lot of other conditions that can come with a heart defect.  Children can develop arrhythmias and their heart rate has to be checked often. 

I learned everything I could, researched every possible outcome and then made a page long list of questions for the pediatric cardiologist.  We would be going in for another echocardiogram within the week and I wanted to be prepared.  How do we know if is oxygen level is dropping? What is the difference between a regular colic child, and a problem with my son because his heart hurts? Would our son ever be able to play sports?  Would he have to have surgery?  How long before surgery?  What did we need to protect him from?  What would make him stronger?  How often should I check his heart rate?  How much is too much sleep? and the list went on.

We were very lucky with our son.  His heart defect was found by hearing a slight heart murmur.  Most heart defects are not found this way, many are not found until symptoms arise, and then it is too late.

Pulse Oximetry is a very simple, cheap, non-invasive way to screen for birth defects.  It has the chance to catch them up to 50% of the time. It could save lives - like Cora's. Yet most doctors/hospitals don't do it.

This is where you can help!!!

Parents across the country have starting petitioning their state governments to make pulse ox screening mandatory.  If you live in one of these states - please go sign their petitions, or write the representativesIf you or someone you know is giving birth, make the request for pulse ox screening.  It could mean a world of difference!!!
Missouri Residents: Please help pass Chloe's Law
Nebraska Residents: Read this Bill and the write in support of it!

One of the other problems I found, was the difficulty in finding support about heart defects, luckily I've come a long way.  If you are a heart mom or want to know more about CHD's, please go check out this new site by a fellow heart mom.

Friday's Featured Cause

In today's world there are many things to be aware of and cautious about.  Diseases, heartache, birth defects and many more plague our world.

As women we believe in the causes that closely touch our lives.  We go out of our way to bring awareness to our own causes as well as support others when they speak on theirs.  Not to say that men don't, there is just something about the heart of a woman...

As I've travelled blogosphere, I've gotten to know many women who dedicated their lives to various causes.  Some of them are close to my heart, some of them I had never heard of.  Either way - these women make us more aware in our own lives, and I believe make us better people.

"Extraordinary change in our society will always be inspired by ordinary women." 

Because of these women, I have decided to add a feature Friday to my blog.  Not just any ol' feature either.  These features will be about real women, real lives, and real causes that we all need to be aware of.  Some of them will be walking for MS, others may be spreading the word on pulse ox.  No matter what they are doing, it is from their hearts.  Friday's Featured Cause will begin March 12, 2010 and continue until we are done talking about the causes that affect us. 

If you want to feature your cause or your blog about a cause, please fill out this form / survey and I will get back to you with any supplemental questions and your feature date.  If you want, take the Friday Featured Cause button from the side bar and add it to your blog.

Each week I will add the weekly feature link to this post, and label them all FFC.  Hopefully doing both will make it easier to search for your cause, or read about all the causes.

Through the Friday Featured Cause I hope to bring awareness, compassion and support to those who need it most.  Thank you for your help!
Friday’s Featured Cause

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Dear MamaO

Dear MamaO -

I know that you don't have it so easy right now.  You married into this family - and for better or worse you are putting up with it.  You are not one to walk away from a situation unless nothing else can be done.  And in that sense you are so much like me.

You often wonder, if I were there right now, what would I do.

First, I'd steal the bread you just buttered off your plate.

Then I'd put all these people in their place.  I may bail them out, but I do not suggest you do it.  I would bail them out to keep a roof over my head, remember I lived there too.

You are strong, stubborn, and the woman for the job.  That's why I hired you when I could.  Do not bail on the now.  Keep making them face their issues and stand on their own feet.  If they don't stand on their own feet now, they never will. 

And love your husband for me.

Love, Pop-Pop

PS. That little man of yours should've been named J.A.

Inspired by Mama Kat's prompt : Write a letter to yourself from someone who has passed on. (ie: parent, grandparent, famous person, friend, pet, etc) from Writer's Workshop.  If you ever need inspiration, or just want to read a bunch of cool stuff on the same topic - go check her out.  Do it now!

Mama's Losin' It

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Party Questions Answered!

Whew - yesterday's party was a blast!  If you missed the festivities, I was a SITS feature blogger, and we had a party over here!  I am still working on visiting everyone who came to see me,  replying to the comments was work in itself.  I will say, I'm grateful gmail, puts all the nonreply email addresses together, otherwise I would've sent quite a few off to nonreply land.

If you are new - thanks for sticking around, so glad you decided to join in on the fun.  One thing I noticed while reading all the posts, was that there were a lot of questions.  I want to address them today - long before I get off on another tangent and forget all about them.

Most asked:  Where do you get all those quotes?
I'm somewhat of a quote fanatic, I have my favorites (one of which is here today) and others I search out to coincide with my theme.  Quote Garden is an awesome website, easy to navigate, and they are always adding new categories.  I get a lot of mine from there.

How many bids have I recieved on the Line Art?
None, but I still have my hopes up.  I think I need to lower the price, because apparently a lot of people have the same art in their house.

Did you write more on CHD?
Yes, off and on I write about congenital heart defects, the most common birth defect out there ( 1 in 100).  If you want to read those posts, scroll down the right side until you find labels, and click the one labeled CHD.

Were your mirrored twins mono twins?
For those that don't understand the question - I was asked if my twins are Monochorionic. Actually they are Monochorionic-Diamniotic (Mono-Diamo) which means they had one placenta, one outer sac and seperate inner sacs (yes you have two sac linings).  If you want the whole story with all the cool informational links - read the story of twins.

How is your son doing now? (asking about little man's heart defect)
Little man is doing awesome at the moment, he has come a long way and done a lot of healing on his own.  We are blessed with the miracle of him - and the fact that he hasn't had to have surgery.  Only time will tell the future, but we don't worry about it too much.

How exhausted are you answering all these questions all the time??? (regarding the questions from the kids)
Some days - especially when they were a little younger and learning about the world it was mind blowing, but these days they are teaching me.  Do you remember what onomonopia is?

Isn't it true how our inclinations to sometimes judge other parents and their skills (or lack-there-of) decrease exponentially when we have multiples?
So very very true!  When you have multiples you have your hands full to say the least - and all the sudden you understand that anything can happen at any time.  You are then able to watch others and know that you don't know their whole story - so don't judge.

Does throwing a kid in the shower fully clothed put me in this same category, "jail"?
These days, probably!

I would love to know how you changed your "comments" to say more than just that.
The moment I've been waiting a year for, the moment I know more than another blogger.  No offense, but when you are new to blogging or blogger, you wonder if you'll ever know more than anyone else.
First, from your dashboard go to settings, then choose the comments tab.  About halfway down is a section labelled "comment form message"  type what you would like the comment form to say and save your changes. Wala you are done.  (this is also where you can change your moderation and the request for word verification.

If you have more questions, let me know! I'm more than happy to answer away.

If the track is tough and the hill is rough, THINKING you can just ain't enough! ~Shel Silverstein

Sunday, March 7, 2010

We're gonna party like it's....

Today's the Day!

And we are going to party like it's 1999! - oh wait on New Year's Eve 1999, I had a fabulous trip to Boston, but while there got very sick, I don't even remember the countdown.

Ok- We're going to party like after lots of heartache, we just found out we're having twins! - oh wait, that happened too, and dear hubby collapsed from shock.  Not much of a party.

We're going to party like it's my birthday! -can't do that on either, the twins birthday' is the day before mine, and somehow I always get left out.

But, I'm not being left out today! So we are going to party like it is a fabulous girls day with all my SITStas!  Because that is what it really is!

After waiting a very long time, today is my day - it is all about me.  If you are a regular and don't know what SITS is, shame on you.  the Secret is in the Sauce is hosted by a couple of awesome bloggers, Tiffany and Heather.  They feature blogs and host events, and we, as SITStas, comment on every blog with this cute little logo, as our way of supporting one another.

If you are coming here from SITS, welcome, grab a glass of tea (or wine, or your toast of choice), and sit awhile.  I have lots of fun stories to tell. 

As with every woman - I lead a crazy hectic life.  (Why we must all be superwomen I still don't know.) Generally this blog is about my life as a mom.  That includes stories of our identical twin boys, or our two year old terror.  I also work to raise awareness about heart defects, although not as much as some of my followers do.  Sometimes I write about what it is like to just be me, a sassy, optimistic realist, working away from home, coach, teacher, sister, daughter, wife, friend. 

So there is a little something for everyone, and narrowing down to three top posts was hard.  Therefore I'm giving you a little variety.  You choose your poison, or as I tell the boys - it's slop, pick which slop you want. 

if you want to read about gross boys check out ewwww
if you are interested in twins read the Before and After Twins
I could go to Jail for... has something for all Moms
for those of you who aren't mom's and go for the latest trends - be warned!
for those more serious, read about the moment that changed my life

I know, that is five posts, but that should cover all of you.  Please sit back, look around, read around, and then if you'd like, follow me around!  I will be going back to visit everyone who comments, it just may take awhile!  Enjoy your Monday - because this one is a party!

I am thankful for the mess to clean after a party because it means I have been surrounded by friends. ~Nancie J. Carmody

Saturday, March 6, 2010

When I turn 100, I'm going to keel over and die

When the twins were three, dear Hubby's grandfather died.  He was someone they saw a lot and a great part of all of our lives.  His death inspired questions of life and death over the next year as they grew and were able to understand more.

They asked why, and I answered truthfully - he was very old, and very sick.  But to a young child, old is being 10, 30- is ancient.  Somehow, I had put fear into them, unknowingly, that since Mommy was ancient, she was going to die soon.  I didn't know how to calm their fears.  You don't want your children to walk around always fearful, but you want them to understand the cycle of life.

So, I told them that old is 100, not 30.

Somehow that morphed into, when you turn 100 - you keel over.

The Movie, Kung Fu Panda, just helped this theory along.  When Master Oogway, the turtle dies, it was his time, the twins believe it was because he turned 100 - thus making it his time.

Maybe it's not the best explanation, maybe I went about it the wrong way.  As they've grown, they understand that death sometimes happens to younger people.  They understand guns kill people, that people can get very sick and die, but for the most part we are all going to lead long lives.  And that is the goal right?

What do you tell your children when they ask about death?

Some people are so afraid to die that they never begin to live. ~Henry Van Dyke.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Line Art: now taking bids

Have you ever heard of line art?  Its when you draw lines on a plain background with very little shading or gradient.  There are some famous paintings done in line art - The Dove of Peace was done by Picasso
- an beautiful piece (photo courtesy of ).  It is also worth a lot of money.

So I decided that I would start taking bids for the line art found around my house recently.  I've taken the liberty of naming each piece, but if you think of one better, please let me know.

First up: eau de toilette

Second: from the kitchen floor

Third: I don't want to eat my dinner

Last:  Let Me Outta My Room

all artwork by the artist known as Little Man. 

Bids start at $1000.00, who's first?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Not Smarter than a Preschooler

It is amazing what kids are learning these days. The twins are second graders and already memorizing their multiplication tables. Somehow I thought that was a third grade lesson (but maybe I went to the wrong school).

When you finish 13 years of grade school, college and have lived in the real world for a few years, you believe you know a lot. Enter a child and you realize you know NOTHING. When the twins were 4, T2 asked what fog was. T1 said it was teeny tiny raindrops and I agreed. T2 asked again what it really was and how it is only there sometimes. Well I don’t know. So I called an expert, my father. My father has general knowledge about lots of things and while he started to explain all the complexities of fog to me, I interrupted and said – now try explaining it to a four year old. So we settled on fog is a really low cloud that forms when cold air passes over a warm ground. And the T1 said “see, it is really teeny tiny rain drops.”

I thought of this on our trip to the beach when T1 said, “I know how waves form, it is the wind.” I answered, “yes.” I mean how am I going to explain the complexities of gravity and the moon and the earth’s rotation. I’m sure the wind plays a part, so he’s right… sort of. There are times when the simple answer will just not work, and I have to go into great detail about how something works or is made. These times are usually when I find out exactly how SMART I am.

When the twins were 4, while on the way to preschool, T2 asked what roads were built on. I said the road was built on dirt.

This was sufficient for about a day, then they asked again, "How are roads built?" As we passed a construction crew we talked about the smoothing of the dirt, and the asphalt machine, and the machine that makes it smooth. I thought they were satisfied with that answer.

The next morning T2 asked "How are roads built on water?"
“They are not built on water, they are built on dirt”
“But Mommy there is water running under the road!”
“No, there is no water under the road, it is dirt.”
“Then Mommy, what is that?” As Tyler pointed to a fire hydrant.
“Ok, yes there is water in pipes running under the dirt, under the roads that goes to the fire hydrant” (and I am not smarter than a preschooler)

"Education is the progressive realization of our ignorance."
Albert Einstein

I'm BAAACCKKK with gifts to woo your forgiveness.

So - I ran away - well not really, but darn near everyone around me, including me has gotten sick.  Then I had the joy of of a horrendous toothache and had to go to the dentist.  But here I am, I didn't leave you, I just barely had time to tend to my regular responsibilities, much less post here.  The good thing is, since I've missed a few posts - I have lots to talk about. 
First I want to beg your forgiveness of my absence with awards!

First off, Stef showered me with not one, not two, but THREE fabulous awards all in one!  I am honored and humbled by her. She, herself is an amazing woman, a heart mom and a great advocate for CHD awareness!  Please go check her out at When life hands you a broken Heart... Create Hope . She gave me the Beautiful Blogger Award, Happy 101, and the Sunshine Award.  With these I must pass them on to up to 10 new bloggers I've found and list something that makes me happy and talk about something that brings sunshine to my life.

I want to give the Beautiful Blogger award to these three amazing women and the beautiful blogs they have (and I'm not just saying they look pretty).  Some of you may know them, but I've only recently found them - so go check them out!

Now on to something that makes me happy!  Spring, not that we know what that is this year.  Here in NC we have had more than our share of snow.  But on Saturday - when it was nice for a minute, I noticed my first signs of spring, the crocus are coming up in my yard, and there were yellow and white blooms.  I love it!  So to those who also find happiness and are always willing to share it - the Happy 101 award.

You may wonder how through all the heartache in the world, sunshine is still found.  It comes from the little things and it comes from passing the little things on.  There are moments in my day that bring sunshine in, like when Little Man demands I kiss everyone goodbye - even the dogs - before going to work.  And if he doesn't see it, it doesn't count.  He shares his sunshine with me daily - and so do these women.  They share their life with me and I share mine with them.  I am lucky to have found all of these women in the blogging world.  The Sunshine Award goes to

Now then I'd rather be Changing Diapers (who is a great new find, and a fabulous blogger) also graciously gave me the beautiful blogger award!  I feel really bad now, that I've gotten this award twice, yet I haven't posted in 2 weeks due to pure craziness.  (usually I'm a much better poster).  While I've already passed it on, Heather's rules are a little different, and inclue me listing 7 things about myself.  So here goes.

1. I used to love snow, as a southerner it is a foreign concept and never fails to wow us with it's amazing white flakes.  My yankee of a husband would laugh at me when I would just go stand on the porch and watch.  This year, I'm doing a snow go away dance.  I've finally seen enough - so much that I'm pondering moving further south.
2.  I'll never actually move, it is really just a daydream.  My work is here, family is here and I love the small town we live in. 
3.  I do want to move into a bigger house - with a inground swimming pool, on about 5 acres.  That is my real dream.  I've already sketched it out a few times, and continue to look at how awesome I could make the kitchen.
4.  I love to cook, if I didn't love what I do, I might be a chef or a baker.
5.  As much as I love to cook, I hate cake - all kinds of cake so don't tell me otherwise.  I am a cheesecake fan, our wedding cake was cheesecake!
6. I am now craving cheesecake, but will probably go get a Pepsi instead, I'm a Pepsi not Coco-Cola drinker.
7. I really feel bad for not posting, or even reading blogs the last two weeks.  I have a lot of catching up to do.  I am such a guilty person - I should've been Catholic.

Love to you all, glad you came back for a visit - even though I left for a little bit.  I promise to be better!

Always forgive your enemies - nothing annoys them so much. ~Oscar Wilde