Category Archives: baby

These days

It’s been a while since my last post so I thought I’d do an update on what we are doing these days.

*We started preschool last week. By pre-school, I mean me take 30 mins – an hour, about 3 days a week to do some intentional play, reading, and crafts. Now that E will be two next week, both boys get to participate. Mostly this has resulted in E throwing fits when I put the colors away because he wants to keep going. 

*Z and I started “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons”. He’s really interested in reading. I’ve modified the lessons a little and told him we will do 10, and then he can decide if he wants to keep going. A lot of research shows it’s most helpful to many kids to not start formal, structured learning until they are 6 or 7. Generally, I agree with this research, which is why “pre-school” is pretty casual in our house and I’m not pushing the reading lessons all that hard (thus the letting him decide if we go past 10). [He won’t start kinder until fall of 2019. We have tons of time.]

*Baby girl is set to arrive in 8 weeks.

*We moved E into a big boy bed on Z’s room. So that is a new challenge.

*This summer has been tight between work slowing down and OB bills, but we have hopefully made it past the most difficult period. Work is picking back up and my OB pre-pay plan has likely been met.

*With the help of some birthday money gifts from family, daddy built the summer birthday boys a sandbox. We’ve been having fun with that. (Sand everywhere! Hose downs before coming back in the house.) 

*As we approach being in our new house for almost a year, we’ve finally gotten around to selling some things. Vases, chairs, shelves, dishes, and such. Stuff we didn’t have time to sell before we moved last year. That’s been both a challenge (taking pictures, writing up descriptions, determining prices, and posting online) and a relief (cleaning up clutter, making space, and having a little extra cash).

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Filed under baby, birthday, kindergarten, pre-school, reading, school, summer, work

The boys are home

We picked up Z & E yesterday.

It’s both an extra challenge to have them home and a wonderful delight. Both of their giggles are fantastic.

I’m pretty sure E grew. 

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Free Baseball

I’m a baseball fan and when baseball goes into extra innings, it’s fondly referred to as “free baseball.”

This extra week pre-surgery feels like such with my family.

We weren’t planning on it (my empty fridge and lack of any fresh produce can attest to this), but we will enjoy it nonetheless.

A picture of my guys goofing around this evening.

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unexpected

The last three days have not gone at all, as expected.

It’s been stressful because, heart surgery aside, I’m a planner. I like to make lists, complete tasks, check things off, and move on to the next thing.  When a plan changes, it’s stressful to me. When stress happens, or more accurately, once the stress factors start to end, I get migraines. (One of my other big migraine triggers is weather change. Have you seen the weather forecast for the next 2 days!?!)

I’m so thankful that we got the green light for me to take my migraine medicine in the next few days, as needed.

All of this back and forth is great in reminding me that God is in control. And that I’m so glad us humans are not!

Other than that, Little E started figuring out how to clap in the 24 hours he was gone. I LOVE seeing him proudly show off his new skill.

 

 

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Filed under baby, cardiology

Yuck!

We’ve been on the down low lately because on March 21st, I got hit with the stomach bug. Not only did I lose 4-5 pounds(!), but it triggered a migraine.

JJ had to leave his work early (it was only his 2nd week there!) because I just couldn’t take care of the kids. And of course, 48 hours after I got it, little E got it and JJ 48 hours after that. It’s a miracle Z escaped it all together!

Sweet baby boy had it linger around for almost 2 weeks. After a few days, we would think he was ok and then he would throw up again, 3 days fine, then not, 2 days fine, and then not, etc.  And even at the very end, apparently his little tummy shrunk while he was sick so he was back to his cheerful self – and we accidentally overfilled him. Add to all of that, he was temporally lactose intolerant so we had to switch his formula. YUCK!

It was just a two-week period that I’m so thankful we are through. Everyone is finally back to normal.

Speaking of little E, it brings me to both my current praise and prayer request.

Praise!

When E was about 1 month old, we, along with his pediatrician, determined that he was cow protein intolerant. After a lot of thought and prayer, we decided to stop nursing him and switch over to a specialized formula. Within 48 hours he was practically a different baby! While we were really thankful, any momma out there that goes from nursing to full stop knows how difficult that can be. It’s both emotionally hard (momma guilt!) and physically painful. However – after a couple of weeks of a much happier, healthier home, we were so glad with our decision.

Here’s where the praise comes in. Little did we know at the time (October) that we were headed toward heart surgery. Can I just say I am so thankful for discernment and wisdom back then?! I cannot even imagine trying to stop nursing because I have heart surgery coming up.  WOW. I’m so thankful I don’t have to deal with the emotional (and painful) choice right now. It is so wonderful to be able to look backwards just to October and see how even then, God was directing us, helping us make difficult decisions that would ultimately help ease our way to heart surgery.

Prayer

Related to all of the above – we are really hoping and praying E will be sleeping through the night by the end of May. Both for the ease of those taking care of the boys while I’m in the hospital and for us when we get back home and are in the middle of a long recovery road. Honestly, with Z, he was a big baby and I’m pretty sure he was sleeping through the night when he was 3 months old. E is a different story. A month ago, we assumed he would be there by 9 months old, but the stomach bug set us back.

During the stomach bug we took him to the doctor and he weighed in at the 15 percentile range. Basically, right now at 7 months, E weights 16.5 lbs. Z weighed this somewhere around 3 months old. They could not be more different in body type. Between trying to get on track post-stomach bug, restarting solids, and thinking E’s in the middle of a growth spurt, he wakes up at least 2 times a night right now.  (He was down to 1 most nights, and sometimes none.)

Like most things, it’s small by itself, but it’s big to us right now. No matter the case, we trust God will provide. Either though E sleeping through the night, or endurance for those looking after him.

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Filed under baby, cardiology, sick

“Someday” is Now

I’ve been blogging about my heart history for the last few posts. You can read about when I was born, my open heart surgery at age 2, and how having a Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) has affected my growing up years.

I’ve posted in the past about how pregnancy could effect my heart. It turns out, after I was able to carry two wonderful precious babies, my heart has in fact has some negative change.

First – because I can – here are some of my favorite pictures of my boys. I love them to bits!

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The day my youngest (E) was born.

 

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Are they not precious?! Both of these photos of the boys are from when we were still in the hospital. (Z on the left, E on the right)

 

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Twins, two years apart. Z on the left – 5 days old. E on the right – 9 days old.

 

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Love, love, love this!

 

Cankle to Ankle

These two pictures show just how dramatic the swelling in my leg was after my second child. Later, I was told that this is considered “symptomatic heart failure.” Which makes sense I guess, when you only lose .8 pounds after having a 7+ lb baby … something must be amiss.

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From September 9th – it took this long for my leg to go back to normal.

All of this to say – yes – pregnancy had an impact on my heart. HOWEVER — and this is important — This is NOT the reason for what I’m about to say. It had an impact of timing, but it’s not the reason.

So on to the news:

“Someday” is Now.

Meaning: I’m getting a heart valve!

We met with the surgeon this week and I am currently scheduled for a Valve Implantation on May 17th. May 25th  (updated to reflect new surgery date)

[It’s not a valve replacement or repair, because I don’t have anything to replace or repair. 🙂 ]

We were able to ask a ton of questions and are feeling confident that this is a good decision and the timing is right. It is considered “non-emergency”.  That’s the entire reason my doctors have kept such a close eye on me all of my life – to figure out exactly when “now” should be. While not an emergency, it is necessary because at this stage, they expect my heart to return to “normal” size since the pumping function has not been compromised (yet).

Mostly, we are wanting everyone to know so that you can be praying.

Prayer requests:

*Peace of mind for both JJ and I (I’m feeling ok about actual surgery – being put out will be better than the c-sections. Recovery – not so much. I’m dreading that and looking forward to late summer when, hopefully, I will begin discover energy I didn’t even know was possible.)

*Clarity and discernment on when and how we explain to Z what’s going on. Thankfully, due to E arriving via c-section, he already knows that Hospitals & Doctors “Help people”

*Work for JJ now, so he will be able to take some time once it’s surgery and recovery time

*A good plane ticket price for my mom as she flying here for the surgery and some of my immediate recovery time

*That Insurance will cover everything. We expect it to – but – you never know.

Praises

*Great doctors that are experts in their field

*We finished our emergency fund – a few weeks before we learned this was what our spring contained

 

I’ll be continuing to do some blog posts regarding my heart and up coming surgery. I’ll answer some frequently asked questions and such. Also, when May 25th arrives – this blog (not facebook or twitter) will be the best place for updates.

Thanks for stopping by. I know I have friends and family all over the US and Canada, the world really. Since I already had an established blog – we thought this would be the best way to let every one know what’s going on.

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Filed under baby, cardiology, work

GULP

Has it been over a year since I last blogged!?! We’ve been in the trenches, grinding out baby step 3.

A summary of 2015:

Chasing a toddler around while trying to survive the Texas heat, while pregnant. That’s right! We added on! In August we met our second little boy.

And seriously – paying medical bills, being pregnant, keeping the toddler alive, meeting the new baby, dipping in and out of the emergency fund because of slow work & medical expenses sums up all of 2015.

SO…. I picked the blog back up as things start to settle down.

AND because we have a new update!!!

Quick summary from when we started this journey in January of 2012 until now (4 years):

*Paid off 46K in debt in 22 months (Read our “by the numbers” posts starting in January 2012 to see how we did that.)

*Paid for items without going into more debt: A minivan, foundation repair, new hot water heater, a couple of mattresses, a washer, as well as a garage renovation

*We welcomed 2 children into the family (which resulted in maxing out our deductibles 2 of the last 4 years. 6K and 12K!)

*Experienced 1 layoff – and from that point on have only had one income

*Experienced a couple of slow work cycles

This last year (2015), similar to when we were paying off debt in 2013 and our first son was born, we were really cautious. We also had to pre-pay my OB early in the year. After the deductibles were reached, and we got our pre-pay money back, we were able to put a little bit more toward the emergency fund. My husband had a couple of large projects come up in the fall, right as we were calculating medical expenses.

Overall, we ended 2015 being a little discouraged. In rough estimates, 2015 resulted in 25% drop in income.

One super positive note from this stat is our extreme gratitude that God continues to provide for our needs. We have the four walls (food, transportation, shelter/utilities, clothing) covered no problem. We are so thankful for starting this journey 4 years ago, it gave us the tools and skills to keep a close eye on every dollar in, every dollar out. A 25% drop in income is very likely to cause disaster. For us, it did not.

The year ended and we were relieved to see it and it’s expenses go away.

And then, something unexpected happened.

January 2016. A couple of big, outstanding checks arrived. We never know when checks will come in – and honestly, we almost have to live as if they won’t. Having a client owe money is very different, and less secure, than having your employer owe you a paycheck.

When the checks arrived, we were amazed. It was what we needed to FINISH OUR 6 MONTH EMERGENCY FUND.

That’s right— we are FINALLY DONE with baby step 3!

*Phew* big sigh of relief.

We can now move on.  It’s possible we will have to dip into the fund again, and finish it, and use it, finish it, etc. – but we are choosing to mentally move on. We won’t abandon the fund and be without a safety net, but we also need to start focusing on some other items.

Our specific plan is a little in the air.  It will be some type of step forward, perhaps baby step 3b, or baby step 4 (or a combination of the two).

Baby step 3B is a down payment.  We would like a slightly different living situation. While we do “own” our home, the equity if sold today, will not be enough for a 20% down payment for the type of home we are looking for in our area.

Baby step 4 is investing 15% of  income to retirement, making use of all tax-free options as best as possible.  We have invested in the past, and have made small contributions in the last 4 years, but we would like to get that up and rolling to the full 15%.

And with that – while we are not done with the baby steps – I’m probably done blogging about our baby steps journey. The first three steps are the hardest, but they are also the most measurable. For more info on the baby steps – and to see how you can get started, visit Dave Ramsey’s website.

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