Category Archives: moving

One Year

One year ago today, my heart stopped for 20 minutes. Isn’t that crazy?!? On average the heart stoppage time for having a pulmonary valve implant is 45 minutes. A heart can go 3-4 hours on “pause” for transplants.

I’m very thankful for my less than average stoppage time. I credit it to not having the typical brain fog that often follows open heart surgery. I’m also extremely grateful that the Creator of the universe allowed his creation to understand the human body so well as to be able to have the knowledge and skill to do heart surgery. And I’m grateful I was created at this period in time, where I could live a full, mostly healthy life.

Since One year ago:

HEALTH
My health has been great. After the initial healing time, I’ve had more energy and have been able to bounce back better from full, exhausting days or lots of time spent out in the heat.

HOME
Because of such a surprisingly easy and quick recovery, I was bored and started looking at houses. This resulted in us listing our town home to sell. Because of our location and price point, we received 7 offers in 4 days. We found a new home (that we LOVE!) that met our needs and even checked off some hard to find wants (my large kitchen!). Within 4 months of heart surgery, with the help of many family and friends, we moved.

ADDING ON
With cardiologist approval, we found out at the beginning of this year we are expecting our third child. We couldn’t be more thrilled to add to our family. And as I suppose is normal, this third pregnancy is flying by. I can’t believe we are already at 18 weeks.

FINANCES
We are very fortunate to not owe on any of the heart surgery medical bills. We have been sticking with Dave Ramsey’s baby steps and the only debt we have is on our new house. We’ve been working really hard on not buying items we really would love but just don’t have the funds for right now (like a new grill) and God has surprised us with some fun stories of perfect used items that “fell into our lap” with very minimal expense. (Like our “new to us” grill. Free from a neighbor two streets down. We just had to buy a couple of small replacement parts.)

OTHER ADVENTURES
*A week after moving in, we “crashed” the national night out block party a street over
*We participated in our new city’s Trash Bash, our little family picking up trash on 3 streets and allies near our home.
*I found an amazing facebook group dedicated to women with CHD. It’s the first time I’ve ever “met” anyone born with a similar heart condition
*We participated in the neighborhood spring fling party, winning 2 of the 5 raffle prizes (I finally have a porch swing!). The party also included the ribbon cutting for the new butterfly park so the boys each got to release a butterfly
*We completed a 16 week marriage enrichment class
*Our oldest son had eye surgery to correct his crossed eyes
*I’ve been able to read at least 1 new book each month since we moved. I love reading, but when our oldest was born, I put that hobby on the shelf.

It’s been a busy year. It’s been a fun year. It’s been a surreal year.

We are looking forward to another full, fun year, with many, many more heart healthy years to follow.

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Filed under baby steps, cardiology, family, friends, grilling, health, housing, marriage, moving, reading

A quick pic

I have lots to share (like the fact that 4 months after my heart surgery my last wisdom tooth decided to come in?!?) but for now I’ll just share this picture of our new playroom.

 The room is about 18ft x 13ft. It’s “supposed” to be the formal living room but we don’t need a formal living room. And with young kids, we do need a playroom. So here it is in all it’s “middle of the day messy” glory.

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Filed under housing, moving

12 Weeks Post Op

There’s that.

Recovery update: 

Still hurts to cough and sneeze, but not as much. Laughing and singing also still hurt, but it’s greatly improved. Yesterday, I became aware of the fact that bumps in the road, when I’m not driving, no longer hurt! Hooray!

House update:

Selling side. We closed yesterday, so we are now officially renters. We are allowed to be here until September 26th.

Buying side. We saw around 20 houses (I probably lost track of the exact count).  House #19 looked really promising, but the night we went to see it, a rain storm knocked out power. Even seeing it in without electricity, we thought it was a strong possibility.

We set up another viewing for the next day along with house #20, that popped up as a new listing. Honestly, house 20 looked just ok online, so we figured might as well take a quick look at it in person before we go back to 19. We recruited my husband’s brother to join us because we wanted his opinion on 19 (and as the carpooling worked out, he saw 20 as well).

To our surprise, 20 was so much better in person than in pictures. It had a great layout and was more move in ready than 19. House 20 was also located in our preferred side town. By the middle of the day, house 20 became our new favorite.

We wasted little time and put together an offer on 20 by the end of the day.

Because of this market, we knew it they would probably get multiple offers. We were told they would be deciding at 7pm on Monday.

We didn’t hear anything yesterday so went to bed thinking “I bet they chose someone else’s offer and we are the ‘break up’ call they are putting off until the morning.”  To our surprise and delight, they accepted our offer!

So here we go… we are in the option period and if all goes well, we hope to close at the end of September, just in time for when we need to be out of our “Rental”.

2016 – the year that God continued to surprise us over and over and over again.

*Bonus Info* it’s a 4 bed, 2.5 bath! Just like I mentioned in my previous post, it’s what we really preferred. A little higher than our goal price, but we stayed in our reasonable range, just shy of our maximum.  And for what it’s worth, our maximum was determined by us, based on how much a month we want to pay/can afford per month for a monthly mortgage, NOT based on how much the banks would let us borrow.

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Filed under cardiology, health, housing, moving

ISO: A New Home

We just sold our home – closes in 2 weeks – and are now looking for a N. Dallas/ Richardson area home. (Between Marsh & Plano Rd, 635 to Arapaho maybe Campbell)

Need minimum 3/2 with a room for an office (husband works from home). 

Would prefer 4/2.5 

Aiming for 225k 

Willing to take on cosmetic changes, possibly more as we plan on making this our home for the next 15-20 years.

Any leads would be appreciated. We are well aware of this market 😜

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🔥🔥🔥

We spent almost the entire day out of our house. 

Somewhere around 9-10 showings today with a few more scheduled in the next few days. There is also an open house tomorrow. Hooray!

Please pray for wisdom in accepting the right offer, should any be made.

Please also pray for wisdom as we start looking at homes. 

It’s a sellers market. Easier to sell than buy. We are on both sides of this market.

On a completely different note: I got a complimentary ID card from the company that made my heart valve. It has my doctor’s name and surgery date as well as the serial number of the valve. I’m not sure why, but this cracks me up. I have a serial number inside me! (Hope there is never a recall!)

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9 weeks post op

I’m looking forward to being pain free :-/

I did think the pain would be gone by now but it’s lingering… It’s not terrible, mostly just disappointing.

We also list our house in 3 days. Pretty excited about that.

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Getting ready to list

There are a few minor items to finish on the house and one major project (updating our master bath).

It’s been such a tremendous blessing to have JJ’s parents here helping. I know Z has enjoyed it.

Learning to paint with grandma.


One project I was dreading was painting our master bedroom. To my relief, it was knocked out in a day – mostly thanks to Marsha the painting machine.

The old color is on the left. The newer, lighter color is on the right.


For my part, I’ve been mostly taking care of the kids and in my “down time” cleaning the kitchen. (Hooray for self cleaning ovens and Norwex!) While everyone is tired and it’s been a lot of work – JJ & I are both pleasantly surprised at how much my energy capacity has increased. I’m so glad we are doing this now instead of a year ago, pre new valve.

Lastly, yesterday we put out the “coming soon” sign in the yard. This is happening and I can hardly believe it.

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We’re moving!

Wait. What?

Yes – we are preparing new to list our townhome and move.

First question – Where? Answer: Locally. We simply have different needs now as a family of four than JJ did when he was a single guy and purchased this home eleven years ago.

Second question – Wait… didn’t you just have heart surgery? Answer: Yes. So, we may be crazy. 😉

For the last few years we’ve talked about if it was time to sell the townhome.

It’s never been a good time.

First it was the housing bubble and falling prices that held us back.

Once the market turned around, we decided that it was not wise to add moving to the arrival of our first child. 

Last spring we sat down with a realtor and seriously consider doing it, but again decided to hold off since E was expected and my energy levels where not up for it.

When we learned in January that heart surgery would be on the 2016 calendar, we sighed “not this year either”.

Then I had surgery and two things happened.

1. It went much better than expected and I am recovering at such a fast rate.

2. I was bored. Which resulted in looking at houses for sale near us. When I saw an interesting one in our price range, it suddenly became a call to the realtor and we were on our way.

We are currently packing up and decluttering. JJ’s parents are in town helping us do some repairs and fixes on the townhome.

We hope to have it listed in about 3 weeks and from what we’ve heard – it should sell quick.

The tricky part is going to be finding a new house. We are in need of (at minimum) 3 bed / 2 bath with a study. The study could just be a 4th bedroom. Basically we need a separate office space where JJ can work with the door closed. The last 3 years are showing us that having JJ work at home in the loft, with two little boys playing below, is not something we want to do long term.

I’m a little overwhelmed with the work that needs to be done, but we are pretty excited.

I’ll keep you posted on how it all goes.

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Growing up

A few years after my open heart surgery, my family moved from Chicagoland to the Pacific Northwest. I was 6 and a half when we moved.

sidewalk

Around 5 or 6 years old in Chicago. I think this is a sweet, rare photo of me in a dress.

 

scissor

(L) My second year of 1st grade. (Yes, I took it twice. That’s what happen when you move and are really shy.) and (R) kindergarten. Please notice the amazing cutting work on these pictures. Done by yours truly, ages 5 & 7. I’m better at this now.

As I mentioned in my last post, there is no cure for CHD. I spent many days going to cardiology appointments. For a while, it was once a year, then twice a year. There was a period of time I got to go only once every two years, which was short lived as I hit puberty and my cardiologist knew I needed to be monitored more often.

fourkids

On a family vacation. This is a picture of my brothers and me. Unlike the photo above of me in a dress, this is much closer to my “normal” as a kid. And check out that mullet!

My “normal” has always been a little off from actual “normal.” For instance, I’ve always had restrictions on what sports I may participate in. When I was in 5th grade, I participated in track, only to be chastised by my cardiologist. “Don’t you know you aren’t supposed to run track?!? Don’t you hear the new stories of kids dropping dead on the running track!?!” Oops! (If you are wondering, I got the green light to play soft ball, and be in a bowling league.)

Because of these physical limitations, I was not allowed to participate in P.E.. That awkward, learn to shower at school with classmates situation – I never lived it. It also meant I got to take a ton of extra electives in High School. (Lots of Art!)

piano

Piano recital. I took around 5 years of lessons. I played ok, but I was terrible at actually putting in time to practice. That dress! :-/

 

dog

I have always loved reading. This was probably from my Jr. High years. Hanging out with our golden retriever.

Medically speaking, everything is always more complicated for me. In high school, when I needed to have my wisdom teeth removed, no one would touch me because I was such a risk. I had to have them out up at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

When I had a very unusual case of gall stones the summer before my senior year of college, I had to have extra tests just to make sure it was not being caused by my heart. Apparently my blood was breaking down faster than it was supposed to. This resulted in hard conversations about “What happens if they say I’m dying?” Thankfully, that was not the case and I was able to return to college and complete my degree.

As most of you likely know, more recently, my heart health made for some high risk pregnancies. (You can read more about that here.)

I’ve been blessed and am very fortunate to live what I call “bonus time.”  If you think about it, we are all in bonus time – I just happen to have tangible proof.

Thank you for reading my story. Come back soon to find out “What’s Next.”

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Filed under cardiology, chicago, moving, seattle, sports

making money

I’m basically done unpacking and sorting.

Some things were pulled out and put to use, or set in their appropriate places. Other items were sorted into storage – two groups, those temperature sensitive and those that are not.  The non-temperature sensitive items are already up in the attic.  The box of stuff needing to stay in a climate controlled environment will most likely find a home in a closet sometime this week.

We are getting rid of a few items. We’ve donated so much in the last handful of months, we might have one more trip to make.  Other than donating, we are trying to sell some things. One trip of errands today was to half price books and the movie trading company.  We haven’t heard back from half price yet, but received a little more than $41 for our old movies and tv show dvds.

Other than that, we are seriously considering listing several items on craig’s list.  Things we don’t need, but are having a little trouble parting with free. We’ll see how that goes.  Any funds we make we’ve decided to put to paying off debt.

Thankfully, our debt is fairly low and reasonable, mortgage, school loans, and a little bit of medical bills. But even so, it would be nice to pay down a little extra on those items.

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