The Circus!!

A couple of weeks ago we were given tickets to the Shriner's Circus.  It's much smaller than the Ringling Brothers Circus (which oddly enough was also in town the same weekend)  and neither of us had ever been to this circus, so we didn't have any idea what to expect or any clue about what D would think about it.  We were hoping he would enjoy it.  

It was small, but we had fantastic seats!  We were pretty much right in front of the middle ring of the circus and only two rows back.   

D had a great time being so close to all of the animals!

"Lady GaGa" and her dogs...  It's been a while since I've been to the circus, but I can't remember ever seeing dogs at the circus.  They had some pretty good tricks.  Ha!

My very favorite part of the circus is the elephants.  I LOVE elephants!  I never dreamed of running away and joining the circus or anything, but I have to say I have ALWAYS wanted to ride the elephants!! 

They just so happened to be giving away elephant rides at the circus and I begged (seriously, I did) Justin to let me ride.  He refused.  He said there was no way he was letting his pregnant wife ride an elephant.  Hmph!  I know Derrick would have loved it too.  Next year, mark my words! ;)

Derrick loved all of the animals, but his absolute favorite part was the snow cone! 

He just couldn't get enough of that sugary goodness.

He was so cute dancing and clapping for the performers.  He loved it!

At the end, the boys both got a treat...

D plays with that sword every day and is STILL talking about the circus (or "circles" as he calls it).  

Thanks, Robin and Ashley!  We had a blast! :)



Growin' Up TOO FAST! :)

We went to the zoo with some friends yesterday.  Derrick loves looking at all of the animals, but was a little preoccupied for a while...

 I can't blame him.  She is adorable, and just his size.  :)



Twenty-Two Months!!

First, congrats Jackie Koll!  You're the spring fever winner! :)  Email me and I'll get your gift certificate to you. :)


Oh my, my how time flies! As I say every month, I can't believe you're already another month older Derrick! 

You have been a super busy guy this past month and you're becoming such a big boy.

The biggest "big boy" thing you've done recently is move to your big boy bed.  You love it!  You will say, "Derrick, sleepy.  Big boy bed."  

You enjoy choosing between your bumble bee and your puppy pillow pal to sleep on each time you get in your bed.  You'll say "This one.  Pillow," and and pick one.  I don't think either of them are a favorite, it just depends on which side of the bed you want to sleep on I guess. 

You just woke up from your nap (I hear you over the monitor) and you said, "DD, take it.  Downstairs. Derrick get out too."  That means you're ready to get up!  You haven't gotten out of your bed yet.  You always wait for us to come get you, which is a huge relief because we were worried that you'd get out of bed and get confused or upset and we'd have to go put you back in bed.  Nope, not yet at least!

Today I had to help in the nursery at church.  I wasn't sure how you would do with me in there, but you did pretty well...until I picked up a baby!  You had a FIT!  Oh, we are in for it once Jenny Kate gets here, I'm sure of it!  You were fine as long as I wasn't holding anyone, but any time I walked near the baby you would say, "Mommy, sit down." or "Hold you!"  Jealous boy! :)
You've become quite the climber.  You'll climb on anything and everything with absolutely no fear.  

You have LOVED this nice 70 degree weather we've had lately.  You want to be outside all the time and get mad when we can't stay outside.

You're such a talker.  You have so much to say and you say it pretty well.  You're not nearly as talkative when we're not at home, but you'll still get your point across.  

We go to Bible study at church every Friday morning and you love it.  You love to go play with your friends.  It's so cute to hear you talk about them after we leave.  Every Thursday night I tell you that we're going to play with friends tomorrow, and on Friday morning you'll wake up saying, "Play, friends.  Morrow."  So cute!

You are obsessed with balloons.  

You enjoy kicking balls.  You'll say "Kick it, soccer ball," even if it's a balloon you're kicking.  You love anything to do with balls, which makes me a little sad for you sometimes. 

You are purely a carnivore.  You want nothing to do with anything that is not a meat (or candy).  You've actually been a pretty terrible eater lately, but the only thing we can get you to eat is meat (well, and candy).  
You can identify red, blue, and green.

You LOVE to "paint."  You carry around a paintbrush all the time and love pushing the paint roller around on the floor.  We have to be super careful when there's an open paint can around because you want so badly to slap some paint on something.

You can accurately name the compressor, screwdriver, caulk and hammer.  Can you tell we've been busy with projects around here lately??

You can tell us when there is two of something.  You walked up to daddy and said, "Two rollers," and you had one in each hand.  You've done that many times so you definitely understand what two of something means.

You also use "too" a lot and correctly.  {And don't worry, you'll be able to spell them correctly too!  We'll make sure of that! :)}

You are a chocolate milk drinker guzzler now.  You no longer drink white milk, it's chocolate all the way!  (Extra calories, yay!)

You said, "I love you too" to daddy tonight.  Not "Muh moo," but clearly every word.  

Oh sweet boy, I can't believe you're only two months away from being TWO!  You're growing up entirely too fast!  Daddy and I both love watching you grow and learn and you amaze us every single day.  We laugh so much at the things you do and say and wish we could just freeze time and keep you just like this forever.  You are such a sweet little man and we love you more than we could ever explain.

To the moon and back, Cheeks!

Mama and Daddy





Justin told me from the very beginning to never expect flowers on any holiday. He said that if he wanted to give me flowers it would be because he wanted to, not because it was "the thing to do."

We've been together for almost six years and I've gotten flowers once.  Right before he moved to Virginia, 8 hours away.

Imagine my surprise when he walked with these beauties on Valentine's night.

Totally blew my mind.

My absolute favorite flower.

I have SO enjoyed looking at these sitting on our kitchen table every day. There's something about fresh flowers that livens up a room.

And makes my heart smile. But so does he.



Spring Fever Giveaway!!

Oh, how we've been enjoying the 70 degree weather the past few days!  I've loved our walks through the woods and playing outside already.  I can't wait until spring is really here! 

The problem with our playing outside is that, while the exploring is nice, there's kind of nothing to do.  My little man has to have a swing set this year!  We were planning on getting him one for his birthday last year, but knowing we were hoping to move and not wanting to spend the money on one to leave for the new homeowners, we decided we'd wait.  {Not to mention that there was slim pickin's on where to put a swing set in such a hilly back yard!} There wasn't a whole lot D could have done last year anyway.  But this year is a whole different story!

He LOVES to swing, slide and climb, so we know he'll love having a swing set in the back yard.  We've been scouring the Internet for the best deals and designs to give D the coolest swing set we can come up with.  There are tons of different options out there and figuring out exactly what we want is not so easy!  Decisions, decisions...

So in anticipation of spring being just around the corner, we have something fun to share!!  Some of you may remember this great company called CSN from a while back, but they're back and wanting to offer one of you a $35 gift certificate to use in any of their 200+ online stores!

And y'all, they even have swing sets!!  Can you believe that?! 

If I had a $35 gift certificate to a CSN store, this is what I would apply it to, no doubt!  I know this cute little bucket swing would serve us well for the next few years!

Derrick sure loved it last year!

And how perfect is this baby sitter swing so you have a place to hang out while the little ones play?!
I had no idea that these even existed!  Brilliant! :)  I would LOVE one of these!

I could spend all day looking at the swing sets on their website, but I'd love to have your advice.  And in turn for your advice, you can have a chance to win a $35 gift certificate from any of CSN's 200+ stores to spend any way you'd like!  If you're not in the market for a swing set, no problem.  You can buy something for the kiddo in your life, shoes, furniture, a new purse, a new trash can (we have this one and LOVE it!).  The possibilities for what you can pick are endless!  

Here's how you can win:

For your first entry, become a public follower of our blog (by clicking "follow" on the right hand side of the screen) and leave in a comment that you've become a follower.  If you're already a follower, tell us that instead!

For another entry (in a separate comment), tell us what we should definitely include in our swing set plans for Derrick.  What do your kids/grand kids/neighbor's kids love?

For a third chance to win, visit www.swingsetsandmore.com and tell us what you would be sure to pick out for your own back yard haven.  

And for your final chances to win, email, call, share on your blog, facebook...tell someone about the giveaway.  For each person you tell and/or each way you do it, leave a separate comment and tell us about it!

The giveaway will be open until Monday, February 21st at 9 pm eastern.  The winner will be drawn by random.org and announced Monday night after 9 so check back and see if you won.  Remember, the entries must be left here in the comments section to count for the drawing. :)  And be sure to leave your email address in the comments section so we can get in touch with you if you win!

Good luck!!  :)

We have not been compensated in any way for this giveaway.  It's just for YOU, just for fun, from CSNstores.com



Happy Heart Day!!

Obviously today is Valentine's Day, but it also happens to be CHD Awareness DAY!

Last week was CHD Awareness Week and I must be the worst heart mom ever because I never got a thing posted on our blog about it. I feel terrible. I started several blog posts and an updated slide show but never finished any of them.  Maybe I'll finish them soon....

The week was spent recovering from the breakfast in Irmo and gearing up for the breakfast in Easley. I'm *hoping* that we spread some awareness through Hope for BraveHEARTS with the almost 400 people we served breakfast to over those two Saturday mornings! So it's not that I don't care because I really, really do!!! It's that y'all, I'm tired! Ha!

Happy HEART Day!

Kiss your sweeties and tell someone about Congenital Heart Defects!!  



Cardio News...

I am happy to report that we had a GREAT appointment today! :)

Dr. Shuler said that Jenny Kate's heart looked perfect AND that our boy sounded and looked GREAT!  No echo for D today, he'll have one in May.  Thank goodness, because he freaked out a little this time about being there.  {Those monthly synagis shots have put a real hurtin' on how D handles being at the doctor's office.  A sucker did the trick though!}

We got the good 'ol "see you in 3 months" and were sent on our way.  We couldn't ask for a better visit than that!

Thank you all so much for all of the comments here and on facebook, the emails, and most of all the prayers.  We appreciate them all so, so much!

We're off to paint Jenny Kate's room...



The Big Day and Other Random Thoughts

It's finally time for the dreaded visit.  I guess it's kind of the second dreaded visit, since we got the first one out of the way last month.  It's time again to go see Dr. Shuler, D's cardiologist.  Only this time he's going to be checking out BOTH of our babies' hearts.  

Talk about pressure!

D's "Cheese!!!" face.

We always get a little uneasy when it's time for D's appointments.  You just never know what those little hearts are hiding and no matter what, it's scary.  Since Derrick is so active now, you can clearly see that he is not a "normal" little guy.  He can run and play with the best of them, but he quickly gets out of breath and does some really heavy breathing.  We have to force him to sit down sometimes and take a break, which he's not so good at.  He doesn't like to have to stop playing and his deep, loud breathing doesn't seem to bother him.  It sure does bother us though!  Those are the punch-in-the-gut moments that remind us that he's not "just a regular kid."  Sigh.

Moments like those bring up the fear and questions about when the Fontan may happen.  If he's clearly being hindered by his lack of oxygen will they wait to do the surgery?  How much is too much?  How do you make him slow down without making a big deal about his limitations?    When he's wide open and playing and his heart rate gets higher his sats are sometimes in the mid sixties.  How dangerous is that?  They go right back up when he sits down, but still!  This 'heart parent' stuff is pretty scary sometimes.

Right now I feel somewhat at ease about Jenny Kate's heart.  We made it past the giant hurdle of actually developing a four-chambered heart, so that's one enormous weight lifted.  Now if we can just get a good report that the blood flow is correct and all of the other pieces and parts of her little heart are there and in the correct place, we'll be in good shape.  We're praying hard for a good report for our girl.  

And speaking of our girl, here's the latest view of her sweet face:

I had a doctors appointment on Thursday.  It was the first one Justin missed because I assured him that it would be a "boring" appointment.  I scheduled it for first thing in the morning because I had to do the dreaded glucose test (which I passed, thank goodness!) and we had no one to keep D.  You're crazy if you think I'm taking that wild man to an appointment that I don't have to!

Anyway, apparently I'm measuring "large" which came as no surprise to me. Seriously?!  Everyone I've seen for the past two weeks has said, "Oh, wow!" when they see me and my big mountain...no "bump" here!  Yikes!   When the doctor did the measure-your-uterus-with-a-tape-measure-test, I was measuring at 29 weeks instead of the 24 I should be.  So guess what?  I got an ultrasound!

I had one disappointed baby-daddy!  He hated that he didn't get to see his girl in action!!  And boy, is she always in action!  The ultrasound tech had to chase her around to get her measurements.  She's one active girl.  I hope she slows down once she meets this world because if not, we are in TROUBLE!  

She measured right on target, so she's not "older" than we thought or overly enormous (that'd just be her mama).   She's still a girl and still has a four chambered heart...of course we checked on those things while we were looking too.  Good deal.  :)

In other random news, today kicks off CHD Awareness Week!  (How ironic that Derrick AND Jenny Kate have cardiologist appointments this week?!)  There are lots of things going on all over the blogsphere to promote awareness, so be sure to check them out!  I hope that by knowing D and his story, he's touched your heart in a way that you'll share the reality of how prevalent CHDs are, and how they impact the CHDer and everyone who loves them.   Help us spread awareness and the great NEED for research!

And speaking of research, I'm super happy to share that we had an AWESOME turnout for breakfast on Saturday!!  We served 250 people PLUS children under four who weren't included in that count.  :)  Hope for BraveHEARTS raised over $3,100 for CHD research Saturday morning!  And we're not finished yet, because we have another breakfast in Easley this coming Saturday!!  

I think I can speak for ALL heart parents, grandparents, friends and family when I say, we cannot thank you enough for supporting life-saving research for the heart babies (both young and old) that we love!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!

I'll update tomorrow after our big appointments.  If you would please pray for both of our little sweethearts, we'd greatly appreciate it! :)