It Still Always Makes Me Nervous

Today's the dreaded day. There are about two months and three weeks at a time where life seems pretty 'normal'.  Then the week of the appointment comes.  I become a nervous wreck all over again.

It's time to go see the cardiologist.  

We've been there more times than I can count, yet it never gets any easier.  Now that I know surgery could be pretty much any time now, it makes me even more of a mess.  Like lump-in-my-throat-stomach-in-knots-nauseous-mess. 

I know he'll be fine, it's just hard to give up that fear sometimes.  It's hard to look into these big green eyes and know that there are so many things we don't know. 

I was telling him yesterday that we were going to see Dr. S today and that he was going to look at his heart, that he might put stickers on his chest and might look at his heart on the tv.  He said, "And Mommy, you will be there?"

Yes, baby.  I'll always be there.  Until your wife insists for the 57th time that the two of you can go to an appointment without me (and that will take a lot of convincing!!), I will be there.  Always, always, always.  And I'll probably always be a nervous wreck.



Zoo Day!

February + 78 degrees + sunny=

zoo day!!

We met up with friends this morning and explored the zoo all day.  I love that we have a great zoo 25 minutes away.  It's a perfect place to spend days like today. 

The bears were pretty frisky this morning.  Of course by the time I could grab the camera they were finished playing, but they were still entertaining.  Derrick loved them!

 We had a picnic and went to the farm.  We fed the goats and milked the cow.  They love "milking" the cow!

While the big kids were milking this little girl was just hanging out.  She can't wait to join the big kids!

We caught the trolley and went up to the gardens.  Derrick was so excited to ride the trolley.  Now that he knows that he can ride a "tra-we" at the zoo, I'm sure we'll be visiting the gardens on every trip.  It's such a beautiful place!   I don't think I've been to the gardens in six years...when Justin proposed! :) 

The kids were worn out by the time we left so I'm hoping for good nap time today.  I have a garden to map out and a few things to plant.  Today has left me with spring fever for sure!!


My girl is NINE months old!

Jenny Kate...Jenny Kate,

We have officially known you longer than we've known about you.  The funny thing is, somehow I can't remember much about life without you.  It's like you've always been there.  The only thing I can distinctly remember about life before you is that I definitely didn't have to run around as much.  You keep me on my toes!

You weigh around 16 pounds.  (We'll be at the doctor's office later today so I'll know for sure in a few hours.)  You're in a size 3 diaper, although we came across some size twos that still work...except at bedtime.  You aren't allowed to wear 2s to bed anymore because everything is soaked in the morning!  You're wearing size 6-9 month clothes, although you have a few 3-6 month things that will still fit.  You wear somewhere between a 2 and 3 sized shoe, but it's hard to tell since you won't keep them on at all.  You just wear the little shoe-socks everywhere you go, which I think are insanely adorable anyway.

I shamefully realize that I never did your eight month update, so this is a little two-in-one.  I'm sorry, girl.  I promise it isn't that I'm being totally slack because you're the second child, it's that you keep me THAT busy.  

I went back to work two evenings a week a couple of weeks ago.  Mamaw keeps you and Derrick for us one of those evenings when Daddy is working too.  She gets to do our nightly routine and when I got home one night she said, "Whew!  That is the busiest child I've ever seen in my life!"  :)  I only work for three hours and y'all had her WORN out!  I'm telling you, Jenny Kate!  You're our wild child! Ha!

You love to clap!

You are a super fast crawler!  You stomp those little hands down and book-it!  

You started pulling up right when you turned eight months old.  You are now a master cruiser and can get anywhere you want to go in the upright position as long as there's something to hold on to.  You're quick, too!

You can stand on your own for a couple of seconds.  You're not afraid to let go, either.  You practice all the time.

You still think your brother is the best and funniest thing EVER! 

You're a pretty good eater.  You take 2 eight ounce bottles and 2 6-ish ounce bottles a day.  You're eating three meals a day now and you enjoy snacking on puffs and most recently Cheerios.  I also caught you eating a goldfish the other day that Derrick insisted that you needed (even after constant reminders that he's not allowed to feed you ANYTHING).  You were doing a great job chewing it, but I'm pretty sure you're not ready to tackle goldfish just yet.  

You've decided in the last little bit that the TV cabinet is a great chew toy.  I'm not sure what possessed you to try it, but you like to pull up to the cabinet door and put the knob in your mouth.  I have to tell you, it's a little odd to turn around and see your daughter chewing on a cabinet knob.  We discourage it as much as possible, but you still manage to get a little chew on it every now and then.  

You have teeth!  Your two middle bottom teeth are poking through!  I swore you were teething about six months ago, but your little pearly whites are just now poking through.  

You fake laugh.

You're waving, but it's not the "typical" baby wave.  When someone waves at you you'll wave your whole arm around.  That gets you excited too, which usually results in both arms waving around.  

You're a happy girl!  You're very smiley and very social.  You love attention and give huge dimply smiles when people talk to you.

You're a mama's girl for sure.  You would be completely content with me holding you all the time.  Sometimes even when Daddy takes you from me you'll turn away and reach back for me.  He's not a big fan of that, but I'll take it.  I know you'll end up being a Daddy's girl, so I'll take what I can get for now.  :)

You babble a lot.  

Our favorite new thing of yours is that you give KISSES!  We were reading one night before bedtime and you leaned over toward Derrick's face with your mouth open.  We weren't 100% sure what you were doing, but we thought you were trying to kiss him.  Then a couple of nights later while I was rocking you you leaned in and gave me a huge WET open-mouthed kiss!  You thought it was so funny that I made a big deal about it and you did it over and over and kept laughing.  You don't kiss on demand though.  Just when you're in the mood, not when we want you to.  I love that the first person you kissed was Derrick!  I'll remind you of that in a few years when he's annoying you.  :)

Jenny Kate, before you were born I remember being worried that it wasn't possible to love two children as much as I loved one.  Boy was I wrong!  God knows exactly how much bigger to make a Mama's heart to love more babies.  I love the two of you more than I ever could have dreamed of.  You keep me busy, but I wouldn't have it any other way.  You're so funny, and silly, and happy.  I hope you keep that free spirit forever, sweet girl.  I can't wait to see you as a little girl, but I sure do love the baby you are right now.  I really wish I could push a slow-motion button so I could enjoy this stage even more.  

We love you, Jenny Kate.  To the moon.....and back!



Project 52:7 :: Influential


Sunday, Jenny Kate will be NINE months old.  Holy cow!  Hopefully I'll have a little update on all things JK somewhere around then and I'll also fill you in on the details of the breakfast...other than just saying it ROCKED! :)

We have been in DIY mode over the last two weeks, which partially explains my absence here on the world wide web.  We're about 98% finished with a laundry room overhaul and about 50% finished with project #1 in the kitchen: wall removal.  These are the first big projects we've done since Jenny Kate arrived, and to say it's a little more difficult now is the understatement of the year!  Her busyness and love of putting all things in her mouth have added a little extra work for us this time, but we're getting there.  She just wants to be in on the action and I don't blame her a bit!

Once we get out from under the nine layers of dust that we've created and put some things back where they belong I'll post some before & afters.  :)

If you want to know more about my Project 52, you can read about it here

If anyone else out there is doing a P:52 and wants to join in on the link fun, let me know and we can link each other up! :)



Project 52:6 :: Out of Control

Derrick making his "tough" face. :)

Don't forget about the pancake breakfast!  We hope to see you Saturday!! 

If you want to know more about my Project 52, you can read about it here

If anyone else out there is doing a P:52 and wants to join in on the link fun, let me know and we can link each other up! :)



Project 52:5 :: Imaginative


If you want to know more about my Project 52, you can read about it here

If anyone else out there is doing a P:52 and wants to join in on the link fun, let me know and we can link each other up! :)


Little things DO make a difference!

A few weeks ago I was told by someone that Hope for BraveHEARTS would never make a difference.  I'll be honest, it totally bummed me out.  I let it get to me for a minute and I really questioned whether HBH was worth the effort or not. 
We most likely won't ever raise millions of dollars for the big research projects that will hopefully change our little heart world (although it would be so awesome if we could!!), so would we make any difference at all?  Is it worth the time and effort of not just us board members, but for everyone who supports us?  I had almost convinced myself that it was probably true: Hope for BraveHEARTS would never really make a difference...until I received this email from one of our favorite doctors at MUSC:

"I returned to work yesterday after taking a few days off for the holidays.  I went to get the cook books and donation and was utterly shocked!  I cannot thank you enough for your generosity.  It is truly amazing how much  Hope for Brave HEARTS have been able to raise.  It's rather ironic or a wonderful coincidence that I applied for a grant 2 weeks ago to study swelling after heart surgery and a potential way to decrease it.  If I get it, the grant requires that we contribute $10,000 in order to receive a matching amount from them.  Maybe your generous gift is a sign, I'll keep my fingers crossed.  I hope everything went ok with your blanket delivery last weekend.  The cookbooks look great, you guys did a really great job.  Merry Christmas and THANK YOU again for your generosity!"

I'm pretty sure our little donation wasn't "ironic" or a "wonderful coincidence."  I feel certain that The Big Guy orchestrated that.  And thankfully, it was a very obvious answer to a question I couldn't let go of.  It made all of us giddy when we read this email.  It wiped away any doubt and it gave us more drive to make a difference.  

In less than two years Hope for BraveHEARTS has donated $17,500 to pediatric cardiology research.  It kind of blows my mind, but amazingly, people believe in the cause.  We have the best, most incredibly supportive community...THEY (and some pretty awesome people who have donated from other places) have donated $17,500 to pediatric cardiology research.  We have simply been given the pleasure of writing the checks.  :)

This year our goal is to beat last year's donation.  I really think we can do it, but of course we need your help!  So, in honor of CHD Awareness Week we'll be having our 3rd Annual HBH Pancake Breakfast on Saturday, February 11th!
We would LOVE to have a huge crowd, so all of you locals (which includes everyone within driving distance), mark your calendars and come have breakfast with us!  :) 

Tickets are $7 and kids 4 and under eat free.  We'll be serving pancakes (the best ones I've ever had!), sausage, fruit and a drink.  Tickets can be purchased ahead of time or at the door.  

We also have a newly designed Hope for BraveHEARTS t-shirt from the design competition we had last year at the breakfast.  They're irresistible, just wait!  I'll post a picture as soon as I can.   :)

We will also have the cookbooks available at the breakfast.  They've received rave reviews!  I've tried quite a few of the recipes myself and haven't been disappointed yet.  It's my go-to when I can't figure out what's for dinner.  The cookbook contains 200 delicious recipes from heart families and friends from all over the country.  If you would like a cookbook but won't be at the breakfast, we'd be glad to mail them to you!  They're $12 each (+ shipping if we mail them).  You can email me at carolinacarters (at) gmail (dot) com and I'll get as many as you want right out to you!

I do believe that little things make a difference.  Even though sometimes it doesn't feel like it, they do.  We'll keep pushing as long as there's a reason.  We hope you continue supporting as long as we keep pushing.  The little things: the breakfast, shirts, cookbooks...they add up.  

All of the little things that people are doing everywhere to fight Congenital Heart Defects...raising awareness, raising money, connecting families, sharing stories...it all adds up.  Someday, hopefully someday soon, all of those little things will make a difference.

Our hope is that one day nobody will have to see their baby like this.