Thursday, July 23, 2009

Flip Flop Exchange

How many times have you participated in one of those gift exchanges where you were promised recipes, kitchen towels, etc and never received a gosh darn thing? Yea, me too. But my great friend Rebecca hosted a bloggy flip flop exchange. I LOVE flip flops (no telling how many I own) and thought I'd give this one a try. The neat thing about this exchange is that we were to send along with the flip flops a special item from our state. I was sooooo excited when I checked my mailbox after a long day at work and saw a package...just for me!

Not only did I get a cute pair of flip flops, I got an oven mit (can never have too many!), and a delicious chocolate bar. All from Seattle! My kids were crowding me as I tore into my package to retrieve my goodies. Thankfully only Sammi wanted a bite of my chocolate (Josh isn't a sweets eater) and I actually shared A LITTLE with her. Really, just a teeny bit. Call me selfish, but I don't get much to just myself anymore!

If my friend hosts another exchange and I post about it here, trust me, you should participate. It was fun!

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Sort Of Camping Trip

This post is a few weeks late. I have been meaning to load pictures up from the long weekend over the 4th of July, but when I get home from work, the last thing I want to do is to get back on the computer. But I know each and every one of you have been dying (ha!) to read about my trip with Jason and the rug rats, so here you go!
When I found out that I had Friday before the 4th off, I told Jason that we needed to do something fun with the kids. Jason came up with the idea to leave Thursday night and go camping with the kids. My dad has an awesome travel trailer that is pretty new and rarely used. In fact, we have used it more than he has! So after quickly packing after work on Thursday, we headed off to the wild blue yonder (aka: Cedar Hill State Park). We didn't go far, but no matter where you are that isn't home, it feels far away.
When we got in late that night, Jason hooked up the trailer and we found out quickly that the electricity box we were plugged into wasn't good. It kept blowing it's fuse and it was super hot that day/night. When the a/c quit working, it got hot inside quickly. In fact, it was cooler outside! While Jason tried to get maintenance to come help out (it was after 10 pm and they were closed) and work on it himself, I put the kids in the car with the a/c on and had them sleep there until it was fixed. My worry-wart daughter wouldn't sleep until all was right with the world. Long story short, Jason took the chance and moved the trailer to another location, hoping and praying it wasn't reserved for someone else and they would come in the middle of the night knocking on our door to move. Thank goodness, it wasn't! Needless to say, we went to bed late that night, but grateful for working a/c!
The next morning I took the kids and our dog, Lucy, for a walk and we found a playground for them to play on. Even at 8 am, we were sweating from the heat. We headed back and I took the kids to the grocery store. Jason grilled outside for lunch. We scratched the plans for an outdoor picnic and opted for the cool, bug less indoors. Why do kids freak out with tiny bugs? Ugh, I lost my patience with that.
While Joshua took a 4 hour nap (yes, 4 hours!), Sammi laid down for some quiet time. She ended up playing games on my iPhone for quite awhile. I watched a movie on Jason's laptop and Jason went fishing. So much for the great outdoors!
Joshua woke up in the greatest mood! Whew.

We then met Jason where he was fishing off a covered dock. Thank goodness for some shade. We really picked the wrong days to go "camping" in 100+ degree weather.

I have no idea what they are doing here. Oh yea, they were singing "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" I love hearing him sing.

My cutie patootie.

Awe, they really DO love each other! Well, most of the time.

There was this cool crane (is that even a crane? I'm guessing) watching us fish the entire time. After we left, he walked over to where we were to stake his claim. The kids loved watching him.

More fishing...

Minus the heat and staying indoors most of the time, we had a great time just being together. We left Saturday morning on the 4th to spend the day swimming at my dad's. Next time we are going in the fall!!

Friend Makin' Monday - Vacation Edition

Happy Monday! Jolanthe at No Ordinary Moments is hosting today's FMM, which is all about vacations. I was excited to see the topic because who doesn't love a good vacation? I grew up going someplace EVERY summer. We drove to Colorado most summers, which I loved. One summer my dad changed things up and we went to Disney World. What a great trip that was! My dad loved to drive and my mom loved to stop at historical markers or just neat places along the way. I cherish the memories or our annual summer vacations.
Today's task:
This task has two parts . You can do either one or both ~ it's up to you!
1. Tell us about the best {or worst} vacation that you've ever taken.
2. Tell us FIVE places/vacations that you would like to take at some point your life. It doesn't have to be next year...maybe it's the vacation of a lifetime or somewhere you just dream of going years from now.
I have a lot of great vacations I have been on. I honestly can't think of a bad one, although I am sure my parents might disagree. :) But the one that comes to mind that tops my list of great vacations is when Jason and I went to Boston and Cape Cod. It was right before we started our family, and I just look back at that as our last "care free" trip before kids came along. I don't have a picture of us there, as that was before every picture was digital. I did find this picture online that looked like so much of what we saw. We started out in Boston and Jason showed me around. He was stationed outside of Boston for 3 years when he was in the Army and I heard so many stories, so I really wanted to see what all he had been talking about for so long. The first night we asked the dude at the car rental place for a recommendation of a great bar. We were driving on the street to find it and I told Jason that I couldn't find the place called "Clocks". He started laughing and said we were looking for "Clarks". Oh yea, most Bostonians don't enunciate the "r". He drove me to his old Army base which was neat. Then we spent several days out in Cape Cod. Beautiful! I highly recommend going out there. So serene.

Top 5 Places I Would Like To Visit:

1. Anyplace in Europe. I have been to England, Wales, Scotland, but I would love to go to Germany, Italy, Greece, Spain, The Netherlands...just take me anywhere in that continent!

2. Australia. I regret us not going out there when we had friends that lived there for a few years. But they were there when we were poor newlyweds. :)

3. Napa Valley. Wine. Enough said.

4. Alaska. I saw a show about traveling through Alaska and they showed these travel trains with glass ceilings so you can see the amazing trees and mountains. Ever since I saw that, I have been dying to go.

5. Puerto Rico. Several of my friends have gone there and told me how amazing it is. From the pictures I have seen, I want to go there myself!

So what is on your wish list?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fun Game of Tag!

Who didn't love the game of tag as a kid? I certainly loved it. Any old made up game that we came up with out of boredom after church while waiting for our parents to stop gabbing so we can go home or waiting for the school bus. Looking back, some of those games were just odd. I chalk it up to just plain old boredom and being a kid.

But in the adult world, the new game of tag is on this here bloggy land. And I love it. I was tagged by my dear friend Becca at The Texas Darlings. It is a Photo Tag game and you have to pick the 6th photo in the 6th folder from your photos file then explain about the photo.
This picture was taken in August 2005. Sammi and I went to the Ft. Worth Zoo for the day. I was pregnant and took off a day from work to hang out with her, just the two of us. It was scorching hot and I definitely picked the wrong day to go to the zoo. But I promised her, so off we went. I even packed our picnic basket to have a picnic inside the zoo. I scratched that plan and we ate inside the air conditioned car instead. I love looking at her in this picture. She is just so well accessorized with her matching bow, visor on backwards (not sure why she did that), sunglasses, and her polished toe nails. So like a tom boy with a hint of girly. You can see on her face how hot she was by how red it is. To this day, she still talks about the picnic we had in the car. I love that she remembers it as being fun for her.

Now tag 5 friends:

Allison at All Things A

Jennifer at Stuff About Jennifer

Amy at The Bryant House

Marcia at The Hensley Happenings

Angie at Just Shy of a "Y"

Ok, now I really need to get back to work!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Friend Makin' Monday

I love Mondays because it means I get an excuse to blog about something AND I am given the topic for which to blog about. Woo-Hoo! Today's is perfect because I have a lot on my mind and this is giving me a reason to think about something else.
Today's Friend Makin' Monday topic is My Favorite Things. I love this! Who can't think of at least 5-10 things that they just love? It can be a person, place, thing...just anything that is your favorite. I did this several months ago in a different post, so I had to come up with things that I didn't already mention. And I came up with such a huge list that I had to whittle it down. I guess I have a lot of things I love!
In no particular order, 10 of My Favorite Things:
iPhone. How did I live my life before this hand-held goodness was invented? I just can't say enough about how amazing this phone is.
Burt's Bees chap stick. I love this chap stick. Love, love, love it.

Almonds. I am now addicted to these. I just discovered them (call me a late-bloomer, I don't care) last month to eat alone and I can't get enough! I feel good eating a handful (or two or three or four) of these and not thinking that they will make my rear get any bigger. Trust me, it doesn't need any help!

Chi flat iron. I have naturally curly hair and tried various ways to straighten my hair over the years and never had any luck. Enter the Chi. Even on slightly humid days it stays straight. My original one broke late on a Sunday (I dropped it and the heating plate was broke loose) and I rushed out to Target to get another one. They were sold out so I thought I would try another brand. I was almost in tears the next day when it wouldn't straighten my hair. Needless to say, I went to a beauty supply store that night to get a Chi. I didn't care what it would cost, I would have paid whatever they asked just to have one again. I love it that much.

Chuy's restaurant. Not to steal a phrase from Rachel Ray, but this place is Yum-O to me. Have you had the creamy jalapeno dressing to dip your chips in? If not, then you must do it if you are ever at this place...that is if you are in the Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, or Houston Texas area. :)

Clorox wipes. They are under every sink in my house. I love having them to do a quick wipe down of a counter top, faucet, toilet, etc.

Hair clips. This isn't the exact one I use, but I have them in my purse, bag, car, nightstand, etc because I use one daily. I have long hair and hate having it on my neck when it is hot outside. So being in TX, it is a must for me.

Movies! I love going to the movie theater. I can also go alone, I have no problem with that at all. I just love seeing movies on the BIG screen.

Roomba. I love this thing! I can program it to go off and vacuum my floors when I gone during the day. I love coming home to vacuumed floors. It scared my 3 year old at first, but now he thinks it is cool to watch go all over the house. And I love that it finds it's dock when the battery is low to get a recharge.

Cokes from Sonic. What do they put in there to make them so good? Is it the large straw? Is it the crushed ice? Do they put drugs in there to make them so addictive? Whatever it is, I love them. But they do not help me in my quest to not drink Coke so much! I really don't drink them a ton, just more than I should. So when I am craving one, it does not help me to pass a Sonic!

That was fun. Cue the song "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of what are YOUR favorite things? Are any on my list yours too?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Heavy Heart

Oh where to start, where to start...Joshua had a check up this morning with his Cardiologist. Next month will mark his 2 year anniversary of his open heart surgery to build a wall between the top two chambers of his heart that he was born without. The absolute worst day of my life. Since then his doctor has been monitoring his Pulmonary Valve. It has an "obstruction", which basically means it is more narrow than it should be. The leaflets are also thicker than they should be, which means they do not open all the way. The leaflets work like a one-way door which keeps the blood going forward to go to the lungs instead of backwards, back to the right atrium. Sorry if this is getting too technical. There is a 50-50 chance this will need to be corrected by going in and opening up the valve.

So, this entire time I have thought that that is the only issue we are having to deal with an monitor. Oh yea, his Superior Vena Cava does not connect to the top of the right atrium like it should. It connects at the bottom. Bottom line: it does it's job. That's all I care about. It's just "wired" different. But I found out this morning that the blood coming out of the pulmonary valve into the pulmonary artery is swirling around in the "fork" of that area, causing it to enlarge. If it continues to enlarge, that artery can push on his trachea, harboring his breathing. It might not ever enlarge anymore, but it could and we have to watch him to see if he is coughing more, clearning his throat, or wheezing more than normal. It isn't like it could happen overnight and he can't breathe (whew!), it would be a progression. At the time I didn't want to find out what the course of action would be to correct it SHOULD this happen. But now after talking about it, I kinda want to know.

Here is a diagram of the heart that might help show better what I am talking about. Let me tell you, I have been spurting out cardiology info for the last 3 years that I never thought I would ever utter. I remembered the basic way the heart worked, but not the intricate details we didn't learn in school way back when.

I am not bogging myself with worrying since that does nothing at all. I'm just praying that it will just stay the way it is and not get worse. I know this is in God's hands, not mine. Sometimes as a mommy, it is hard to let go of control over my child's life.

I am just reminding myself that it could always be worse and this is not a life or death situation. But this is my reality. I was just taken back from this. I also feel like we fix one thing, then find out there is something else. I don't want him to go through another surgery. No matter how big or small the surgery is, it is scary to have your child under anesthesia.

Sorry for the lengthy post...some of this is therapeutic for me. It was hard for me when I was reading more about his heart problems when it was first discovered (he was 2 weeks old) because all of the information says that whatever the problem with the heart, it is due to improper development in the first 8 weeks of fetal growth. Some can be genetic, but most is just a mystery as to why it does not develop correctly. I dealt with guilt over that...since I was the one carrying him, I felt like I had done something wrong. I know that isn't sensible now, but that is how I felt.

On a good note for me (!), Joshua did great with the EKG, and echocardiogram. The echo requires him to lie down and be still, sometimes on his back, sometimes on the side. This time, both. He was really tired this morning for some reason, so I think that helped to mine and the tech's benefit. :) He was very still and watched a movie. It still amazes me what they can see through his chest and into his heart, all by sound waves. Crazy.

What I am asking from my friends and family (you, dear loyal reader!) is to please include Joshua in your prayers. My prayers are for his pulmonary arteries to not enlarge any further. My wish is for him to not endure another surgery.

Thanks to many of you for being there and continuing to be there for me thoughout this. I appreciate it more than you will ever know!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Fun Giveaway

That got your attention, right? Who doesn't like giveaways? Especially cool, neat, unique giveaways? If you like them, then go over to Christie's blog, Pop Rocks For Breakfast and check out what she is giving away for her 200th post. Trust me, she has great things there! She is also a great writer and I enjoy reading her blogs. Besides, when would I ever lead you astray? :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

4th of July

Happy Belated 4th of July! I was way too exhausted on Sunday to make a post about our day. We celebrated the day by swimming at my dad's, eating and eating and eating, and shooting off fireworks. Oh, did I mention eating? I'm not sure who had more fun swimming, my kids or myself. It was incredibly hot...I know, July in Texas and it's hot?? Crazy! :) I did not want to get out, it felt great.

Can you see in this picture what Sammi has done? There is a hole at the end of this float that she is sticking out of. She managed to get her bowl of watermelon on there and even included her cup of juice. So prepared for her relaxation in the pool. That's my girl!

It was so hot that even Lucy used her smarts and laid directly in front of the fan. I wish I thought to get on the other side to get a picture of her face.

When Joshua went down for a much needed nap, Sammi broke out her Polly Pockets and played for a bit.

After a goooood dinner of bbq, we went back outside to shoot off fireworks. I love that my dad lives outside the city limits so we can do our own. Jason was like a little kid with all of his arsenal of fireworks.

Here is my dad, Joshua, Sammi, Lucy, my Aunt Susan, and Uncle Ron sitting to watch Jason and our friend Todd shoot off the MANY fireworks they bought.

This is what happens when you tell a 3 year old "no". How dare my dad tell him no! What was he thinking?? :)
Ah, there, he is happy again.

He was not scared of the fireworks. In fact, he loved them. But he would just say "that's too woud (loud)"
This picture is of Sammi and Josh on my dad's balcony that faces East. We are able to see all of the shows around Ft. Worth from there. It's great!

Here are a couple of videos of the kids watching the fireworks. I loved hearing Joshua shout out the colors of each firework. According to him, each color is his favorite.

I hope you all had a safe and fun 4th. I also hope you took the time to remember why we celebrate that day...our freedom. Many times we take for granted what others around the world envy. We have our soldiers both past and present to thank for what we continue to have. If you know any who have served in the military or currently are serving, please tell them THANK YOU.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Friend Makin' Monday

Happy Monday! I had an amazing, fun-filled 3 day weekend that I will post later today. I am exhausted, but it was well worth it.
Today's topic for Friend Makin' Monday is...
Tell us about your BFF...where did you meet, was it BFF at first sight, how long have you been friends, etc. What makes him/her your BFF...what is it about this person that makes him/her so special to you?
For the rules, if you are new or need to be reminded of them, go here.
My BFF is Casey and has been for 23 years! I met her in the middle of the school year in 1986 when I was in 6th grade and she was placed in my class when she moved from Dallas to Forney. We didn't hit it off immediately, but very soon we were inseparable. We went through adolescence together, then even stayed best friends in High School when I was in the drill team and she played drums in the band. Most thought that would separate us, nope. When we were able to drive, we were at each other's home daily. I loved her parents. Their house was the kind that I didn't have to knock on the door, I just could come on in. Same with my house...if I was home and Casey wasn't there too, she would ask me where she was. We got into trouble together too. I remember one summer she was grounded and we actually wrote letters to each other. She couldn't talk on the phone, and back then there were no email or text messaging! One weekend we were bored and we snuck out of my house (I lived near the town square) and dressed in black we put soap in the fountain at the park by the town square. It was off of the main road that everyone passed. We hid in the bushes when cars drove by and then we took turns running up to the fountain to quickly put soap in it. There was so much soap suds spilling out of it for days and days. I loved hearing people talk about it and wonder who did it.
We went to different colleges, but still remained close. Still wrote letters to each other until the world of email came. We visited each other some weekends at each other's school, tried to come home to Forney the same weekends. We planned what concerts we would go to together in the summers. She was a bridesmaid in my wedding and I traveled to Florida for her wedding on the beach...the most beautiful wedding ever!
I think back of all of the memories I have with her, and there are many. We have been with each other through our first crush, first love, first heartbreak, weddings, miscarriages, births of our children, deaths in our families. There are things she knows about me that no one else does. I think of myself as her #1 fan...I was there screaming and yelling as she walked across the stage to get her PhD in Veterinary Medicine and I brag non-stop about how she has her dream job working for the CDC in Atlanta dealing with food-borne viruses with two PhD's under her belt. I'm so proud of her. I only wish we lived in the same state! We might go a few weeks without talking, but when we do it is as if no time has passed.

Before Casey reads this and freaks out with the picture I posted of us, I must state for the record that this was taken at her baby shower I threw and she was 8 months pregnant.

I have so many great, amazing friends. But having a friend for 23 years and counting is amazing to me and a testament to what true friendship is. I can't imagine my life without this wonderful, giving, intelligent person! Love you, Casey!