God alone is Sovereign

1 Chronicles 29:11

Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all.

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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Photos

Here are a few photos taken from today, Christmas! This Christmas felt very normal to me and it was so nice! Just a normal family enjoying Christmas together. It was fantastic. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Joseph Trilogy (Part 3)

Here is part three to Jon Bloom's The Joseph Trilogy over at Desiring God.

(Un)Planned Detours

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps" (Proverbs 16:9). As Jesus’ earthly father discovered, this is just another way of saying that when your plans are detoured and redirected, you find out who’s really charting the course.

Nazareth. It felt good to Joseph to be back home. The same old market and the same old merchants. The same old neighbors with the same old complaints. The same old synagogue and the same old rabbi.

Oddly, though, the normalcy felt a bit strange after the unexpected adventures of the past couple of years. What an odyssey this simple Galilean carpenter had been on.

It had all started with Mary’s world-shaking pregnancy announcement that took an angel to help him believe. He had hardly stopped reeling from that news when he was hit with the census decree from Rome.

Joseph recalled the anger he had felt. A vain emperor a world away was ordering people to their ancestral cities to register. God forbid that Augustus lose any possible tax revenue from peasants. For Joseph, as a descendent of King David, this meant a royal 100-mile walk to Bethlehem. It seemed outrageously unjust. Not only would this disrupt his business and incur travel expenses he could not afford, but Mary would be in advanced pregnancy!

He remembered venting his exasperation to a friend who had replied, “God! Please send the Messiah soon to deliver us from these tyrants!” And then to cheer Joseph had added, “Hey, maybe you’ll see the Messiah there! You know what the prophet said,

“‘But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,from you shall come forth for meone who is to be ruler in Israel,whose coming forth is from of old,from ancient days.’” (Micah 5:2)

His friend might as well have hit Joseph on the head with a plank. All at once he saw it! Augustus in all his imperial pomp was merely a tool in the hand of God to fulfill Scripture. His anger melted into awe-filled joy. Yes, Joseph most certainly would see the Messiah in Bethlehem.

In fact, after Jesus’ incredible birth, Joseph had fully expected to make Bethlehem their new permanent home. Surely that’s what Micah meant. And he had just started to get his business going when the angel of his dreams came again, shortly after the surprise visit by the Persian magi. “Flee to Egypt and remain there until I tell you.” Herod wanted to murder their baby!

Joseph had felt anger rise against Herod. And a wave of fear. The Egyptian border was another 100-mile foot journey for his wife and child, mostly through dessert.

But he quickly remembered. If Augustus was God’s tool, what was Herod? God had his reasons to send his Son to Egypt. So Joseph snuck his family out of town in the cover of night.

Egypt. That was one place Joseph had never expected to see, much less live in. He hadn’t had any idea how he would feed and house his family there. But he need not have worried. God provided for them like he had all along.

And then after a few months another dream and another commission: Herod had died and he was to take the child back to Israel. Joseph assumed this meant returning to Bethlehem.

But he soon learned that Herod’s son, Archelaus, was ruling over Judea. Archelaus was a sharp chip off the cruel block. If he got wind of a Messiah in Bethlehem, no doubt another assassination would be attempted. One more angelic dream visit and it was back to Nazareth.

And who knew how long that would last. . . .

One thing Joseph learned very quickly after God had drafted him to be the earthly father of Jesus was that his own plans were not a thing to be grasped. Whatever future he had originally imagined for himself and Mary evaporated in the heat of a reality determined by Another.

And as he followed the path of faith, he repeatedly found it taking unpredictable turns: A Roman census, a grueling trip during the hardest part of pregnancy, a birth in a barn, no steady income, an assassination attempt, two dessert-crossings on foot with an infant, living in a foreign country, and waiting on God for last-minute guidance and provision. This path was difficult, dangerous, expensive, time-consuming, and career-delaying.

And it was all God’s will.

Like Joseph, the unplanned, inefficient detours of our lives are planned by God. God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8–9). They are frequently bewildering to us, but they are always better because God is orchestrating far more than we see or know in every unexpected event and delay.

So when you find yourself suddenly moving in a direction you had not planned, take heart; the Great Planner has something much better in mind for you and countless others.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The "F" Word

Sorry I'm making this post so late in the day. Anna Grace had a 1:00 appointment today so by the time we got home it was pretty much time for dinner and bedtime routine. The kids are both in bed now and hopefully sleeping :)

Let me start by saying thank you for praying for Anna Grace. She cooperated with Dr. R today and really did as well as I have ever seen her do at the doctor. We did of course give her Benadryl before her appointment which does tend to calm her, but lets face it, Benadryl is NOT valium so I don't attribute her cooperative spirit today to Benadryl. I honestly feel that the Lord had His hand on her today calming her and giving her courage. I thank you all for praying for her and asking the Lord to help her today. It is always amazing for me to see how my little girl who is SO SCARED at the doctor can do so well on cardiology days when she is being covered by prayer. So... thank you for your faithfulness and thank you Lord for helping today!

As for the appointment. Her echo showed good heart function with minimal mitral valve regurgitation. Her O2 sats were low and her blood pressure was high (ugh). Dr. R wants us to come back in 3 weeks to re-check her sats. She has had a cold so he said that the low sats could be attributed to that, but he wants to be sure it is in fact from the cold and that her sats are not trending downward. So, 3 weeks we re-check and then the number we get will give him a better idea. The best O2 sat today we got was 79. She usually runs about 82. Her blood pressure was high, but not high enough to want to start her on any type of medication. Mostly Dr. R attributed that to her being scared. We aren't usually able to even get a blood pressure on her so we really don't know if that is normal for her or not. Like I said before, she was cooperating today so we were able to get everything on her except an EKG. Her weight today at Dr. R's was 29.6 pounds. That of course lead us to the "F" word which I knew it would.

The "F" word stands for Fontan which is the third starge open heart surgery that Hypoplastic children like Anna Grace need to have. It is spoken in wispers and hushed tones and although we know it is coming we don't like to talk about it overly much and thinking about it usually causes some level of anxiety. None the less, it was time for "THE" talk. As I have mentioned before, Dr. R and his team like to do pre-fontan caths at 30 pounds with Fontans being performed around 33 pounds. So, as things stand right now Dr. R is thinking a Spring pre-fontan heart cath with a summer fontan surgery. Nothing is being scheduled right now until we do her sat re-check in 3 weeks. That will tell him if she is trending downward and if so it would most likely speed up the scheduling of the whole process. So, after the sat check Dr. R will call Anna Grace's surgeon in Charleston to discuss her case and they will recommend the best times for surgery for her based on her past history and their experience.

My mind of course goes racing, but my husband gently reminded me that we need to focus on today. So, my focus for today is that it was a great appointment. Truly it was. Anna Grace behaved well and her echo showed good heart function. Both of those things were terrific and I am thankful. I know we are going on January 10 back to cardiology for a sat re-check and then we'll go from there.

It seems that as a heart Mom you really do have to focus on this "The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you, he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged." Deuteronomy 31:8. So tonight I will rest in that.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Cardiology Tomorrow

Tomorrow (tuesday), Anna Grace has a cariology appointment. I am of course a little nervous (understatment) as to what Dr. R will find on the echo and of the talks we will surely be having regarding getting the ball rolling for the Fontan. Please pray that AG will cooperate. I had to take her to the doctor today because she has had a cold she can't shake. She ended up having an ear infection. No big deal really, except at the doctor today they weighed her and she weighed 29.5 pounds. I can't believe it. Dr. R likes to do his pre-fontan caths at 30 pounds so I am sure that will be a topic of discussion. I am not ready, but I will save that post for another day. For now, just please pray that she cooperates and that Dr. R can get a good look to see how her little heart is doing. Thank you for following our story and for praying. Resting in the Lord... His perfect timing... His perfect plan.

Merry Christmas

Joyful 'toons

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Joseph Trilogy (Part 2)

Here is part two of Jon Bloom's The Joseph Trilogy from over at Desiring God.

A Stable of Desperation by Jon Bloom

The first Christmas night was a holy night. But it was not a silent night. All was not calm. After walking a hundred miles, Joseph arrived in an overcrowded Bethlehem, with a wife in advanced labor. And “there was no place for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7).

“We are completely full. We can’t take another person.”

“Please, my wife is about to give birth! We’ll take anything with a little privacy.”

Compassion and exasperation mixed in the fatigued innkeeper’s eyes. His tired hand rubbed over his head. “Look, I would give you our own quarters, but we’ve already given them to others. People are in every nook and cranny. There is no room, especially to have a baby.”

Back in Nazareth, Joseph had felt so confident. He knew nothing about assisting in births. That was women’s domain. But God had sent his angel to Mary and to him. God had caused Mary to get pregnant. God had turned the stream of mighty Augustus’s heart (Proverbs 21:1) so that the Messianic prophesy about Bethlehem would be fulfilled. Surely God would provide their needs when they arrived. After all, this Child was God’s Son!

But now Joseph was growing desperate. Bethlehem was overrun with people. The Roman census got the Messiah to Bethlehem, but it left him no place to lay his head.

“Are there other inns here?”

“No. Bethlehem can’t keep two inns in business — usually. You don’t have any family in the area?”

They heard Mary cry out in pain. Nearly frantic, Joseph spared his words. “No. Please! Is there anyone who could take us in?”

“Everyone I know is already housing guests.”

Please, God! Please! We need a place! Give us a room! Send your angel! Do something!
The two men looked vacantly at each other for a tense five seconds. Then Joseph choked out, “Please, we’ll take anything!

At that moment a woman appeared behind the innkeeper and said, “We have a stable in the back.”

“Rachel, his wife is about to give birth! We can’t put her in the stable!”

“I heard,” she answered. “But there’s no more time and it’s better than the street, Jacob. I’ll get some blankets and clean straw.” She looked at Joseph, “I’ll meet you in the back. I can help with the birth too. Tell her it will be okay. God will help you.”

“Thank you!” Joseph said. Thank you, God!

But as he turned toward Mary relief collided with regret inside of him. Rachel’s help was a gift. But a stable? That’s the best he could provide for his trusting wife and the Son of the Most High? How could God’s Son be born in a stable?

“Joseph!” Mary’s cry was more urgent.

No more time. With gentle swiftness Joseph picked Mary up and carried her toward the back of the inn. Mary was breathing was labored. “They have a room?”

Joseph felt a stab of shame. But Mary needed reassurance. “All they have is the stable. It’ll be okay. We’ll make it clean, And the innkeeper’s wife is going to help us. God is providing.”

“Thank you, God!” she whispered. And then clutched Jacob’s neck tightly as another pain seized her and pushed the Light further into the world.
A stable was not where Joseph wanted to be that night. It held no romance for him. He was only there out of desperation.

But the stable was not about Joseph or Mary. It was about the Son of God making himself nothing (Philippians 2:7). He had come to humble himself to unfathomable depths. So he borrowed a stable for his birth. Later, after an excruciating death to make propitiation for our sins (1 John 4:10), he would borrow a tomb (Matthew 27:59–60).

And in that is a Christmas word to us. There are times, while seeking to follow God faithfully, we find ourselves in a desperate moment, forced to a place we would not choose to go. It’s then we must remember: we are not our own (1 Corinthians 6:19–20).

Our lives and circumstances are not ultimately about us. They are about Jesus Christ. The Father has purposes for us and our hardships that extend far beyond us. And often what appears like a misfortune or a lack of provision in the moment later proves to be a means of great mercy.

So maybe what we need most this Christmas is not less turmoil, but more trust. For God chooses stables of desperation as the birthplaces of his overwhelming grace.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Joseph Trilogy

Let your mind roam as John Bloom over at Desiring God lets his imagination hit the paper detailing what might have been going on with Joseph during the first Christmas season.

A Painful Decision by Jon Bloom

When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. (Matthew 1:18-19)

Joseph felt a twinge of anxiety. He sensed something unusual in Mary’s request that he come.

When he arrived she was standing under the tree near her father’s house where, as a betrothed couple, they were given some supervised privacy. Mary wasn’t herself. She was staring at the ground. She seemed burdened.

“Mary, is something wrong?”

She looked up at him intensely. “Joseph… I’m pregnant.”

A blast of shock and disbelief hit him, blowing away all his coherent thoughts for a moment. His legs quavered. He grabbed at the tree to steady himself. It felt solid, rooted.

He stared at her. He was numb. No words came. Everything seemed surreal.

Mary was still looking at him with her intense eyes. He saw no shame in them. No defensiveness, no defiance. Not even tears. They looked…innocent. And they were searching his eyes for an answer.

Mary broke the charged silence. “What I need to tell you next I don’t even know how to say.”

Joseph leaned harder into the tree, bracing himself. He looked down to Mary’s feet. Her feet. They looked just the same as they did when he believed she was pure.

That was what made everything so strange. Mary looked as chaste as she ever did. If she had been the flirtatious type or had some discernable character weakness, this news might have been comprehendible. But Mary was literally the very last person Joseph would have suspected of unfaithfulness. He could not imagine her with another lover.

He didn’t want to know who it was.

“What I’m going to say will be very difficult to believe. But will you hear me out?” Still looking at Mary’s feet, Joseph’s nod was barely detectable.

“I have not been unfaithful to you.”

Joseph lifted his eyes to hers. Rape? That might explain her innocence. But why wouldn’t she tell me —

“God has caused me to become pregnant.”

This statement flew around his mind, looking for a place to land. It found none.

“Joseph, I know how it sounds. But I’m telling you the truth.” Then Mary described an angelic visit and the message she had received. She was to bear a son, conceived by the Holy Spirit, who would be called the Son of the Most High who would sit on David’s throne forever. God was the baby’s father. Mary was pregnant with the Messiah.

Mary sounded as sane as ever. Nothing about her was different— except that she was claiming to be pregnant with God’s child. He felt like his brain was exploding. Was she adding blasphemy to adultery? He could not conceive of her being capable of either.

“I…I don’t even know what to say to you, Mary. I can’t even think straight. I need to be alone.”

Joseph spent the late afternoon walking up on the brow of the hill that overlooked Nazareth. Things were clear up there. From this 500-foot perspective he could see the Sea of Galilee to the east, and to the west he could just see the blue Mediterranean on the horizon. But he could not see how Mary’s story could be true. He could not recall anything like it in the Torah. God, show me what to do, he pleaded.

The sun was setting as Joseph walked back toward the nearly finished house that was to be their home — the house he had dreamed just that morning would someday know the happy voices of his children — Mary’s children. That dream was now dead. His decision was made. Mary’s claims were too incredible, maybe even delusional. He needed to end the betrothal, but he resolved to do it as quietly as possible, shielding Mary from avoidable shame. He still loved her.

That night he fell asleep, exhausted from grief. And then the angel came to him and his world was flipped right side-up.


There is an encouraging lesson to draw from this story. Joseph was a just man (Matthew 1:19) and assessed the situation in the integrity of his heart, and, I assume, with a deep trust in God. He made the best decision regarding Mary that he could. It turned out to be the wrong one. But God, full of mercy, intervened. He gently corrected Joseph and gave him the guidance he needed.

God does not spare us from all awkward and painful decisions. Neither does he spare us from all wrong decisions resulting from our fallen finiteness, even if they are made in the integrity of our hearts. God has his purposes in all of these. But what we can trust him to do is faithfully give us the correction and guidance we need at the time he deems right.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Heart Mom Night Out & Diaper Shenanigans

We had our monthly Heart Mom Night Out last night. It was such a fun time getting together with other heart moms and just chatting about our kids and the struggles and milestones that each of them are experiencing right now. There were 6 of us in attendance last night and each one of these heart moms is so special to me. I am so thankful that the Lord has brough together this group of ladies to pray for each other, support and encourage each other on the rollercoaster of being a heart mom.

If you or someone you know is a heart mom and you might have an interest in joining our little group, please leave me a comment. I would love for you to join us!

Coincidentally - four of our heart kids have cardiology visits coming up in December - all right before Christmas - so if you happen to think about our little group - please pray for our heart kids and for our heart Moms. As EVERY heart mom that I know will attest.... the night before cardiology appointments we are very nervewracking - for so many reasons.

Thank you friends for being so faithful to keep up with our family and for continuing to pray. We are truly grateful.

On a MUCh lighter note.... Anna Grace has recently learned how to unzip zippers. Wow! You might be saying. How wonderful that she can do such a dexterous thing at such a young age. Well, this Mommy is not quite convinced of the blessing of this new trick. You see, Anna Grace sleeps in a sleep sack which is basically this fleece potato sack thingy which has a zipper up the front. It's to keep her under a blanket since little ones tend to sleep all over the place and won't stay under their blankets at night. It's a wonderful invention and she has slept in one since she was about 6 months old. Well, now that she knows how to unzip the zipper on her sleep sack she can get out of it while in her crib. Once she gets out of it her clothes come off - I mean ALL off and then her diaper comes off too. Friday night she woke up crying at about midnight. This is not unusual for Anna Grace so I went in to check on her. She was naked in her crib, crying and had wet herself and her crib. She was freezing, soaked and naked. No fun at midnight. So - I took the suggestion that a friend of mine had - turn the sleep sack around backwards so the zipper is in the back. Genius I thought! So today at nap time that's what I did thinking there would be no way for her to escape. But, my clever little daughter did just that. After about 20 minutes of crying in her crib at nap time I went to check on her. She had managed to unzip her sleep sack about half way up AND take off her diaper. The zipper was in the back!!!!!! Ugh..... Zachary never did this so I am in new territory here. Anyone else ever experience this? Any suggestions? How quickly will she tire of this little game???? Mommy is tired of washing sheets daily :)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Little Toy Soldiers

Last night Brian and I, along with Mee-Mee, took the kids to our church's Christmas program. The program lasted about 1 1/2 hours and the kids did pretty well with sitting. We were in the balcony and had freedom to "move about the cabin" and that was a tremendous help. One of the parts of the Christmas program was a musical number which involved people dressed as toy soldiers dancing in contagion and both of the kids LOVED it. Anna Grace stood on the pew and kicked her legs and marched and waved her arms and tried her very best to do exactly what the dancers were doing. She smiled and laughed and at the end of the number a stuffed bear pushed the toy soldiers down and she loved it. After the song and dance were over you could hear her yelling "where bear?" "where bear?" Honestly I could hardly watch the performance for the joy I had in watching her enjoy it so much. Needless to say, it was a fun evening and I am thankful we were able to go.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Where Have We Been?

You may be wondering where we've been since it's been such a long time since I have posted. We have all been fine, but we have had a family member dealing with some unexpected heart problems. I am happy to report that this family member is recovering nicely at home now and we are all very thankful for how the Lord has worked in such a big way here!

As for our little family.... we had a very quiet Thanksgiving at home, just the four of us. We put up our christmas tree and it was decorated so nicely. Then Anna Grace wouldn't leave the ornaments alone and so now our Christmas tree is naked from the waist down. Literlly, there is NOTHING on the tree at the bottom. Oh well :) It's really kind of funny. I'm sure its one of those things I'll look back on one day very fondly.....

Over the last couple of weeks I also turned 36. I know.... GASP! I really can't beleive it myself! Enough about that!

Anna Grace has also had her second dose of Synagis. She had it the day after Thanksgiving. I am very grateful because her doctor told me that he has only seen 3 cases of the flu this season, but that he is seeing LOTS of RSV. Praise the Lord for Synagis. Since Zachary is in school this year I am even more tankful for the added protection of Synagis.

I really have a lot more to update you with and I also need to add some pictures (especially of our naked tree) - but I need to go get Anna Grace up from her nap so I will try to post more tomorrow! Thank you all for continuing to check on our family and sorry about the lack of blogging!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


We had our fundraiser tonight at Fuddruckers and we were able to raise about $200 for Palmetto Hearys charity. We also had a terrific time visiting with other heart families and friends who have walked our journeys with us. It was an amazing evening. I also want to give a big shout out to our amazing babysitter Miss. B who watched the kids for us while we worked and mingled. We love her and are so thankful for her.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

11th Wedding Anniversary

Today I have been married to my dear sweet husband for 11 years. My how the years have flown by! For our anniversary I baked some cupcakes - yellow cake with chocolate frosting - my husband's favorite! We have big plans for a date night on Saturday night - dinner and a movie I beleive. Mee-Maw and Pops have volunteered to be our babysitters for the evening (thank you)! It has been quite some time since Brian and I have been on a date together - since February I think! So, I am really looking forward to spending some quality time with the man that the Lord has given to be my husband. I am thankful for the covenant of marriage :)

Just a funny story to share about our anniversary... we have been telling the kids that today is our wedding anniversary and this morning as Zachary was getting ready for school he said, "Mom, I am so happy to celebrate you and Dad getting married today". Sweet sentiment, but I think he's a little confused about what an anniversary is :) Gotta love that boy!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I'm A Model, You Know What I Mean.....

Is that song playing in your head now.... "I'm a model, you know what I mean and I do my little turn on the catwalk...." Ha-Ha! Am I showing my age here?

Anyway, I know I am not the best about sharing pictures on my BLOG, but I have just a couple new ones that I'd like to share. The first is of Anna Grace sporting her NEW Palmetto Hearts embroidered heart-tree shirt complete with the congenital heart defect logo ribbon. We are selling these for $20 each at our 5K. They really turned out cute! Check out my little model!

Not to be outdone by his sister, is Zachary sporting his soccer jersey at his soccer awards night. His soccer season has offically ended and was wrapped up by a crazy and entertaining awards night complete with a most amazing juggler! We had a blast! Although, I am really glad soccer season is over.... more on that later!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Do You Like Milk?

Everyday at least for the last 6 months, when I take Anna Grace for her afternoon nap I carry her, paci, blankie, her stuffed animal cat named "cat", and a bottle of milk upstairs to the rocking chair in her room. Everyday for at least the last six months on our trek to her room I will say, "Let's all go to nap - blankie, paci, cat and milk. Do you like milk Anna?" Well, recently since my little girl is approaching two years old she is starting to speak more than just one or two words. So for about the last week or two on our trek to her room for nap time after I ask her "Do you like milk Anna?" she will now responond "I LOOOOVVVE milk!" It is so hillarious. I look forward to it everyday!

Also, since our little girl is now approaching two she has recently started wanting to give herself her morning medicine. Several months ago I stopped crushing her pills and mixing them with water - I just started putting some applesauce on a spoon and sitting the pill in the applesauce and letting it soften and then let her eat the bite of applesauce with the medicine from the spoon. It has actually worked very well. Recently though she will say, "No Mommy" and I'll say "Do you want to do it?" and she'll respond "Yeah, yeah, yeah". She takes her spoon and feeds herself her morning medicine. I am very thankful that it is not a fight and that she gladly takes her pills each morning. She is becoming such a BIG girl and she is such a joy. I am thankful she is my daughter :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

November 15 Benefit for Palmetto Hearts

Hello all you Heart Mommies and Friends of Heart Families!

I would like to invite you all to attend a benefit night at Fuddruckers located at 1509 Reidville Rd in Spartanburg, SC. The benefit is being held on November 15 from 5-8 pm. That evening Fuddruckers has agreed to donate 10% of all food and beverage sales from Palmetto Hearts members and friends! So, please come to Fuddruckers and be sure to mention the Palmetto Hearts fundraiser.

I hope to see many heart families and heart kids and wonderfully supportive friends and families that evening. I think it will not only be an evening for raising money for a very worthy cause - but also a fun little social event to hang-out and visit with our extended heart family!

Can't wait to see you there. Mark your calendar.... do it now so you don't forget!!! Yep - that means you :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Virus and Synagis and Flu Shots, Oh My!

Last Wednesday Anna Grace started running a fever. 102.3 to be exact. The only two times in her life she has ever run a fever that high has been with strep throat so I immediatley called our favorite pediatrician Dr. Y to go in for a strep test. I was sure it was strep. She didn't have any other symptom except not wanting to eat and having a high fever. So in we go Wednesday afternoon for the strep test - which surprisingly came out negative. Huh???? Dr. Y said he thought it was just a virus but to call him Friday afternoon if she was still running a fever. When Friday afternoon rolled around she was still running 101.7 so I called. The pediatrician felt like the best course was to start her on an antibiotic since it was Friday afternoon and for some reason her strep culture wasn't sent out for a 48 hour culture. Not sure why, I'm sure it was just a mistake, but to be on the safe side we started the antibiotic. Saturday she was still running fever but Sunday it stopped and then the cough started. Yep, there's a virus going around here that causes a yucky bad cough. Zachary and I both had it, but we never ran any fever - we just had a cough. Obviously she caught our virus and it just hit her more intensly than us. She is finishing up the antibiotics though just to play it safe.

Well, last week Anna Grace was supposed to have her first round of Synagis and her Flu Shot but she wasn't able to get either since she was sick and running a high fever. So, she is scheduled for Thursday morning to receive her Synagis - which if you remember from last year I have a love/hate relationship with. I love the added protection the medicine offers from RSV, but I hate the anxiety all of these monthly injections add to my daughter who already is terrified of the doctor.

I still have not made up my mind about giving Anna Grace the flu shot on Thursday with the Synagis as planned. After all, she is still recovering from a yucky virus and I hate to give her so much medicine all at once. Although, if she doesn't get her flu shot with the Synagis tomorrow that means yet another trip to the doctor for an injection which is going to cause more anxiety.

So.... I am praying the Lord will give me some wisdom and discernemnt with this one. I of course want what is best for my daughter and like all heart Moms we know we have to be our child's advocate.

Either way - it will be Synagis Thursday for sure.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Congenital Heart Defect Shirts

As you may remember me posting in the past, I am part of a committe planning a 5K Walk/Run fundraiser April 14, 2012 for Palmetto Hearts charity. Palmetto Hearts is a charity which helps heart kids and their families here in South Carolina. Our committe has been meeting and working on obtaining sponsors for our event, which I must say has been a little more difficult than I had first imagined it to be. Nonetheless, we have been able to secure 3 corporate sponsors thus far and are continuing to work on a few more before shifting gears and getting into the nitty-gritty details of the run planning.

One of the FUN things that our committee has been working on is designing shirts for children which we will sell at our "merchandise tent" which will be located in the "festival" part of the run. (Yes, we decided a fun little festival area to go along with our run would be nice for the heart families in attendance). So, we are only making a limited number of childrens shirts to sell and we are taking pre-orders for them because they have been in such demand. If you would like to pre-order one of these SUPER cute shirts for your heart baby or heart sibling or for your heart-healthy child to wear in support of our heart kids please e-mail your order to 5K@palmettohearts.org

The girls shirts are $20 each and the boys shirts are $20 each. The proceeds of the shirt sales of course go to Palmetto Hearts charity.

Here are pictures of the shirts and the remaining size inventory of each.

Remaining Inventory:

Size Number Remaining
18 Month*******2
24 Month*******9
XS (4-5)********2
S (6-7)********* 7

Size Number Remaining
18 Month********2
24 Month********3
5T************* 5

Friday, October 14, 2011

Family Pictures

We had something pretty special happen recently I want to share with you. There is a sweet and talented lady that we go to Church with. Her name is Marian Loftis and she is a photographer. She was having a contest a few months ago and asking people to nominate someone they felt was deserving of a free photo shoot. A friend of mine nominated our family and about 3 weeks ago I found out that we WON the contest. I was so excited because we haven't had any family photos taken since Anna Grace has been born - well, not professionally anyway. What a priceless gift to have won and from SUCH a TALENTED photographer as well. I was so excited! Well, this last Saturday was our photo shoot. Anna Grace was not really cooperating as her stranger anxiety was back in full force - but amazingly enough - even though I was pretty sure that a decent picture from the day would have been impossible.... Marian was able to get some amazing photos of our family. Here are just a few to share with you. So.... if you're looking for a totally gifted photographer for your family please check out her website. www.marianashleyphoto.com Not only is she talented she was so patient and loving with our kids - she is a special lady and we are so thankful for the priceless gift she has given us :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lots of Pictures

Usually I take pictures on my camera and then upload them to Shutterfly each week. When I do that I usually upload some to my BLOG as well, but as you know - I have been WAY behind on my picture updates. So here are a few pictures taken throughout the summer. Enjoy!

My Mom & Step-Dad celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary this summer. I was so thankful to be able to share this with them. Happy anniversary guys!

Zachary began playing soccer for the first time this Fall. I'm not sure he likes the rules of the game, but he does love running around the field with his friends!

Doesn't he look big! Go Zachary - Soccer Star!

This was a quick picture I grabbed from one of our Heart Moms Night Out. Just some Heart Moms like me enjoying spending time together, encouraging each other and having fun!

Milliken Park- Anna Grace please stay out of the fountain!

Milliken Park - I love that I was able to capture a picture of the two of them together. It lasted only about 2 seconds and then they were off!

Milliken Park - Climing on rocks.

Milliken Park - Climbing on rocks

Milliken Park - Climbing on rocks... do you see a trend here?????

I had a quick visit from my Dad this summer. My Dad lives in Texas so he had quite a drive to make it here. It sure was great getting to visit with him even though it was short!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Birthday Pictures!

As promised here are a few pictures from the kids birthday party this last weekend. It turned out to be a COLD day if you can beleive that! Just some random cold snap that zipped through for the weekend. None of us were really prepared for the cold and the wind was gusting as well. We all made the best of it and the kids didn't seem to mind a bit! There were lots of friends and family in attendance which was so wonderful. Zachary and Anna Grace both had a terrific time!

As a Heart Mom I do not take for granted these milestones. I am always amazed at how far the Lord has brought our family. Seriously, 2 years ago I would have never dreamed that we would be partying at the playground with lots of friends and family and cake with two very active little children running around. Our family is truly blessed and I am thankful. Enjoy the pictures :)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Birthday Party!

The kids non-birthday birthday party is coming up this weekend. The Grandmas were so generous to offer to buy a "shared" cake for the kids which will be half Dora and half Batman - should be quite an interesting cake! Zachary is excited - but he doesn't care about the cake or presents he is just excited about getting to play with his friends! That is SOOO Zachary. I will not be surprised if I have to threaten a time-out to get him to stop playing to come have cake & open his presents! Anna Grace doesn't realize that she has a party coming up and I hope that she does well with the crowd. Generally speaking she has been doing pretty well around people so I am hopeful that she will enjoy this year's party MUCH more than last years! I promise to post pictures of the party.... I know... I am slack with the pictures, but I will post party pictures!

Just wanted to also update you that Anna Grace will have her first round of Synagis and her Flu shot at the end of the month. The rest of the family will also be getting our flu shots at the end of the month as well. And so begins our winter season.......

Sunday, September 25, 2011


We got a letter in the mail on Saturday from the insurance company saying thay had approved Anna Grace for Synagis this winter! If you're not familiar with what Synagis is - it is a medication given my monthly injections which helps the body develop antibodies against RSV. It's not a vaccination, as there is currently no vaccine again RSV, but should Anna Grace contract RSV - this medication will help her body to fight the virus so that it won't be as severe for her. For a heart baby - that is a VERY BIG DEAL. VERY. BIG.

I know that so many of you have been praying about this for us and I want to say thank you for being so faithful to pray for our family. As a heart Mom I am very thankful for your prayers and for the Lord's mercy in continuing to provide for our family. He is so faithful. I am so thankful and so humbled. Now, we can start praying that Anna Grace will tolerate the monthly injections without too much trauma. Her attitude around doctors has been improving since she hasn't had to have regular injections this summer. I would hate to take two steps forward and one step back.

I also can not write a Synagis post without a big thank you to Anna Grace's pediatrician who totally went to bat against the insurace company for her benefit. I can not say enough wonderful things about AG's pediatrician - the Lord truly blessed us with him.

As you can probably tell, I am super excited about this news and just had to share!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Yellow Notes and Growing Pains

As you know, Zachary started 4K this Fall. This is his first school experience and he is having some growing pains adjusting to school life. I am also having some growing pains adjusting to school life. I knew this would be the case so I am not surprised by it, but thought I would share with you all about how school is going.... for Zachary and for Mommy!

So, Zachary has been getting yellow notes sent home from school. Not everyday, but about half the week. All of the notes so far have been for things that I have not been surprised about. The fisrt yellow note: "Zachary was leaning back in his chair during snack time". The second yellow note: "Zachary was climbing in the cabinet under the play kitchen in the housekeeping center". The third yellow note: "Zachary cut his har with the scissors". The first RED note: "Zachary was waving the pointer around in the reading center and spinning in circles". The fourth yellow note: "Zachary was screaming out during the action-play songs - (example: if you're happy and you know it clap your hands - he was screaming it)". So.... none of these things surprise me. I have a high energy little boy who has ants in his pants. I do think he'll figure it out as he learns what is appropriate behavior at school. Academically, everything he is learning is a review for him and I am thankful that he is not having to learn new things while trying to figure out what is "appropriate" behavior at school.

As for me, I am having as hard time letting go. No surprise there. So, I am learning along with Zachary and it does not come easily :)

Monday, September 19, 2011


Little Miss Anna Grace has become Little Miss Chatterbox. She is very chatty, just like her older borther! It is sweet to hear her little voice and she can say several different things, "here you go", "Okay Momma" and then the standard, "cat" "dog" "cow" "milk" "Momma" "Daddy" etc. Well, recently over the last week or so her answer for everything has been "no". Anna Grace, do you want milk? "No". Anna Grace, do you want to go outside? "No". Anna Grace, do you want your paci? "No". Anna Grace, is the sky blue? "no". You get the idea. It doesn't matter what the question is, the answer is always no. Sometimes, she will shake her head "yes" and still say "no". I think she just likes saying "no". She is certainly turning into her own person with her own personality and ideas. It is always exciting to watch your child grow! I am thankful to be witnessing these moments - including all the "no's"!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I Just Cry

I haven't written a post like this in some time because Anna Grace has been doing so well and we have been living pretty normally now for the last few months.

Even though Anna Grace has been doing terrific, her third open heart surgery is always looming in the back of my mind. Seriously. Always. It doesn't take much to bring me to tears when I think about it and I Just Cry.

You've probably heard me mention before that Anna Grace does not yet sleep through the night. Sometimes, after I've been up with her in the night and I'm finally back in bed I can't sleep and my mind wanders. I start to think about the third surgery and I Just Cry. My mind starts racing. Especially in the middle of the night. I imagine how she will feel when she wakes up after surgery and how her eyes will be wide with fear. She won't be able to talk because she'll have the vent in and she will be scared and I will not be able to do anything for her except stroke her head for all of the tubes and lines that will be coming out of her body. I would say that it is like a nightmare, except it is reality and I know because we have DONE IT BEFORE. And it is HARD. I Just Cry.

Now, please don't misunderstand me. I am not walking around crying all of the time. I am mostly trying to soak in every moment and every memory I can make with my kids because I know how truly precious they are. But, it is hard being a heart mom and our kids have to endure so, so much. As a Mom it just breaks your heart somtimes, and you Just Cry.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Quick Update

I know I promised pictures that I have not come through with yet.... sorry. I have a whole camera full of pictures that need to be uploaded - we have just been busy here. I'm usually really good about staying on top of that, but for some reason I just can't seem to get it done these days. Here's a quick re-cap of the last couple of weeks.

Zachary has remained in school and has managed to catch his SECOND cold in the 3 weeks he has been in school. He also shared this cold with his sister so they were both well for about 2 days from the lsat cold before they became symptomatic with this one. They are both tolerating the cold just fine and I am thankful that it is just a cold.

Since I last posted we bought a new sofa. Well, let me clarify, it is a used sofa but it is new to us. It was a Craigslist find that I am thrilled with and we now have a place to sit in the livingroom!

We also took both the kids, along with Mee-Maw and Pops, to Nivens Apple Farm on Saturday. Oh what fun! Both of the kids loved it - seeing the animals, climbing on and off the tractor, the hay ride, apple cider, the corn maze and of course the apples. It's something we look forward to every year. Last year Anna Grace was just learning to crawl when we went so she was really too young to enjoy all that Nivens Apple Farm had to offer, but this year - she kept up with her brother and was totally tuckered out at the end of the day! We plan to go back again in a few weeks once the pumpkins are ready to pick. Fall is in the air and we are enjoying the cooler weather.

Anna Grace and I have started going back to church with Brian and Zachary - although I am not taking her back in her class because she was just staying sick from the "nursery germs". So, I am now just taking her into the Sanctuary with me. She usually lasts about 15-20 minutes before we have to step into the hall because she won't sit still - but it is nice to be back in the Lord's house on Sunday even if we are in the hall :)

I am also in the process of planning a joint birthday party for Zachary and Anna Grace. Now, just to clarify - Anna Grace's birthday is not until December 28 and Zachary's birthday is not until January 26 so I know I'm early here. But, hosting a birthday party in the middle of cold/flu/RSV season is just not something I'm quite ready for just yet - so - they will be having a joint Fall birthday party at a local playground. Zachary also asked that it be a costume party - so - it is a playground costume party. What does he want to be????? A knight. Anna Grace likes to dress up, but only for about 30 seconds so I most likely won't be taking her in costume - I might just throw a tu-tu on over her clothes that way if she gets tired of it I can take it off easily.

So, that is about all that is going on in our little group for now. Thank you for checking in on us!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Family Update

I am really sorry that it has been such a long time since I have updated. I wanted to take a minute to fill you all in on what has been going on with our family. It's all good, we've just been busy!

Zachary finished his last swimming lesson last week. He has been taking swimming all summer and is doing terrific. Completley beyond my expectations of where he would be with swimming at his age. He is swimming freestyle, back stroke, can dive and float on his back. I think he may be a better swimmer than me now! We're letting him take a couple of months off from swimming because this week he started soccer!

This is the first time he has ever played a "team" sport and I am excited about the opportunities he's going to have learning how to play as a team. He had his first soccer practice last night. Although, I truly felt sorry for the coaches trying to keep a gaggle of four-year-olds together and on task. It was like herding cats. The boys were a lot more interested in goofing off than learning to play soccer. We'll see how the season progresses. I'll keep you updated, but Zachary did have a terrific time at soccer practice (other than running full speed ahead into the soccer goal - bam - right into it)! Running into the goal didn't seem to phase him as much as him not winning the running race - which it wasn't a race, they were just running laps, but somehow he got it into his head that it was a race and his goal accident made him come in last. Poor kid :) Paying attention is hopefully something else he will learn during this soccer season!

Last Wednesday Zachary started school for the very first time. He is in 4K and is going to school 5 days a week from 8:30-11:30. He really seems to be enjoying himself although has had some difficulty refraining himself from talking during class - big surprise (NOT)!! I jokiingly told Brian that if Zachary could learn nothing else this year except how to sit in his seat and be quiet then I will feel like we've gotten our money's worth! It is going to be a challenge for our little social bug.

Since starting school Zachary has managed to already catch a head cold. He hasn't run any fever or anything but he definately has a cold. He was also sweet enough to share his cold with his little sister so the last few nights I have been up with AG because she can't breathe through her nose and she has to have her paci to sleep. So, since she can't suck on her paci she can't sleep so Mommy has been partying a good bit during the night. Sigh. I am preparing myself for staying sick this entire school year - everyone tells me the first year of school is like that. We will all be heading to the doctor in October for our flu shots and any other kind of shot or vaccination they can give us to help keep us well.

Speaking of shots. Anna Grace's pediatrician is still working on getting her Synagis approval. Please continue to pray about this. I'll keep you posted.

In my mind I thought that I would have TONS of one-on-one time with AG while Zachary was in school, but honestly since he started school I have mostly been running erronds wtih AG because lets face it - it is easier to run erronds with one chid instead of two. Hopefully next week I'll be a little more caught up with my running around and can just do some fun girl things with AG.

So, I have a bunch of pictures from the last few weeks I need to post and I will hopefully get to that later this week. But, I wanted to go ahed and update you on how we were. Thanks for keeping up with us and for continuing to pray for AG!

Friday, August 19, 2011