Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The randomness that is our house

The last two weekends we have been laying a little low key. This past weekend Colin was sick with a fever and cold, and Matt had to work, so we just hung around. But I have some funny pictures from our everyday lives. The flower above is from our front yard, we have had such a mild winter, the flowers think it's spring time already. And that is fine by me, this southern girl does not like the cold!The coolest straw ever.. eyeglass straw. Colin got this for Christmas, we are just now testing it out. Now I have to find another one, so the kids can stop fighting over it and sharing germs through it.
Matt got a nerf gun for Christmas. The kids love taking turn shooting at the door making the darts stick to the door. They do follow the rule so far of NOT shooting each other.. but does not stop Matt and I from shooting the kids with it.
See kitties have rough days too and need some Prosecco (sparkling wine). Seager thought he would like to share my glass the other night. Silly kitty.
Saturday we went to Chuck-E-Cheese for a little while. Must have tired Katherine out that night. She fell asleep, well more like passed out, on the ottoman in our bedroom. Doesn't look too comfortable, but she has always fallen asleep in weird places and positions.
For Christmas and Matt's birthday, I got the pictures he took at the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco put onto canvas. They came out beautifully and this weekend we hung them over the fireplace. We have been in the house 3 years and could not find anything to put in the two story art niche above the fireplace. I think these fit well, plus they are stunning pictures from a great trip we had.
Colin anxiously waiting for Katherine to finish the brownie mix so he can lick the bowl. Katherine did a great job of putting in all the ingredients and mixing the batter all by herself. She loves to bake and of course eat it too!
Now it's bowl licking time! The best thing about baking!
Katherine's school is having a 100 day of school celebration this week. We had to make a shirt with 100 things on them. So we went to the store and she got to pick out 100 stickers. She stuck with hearts, flowers, stars, and jewels. We had to count out 100 and I hot glued them on the shirt. Katherine lost interest halfway through the project :)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Real Importance of Team Colin - It's My Heart CHD Heart Walk

Date: Saturday Feb. 18
Location: Downtown Houston - Sam Houston Park
Time: 9:00am
Activities: 5K walk and family fun festival afterwards (live music, face painting, raffles, bounce castles, rock walls, gyro rides, and food vendors)
Cost: Free to walk, any donations welcomed

Team Colin is participating for the 3rd time in the It's My Heart CHD (Congenital Heart Defect) Walk. This walk means so much to us and the group it supports. I hope all that can come and walk with us (WE WANT TO HAVE LOTS OF WALKERS) and help spread awareness and raise money for congenital heart defects. I could go on and tell you all the facts about CHD's like they are the # 1 birth defect and # 1 cause of birth defect related deaths. 1 in 100 babies are born with a heart defect.

BUT I am going to share more of the personal side of why Team Colin is so important. I am going to open up more about CHD's today than I probably ever have. Colin's heart will never be fixed, he will always have half a heart. After his next surgery he might be fine and live a long healthy life (and that's what we pray for everyday). He might need additional surgeries, he might need a heart transplant (then you have to worry about rejection) or sadly enough, one day his heart might just give up on him. It's hard to type those words as hard as it is to read them. I know one day Colin might not be here with us… that thought crosses my mind but I pray for hope and strength. I have a good friend I was telling that Colin qualifies for Make A Wish, she was surprised that he qualified as she thought it was for kids who are dying, it was then it made me realized that a lot of people don't know how serious Colin's condition is because he looks and act so healthy but in reality he has a life threatening condition, that can claim his life. Colin has at least one more surgery, and I am scared to death.. I start to tear up just thinking about it. I look at his sweet face and realize that they will have to stop his heart once again and perform another miracle.

The heart walk gives us hope in getting to meet kids just like Colin, some the same age, some older. It's a great network of families and support. Anybody with a child with special needs or a life threaten illness needs that support. In the beginning when I was so lost and confused, It's My Heart connected me with families with HLHS children. I can go to these families with questions and fears. As a parent with a child with half a heart, I have shed many tears, many sleepless nights, I have even started to grind my teeth in my sleep due to stress and have to wear a mouth guard. I have started getting more white hairs at the young age of 32. I am glad I have an amazing network of families to live this with.

The heart walk raises awareness and money to help support outreach programs. Colin was not diagnosed until he was 3 days old. When we were transferred to Texas Children's, It's My heart, gave us a goodie bag with supplies for our long stay in the hospital and information on how to get the support systems in place that we will need to take this journey. Team Colin's donations help with the hospital supply bags and awareness literature. Support systems are key, it is a very long and hard journey to take. Even almost three years into it, I have my moments when I breakdown. The other night I was very discouraged about Colin's growth, he has grown what he was suppose to this past year, but he is still far behind. I stayed up thinking too much that night about him getting teased or bullied because of his size and his self confidence being a smaller person.

80% of kids with HLHS survive and make it to the 2nd surgery at about 6 months of age. That number sounds good until you realize there are 20% that don't make it. I have known too many moms that lost their sweet angles to this defect. I think of their children often as I know it could have just as easily been Colin. My heart has been broken watching these babies fall victim to HLHS and become the statistic of the number # 1 cause of birth related defects. The money Team Colin raises also helps provide grief support to families in a very hard time!

I am going to steal the line from the St. Jude's.. But it fits and I love it.. Give thanks for the healthy kids in your life and give to those who are not. Come walk with Team Colin and support fighting against Congenital heart defects and help raise awareness. Help support It's My Heart that supports so many families that are fighting for their child's life. Every child deserves a long healthy life.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

3 day weekend - WHOOO HOOO

This weekend was none other than full of fun and kept us busy.. A normal weekend in our house.. Except it was a 3 day weekend! Matt had off of work and Katherine was off of school for Martin Luther King day, so I took off of work to have a family fun day.

Saturday Katherine and I had a girls morning with one of her friends. We took the girls to see Beauty and the Beast 3D. Katherine enjoyed the movie and of course had a blast with the 3D special effects. When they had snow, rain, or bubbles on the screen, you could see Katherine reach out to touch them. I think her favorite part was the 3D Tangled short before the movie. After the movie, we met up with all the boys for lunch. The kids had fun going to a restaurant with their friends. Colin, I think has a little crush on Katherine's friend, and at lunch her sat next to her for a little while, and to show his affection.. He licked her face :) That's my boy!
After lunch we went home for 15 whole minutes, got ready, and went to Matt's parents house for the afternoon and evening of football. Matt's mom, me, and the kids took a little break from football to go play at the park for a little while. We got home that night at 9:00pm. I left the house at 8:45am for the movies and got home at 9:00pm.. A long day.

Sunday we went to a friend's house to watch the Texans game, let all the kids run wild, and eat some yummy food. We had a fun day, just wish we would have won the game. But hey they made it to the playoffs for the first time ever AND even won their first playoff game.
Monday was a beautiful warm day (72 degrees) so we took the kids down to Galveston Island for the day. We ate lunch by the water and went shopping on the strand. The kids love the Strand.. They like playing on the big chess board, getting ice cream, looking at the tourist shops, and getting to buy things. It was a nice day to see the ocean. That's why I don't think I could ever move from Texas… the cold is not my friend!
Katherine for SOME reason.. wanted to buy this shirt.. she was begging to have it.. of course I said no, but not before I snapped a picture with her in it.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Happy Birthday Matt & Texans in the Playoffs

Yesterday was Matt's birthday.. Happy Birthday MATT! Saturday we had a birthday party/Texans football watching party. We got up on Saturday and got the house ready for our guest and enjoyed the nice spring.. Oppss I mean winter day (Sunny and high of 80 degrees..) It was so nice that while playing out in the back yard, we heard the ice cream truck and went running. The kids sat on the back porch with their ice cream and shorts enjoying the afternoon. And as traditional as Texas winter goes, I was wearing shorts on Saturday, and now a sweater today.
For the party we had Matt's parents, my brother and sister in law, and 3 other families joined us. We had lots of food and fun. The kids had a blast playing with all their friends in the playroom and outside. 11 kids and minimal fights about toys.. The evening was a success! The game was also great, it was the first times the Texans have made the playoffs and they won their first playoff game.. Yeah. As soon as the last guest left, the kids were passed out in our bed.

Sunday was a lazy day after Saturday's excitement. Katherine and I worked on her school project. We had to make a snow person and write sentences about what we used. "Olivia" snow baby turned out great! Katherine decorated her, I was just in charge of the hot glue gun.. Katherine tried to convince me that she could use the hot glue gun, but she did not win that argument!
Also Colin got a much needed haircut! They cut about 2 inches off.. I love his white hair and have kept it longer, like the little surfer boy he is, but it just got TOO LONG and hard to manage. I am really happy with his new do, plus it makes him look older!
Yesterday was Matt's real birthday… it flooded in Houston and we had tornadoes.. So we had a low key dinner at home followed by some cake and watch the National Championship game. Matt is truly my best friend and I am so grateful to share this life with him. He's a wonderful husband, a great father, and an amazing person. I look forward to many many more birthdays with him.. Okay enough of the sappiness.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Christmas, New Years, Spreading Cheer at Texas Children's, Gators, and Family Fun Days

Just as the title says.. we had a fun filled Christmas break! I was lucky to be able to take off 2 weeks and Matt only had to work a few days over the break, so we were able to spend a lot of quality time as a family. It was hard to go back to work, I have so much fun when I get to be home with the kids!

Christmas Cookies & Spreading cheer at Texas Children's Hospital
3 days before Christmas, my mom, me & the kids, and my sister in law, and nephew made about 8 dozen Christmas cookies. It was a great day baking in the kitchen and spending family time together. Of course we were making cookies for Santa (and a little for ourselves), but the majority of cookies we took to Texas Children's Hospital to help spread some Christmas cheer. It is very hard living in a hospital, and I can't imagine spending the holidays there, so I asked the Ronald McDonald House if we could drop off cookies. We also took some to the 15th Floor step down rooms, this is where heart families like ours spend months waiting to go home after surgery. I am very thankful we were not spending Christmas there, but know that might not always be the case, so I wanted to teach the kids about the true meaning of Christmas.
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
We had three wonderful days of Christmas celebrations with family. 2 days before Christmas we went to my cousins house for white elephant gift exchange. Matt and I got the gifts of a fuzzy vibrating pillow and a body art tattoo set.. Both really for Katherine. The kids got lots of fun gifts that night from my aunts & uncles, and cousins. We had a very nice Christmas Eve over at Matt's parents house, where we all got plenty of great gifts and great food. But we had to get home so Santa could come and deliver presents.

For the first time ever, Christmas morning, Matt and I were the first ones awake.. We had to wait on the kids. They loved all the toys Santa brought them and what Matt and I gave them. We are still waiting for one more box for their BIG present, a wooden playset/swingset for the backyard. Wal-Mart lost one of the boxes. After we opened all of our presents, we headed to my brothers for Christmas with my family.. More presents and more food. We are truly blessed to have spent 3 days with family celebrating. Colin was telling everyone it was Jesus Birthday!
Fun Family Days
After all the Christmas festivities calmed down, we were able to enjoy some quality family time. We took the kids bowling for the first time, they LOVED it for about 5 frames, then were not that excited about it. Matt and Katherine had a game of Glow In The Dark putt putt golf, which she loved.. Colin was a little afraid of it. We went to the park one day to feed the ducks and play on the playground. For Christmas we got a Zoo Membership, so one day when it was nice and 70 degrees, we took the kids to the zoo for a few hours.

Gators, Hiking, and Picnic at Brazos Bend State Park
Matt to work a few days, so one day, me & the kids, my parents, sister in law & nephew (my brother also had to work), went to Brazos Bend State park to hike & look for alligators, we spotted about 15 of them. We also grilled hamburgers and had a picnic there. That night all the grandkids spent the night with my parents and Matt and I, my brother and sister in law went out for drinks and appetizers.. Kids free :)
For New Years Eve was a little low key since we have small children. We had my family over and had lots of food, some drinks, and sparkerlers bigger than the kids, which they loved! The kids ALMOST made it to midnight, they fell asleep at 11:30. So Matt and I rang in the New Year just the two of us. The next morning we got up and met Matt's parents to go to the Houston Texans Football game. We had lots of fun at the game even though they lost.. But they are going to the playoffs for the 1st time.