Thursday, May 23, 2013


I have learned many things in my 5 years of being a Navy wife.  I've learned that the Navy could care less about me or my family.  They don't care that we're having to make some life altering decisions regarding our daughters health and well being (and depending on CNMC's recommendations, we may pull the trigger on surgery without Matthew being home).  
This tour has been miserable.  It's been two solid years of late nights, earlier mornings, ridiculous duty sections, in and out working up to deployment, and now that they're gone...an extension of the hell.  What's another month and a half?  
I'm tired.  My husband has missed two solid years of firsts.  He got 2 days off when E was born, and I felt lucky.  
I feel slightly guilty about raising so much hell and this newfound terrible attitude.  I'm as patriotic as they come.  It's all about duty and country...and all that.  I get it.  I probably understand better than most.  I packed my husband off for a tour in Afghanistan when Parker was 3 days old.  I thought it couldn't get any harder.  Touché, Navy.  Touché.  

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Go Fontan Yourself

I've written before about how terrible the experience of handing over a child for open heart surgery is.  It's miserable.  The Norwood was hard because Caroline  was tiny.  Being three days postpartum, walking beside her tiny body to deliver her to the surgeons was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do.  
The Glenn brought its own pain and anxiety.  Handing that sweet girl over didn't get any easier because we had done it before.  I remember pushing an empty stroller out of that pre-op room and for hours I could still smell her.  
Waiting for news is a different story.  Sitting and waiting is hard.  The time runs together.  The minutes drag by and your mind wanders to dark places.  You sit next to laughing families waiting for their children getting their tonsils out, wondering how its possible at all that the world isn't standing still.  All of these memories surround me these days.  They're my constant companion as we prepare for the Fontan.  In many ways its more difficult.  She can communicate her discomfort.  We have enjoyed our stolen time with this spirited girl.  Will the outcome be the same?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Chunky Monkey is turning 1!

Stationery Card
View the entire collection of cards.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Fontan Update

I took Caroline in to Portsmouth Naval Hospital today for her heart check up. First, I'd like to thank Amanda for taking a day off work and flying up here from Atlanta for one night and a whole lot of chaos to keep Everly while I took Caroline to the cardiologist. Parker was at school. I can't express how great it was to actually give 100% to Caroline during an appointment for once. With that being said, on with the update. Dr. Alderson seems to think that waiting until August for the Fontan is entirely possible. They were able to get all the tests done (even the ECHO) that supported our decision to wait until Matthew is home from deployment. Dr. A seemed impressed that C's oxygen saturation was in the low 90's, and she didn't seem concerned about the infrequent blue episodes. For once in a very long time, I actually got all my questions answered at the office, without losing my mind trying to wrangle my 3 littles. Although I still have some questions and concerns about timing, type of Fontan and making the trip up to DC (they want us to schedule the catheterization and OHS together), my hope is that as time passes that I can find answers that make me more comfortable with the process. As comfortable as one can be, handing off your child to have their chest opened and their source of life stopped.
As we have now entered the "two's", we won't call them terrible for now. She's been head strong and sassy since birth and I think she has such a strong spirit for a reason. I just have to keep telling myself that, for now.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Wreckage

Last week we had Caroline's birthday celebration. It was Minnie Mouse themed and in true Caroline style, a bit over the top. Guests came in from Georgia, North Carolina, Kentucky and Ohio. We had a wonderfully full house and time passed too quickly.
As emotional of a time this is for me by its self, Matthew's deployment weighed on my mind and put a damper on how much I would allow myself to enjoy. He left today. I've been in denial. I have put on my smiling face and laid out black and white details for the the kids. When I took Parker to school this morning he got out of the car and told one of the handlers "my Dad is gone, he's not coming back"...and all of the raw nerves and emotion I'd put neatly away came barreling to the surface. Parker sometimes says things to get a rise out of me in 4 year old fashion. There was something sad about how he said the words. There was a blistering finality to them. He's mourning. We all are. Honestly, our lives won't be much different without Matthew around. His work schedule pre-deployment was so chaotic that he barely spent an entire hour with the kids most evenings before putting them to bed. So I'm not sure why I had to pull over on the side of the road leaving Parker's school this morning. Or why those words cut so deep.
Looking forward to his return is a luxury I don't have. Very soon after he returns from this deployment, we take Caroline back up to Children's National for her third open heart surgery. I can't put into words how anxious I am about this next step, or how hard it is to focus on taking his absence one day at a time.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Well, Everly isn't a "baby" anymore. She has officially been outside my body as long as she was in.
She is as big as Caroline, has been mobile for months and keeps us all on our toes by putting EVERYTHING in her mouth. She's very vocal, waves to strangers and is the jolliest little monster we have. I can't believe she's 9 months old already. Time has flown by. People always say that, but this is the first time I've felt it with my three. I'm glad she's tough and can hold her own with her siblings already.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A resolution-In writing

One of my more realistic New Years Resolutions is to update our blog more often.  I have been selfish with my time and when I have a free moment, I usually spend the time snuggling my very rapidly growing baby or reading a toddler paced story about animals.  So much has happened since the last time I posted, I fear I won't catch up.  Hopefully I can start with the big events and go from there. 
-The kids and I had an awesome trip to Georgia and North Carolina.  We got to show off our new arrival and let Caroline charm the pants off everyone.  (This trip had a small hospital stay for Caroline, but the Doctors and staff at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta were amazing.  They even let me keep Everly in the room with us!)
-Parker turned 4!
-Everly was baptised.  We had her baptism the same weekend as Parker's celebration and had a house full of visitors. 

-Matthew had a birthday, (a big one) and since he really couldn't take off from work, I brought a small party to him.
-Parker started Montessori school. 
-We FINALLY bought a camera worth taking pictures on.  (I really can't believe how long it's taken us.)

-We had a fantastic visit from Matthew's Dad (Papa Keith) and Grandma Vicki. 
-Parker broke his leg and got a cast up to his hip.  I don't even want to talk about it. 
-On TWO separate occasions, someone has run into the back of my 4Runner (the last one caused almost $9,000 in damage.)  These Virginians need to learn to drive!
As we start 2013, our family is preparing for a deployment and an open heart surgery.