Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Think About It.

Last month, my friend Amy shared this post on her blog. She was brave, and shared with the world how much Facebook, Blogger, Instagram, and just technology in general was taking over her life.

As I was reading this post, I kept thinking "Wow, that's nuts! She's late to get out of bed in the morning because she's checking Facebook on her iPhone?! Who does that?!" And then it hit me. I did that. Every single day. Talk about a reality check. 

I am an addict. I am addicted to anything and everything that an iPhone, or any smartphone for that matter, can do. I love Instagram. I love taking a billion pictures of my kids. I love texting. I love the music. I love the games. I love the apps. And, oh, do I love Facebook. 

I couldn't make it through a day without having to charge my phone mid-day. My husband, poor guy, would try to talk to me and was ignored because I was on my phone. I checked my FB while driving. I checked it at the grocery store. I was on FB while giving Evan a bath. I was on my phone while "playing" with my kids at the park. 

I was seriously sickened after becoming aware of how much I was on my iPhone. 

That's when I decided I needed to break this habit. I started searching for iPhone rehab centers - just kidding. Kind of. Unlike Amy, I was not able to exert enough self-control to limit my time on my iPhone. So, I sold it. And purchased a non-smart phone. 

Wait, what? 

Yes, that's right. Non-smart phones still exist! 

It's been almost a month now since I sold my iPhone on eBay. Honestly, I expected to have physical signs of withdrawal - the shakes, sweating, irritability. But I'm fine. Really! Sure, there are times where I miss my iPhone, like when I'm in another city and get super lost and can't whip out my GPS. Or when I'm in the store and want to compare products. Or when my mama group is posting last-minute meet ups and I am missing out. But it's ok. You know why?

Because my kids and my husband now come first. I am no longer the mommy pushing her child in the swing with one hand and checking her phone with the other. I am no longer telling my child to hold on a minute because I'm too busy with my phone to pay attention to her silly song and dance. My husband is no longer talking to a brick wall. I am no longer missing out on REAL LIFE. I'm free! 

Free, free at last, and it feels so good... 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Semi-Homemade Christmas

This year I have been having sew much fun (get it?) hand making gifts for the little ones for Christmas. Everything I have made so far has been relatively easy and the perfect project for a beginner seamstress, like myself! I will say though, I think I may be moving up to intermediate after all the sewing I've done this holiday season! 

While some of my projects must remain secret til after Christmas, I will share with you two DIY's I've made for my kids, cousins, and little friends. Feel free to comment if you have any questions, or to share with me your end product! 

Car Caddy 

These little things are going to be a huge hit with the boys in my family! They are inexpensive to make, I spent about $5 on each one. Your price will vary depending on the cost of your fabric. (Hello Hobby Lobby Coupons!) I'd say after the first one, and after the cutting (I cut all of mine out in the beginning) the rest took me about 30 minutes each to sew. 

I semi-followed the directions off of this website. I, personally, do not like the denim fabric used and did not like the closure, or the applique. Picky much? Yes, I know. 

two pieces of duck cloth, or other heavyweight fabric, for the outside and car pockets (17" x 10" and 17" x 6")
one piece of coordinating fabric for the inside background (17" x 10")
one piece of iron-on medium weight interfacing (17" x 10")
black and yellow or white felt (black felt cut to 17 x 3 inches, yellow felt cut into five 1" x 1/4" pieces)
24" Coordinating ribbon 
Fabric Glue
sewing machine and supplies

1. Cut out all your fabric. If you are planning on making more than one, cut all of your fabric now to save time. 
2. Iron all of your pieces. I hate this. I hate ironing. But do it. You need to press out those fold lines. 
3. Iron on your interfacing to the back of your inside background piece of fabric. 
4. Take your 17"x6" piece of fabric, fold in half so it's 17"x3", and iron to press. 
5. Line up the raw edge of your car pocket piece and the bottom of your inside background. Pin on each side. Line up your road felt on top and pin on the sides. 
6. Sew along the outside of the road. 
7. Measure 3" from the left side of your pocket fabric, mark a line (with a disappearing ink marker or pencil specifically for sewing), then measure 2.75" and mark a line until you've made 5 marks total. Stitch vertical lines down at each mark, making sure to backstitch at the top and bottom of each pocket. 
8. Take your ribbon, fold in half, and pin on the right side, middle, of the car pockets. 
9. Lay your outside 17" x 10" piece on top of your inside piece, making sure the right sides are facing each other.
10. Sew around the entire thing using a 1/4" seam and making sure to leave a 3-4" gap to turn it inside out. Be careful not to stitch around the extra ribbon laying inside! You only want to sew one edge of it. 
11. Once turned right side out, you can either just stitch your opening closed or stitch it closed and continue to stitch around the entire thing. I did it both ways and do not have a preference for either way. 
12. Press entire thing, it will be wrinkled after turning. 
13. Glue your road dashes on your road using fabric glue. (If you'd prefer to take on the tedious task of stitching on the dashes, follow the directions on the website.) 

And that's it! My directions may seem long and tedious, but I wanted to clarify everything that I found confusing on the original site! As you can see, I made a few changes to make this project a little easier. Look at how adorable these are once the little cars are inside! Evan will be receiving one as a gift as well, I can't wait to throw this in my bag and pull it out when we are at a restaurant to keep him entertained!   
I'll post the second project later today! Xoxo

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

He's 2!

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday, sweet Evan, happy birthday to you.. 

Two years old, can you believe it! My sweet, chunky, little baby is a baby no more. He's a boy. A rambunctious, silly, loving, destructive, playful big boy. And oh, do I love him! I so adore this little boy of mine <3 

I can't believe this is the same little boy. The scars that mark his body from 3 heart caths, 2 open heart surgeries, and 2 feeding tube surgeries have faded to memories. All that remains is Evan- happy, healthy, and a living miracle. Thank you, Jesus, for Your unconditional love. For surrounding my boy with Your healing hands every minute of every day. For giving him the strength to overcome every obstacle in his way. For blessing me with this amazing child. "Lord, Your faithfulness will never end! I will trust You, Lord, with all my heart, and I won't forget how good You are!"  

Happy Birthday, sweet Evan.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

DIY Santa Mickey Mouse Ornaments

My family and I LOVE Disney World. We live just 40 minutes away from this magical land and since we have annual passes, we frequently visit the parks. A few months ago I was browsing through the Christmas store at Disney's Hollywood Studios and came across the cutest ornament! I flipped the price tag over and was not so surprised to see the inflated $16.95 staring back at me. Bummer. As I was giving it a second look, I thought to myself, I bet these would be fairly simple to make.. So, I put the idea in the back of my head and left. Fast forward to last week and I have finished my ornaments- and they look amazing! I've had so many friends ask for directions, which I will happily share. :)

DIY Santa Mickey Mouse Ornament
Santa Mickey Mouse Ornament from DisneyStore 

- Solid red large ornaments (I used a satin finish)
- Small styrofoam balls, 2 per ornament
- Black loose glitter
- Black acrylic paint
- Paint brush
- Gold fine point paint pen
- Tape
- Hot glue gun
- 2-3 cups
- Toothpicks

Let me start out by saying that this project can get messy. I recommend laying out newspaper or a towel on your work space.

First start out by making your ears. Insert a toothpick into one of the styrofoam balls and paint the entire thing w/ black paint. Immediately sprinkle glitter over the entire thing and set aside to dry. You can take it off the toothpick and let it dry or use a styrofoam block and stick it there to dry on the toothpick. Next take your tape and stencil out the "belt" around the ornament. I used typical scotch tape and it worked well. It's very hard to keep your lines straight and even, I used measuring tape to make sure my spacing was even on the first few and then eyeballed it for the rest. I left a gap on the front on each side intentionally; that's the way the real ones look like and it looks like belt loops. Paint your belt with black paint and immediately sprinkle glitter over it. Remove the tape and set it on top of a glass to prevent it from rolling around and smearing. You can either paint on your belt buckle now or wait until it dries. I did both ways and each worked fine. The paint pen works fantastic and is easy to use. If you'd like, you can write on the back with the gold pen; I added last names and the year to the back of mine. Once your ears have dried, remove the toothpicks and slice off a very thin sliver from the ear, about the size of a nickel. Add a small amount of hot glue to the shaved edge and attach to your ornament. Hold it for a few seconds so it doesn't slide! Repeat for the opposite side. Don't worry if you put the ears on lopsided- wait for the glue to dry and carefully but forcefully pull the ear off. The remaining glue on the ornament will peel off with some elbow grease, not that I know that from experience or anything.. ;)

And there you have it! I spent less than $20 on enough supplies to make 8 ornaments (Hobby Lobby had all christmas ornaments 50% off, plus I had a 40% coupon on a regularly priced item). My iPhone camera does not do these ornaments justice, they really look professional in person! I can't wait to get these on our tree!

Friday, October 12, 2012

2012-2013 1st Grade Homeschool Curriculum

Yes, that's right, I homeschool my kids. Why? Well, I'll save that for another post. ;)

After "unschooling" Elli for the second semester of Kindergarten last year, I was determined to choose the best curriculum for her learning style and personality  for the 2012-13 school year. I spent countless hours scouring the internet and homeschool forums for the perfect curriculum(s). I literally researched and read reviews for hundreds of different options; I had no idea there was THAT much homeschool stuff out there! After several weeks I narrowed down my choices and ordered all of our supplies.

Now that we are several weeks into our school year, I feel I am comfortable enough with our curriculums to share (and review) them for you. I am constantly asked what we are using and how I feel about our choices so here you go:

BIBLE- Positive Action Bible Curriculum- Enjoying God's Gifts
I think this Bible curriculum is designed for smaller classrooms vs homeschool but we are enjoying it just the same. The workbook pages are easy to complete and Elli loves learning how stories from the Bible relate to her every day life.

MATH- RightStart Math level B:
This math curriculum is so different from the way math is traditionally taught to kids in school. RS steers clear of counting and teaches kids to recognize quantities visually. There are TONS of games and hands on activities that come w/ the kit and the teacher manual/lesson plans are seriously fool proof. Elli loves using her abacus to solve problems and I can already tell a major improvement in her math skills. Elli's favorite thing about RS math is for sure the hands on lessons.

SPELLING- All About Spelling level 1:
Alright, this one is tricky. I am going to reserve my opinion on this one for the time being. This curriculum is more than just weekly spelling words and memorization. It teaches phonics as well, which is cool, but we aren't far enough into the curriculum to get to the actual spelling portion so, we will continue and see how it goes.

WRITING- Writing Grade 1, Kelley Wingate Publications:
I found this gem by complete coincidence this summer at a yardsale. A former teacher was selling all of her personal books and this was one I picked up for $0.50. It's seriously amazing. The worksheets are easy peasy and does a great job helping me teach Elli about grammar, punctuation, and is a good intro into writing full and complete sentences. It's an older book, and from what I can find online, only upgraded versions are available.

SCIENCE- R.E.A.L Science, Life, Level 1
I'm not gonna lie, I hate science. It's so not my forte and Elli loves anything and everything science. But this curriculum was written specifically for parents like me, and no joke, you cannot mess this one up! Our science projects are definitely the highlight of Elli's week. This week we studies plant and animal cells. Elli got to crack open and egg and check out all the parts of the cell, as well as use jello and grapes to recreate plant cholorplasts. Cool, right?!

HISTORY- Story of the World - Ancient Times
I am amazed at how much Elli is absorbing just by listening to the stories in the book. We are reading a chapter a week and she is using the vocabulary words on a daily basis. Today she told her Grandma D, who travels frequently, that she is a nomad. LOL The chapters are easy reads and the activity book references other books you can check out from the library to supplement and provides several different projects and worksheets you can pick and choose to do, depending on your child's age.

READING- Hooked on Phonics - 1st Grade
I love HOP. I just love it. When we first pulled Elli out of school, she was not reading at all. She had only learned sight words in school and was guessing every.single.word. I was really worried because she was having such a hard time. We introduced HOP last year and after lots of frustration, we backed off this summer and gave her the freedom to read at her leisure. We are two months into HOP this year and Elli has made tremendous improvement and is reading like a champ now!

Extras- We have several craft and activity books I have found here and there and we pull those out whenever Elli feels like being crafty. ;) We also started a book called Little Annie's Art Book of Etiquette and Good Manners. Anybody, homeschooled or not, with a little girl 4-7 year old NEEDS this book! It's bible based and references scripture on every page and covers everything from being a good friend to how to set the dinner table and how to behave at the dinner table when you are out at a restaurant. It's so neat!

Whew! So there you have it. Our curriculum choices for Elli's 1st grade year. I'm so, so happy with every choice we made this year and am overwhelmed by how well Elli is doing and how much she is learning so far. I can't wait to see how much she improves by the end of the year! :)

Elli & her BFF, Emily, working hard this week in our HS Classroom.

Monday, October 8, 2012

October Dress Project - 8 days down, 23 to go!

One week down already, can you believe it? I can't. Really. I'm shocked I haven't groaned once at the thought of wearing this pea green dress, over and over. 

Just kidding.

I really was doing well, until day 6. Day 6 was Saturday, which for me, meant an early and sweaty day at the football field cheering on my little cheerleader. All I wanted to do was pull on some shorts and my "Cheer Mom" shirt and relax! But noooo.. I had to wear this dress. Wah wah, I know, I signed up for this. 

The first 5 days, and day 7, however, went great! I loved all the outfits I put together and was pleased that I could throw it all together in a matter of minutes. I'm wearing jewelry that hasn't seen the light of day in well over 3 years!

I'm starting to worry though that I have run out of casual, weather appropriate ideas so soon. I mean, I really haven't, but all of the "no brainers" have already been used which means it is time to get creative.. This also means I will most likely be second guessing my outfits and feeling like I don't match most days. Yay. -_-

But I will persevere! Wait and see. I've got a feeling that by the last week of October I will be caring less and less about how dorky I look. 

My friend Christen and I have been keeping each other in check with our second "October Project". I am so loving my daily time w/ the big B and really should stop being surprised that the different chapters I read each day so relate to my life and situations I am dealing with. ;)

Did I already mention that my almost 7 year old decided to participate as well? She is way too cute. I'm really surprised at her creativity! She chose a light blue tank top dress and has been diligent and insistent about wearing it every day! Go Elli! 

OH, and another thing- having to take a picture of myself every day is getting OLD. Apparently my body only poses one way for pictures and I am for sure getting sick of seeing pictures of myself, as I'm sure most of my FB friends are, too. 

Ok, now for the outfits you have been so curious to see..

Day One - Dress w/ flower tank underneath & old Juicy Couture necklace
Day One - Elli and her super adorable self! 

Day 2- MOPS! Dress & light tan tank, $2 Old Navy Shawl from the thrift store, Juicy Couture jewelry (we all have a past, right?) and my favorite boots.

Day 3- Homeschool Day at the Aquarium! I wore Evan a majority of the time, BUT really I was wearing the dress, brown tank, crochet belt, indian looking flops I never wear, and Juicy jewelry.
Day Four- LOVED this look. Felt like a watermelon ;) Dress, salmon pink tank, black racerback tank, and Cookie Lee jewelry that is well over 3 years old! 
Day Five- Christen and I! Dress, brown ruffled tank, clearance belt, and random costume jewelry. Christen paired her dress with black tights and red jewelry, cute! 
Day Six- Take two. I was originally wearing a gray shirt, but my messy toddler spilled his lunch on it. Dress & black t-shirt for a super low key, casual day.
Day Seven- Date day w/ my super amazing husband. Dress & a white racerback work out shirt I got on clearance, brown belt, and brown ONeil flops that are falling apart :(

Day Eight- I spent the majority of my day in PJs. My littlest is sick and I only got dressed to go pick up something to make for dinner. Just wore my dress & a print tank top. 

I really wish our weather was more compatible with my wardrobe. It would be so much easier to layer my dress if it wasn't 90 degrees outside. Hopefully by the end of the month I can wear a cute sweater over top. ;) 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

$6 and a Great Friend

Only two days until the start of the October Dress Project, are you ready?! 

My good friend Christen and I set out this morning to find our dresses and a couple staple pieces to get us thru the month. We started at Goodwill and we were both encouraged after finding several dresses to try on. I had already decided I was getting a black or dark blue dress, either color would be easy to wear all month. Ha! I ended up falling in love with an olive green dress. But hey, the whole point of this project is to challenge myself, right? 

We are both thrilled with our purchases- both of our dresses are from a trendy mall store, in excellent condition, and only set us back a mere $5.87! 

But we aren't stopping here. We are stepping it up a notch. After I begged invited Christen to join the ODP and she accepted, she came up with a brilliant idea- let's challenge ourselves to grow stronger in our walk with God as well. So, we are both going to dedicate time every single day to read the Bible. I personally have struggled so much with reading the Bible daily, always unsure of where to start, what to read, how to study the Word. But it's time to set aside my reservations and just dive into it. I'm so blessed to have an amazing friend who can call me out and challenge me to strength my walk! 

I'm actually super stoked to wear my GREEN dress! Lets hope I can still say that in 10 days.. 

Here are some pictures of our morning mission- please excuse my low quality iPhone pictures, I promise to start using my camera on a more regular basis. And yes, we were those annoying girls who giggled and put on a fashion show/acted like paparazzi without caring who saw us ;) 

Nighty night time! 
Christen's super cute winner!

The chosen one.. 
A close second!
Darn broken zipper, I loved this one!
Fall Orange! 

Are you challenging yourself this October? If you're planning on blogging about your experience, leave me a comment with a link please! I can't wait to read all about everyone's journeys!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Remember When...

I know I will never forget, yet I feel the need to reminisce about that day two years ago when I thought my life was ending. I sobbed hysterically for hours, searching online for any and all hope that the Doctors were wrong- that my baby boy's heart could still grow before he was born and be whole.

I remember having to call all of our family, close friends, and co-workers, and tell them that our son was critically ill and would literally need to fight to live once he was separated from me. No one knew what to say.

I remember too many nights spent calling out to God to fix my son. Begging for a miraculous healing for Evan. Oh, if only I knew..

He had a bigger plan for me, for us, for my family.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart  and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
                                                 Proverbs 3:5-6

I can't deny that I have struggled with this verse over the past two years more than I would like to admit. It's so hard to shake all the fear; to trust that He knows what is best for my boy.. Yet every.single.time I have feared, the Lord has reassured me that all is well. He has got this! 

If I could have peeked into my future, to see how full of life this little boy is, I never would have believed it was real. Living with half a heart sounds so impossible! But thriving with half a heart? No way. Yet here he is, so incredibly happy, with bright brown eyes that shine and a smile that you literally can't resist. And I love him, I adore him! Every single hug, kiss, and smile is treasured in this house. Every single thing I took advantage of in my pre-heart mom life is treasured! 

Life pre-heart momma status was ok. And life in the early stages as a heart momma was difficult. But being a heart momma now.. is incredible. God will never give you more than you can handle, this I have learned, struggle after struggle.. 

Yesterday Evan had a routine Cardiology visit. He was super bummed out, his favorite nurse and sonographer weren't in the office and I could tell he missed them. We are really lucky that Evan has always loved the office visits. I've heard countless horror stories of children crying as soon as they walk in the door, and who can blame them!! We are usually in the office for 2 hours during Evan's appointments, cooperating for that long is a challenge for an adult, let alone a toddler! But every time he amazes us! Evan was giggling and saying "NO" to every question asked. 
EKG time! 

Evan's O2 sats were in the low 80's yesterday, which is just a tad lower than normal. His EKG and Echo results were fantastic though! There appeared to be no change from his last visit 3 months ago and everyone was impressed with how tall Evan is getting! He is now 34" and 27lbs, which means he has grown 3" since the beginning of the year! 

Do you see how patient this little guy is? He is such a calm natured kid, a natural cuddle bug. He sat thru his echo like a champ! Of course, he did have some help from Yo Gabba Gabba and needed to hold momma's hand the entire time. So sweet! I don't know many toddlers who can sit still for 30 minutes while a stranger scans their bare chest! I'm so proud! 

No changes were made at his appointment and we will be returning in 3 months for the next follow up. 

Now, I know this was all fantastic news, but I really saved the most exciting for last.. On the way home, Evan fell asleep in the car AND stayed asleep when I brought him inside and laid him in his bed! No joke, that was the first time in the history of Evan that this has happened! Seriously, if you're the parent of a baby who refuses to nap in the car, you will understand my excitement. ;) 

I hope to post in the very near future that Evan is walking, he is so close! Please continue to pray for his physical delays. I can't wait to see him walk and run with his friends! <3 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

the October Dress Project.

Heard of it? No? Me either, until late last year when I saw some friends posting pictures of themselves in the same dress every day. I didn't give it much thought until a few months later and had almost forgotten about it now that October is quickly slowly creeping up on me.

So, what is it? It's a brilliant idea, created by two friends when one of their grandmas commented that women only needed one dress to wear an entire week, and one for Sundays. They decided to wear one dress the entire month of October. Yes, you read that right. The same dress everyday for 31 days. 

Why? The basis is simple- anti-consumerism, pro-simplicity, anti-conformity, pro-imagination. But you can transform the ODP to mean whatever you want it to! I will be focusing on pro-simplicity. 

I'm going to be transparent here for minute. I am materialistic, self-conscious, and more consumed with my outward appearance than I am with my inner-self. Gross, right? I know. And I have acknowledged these faults and have been diligently praying for God to help me change my ways. And in several ways, I have changed. But I still have a long journey ahead of me. Sigh, don't we all? 

I need this challenge. I need to transform myself. I need to prove to myself that I don't need this season's hottest trends or name brand whatever or brand new clothes to feel like ME. I don't need all these things to define who I am! 

Want to join me? Come on, wearing the same thing for a month doesn't sound appealing to you?! Your reasons behind participating in the the ODP do not have to be the same as mine. Your guidelines do not have to be the same as mine! Think about it, pray about it, give it a try. I stumbled upon a friend's post from ODP 2011 and seriously, she came up with some super cute outfits! Challenge yourself people!

These are my personal guidelines for the October Dress Project:
- Since I do need a few staples in order to survive the entire month, I will need to purchase some items. But I will not buy new! I will shop thrift, yard sales, or my friends' closets. 
- I will sell unused clothing items/household items in order to purchase these "new to me" items I think I need. 
- I will not be wearing my dress to the gym or to sleep.
- I will not purchase any new clothing or accessory items for myself the entire month of October.
- I will not repeat the same look during the month. 
- I will learn to love myself for who I am, not for what I am wearing. 

I'm not gonna lie, this is going to be very difficult for me to stick with. Luckily, one of my closest friends has agreed to dive into this adventure for the first time with me! I'm not sure we quite know what we are getting ourselves in to, but I can guarantee we are both fired up for the Lord to work on our hearts through this challenge! 

P.S. Yes, you can wash your dress! ;) 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

DIY Rustic Fall Wreath

I don't know about you, but I absolutely love September thru December! I love Fall colors, the family get-togethers, the humidity dying down, and the FOOD! This year, I am determined to get some crafting done and finally finish some awesome DIY projects. 

Today, the women in my husband's family got together to eat and drink wine make some holiday wreaths. Everyone else made theirs out of fabric and wire wreath forms and they came out amazing! However, my husband and I are smack in the middle of a "no spend month" and while I wanted to participate, I didn't want to spend the extra money to make a fabric wreath when I had some leftover grapevine wreaths in the shed! So I headed to Michael's and grabbed some fall foliage, which happened to be on sale, and decided to figure it out as I went. I don't want to toot my own horn, but Honk Honk! My wreath turned out fabulous! Unfortunately (for you), I was too distracted by my hilarious in-laws to take step by step photos so you will just have to bear with me! 

1 Grapevine wreath
3-4 small bunches of flowers/foliage 
1 spool of 2" coordinating ribbon OR 1 pre-made bow
10" piece of curling ribbon or string (omit if you are using a pre-made bow)
Hot glue gun 

Step 1- 
Cut all of your flowers and foliage off the branches, leaving about 2" of stem. 

Step 2- 
Arrange your flowers/foliage on one half of the wreath and hot glue into place once you are happy with the placement. 
The only progress shot.. My bad. -_-

Step 3-
Make your bow. There is a great tutorial on how to make a wreath bow here. Skip this step if you purchased a pre-made bow.

Step 4- 
Attach your bow to the bottom of your arrangement on the wreath by tying the string through the center of the bow and around the wreath. 

The finished product! 
 Yes, I know it is still Summer, but I love the look of this wreath so much that I couldn't wait to put it up! I adore the rustic look; I live in the country and it is totally appropriate.

The whole wreath cost me about $10 to make. Everything was on sale plus I had a 10% off coupon good towards my total purchase! Michael's had wreaths in the store that weren't as cute as this one for $50!!

I plan on making a Rustic Christmas wreath in a similar style as soon as the Christmas decorations hit the shelves! :) Stay tuned!

Monday, August 13, 2012

My secret to endless amounts of energy

Since becoming a stay at home mom 15 months ago, I have struggled with productivity. At first, I enjoyed staying up late, dropping Elli off at school, and napping with the baby. The house was clean within an hour, and stayed that way. Once we started homeschooling, I needed to get my act together and not only wake up early, but stay awake. It was so hard to fall asleep earlier than 2am! And if there is one thing I love, it's sleep. I can sleep 15 hours if left undisturbed. Something had to change. About the same time, I was mentally ready to lose the last bit of baby weight Evan oh so generously left me with. I started waking up at 5am and heading right to the gym. It.was.so.hard!! I have always loved staying in shape, but willingly waking up that early was a struggle. But I did it! And after a few weeks of forcing myself to get out of bed, I was able get up as soon as the alarm went off - and looked forward to the time to myself at the gym! The energy I have throughout the day is incredible! Not only am I sleeping better, but I have also lost 13lbs. I'm only 7lbs away from my goal weight! 

If you are feeling sluggish, I highly recommend setting that alarm and getting active first thing in the morning! Walk on a treadmill while reading a book, lift some weights to your favorite songs. Just do it! I'm currently blogging while cooling down on the treadmill ;) Don't make excuses. If you fall off the bandwagon a couple days, just pick back up where you left off. You are the only obstacle in the way of being/staying fit. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sisters by Heart/Linked by Heart

Earlier this year, I was blessed with the opportunity to join my favorite nonprofit organization, Sisters by Heart, as a Regional Coordinator for their newest project, Linked by Heart. Sisters by Heart was founded in 2010 by a group of dedicated HLHS moms who wanted to offer something that was truly lacking in our community; hope and support. They joined forces and over the past 2 years have formed into an amazing organization, reaching hundreds of families that would have had no where to turn for support. Sisters by Heart sends care packages to newly diagnosed HLHS families that include super awesome items every Momma needs for themselves and their HLHS babe while in the hospital awaiting and recovering from their first open heart surgery. And their blog.. Man. These women work so hard to provide accurate and encouraging information to the hundreds of HLHS moms on the web, scouring for hope that their baby can make it through this journey. As if that weren't enough, SBH recently expanded their organization to include Linked by Heart. They have recruited HLHS moms across the country, myself included, to help support the entire HLHS community, not just the newly diagnosed moms. By registering in the Linked by Heart database, families from all over the country are able to connect with other HLHS families in close proximity, by similar complications, same hospital, etc. It is truly an amazing resource and I am so honored to "meet" and support the moms in the Southeast region!

Sisters by Heart/Linked by Heart have touched so many lives already. They rely on monetary donations to keep the support by way of care packages going. If you are touched by the hearts of the women of this organization and want to help send some love and support to Mommas of babies with a broken heart, please consider sending a donation their way here.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

It's here!

For months I have wanted to sit down and revamp my blog Evan's blog. As much as I have loved using this blog to update everyone on Evan's condition, I have wanted something more; a space to write freely about the other aspects of my life. What? You didn't know I wasn't just a heart mom?! I know, it's crazy to think I have a life outside of my super special babe, but I do. I want so badly to post about my sweet girl Elli, to post my latest pinterest projects, recipes; all the fun stuff! And so I will, starting now! Welcome to MY new (to me) blog! ;)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I will trust You.

Lord I won't forget how good You are! While I was watching Evan crawl all over the house today, and pull up and cruise the furniture, this song ran thru my head. I will never forget how faithful God has been to my family, to my son, who is such a Miracle, and all the glory and praise goes to Him..

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ok, I promised it wouldn't happen again, but life happens, and I have failed to keep up with blog posts. Darn!

So what's been up? Lots. Evan has been a busy bee since my last update. This past weekend we participated in the Tampa Congenital Heart Walk. This is only the 3rd year there has been a walk in Tampa and I was sad to see few participants/supporters. Next year I am making it a priority to do what I can to shine some light on the event. Evan had a great time riding around the track in the stroller while I huffed and puffed to keep up with Elli, who insisted on running the entire first lap (1.5 miles!). She definitely took the walk seriously :) 

Evan has also dealt with two ear infections and what was suspected to be croup (but it wasn't). He was a grump for sure but did well, considering. It's been unseasonably warm here in Florida these past few months and we are definitely taking advantage of the awesome weather! We have made several trips to Disney and Aquatica water park. Evan loves Disney days and had a blast meeting Mickey and Minnie for the first time. He gave Minnie a big, wet kiss on her nose :) So stinkin' cute! He loves the rides and enjoys watching his sissy get so excited. The water park is hit or miss, ha! He loves splashing in the water, but does not like the super speed "lazy" river because you get sprayed with water. He did, however, fall asleep in his life vest after one trip around in the water and poor Dad had to go sit with him while still in the water and keep his head afloat while he napped.. Oh the things we do for our babes. 

Evan had his Cardiologist appointment last week and got some really wonderful news. His heart function looks fantastic and his leaks are still very minor. We will be keeping him on the enalipril and go back in 3 months again! It's so weird to think just a year ago we were scheduled every 2-3 weeks for appointments! And I just have to say, I absolutely love the staff at his Cardiology clinic. The nurses and receptionists are wonderful, they always take the time to entertain Evan and do whatever they can to make sure we are comfortable during the visit. His sats were good and he sat thru the EKG completely still while watching his favorite nurse dance around and blow bubbles, lol. She is the best! His echo lasted almost 30 minutes and thanks to Yo Gabba Gabba, he cooperated long enough to get the important shots. We also visited the Pediatrician for Evan's 15 month check up. He is 24lbs 120z and 31.25" long. He is continuing physical therapy until he meets his new set of goals and received a referral for speech therapy. We also got a referral to the eye DR because Evan's eyes seem to cross when he focuses. Praying it's all in my head and he is just fine.. 

Now, on to the AWESOME news! After a few months of literally no progress in physical therapy, Evan has finally decided he wants to move and has been trying so hard to catch up! He is able to pivot side to side on his belly, can get to the sitting position from his belly, can get down to his belly from sitting, is pulling up on the couch, taking big steps while holding hands, and started crawling today!!!!! I put two of his toys about 6 feet away from him and with some encouragement, he crawled all the way over to them! Oh, the tears of joy, such a simple milestone that has been a difficult mountain for my dear son to overcome.. It's just the most wonderful feeling to see him accomplish something we have been working so diligently on! I cannot wait for him to show off tomorrow in physical therapy! :)

Thank you all for continuing to send positive thoughts and prayers for Evan and our family. It is so great to have such an amazing support system <3 Much love!

The gang w/ Mickey & Minnie 

Water park! 

My monkey :)

Evan @ the Tampa Congenital Heart Walk 2012

Saturday, January 28, 2012

CHD Awareness Week + Pinterest = Pure Awesomeness!

If you haven't heard of the website Pinterest yet, well, you must be living under a rock. It has quickly become one of the most talked about sites and I have to admit, I am an Pinning Addict. And proud! I have made so many awesome crafts and recipes from my pins! And thanks to a fellow heart mom, I now love it even more! Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week is February 7-14 and we are spreading awareness every way possible. There is a board on Pinterest labeled "The Faces of CHD - Congenital Heart Awareness Week Feb. 7-14,2012", you can find it here. Kids with CHDs from all around the country are featured as "pins" on this board. So head on over and read their stories and "Aww" at their cute little faces ;) And of course, don't forget to repin and help spread awareness! :)

Evan was born 12/1/2010 with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), Aortic Atresia, and Mitral Stenosis. He endured his first open heart surgery at 8 days old. Evan suffered seizures and a paralyzed left vocal cord post surgery. His paralyzed vocal cord caused him to aspirate milk into his lungs. Evan had a feeding tube placed into his tummy at 4 weeks old. Evan had his second open heart surgery at 5 months old and recovered quickly! He had his feeding tube removed and was taken off of his seizure medicine. He still continues to struggle with his fine and gross motor skills. Evan is still awaiting his third surgery.

 And look at him now! He is happy and so so sweet, we completely adore every second we have with him. Sometimes at night while I am rocking him to sleep, I can't help but wonder how long we will be blessed to have him with us. It's hard to think of your child as terminally ill when they look so darn healthy! But, that is part of living with a CHD. You can't tell most babies/kids have a heart defect until you see the scar they proudly wear down their chest. <3

Heart defects affect 1 in 100 babies. CHDs are the #1 birth defect. There are 35 different heart defects. Currently, there is no explanation for what causes a CHD.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Years! We have been extremely busy here at the Sawyer household. We tried to hit every local Christmas event we could, and completely enjoyed spending the holidays at home with our families. It was so nice to have Evan home this holiday season, I am definitely looking forward to all of our future holidays together! 

I forgot to update after Evan's cardiologist appointment. His cardiologist is finally back from maternity leave and it was so nice to see her again. Evan's sats were in the high 80's, his BPs were great, his EKG looked fantastic, and his Echo looked wonderful. :) Evan has a slight Tricuspid Valve leak and his cardiologist has been fine with just watching it to see if it got worse and adding medication if necessary. Well, while she was out, the cardiologist covering for her decided to put Evan on Enalapril for the leak. I only agreed because there were no major side effects. I don't think our normal cardiologist was too thrilled to come back and find him on the med.. But, she left it as is since it wasn't hurting anything and we had already formed a routine around it. Oh well. She was very happy with his heart overall and we are not due back until MARCH! :)

I'll be honest, I have been avoiding updating my blog. Everytime I say "Hey self, you should update about Evan" the only thing I can think about is how delayed Evan is developmentally and how frustrated I am. And I don't want to write about that. But then yesterday, Evan started doing something wonderful! He is taking steps while holding onto my hands! WOOHOO! He used to lock his knees while he was standing and you couldn't even force him to bend and take a step, and now out of nowhere he is taking step after step and walking assisted! He is still not crawling, but he will get up on all 4s and rock back and forth. His therapist thinks he will skip crawling. We just can't get him motivated to move! The therapist was telling me on Thursday that while we are so lucky to have such a happy baby, it is also his downfall. He doesn't care if you take a toy out of his reach, he is content to just play with his hands or the floor. I've decided he is just a smart little dude and likes to take his time figuring things out. When he sees something he really wants, he'll figure out how to move. Until then, I'll just keep working with him. 

Well, that's all I've got ;) Ta Ta For Now! 

Merry Christmas! (Evan puked on his cute Christmas outfit, and Dad's too ;)

Haha, Evan and his cousin Clyde, the cutest Reindeers on the block! 

Elli's reaction to the "best gift ever", Disneyworld Annual Passes!

Firefighter Evan, following in his Daddy's footsteps :)