Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Life with three little ones at home is all consuming, especially since two of those no longer nap. It leaves absolutely no time for frivolous things like blogging, which can be a little frustrating at times. Not that I love blogging that much, but sometimes my soul just longs for a few minutes to do anything I want. More on that later...

It was a year ago this month that we found out about Harper's heart defect and that combined with the Thanksgiving holiday approaching has left it ever present on my heart these past couple of weeks. So much has happened since then, but it is still so vivid in my mind that I could swear that it was just last week. I can't help but reflect on the road we've been down and rejoice that the road ahead is wide open and full of promise. This has certainly been a life-altering year for us. You don't go through something like that and come out the other side the same person. And while I can't exactly pinpoint the ways that I have changed, I feel so different from the person I was. It's something about seeing your baby...the baby that you love so intensely with every fiber of your being...go through something so horrific. Your heart is never the same again.

I remember the despair I felt as we learned what exactly we would be facing. I remember thinking that we would never get past this. Because when you are facing something that you've never faced before, something that terrifies you, something you just know you're not strong enough to take, that moment...that struggle, it's totally consuming and you can't imagine life being normal again.

But yet, here I sit, one year later, and it's all just a memory now. God is so very, very good.

The love and generosity of others was so intense and so overwhelming that I could FEEL the arms around us, the hearts aching with us, the prayers for us, the joy and thanksgiving at good news. If you were a part of that - a kind or encouraging word, a hot meal for our family, a simple prayer, a visit, a gift card, snacks at the hospital, financial help, a text, email, comment, or phone call, please know that you have impacted my life in a way I will never forget. It has given me a whole new perspective on how to minister to others and the importance of our Christian family during trials.

We still aren't completely sure of what lies ahead, but we are hopeful that Harper won't need any more major surgery. I would like to think that if, perhaps, Harper requires another surgery, I will be so full of faith and hope that there won't be any room for fear. After all, the Lord has showed me over and over again his love and mercy. But I know myself better than that and when it comes to my babies, my crazy, lunatic side almost always wins. I'm working on it.

In the meantime, Harper is progressing and developing normally (just a little behind schedule, but who cares about that?). She is scooting around in a army crawl type fashion. She's SO close to sitting up on her own. She has two teeth. She's eating cereal and a few vegetables. She's extremely vocal. She's got a ton of personality (super sweet, but a little ornery). Being normal is what we're about now. I love that she's well. I relish in the mundane-ness of our life. And while I would love to forget the past year, I hope I never do. I hope those images of my struggling girl are forever ingrained in my mind so that I never forget the helplessness I felt then and the gratitude I feel now. And most of all, I hope that I can be an encouragement and blessing to someone going through the same thing. For even if nothing else good came of all of this (which it did), I am now in a position to understand and help those who might have to travel down this same road.

So happy November to you and thank you for listening to the ramblings of my heart. We have so very much to be thankful for.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Just for the sake of keeping records around here, we went to the doctor last week and here's how big our children are:

Age: 6 months
Height: 24 inches
Weight: 12 pounds
Head: 16 1/2 centimeters

Age: 3 years
Height: 38 1/2 inches
Weight: 29 pounds

Age: 3 years
Height: 38 3/4 inches
Weight: 31 pounds

Here are a few pictures of Eli, Landon, and Harper as they were all playing on the floor together. I love how sweet and gentle (most of the time) Eli and Landon are with Harper. They really love their Popper!

I just love this picture. It cracks me up.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Eli & Landon's 3rd Baseball Party

Life has been so busy that I haven't even had time to get all sentimental about how my boys turned 3 years old a couple weeks ago. Time really does just speed by and it seems the older I get, the faster it goes. You probably know by now how I love parties. And Eli and Landon have kind of had a rough year...it hasn't exactly been all about them around here lately, which made me want to have a big party even more. They also LOVE baseball, so I thought why not have a big baseball game, grill some hot dogs, eat some cupcakes, and have fun?

So we reserved a baseball field here in town and we had ourselves a party planned. Bonus points for not having to decorate much since it was outside.

side note: it hasn't rained in Snyder in over a year.

It POURED from early in the morning until late at night. And even though I was a little disappointed, we were all much more grateful for the blessing of rain. We need it so desperately.

Because of the rain, we had to move the party indoors and we didn't get to play baseball after all. A sweet friend offered to let us use their "party barn", so that's just what we did.

Basically, the party was high blood pressure, anxiety, and a headache all rolled into a few hours, but I think the boys had a lot of fun with their friends...so much that they are still talking about it. I love that.

Here are a few pictures from the party.

(Can you tell how effective my "no presents necessary" was?) If presents are any indicator of how much a child is loved, my boys are very, very, very loved.  And we are so thankful!

Look...I was actually at the party. I'm kind of bummed that we didn't get a family picture, but oh well!

Can I just say that a pinata at a three year old birthday party is NOT a good idea...especially an indoor party. There were some pretty nervous parents in the room at this point.

Grammy, G-Pa, Kristin, Madison, Katelyn, Chip, Eva, Nemo, Papa, Lance, Kathy, Shawn, Cameron, Amy, D'Laney, and Brynna all came from out of town to help us celebrate. It always makes me feel so loved for our family to drive all this way to see us.

Happy Birthday to the sweetest boys this world has ever known! We're two weeks into it and I can officially report that the behavior of three year olds really is worse than two year olds. It will get better. It will get better. It will get better. (This is my mantra right now).

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Happy Half Birthday Harper!

Harper is SIX months old today. The magnitude of this is unbelievable. I can't quite grasp that she has been with us for half of a year already and I often find myself wondering what in the world we did without her.

At 6 months, Harper weighs 12 pounds, is finally moving into 3-6 months clothing (although she still fits in most of her 3 month clothes...I'm just so sick of them!), is rolling over from her back to her stomach (finally), takes 2 to 3 naps a day, still gets up a few times in the night to eat, absolutely adores her brothers, is very vocal when she wants attention (not crying, just really loud talking), is in size 1-2 diapers, loves her toy giraffe (Sophie), her glow-worm, and her light wand, eats a little bit of rice cereal twice a day, loves to be laid down in her bed with a blanket and paci for naps, has taken exactly ONE nap in the crib in her room, gives the biggest smiles when you come to get her out of bed, and pretty much spends most of her day smiling and playing.

This past Saturday, Harper and I took our first shopping trip to Lubbock. She did great all day and I had so much fun hanging out with her. We went to the bank, Hobby Lobby, JCPenny, Babies R Us, Sam's Club, and Kohls and Harper did not cry one time. We talked to everyone we saw and I agreed when they told me that she was the most precious thing they've ever seen. She pretty much is. I think the best part of the day was that I just felt so....normal. There is nothing about Harper (other than her small size) that would indicate to people what all she's been though and it's nice to just go on about life so normally now.

Harper really is such a joy and I always find myself wondering or asking Dustin how I got to be so lucky to get to be her mom. She really is something special.

At her last cardiologist appointment, we mentioned that she wasn't using her right arm very much or at all sometimes. This really bothered Dr. Robinson, so he ordered an MRI of her brain, which we had done on Monday. I was hoping to get results Tuesday, but didn't, so hopefully we'll hear something today. I fully expect everything to be fine, but it will be nice to get that confirmation. She did go about 6-8 weeks with a very noticeable lack of movement in her right arm, but has since begun to use it just as much as her left arm, which is a relief. I'll let you know what we find out.

Happy Half Birthday, Popper! Here's hoping that the second half of your first year is MUCH less eventful than the first half!

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Boy Who Cried Wolf

Alternate Titles:
The Girl Who Cried Surgery
I'm a Complete Lunatic
Did That Really Just Happen?
Biggest Relief Ever (But I'm Still Crazy)

A back-story:

Before Harper was born, we went to see Dr. Robinson (the pediatric cardiologist) several times for fetal echo cardiograms and to discuss our plan of action once Harper was born. You might recall, that it seemed very clear to both Dustin and I that they would wait until Harper was 6 months old to do surgery, but if she absolutely needed something done early on, they would perform the PA band as an intermediate step to hold her over until her big surgery. This was discussed several times and Dustin and I both came away with this understanding.

Fast forward to the time of Harper's birth and all of a sudden they start talking about the big open heart surgery being done between 8-10 weeks. And we were like, "wait a minute, what about the PA Band that you talked about doing? Wasn't that the plan if Harper needed something immediately?"

And Dr. Robinson said, "PA Band???" (shocked and not understanding). And we said, "yeah, the PA Band that we talked about." And all of a sudden that wasn't even an option and Dustin and I left feeling confused and slightly crazy like we had imagined the whole thing.

At least that time I had a witness.

So we go in yesterday. I wasn't really nervous...I'm kind of back into the "let's deal with this" zone instead of the "feel sorry for myself all the time" zone. Harper's oxygen saturation was 100%,  she has gained 5 more ounces since last week, and she's looking good. Dr. Robinson comes in to do the echo cardiogram, does it, and then says, "She looks good. She looks happy." (He's always talking about how happy she looks and I want to say, "yeah,, but what about her heart...that's kind of why we're here").

And I was like, "So...(not even knowing how to finish a question I hadn't even started) what are you thinking now about surgery?"

And he said, "Surgery?"

I wanted to scream, "Remember, the surgery you told me she would need last time we came? The time I could barely hold myself together to pay my copay and get out the door at which point I fell apart in my car, picturing my baby going through that again? Six long weeks ago...the six weeks that I've been counting down to come back and check on her? The nights I've cried myself to sleep? The whole conversation about me taking her home and loving her and letting you worry about her heart?"

But I didn't. I just kind of stood there...speechless....feeling like a complete lunatic. I was so confused, trying to make sense of it in my mind. Had I dreamed the whole thing?

And then it hit me....as much as I feel like a lunatic and whatever alternate universe we were in last visit...he is telling me that Harper won't have to have another surgery. (He did leave a small window of possibility open, but made it seem very unlikely). And as crazy and embarrassed and confused as I feel, so very much more, I feel grateful and relieved.

All I can figure is...whatever it is that he saw last time, whatever had him so concerned...he didn't see it this time. And that...is a God thing.

Now I know what you're thinking, "there goes that Amy Grigsby trying to get attention again, blowing things out of proportion." Which is why I wish so very, very badly that someone would have been with me last time. I keep telling Dustin, "Dustin, I promise..." and he just says, "Amy, I totally believe you." Because let's be honest, he doesn't have much of a choice, for regardless of what he really believes, he is required to take my side. For five months now, I have had three children under the age of three and more stress than I was made to endure....I DON'T NEED HELP FEELING CRAZY!

Whatev. I'm okay with being a complete lunatic if it means sweet Popper doesn't have to go through heart surgery again. I'm elated, I'm relieved, and I'm praising God for whatever it is He did to Harper's heart.

Side note: there are some developmental things that Dr. Robinson is concerned about. More than likely, they are related to the heart surgery, but he definitely wants to make sure in the off chance that it is an independent issue, so Harper is scheduled for an MRI the first week in October. I thought it was something we could just skip across the street to the hospital for like an x-ray or blood work, but it turns out she has to be admitted and not eat for 6 hours and all that mess...you'd think I wouldn't still be so naive about medical things.

Side Side Note: So, our eccentric doctor's ways have raised some concerns about if Harper is really in the best hands or not. As crazy as I feel at times, I have nothing but complete confidence in Dr. Robinson. As much bitterness as I have for anyone that makes me feel so incredibly nutso, I have so much more love and respect for him and there hasn't been a single minute that I've questioned his abilities. I have to remember that Harper isn't his only patient....that he's seen hundreds of kids since our last visit....and that he can only base his decisions and outlook each time on what he sees at the time. I don't think he misdiagnosed her last time. I don't think he was wrong or confused. I think that a lot of people have been praying for Harper and now we are able to see very clearly our answered prayers.

No pictures this time because I can't find the blasted camera anywhere. If you saw my house you'd understand. I could lose an elephant in here right now.

Go ahead...leave me lots of comments telling me how dilusional I am. I can take it.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


This is going to be a totally non-medical update on my sweet girl because sometimes I focus a little too much on her heart and I hate that! Having said that...we are going to the cardiologist today, so a medical update will follow shortly. I'll be praying for a miraculous disappearance of a hole all morning. Care to join me?

Popper is the name Landon has given to Harper and it's pretty much all she gets called anymore. I think it's precious and I'm pretty sure it's going to stick.

Here's what Popper has been up to...

At her Pediatrician appointment last week, Harper was 5 months old, weighed 11 lbs, 1 ounce and was 22.75 inches long. She has now more than doubled her birth weight and she's really starting to fatten up.

Harper and I took a girls' trip to Dallas last weekend to see my family. The boys went to stay with Dustin's parents while Dustin worked on our plumbing all weekend. (There are some very real drawbacks to living in a 100 year old house and old plumbing is definitely one of them.) While in Dallas, we went to the Celina High School football game Friday night and watched Katelyn perform with the Drill Team. (I forgot my memory card, so a cell phone picture will have to do.) Let me just say...I have been to a lot of high school football games in my time, but a Celina High School football game is certainly something to behold. I've never seen anything like the display of school spirit and community that I saw that night. You couldn't find a seat, a place on the fence, or even a roof of a nearby building that was vacant. It was so much fun!

Saturday morning, we got up and headed to Katelyn's volleyball tournament, which lasted until about 4. Then we FINALLY got to go shopping and eat out (my two favorite activities). We got to hang out with Kristin and Madison which is always a blast.

Harper got some good one-on-one time with Grammy

And she got to watch some football with G-Pa.

It was a great weekend....until the drive home. Harper started screaming every time the car started to move, so from Weatherford to Eastland, we had to pull over at about 85% of the exits. It took us almost 8 hours to drive from McKinney to Snyder and every ounce of my energy and patience was completely gone. It wouldn't be quite so stressful if I wasn't concerned about Harper's heart. With every scream, I just pictured the hole in her heart getting bigger and bigger (overdramatic much?). That's probably not how it works, but you certainly can't convince me of that. I was one tense mama! My sweet husband told me to just get a hotel room and he would come get us, but it didn't have to come that that. Harper finally went to sleep and I drove as fast as I could (without endangering us) home. I honestly thought I would never see my home again. I'm never irrational.

Dr. Klepper gave us the go ahead, so Monday night, we started Harper on rice cereal. I thought she would hate it, but she actually likes it very much and has done great! She even slept for 6 straight hours that night. (Hallelujah!) 5 months of up every three hours really starts to effect one's sanity.

If you haven't seen the video of Harper laughing at Eli on facebook, you should check it out. She loves her brothers more than anything. I can make a complete fool of myself trying to get that little darling to laugh and I barely get a grin most days. Eli or Landon can simply walk in the room and she just lights up. What a sweetheart.

Harper is now rolling over from her stomach to her back and has rolled from her back to her stomach once, but clearly that isn't for her because she hasn't done it again. Side note: Harper is a little behind developmentally. I mean...how could she not be? And guess what. She'll probably be even more behind before this is all said and done. I'm so okay with this. I think that surely by the time Harper goes to school, she'll be rolling over...or sitting up....or crawling....etc. And if she's not...that's okay too! Popper gets to do whatever it is that Popper wants to do. (If my ECI friends are reading this, I promise we still challenge her, stretch her, and encourage appropriate movement and development)

Harper has also recently discovered her toes and hangs on for dear life now.

And surely it goes without saying that she's still a complete joy and blessing to everyone that knows her. She's just wonderful like that.

And just because I love 'em more than steak and dr. pepper, here's a picture of all my boys before bedtime.  Crawling all over Dustin is their favorite pasttime. (we do wear clothes occasionally.)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fun at the Frio

A few weeks ago, we took our annual family trip with Dustin's family. Harper had just had a shot the day before which made for a rough drive down, but when we finally got there (at 1 in the morning), we had a great time. Despite the drought here, there was even some water left in the Frio River to swim in. We did what we always do: swim, eat, hang out, play games, watch the kids play, swim some more, eat even more, and relax. We had a great time getting away for a few days!

I love that Cameron and Amy's girls are close in age to our kids!

The tree swing provided hours of entertainment.

The men watched over Harper so I could swim a little too.

Half of the family had already left, but we attempted a group photo anyway.

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