Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I've Been Avoiding This Topic...

As most of you already know, Harper will be having another open heart surgery on April 3rd. We've known about it for quite some time...and for quite some time I've been able to think of it as an event far off in the future. But now it is less than a week away and I'm having to face the harsh reality that in 6 days, this is actually going to happen. I'm panicky and I'm terrified.

We've been keeping me and the kids in and away from germs as much as possible for a couple weeks now. We want Harper to be as healthy as possible and we certainly don't want the surgery postponed on account of sickness. I'm not going to lie, it's been kind of nice to stay in my little bubble. I do okay when I don't have to face anyone. When I can cry anytime I want. When I can hang out with my little ones and just focus on us.

It's when it's my turn to go to church that I really fall apart. It's when I hear Harper's surgery announced out loud at church, shocking me out of my denial. It's when I hear someone pray for her and I'm humbled with gratitude. It's when I see people I love, who I know love me and my family, and they are hurting for us. It's when somebody hugs me. It's when someone gives me that know the forced smile and sad eyes. Those are the moments that make my head pound because I have to try so hard to hold the tears in, only to fall apart anyway.

This wasn't supposed to happen. Harper's heart was supposed to grow, and as it did, the residual hole would become more and more insignificant. That would have happened except for some muscle tissue that has grown in the area underneath her aortic valve, limiting the growth of that artery and causing it to start being blocked off. The pressure has been building and there is already a small amount of leakage from the aortic valve, indicating damage. If the tissue is not removed, the situation would become fatal. There is no less invasive procedure to do this, so another open heart surgery is required.

I don't want to bog you down with a bunch of medical stuff, so I'm going to be pretty vague. It is impossible to tell from the echo-cardiogram the exact location of this tissue. Ordinarily, this would be a very straight-forward surgery to go in, cut out the tissue, and get out. Unfortunately, our doctors are concerned that the tissue has grown over part of the patch that was used to close the holes in Harper's heart. If that's the case, the straight-forward surgery has now become seriously complicated, basically requiring them to redo what they did the first time in addition to cutting out the tissue. The surgeon won't know exactly what he needs to do until he opens her up. This possibility of the more complicated surgery is really what terrifies me the most and I'm asking, or rather begging, for your prayers on this. Please just pray that Harper will only need that tissue to be cut out and nothing else next Tuesday. I beg and I plead daily for this, but I need the prayers of others as well. I am desperately pleading that you specifically ask God to bless us in this way. I'm also praying that God's hand is all over the doctors and Harper on Tuesday, that He wraps us all in His loving and comforting arms, that He gives me peace and understanding, that He keeps Eli and Landon safe and happy while they are away from us, that we have competent and compassionate nurses, that Harper comes out of this surgery as her spunky and precious little self with no long-term effects or complications, that this PLEASE be the last time we have to go through this, and that God's will be done and He receive the glory no matter the outcome. I can't even begin to pretend that I understand this. I can't wrap my mind around the "why" of Harper's damaged heart. Satan works at my heart and my mind and he wants my worry, doubt, and fears to overtake me. I have struggled with this so much more this time around and it takes a real emotional, physical, and mental effort to just focus on the goodness of God...on His promises and His faithfulness, where I can always find peace and comfort.

There really aren't any words to thank you for your prayers. It is the very best thing you can do for us right now. I am really, really struggling with all of this and there is nothing that brings me more comfort and peace than to know that God's people are storming His throne on our behalf to pray for sweet Harper.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Just a few stories...

We are never lacking in stories around here! Here are a few from the past months:

The week after new years, Dustin worked a LOT. He was at work between 4:00 and 5:00 each morning, he worked long hours out of town, and he didn't get home until late at night. In addition to that, Harper decided that she didn't want to go to bed until midnight each night that week. So for someone (me) who really has to have a little time at night to regroup and get ready for the next day, this was rough. Things just seemed to spiral out of control. I was just trying to make it to the weekend because Dustin was taking me (and Harper) out of town for my birthday while the boys went to stay with his parents. So Thursday night, Dustin gets off work, comes home late to absolutely nothing to eat, three wild kids, and a crazy wife. He did what any sensible man would do and said, "how about we go out to eat tonight." Great idea. We all get ready to head out the door and we can't find the keys. We've been working with only one set of keys for a while because we had lost the other pair already. I had seen the boys with the keys earlier in the day, but was rocking Harper at the time, so I told them to put them back on the counter. I watched them do that and we all went about our business. Well, at some point, they came back for the keys and where they put them nobody knows. For the next hour, we searched high and low for those keys, all the while asking Eli and Landon what happened to them. They took us on a wild goose chase, with ever changing stories. But one story really stuck out. It was the one that Landon kept coming back to and it was the one with the most detail. According to Landon, he dropped the keys in the toilet and they splashed like his poop and then he flushed the toilet. 

Great. Our only set of keys down the toilet. 

We ordered a pizza, put the boys to bed, and continued to look all night. 

We never found the keys.

So instead of a birthday weekend out with two of my favorite people, I get to spend my day at home while Dustin has the car towed to the nearest dealership (90 miles away) to have new keys made. The estimated cost of that being upwards of $1000. Awesome. 

As a last ditch effort, Dustin starts focusing on the other set of keys; the ones that have been missing for months. He goes to the church building to see if any keys were turned in and happens to ask just the right person who took the keys to CVS to see if she could identify whose they were. Not only did CVS not tell her who the keys belonged to, they didn't give them back to her and promised they would call immediately. That had been two months ago and we never got a call, but sure enough...Dustin went up to CVS and our other set was sitting there months later. Providence? I think so. I have to assume that God was protecting Eli and Landon from my wrath. 

So what seemed like a pretty hopeless situation turned out alright. We went ahead with our plans, but made a little time to get an extra key made for the car. It's in a very high and secret place where two boys cannot get to it. 


 The boys play outside a lot. They love it out there. And I love them being out there. But I never know what I'm going to find when I check on them. Just the other day, I walked out to find them with their pants down peeing up the slide and letting it run down on them. Seriously? How do they think of the grossest activities ever to engage in?

I thought I would never get through to them that hanging out on top of a flimsy canopy was not a smart idea.

Dustin just recently closed in this terribly tacky building in our back yard to turn it into a shop for himself. It is so nice and Eli and Landon think it's the coolest place ever now. He has a couple of old drills that he kept for the boys and he keeps them charged so that the boys can work with him out there. He has a whole wall of screws that they can screw and unscrew and they feel SO important working with Daddy. I thought it was a great idea until they started using their drills on everything else. Eli came in from outside the other day holding boards to their swing set. I went out to find 4 or 5 boards taken off the fort part of the swing set. I also found them taking screws out of the door frame. I have since confiscated the power drills and they can only use them under Dustin's supervision. They are just a little too good at dismantling.

We don't have quite as many funny Harper stories yet, but I can assure you that we will. Sometimes I think she has more personality than Eli and Landon combined. No matter what is going on, she always wants to be in the middle of whatever it is Eli and Landon are doing. She wants to destroy the train track they just built or knock over their block or Lego towers. It's like she gets SO much joy from making them mad. I'm sure this is just the beginning of a long and beautiful "little sister" relationship. I'm pretty sure they'll get back at her one day when they don't let a single boy near her.

Well, those are just a few things I know I'd forget if I didn't write them down. Next up is a Christmas recap.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Remember Us? We have a lot to catch up on!

In the four years I've had this thing, I've never gone more than 6 weeks without writing here and I hate that I've let so much time pass. Mostly because I LOVE going back and reading about my kids. Even after just a few months, the stories are like new to me. It's amazing how fast they grow and change and how things you never thought you would do all too quickly.

Let's start with the fall, shall we? Over the next few days, I plan to try and catch up to the present time, just hitting the highlights of our life the past 6 months.

Fall was great fun. I say this about every age, but this truly SUCH a fun age with the boys. I'm not going to lie, age 3 has been a real doozie in some ways, but we just won't talk about that. It's also been a TON of fun. Eli and Landon have such great personalities. They are full of life and energy and the things that come out of their little mouths are hilarious.

Here are a few pictures from our fall:

Carving pumpkins:

My dad came to visit for a whole week and we tackled a major project that kept getting put off: painting the exterior of our house.


After: (Yes, I realize you can't see too much, but this is all I have. It's grey with white trim and a red door and while the outside of our house will never be beautiful, this is a HUGE improvement!)

 The boys helped me make their costumes for Halloween this year which was fun. They were pretty hesitant to wear them though. We went to the Halloween party at the library with all of our storytime friends and they wouldn't even walk in the room with their costumes. Guess we should try something a little time. They also insisted on taking them off in between each house we trick-or-treated at (this wasn't annoying at all).

A sweet friend from church made Harper's costume. It was a tad big, but she wore it all night and was a big trooper that night. 

We went to a fall festival:

Landon had a few accidents in a row. The nose injury was caused by jumping off the couch and diving into the coffee table. This one really scared me.

This injury was caused by Eli "helping" him off the porch and right onto the cement headfirst. 
 Harper started going to Bible class like the big girl she is (never alone because she's quite the momma's girl and that's okay).

Harper got her first two teeth...and then the next six right after it. She now has eight teeth and will gladly bite you with them.

So that's a start at least. I'm not even proofreading this because it's almost 2:00 a.m. and I can't be bothered with silly things like that. Stay tuned...more on the way...maybe ;)

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