Baby Maverick

This blog was created to keep family and friends updated on what's going on with the pregnancy, birth, and surgical plan for Maverick. We'll also be able to keep everyone updated during his surgery and recovery and hopefully be able to show you some cute pictures of him, Maddie, Carter and Chloe along the way.

This was the original intent; however, when we started this blog we had no idea the twists and turns our lives would take. Our sweet baby Maverick was born September 12, 2008 with Transposition of the Great Arteries, ASD, and VSD. We expected to have a baby boy to bring home three to four weeks after his surgery. He had numerous complications after his arterial switch and fought through many that would have taken the life from an adult. He passed away February 24, 2009 - without ever coming home.

This blog is now a place I share my feelings, work through the grief, remember Maverick, and try to make sense out of our life without him. I hope in doing so I am giving a name and a face to babies everywhere born with congenital heart defects.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cleaning Closets, Stunt Devils, and Chloe's Sleepover

We've been cleaning. I've gone through two closets today and have added a lot of stuff to our garage sale pile - umm, mound would be more appropriate. We're planning on having one in the next few weeks or so. I've only had one other in my life, and that was before kids. I always get stressed out going through that much stuff and trying to organize and price it. I usually end up sending it to Prevent Blindness or the Goodwill. I'm in the mood to do it this time, though. I want to simplify things before school starts. We have waaaay too much stuff.

Maddie left today for Princess Day with the middle school girls from our church. They're at Lake Eufaula having a great time. It's nice to see her having fun again. They'll be back tomorrow evening around 6:00. Carter has his friend, Kirk, over. His mom, my friend Dianna, went with the girls.

Those boys crack me up. They've dubbed themselves the Stunt Devils. They've been playing on a scooter and skateboard outside on and off all day. Carter has a small ramp, but to hear them talk about their tricks... "I did a flip in the air," and "I jumped high, then rolled and heard my elbow go 'crack'." They both add to each other's stories. We're going to the skate park tomorrow. They say they're going on the big ramp, but we'll see how brave they are when they're staring down the slope.

Chloe was invited to her first sleepover last night with her friend Dassie. Before we left the house she asked me, "When it's time for bed can you come and cratch my back?" Isn't that sweet? I had to break it to her that I couldn't come over to 'cratch' her back before bed. I dropped her off and as soon as she got out of the car she said, "Bye, mom." She's stayed with the Mays before, but never without Maddie or Carter. I got the call about 1:30am. Poor Dovie and Rodney (Ron-dee as Chloe calls him). This is my public apology, sorry, I owe you guys. She had a lot of fun while she was there, though.

I got a call from West Memorials and received an email with some more pics of headstones they've done. They're beautiful. I'm going to check one other place and then we'll decide who to go with. We're ready to get started on Mav's gravemarker. I think we want several pictures on it. The polished granite with etched pictures looks really nice.

Well, enough for now. Love you all, jc

Monday, July 27, 2009

Moving the Crib and My Heart Check-up

Maddie has wanted her own room for quite awhile now. We finally caved this weekend and did some re-arranging of the rooms at our house. We have an extra living room that we moved our room into and she now has our old room, leaving Chloe in their room. Thanks to the Quinns for helping us move everything. We took the crib out of Carter's room and re-configured it for a daybed for Chloe's room. I think that was easier than taking it completely down and seeing it in the garage.

Maddie has been painting bedroom furniture for her room. The bed they shared was bright bubblegum pink and didn't match the bedding her grandma bought her, so she painted it. I taught her all the tricks of painting and she took off and did a great job on her own. I'll put some pics of it on here when she's finished.

I had my cardiology check-up today with Dr. Ward. They did an echo in the office. The device is in the right place and there is no flow around it - which is great. The echo and EKG both showed my heart looks completely normal - no abnormalities at all. No damage from all the years walking around with an ASD. That's nice to know. I got sad driving back home in the rain. I wish I would've been taking Mav up there for a check-up.

I got a big box of pictures out of the garage tonight. One of the projects I want to finish requires finding some specific baby pics of Maddie. I've already finished the pics of Carter and Chloe. Maddie's weren't in the box. I know they're out there somewhere. I just haven't found the right box yet. We had a great time looking at all the pictures, though. I can't believe how quickly they've grown.

Love you all, jc

PS Martha - Can I post the beautiful poem Bob wrote? I saw it on Mitch's blog.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Great book for dealing with the loss of a child

My friend, Kim, came by this morning and went to the cemetery with me. It's still hard to go, but I still feel like I need to. Greg and I have been talking more about his grave marker and I checked out a couple of places here today, but they didn't have what we were looking for. I put in an email to one of the companies I listed in an earlier post (one that does custom work), but I haven't heard from them yet. Maybe I'll be able to talk to them about what we want without crying.

I sat down this evening and read the book Greg read yesterday. It's called, " Tracks of a Fellow Struggler - Living and Growing through Grief" and was written by John R. Claypool. He's a pastor who lost his 10 year-old daughter to leukemia and it's a collection of some sermons he did while going through the different stages - diagnosis and treatment, remission, recurrence, and death. It was a great book and helped both of us out a lot. Thanks, Todd. I would definitely recommend it to anyone going through this. I've read different books on grief, but this is by far my favorite. Basically, it let me know that it's okay to wonder why and to not understand. He did the same thing. By the end of the book, his last sermon is about how life is a gift. We did nothing to deserve it - we did nothing to get the gift of our children, either. We should enjoy each day. Here's an excerpt from a sermon that's toward the end of the book.

"Two things that radically altered Job's situation emerged out of this encounter, and they proved to be the catalyst that enabled Job to move through his grief back to wholeness. One was a new understanding of the past, and the other was a fresh vision of the future. Let us look at them both.
The first thing God did was to call into question the "justice-injustice" approach to the mystery of life. God began by asking Job where he had been when the whole drama of creation had begun. What had he done to create his own life, or to call the universe into being, or to make possible the existence of his possessions or his children or his health? In other words, God was reminding Job that the things he had become so indignant about losing actually did not belong to him in the first place. They were gifts - gifts beyond his deserving, graciously given him by Another, and thus not to be possessed or held onto as if they were his. To be angry because a gift ahas been taken away is to miss the whole point of life. That we ever have the things we cherish is more than we deserve. Gratitude and humility rather than resentment should characterize our handling of the objects of life. This important lesson is one all of us need to learn...."

I liked that he was honest throughout the book in his thoughts and in his sermons. I won't go into any more detail, but I think it's a great book for anyone to read. I really liked how he discussed the questioning of why.

I went to the bedroom to read the book so I could have a little quiet. Chloe came back to join me with her babies. Quiet isn't in her personality. She brought me her babies to watch and told me they had "pwoblems wis deir heawts," but they would be fine and she would be just across the street if I needed her. What an imagination - she keeps us on our toes. They are all such blessings.

Hope you all have a great weekend. Love ya, jc

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cleaning and Coping as a Couple

We enjoyed the last day with our nephew, Cooper. He went home today after we did our cheap movie day at Bricktown. I know Carter will miss having him around.

Maddie and I started cleaning out the garage after we got home. That's one of the things on my "to do list" of things to get accomplished before school starts. It will take another day or so. There are baby items out there that Mav never got to use - an exersaucer, baby toys, not to mention all the items still left inside the house. I'm not quite ready to get rid of all of them. My friend, Kim, came over tonight and assured me that that's okay. Greg has told me this before as well. There's no timeline on how or when I need to do certain things. No timeline on how to grieve.

I've had a few people ask how we're doing as a couple. Through this process we've realized that we each grieve differently. I think any couple going through this has to accept these differences to make it through the loss of a child. We've been fortunate that we haven't had problems in this area, and I feel like our marriage is stronger now than it's ever been. We're both suffering the same loss and it's comforting to have each other's shoulder to cry on when we need to. I can't imagine getting through this without him. However, I could see how having specific expectations from your spouse (expecting them to grieve like you do) during this time could set you up for many battles. I think if you don't have expectations, you won't be disappointed. I'm going to have good days and bad days and so is he. Eventhough we each deal with our loss differently, we're both on the same team. Our battle is the same, but our weapons are different. I would never wish this on anyone, but if you're going through it, I hope these words will help.

Tomorrow will be five months since Mav died - almost the same amount of time we had him here. Greg and I have talked about this several times, and in some ways it seems like it was an eternity ago, and others it seems like yesterday. It's been quite awhile since I've made a call to the hospital before going to bed - hoping to hear that the last blood gas was better than the one before. I still remember the anxiety I had when making these calls. The panic we'd feel when the phone would ring in the middle of the night. The peace I would feel when I got to hold him. This still really sucks. I don't think the pain we feel has gotten any better, I think we've just gotten better at dealing with it.

Greg had lunch with our pastor, Todd, today. He gave him a book to read. It was written by a pastor who lost a daughter to cancer. I think Greg said the book is some of the sermons he did while going through the battle and after the loss of his daughter. He's reading it right now. I'll probably start reading it tomorrow, and I'll give you more details then. Honestly, we're both pretty mad that all this has happened. Just speaking for myself, I don't even know what to pray for right now. I believed with all my heart that God would heal him and we would have our baby to take home, and that didn't happen. I don't get to know the "why," and that's hard.

Greg's read the book - he tells me I need to go read it. Enough for now. Love you all - jc

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Family, Friends, and Remembering

Wow. It's been awhile. We've been pretty busy. I had lunch with my Mediflight friends in Bricktown on Friday. It was great to see everyone. Saturday, the kids and I went to see my family at my uncle David's house. The kids got to see their cousins they hadn't seen in years. They had so much fun. I enjoyed seeing everyone, too. My dad has three brothers and one sister. All the brothers were there, but my Aunt Jeanne wasn't able to be there (she lives in New Jersey). I got to see my cousin, Michelle. She's a few years older than me. I remember cruising with her one night when we were both at my grandma's house. Fun times... Anyway, we didn't get home until after midnight Saturday night, so we slept in on Sunday.
Kids on the teeter-totter at Uncle David and Aunt Vickie's.

Kid and cousins. Sara (friend), Maddie, Chloe, Noelle, Chelsea, Rachel, and Carter.

Monday we met my stepdad, James, to pick up our nephew, Cooper. He's five. Carter and he have been having a blast. It's taken me a while to learn, but if kids have compatible personalities, it's often easier to have an extra or two around. He and Carter have been playing and staying busy. I've hardly heard a peep - okay, that's a lie - they're boys. I've heard lots of "peeps", but you get what I'm saying.

Monday night my girlfriends and I went out to celebrate July and August birthdays. We went out to eat Italian and ended up staying in the parking lot talking for an hour and a half. I know if someone would have been videoing our parking lot discussions, they would have been a hit on you tube. The girls make me laugh. I really have an amazing group of friends.

I had a few rough days, but the past few have been okay. For me, I have to be busy. I have lots of projects to wrap up before school starts. The kids start Aug. 12, and I start Aug. 18. I've decided to stick with the master's program for now. I'm going to do it full-time and I'll be finished next December (December 2010). That will allow me to get back to work sooner. I can then work on the doctorate program part-time while working.
Yesterday my dad and grandma came to visit with the kids and me. Then my friend, Kim, from Houston came into town. She and her kids stopped by to visit and then we went to get snow cones. She and I were pregnant with our first kiddos at the same time. She got me hooked on blackberry and cream snow cones at that time - yum.

Carter, Maddie, Wil, Carter (yes, two Carters - wouldn't that be funny if they got married someday - Carter and Carter Clark?), Chloe, and our nephew, Cooper.

I've had quite a bit of good advice lately that I'm going to share. When my gran and I were talking the other day while watching the kids play. She told me, "Enjoy them. They'll be grown before you know it." Then I asked her what fun things she did with her kids when they were little. She didn't answer directly, but told me, "I wish I would've done more with them and worried less about my work" referring to work around the house. She's a wise woman.

Late the other evening, I talked to my Aunt Vickie. She lost a baby many years ago. I wish I could remember her exact words, because I've been pondering them since that night. She said something to the effect of, "Let his life make a big impact on yours. It doesn't have to make a big impact on the world." Regardless of what her exact words were, they have stuck with me. I think it's probably normal to want to make something big out of a tragedy like this. I can tell you first-hand, I don't want people to forget about him. She also told me she saw someone the other day and was talking to him. He couldn't figure out how they knew each other and she mentioned my name and he said, "Baby Maverick's mom." I don't know why, but I loved hearing that story. As moms, we're always used to being referred to as "Maddie's mom" or whatever your child's name is mom. I was just glad to be remembered as Maverick's mom. I've seen this poem on the web in many different places, so I'm going to post it here. I thought it would be appropriate for this post. Enjoy.


Go ahead and mention my child,
The one that died, you know.
Don't worry about hurting me further.
The depth of my pain doesn't show.
Don't worry about making me cry.
I'm already crying inside.
Help me to heal by releasing
The tears that I try to hide.
I'm hurt when you just keep silent,
Pretending he didn't exist.
I'd rather you mention my child,
Knowing that he has been missed.
You asked me how I was doing.
I say "pretty good" or "fine".
But healing is something ongoing
I feel it will take a lifetime.
~ Elizabeth Dent ~

Love you all, jc

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The kids are back

Whew! I'm glad the kids are back. They had fun with their grandma and grandpa, but the house was quiet last night. When it's quiet, I get sad and miss our baby even more. The busier I am, the easier time goes by. Greg and I were both happy to have them back this evening.

They came back around 11:00 and Greg's mom, Marilyn, and the kids and I went to eat lunch at McAlister's Deli. We then went to JCPenney and shopped around a little. Not too much excitement, but we had a good time.

The big excitement for the day was Maddie getting her braces removed. She was sooo nervous. It didn't help any that Carter was sitting in the room telling her he hoped they didn't pull out her front teeth while they were trying to take her braces off. He just kept taunting her the entire time. She goes back on Monday to get her retainers placed. The pics are below. Love you all, jc

Braces on

The last pic with her braces on.

Taking them off

They're off

The first look at her pretty smile after the braces came off.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Visiting grandparents and the quiet house

I've had the chance to have a quiet house today. Greg's mom picked up the kids this morning and they're spending the night with her tonight. Some quiet is okay, too much is too much. I was able to get some errands taken care of this morning. When I got back home I thought I'd start on a photo book for Mav. I got started, but it was a bit too difficult. Seeing that sweet face in so many pictures proved to be a bit too much. I stopped. Greg came home and we talked for awhile. I told him how hard it is sometimes to act like everything is okay when it's not. He said I don't have to act like that. The past few days have just been a bit tough. It's just a strange predicament to be in. I want to enjoy our three healthy happy kids and for the most part I do. There are just these rough patches. A friend told me last night, "Unfortunately, Julianne, it will be that way for a long time."
After Greg and I finished talking, we both went to the chiropractor - what a fun date. A little snap-crackle-pop will hopefully do both of us some good. His back is bothering him a little and I'm having some headaches and neck/shoulder issues again. We attempted to go to the movie this evening, but there aren't many good shows out. We were a bit disappointed.
Yesterday, the kids and I went to see my grandparents. My "pa" is now on facebook, so I helped him upload a few photos and he gave Maddie and me some tips on gardening and starting a compost area. I think next year we're going to have a bigger garden. We went to have Mexican food with my "gran." We really enjoyed seeing them. Here they are:

While there, Carter asked where the stationery bike was in the front living room. I looked over where it used to be and was pleasantly surprised to see this:

This was my great-grandma's chair. She lived to be 103. Many of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren were rocked in this chair, including me. She loved babies just like me and my gran. I remember going to visit her and seeing her rock in her chair. She had really long silver hair and would comb it out and put it in a bun while sitting in her chair by the front door. My gran and I started talking and reminiscing about her. If wish I had all my pics arranged - I could post one of her in her chair.
While there, Chloe showed off her new hair cut. Pa said, "They broke the mold when Chloe was born," while I was taking this picture. He had his hand on her head and she replied, "You know dis is my new hai," (she says hair without the "R" on the end).

I just talked to the kids on the phone and just have to share one last thing. Chloe asked me to put her baby in her shirt and pants for bed. She is here and still has on her dress that she put on her this morning. I'm posting a pic of the kids enjoying their favorite summer treats - snowcones. If you notice in one you can see an infant seat. Chloe has to have it in the vehicle for her baby. I figure it's not hurting anything, so why not?

Maddie gets her braces off tomorrow. She's so excited. I'll put some pics on to show off her new smile. Love you all, jc

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Two Worlds

This image was from our 3-D ultrasound just about a year ago - it's hard to believe it's been that long.

"How are you?" she asks. "I'm okay," I reply. "You're not doing well, are you?" she asks... Just a conversation from earlier today. I guess she could hear it in my voice. I'm sure she realized Mav would've been ten months old today. She knows this type of pain all too well.

We went to church this morning - the music is getting easier to listen to. The last song, however, was "Amazing Grace." It's a song I have always associated with funerals. I'm not sure if everyone does or if it's just a quirk of mine. I had to stop singing and focus on not crying as my eyes started to well-up with tears.

Smiling is getting easier, so are the evenings and nights. Sometimes I feel like I'm in two worlds - one where I'm going through the motions of daily life trying to enjoy things as much as I can and the other where I miss our sweet boy so much that all I want to do is cry. I suppose this is an improvement. I'm not sad all the time now. I've had a handful of days where I haven't cried at all.

The task of the headstone is still looming over my head. I'm a procrastinator. We still haven't figured it out. It just seems like such a daunting and permanent task. I don't think we'll make it for our goal of his birthday. I'm going to do my best this week and make it a priority, though.

Speaking of his birthday... It will be here before we know it. September 12. What do we do? I certainly don't want to not celebrate the day he came into our lives, but I don't think there's a real answer for what's right. I think everyone comes up with what is right for their own family. I've been thinking about a balloon release at his grave. I'd like to do another blood drive as some point as well. I'm open to suggestions. I think it's horrible that we're even having to think about this. I just wish he was healthy and here with us.

On the other hand, I'm glad we had the hope that he would get better. I'm glad we had 5 1/2 months with him. Imagine the parents that know that their baby is facing a terminal defect prior to his birth. Imagine wondering if your child will survive the delivery and if so for how long. I've been following a blog since shortly after Mav's death. At that time it was about RN parents who lost their baby girl during delivery. I just checked back in about a week ago and they had several updates. I just can't imagine what they're going through right now. If you don't want cry, don't click on the link. I promise it will make you appreciate your healthy children, even when they're up five times a night puking or throwing fits in the middle of Walmart. The Thompsons could use any extra prayers you could send their way right now. Here's their link if you're interested

Love you all, jc

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A New Start

Well, along with Maddie's new adventures in the blog world, I've started a new blog. I'm still planning on keeping our Baby Maverick blog up, but primarily for remembering Mav, awareness and education on congenital heart defects, and helping others who are dealing with the loss of a child. I know many of you are curious about the other aspects of our lives (including the money-saving deals), and out of respect for Mav's precious life I decided to start another site to share those and share our daily adventures. The new site is

Friday, July 10, 2009

Not much excitement around here. We went to the movies yesterday in Bricktown (with our super deal movie passes) with our friends the Mays. We had lunch in Midwest City and stopped by Target on the way home. Maddie went swimming yesterday evening. Chlo and I took a nap. I didn't sleep much the night before - Mav has been on my mind a lot.

Today we ran some errands and went by CVS and Walmart. We just needed to get a few groceries. Maddie picked several more tomatoes today, so we made some tomato and mozzarella salad with fresh basil and rosemary from our little herb garden. I loved it, Maddie and Chloe weren't too impressed. I don't think they were too fond of the fresh herbs. I also made my favorite beer bread. It's sooo easy to make. 3 cups self-rising flour, 1/3-1/2 cup sugar, 1 can beer, rosemary - fresh or dried to taste, fresh-cracked black pepper to taste. Combine everything and bake at 350 for 50 minutes. Here it is. I make it with spaghetti, but it would be good for sandwiches as well.

Maddie and her tomatoes - grape, cherry and patio.

The plan was to make spaghetti, but no one was very hungry, so I stopped cooking there. Maddie made some yummy fruit pizza and then declared that she wants to be a chef. I told her as long as she cleans up the mess she can cook whenever she wants. She started a blog today to share her adventures. It's Go over and check it out. She loves to coupon as much as I do, so she shares our good deals there. She had a lot of fun setting it up.

I received some news today from the University of Southern Alabama about a new doctorate of nursing program in acute care pediatrics. For my non-medical friends, it's an advanced nursing degree - a nurse practitioner that works in children's emergency rooms and PICUs. I've always loved the intensity of these areas, so I've sent some questions back to the coordinator to find out some more information. I could switch to this option if I want, but it would take three years full-time to complete.

Carter came back home this evening. He had a great time with his friend, Jack, at the lake. Immediately after he got in the vehicle he asked, "What are we doing this evening?" That is his personality to a T. He and Chloe are camping out in the living room tonight. Here's a pic of them.

Right now they're screaming and fussing with each other. Don't let their sweet faces fool you.

Greg is hanging in there. His back is bothering him some. I know most people don't realize how blessed they are to have their health until something happens to disrupt it. If you're feeling good, be thankful :) Love you all, jc

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Funny lyrics and a difficult task

We've stayed busy this week. Monday I took the kids swimming in the afternoon. Maddie had a birthday party that evening. She spent the night and had a great time. I feel like she can finally enjoy being a normal kid. She doesn't have anything to worry about now.

Yesterday we went to stay with little miss Addie. She was just a doll. Her momma always tells me what an "Addie-tude" she has, but I keep telling Addie her momma is just fibbing to me.

There is a pic of her below. On the way home we were listening to a CD that's a compilation of some of my favorite songs. The kids like them, too. We usually all sing them, but I was thinking and wasn't singing this time. "When a Man Loves a Woman" came on and C-man was the one singing. This is what I heard... "When a maaan loves waaa-ter." I started cracking up and told him what the real words were, then Maddie says, "I thought it said, 'When a man loves a walnut.'" That kept me laughing for several miles. It reminded me of a time I was singing in the car with my mom to a Huey Lewis song (am I showing my age or what?). I was belting out, "I want a new truck..." when my mom started laughing and told me it was actually "I want a new drug." I think it happens to everyone at some point, I think it's probably better to have your mom correct you than your friends.

Maddie also had an appointment to check up on her hand on Tuesday. It was the fastest appointment we've ever been to. Maddie timed it and it took 28 seconds. It looks sooo much better. It was a staph infection, but not the bad kind (not MRSA). It's healing nicely.

Carter has been busy trying to learn new skateboard tricks and trying to talk us into buying him a new skateboard. I think I finally convinced him that all the people that are really good have banged up boards. If the board was new and shiny then they must have just started skating... There's a video of one of his new tricks below. He went to Lake Eufaula with one of his friends today and will be back tomorrow evening or Friday. I know he'll have a great time.

Today we just stayed around the house and cleaned. I finally went through Mav's things. Everything from the hospital was just piled in his crib. Putting his things up was one of the hardest things I've had to do. I cried some, but Maddie helped me stay on task and get it finished. She's the organizing queen. The things that were special to us went in one storage box and the baby things that he hadn't worn went into another. He had so many stuffed animals. We kept the ones he liked the most and I think we're going to give the other ones to the Unzner Center. It's a place children of abuse go to have their exams. They give them a stuffed animal when they're there. We haven't taken the crib down, but I'm sure we'll do that pretty soon. I have a list of things I want to get finished before school starts and that's one of them.

Well, enough for tonight - or this morning by now. I just had to post a few more pics of the kids. Love you all, jc

Chloe's haircut

Well, Miss Chlo has been very disagreeable about getting her hair brushed lately. Half-way out of frustration I asked her if she wanted to get it cut. She said yes. Here we are. She also requested to have it brown like mine. I told her we couldn't do that. I just love it when they are small and think mom is so cool. I kept her little ponytail. It wasn't quite long enough to send to Locks of Love. Thanks to Miss Jaime for the cute cut. Here's the finished version with gum in her mouth. She was laying in bed with Maddie tonight and Maddie put her arm on Chloe's hair. She quickly told her, "Don't Maddie, that's my new hair."

Skateboard tricks

Here's C-man doing his newest skateboard trick. He's determined to learn more. He watches videos on you-tube and tries to do the moves.

Sweet Addie

We babysat Addie Tuesday. She's my sister, Heather's baby. I fed her and she fell asleep. I just held her the whole time she napped. I took this one to send to Heather to let her know she was doing fine, but I couldn't send it to her for some reason. We had a fun time with her. Shortly after we arrived Chloe asked if she could pet her!

More tomatoes

Here's Maddie's latest crop. They are sooo good. They taste like summer.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Me and the Firecrackers

Well, here we are on the fourth of July. They are quite the little firecrackers. We went to our friends', the Blacks, house Saturday evening. The kids popped a few firecrackers and then the storm came in. It rained, poured, thundered, and lightninged (is that a word?). The kids didn't get to finish the festivities. We all went in the house - kids playing, adults talking - when the power went off. That's just one of the exciting benefits of living in Oklahoma. We left to go home a little after nine. Miss Chlo passed out in the car on the way home. I couldn't resist taking a pic when I put her in bed. I took some other pics of the kids with my regular camera - I always do on the fourth for some reason. I would have uploaded them as well, but the electricity issues fried our printer and that's how I download the pics. So, I'll save those for another day.

We went to church today, then Greg took Carter and Chloe to the movies. I stayed home to work on arrangements for my school. I have to make a trip to Mobile, AL the end of August to do an orientation for the nurse practitioner program. I'm not the best at making travel plans. I tend to stress over the details. That being said, I still don't have the plans confirmed. I'll have to do that this week. I have decided to do the full-time program. I've been in touch with the director of the pediatric program and explained my background and plans and she has given me her blessing to do the full-time track. That makes me feel better, because so far everyone else was strongly suggesting I do the part-time track. I should be finished December of 2010. I know at some point in the program I really want to do a pediatric cardiology rotation. I learned so much during Mav's life, but there is still so much to learn. It's fascinating, really - the heart. Every organ in the body depends on it and when it isn't functioning properly, it wreaks havoc on many other systems. We saw that first-hand with our sweet baby boy. Maybe someday there will be more options for cardiac issues such as his. I hope so.

Maddie didn't go to the movie with the others today. She and I actually went to a movie Friday night. We went to see "My Sister's Keeper." I read the book several weeks ago. When my friend Kristi came in for my procedure she asked me, "Are you a masochist?" for reading it. If you haven't heard of it I'm not going to spoil it for you, but it was a very good book. Several things just hit close to home. Maddie and I had to leave about an hour into the movie. I could tell it was making her uncomfortable. I think it's rated PG-13. It was the bloody scenes that she didn't like. And to answer my friend's question, I don't think I'm masochistic. Somehow it's comforting to know I'm not the only one going through tough issues. I found several other blogs of people who have lost children and sometimes it's just nice to know you're not crazy.

Hope you all have a great week. Love you all, jc

The Littlest Firecracker

Passed out.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Lessons learned in the blackberry patch

It has been an eventful week full of doctors' appointments (four to be exact), the last baseball game of the season, and blackberry picking. I know I'm leaving things out, but I'm sure they'll come back to me as this progresses.

Monday started off with an epidural for Greg. His back has been acting up a little due to a trip on our little get-away a few weekends ago. While Greg was at his appointment, I took Maddie to get an event monitor for her heart. Her heart was structurally fine, but since she has had complaints for several years, Dr. Ward wanted her to wear an event monitor for a month. It's just a little device that has electrodes that go to her chest and a monitor a little bigger than a pager that she wears on her waistband. She pushes a button whenever she has an episode.

Tuesday yielded a trip to the pediatrician for Maddie. She developed an infection on her hand and was placed on antibiotics.

Wednesday was my trip to the doctor - just for "girl stuff".

Thursday morning we went to a movie in OKC with our friends. Maddie's hand wasn't looking any better, so we went to have it incised and drained that afternoon. She was nervous, but was very brave and did great. While we were waiting for the procedure she said, "Mav had to have a lot more needle pokes than I ever have, so I have nothing to be afraid of." The lidocaine started to wear off around 5:30pm and we had to make a call to get something a little stronger than ibuprofen. After that, the evening went smoothly. Carter had his last baseball game of the season. Here's a pic of a hit he made.

This morning we woke up early to go blackberry picking at a farm nearby. I thought it would be a fun outing for us since we were going with several friends. We had been there no longer than ten minutes when the whining ensued. I really can't blame them. We went in the morning to escape the heat, but it was in the 90's by 10:00. We picked about two quarts and then the kids took a horse-drawn carriage ride around the farm. Maddie said it was a little rough. It was the horse's first day doing this, so he didn't quite have the hang of it. Here are some pics of the day.

I took these last two pics after a conversation with a couple of men at the farm. I had just canvassed one aisle and was heading a different direction to go down another. One man thought I was just getting started and yelled out, "Ma'am, you might as well not waste your time. There's nothing out there." They continued to walk toward me red-faced from the heat. I held up my bucket when they were close and said, "I've had some pretty good luck. I've been looking underneath the vines." "Oh, well you have. Lookin' where no one else was lookin'" he said. I smiled and turned to start the search again. I kept pondering the incident in my head and was thinking of the lesson I learned from this - take your pick:

1. To find what no one else can find, you have to look where no one else will look.

2. Persistence pays off.

3. Don't listen to what everyone tells you (or should that just be what men tell you?).

4. You must pass over many pieces of sour fruit to find the sweet ones.

or, all of the above. Yes, I believe all of the above. I enjoyed the time with the kids today and we sang some of our favorite songs on the way back home. I reminded myself today how lucky I am to have three healthy kids here with me - with us. I was thankful for the doctors' appointments and all the chaos. The normal, regular chaos. I so miss Mav, but I know I truly appreciate my life more because of him. I think it's an amazing gift to appreciate people when you have them, not just after they're gone.

Carter and Chloe went to their grandma and papaw's house today and spent the night tonight. I was resting on the couch this afternoon and Oprah came on. It was an episode on moms. I couldn't help but think, "Some of these people don't know how petty this stuff is that they are complaining about." Another heart mom lost her five-month old heart baby this week.

Hug your kids and give them an extra ounce of patience. School starts back for us in six weeks. This summer is going by so fast. Love you all, jc