Friday, December 30, 2011

The things we'll never understand

There are things that happen in this world that I will never ever understand. Things that I can't comprehend, things that just don't feel like they should happen in a world where God is present everyday.

I felt this way when we were in the hospital. As a self proclaimed control freak, existing in a new reality that gave me no say whatsoever was a rude awakening. I felt betrayed and wondered how on earth this was happening to us. When actually, my lack of control should have given me some solace.

Recently I've heard of two other babies in the hospital, the stories of which immediately brought tears to my eyes. I know what those parents were feeling and the mere remembrance of those emotions cause a physical reaction in me that I truly cannot control.

A very sweet sorority sister (also fellow high school volleyball player and fellow blogger) lost her brand new baby boy Reid this month. She said many prayers for Davis when we needed them and as they struggled to sustain Reid's life I prayed constantly. When I then heard of his passing I felt hopeless, like all of our prayers were for naught.

Last night we found out that an acquaintance of ours (and Matt's best friend's cousin) is in the hospital with their little girl who has spinal meningitis and is currently in a medically-induced coma. We don't have any additional details but again, we find ourselves in constant prayer. Knowing of their situation, which bears such similarity to our own, caused me to cry everytime I looked at Davis last night. I cried for the days we spent in sheer agony and for every day we've spent at home since. But mostly I cried out of desperation and for a lack of ability to explain why these things happen.

I suppose it's in these times we should lean on God the most that sometimes cause us to turn away. I know miracles happen. It is the only explanation for why I get to rock my sweet boy in his room everyday, but it is very difficult for me to understand why everyone doesn't get to be as lucky as us, and it makes me feel extremely guilty for this amazing gift we've been given.

When I was in the hospital three different friends send me the lyrics to this song called "Blessings" by Laura Story. I found it awfully ironic that three separate people would suggest the exact same song to me, but looking back on it I understand why. Here are the words. If you are hoping for a miracle for someone else, waiting on one of your own, or just trying to make sense out of this world, I hope this helps.

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family,
protection while we sleep

We pray for healing,
for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering

All the while,
You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness,
we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough

All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights Are what it takes to know You’re near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heartThat this is not, this is not our home
It's not our home

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nightsAre what it takes to know You’re near

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Merry Christmas

Wishing you the merriest of holidays and a wonderful 2012!

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Our family hit a few important milestones this week that I thought were worth sharing. Behold Marden family accomplishments, December 2011 edition.

1. Davis is rolling over! Just 4 days after his 3 month birthday my little love bug decided he wanted to move and he's barely stopped since, begging the need for his new nick name, roly poly. Given his new fascination with movement we've had to stop swaddling him which has lead to a few sleepless nights, but Moms on Call assures me that after three nights he'll get used to being unswaddled and we'll go back to sleeping normally. Tonight is the third night--fingers crossed.

2. Madelyn is almost completely (afraid to say it for fear I may jinx myself) potty trained! Alert the media, cue the harps, and let's all cheer for having one diaperless child! We've been slowly (very slowly) working with her on it since the end of the summer because we've known for quite some time she was smart enough to understand, but as I'm leaning, she is a child who will do things on her time, when she is ready. And it appears she was ready to give mommy an early Christmas present, that sweet girl. I say almost potty trained because she's still in pull ups at night and has yet to go in a public restroom, but we'll get there.

(p.s. I love Davis' face in this picture. He is clearly excited about cuddling with his big sissy)

3. For the first year on record I had all of my Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving and even got little teacher gifts for Madelyn's daycare together way before the week of Christmas. I'd like to thank the following parties for making this possible:,, and my company, for allowing me two extra weeks of maternity leave and the ability to be home during this busy time of year. Yay for shopping online at home in yoga pants. Oh, and thanks to Minted and Erin Condren for our cute gift labels.

Hope you all have a safe and wonderful Christmas holiday!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas traditions

Having children seems to fuel you with this urge to infuse Christmas with as many personal family traditions as possible. It suddenly feels increasingly important to add meaning to these days that otherwise pass so quickly and to give your children a little piece of you to remember forever.

I have been wanting to start some family traditions of our own but given my general lack of creativity have found more inspiration from Pinterest and other blogs than from my own creation. I figure, no need to reinvent the wheel. So, in an effort to share with other creatively-challenged folks out there, I thought I'd share.

First, we've decided going forward that we'll wrap all of our Christmas books and leave them under the tree, then each evening the kids can open one to read before bed. After Christmas, all of the books will go up in the attic with the other seasonal decorations until next year so they'll be fresh and new all over again. This fun idea (and below image) was courtesy of Meredith over at the Tichenor Family.

Second, we've begun a relationship with our Elf on the Shelf that Madelyn lovingly named "Smileyface." Admittedly not my first choice for our Elf's moniker, but I suppose it's not my game :) So far, Smiley is proving to be an excellent bargaining chip against disobedient behavior which makes mama happy.

Third, we will celebrate Christmas Eve every year with a Mexican fiesta. To me, there is no better way to embrace our savior's birth than a copious variety of dishes covered in melted cheese. Can I get an Amen?

And lastly, from Nina, each year we will all get a new pair of Christmas jammies to wear on Christmas Eve and while opening presents the following morning. This really appeals to my cheesy need for coordinated family photos during which I can assure you both children will be looking in different directions. Cute jammies do not perfect photos make, but everytime we wear them we'll remember our Christmas together and that's priceless.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Things I'm happy to sacrifice

Everyone tells you that being a parent is the most selfless thing you'll ever do, but like everything else, you never really get it until it happens to you. Honestly, it's hard to even know what it means to be selfless until you are a parent. And I'd wager that what it means to you is vastly different pre and post children.

When we had Madelyn our life didn't really change. Sure we lost some sleep and the ability to travel without 19 suitcases and a monstrous SUV, but we still traveled. We could both easily take off for an afternoon to have some alone time because managing one kiddo is relatively easy...especially, you realize, once you have two.

With Davis things are very very different. Though he looks healthy, happy, and thriving, he is still a 13 week old baby with a heart condition. And this has taken the meaning of selfless sacrifice to a whole new level.

We have very little social life because our sweet boy isn't supposed to be around a lot of people, especially children who could potentially be sick. We've forgone holiday parties, playdates, and even church for his safety (and per doctor's orders). What this usually means is that Matt and Madelyn attend all of the fun things and me and little D stay home. This is actually ok with me-knowing that this is our last baby I want to soak up all of his sweetness as long as I can- and it certainly isn't fair that Madelyn suffer because of her brother's health obstacles.

We don't eat out. We used to love to go out for Mexican or hit up a burger joint on a Saturday night, now we stick to once-a-week Chick-Fil-A drive through that we can bring home. I can't just throw him in the car and run up to the grocery store or Target because those are the other venues the doctors would prefer he avoid. It's just too risky to have him in those environments, especially during this time of year.

Once we were sure of Davis' diagnosis we knew our life would truly never be the same. He can't attend daycare due to the dangers of illness so we've hired a nanny to stay home with him while I work. This is obviously an unplanned financial burden but one we're happy to take on, given that it means we are home with him and the alternative would be waiting for a heart transplant in the hospital. We've completely given up our peace of mind. We can't ever fully relax and assume he is "ok" because we just don't know.

His sweet sister can't even kiss her own brother for fear of what she might be carrying, so she sweetly kisses his toes and his head until we *hopefully* find out, some time down the road, that he's fully recovered.

I'm not saying these things to complain, in fact quite the opposite. It's amazing what you can give up without even a second thought for the sake of your children. Sure I'd love to take Davis out to eat or to a Christmas party where I can show him off to everyone we know--part of the joy of having children is being able to share them with people-but I know right now my selfish wants have to take a backseat to his well being and I am 100% ok with that. I thank God every day for my two little monkeys, and if it means I have to drink my wine at home with Matt instead of in a fancy restaurant, that is fine with me.

Friday, December 9, 2011

I will be grateful

I will be grateful that our neighbors painted their house and not complain that they chose a shade of mint green only appropriate for South Beach and nursing homes.

I will be grateful that I have a wonderful supportive job and not bitter that I have to leave my babies four days a week.

I will be grateful that my sweet husband does the dishes, makes the bed, and throws in laundry and not complain when he doesn't do it the way I want.

I will be grateful that my body has successfully given me two incredible children and not complain about the saggy parts.

I will be grateful that we have a roof over our heads even if it may not be the one we want.

I will be grateful when Madelyn is disobedient because it means she has a strong will and thriving spirit...and she always apologizes afterwards.

I will be grateful for every busy, chaotic day because it means I have a family to take care of and people who depend on me. And if I wasn't busy it would mean I was all alone.

image from here

Monday, December 5, 2011

What we've been up to

Baking delicious homemade granola

Setting up our Christmas tree

Playing Santa's workshop while the kiddos nap

Singing jingle bells and practicing smiles

Experimenting with our hair. (Disclaimer: this was for "crazy hair day" at school though I can't lie and say we don't sometimes do this for cheap thrills)

Staying in our jammies and snuggling all day. It's heaven.

Friday, December 2, 2011

28 days in the hospital

I've wanted to write a full account of our month in the hospital for quite some time but haven't felt emotionally ready to relive each and every life-sucking detail all over again. But considering the general deterioration of my brain since leaving work and increasing inability to remember anything, I figure if I don't do it now it may never be done. So here goes.

Davis was due to be born September 19th at 39 weeks via scheduled c-section. The Friday prior I awoke with debilitating pain in my abdomen. Given the close proximity to my due date we raced to the hospital and spent the day running every possible test without any conclusive results. The pain escalated to where I couldn't sit or walk without crying, yet the doctors had no clue what was wrong so they decided to go ahead and get Davis out for fear of really, the unknown. We now know that Davis somehow contracted the enterovirus from me while in utero and my body was essentially rejecting him. My immune system had sent all of my antibodies to the abdomen to fight the infection, my sweet son. Once he came out the pain was completely gone but we still didn't understand why.

At birth he was born with a fever and further testing came back with a positive but unidentifiable blood culture and low white blood cell count. Nothing that appeared too serious, so we went home.

Two days later I felt like he was overly sleepy but wasn't concerned until around 7 p.m. when he spiked a fever of 101. Within literally four minutes we had packed our bags and were on our way to the ER.

Because of his age (6 days) and his fever the ER doctor insisted upon three tests- a blood draw, a urinalysis, and a spinal tap, to which I literally told him he was out of his mind. Long emotional story short, we did them all. And I sat in the hallway outside his door listening to him scream for what felt like years as I truly cried harder than I have ever cried in my entire life. How could you do a spinal tap on a 6 day old? MY 6 day old? It was truly horrifying.

Good thing we did though, because his spinal fluid showed what appeared to be meningitis. We boarded the ambulance to the in-town children's hospital and arrived there at appx. 3 a.m. to begin a new battery of tests. After a few days we came to the conclusion that he had bacterial meningitis. At the time this was the scariest possible thing I could imagine as it meant 14 days of extremely strong antibiotics that could potentially damage his hearing and 14 days in the hospital.

A week later additional tests came back informing us that he had enterovirus. We met with infectious disease specialists, doctor after doctor after doctor, and decided to continue on our current course of treatment for fear that if he also had bacterial meningitis, we didn't want it to go untreated.

Those first few days we had a difficult time regulating his temperature. One night I'd be wiping him down with cold rags as he burned up with a raging fever, the next his temp would plummet and we'd be putting warm compresses in his swaddle. He also had several IVs through which the drugs were administered and eventually a PIC line in his arm and then later two CVLs, surgically inserted IVs that went directly into large veins. Each increasingly scary and each presented their own individual challenges and fears. It turns out Davis has very visible but extremely small, weak veins, and drawing blood or inserting an IV is both difficult (nearly impossible) and painful. The last blood draw before we left they actually had to draw from a vein in his head. Night-mare.

A few days after the entervirus diagnosis a doctor noticed Davis breathing faster than normal and we were whisked off to ICU after an echocardiogram revealed that the virus was attacking his heart. His little heart was enlarged, one of the valves was leaking, and it wasn't pumping efficiently. We spent a few days in pediatric ICU during which he was given drugs to help his heart pump, human antibodies to help his heart heal, and at one point a blood transfusion because of anemia and low blood count. We had to monitor his urine output to make sure his kidneys were receiving enough blood to function and watch for any change in his behavior that may signal his brain wasn't receiving enough blood.

After a few days he began to show improvement and we moved down to the cardiac stepdown unit where we figured we'd finish out his antibiotics and go home. Except that the day we thought we'd be told we were going home soon, a follow up echo confirmed my worst fears- his heart was getting worse, not better.

For the second time we left for ICU, this time the cardiac ICU which was a completely different environment. I wasn't allowed to stay with him, or breastfeed (so I pumped), visitors were limited, and conversation turned from being cautiously optimisted to talk of a possible heart transplant if this course of meds didn't work. This was by far the low point in our journey. We felt absolutely hopeless, bewildered, and scared to death. I couldn't eat and I barely slept. There were days I did nothing but cry.

48 hours later we were back in the stepdown unit, waiting and waiting and waiting to see if this time his heart would be able to function on its own. And if you've been reading this for long, you know, it did :)

In fact, his heart performed so well it shocked all of the doctors. His last echocardiogram actually almost appeared normal, a possibility none of us had ever considered. And with that, we were released. Of course, not without a myriad of daily maintenance medicines and immediate follow up appointments with the local cardiologist.

For 28 days I slept in his room by his side all but two nights, one of which I was literally kicked out. My mom stayed by my side every single day and went home at night where Matt was taking care of Madelyn. Wonderful friends brought us dinner (Kristin and Matt even snuck in a few beers much to the chagrin of my rule-abiding nurse), pastors visited, people we'd never even met brought us gifts to the hospital. It was an awe-inspiring experience and we're still moved thinking about it today. People all over the country were praying for our little guy and we truly felt it. I know people were praying for me too. Even though I think I probably seemed ok on the outside I was literally having a nervous breakdown on the inside. Then a few days before our release I had a complete change of heart- I realized that if he had to have a heart transplant than that was ok. He was worth every day we would spend in that hospital, and I wouldn't want anyone else in the world to be his mommy, so I better suck it up and deal.

I think one of the greatest blessings is that he was so small he won't remember any of the experience. He won't recall the excrutiating pain he encountered, the wires and monitors, or the smell of the hospital. I on the other hand, will never forget. Emotional drama aside, what it did provide us was 28 days of uninterrupted time together. I held him for 28 straight days in that hospital- praying, singing, crying, and hoping for an absolute miracle. And all I can say is I must be on God's good side because I got one.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving- Gumkowski style

Just wanted to share a few pictures from our Thanksgiving celebration last week. It was a full on Gumkowski holiday (i.e. my mom's entire side of the family was present). Bet you've never heard that last name before. I think it goes without saying that mom was more than happy to take on the last name Green when she married my dad.

Anyways, it was a super fun holiday. A little hectic with two kids, 50 people in attendance, and house guests, but totally worth it. Let's just say mom and I completely forgot to cook the one side dish we were in charge of bringing. Literally completely forgot. And a family holiday is not complete without our corn casserole, but thankfully that means I get to cook it for us this week and we can eat it all ourselves!

Without further adieu, our holiday in pictures.

Here's the whole group after our big meal in my Aunt Donna's backyard. Please disregard the white bottle of RoundUp in the front of the picture. Professional photographers we are not (although I just noticed that there is a tripod on this shot that we aren't using. Strange.)

The boys posing with their cigars. Apparently every family holiday must involve cigars....

And shots. Shots! Who does shots on Thanksgiving?! Not I. But I did enjoy watching.

Mom and her girls (and baby D) (side note: thank you Banana Republic for producing this amply flowy top which allowed me not only to conceal remaining baby poundage but extraneous sweet potato casserole and pecan pie. I am eternally grateful.)

Grandma and Grandpa pre-shots (this is kind of false advertising because Grandma didn't actually do one.)

Southern holiday requirement: corn hole. No prior experience necessary.

It also helps to have a bouncy house present for the children. It's like a large plastic babysitter.

Onlookers. And yes, my Aunt lives in the middle of nowhere. There are actual hay bales across the street. My sister from NYC couldn't believe when a man rode by on a tractor. It was her equivalent to watching Little House on the Prairie.

Me and said sister in the requisite front porch shot.

And a few cuddles with Gigi and the kiddos before leaving town. If you can't tell in the Dora princess dress and cheesy grin, Madelyn has become quite a little ham.

All in all it was a truly wonderful weekend. Now on to Christmas!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

My loves

Thank you JennyLaurenPhotography for this incredible picture of our family! We've never looked better. And neither has our yard. Your talent amazes me :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Nanny search 2011

An open letter to the sweet women who post their availability to nanny my child on a very popular website that shall remain nameless...

Dear potential caretaker of my precious child,

Thank you for posting your profile to this website in hopes that you might be the right fit for our family. Before we meet for coffee to discuss your qualifications, hobbies, and past criminal history, I'd like to further refine what I'm looking for in our family nanny.

To begin, if your profile picture portrays you as a potential drug dealer or lady of the night, you will not be hearing from me. Appropriate dress would be required for this position, and by appropriate I mean fit for public, not a jail cell.

If you have copious grammatical errors in your personal description you will not be hearing from me. I'm judgy like that.

If you are under the age of 22 or over the age of 55 you need not apply. I think we can all agree those two age groups may not be best fit for chasing my child 8 hours a day.

If you specify that you'd like to watch my child in your home but you look like someone from Hoarders, you will not be hearing from me.

And lastly, If you cannot prove you are current on your immunizations or citizenship this is not the right position for you.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to carefully screening the remaining 3 applicants that fit my criteria.

Warm regards,


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Postpartum exercise- you've been warned

Last week I attempted my first real postpartum workout. You know, separate from my life which has become a workout in and of itself. I think I've actually lost most of the weight from this pregnancy but Lord, do I need to do some toning. And honestly, my hips did not get the memo that I was having a scheduled c-section and gratuitous spreading would not be necessary.

Working out after you've had a baby is no joke. It's dangerous. And it isn't pretty.

A few things I'd like to note to other new moms before attempting to shed those post-baby pounds.

1. Wear two sports bras. Unless you want to risk an accidental nose job when you knock yourself out with your newly endowed chest.

2. Wear two sports bras. Because your girls are going to be saggy enough after breastfeeding. No need to exacerbate matters with all that up and down.

3. Wear two sports bras. And hope you don't still leak through your shirt.

The end.

The season of giving

I'd like to encourage each of you to take two minutes and click the link below. In doing so, you can very quickly send a Christmas card to a child who is in the hospital for the holidays.

You'd be shocked to know how many sick children are alone in the hospital every single day. Either because their parents live far away, or they have other children to take care of, or simply because they have to work! It is absolutely heart breaking to walk by a room where a child is hooked up to more machines than you can count and to see that there is no one there with them.

Click here

Think about the joy and excitement Christmas brings when you are a child, all of which is completely stifled when you're confined to a hospital bed. It breaks my heart. Now, I know many of these children are dealing with much more important things than Christmas. In fact, many of them are there because they are literally fighting for their life. But it warms my heart to think that they can take a break from their pain and struggle to read cards from people who don't even know them yet are thinking of them and praying for them. Especially those who don't have anyone there to support them every day.

My goal is to send one card every day until Christmas. I want it to be the first thing I do each morning when I get on my computer. There are days I sit in Davis' room holding him and still can't believe we're actually home, and I don't want to forget those who aren't as lucky. Please take a minute to do the same.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Change of heart

Just weeks before I gave birth to Davis, Kristin, Dai, and I were sitting on the rooftop of a restaurant in Atlanta (where I stuck out like an enormously round sore thumb amongst all of the young singles and cocktails) discussing whether or not we thought we'd like to be stay at home moms.

I'd say we've all been reasonably successful in our careers. We're smart cookies and as a group are all pretty driven. And when in the right position we've found quite a bit of satisfaction and fulfillment in the working world. But I think growing up we all probably imagined we'd be home with our kiddos once we got to that point in our life. Now the question was- could we ever feel fulfilled by being home with them all day? Would we be willing to make financial sacrifices to do so? Would we miss working? Or would we leave it behind like Kris Humphries and never look back?

When I had Madelyn I liked my time at home with her but I was ready to go back to work. I missed the interaction with my colleagues and the sense of accomplishment. Taking her to day care was horrible and traumatic for the first year (literally), and balancing two "jobs" was not easy but we made it work.

This time I feel completely different. I have never been happier than I am right now at home with Davis. I find joy in the most mundane things. Today, I spent an hour making an excel spreadsheet for our family Christmas card list while he napped and I was overjoyed at its completion. I can't wait for him to wake up so we can play. I love cooking dinner while he takes his afternoon nap in a quiet kitchen where I can take my time, light my pumpkin candle and have a few sips of wine. I LOVE being home. I feel fulfilled, accomplished, purposeful, and happy.

Am I going back to work? Yes. I have been blessed with an incredible job that I enjoy and a team of people that I feel blessed to work with on a daily basis. That being said, I do plan to go back at a decreased capacity so that I have more time at home with Davis and Madelyn, and I'll appreciate every minute of those days. Will I have relaxed days in the kitchen, leisurely afternoons folding laundry while I roll around on the floor playing, and long morning walks while we sing nursery rhymes? No. Will I make the most of the time I do have? Yes.

If I thought leaving Madelyn was hard, leaving Davis with a known heart condition with whom I've spent almost every waking minute for the past 8 weeks in truly unthinkable. I know I'll do it but it will not be fun and it will not be easy. As we all strive for balance in this world, I will be grateful for a job that allows me the flexibility to have more time with my sweet babies, but know with utmost certainty, that I truly belong where they are. All day. Every day.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Life with two

Life with two children is Ba-Na-Nas.


I don't think I ever truly experienced chaos until we returned home from the hospital and proceeded to begin living together as a family of four. All I could hear was "
Welcome to the Jungle" playing in the background and all I could feel was my jaw drop as I struggled to find time to brush my teeth.

Shockingly, I'm actually learning to embrace it, which goes against everything in my usually calm, structure-loving heart.

Suddenly chaos is not so bad. As long as my babies are home with me, I'll adjust. So what if I don't have time to eat or shower? Or I've forgotten what coffee tastes like before being reheated for the fourth time? I even leave dishes in the sink, a thought my former self wouldn't dare entertain. (note: would still prefer no dishes in the sink but in the essence of personal hygiene often opt for the shower over cleaning. You understand.)

Matt and I are learning to exist in a carefully choreographed dance of feedings, baths, story time, tummy time, me time (no such thing- urban legend), laundry/dishes/do you remember what day the trash comes?, beautiful, joyful, chaos.

Ask me how we plan to manage all of this once I go back to work and I'll pretend I didn't hear you and begin talking about something else.

That being said, if you are a qualified nanny/house cleaner/professional organizer/personal chef interested in joining our jungle, please inquire within.

(**Bonus points if you can spot the Rachel Zoe reference above. Life perspective= changed. Guilty pleasures=not changed)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Say cheese

Family pictures just got infinitely more difficult. I wonder how the Duggars do it?

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Apologies for the bland post title and the fact that I haven't updated you all on our status since my desperate plea for prayer. I am very (very) happy to report that we are back HOME! In fact, here is a picture of Davis that illustrates just how happy he about his new location.

We are an overjoyed, grateful, and THANKFUL family.

Thank you to all of you for your prayers, notes, emails, texts, etc. There is no doubt in my mind that they are responsible for Davis' remarkable recovery.

After 28 days in the hospital we were released on September 20th. Since then we've been busy adjusting to life at home with a newborn and a toddler. I could write a novel about this subject in itself but will spare you the details for another day.

As I mentioned Davis was treated for heart failure after the virus that caused his meningitis attacked his heart causing him to go into heart failure. After two separate trips to ICU and two rounds on the critical IV med amongst rounds of tests, xrays, echocardiograms, etc. he was released with an almost normally functioning heart. It is truly a miracle.

He is now on six daily medicines to keep his heart functioning as we won't know for some time if the improvement is sheer healing or just the right combo of meds, but either way we are home, he's doing wonderfully, and that's all we can really ask for. We'll deal with the future as it comes.

There is no doubt I have an entirely new perspective on our life together after what I can only describe as a true emotional nightmare. I feel like maybe this was God's way of telling me (shouting to me, rather) "Don't sweat the small stuff!" Because it really, really, couldn't matter less. All that matters it that our little family is safe and sound and I get to look into those sweet little eyes every day.

Friday, October 7, 2011


I am suddenly the mother of a child in the hospital being treated for congestive heart failure. I have no idea how this happened. I don't even really know who I am right now. But I'm writing because we need your prayers and I know there are a lot of you out there who will take a minute to say a blessing for my sweet little boy.

We realized last week that the virus Davis tested positive for was attacking his heart. We spent some time in ICU being treated, were released to a less critial unit of the hospital, ended up back in ICU and are now back in what is called the cardiac stepdown unit. And we'll here indefinitely.

My perfect little boy is on a medicine to help his sick little heart pump and on Friday they'll be taking him off the medicine to see if his heart can sustain function on its own. The first time we tried this it did not go well. This time it really has to. Because our only alternative is a heart transplant.

My angel has spent the first three weeks of his life in this hospital. He doesn't know what his room looks like or the sound of his big sissy's voice. He has no idea what it's like to live free of wires and IVs. And I have to think all of these things are coming to him, but we need your prayers.

Please pray that his little heart has had enough time to heal, and that when we turn that medicine off, he continues to function just fine. I know God can work miracles- I am reminded of that every time I look at his handsome face- but I need to call in a seriously big favor here. And I'd love your help.

Thank you in advance. And while you're at it please also pray for peace and comfort for the other families and children here. There are a lot of people waiting on their own little miracle under this roof.

Monday, September 26, 2011

a letter to my son


I am writing this letter to let you know that in the short 10 days I've known you, you have shown more strength than most adults exhibit in a lifetime. You are the toughest little boy I have ever known. You have the most amazing disposition and dimples that just melt my heart. I want you to know these things because by the grace of God, you won't remember how you spent your first few weeks of life and for this I'm grateful.

On your sixth day of life we checked into the emergency room because you started running a high fever. And we've spent the last 5 days in the children's hospital as you're treated for what we now know is bacterial meningitis.

You have had more needles in you than I care to think about. You've undergone pain, discomfort, fevers, and what I can only imagine is sheer misery and you've barely even uttered a cry. You smile and you coo. You take it as if you understand why it's all happening as your mommy sits outside the door and cries harder than she ever thought possible. You are stronger than me, of this I'm sure.

We have 9 days left to go in this journey and then we get to go home and start our life together as a family of four. I will treasure every single one of those days through the eyes of a mother who now knows what it's like to truly rely on God to get you from one day to the next. You are not healthy yet but you get a little closer every day and with your spirit I know it's only a matter of time.

You have blessed our lives so greatly in such a small time. You are our little miracle, and I am so grateful that I get to be your mommy.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The last few days

These are the last four days we will EVER be just a family of three. I don't know why but this has been kind of difficult to wrap my brain around and I've been surprisingly sentimental about it. Truth be told, I don't know that any of my behavior could be categorized as surprising at this point given my hormones, but it has really made me sad to think that this is the last time we'll have Madelyn all to ourselves. My time with her is more special to me than I ever anticipated before becoming a parent and I almost can't imagine sharing it between two kids. I imagine this will wear off pretty quickly once Davis gets here :)

I also can't believe that this pregnancy has gone by this quickly. And being my last (planned) pregnancy that's had me a little weepy too. Basically I'm going to be a blubbering mess on Monday when we get to the hospital. I hope Matt is ready.

On another note, here are a few things I'm looking forward to.

1. The hospital. With Madelyn, once the c-section was over I really quite enjoyed my time at the hospital. I liked the stretchy gauze underwear, being brought pancakes for breakfast, and the adjustable geriatric bed.

2. Hearing Davis cry. There is truly nothing in this world that compares to hearing your baby cry for the first time after they're born. It's the biggest collective sigh of relief you can ever imagine.

3. Madelyn meeting Davis. I'm constantly amazed by how innately nurturing she is and I can't wait to see how she reacts to him. I also can't wait for her to open her present from him in the hospital. He got her a new baby doll with a diaper bag and everything. Only my child could find a way to ship in utero ;)

4. My mom being in town. Everything is easier when mom is in town.

5. Bringing a new baby home. I feel so much differently this time than I did the last. I'm way more excited and far less nervous. I now have a true appreciation for what a gift having a child is that I didn't have before. All I want to do is see his little face and let the lovefest begin.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Highlights and Lowlights

A few highlights and lowlights from this week so far...

1. Yesterday morning I drove through Smoothie King for something to help my sore throat (more on that later) and was greeted by a man at the window saying "You 'bout to bust now, ain't 'ya?!"

"Bust your face!" is what I wanted to say but instead I smiled politely and went on my way.

2. I have a sinus infection and I am nine months pregnant. My sinuses are swelled shut, my ears are plugged, the whole nine. This drove me to purchase a Neti Pot at Walgreens yesterday which accomplished absolutely nothing but taking me firmly out of my comfort zone for about 10 minutes. Pouring things into my sinuses only to watch them fall out the other side, all the while trying not to swallow/choke= not my idea of fun. It's a bummer too because I love a good all-natural remedy and I really wanted it to work. I think unfortunately I'm just too far gone, even for the hippie sinus treatment.

3. I got a new planner in the mail and I love it. I love planners. This alone made me feel better for about 6 minutes, until I was forced to get up and get yet another box of tissues.

4. The neighbor directly across from us has decided he's going to start parking his two ton pickup truck in his front yard, directly blocking the front door to his house. He seems to think this is completely acceptable and ignores the adjacent driveway for no reason whatsoever. I have thought several times about leaving an anonymous note voicing how un-aesthetically pleasing I find this, but judging by the massive amount of junk already in his yard I have a feeling he wouldn't care.

5. Did I mention I'm sick and a tad bit grumpy?

6. But of course, the biggest highlight, is that we get to meet our sweet boy in 11 short days!! Bring on the epidural, bad flourescent lighting, and major discomfort--it will all be worth it when I hear that little guy cry.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The best day of the year

Kristin's husband Matt said in college once, back in his semi-single days, that his favorite day of the year was the day the sundresses came out. Now, Matt's been known to drop a good one-liner every now and then, but this just makes me laugh every time I think about it.

Well, yesterday was my favorite day of the year.

It was the day the pumpkin spice candle came out.

And today I woke up to 62 degree weather and news that my beloved pumpkin spice latte is making it's annual debut at Starbucks. I think we all know where I'll be this afternoon.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Girl's Day

This Saturday I get to spend the entire day, uninterrupted, with this little nugget. We plan to ring in the start of football season (can I get an Amen?!) with lots of girly activities and a little game watching sprinkled in. My, or rather Our, beloved Gators don't play until 7 p.m. which means I'll be watching the majority of that game alone while little miss sleeps. But I plan to make homemade popcorn, curl up on the couch, and cheer my little heart out.

My better half will be traveling up to South Carolina for the Clemson game, and though we'll miss him dearly, I know he's excited for some man-time. I keep reminding him that soon enough he won't be outnumbered and the house will be covered in more than just baby dolls and my little ponies.

Here's what I have planned for our girls day. It will be interesting to see how much of this I actually accomplish given that I can guarantee you by 2 p.m. I'll be completely exhausted.

- I plan to clean out the bread machine my grandma sweetly just gave me and try my hand at bread making. I hear this is fairly fool-proof but I don't buy it.

- Plant some sort of flower resilient enough to withstand my black thumb in my one urn that is left from the sofa installation disaster of 2011.

- Make Darby's recipe for curried chicken salad and peanut butter krispies.

- Nap. For as long as possible.

- Take little miss to the library and let her pick out some new books and maybe a movie to watch. Library=air conditioned=good.

- And maybe, just maybe, venture out to Babies R Us for our last remaining baby needs.

This is assuming I haven't passed out by this point and been forced to call in reinforcements. I have a tendency to vastly overestimate what I'm capable of at nearly 37 weeks pregnant. Chances are we'll spend 60% of the day sitting on the floor having picnics with and tending to our baby dolls, and that's ok too :)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Simple Life

Life is never simpler than when you bring home a new baby. The weeks leading up to the actual arrival are hectic and rushed as you work to check off your to do's, stock up on all of the essentials, and prepare the nest for your new little one. But it's amazing how once you get home, life truly takes on its simplest form.

Suddenly all that matters is what is happening under your very own roof. You spend hours just staring at this little being in quiet contentment. You feel no need to leave the house (at least I didn't); you rarely check your email or your blackberry; you couldn't care less about what's on sale at Target or which celebrity was just caught shaming their mother in ways no parent should have to witness. You sleep, you feed, you diaper, and suddenly an entire day has gone by. You may wonder, "what did I do all day" because your day wasn't filled with the usual hurried rush of activities and tasks. Instead you are truly just working to sustain this little life- and your own, when you have the time.

I love it. It's my idea of the simple life. A life that emphasizes what truly matters in this world and de-emphasizes the many things we so often take part in that don't matter at all. And I can't wait to do it all over again :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Embracing Chaos

As we near the arrival of our second child I've made a conscious effort not to stress about how crazy/chaotic/hectic our life is about to become. I've even surprised myself at how laid back I've felt these past few weeks, amidst everyone telling me that I have no idea what is coming and that really, I should be holding on for dear life.

When Madelyn was born I was completely overwhelmed. I really couldn't relax and it wasn't pretty. I was so worried about her schedule, her baby acne, feeding our visitors, etc that I was a mess. Not this time though.

This time I will embrace the chaos. I will not try to be perfect, I will set expectations low, and I will go with the flow.

Yes, there are going to be times when everyone is crying and I can't hear myself think. At some point, I am going to leave the house without diapers, or the pacifier, or (my mind) my purse. The house will not be spotless, the laundry will pile up, and we may eat takeout for dinner more than I'd like to admit. If I have to sit Madelyn in front of the TV for 30 minutes to get something done then so be it. It won't kill her.

This time, I'm just along for the ride. I'm going to soak up every minute with my sweet babies because this is the last time I'll be bringing a newborn home. The last brand new baby that I can just hold and kiss and love. And I seriously and not going to let my dirty socks get in the way of that.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Whoop There It Is

Four weeks to go until we get to meet our sweet boy!

I am cherishing every last minute of this journey. Even though I look like I'm about to fall over, I'm feeling pretty good. I'm getting really, really excited to see my little nugget's face and smell his sweet baby breath.

And to give in to the incessant diet Dr. Pepper cravings I've been having.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Wish List

A little list of pretties I've had my eyes on. An early Christmas list of sorts, in hopes that one day my husband actually stumbles upon my little corner of the interwebs :)

1. John Wind chunky monogram bracelet- I saw this on a friend recently and it was gorgeous. Love.

2. Pretty patterned blouse for fall. I think this would be so cute with skinnies and boots. Not that I plan to stuff these thighs into skinnies anytime soon...

Bianka Blouse: Casual

Bianka Blouse: Casual by ehayes featuring ballet flat shoes

3. A Starbuck's pumpkin spice latte. And the cooler weather that comes with it.

4. This yummy anthropologie candle. When it burns down, you can reuse the mercury glass jar for cotton balls and q-tips!

5. White wine. And lots of it. What? I'm just being honest.

6. These precious gift labels. You can slap these on a plain brown bag or cellaphane wrapper with a little raffia and suddenly your gift looks perfectly and thoughtfully wrapped. Domestic laziness at it's best. I love it.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Baby Prep

( 33 1/2 week belly as seen looking down. It now rests comfortable on my expanding thighs. )

My little nugget is going to be here in five and a half short weeks! And that's assuming he isn't early like his big sissy was. So, I figured it was time for a quick pregnancy update before my fingers get so swollen I can't type.

I have gained 24 pounds so far in this pregnancy which is truly shocking given how much junk food I've eaten. I probably could have gained a lot less but I've really indulged this time. I figure since we aren't planning to have more kids I should eat what I want while I can. Please remind me of this when I'm complaining about losing it afterwards.

I'm starting to swell. I never got swollen with Madelyn because I wasn't pregnant during the hot months, but this time I'm retaining water like it's my job. My wedding ring is getting very snug and I figure at best I have another week left to wear it, at which point I will go buy a cheap fake one so people don't think I'm an knocked up unwed hussy.

I have followed in the footsteps of many other bloggers out there and started a home management notebook, complete with monthly menu plan, cleaning check list, daily to do list, and recipes. I have to say, I'm liking the monthly menu plan. It allows me to make sure we're eating enough of a variety of foods, takes the guess work out of shopping, and overall just satisfies my type-A urges to a T.

I organized all of our flours, sugars, baking goods, etc into pretty mason jars after seeing Christi's kitchen. Now every time I open up the baking cabinet it's uniform and organized. A nester's dream.

I've stopped looking at my butt in the mirror when I get out of the shower because the cellulite started giving me nightmares. Though I still do lunges and squats every.single.night. Even when it feels like Davis is just going to fall right out. It's a sickness.

I feel like I'm living in a perpetual hot flash and Matt thinks I'm trying to freeze him out of the house. Seriously people, if you can avoid it, do not be hugely pregnant in the summer.

I am loving washing all of the clothes and blankets we have for our sweet boy. It is such a huge change to see so much blue in our laundry, but it definitely makes it feel more real, and I can't wait to kiss his sweet cheeks!

The Big Reveal

Here she is in all her glory--our new sofa. Worth every drop of sweat shed yesterday when you sit on her glorious down wrapped cushions. We have a little more painting to do but we've had so much rain lately it's been too humid, so this isn't a final picture, but it's pretty darn close. First, let me refresh your memory of the dark and depressing tan-drenched before:

And now, the bright and inviting after!

I ordered some pretty pillows at the recommendation of our designer that truth be told are a little out of my comfort zone, but I think will add some much needed PoP to the room. And I forgot to take a picture of our painting over the chairs, but you've already seen that here.

I mentioned a while back that we also decided to convert our rarely-used office into a playroom. Let me just tell you- this may be the best decision we ever made. Madelyn absolutely loves the new space and is in there at all hours of the day. It provides some much-needed storage for her ever expanding toy collection, and a nice open space for us to just hang together as a family. And again, it's got a much more refreshing, open feel to it now.

Here is what the room liked as the office slash room for all of Matt's Georgia paraphernalia (good riddens I say):

And now as our new playroom, which will unfortunately also have to function as our guest room until we move into a larger house. That large chair actually houses a twin mattress inside, which is the only place we have for guests to sleep when they come to visit, but it will do for now. Luckily the only person we really need to accommodate at this point is my mom as she'll be graciously coming up to help me when Davis is born

That large piece to the left is an armoire where we store toys, books, gift wrap, etc. And I swear the pictures on the wall aren't crooked, they just look that way because I am seriously lacking photography skills.

All in all we are thrilled with the changes we've made. They've certainly been a lot of work, time, and money (ahem), but so worth it to give our family an environment we truly enjoy.

Next up- the baby's room. I guess it's time I start that one since he'll be here in about six weeks.

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