Category Archives: family

How to be a Great Sidekick (A Father’s Day Post)

Hello out there, fellow Heart Dads! As we roll into Father’s Day weekend I didn’t want to let time fly by without dropping a post specifically for all the amazing Heart Dads out there.  You’re the reason for this blog and the reason it stays going!

We all know by now that our Heart Warriors are amazing: brave, courageous, fearless, strong, tough, etc.  They’re nothing short of superheroes:

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I don’t know about you, but Nolan inspires me on the regular with what he’s been able to accomplish in spite of all the challenges he’s had to face.  He’s a generally happy kid (when he’s getting his way), he’s extremely loving (like, face-crushingly loving), and he’s super smart.  But you know what they say: every good superhero needs a good sidekick.

Think about it…Batman had Robin:

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Sherlock Holmes (ok, ok, he’s more protagonist than superhero but whatevs) had Watson:

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And who can’t forget my fav sidekick Chewbacca?

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So then, who plays sidekick to the Heart Warriors? Guess what: it’s YOU, Heart Dad!  So how can you be an epic-level sidekick? Let’s check it out:

Be Brave

Let’s face it – and you know this by now – the Heart Dad’s job is not for the weak or the cowardly.  Is it hard?  Absolutely…really, really hard.  But you know what else is hard? Being on the receiving end of all those surgeries.  I can’t imagine what it’s like for our kiddos…they go through so much and a lot of times the best thing we can do for them is to just summon every ounce of bravery we have and be strong for them.  Tell them it’s going to be ok, tell them you’re there.  Being brave doesn’t mean a lack of fear, it’s facing the fear and pressing forward.  Yes, being brave is hard…but if your kid can do it, so can you: let them be your inspiration.  Being brave doesn’t mean to have a lack of emotion, rather I think it’s more brave to admit that you’re afraid or to admit when things are difficult, so don’t be ashamed!  The bravery you need is right there inside of you!

Be Strong

The famous sidekicks we all know and love are strong in a variety of ways: some are physically strong, some are smart, etc.  The strength I’m talking about here has nothing to do with how much you can bench press.  Rather, I’m talking about being strong in mind: take care of yourself during this long, difficult journey.  Know when you’re struggling.  Practice mindfulness and don’t be afraid to seek help…please take the time to read my post on mental health to find out how to take care of your mind as a heart parent.  You also need to be strong in spirit. I don’t think this is necessarily a religious thing, though I do recognize that faith and spirituality are very important to many of your and is important to being strong in spirit.  But I would also encourage you to be empathetic: put yourself in others’ shoes, or reach out to help those who are where you have already been.  Practice kindness: it’s so impactful to do something for others when you’re going through a tough time yourself.  Be grateful: when times get tough, write down the things you’re grateful for.  Find something you love to do, whether it’s writing, playing music, cooking, fishing, whatever.  Let that feed your spirit.

And, ok, yes…sometimes you do need to be physically strong too:

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Have a Catchphrase

You know which sidekick we’re talking about here, right?  Robin, the boy wonder. Dude was totally known for his catchphrases back in the day: “Holy ______, Batman!” Can you believe there’s an entire wikipedia article entitled “List of Exclamations by Robin”?!  Hilarious stuff, read it here on your own.  My favorite? “Holy unrefillable prescriptions, Batman!” Ah…so relate-able.

But no, I’m not saying you actually have to have a catchphrase (though I don’t discourage it). What I’m saying here is that to be a good sidekick for your superhero, you’ll need to speak up whenever it’s necessary.  Got questions when you’re in the hospital? Ask. Something doesn’t feel/look/seem right? Say something.  Think your kid’s doctor isn’t cutting it? Ask for another one. The voice of a Heart Parent is a powerful one, because while the clinicians are the expert in care, you’re the expert in your own child.  You do have a say.

Do you want to see CHDs eradicated in the future? Speak up – be an advocate?  Don’t know how? Visit the Pediatric Congenital Heart Association to learn how: while you can visit DC and speak with your representatives, calls and emails/letters are just as powerful.  If you’re one of my readers and you live in the U.S., you know that healthcare coverage is a massive issue right now, and no matter what you believe politically, you know that you have a critically-ill child that needs good coverage, not coverage that will be dropped due to a pre-existing condition.  If you want to fight for that, then speak up!  Use your powerful, Heart Dad voice to support your Heart Warrior!

Always Be There

A superhero isn’t gonna drag along a sidekick if they’re a burden.  They keep them on the team because they’re dependable, strong, and always willing to help.  That’s exactly what you need to be.  Yes, the journey is long and tough and it’s filled with bouts of confusion and anger and frustration, but at the end of the day your hero cannot fight this fight alone.  He or she needs their sidekick…they need you.  And they don’t just need you at the hospital or in the doctor’s office…they need you at home.  Get on the floor and play, eat dinner together, give lots and lots of hugs and positive affirmation.  They need you at school: read to/with them, be invested in their education, go to the freakin’ school plays…ALL OF THEM.  They need you out in the world: take them to see the world, do stuff with them, smile and run and laugh, make memories!

At the end of the day, when your Heart Warrior grows up, you’re not going to want them to look at you and say, “You know what Dad, you were a great {insert job title here}”….what I want to hear is, “You know what Dad…you’re always there for me.  You’re a great sidekick.”

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I want to wish all the Heart Dads out there a very happy Father’s Day!  I hope you have a really special day with your families, with lots of hugs and love.

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The life of a Heart Parent is a rather insane one.  I know you know this: isn’t it amazing how the most run-of-the-mill things become colossal when your heart kid is involved?  Take this holiday season, for example.

We made the trek to Florida for a good 10 days to spend with my wife’s family.  All the kids did surprisingly well on the drive (which we stretched over 2 days) and enjoyed their time with their grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles.  The bulk of the time was spent in a condo right on the beach in Clearwater…it was pretty sweet:combo

The day after Christmas the whole family took a trip to Busch Gardens, and we weren’t completely sure what to expect.  Let’s face it: the twins are still shrimps so I wasn’t sure how many rides they could get on.  Plus it was really hot, which Nolan struggles with…and if Nolan isn’t happy…well…no one is, if you know what I mean.  But Busch Gardens had a decent collection of rides in their Sesame Street-themed area and none of them provided any concern for the kids.  I mean look how happy Nolan is here:

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The big deal came two days later when our little family had the opportunity to go to LegoLand.  Before I get into the story I wanted to give a little background about how we got to go to LegoLand.  Merlin’s Magic Wand is a wonderful charity that gifts fun outings to kids with severe illnesses and disadvantages.  They were gracious enough to provide our family of 5 with tickets to LegoLand and we gave it to the kids as a family gift on Christmas Day.  They were super excited to get to go on more rides and I was excited at the prospect of a theme park that’s made for smaller kiddos.

Now I love amusement parks.  Always have.  I love roller coasters and all sorts of fun rides, so I was really looking forward to this special day with the family, and Nolan was definitely excited too:

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They gave us a little pass to help us get on the rides quicker, they measured Nolan and gave him a wrist band so he wouldn’t have to be measured at every ride (he’s finally 36″! YAY!), and every single person who we ran into there was so kind to all of us.  We got on some rides like the train and the merry go round and even this Lego Chima ride that got us SOAKED.  There were smiles all around…this was gonna be an awesome day.

But then Nolan said it: “I wanna go on a roller coaster.”  He had asked this several times already and we were able to successfully deflect it and re-direct, but this time he was insistent.  The problem?  He was too small for any of the roller coasters, not to mention I had no idea if a coaster was truly a good idea for him, if you know what I mean.  It says it there when you get to the line: not for people with heart trouble.  This was looking to get real frustrating, real fast.

But kudos to my wife, who is ever so awesome: she saw there was a ride nearby that could potentially serve as a “coaster” of sorts for Nolan.  It was called Merlin’s Challenge:

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You’ve been on something like it, I’m sure.  You’re in a car, it spins round and round and goes up and down.  Nothing too fancy, but the cars looked like trains and to Nolan it was a roller coaster…and I wasn’t gonna correct him.  And the height requirement? 36 inches!  BAM!  So we waited in line and Nolan was super excited as we boarded.  Hudson was big enough to ride in a car by himself.  My wife went with Grant and I went with Nolan.  I sat next to him asking if he was ready and excited.  He was practically jumping up and down with excitement.  Again…this was gonna be awesome.  But then, as the ride operator pushed our lap bar down into place, my freakout started.

Suddenly, in an instant, my mind went racing: this is the fastest, most insense ride he’s ever been on. Don’t let his chest hit the bar. Don’t let his head hit the bar. Don’t let his head hit the back. Watch him. Watch him. What if his lips turn blue? What if his heart rate goes too fast? How will I know? Will I know? How can I stop this ride? Do I flag the guy down? Do I yell “STOP!” Do I yell “EMERGENCY!” How fast can a medic get here? What’s the closest hospital?  I was like:

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And then the ride started to move and I was like OHCRAPOHCRAPOHCRAPOHCRAP!  It was the most scared to death I’ve been in a long, long time.  No joke guys, I was freaking out.  But then I heard it…the high-pitched, squealing, almost wookie-like laugh of the strongest little 4 year old on earth sitting next to me.  I looked down and Nolan was smiling and laughing and looked like everything was a-ok.  Only then I was able to relax.  It’s blurry because we were going fast, but just look at this face:

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I think the ride maybe lasted 2 minutes…but it was 2 minutes of pure joy.  Preceded by holy terror, of course…but pure joy nonetheless.  It was a moment I’ll cherish forever because after all the surgeries, all the therapies, all the tube feeds, all the meds, and all the concerns about what he might not be able to do, we had a moment where he got to spin, laugh, have fun, and be just an awesome 4 year old boy.  It was epic and it meant everything. 

This life we lead is a marathon and there will be many freak-out moments along the way, but man sometimes these kids of ours will just surprise us and lead us into a place of true joy.

Our family really wants to thank Merlin’s Magic Wand for their absolute kind generosity to our family and families like ours.  Your helped us make memories that otherwise would not have happened.  And to the staff at LegoLand in Florida: you guys are amazingly kind…keep up the great work!

 

For the Heart Mommas

Hey Heart Moms!  I’m going to make this post brief, just in case you’re reading this from your phone while you’re hiding from your kids in the bathroom.

I kid, I kid.

Seriously, though, I wanted to take a moment on this blog to wish a very happy Mother’s Day to all the Heart Moms out there! You were handed a life you could have never planned for, not in a million years.  While other moms-to-be were having elaborate gender-reveal parties, you’d lay awake at night trying to get that ultrasound image out of your head.  While other new moms were figuring out how to install a snap-and-go car seat, you were doing your first 2-minute hand wash prior to your first NICU visit.  While new moms came home to a beautifully done baby nursery, you did your best to make a Ronald McDonald House feel like home.

Yet you’re still here…still fighting.  With every step down the CVICU hallway, hearing the familiar beeps and dings, you’d get stronger and stronger.  Now you’ve got purpose, something to fight for…someone to fight for.  You’ve learned to surf when the waves come.  You’ve helped keep the germs at bay and taught a growing girl or boy that a big scar down their chest doesn’t make them super strange, it makes them a super hero.  You carried our heart kids all while bearing the weight of the stress and the fear…the way I see it, you passed on your toughness to them.

Thank you for everything you do.  There will be days when you’re knocked down…don’t ever stop getting back up again.  There isn’t much else in this world tougher than a Heart Mom!  So look back on all those things you’ve been through and give yourself a little bit of grace and tell yourself that you did good.  Rest in that for a little while.  Don’t let anyone tell you how you should do you.  Maybe there’s other moms out there who looked like they just walked out of Pinterest, but can they say “pleural effusions” five times fast?  I rest my case.  

I hope all the moms out there have an amazing Mother’s Day!

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And last, but certainly not least I wanted to give a very special shout-out to my wife Rebekah.  You are an amazing mom!  I remember before we had any kids we jokingly asked each other “Who in the world has three kids?!”  And now look!  You juggle so much and do it all with grace and kindness: the very same kindness that you instill in our kids every day.  They’re going to grow up to be amazing young men because they had you as a mom.  Love you ❤

Catching Up: a December to Remember

Hey Friends!  Don’t worry, I didn’t forget you: it’s just been quite a busy month and some change.  December was a really great month, though, I wanted to share with you everything that had been going on.  Nolan got to do a lot of fun things like visit the organic farm with his brothers:

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And he even got his school pictures.  I mean look at this cute kid:

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But one of the big reasons for celebration was Nolan and Grant’s birthday!  Our big boys turned 3 and it’s always a great time with our family.  We’re so thankful for our double-trouble.  We even got to celebrate their birthday at school:

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A week later, on Dec 17th we always mark the anniversary of Nolan’s first surgery, the Norwood procedure.  We never forget how scary and stressful that time was, and my wife spends each year gathering items for the kids and families in the CVICU so we can bring them to the hospital on the anniversary of Nolan’s Heart Day.  This year she collected lots of socks and headbands and also her famous little heart hats:

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The twins’ school also had a silent auction where we stumbled upon this incredible Tin Man, which we won and gifted to the pediatric cardiology office as a way of thanking them for all they do:

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And, of course, we can’t forget to remember just how far Nolan has come in the 3 years since his Heart Day.  As I see him play and hear him sing his ABC’s, it really fortunate to have every moment with this little boy…you’ve come a long way, buddy!

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Finally we couldn’t wrap up December without one more big celebration…CHRISTMAS!  Christmas is already my favorite holiday and I’ve grown to appreciate it even more now that I have kids.  I love watching the joy in their eyes when we set up our tree for the first time or as they see a new present to play with.  I remember Nolan’s first Christmas, which was in the hospital, and the generosity of strangers as his room was filled with presents.  It’s just such a special time for us and the kids all got some pretty cool stuff this year.  For Nolan, his favorite gift was a big boy 12″ bicycle that looks like a motorcycle.  To be honest, I was worried his short little legs weren’t going to reach the pedals…after all, he just started riding a little tricycle just last month (yes, it took that long for him to get to that point physically).  But on Christmas day we brought him downstairs and he was like “A MOTORCYCLE!” and immediately wanted on.  His feet reached the pedals but he didn’t have the strength to do it…so my wife and I sacrificed our lower backs and pushed him round and round the house (it was raining Christmas day here) and he was just SO happy.  In fact, he refused to open any other presents because he liked the bike so much:

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But then….THEN…something clicked in Mr. Nolan.  He started to pedal the bike…completely on his own.  And I will tell you something, that kid never acted more happy and free as when he can pedal his own big boy motorcycle around the house.  And THAT, my friends, is some real Christmas joy right there!  Far and away my favorite memory of Christmas this year.

I hope everyone had a great December and enjoyed Holidays with friends and family!

A Furry High Five

I’m always looking for fun stuff to do with the kids, especially if it’s free.  If it’s free, then it’s for me!  Mostly, though, I want my rugrats to have a good time and make memories in the process.  Around this time of year, a neighborhood near ours usually holds an event called National Night Out, which is to promote crime prevention and safety in neighborhoods across the country.  Of course it also has all the stuff 3 little boys would be crazy about: police cars and fire trucks!

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Hudson was scoping out the laptop.

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Just look at those 3 hoodlums.  I’m surprised they didn’t get locked up that night.

It was a lot of fun.  McGruff the Crime Dog was there, they gave away lots of goodies, there was free pizza, and even a police dog demonstration.  The boys were having a lot of fun, even though it was like 139072390741907120 degrees outside.  Just as I was getting ready to leave with them, my oldest said, “Dad, look!” and I looked over and saw him pointing at our very own Carolina Panthers’ mascot, Sir Purr.

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This really made me smile because, c’mon…who doesn’t like mascots?  But even more importantly it brought me back to a moment in time that will always hold a special place in my heart.  Waaaaaay back in the beginning of this blog, I told the story of the day after Nolan’s Norwood Procedure (you can read it here).  As we were leaving the hospital to get a fresh change of clothes, the Panthers just so happened to be holding a Christmas party for the kids and families.  I was in no mood, but got dragged in anyway.  We were treated with SUCH kindness by everyone on staff, I will never forget it.  We even got to make special Christmas ornaments for the kids (with the help of the players) and we still use them:

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But I will also remember seeing Sir Purr there, and how he ran around the room loving on kids, making them smile, and hearing all the laughter.  I saw him entertained little kids in wheelchairs and a little girl without any hair left on her head.  And for the brief time we were in that room my spirits were lifted by watching Sir Purr in all his glory.  It also reminded me that there will always be a great deal of kindness in this world, and that putting a smile on one person’s face can also put a smile on other peoples’ faces too.

So me and my sentimental self waited in line to meet Sir Purr.  Hudson went up for a picture and a hug first and then Sir Purr walked up to the twins in their stroller, squatted down, and squeaked both of his squeaky paws for them.  And they were both entranced…and then they started to laugh.  And then Sir Purr got a high five from Nolan:

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Wow.  This was SO cool!  It was like one moment I’m remembering 2 years ago, as Nolan was laying in a bed – chest open, fighting – and watching Sir Purr make kids smile…and here I am…later…watching Sir Purr make my Nolan smile.  We’ve come a long way!

I’m sure Sir Purr meets tons and tons of kids, but I hope Sir Purr and the team know just how impactful he is when he goes out in to the community.  Thanks, Sir Purr!

 

 

Fatherhood in Fragility

This is the 2nd entry in my series on Fatherhood this month.  Enjoy!

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Becoming a dad is a really amazing time: there’s excitement, there’s a little bit of fear, and there’s a whole lot of hope for the future: I’ll have to scare all those boys away or he’ll be the starting center fielder for the Yankees, just watch!  But then things change and instead of just Dad, you become Heart Dad.  Those dreams of your little man roaming the outfield or breaking tackles begin to look like a distant fantasy.  In the words of Kent Nerburn, “It is much easier to become a father than to be one.”  Adding a CHD to the mix doesn’t make it any easier.  Here are some ways that a fragile situation has helped me to continually work on becoming a better dad:

Humanity

When Nolan was born I was working for a Hospice…and in that kind of atmosphere you do indeed start to think about life.  But as Nolan fought through his Norwood recovery and worked so hard to crawl and to walk, the idea that life is precious is so incredibly strong.  I’m pretty sure most healthy people don’t give a second thought to what their heart is up to this very moment…they take it for granted.  In our world, though, the heart – though unseen – is front and center.  But other things – breathing, walking, eating – are things to be so thankful for.  And with that in mind, human touch becomes so important as well: holding a little hand, giving lots of hugs, snuggling up on the couch to watch the same Yo Gabba Gabba episode for the 40th time.  Those are the moments that feel so great to me as a dad, not just from Nolan but all of my kids.  I’m so thankful Nolan is with us that I appreciate every little moment I have with him and therefore every moment I have with all my kids – not just the big, celebratory moments – but every single moment.  So hug your kids more, tell them you love them…and then take that love and share it with others so you can make the world a better place.  There’s lots of people hurting out there – not just heart families – so turn your challenge into something good!

Joy

All of us – both moms and dads – lead some pretty hectic lives.  The weeks are long, the weekends are too short, and there’s never enough sleep to go around.  But sometimes we really have to stop ourselves in the midst of this madness and actually be happy about something, for Pete’s sake.  I remember being happy when both Grant and Hudson crawled and eventually walked…those are really awesome moments for parents.  But I also remember when Nolan crawled a whopping 3 feet on his own, all the while crying out because it was so difficult, I wanted to cry.  I remembered this overwhelming sense of joy, not because Nolan is my favorite or anything like that, it’s because I saw all he had to fight through to get to this moment.  Those are the easy moments to be joyful about…it’s finding joy in frustration that is the challenge.  Maybe there hasn’t been significant weight gain…that’s frustrating…but it could be possible that weight is just slowly creeping upward.  Be happy about that!  There’s moments every day to practice joy, whether it’s through an accomplishment or even a smile or laugh.  If you stay in the doldrums and act so hard on yourself, you’re just slowly rotting yourself from the inside, and I’m pretty sure your kids will notice too.  Yes, your kids feed off your joy…be happy with them and be happy with life, even in the moments when it’s not 100% perfect.  After all, living with half a heart is the only life my son knows…and I can tell you he greets every day with one heck of a smile…and I can learn to do the same.

Resilience

 Dads: fight for something that matters…and don’t give up.  The life of a Heart Dad isn’t about cars or salary or houses or stuff.  It’s about taking your kids’ hands and fighting through it all as a family.  There are days where I feel pretty bone-tired, but Nolan still needs a late-night tube feed…or he throws up in the middle of the night and it needs to be cleaned.  Usually those things occur on weeks where I have to be up at 5am for work.  But Nolan needs me…so I push through.  I do it for him.  But one day I hope my kids realize that my wife and I have done everything we could for all of them, sick or healthy.  And even more, I hope they learn to never quit because of the example we set.  But don’t forget to tell them you’ve got their back…encourage your kids and tell them when they’re doing well at something.  When my wife was pregnant with the twins I would talk to them all the time in her belly.  To Nolan I would always say “Keep fighting!” and even when I did my first Heart Walk and wore a band-aid across my chest, it said “Keep fighting!”  Encouragement from a father goes a very long way, I believe, so encourage your kids to be resilient and set that example for them too.

Time

This sums it up:

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Slow down.  Don’t work so much.  Before you know it your kids will be grown and may not like you so much because you weren’t there.  Ouch…but it’s true.  You know by now that life is precious…and time is precious.  Don’t waste it…instead invest it in love, hugs, smiles, laughter, memories, etc.  You can’t ever go back and fix it, so make it right the first time.  I really enjoy my job, but when I envision my kids turning 18 and graduating from high school I would be sad if they were like, “You know, Dad…you were a really great Manager.”  PFFT.  I want to be a great dad….period.  And for me that means taking a little PTO to be at Donuts with Dad at the kids’ preschool or attending an end-of-year Pre-K party.  The work will be there when I get back.  I remember those long days and nights in the hospital: hoping and praying that my son would get better and that he could go home.  Now that he’s home I better not waste my time and make those hopes merely a fantasy.

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Listen fellas, I’m not the perfect Dad…far from it.  This is like a marathon where you’re training as you run it.  I’m sure there are Dads out there with way better advice than mine (please share in the comments).  But what I do know is that being a Heart Dad changes the way I parent.  I’ve seen how fragile life can be…and I’m going to put everything I have into giving my kids – and my family – the very best of me.  Dads, I hope that’s the same for you too…and don’t just say it…do it.  

This One’s For The Mamas

It’s Mother’s Day!  I wanted to spend a moment today and send a special shout-out to the Heart Moms out there.  You’re our partners in this heart battle, you brought our little heroes into this world.  You’ve worried more than you ever have before, but you’ve also loved more than you ever thought you were capable of loving.  You’re the ones our kiddos want when they skin their knee, and you’re the one who wipes away the tears and assures them everything is ok.  I think it’s safe to say that – on behalf of all Heart Dads – we really can’t do this without your amazing help, and we’re fortune to be along on for the ride.

I started this blog because everything I saw out there was Moms communicating with each other but the Dads were rather quiet.  But I want to thank you Heart Moms for connecting with each other…I really believe that each day you positively impact someone’s life, whether it’s in your community or across the country.  By sharing your journey you let other Heart Moms know they’re not alone.  Keep it up, you’re going strong, and you serve as such a great example for us Dads.

So to all the Heart Moms out there I wish you an extra special Mother’s Day…let yourself be spoiled and pampered.  After all, raising a hero is hard work!

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And to my wife: the peanut butter to my jelly, the artsy to my fartsy…I am can’t express enough how I am amazed by you.  You corral 3 crazy kiddos in the morning and cart them off to schools and appointments.  You keep track of the therapies and the check-ups, the dinners and the groceries…you’re amazing!  Our kids are so blessed to have an amazing mommy…and I’m so lucky to have you as my wife.  Me, Hudson, Nolan, and Grant all love you more and more everyday!

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My Superwoman!

2014: A Year in Review

Can you believe 2014 is aaaaalmost over?  Goodness, it seemed to go by so quickly.  I have to say, this was one heck of a year for Nolan: he achieved so much and made so many great strides.  As a way of wrapping up Nolan’s year, I decided to make a little video capturing some of the highlights and fun moments:

A big thanks goes out to everyone who has read this blog, supported Nolan, kept us in your prayers & good thoughts…you played a big part in making 2014 an amazing year!  I think 2015 is going to bring even more exciting things!  On behalf of our family, have a very happy New Year!

Happy Heart Day, Nolan!

On this day two years ago, Nolan went in for his first major surgery – the Norwood Procedure.  I remember the absolute terror I was in the day before and every hour the day of as we received updates in the surgical waiting room.  I remember seeing my little boy hooked up to all those machines and the nurses moving constantly to check him and give him meds.  It was surreal.  Looking back on it, it’s still pretty surreal.  His recovery was long and hard, with lots of ups and downs…and he fought like a champ.

He continues to fight like a champ, as you well know.  I mean look at him now:

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There’s a whole lotta fight in that boy…he’s my hero!

I’m so glad to be able to share Nolan’s story on this blog…I’m a big believer that sharing our stories not only helps others but helps us continually heal.   I encourage you, Heart Parents, to share your story however you can.  Some of you will blog, some of you are on Facebook, some of you are part of awareness groups.  Some of you are uncomfortable sharing, and that’s ok…maybe get a notebook and just write it down.  You don’t have to share it with someone but yourself, and it will feel better to get it down on paper.

What a journey this has been and will continue to be…I can’t wait to continue on this adventure with you, big guy.  Happy heart day!!!

Cause for Celebration: The Twins Turn Two!

Today is a big, big, big day: Nolan & Grant are two years old!  Man, I can’t believe how fast time flies.  Not a day goes by where I look at them and I just can’t believe that we have twins; lately I’ve been saying I just can’t believe they’re going to be two years old.  It’s been some two years: a 3am rush to the hospital for a c-section, both boys in the NICU, surgeries for Nolan, running back and forth to the hospital, Grant starting preschool, Nolan starting preschool…it’s been quite a run so far for those two little knuckleheads of mine!

I’ve enjoyed every minute with these two guys: I love to see them walk, to hear them babble, and even to scold one another when they do something “not nice” (which is hilarious).  Grant is really into art and Nolan seems to be really into animals.  Grant is like a wrecking ball while Nolan is the sneakier of the two.  They’ve definitely changed our life and I wouldn’t trade them for anything!

This weekend that passed, we had a cookie exchange birthday party at our house for the twins and it was a blast.  Lots of kids, lots of noise, lots of sweets, and lots of friends.  It was a really great time and for me was a good way to celebrate the twins with all the people who invested in them since they came into this world.  Thanks to everyone for all you’ve done for us and the twins!

These two years have been amazing, boys…have a happy happy happy birthday and I can’t wait to enjoy so many more years with you both!

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