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Another Glorious Year

Hey friends, I hope all is well in your world and that you’ve enjoyed your holiday season! It’s really hard to believe that 2017 is almost over: the final bit of this year was really eventful so I wanted to give a bit of an update on what’s going on in our world.

Party Time, It’s Excellent

I’ve always enjoyed the month of December because it’s always had my favorite holiday in Christmas. Since the twins were born, though, it’s given us even more opportunity to celebrate! This year the twins turned 5 years old and I just love celebrating their birthday, especially now that they’re starting to get old enough to be more and more excited about it.  Not to mention that every birthday with Nolan is a really big one!  We went to each of their schools to celebrate their birthdays with their classmates.  Nolan didn’t want cupcakes for his class, however…in true Nolan fashion he wanted to share some Scrabble Cheese-Its with his class.  Remember, this kid is obsessed with the ABCs, so of course! It was so cute to see him in school interacting with his classmates. We got to feed him and see excited his little friends were to get their crackers.  It was really cute and it made Nolan happy.  We even asked him if he wanted us to take him home early and he said no thanks, he wanted to stay in school.  I’m so proud of him…he’s going to school from about 9:30am to 2pm and he’s totally rockin’ it! Grant, on the other hand, had his birthday celebration at school complete with cupcakes and it was so much fun to see him and his classmates with frosting-smeared faces.  Too cute! We followed it up with lots of other celebrations with family and friends and, of course, at home.  On their birthday I always want to just scoop them up and squeeze them…because I’ll never forget how absolutely insane their first day on this planet was.  And I’ll never forget how much they’ve both been through, and I’m eternally thankful.

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Happy Heart Day, Nolan!

A very important day of remembrance for me is December 17th, which is when Nolan had his first heart surgery – the Norwood Procedure…now 5 years ago.  I always spend time on this day remembering how I felt: on one hand it’s kinda like punishment because I remember being so scared, to the point of paralysis…but to me it’s important to connect with that feeling from time to time.  I don’t wallow in it, but I do talk about it with people.  Most importantly I look upon that day as the start of Nolan’s heart journey, and I remember how much he’s been through and I look – with joy – on the strong little guy he is today.  And when you look at it that way, you can’t help but to be so happy to celebrate his heart day:

Nolan Heart Day 2017

Christmastime is Here!!!

Man, Christmas with 3 little boys is totally bonkers, and the craziness began like a week before the actual holiday, as we celebrated with other family and friends.  So the kids were definitely ramped up for the actual day! It was so fun watching them rush down the stairs and to be so excited by the gifts that Santa (and mom and dad) got for them. I love the smiles and the laughs and the hugs. And hey, we even got a decent pic with Santa:

Twins Santa 2017

And Lots of Other Good Stuff, Too

Lots of other good stuff happened in December too. We had another feeding appointment at UNC and it went really well: Nolan has really cut back on the vomiting (to nearly nothing, knock on wood) and is eating purees more regularly and eating things like Cheese-Its, Rice Krispies, and some mashed potatoes.  Definitely a huge move in the right direction!

Nolan also had a really great cardiology check-up: his doctor said his heart function looks really good and we won’t be back for another 6 months or so!

After Christmas we took the kids to a trampoline park to play with some friends.  As you know, Nolan looooooves trampolines and jumping, so he was very excited about this.  Shockingly, though, he spent the most of his time “going on an adventure,” as he calls it.  This meant he climbed up, through, and around this huge playground structure inside the trampoline park.  I mean look at this kid:

Nolan Climbing 2017

I was standing like 2 levels below him when I took this picture.  He proceeded to climb way up and go down the long, twisty slide all by himself.  Why is this significant? Well after Nolan’s Fontan Procedure, I noticed that he was developing some fears that he didn’t have before.  When we’d go to any playground, he no longer liked to climb up like he used to and he definitely didn’t like to go down slides. At his first parent-teacher conference at school, his teacher mentioned how much Nolan loved getting on the playground and going down the slide…and I was like “Hold up…are we talking about the same Nolan?” Apparently the Physical Therapist at school has been working with him on this, plus seeing his friends play has spurred Nolan to do the same.  And you should see this kid go! Off he went on his “Adventure” and he even told me I didn’t have to go with him.  Definitely a proud daddy moment for me…it really symbolized how much progress he’s made.  Keep climbing, big guy!


So to all my friends reading this, I hope this year was a really good one for you.  And if it wasn’t, I hope 2018 is a fantastic one for all of us.  May your new year be full of love, kindness, gratitude, victories (however big or small), empathy, and compassion. Don’t let the little moments pass you by without being thankful, don’t forget to take care of yourself, don’t forget that the work of your hands is sacred, and don’t forget to give lots of big hugs.

And finally, in case you need a random smile, and the days get a little rocky, you can always do what Nolan does – dress like an owl and dance to Laurie Berkner:

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HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!

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A Reason to Celebrate

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On Saturday, December 10th I woke up to a now-common sound: “Dad….DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD!” I hopped up out of bed and opened the door to our room to see little Mr. Nolan there in the hallway, arms held up, saying, “Take me downstairs?”  I bent down and scooped him into my arms and he put his arms around my neck and rested his head on my right shoulder.  Almost immediately Grant came up and I picked him up too.  It was a very special day.  I whispered, “Happy Birthday, big boys!” and I was immediately overwhelmed.  Here they are…my two little boys…and they’re FOUR!  I remember the mad rush to the hospital at 3am, the C-Section, the NICU stay for both babies.  I remember being happy as Grant did good enough to go home after 5 days, and I remember the fear that grew in the pit of my stomach every day as I knew sometime soon I’d have to hand over Nolan for a major heart surgery in an effort to save his life.

In the years since, Nolan has been through so much and continues to endure quite a bit.  He’s one tough little boy.  And Grant has been a fantastic little (by 2 minutes) brother.  Together they’re a wreck: a destructive force of giggles and tackle-hugs.  There was a time where we didn’t know if Nolan would see 4…but here he is: 3 heart surgeries later and still smiling and still fighting.  Each year at their birthday I reflect on what we’ve all endured.  There’s so much to celebrate…so much to be thankful for.  We’re thankful for our little family, for physicians, nurses, friends, family.

Happy birthday to my sweet Nolan and Grant…I can’t wait to celebrate year 5!

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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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The Big One!

December 10, 2013 was a HUGE day.  Our twins, Grant and Nolan, both turned 1! 

It’s always cool to see your kids grow up, develop, and learn new things.  2013, however, added so much more to that equation.  There was a time where I was so scared that our Nolan would never see his first birthday.  I was worried about what his life would be like.  We’d heard stories about kids who didn’t make it and I was so grateful that our boy was with us and doing well.  So yes, it was a big day. 

We had a little birthday party for the boys at a local coffee shop who let us use their meeting space.  It was fun: we had friends and family there, including a 3-year old HLHS boy who Nolan met at therapy.  The twins loved all the attention and they also loved the cake!

Grant:

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And Nolan:

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Celebrating with those two was a whole lot of fun.  Each and every birthday after this will continue to be more awesome, because it proves God is a good God, and continues to watch over both our little guys, especially Nolan.  It’s good to never forget everything we’d been through that year, but it’s even better to look ahead with hope and a positive attitude. 

I’m hoping that by next year Nolan will be mouth-feeding so he can destroy some cake all he wants, and that he will be walking around and having just as much fun as everyone else. 

Nolan continues to do great: he’s making strides with speech therapy and physical therapy, he’s gaining weight…life is good for our little man!