Friday, December 31, 2010

Put a Fork in It

All pictures: Zoo December 31, 2010

Alas 2010 is almost over and as much as I feel relieve to take the calendar off the wall I can't help but reflect on this past year and all that I went through (or should I say all that went on around me)!
The bookends of this year were quiet not giving way to all the goriness that was in the middle. 2010 started uneventful but by the end of January the stories that were about to unfold felt more like punches to the gut (literally for my husband) that kept coming month after month. I don't need to regurgitate all the negatives but I think before the year is up I need to highlight all the positives for myself otherwise I may always look at 2010 with disdain. So in no particular order...

  • Our second son, your smile lights up a room. You have completed our family perfectly. You unknowingly taught so many life lessons. To say you are amazing is an understatement.
  • My incredible husband, you had so many challenges and yet your personality and 1/2 glass full attitude stayed intact. I am inspired by you.
  • My beautiful daughter, you grew up so much this past year. You still have much of your innocence which I am grateful.
  • My oldest son who kept the giggles rolling. You too have grown up a lot and you have become more charming.
  • All my siblings (direct and in-laws) showed us they could roll up their sleeves and help out when the time called. I have never been more proud to be part of this family.
  • Fantastic parents! My folks went through so much themselves this year but they truly were life support for us in the spring. And although at the end of 2009 and in the spring of 2010 we lost my in-laws we feel we have angels on our shoulders watching over us.
  • Friends, old and new came out to rally around us. It was an amazing gift to witness.
And then there were the events some big and some seemingly small that brought smiles. The birth of our son, playing games as a family, the love E has for YoGabbaGabba, clown night on our family vacation, Disneyworld, witnessing our nephews wedding, Ry's ever growing hair, the Start! Heart Walk, birthdays... the list goes on.

So as much as I may say 2010 sucked, it really didn't. I got some of the best gifts a girl could ask for this year. My family is complete, a grown appreciation for what really matters and a perspective on life that allows me to enjoy the mundane (although I will still complain about it).

Goodbye 2010 HELLO 2011!

Friday, December 17, 2010

We are all human

Last night I read a question posted on FB. It was posted from a group I am a member of (It's My Heart) and here it is:

Only someone who is personally dealing with or has dealt with CHD truly knows how it feels. Give insight to people on the outside. What are some things family/friends said or did that were helpful/not helpful, not to hear/hurtful, or any advice for someone wanting to help but doesn't know how.

Now I read through the comments and was somewhat surprised because the typical responses were "think before you speak", "never ask the the mother if she caused it", "don't tell us everything is going to be fine", etc. I wasn't surprised by the comments themselves but how I didn't feel that way or didn't experience it the same. I opted in not posting a comment because I felt I would offend folks.

First let me say that although many of my friends haven't directly experienced something similar however I feel that they all had their own experience with P's diagnosis because of their proximity to me. I sometimes think when you are in the bubble of the hospital that you think those around you aren't grieving along with you (outside of the hospital walls). If they are true friends they too are trying to figure out how to process the information. It affects friends because they care about you and your. If you take yourselves out of your bubble you realize your friends/ family are just trying to be helpful and never intentionally hurtful. If the shoe were on the other foot would you know what to say, how to behave at all times? I think not. You must remember that everyone has their heart in the right place even if they cannot directly relate to your situation.

Recently I had a friend who's child had to undergo elective minor surgery. My friend was filled with worry (as she should be, this is her story happening to her child) and when I tried to reassure her (as any good friend would do) she reminded me that "compared to what you went through this must seem like nothing". Which is true but not really. It's true for the obvious, my son's surgery was to save his life and his situation was dire but the not really stems from the fact that as a mother any surgery is scary for your child. I sometimes think some CHD parents can get wrapped up in their child's health that they simply cannot understand that every parent feels for their child and their health and would give anything to insure their health.

Now I am not naive, I do believe my experience puts me an elite group that only other CHD parents understand. I just don't think we need to be hard on our friends. They have our best interests at heart and if we don't take the time to have an open dialogue you shouldn't assume they know what to do, say or how to behave.

I have been lucky. For the most part everyone I have been in contact with has been great. And if any were offensive at one time so be it. I knew their heart was in the right place even if their approach was not the best. Everyone was respectful. And isn't that all we can really ask for?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Time to baby proof

Well baby #3 is ALL over the place. He is a crawling fool and leaves his trail of spit up for us to find him. So glad we opted not to replace our carpets yet and instead invested in a carpet cleaner. G brings out that sucker once a month and within 2 hours our carpet looks like a bad 70s shag with orange, green and yellow spots.

When we left for Disney last month P was just starting to sit unassisted. He conquered that while we were gone as well as started to move ever so forward on his hands and knees. Since then he is a master of sitting, crawling and pulling himself up on his knees. He is into EVERYTHING. Nothing is safe. His favorite toy: the hideous vertical blinds in our kitchen. He loves pulling on them. He also got a wonderful report from our first home-bound PT appointment (our one and only). He is in the 90 percentile for gross motor skills and he is officially written off of home PT. We are so thankful. We have OT coming this week and I suspect it will go just as well and all early interventions will cease. What a true blessing.

We have been enjoying much of the last 7 months with P home. We are shocked at how fast time is going with #3. It is amazing. It feels like everyday a new skill is learned. The older two are working with P to get his verbal skills rolling. They repeat every noise he makes and he responds by making a new noise. It makes for loud car rides but I love it. I love that my two oldest want to help P become more verbal.

Speaking of the other two...Ry is growing like a weed. It seems overnight she shot up. She is now as tall as her good friend S. Also she is growing her hair out which has completely changed her appearance. She looks like a big girl. I love her to pieces and can't believe she will be entering kindergarten next year.

E is talking up a storm. He's favorite phrase; No Way or Go Away. He is such an even tempered little boy who generally is a gender neutral player. He loves twirling in his sister's dress up gowns and playing with his trains and matchbox cars. I love how happy he is and his favorite place to go is home. He is not much for running around town and needing to constantly go, go, go as my oldest. He loves being home, playing with his toys or his sister's playdates.

I can't believe the holidays are almost upon us. I have started the shopping but now need to go in overdrive this week to get it done due to G's crazy schedule. I am so looking forward to Christmas as a family of five and that we get to spend it all together at home.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

Somewhere in the middle

These past 12 months have been extreme. I have never felt the weight of life and how precious it is as much as I have in the past year. This isn't only from my own experiences the last 12 months although there have been a lot: losing my mother-in-law, hubby spending time in the hospital, a diagnosis of a heart defect in my newborn son, losing my father-in-law while waiting for life saving surgery for my son, etc, etc, etc. Just as we would catch our breath some thing else would happen. Then there are the events outside of my family. Amazingly tragic events happening to people I know or know of...
The whole experience got me thinking about the downside of middle-age. Yes this is admitting that I am there, in the middle of what should be my life expectancy. Gone are the care free days of playing, giggling and learning my ABC's. The excitement stemming from getting to be a year older and that much closer to being a big person. The walks down the hallways of high school with friends, passing notes about what you're going to wear to the football game and getting the answers for the quiz for 4th period class. The carelessness of the college campus life bubble of discovering who you are and what you want to be when you grow up.
Nothing I ever imagined as a child, teen or college kid about being a grown up is exactly true. Sure I get to eat ice cream when ever I feel like it and I don't have to listen to my mother but now that I am here I think it would be nice to just go back.
Adulthood has unimaginable highs and incredible lows. The middle of your life you get the immense pleasure of bringing new life in and such pain to see life taken away.
I now understand the mid-life crisis. The want or need to capture your youth, to hold on to the carefree days and it sounds exquisite. However due to life experience there is really no way to go back and grab a hold of it. You know too much.
So here I sit in the middle watching with doe eyes at how precarious life really is...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Yesterday was one of those days where the weight of P's first month weighs heavy on my heart. Nothing significant occured yesterday but for some reason my mind and heart went back to the hospital, the walks down the polka dot hallway and the enormousness of it all. It is difficult to shake and sets a thought process in motion that can take a few days to rid. I tend to replay certain events in my mind but most striking is the walk going in to see my son. I am not sure why that is the event that replays in my mind, of me staring down at those gigantic blue polka dots.
Over the last several months during these heavy days, I think about the term "Heart Mom" a lot. I hate labels. I hate having this label. I don't want this label and I don't want my son to have it either. And my reasons for not wanting it really has nothing to do with not embracing his once broken heart or his rocky first month. That I can handle. When I think of the term heart mom I think of all the wonderful moms who have turned their tragedy into something positive; who have paid it forward. That is the weight I am not sure I am able to bare at this time.
A couple of months ago I was introduced to a mom who recently found out her son had a CHD. We chatted on the phone and afterward I felt exhausted and realized I wasn't in the right space to offer support, that in fact I was still grieving my own situation. I felt horrible because I don't think I was a help at all and in fact may have made this mom confused or more frightened. This was never my intent when I got the courage to speak to her. However it made me doubt my ability to one day be a true "Heart Mom".
Since the time I spoke to her the dreaded label has faded and I've realized how I wear the label will be determined by me. The definition I had in my head was incorrect. Parents who have children with CHD are Heart Parents but those among us who offer support, pay it forward and strive to give a voice to this community are Heart Warriors.
I am not a Heart Warrior yet and I am not sure if I will ever be... but I am so very thankful and appreciate of those who have the ability to be one.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

6 months

Our littlest had his 6 month well visit today and he is doing great. He weighed in at 16 lbs 3 oz (25%) and was 27 1/2 inches long (75%). He is long and lean but there is no concern for the differences in the percentiles especially since the oldest 2 aren't chunky monkeys themselves.
Everything else checked out well developmentally and he appears on track.

Monday, September 20, 2010

An update of sorts

My head has been swarming with lots of thoughts over the last few months. I took time away from this blog and closed out writing on our Caring Bridge site over 2 months ago. However it wasn't because I didn't have anything to write but more that I felt I should take a break. The time I spent updating Caring Bridge (almost daily when P was in the hospital) took the wind out of my sails.
The last few months I have let my thoughts sing in my head but opted not to put it down as I was still digesting everything that went on in March and April. I have been struggling to find myself and learning how to parent three children. I will admit going from 2 to 3 was much harder than 1 to 2 (at least for me). There are few free moments if any at all.
We have been living quite a crazed sleep deprived life. We are finally pulling in the reins and working on sleep training. P isn't much of a napper but we are working on that as well as keeping him down at night (he is a snuggler...loves to get me up at 1 or 2 am to sleep next to me till morning... SO BAD). And E has been a mess since we returned from vacation in early August. He was in our room that week in NC and just received the memo this week that HE MUST STAY IN HIS BED. It has been tough but I am determined to get everyone squared away in the next few weeks.
Other than sleep, which is currently the #1 priority in my household, we are getting back into the fall routine of preschool, MDO and getting ready for Disney. The two oldest are being whisked away in mid-October to visit Mickey and the Princesses. A much needed break for them and all they have endured the past 6 months. I am truly excited to be able to take them away to the land of make believe. Our littlest won't be going with us. WOW! He will be off to my girlfriend's home being loved on by a 5 year old girl, 3 year old boy and a "Rascol" (their dog which my oldest son LOVES..he will be so jealous of his baby brother). So life is rolling forward for the kids just as it should.
Over the next few posts I will share where my head has been (outside of wishing for more sleep) but for now I am just letting you know I am back and warming up to blogging again.

Clown Night Family vacation 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

I am so excited that in a week my family will be walking to support the American Heart Association in their annual Start! Heart Walk. We formed a great team, Patrick's Pals with family and friends. This is my last plea for you to join or donate.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

New Blog

Life has a way of throwing curve balls at you. G and I got our biggest one the day after our 2nd son was born.

Friday, February 26, 2010


Lots of changes are starting in the Sharp Household. The biggest one has yet to make its arrival although the anticipation of finding out the gender is about killing me. I spent one evening taking an online test (with all the wives tales) to see if I could at least have an accurate guess. Came up with nothing (54% girl vs 46% a boy). I don't think those old wives could figure this one out unless they had an ultrasound.
I had my first internal earlier this week and I am sitting at 3 cm dilated. I know it doesn't mean much (I was 2 to 3 with E for weeks). My only wish is that my folks make it back in time from their trip. They should... they arrive back here on Monday.
Our first big change happened early this month with my husband sold his SUV on Craigs List in 2 hours. It was crazy and we never thought it would happen in a matter of hours. Guess we should have asked for more money. That said, we started the process to purchase a minivan. We waited the entire month till my color choice finally arrived. I was getting a little freaked but it happened. As of today I am a minivan driving mom. What an adjustment.
Kids are doing well. Ry is loving preschool and asks everyday if she gets to go (even weekends). If a 7 day a week program existed she would be signed up. E has had more exciting changes. We moved him into a big boy bed at the end of January in his sister's room. The first few weeks were a bit difficult with the nap but he has adjusted (as we all have adjusted to making it quiet so he doesn't think he is missing something). Ry has been a great big sister in the whole matter and due to her brother's arrival in her room she has been sleeping in her bed every night. That has been a huge blessing as I was getting a bit tired of sharing my bed as my belly was expanding. I am a woman who needs space and a snoring 4 year old who doesn't roll over to stop was infringing on my space. I know there will come a point when I look back on her need to sleep with her mama and will miss it. Just not while I am 9 months pregnant!!
The end of this month has been eventful. If you follow on FB you know exactly what I am talking about... hubby is doing a bit better (at least he isn't in the hospital) but he is still having some health issues that remain unanswered. We are just taking it one day at a time and hoping it is all infection related.
I am excited for March to come. My folks return, my baby boy turns 2 and we will have a new addition. All good things.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Here are my two cupids who filled my cup of love today while their daddy was flying back to the states from a 2 day stay in Bermuda!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Attempt #2

Our friends, Tyler and Melissa have an annual Christmas party with the most authentic Santa I have seen. He is a great guy and tried luring E in and got close to winning him over... maybe next year!
Ry did it!
Trying for the kids together. No such luck!
A peace offering - candy cane wins!

Didn't mind the jolly man helping him unwrap his present!

Going in for the kill... E ran away just after I got this shot.

Fear of Santa

My kids love the idea of the big guy but they aren't fans of getting too close. This year we opted to skip the mall altogether since we knew we would have at least 2 options to attempt a Santa photo. The first one was horrendous and I was pushed to the floor by my soon to be four year old. Although Ry doesn't looked scared she decided mid-way in the line that she wouldn't sit on his lap then refused to go near him until I was squatting beside Santa with her brother. Then I got pushed down. The pictures (thanks G for shooting rather than helping your poor wife up!) speak for themselves.

First Snow

Prior to the holidays we had some snow and I took advantage of the outdoor time. I bundled up the kids and they played outside while I cleared the driveway. The best part was watching E play in the snow for the first time!

Ry's Birthday Recap

It has been a month since I updated this blog so there are lots of updates and pictures. First off, Ry's actual birthday.

She had a party with her friends and had lots of fun. It was princess themed and she seemed to have a good time. The next day, G and I had birthday cake (the cake is made by our wedding cake folks with the same flavors) and her favorite meal - PASTA! My parents came over and she received my old doll house, refurbished by my dear mom. She did a fantastic job!