Nicholas Updates 2019

November 26, 2019 posted 10:15pm:
Viner Family after Disney Party at Chuy’s!
We went out to eat after Disney and tried Chuy’s for the first time. The food was great and the kids all got a balloon character before dinner, bonus!

November 26, 2019 posted 6:58pm:

We spent our last day at Disney. We decided not to renew our annual passes. It’s getting to be that time of year where we kind of hibernate a bit due to cold and flu season. I noticed the increase of extra coughs and sneezes among the crowds already. The slightest hints of cough drop smells permiated the park which set our anxiety at high alert. We did rides, ate snacks, watched Elsa light up the castle, and just soaked in the overall Disney Magic and splendor that we love so much!

We may end up getting passes for Disney again in the Spring. For now, we’ve decided to not do Disney so we can continue our adventures elsewhere. We are planning on taking mini trips throughout Florida instead. We still have places to see and memories to make as a family!

I love this time of year as we approach the season of reflection and of Thanksgiving.
We are so blessed...this life is beyond anything I could have imagined for myself.
Today, our hearts are full and we are all together. ❤️

“A grateful heart is a magnet for miracles”

November 23, 2019 posted 11:46am:

“Crickey” it’s Nick the crocodile hunter! 🐊

Wishing you all an adventure filled weekend!

Life doesn’t always go as planned, it can sometimes lead us to greater destinations.
“A bend in the road is not the end of the road, unless you fail to make the turn” -Keller

November 19, 2019 posted 7:12pm:

We got our monthly Yum box tonight and it is from Spain! We enjoyed samples of dark chocolate truffles, fried egg chips, spicy mangos, and ketchup and mustard puffs to mention just a few.

After our studies, when asked about Spain, Nick says “there are oranges, and some trees with cork, and there is the running FROM the bulls!” Love this kid and his love of learning.

“Learning never exhausts the mind” -Leonardo da Vinci

November 19, 2019 posted 4:25pm:

Family flu shot day! We finally made it to the minute clinic to get our shots today. Last week we were hosting Grandpa who was visiting from Minnesota. We of course experienced Disney with him and we stayed at one of our favorite hotel spots. The kids also won another trophy for our growing collection for their puzzle making skills.

This coming week brings on a big 40th birthday for me and Jimmy is going to be leaving for a short trip to Arizona for our niece’s wedding. Never a dull moment in our house, but we wouldn’t want it any other way.

“We didn’t realize we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun” -Pooh Bear

November 11, 2019 posted 11:58am:
To our favorite veteran, and to all those who have served, we honor you today.
Happy Veterans Day!

November 7, 2019 posted 1:25pm:

Fun Nick Fact #5: Nick sleeps with his little teddy bear every night. Nick named him Nicky Bears. Nick sure has a way with names!

On a side note, AJ wants a turtle and he wants to name him Nibbles. So of course Nick wants one too and has named his turtle Frankenstein. And we can’t forget about Jo, she wants one too and has named hers Cookies. We’ll need to research first but maybe some turtle family members are in our future? I love that all the kids are so uniquely their own person.

“Why fit in when you we born to stand out” -Dr. Seuss

November 5, 2019 posted 1:46pm:

Mini field trip to Krispy Kreme today!
We had a play date with friends at the playground nearby but made a special stop beforehand to try some new pie doughnuts. The kids all enjoyed watching the conveyor of deliciousness, I did too. There’s something mysteriously mesmerizing about those little fried balls of goodness being smattered by a frosting bath that leaves one feeling satisfied.

“Donut Worry, Be Happy”

November 2, 2019 posted 1:16pm:

We ventured out to the Orlando Korean Festival today with our favorite Koreans!
It was crazy hot so we only stayed long enough to stand in the lines to grab food and watch a few demonstrations. We got to see a traditional fan dance, traditional drums, taekwondo, and a little of the kpop dance competition.

The food was amazing and worth the trip out into the heat. But most importantly, my family were complete troopers today. I love that everyone got up early and went out because they knew it was important to me to share a part of their heritage.

“The love of a family is life’s greatest blessing”

November 1, 2019 posted 2:53pm:

Hope you had a spooktactular Halloween!

We took the kids to Disney Boardwalk for some fun and trick or treating. It was really humid hot out so we didn’t stay too long. Luckily it was our second trick or treating event this year so no one felt cheated by leaving early.

Happy November! I can’t wait to see where this next month of our journey will take us.

“Fill your life with adventures not things. Have stories to tell not things to show.”

October 25, 2019 posted 5:50pm:

Fun filled day at the The Florida Aquarium!
We started by being transported to Madagascar where we saw snakes, tortoises, and lemurs. We continued through to the wetlands, bays, and beaches. We saw so many fish, seahorses, birds, alligators, and watched the otters and sharks. We even got to touch the stingrays, anemones, and star fishes. As a side note, AJ finally got his face painted too. He has literally asked every time we go to Disney for one but it’s usually so hot we figured it’d just melt off.

Now, we are enjoying the beautiful Florida weather at a seafood restaurant, is that wrong? 🤷🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️ We stopped into Skippers Smokehouse which was the same place we ate at when Jimmy and I took James on vacation years ago when we were just 3. This time around, we were 6 but the place had the same great food and atmosphere.

So blessed and thankful for the day! We’ve learned that exploring is the best way to learn, so we wish you all a great weekend full of adventure! “Never stop exploring”

Mantra for the day: Learning. Loving. Living.

October 24, 2019 posted 8:41am:
He did it, “30.0” 🎉
This is such a big milestone in our journey. I can remember back to when pushing even 1 tiny milliliter of food in him would induce vomit. To now, Nick puts tiny amounts of food in his mouth and “gets it in his tummy.”

Don’t forget to celebrate even the smallest of wins. Because each tiny win, can be combined to become a giant victory. Hoping you find your win today, Happy Thursday!
October 17, 2019 posted 10:54pm:
We had a long day today. We met with a local cardiologist to establish a secondary medical team while we are away from Minnesota. The facility and staff were great.

Nick did awesome with his echocardiogram but freaked out as they attempted to put stickers on for the EKG. We ended up skipping it today and decided to also leave a needed blood draw for a separate visit.

Nick’s oxygen saturations are holding steady and continue to hover in the low 80’s. His weight was just a tiny bit over 29 pounds. With no marked changes in his echo or stats, we are keeping all his medication doses the same for now. Nick is currently only on 4 medications (10 medicine syringes per day); Amoxicillin for asplenia, Enalapril for his heart and blood pressure, and Cyproheptadine and Gabapentin for his feeding and GI issues.

The cardiologist here said that Nick looked great and he is absolutely against any surgical interventions at this time. The doctor’s take on our current situation was to just let him thrive and grow both physically and mentally. Music to our ears!

Our only lingering and biggest challenge is figuring out where we should go for Nick’s Fontan heart surgery. Jimmy and I have circled back to this discussion several times and still without resolutions and not without reservations. Should we go back to Michigan where they did all of his previous surgeries? Should we go ahead and go to the Mayo? Should we go and visit Boston since their reputation proceeds them? “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t” has never rang more true than in our decision. So, we pray on it and wait.

“Trust the wait.
Embrace the uncertainty.
Enjoy the beauty of becoming.
When nothing is certain, anything is possible”
October 8, 2019 posted 8:01pm:
Nick picked out his costume today. Couldn’t resist sharing a sneak peak of our super hero!

September 29, 2019 posted 2:52pm:

Happy World Heart Day ❤️

Been a while since our last post. It’s kind of a slow season right now in Orlando so I don’t have to work as much. This also means we’ve been living our best lives and enjoying some extra family time!

Nick is continuing to experience firsts. He went to a petting zoo during an Animal Kingdom trip with family friends. He went to the dentist for a checkup with his sister Josephine. Nick also went down a few new waterpark slides by himself.

We’ve been trying to increase Nick’s food intake and trying to push more per hour versus smaller volumes every 30 minutes...so far so good. Hoping this will help with putting weight on. The additional side effect is that it relieves a bit of stress for us to feed hourly instead of every half hour.

We worried about Nick’s tolerance to the Florida heat but he is doing very well. We take extra precautions to keep him hydrated and cool when we go out. When we are at Disney we take multiple air conditioning breaks, use spray bottles of water for misting, and have our portable fans at the ready. When it’s miserably hot, we just go to the pool.

Nick is doing well but he is showing signs that surgery is nearing. Nick is unable to keep up with the other kids because he tires super quickly. He can only really walk or run for very short distances before he needs to rest or be picked up. It’s hard to watch because he wants to run around but his poor little body won’t let him.

We still encourage him and live as “normal” as we can. Like when we go to Epcot, we let Nick run in the maze at the England pavilion but we also have to have his emesis bag ready because when he overworks himself he’ll get sick. It doesn’t prevent him from wanting to go every time though! He never quits and he is the definition of perseverance.

“A grateful heart is a magnet for miracles” Nick is our living miracle and our hearts are so full! Wishing you a wonderful Sunday filled of your own miracles.

September 11, 2019 posted 3:08pm:

We took a detour through the lobby and Nick spotted what he called a “money machine” which is a donation drop for Children’s Hospital Network. I told Nick that it’s a coin machine to help the kids in the hospital. Immediately Nick says “I’ve been in the hospital before” to which I replied “yes you have”. Then he looks at me and says “so I want to give money to the kids in the hospital too” and I replied a little choked up “yes, that’s a really nice idea”. This kid has such a big heart and I love how much he loves.

Today, my hope is that you show another human a small act of kindness. Love each other. ❤️

“If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn that life is short and there is no time for hate.” —Sandy Dahl, wife of Flight 93 pilot Jason Dahl

September 6, 2019 posted 1:45pm:

We are staying at one of our favorite resorts because we thought hurricane Dorian was coming straight for us. We were completely spared by its wrath and now left with some scorching weather.

It was a really hot out yesterday but we made the most of my day off and went to Magic Kingdom. We beat the heat by making stops into air conditioned shops, going on air conditioned rides, and the kids used their water spray bottles and battery operated fans. It was eerily slow and the crowds were non existent. Perfect for us because we could go on any ride and we were able to leisurely stroll about without constantly maneuvering around people with the double stroller.

Today is another hot one and so we are going to spend a little time in the kid’s beloved pirate pool.

Eventually the harsh realities of life and Nick’s surgery will consume us but we are savoring and enjoying every minute until then. So if it seems like we are constantly going to Disney, we are constantly having new experiences, and always vacationing really hard, we are! We don’t know what the future will bring, but we understand with complete gratitude that the present is an absolute gift.

Sending you lots of love, Florida sunshine, and wishes for a wonderful weekend.

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart” -Keller

September 2 posted 2:17pm:
Nick is channeling his inner Karen 😂 “I’d like to speak to your manager”
August 23, 2019 posted 2:27pm:
We have a win today, Nick weighed in at just over 29 pounds!! 💪🏼

It’s been such a long road...we’re getting so close to our goal weight of 30 pounds before his Fontan heart surgery. Admittedly, that weight marker is a bit arbitrary but it gives us a sense of control in a continuously fragile health situation that is always volatile and unpredictable.

Happy Friday, celebrate the wins in your life!

August 22, 2019 posted 5:14pm:

We’re in Hollywood...Studios that is! 🎬🎥

“But without the dark we’d never see the stars”

August 21, 2019 posted 5:08pm:
“Making memories with you is my favorite thing to do”

Wishing you a great Wednesday!
August 20, 2019 posted 1:51pm:
In the spirit of “first day of school” pictures... this one is of Nick with our first Universal Yums box. Jimmy and I decided that these boxes are such a cool and unique way to add to our homeschool curriculum to teach the kids. They get a dose of geography, foreign language, and social studies. The added bonus is that we also get to eat snacks!

Every month we get a box featuring snacks from a different country. Each box comes with a booklet that gives facts about the country and we take the opportunity to point out on our world map where the country is. We then also research with the kids additional information such as language and music from the country.

Our first box was from Turkey. The kids were so excited to learn, share, and connect to others in world. I love how it not only expanded their knowledge, it also expanded and opened up new possibilities. AJ said that he now wants to visit Turkey one day. When asked what Nick learned about Turkey, he says “it has mountains, and hills, and camels, and hot air balloons.” Josephine embraced the foodie side of things and especially enjoyed the chocolate filled cookies.

We can’t wait to see where next month’s adventure around the world will take us! “It’s a Big world, go explore!”
August 17, 2019 posted 1:54pm:
These two fight like cats and dogs but they also love as fierce as they fight ❤️

“The love of family is life’s greatest blessing”

August 12, 2019 posted 4:14pm:

Nicholas had a low grade fever but it didn’t hang around long, thank goodness! He still sounds stuffy and has a little cough and runny nose. Hoping this cold virus passes as quickly as it hit.

Nick is making the most of it and is relaxing in bed watching Spongebob 😎 Looking at his sweet face just melts my heart and is a constant reminder of just how beautiful life is!

Objective for the day: Relax and Renew.

August 10, 2019 posted 12:33pm:

Happy Birthday to Nicholas, He’s 4 Today!!!!

Hard to put all the emotions of this day into words...just so incredibly overwhelmed with gratitude for every moment we’ve gotten with him. ❤️

Nick was coughing last night and this morning. He’s showing some signs of a cold virus so we are keeping a close eye on him today. The good news so far is that he doesn’t have a fever and he’s acting like himself. We were planning on taking the kids out but looks like a relaxing day in our hotel room to rest and rehydrate is the new game plan. We wouldn’t have been out long today anyway since there is a heat advisory out. I’m glad that Tara and Maddie can still enjoy their day out and we don’t have to feel bad about being bad hosts because they are familiar with the Orlando area.

Be like Nick; Be Kind. Be Brave. Be Joyful.

August 9, 2019 posted 9:05pm:

We finished out the afternoon with a visit to the pirate ship pool. We were planning on also doing mini golf but decided to check out Disney’s Boardwalk since none of us had been there before.

Not a ton of stuff to see or do at the Boardwalk but by the time we walked all the way around, it was starting to rain and since the storm was already fast approaching, it was time to go anyway.

On the way home we picked up some Pizza and Mexican food. After dinner, Auntie Tara took Maddie and AJ down to the pool to swim again while Jimmy and I stayed back in the room with Nick and JoJo.

Another Day...Totally Grateful...Completely Blessed ❤️

August 9, 2019 posted 11:15am:
Arrrggghhhh.....it’s a pirate’s life for us today!

Our morning has been filled with treasure hunts, walking the plank, decorating swords, catching alligators, tattoos, prop pictures, eating sweet treats, and opening presents.

All the excitement took a little toll on Nick and he has thrown up a couple of extra times. I think we’ve all probably partied too hard and thrown up at some point in our lives and can relate 😂 So, we are taking a break to recoup before heading out this afternoon to the pirate ship pool area and to do some pirate mini golf.

“A smooth sea never made a skilled pirate”
August 8, 2019 posted 5:34pm:
Nick calls this masterpiece of his “Person Picking up Rocks”

Happy Thursday. We are all checked into our hotel staycation. We will be picking up Auntie Tara and cousin Maddie from the airport to join us for a few days tonight. Tomorrow we plan on having a pirate themed birthday party for all the kids where we are celebrating Maddie, AJ, and Nick. It’s hard to believe that Nick will officially be turning 4 on Saturday... Not bad for a kid they didn’t think would make it through to his first birthday!

“Make each day your masterpiece”
August 6, 2019 posted 7:37pm:
I spy with my little eye ... Cinderella’s house!
August 5, 2019 posted 7:18pm:
We got the kids the Crocodile Dentist game today and it has been Entertainment Gold!

...After a while Crocodile 🐊

#CHDLife #Nicksheart #CHDAwareness #MyCHDwarrior #HeterotaxyLife

July 30, 2019 posted 8:54pm:

Mommy’s day off today so where else would we be but at Disney! We again scored some perfect seats to view the Ever After fireworks show!

Goal for the day: Be the seekers of life’s magic. Check ✅ Another great and blessed day ❤️

#CHDLife #Nicksheart #CHDAwareness #MyCHDwarrior #HeterotaxyLife

July 25, 2019 posted 10:13pm:

It seems forever since our last update post. Life has been busy, as always. I work a lot and struggle at times in trying to balance the time spent away with quality time spent together. Like with most things in life, that delicate balance is a perpetual quest.

Nicholas has been doing well. We were concerned with how he would cope with the Florida summer heat but he has been doing very well. We do short outings equipped with water sprayers and fans and incorporate water activities during the week to beat the heat.

Nicholas weighed in this week at 28.6 pounds. He’s not gaining much but we take solace in the fact that he‘s not going backwards. The closer to 30 lbs we get, the closer we get to the reality of his next surgery. Although Nick doesn’t eat a lot by mouth, his favorites foods are pickles, eggs, chocolate, pepperoni, and popcorn. So at any given time, our house will always have those things on hand.

The next official marker for us is this fall when we will get a blood test to see where Nick’s hemoglobin levels are. We plan to get it done in Florida and the results sent to his cardiologist in Minnesota. They will then either determine that we are staying on course and will head into surgery next Spring or that we have to accelerate our timetable for surgery this fall/winter.

In the meantime, we are making the most out of our summer and every day we spend together. July has come and is almost already gone. Grandma Kathy came and spent a week with us during the Fourth of July and our nephew Jake is spending a couple of weeks with us to finish out July. It’s always nice to have family around and it’s been extra nice for Jimmy because he gets another set of hands to help with the kids while I’m at work.

August brings birthdays for AJ who is turning 6 and Nicholas who is turning 4! We have a small party planned for the kids at a hotel where we will also be celebrating our niece Maddie’s birthday too. We are planning on doing a pirate theme birthday for the kids and I can’t wait to decorate and celebrate them. In August, we are welcoming James back from his extended visit to Minnesota from which he was greatly missed. We are also going to be hosting James’ best friend Alex from Michigan. The boys are planning to spend some time going to theme parks and hanging out before the realities of adulthood fast approaches them.

September will bring a visit from Grandma Erin. Then comes Halloween, more family visits, Jimmy leaving for our niece’s wedding in Arizona, Thanksgiving, even more family visits, Christmas, and before we know it, it will be 2020. Somewhere in between all of that, many more Disney visits and family memories being made. Whew!

“Cherish your yesterdays, dream your tomorrows and live your todays.”

July 24, 2019 posted 9:56pm:

A little afternoon Florida rain couldn’t stop our crew from enjoying the day at Hollywood Studios.

“Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.”

July 15, 2019 posted 9:53pm:

FATE WHISPERS TO THE WARRIOR
“You cannot withstand the storm”

THE WARRIOR WHISPERS BACK
“I AM the STORM”

Our Warrior 💪🏼
It’s been quite hectic lately, as life usually is for us. I will post a complete update in the coming days ahead.

June 16, 2019 posted 7:44am:

Dads don’t always get the credit they deserve because we primarily see moms as the caretakers of children. Thank you to all the dads that aren’t always seen but always there.

To the special dad in our house, I wouldn’t be the mom and wife I am if it wasn’t for the dad and man you are. Thank you for showing our kids how to love and be loved. Happy Father’s Day

June 14, 2019 posted 10:44pm:

Fun Nick Fact #4:
Nick likes to play with legos and magnets but he really loves putting together puzzles. He just seems to have the patience and knack for it.

“It’s always the small pieces that make the big picture.”

Wishing you all a great weekend!

May 21, 2019 posted 6:42pm:

I’ve neglected to make updates as life has been a little busy. So I figured it was time to catch up as we are on a mini staycation from our extended vacation.

Nick is a little over 28 pounds now. For those who have followed our story, you know it’s been a long road to get here. Our ultimate goal is still to hit 30 pounds before his next surgery which is still on track for next Spring.

Nick is eating just the tiniest bit more food than before. Probably not enough of a gain to where anyone would notice. We know that intensive feeding therapy is on the horizon. We’ve curbed it for now because quite frankly, we’ve made a decision to sacrifice a little eating for his overall quality of life. At this point in our journey, with an impended surgery, we really wanted to focus on making as memories as possible and enjoy our time together as a family.

Since we focus so much on Nick’s heart health we tend to curb “regular” milestones like potty training. We haven’t been stressing it but within the last couple of weeks, Nick has taken the initiative and is in full on potty training mode. This kid never ceases to amaze us in what he is capable of.

Our staycation has been fun packed with activities. There is a full list of things to keep everyone busy and involved. The kids participated in a bingo game where Nick won and picked out some sunglasses as his prize. The littles also entered a family puzzle race, they narrowly lost and finished in second place. We did however win a trophy as “House Viner” held it down during music trivia. We also all got to be kids as we’ve played every game in the arcade. We scored some fun prizes there too.

This place also has the cutest kid friendly pool and splash pad areas. Nick is obsessed with the pirate pool that has multiple slides. I’ve loved every moment of just watching him. He lives and loves so intensely and purely, makes my heart melt. We only stay out for about an hour because Nick is sensitive to temperatures and sun, but even if it’s for just an hour, he’s been able to blend in as just another ordinary toddler. We, just another ordinary family. And what makes that even more special is that Nick is so ordinarily extraordinary.

Be like Nick, be EXTRAordinary! Happy Tuesday!

May 17, 2019 posted 11:32am:
Our gang of little wildlings!
Happy Game of Thrones series finale weekend. What are your guesses, who will be sitting on the Iron throne?

May 9, 2019 posted 4:33pm:

Fun Nick Fact #3: When Nick lounges around, he likes to sit with his leg crossed over.

I will look over at him when he is sitting like that and think to myself, that is just so Nick. I love that we get to witness the life of this incredible little human and all his little nuances.

“Enjoy the little things in life, because one day you will look back, and realize they were the big things.”

May 4, 2019 posted 8:00am:
Today is Heterotaxy Awareness Day, May the 4th be with you!

May 3, 2019 posted 1:09pm:

This is a recap of the past couple of days.

Day 1:
-Josephine coughed 2 times but I thought it just sounded sick.
-No fevers. Symptoms did not escalate.

Day 2:
-Josephine has no cough but started a runny nose.
-No fevers. No new symptoms.

Day 3:
-Josephine has no symptoms.
-AJ & I had a sore throat.
-No fevers during the day.
-AJ spiked a 101 fever about midnight
-AJ also has also developed croupy cough
-Nick, still did not present any symptoms

Day 4:
-Early morning, Nick woke up very croupy sounding cough and laboring very hard to breathe.
-AJ still has slight fever
-Nick no fever but trip to the ER

Because we had fever in the house and because Nick was really laboring to breathe, we took a trip into the children’s hospital ER. By the time we got to the hospital, Nick‘s breathing had already sounded better but better safe than sorry!

So 3 hours, chest X-rays, strep swab, and virus swabs later, we were sent home. The radiologist cleared the xrays. Strep came back negative. The virus panel was going to take an additional hour so we got discharged and would be getting a call for the results.

On the drive home and as we were making a pit stop to the drugstore, the nurse called with the results. Good ole rhinovirus, common cold virus. All other viruses and flu were negative. It’s “just a cold” but it is never just a cold with us. We are lucky to be home because some kiddos with “just a cold” with Nick’s condition go to the hospital and don’t get a chance to make it home. Please do your part and help protect others by washing your hands and wearing masks when you are sick.

As soon as we got home, I checked Nick’s temperature and he has a slight fever now. We are going to monitor all the kids and be administering rounds of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. We do each every six hours but have them overlap. So for example Tylenol at 12 and Motrin at 3, then repeat Tylenol at 6 and Motrin at 9. This has always worked well for us.

Tying to get all the kids on the mend. Our nephew Jake is flying in tomorrow to hang out with us for a few days. I’m hoping to keep our germs to ourselves and enjoy the time we get to spend together.

So today is going to be a movies, fluids, and quiet kind of day. Rest today so our Best tomorrow!

April 30, 2019 posted 8:51pm:

Spent another magical day at Disney! We are going to finish the night with fireworks. We scored some perfect seats at Casey’s Corner. Hoping you all find a little magic in your days.

“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it”

April 26, 2019 posted 8:18pm:

We went to Old Town to get some fresh air and walk around. The kids got to play some carnival games, look at the lined up muscle cars, and mined some gems from the mining area. The best part was that we were together ❤️ Have a great weekend!

“FAMILY.
We may not have it all together,
but together we have it all.”

April 24, 2019 posted 9:26am:

Nick got to drive the golf cart for a few minutes during one of our daily outings.

“Sometimes the most scenic roads in life are the detours you didn’t mean to take.” -Blount

April 22, 2019 posted 2:58pm:
Our lives became so much more beautiful when Nicholas entered it. Just wanted to share some of our love today ❤️ Happy Monday, have a great week!

April 21, 2019 posted 3:33pm:

Where else would we be today but the happiest place on earth!

Rejoice for He has Risen! Happy Easter everyone!

April 20, 2019 posted 6:53pm:

Fun filled day with an egg hunt, dance party, and a visit from the Easter Bunny!

Our hearts are so full as we are beyond blessed ❤️ Wishing everyone a very Happy and Blessed Easter.

April 11, 2019 posted 8:08pm:

Twinning today with Daddy!

We went to Epcot today but we didn’t make it too long because it was pretty hot out. We are so fortunate to be able to come and go to the Disney parks with our annual passes. We have the flexibility to stay as long or as short as our life dictates.

"The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all." -The Emperor (Mulan)

April 8, 2019 posted 9:29pm:

We spent the day with Grandma Kathy walking around an outdoor shopping mall and then went out to dinner. Nick tried to use chopsticks for the first time and even ate a little strawberry ice cream!

No need for the fortune cookies because we are the architects of our own future

April 4, 2019 posted 2:45pm:
No place like Disney to carry our worries away...at least for the day

April 3, 2019 posted 12:00am:

So after waiting for our delayed plane, we finally board and prepare to leave. The plane was completely empty and as I approached my seat number I see that I’ve passed over a dozen empty rows and I notice that I’m headed towards the back of the plane where a lot of the passengers were already seated. We were almost the last ones to board because I intentionally waited so we could avoid any unnecessary time on the plane.

I get to our row and realize that it was an aisle and middle seat. The dilemma ensues. I don’t want to place Nick in the middle because he’d be too close to a stranger and if I put him in the isle he’s still somewhat close to a stranger. So, the lesser of 2 evils, I put him in the aisle seat.

Some of the passengers are asking the flight attendant to move to an empty row and as she approaches, I’m hoping maybe we can get lucky and be able to move as well. When the flight attendant gets me, I politely ask if there was a way we could move to an empty row so that I could try to isolate Nick as much as I could. I even suggested paying if I needed to so that we could move to the middle of the plane. She replied that she didn’t understand what I was asking and said I could move to any empty row behind me. I tried to interject that I didn’t want to move behind, because there was a sick cough behind me, but she cut me off and walked away.

I should have paid the extra $40 and guaranteed a window seat for Nick. That was my mistake, I guess we just got lucky on the flight going to Minnesota and I didn’t think much of it. The emphasis was put on the appointments and i dropped the ball on the fight thing.

So, instead of arguing or causing a scene we sat down. And in that moment I felt defeated. All the good news from the day was great but the bad news is always there, there’s absolutely going to be another surgery. And that surgery will help Nick, but it will NOT fix him. We can’t change that no matter what and that helpless feeling just got compounded by the denial of a simple thing as moving to another seat.

I admit, I’m very exhausted; physically, mentally, and spiritually. So I’m quite the overly emotional wreck at the moment. The extra time I’ve gotten to spend the last couple of days with just Nick has been so amazingly bitter sweet.

So as I sit writing this on a darkened airplane, I am practically balling and choking back my tears next to a complete stranger. Thankfully, Nick is sleeping peacefully with his teddy in my lap so he can’t see me. I just stare down at him and sing to him in my head “hush little baby...”

Sometimes, I think we need to do better as humans. Always try to be more kind, patient, and understanding. Because when we do those things for each other, it could help to lighten someone’s load and it nourishes our own souls. You never know the burden someone is carrying, be a blessing.

April 2, 2019 posted 7:32pm:

We made it through a busy day of appointments, wind blown wobbly drive back to the airport, rental car return, and adventure through TSA security. Now we are just hanging out at the gate! I finally got to grab a quick bite to eat and all is right with the world again. On a side note, Hangry Adulting is serious and should be avoided at all costs.

The last appointment with the cardiologist went very well. Nothing new to report in regards to Nick’s heart function. All scans showed no change, which at this point is good.

Last visit, Nick got on the growth chart at 1%. Today, he inched up and is now at the 3% marker. Slowly but surely we keep getting closer to our 30 pound marker, he was just shy of 28 pounds.

The only item that was put on the radar was his hemoglobin levels. Compared to 1 1/2 years ago it was higher. Which in part is to be expected but because his baseline started so low, the difference might be an anomaly that we want to monitor. The hemoglobin levels can indicate that Nick’s body isn’t getting enough oxygen and therefore he has to create more red blood cells to deliver what he needs. As he grows, he is outgrowing his last procedure.

We will check his hemoglobin levels again in about 6 months and if they stay the same, we will plan for our normal Spring visit when we will then look at dates to tentatively schedule for surgery. If his levels are elevated in 6 months, then we may have to push our surgery dates sooner and it will likely be this fall.

Praying his levels stay the same so we can hold off until Spring of 2020. I feel like we need more time to get him bigger and quite honestly, I just don’t think we’re ready. You’re never truly ready but there is a level of acceptance and we’re just not there yet. But, now that we know what we know, we will have to become that much closer to surrendering to the reality of it all.

Thank you all for the well wishes and prayers, they really do help to lift us up!

April 2, 2019 posted 2:47pm:

This kid amazes me more and more each day ❤️

First thing this morning was the echo and Nick knocked it out of the park! He picked a movie to watch and didn’t flinch a bit during the whole procedure. Hopefully they got some really good images to review.

Second stop was the lab, yikes! 2 large tubes of blood were drawn. He cried as they fished his vein but immediately afterwards, Nick was back to his smiley self and thanking the techs for the rubber ducky he earned.

Next appointment was a stop for some xrays. He was so amazing and stayed perfectly still! He’s such a big boy and loves doing things independently now, where did our little guy go 😭

Just waiting for the final part of our day which is to meet with the cardiologist. We will discuss the images and labs done earlier and a plan for the future. This is always the best and worst part. A relief that the day is almost done at the hospital but nerve wracking because of what he has to say. Fingers crossed!

April 2, 2019 posted 11:19am:

Made it to Rochester from the cities this morning. The drive was a bit treacherous. I just got an economy size rental car and I thought we were going to get stuck because the potholes we had to dodge might have been bigger than the car!

Just waiting for our first appointment. As always, Nick is such a trooper

April 1, 2019 posted 7:12am:

Fully boarded plane and the pilot announcement informs us that the onboard computer system to fly is down. My anxiety is already at 1000% with every cough I hear but now we have to sit here until they “can figure out what to do” 😳

Meanwhile, Nick is just sitting buckled in waiting to “blast off”. I just love his enthusiasm and excitement!

April 1, 2019 posted 6:09am:

Early morning at the airport. Today marks a new adventure for Nicholas, his first plane ride! We are taking a 1 day trip into Minnesota for a full day of doctors appointments at the Mayo tomorrow. Then, we fly back out to Florida tomorrow night.

Clorox wipes in hand, we got masked up to go through security but since we are isolated by ourselves at the gate, I let Nick take his mask off until we get on the plane. It’s April but a late wave of the flu is going around and we don’t want to take any chances.

Fingers crossed for safe travels and good news from our appointments tomorrow!

March 28, 2019 posted 12:14pm:

It’s not quite the weekend but we’ve already started Goofing around!

Wishing you all an easy Thursday, Friday is almost here!

March 27, 2019 posted 2:48pm:

Fun Nick Fact #2: Nick uses “mine” for my. Example: “I got something in mine eye.”

I like to think it’s because he’s sophisticated and it makes him sound Shakespearean! 😂

Happy Wednesday!

March 25, 2019 posted 11:18am:
Happy Monday! This is for all the Harry Potter fans out there “Snuggle this Muggle”

March 17, 2019 posted 11:02am:

Chances of having heterotaxy 1:10,000
Chances of finding a four leaf clover 1:10,000

We always say we’re so lucky to have Nicholas in our lives. Science confirms it, he’s our real life four leaf clover! 💚

Wishing you all a little luck of the Irish, Happy St. Patrick’s Day! 🍀

March 15, 2019 posted 6:27pm:

Waterpark fun today! Happy Friday!

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine and shadows will fall behind you.” –Whitman

March 15, 2019 posted 7:46am:
“Cousins are friends that will love you forever”

March 12, 2019 posted 6:16pm:

Looking at these faces are wonderful reminders of the amazingly beautiful life that Jimmy and I have built together, Happy 15 year anniversary to us ❤️

Where else would spend our special day but at our favorite place, Epcot!

February 23, 2019 posted 12:33pm: 
Fun Nick Fact #1: Nick sleeps laying across pillows instead of laying only his head on them. None of the other kids do that, I love that it’s just his thing
February 14, 2019 posted 12:20pm:
Heading to Epcot with our Valentine‘s date

January 31, 2019 posted 8:09pm:

Don’t forget, tomorrow marks the beginning of February and it’s also National Wear Red Day.

We wear red for Nicholas and to raise awareness for CHD (congenital heart disease)
Show us your support and show us your red!

January 22, 2019 posted 4:34pm:
Spending the afternoon at one of our favorite spots, Epcot!
January 13, 2019 posted 2:20pm:
Pool day with the littles! 80 degrees in January, I love Florida winters🌞

January 12, 2019 posted 11:24am:

I love Saturday mornings. I wake up, start the coffee maker, turn the tv on soccer, and I fill Nick’s medicine syringes for the following week. This is going to sound strange but after I’m finished filling meds, I always get this sense of accomplishment and fulfillment from it. I celebrate by enjoying a piping hot cup of coffee because it’s early and I’m kid free for just a couple of quiet hours. Sometimes Josephine is awake but she has adapted to mommy’s Saturday ritual and I think she even enjoys her alone time away from her brothers too.

The search for happiness isn’t found out in the world, it lives within us. Hoping you discover your happiness today and everyday, Happy Saturday!

January 10, 2019 posted 9:07pm:

Happy 2019! It’s been a while since our last update.

So far 2019 has started out pretty fantastic. We’re all enjoying the warm Florida weather. It’s crazy that we’ve been able to be outside and swimming in January. We also made it out to Animal Kingdom a few days ago for the first time. The kids had fun, especially the safari ride when they got to see some animals up close. Truth be told, I was a little surprised by Disney’s zoo portion. I expected it to be huge and grand like the rest of their parks and attractions. I love the animal conservation efforts but I guess my expectation was something more in line with our experiences with Busch Gardens.

We stay plenty busy but soaking in this slower pace of life. We’ve been able to visit with old friends and have made plans for the kids to play with their new found friends too.

Nick has made some strides forward with eating. He requests specific food items for us to get him and he is willing to try almost everything we give him. I have a feeling that one of these days, he’ll just start eating like it’s no big deal. Fingers crossed! His weight has been holding steady while we’ve been away and despite his increased activity level, he is ticking slightly upwards and is just past 26 pounds 5 ounces. Our target goal of 30 pounds still seems forever away but as they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Nick has also made some huge strides with potty training. Normally our marker was to have the kids potty trained before they hit their 3rd birthday. With Nick, we didn’t stress it as much because we figured we had bigger things to tackle. Also, since Josephine is still in diapers, in many cases it was just easier. Since Nick is doing so well, in the last few weeks we’ve focused more on training and he is doing great so far. He really responded well to praise and star reward system. He gets extra stars for potty training; one star for number 1 and two stars for number 2. After he get all the stars on our chart, he gets to pick out a toy.

Hopefully more good news and updates to come. Nick’s shirt is for his heterotaxy brother Christian and family ❤️

#CHDLife #Nicksheart #CHDAwareness #MyCHDwarrior