One Year Since Surgery

June 11th marked one year since Sunley’s first heart surgery. I don’t know how I was “supposed” to feel, but the day was just weird. Any time I experience such a wide range of emotions, it just throws me off. Maybe I would feel differently if her surgeries weren’t considered palliative — If surgery represented a cure, instead of representing what will be a lifelong struggle since we chose this path for her. Hadelyn wanted to have a “surgery party” for Sunley, but we opted not to, since we are actively trying to not make her feel defined by her CHD. I can’t help but let it define a large portion of who I am, but I don’t want to put that on her.

That said, all of these anniversaries have both sad and really happy memories. A year ago, we met other heart families whose friendships really made the whole Houston experience bearable. We spent most of our time with the Blankenships and Finns, and the six of us are trying to plan a reunion soon and get all our kids together at once! What a happy day that will be <3


Things have been so busy over here! We are starting to slowly pack boxes in preparation for the big move in 18 days! Wow. Actually calculating that and writing it out is INSANE. We never fully unpacked our things since we left in March 2018, so many of our things have been in storage for over a year. 

It’s been such a cool experience getting by without all of those things (kitchen supplies, TOYS upon TOYS, etc). We are hoping to get rid of almost all of it, although I know those boxes contain a lot of keepsakes, too, which I will keep! Out of all the lessons we’ve learned over the past year, the one we keep coming back to is the goal of SLOWING DOWN. It was so incredibly easy in Houston to never be busy, because we basically had one goal: BRING SUNLEY HOME. We missed Hadelyn’s first semester of Kindergarten, so we didn’t have that morning rush each day of getting to school, Derek was working from home, we had just ONE kid in the home…you get the picture. Of course, that’s not real life and we were anxious to get back to it, but now we have this refreshed perspective on what home life should really be like, and the only way we feel like we can keep our focus in the right place, and give our kids the individual attention they deserve, is to NOT::BE::BUSY. Much, much easier said than done!

I’ll admit that the school schedule is probably the biggest hurdle in trying to constantly get back to this mindset — so much so that we’ve considered homeschooling —but the benefits from Hadelyn actually going to school and learning from so many different people seems worth it to us. The challenge during the school year is making the hours at home really count. It’s so tempting to rely on Netflix way too much (and I do that way too often). For this reason, we are once again putting away the TV when we move. I know. I’m crazy. We have done this before, and it was so challenging but also so wonderful! We’ll keep Amazon Prime (because duh), and on really hard days, I can drag out the TV and plug it in or use my laptop and let the kids watch some stuff. But just having to do that extra step of setting it up makes it much less tempting. I think that change will be the hardest for Ruger, because he’s really become accustomed to watching TV when Sunley takes her morning nap (this is sometimes my only chance to get stuff done!)….and I’ve become accustomed to it, too! I want him to learn to PLAY for longer periods of time, and I want both Ruger and I to spend more time outside together. Unfortunately, I have very little self control with TV, and I know from when we did this before, that the only way for me to succeed in less TV is to not have one available all the time.

Because we don’t have enough going on right now, Ruger has decided he is (finally) ready to potty train! That has been pretty interesting. It’s going well, and I’m glad we waited until he was really ready. Parenting a boy, every aspect of it, is SO different than parenting my girls. It is so fun (and challenging) to see his “all-boy” personality show through in everything he does. I’ve been reading Bringing Up Boys by James Dobson, and that has been super helpful! I’d love to know what any of you boy mommas would recommend for reading! I just want to do a good job <3 He’s pretty awesome, and he deserves a good momma.