Busting with Pride

Sometimes rays of light come when we need them the most.

Last Friday was by all accounts a horrible and emotional day.  I couldn’t pull myself away from the TV and the tragic events at Sandy Hook.  Just imaging what the parents were going through. I couldn’t believe this had happened, in our country, in our state, to such young children.  It was all too close to home.

While Ken and I were trying to wrap our heads around it and keep it together for our girls, who at this point knew nothing, a ray of light came in the form or a letter from the superintendant of Hamden schools.  Now, like most parents, when a letter comes in the mail addressed to you personally (not just parent of Spring Glen Elementary student) my first thought is ut oh.

Imagine our surprise when it said Ellie had been chosen as her school’s December student of the month.  STUDENT OF THE MONTH!  FOR THE WHOLE SCHOOL!  OUR ELLIE!  Wow.  It was just what we all needed.  We went to dinner at Ellie’s favorite Buffalo Wild Wings and rejoiced that night.

On Friday the 21st there was a special presentation at the School Board to all the students.  One from each elementary school and junior high and two from the high school.   Eleven students out of 6,000 were chosen.  WOW.  Our Ellie was one of them.  The principals from all the schools were there as well as the student’s teachers.  Needless to say it was an emotional day for us all.  What a great thing.  Celebrating these kids for doing good and being outstanding kids.

Each teacher said a few words on why they were chosen.  Ken and I were about to burst with pride, especially since Ellie was one of the youngest there.

It is now sitting on our mantle waiting to be framed.  It is a reminder of what we already know that we have an awesome little girl and that rays of light come on dark days!

 

A day in the City

There are few places as magical this time of the year as New York City.  The windows are decorated so beautifully, the famous Rockefeller Christmas tree and don’t forget Santa Land at Macy’s.

Ellie had a half day off of school so we decided to trek into the city and the season’s craziness.  Traffic was a bear but the crowds weren’t too much because we were there on a Thursday.

We parked up town and took a taxi down to our first and most important stop- Macy’s.  The hour and 15 min wait to see Santa and Santa land was well worth it.  Heck I think I was just as excited, if not more, than the girls.  There was so much to see along the way and of course the big man himself.

Next it was subway up town…

…to Rockefeller Center and the famous tree.

While there we checked out the flagship Lego store and a lazer light show.

Had cupcakes for a snack from Magnolia Bakery:

which put us all into a sugar rush,

We checked out the windows on 5th Ave on the way up to the Christmas Market in Central Park.

Where we got dinner from the stalls at the market.

At least those of us who could stay awake did.

All in all it was a beautiful magical day.

Christmas Card Out-Takes

Getting our Christmas card photo every year is like herding cats, impossible.

Here are some out-takes.

 

Boston

Our six month visit time has come again.  This time just Ellie and I headed to see what they could see was happening to her heart.

It’s strange because you look at her and she is getting taller and gaining weight.  She runs around and plays with all of her friends and her sister.  It’s hard sometimes to think all is not exactly right on the inside with her heart.  Most people say she’s petite but would never know.  That’s a good thing really.

Ellie decided she wanted to wear her Taylor Swift for luck for her visit and of course we had a marathon listening session of her new album Red on the way up and home.

After having her normal EKG and intensive 45 min regular and 3d echos she actually did a stress test this time.  They hooked her up to machines to monitor her heart rate.  They couldn’t do the breathing machine this time, her month was a bit to small for the tube she needed for that test.  She did ok keeping up and the Doctor told us she was in the 10% for the test.

We saw Ellie’s amazing cardiologist.  The man is truly amazing.  Dr. Marx always takes the time to explain and answer any questions we have and I always have a lot.

What did they see in all of these tests?  Well she has gotten taller and gained weight – both good things- but her mitral valve is still too small.  It causes a back up to the top of the left side of her heart which causes it to be enlarged.  This has been the cause since her open heart surgery and doesn’t seem to be getting any worse and since her lungs sound clear it isn’t backing up into her lungs right now.  This is also all good things.

Dr. Marx did confirm that she will need to have that valve replaced sometime in the future.  The team (her cardiologist, surgeon, and cath doctor always confer after every visit) feel that they aren’t ready to switch the current problems for problems that come from valve replacement (infection, out growing the valve as she continues to grow and the problem of putting a 7 year old on blood thinners).  

What does all of that mean?  The good news is no surgery right now.  We have six months before her next visit.  Six month for her to get bigger and stronger and let medical advancements, well advance.  That’s awesome news.  The down side is we are back on the waiting game, waiting to her to possibly fail to know when she needs the new valve.  It’s like waiting for the other foot to fall always.  That said I will take that any day over rushing another open heart that we know will happen one day.

As we were leaving Boston we had a few special surprises.  First the Boston Red Sox paid our toll out of the city!  The mascot was there waving and holding a sign that said toll paid by your Red Sox.  It was so totally cool.

We also saw the most amazing sunset on the drive home.

All in all a very good day.

oh Christmas tree

The decoration took place the Sunday after Thanks Giving.  (We traveled to Ken’s brother Scott’s in PA for Thanks Giving.  I realized that we had so much fun I forgot to take pictures.  We ate loads of yummy food and spent quality time.  It was really a great few days.)

We pulled out the tree and got to decorating.  It was really just that much more fun this year because its the first year Sadie really and truly got it.  She keeps looking at it and saying “it’s so beautiful Mommy!”  Magic.  I love how little ones help to remind you of the magic.

Sneaking away

Ken had a conference in San Juan so- thanks to Ken’s Dad and Judy watching the girls for a few days- I decided to tag along.  We did a little exploring- saw the ocean and the rain forest- and I got lots of relaxing by the water reading and snoozing time while Ken was busy with the conference.  It was a nice break from the cold and snow and every day life.  I can truly say we needed it.

It was hard leaving such a pretty and warm place and we really missed it when we landed in Hartford and it was 35 degrees instead of the 85 degrees we left.

 

First Snow

The first week of November we got our first real snow of the winter.  It was supposed to be less than a inch, nothing to worry about it.  Boy did they get that one wrong.  We measured in at around 8 inches of the white stuff.  The girls didn’t complain and we got out early and made a snowman.  All the fun in the snow was followed by real Italian hot coco.

Halloween

This October we did our normal trip to the Strawberry Farms to pick our pumpkin.  We were a little later this year so we didn’t have the choice we usually have, but still got a good one – after a little debate.

We got home and the girls drew out diagrams of what they wanted their pumpkins to look like.  Ken did a pretty good job (we take turns carving it was my year last year, Ken’s year this year)!

Days before Halloween we were hit with Super Storm Sandy.  We were very lucky right where we are and just had high winds, lost trees and branches and cable for a few days.  Around us saw lots of flooding.  So many more lost so much more.  It is so sad to see and makes you realize how very lucky and blessed you really are.  The morning Sandy hit ken took the girls down to the water to check things out in front of the storm.

Halloween dawned clear and cool so trick or treat was on in Hamden (New Haven moved it to the following Wednesday and was hit that week with a freak snow storm, poor kids had Halloween canceled).

Ellie went as a pop star and Sadie as a princesses.  There really were no other costumes that so define them right now.  Loads of candy came home and seeing how many empty wrappers I found in Sadie’s bag, loads of candy was consumed!

We didn’t even have to dispose of the pumpkin.  The local wild life took care of it for us.  Everyday more and more of it was gone and finally it disappeared.  Glad to know we keep the critters supplied for the winter!