10 Easy Elf on the Shelf Ideas

How do we celebrate Christmas with a heart child? As normally as possible. This year the boys are fully invested in the magic of Christmas, and that is wonderful. They also love their Elf on the Shelf (Super Magic Elf). Every morning they bolt out of bed and go on a hunt to find her. Where will she be next? This is awesome. Until a few days before Christmas when I find myself banging my head on the Christmas tree. I’m ready for her to fly home to the North Pole, because the only place she hasn’t landed so far is on my head.

Anyway, I thought I’d share some of the fun places our elf went in the house.


Famous People with CHD

I’m still working through the publishing process. My pitch and proposal are written, and I intended to approach small publishers directly, but I have changed my mind and am now searching for an agent. During the course of this search, I discovered that Sylvester Stallone has a child with CHD, as he wrote a forward to a book about CHD. This brought me to a search for famous people with CHD. I discovered this fascinating list, compiled by another heart mom (also named Jennifer – we’re everywhere!), and I wanted to share it here. This is the list as well as the direct link to her blog (I have not changed the list at all):


“Famous People with a Congenital Heart Defect

Famous Heart Parents with CHD Kids

Please note this is a list of people that are in the public eye for something other than Congenital Heart Defects.

This specific list is only for those people who are in the public eye for something other than CHD but who also happen to be a heart parent or a CHD Survivor.”

Let’s Take the Heart Child to the Dentist! In the Snow.


When I think about fun, I think about the dentist. When I really want some excitement, I take the heart child to the dentist. And his brother. At the same time. Because you can never bring enough children under 10 to the dentist. Maybe next time we’ll bring a friend!

Yesterday the boys had their 6-month check-ups at the pediatric dentist. This is always stressful for all the obvious reasons, but, since Corey is a heart child, we get to add in the extra bonus stress of taking antibiotics before the visit. Why does he have to take antibiotics before his routine dental check-up, you ask? Some doctors/dentists feel that there is a great deal of bacteria stirred up during a dental procedure (including cleanings), and therefore it’s a good idea to take precautionary measures for people with compromised hearts. We don’t want the bacteria infecting Corey’s heart.

Corey, thankfully, swallows pills. We hand him his baby aspirin (the only medication he takes daily) after dinner every night, and he just swallows it with his drink. It’s handy when he needs ibuprofen and anything else too. Except the pre-medication for the dentist. This used to come only in liquid form, and he had to take 40 milliliters (8 teaspoons) of that nasty “cherry” flavored gooey foulness. Which he just loved doing, as you can imagine. If you add cherry flavoring to dog poo, do you think it tastes any better? Right. And for any of you that have given your kids liquid medication, you know that 40 mL is a LOT of liquid. Four of those 10 mL syringes. Ack.

So at 7 am twice a year I get to negotiate, cajole, coerce, beg Corey to take all this horrible medication. Once, when he was younger, I just had to hold him down and force him to take it. He cried the whole time and I felt like Conan the Barbarian. I think we’re both still scarred by that incident. But! This time there was finally a pill option. Four shiny little pills – hallelujah! I ask every time for the meds to come in pill form, and every time the pharmacist and the dentist both say “no.” Not this time. They said “yes!” Corey swallowed his four pills like a rock star, and we were ready to go!

Except that it was snowing. Did I mention that it was snowing heavily the morning of the appointment? Heavily enough to close schools? Right. Let’s go to the dentist in the snow!

On second thought, I decided I wasn’t going to do that. Their father was going to do that! I am a full-fledged snow weenie. That’s right – I said it. I do not drive in the snow. If there are 3 flakes outside my window, I’m not driving anything other than a sled. But Damian isn’t. Daddy to the rescue!

Corey took his pills, everybody got bundled up, I handed Damian a steaming hot mug of coffee, and off they went! The roads were bad, but the appointment went well for both boys. In the past, because Corey has weaker teeth due to his CHD, Corey has needed to have some cavities filled. Not this time! It was a clean bill of health for both my boys, and everybody came home safely a couple of hours later.

And then we went sledding……

Fear Factor


We are all afraid of something. Or perhaps we are afraid of many things, but there is one thing that comes immediately to mind when someone asks, “What are you afraid of?”

I was trolling the WordPress daily prompts again, contemplating the different ideas tossed out to bloggers. One suggested writing about a time when you ate humble pie. I thought, “Well I must have eaten humble pie at least a dozen times, but I can’t think of a single specific scenario worth writing about.” So I ditched that one. Next!

I found “fear factor” (http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/11/28/prompt-fear-factor/) and thought, well this one is obvious. My greatest fear is probably the same fear that all parents of CHD children share. I am afraid my child will die. It’s hard to acknowledge this fear. It’s hard to say it out loud. Somehow that makes it more real. But it is there. I just choose to live around it. In spite of it. I remind myself that tomorrow is promised to no one, and whatever may come next, I have done right by my child.

I’ve thought about it a bit more lately, because of the good news I received from my cardiologist about my own heart. Fearing that you may outlive your own child is a terrible feeling. And so there was some small comfort in knowing that my own heart was weak, and maybe I wouldn’t have to suffer that fate, simply because I would go first. Before my time, but before his time as well. I am glad to know that I will be here to see both of my children grow up, but now I have come back again to the idea that it might not be me first.

I have a friend whose child has cystic fibrosis. Sometimes I wonder how she lives with this. And then I think she must live with it the same way I live with Corey’s tricuspid atresia. I remind myself, tirelessly, that Corey lives well and is happy now. I remind myself that where there is life, there is hope. I remind myself that it is not in my control. It is not in my hands. It’s in God’s hands, and I just have to accept the road ahead as it comes.

But I really hope the road ahead is less rocky than the road behind.

PS – Thanks to The Huffington Post for making me laugh with their hilarious fear photos from the Nightmare Fear Factory. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/18/nightmares-fear-factory-haunted-house-photos_n_1980308.html#slide=1646897)

Simply Irresistible


“She’s so fine, there’s no tellin’ where the money went!” Who else started singing that after reading “Simply Irresistible” in the title? Now it’s stuck in my head. Sorry.

Okay, this post isn’t about Robert Palmer. It’s about something else irresistible. Food! If you’re like me, you’ve just come off of a week of fabulous feasting with the fam. (Corey tells me that’s a good example of alliteration, by the way.) I love Thanksgiving. I love that people start talking about what they are thankful for. It’s great to feel all the positive vibes. I certainly have a lot to be thankful for myself. But instead of talking about that, I’m going to talk about food! Which I am also thankful for, in case there’s any question.

The daily prompt on WordPress gave me the idea (http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/11/26/daily-prompt-irresistible/). The prompt asks for a description of the one food you can’t turn down. The prompt invites you to use words that will make our mouths water. I’ve never written a food blog or food article before – this could be fun! (sitting back and cracking my knuckles) Here we go….

The one food that I can’t turn down is (wait for it) – Twinkies! I’m kidding. I actually haven’t eaten a Twinky since I was a kid. I don’t even know how to spell “Twinky” – does it follow the usual rules of “y” turns into “ies” when pluralizing? I don’t know.

So the truth is, while I love almost everything on the table at Thanksgiving – the turkey, the mashed potatoes, the sweet potatoes, the gravy, the cranberry sauce (both from scratch and the kind that mysteriously holds the shape of the can), the stuffing, the wine, etc. – while I love it all, the one thing I can’t turn down is my mom’s homemade pumpkin pie. It’s simply the best.

She makes the pie from scratch, rolling out the dough, mysteriously using ice water in the preparation, and ending with a crust that is both rich, flaky, and a lovely honey-color to look at when she’s finished. And then there’s the aroma – mmmm. It reminds me of happy times in the kitchen growing up. Those cinnamon scents floating through the air. And finally, the taste – the pie when it’s warm from the oven is a gorgeous caramel color, and when it’s topped with fluffy white mounds of the snowiest white whipped cream – oooooohhhhh! Every bite is a velvety, creamy delight which ends with a taste of flaky, buttery crust. I can’t resist. 

This year, she made me my own pie. A whole pie. Thanks Mom. 

Do you want some pie now?

Happy Thanksgiving!