Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Oh, What a Feeling!

Now that you're all singing Lionel Ritchie, let me tell you how I was dancing on the ceiling last week during our vacation to San Diego.

In a last minute scramble to get together with some of my So-Cal heart sisters, we decided to meet for dinner.   After a long day at Legoland, seeing 'my ladies' was definitely a highlight to the trip.

Many of you know the story of Sisters by Heart, but I cannot emphasize enough what these moms/sisters mean to me.  They literally are a life-line nearly every day.  They get me - all of me.  That's not an easy accomplishment, by any means.

So, when I saw Amy in the parking lot getting her littles out of the car, Caleb had to hold me back because I nearly leapt out of the car while it was still moving.  I wanted to give her a hug RIGHT THEN!  Barely looking for cars, I ran across the parking lot for a big ol' heart sister hug.

We had some fun trying to get the kids to cooperate for a photo before dinner.  We weren't too successful...

All the while we're trying to snap photos, we had no idea Nicole was sitting inside waiting for us!  It was a great impromptu dinner (ok, well, seeing each other was great... dinner was nearly impossible with the four darlings causing a ruckus.)

During dinner, lord knows why, Sierra and Emmy decided to eat UNDER the table.  And, we let them...

If you know Amy and I, you know that we were not leaving without some decent photos of Bodie and Zoe together.  No way, no how.  So, after some serious prodding, begging, bribery, and wrangling, we got a few great shots!!!

I'm worried that Bodie looks worried about Zoe's leading...

If there is nothing like a big ol' hug from your heart sisters, then there certainly isn't anything like a big ol' hug from a fellow heart warrior!

Zoe and Bodie's first pow-wow, May 2012

Saturday, May 12, 2012

My Favorite Part Was...

While on vacation, at the end of each day, we'd ask the girls what their favorite part of the day was.  Zoe never fully responded, but we knew that having the freedom to explore and walk around anywhere and everywhere was hands-down her favorite.

Emmy always began her response with, "My favorite part was..." and typically chose a ride or a character she met during the day (meeting Elmo, riding the Flying Elmo at Sea World, seeing the Zebras at the zoo).  The girls LOVED our first real family vacation, as did we.  The ability to just go without having to worry about Zoe's heart or getting sick - yep, I was definitely lax on the hygiene and although I cringed a few times over, I was proud of myself for just allowing Zoe to be a toddler!

I was probably so lax on the Wet Ones wipes because I was too busy taking a bajillion photos - 683 to be exact!  While we have several photos that we love, here are a few from each day that really captured the essence of our trip.


(surprisingly disappointing to Caleb and I)

San Diego Zoo

The Beach - Del Mar

After four full days on-the-go, even the girls were ready to come home.  Although, we all were seriously debating on whether or not we should make "home" Del Mar.  Playgrounds on the beach were a definite hit with all of us... not to mention the perfect weather.

We've only been home two days and already celebrated Zoe's second birthday and the anniversary of her first open heart surgery.  May is no joke in our household!

Now that's how you eat birthday cake!

And last, but certainly not least, in a separate post, (because it was one of my favorite parts of the trip), I'll highlight a special evening we were able to share with a few of our So-Cal heart friends.

Two Years

Someone asked me today if it seems like two years ago that Zoe came into this world.  On one hand, it seems like two hours ago and on the other hand, it seems like two decades ago.  It is crazy to think that just two years ago (although I seemed to have aged two decades) Zoe was hours away from her first open heart surgery.  Most likely, every year on her birthday, I'll be back in that delivery room - scared out of my mind - wondering what is in store for Zoe and for our family. 

The phone call that awoke us at 6:30 a.m., on May 12, 2010, sent us into the first of many whirlwinds in our heart journey.  I couldn't believe doctors wanted to perform heart reconstruction on a 15-hour-old newborn.  I now know that Zoe is one of the youngest patients to undergo such intense, life-saving measures so soon after birth.  Looking at Zoe today, it's hard to comprehend what her little body has been through.  She is amazingly resilient and often times stubborn; two personality traits that will serve her well. 

I never could have imagined the incredible impact she's had on our lives, the invaluable life lessons that the uncertainty of life and death brings.  I know that Zoe will continue to amaze us - and age us several decades more.

Happy Birthday and Happy Norwood-i-versary Zoe Madison!

Still, looking at these pictures and being present for each event - I cannot wrap my head around the miracle that this little girl is.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Road Trip - Destination San Diego

On Sunday, we left for our first family vacation in a year, and the first trip with all four of us that wasn't for medical reasons.  It felt good to load up our girls and hit the road, knowing the fun we have ahead of us.  Zoe has been through so much, and been pretty sheltered when home, so I am excited to see her reaction to Legoland, SeaWorld and the San Diego Zoo.

The girls were fantastic on the 5 hour drive out.   The only hiccup on the drive was the California Highway Patrol's objection to Caleb at an excess speed.  Officer Gonzales quickly announced he was writing a ticket, but said he would cut us a break and write a ticket for doing 75 in a 70 mph zone.

Officer Gonzales laying down the law
After our unexpected stop, we were back on the road and made it to the hotel by 5.  At the check-in desk, the front desk employee wheeled out a trunk and told the girls they could pick a toy from the toy trunk.  Emerson picked a stuffed guinea pig and Zoe grabbed a magnifying glass, after which she proclaimed, "it's a mystery!"

Once we got to the room, the girls darted out on the deck and soaked up the view.  They quickly gobbled up the chocolate covered Oreos that were waiting for us.   We went to dinner at a restaurant that was overlooking the beach.  They sat us up against a window, so we could see the waves crashing as we ate.  After dinner we snuck out the back door and took some pictures. 

Even the beauty of the ocean couldn't tame Zoe's temper
Sister love
Since the girls need all the energy they can get for Legoland tomorrow, after a few pictures we headed back to the room.  When we got back, we were all surprised by the sweet treats waiting for the girls.

Emmy insisted they get the PJs on before having milk and cookies

The girls are having a great time, which means Caleb and I are too.  After our Legoland visit, we'll put some pictures up.