Friday, August 26, 2011


I sorta feel like Kim Kardashian lately. It's been so many photo ops and so little time.  I kid, I kid.  Paxtons photo shoot that I mentioned in my last post went on without a hitch. Boyfriend posed like it was his job and the photographer ate. him. up.  It has been sent to print, yes print, and will be available in a week. I will be sure to link up to it.  I was glowing with pride as Pax smiled and giggled.  I sat on the beach at sunset watching my boy, my hero. He looks whole and healthy and it was a little hard to wrap my brain around his journey.  I got quiet, introspective.  I needed a good cry I suppose.  Not sure why that evening struck me the way that it did, but if I have learned anything it's that the oddest moments are when you falter and the ones you are sure you just can't handle, you just do.  I rocked him that night as I have every other night, but this time I was drawn back to the days that I sat in the rocking chair, him in my belly, wondering if he would live.  It is amazing how far we have come. I suppose I will always be in awe of that.  If you told someone this journey was going to happen to them. If you laid it out on paper, they would shake their head saying no over and over thinking there is no way they could do it.  While I hate HLHS defines our lives now, I am also grateful for it. It has changed us. In some bad ways, but mostly good.  It is always a topic of discussion.  His health is always forefront.  How is he doing, when is his next surgery are always the first questions posed to me, and that's ok.  HLHS may define us now, but if that means we have Paxton here then define us it shall!!

(about this pic....what you didn't see was me using paxtons wind up truck to try and get his attention and setting it in the photographers and watching it get completely wrapped around as the wheels spun out of control...erh, oops!  only me ; )

Today we had another family photo shoot. We are way overdue for family photos and the boys are at just that age to make it fun.  They did amazing. I only have like 3 I Phone shots, nothing like the amazing ones Terrilyn takes.  In fact, she captures the most amazing pictures and I pretty much have to take out a second mortgage to pay for because I want ALL of them! She has been taking our photos since Austin was 6 days old.  That's 5 years now.  Our house is full of her photography and she has been with us through 2 healthy births, a miscarriage, and Paxtons journey  She even generously offered to come take photos of him in St. Pete right after he was born, to have should something happen to him.  I looked at her this morning and wondered what she was thinking seeing 5 years worth of babies now children standing before her.  The two of us combined can probably agree that it has been one hell of a couple years for each of us, but we also agreed today walking down the boardwalk together that the hell only reminds of the beauty and gloriousness of the present. xoxo terrilyn, cannot wait to see your magic again.

(again note how big my boys are.  they are almost to my shoulders. they will tower over my 5' 2" self in no time)

Pure awesomeness right there eh!

Aside from all the fame, the boys have begun school again and l.o.v.e. it! It is hard to believe I will have a kindergardener next year {sniff...sniff}
I just don't think they come any more gorgeous than this:

They love each other with a depth I am not sure I will ever understand.  It melts me.

And while they are in school, Paxton and I hang out and go to story time where I am the only Mom in Abercrombie and Fitch clothes instead of J. Crew or Ann Taylor.  I get self consious.  I wear jean shorts, not knickers. I wear skinny jeans instead of sundresses. It's me and I just can't pimp the "Mommy clothes" yet. Don't get me wrong, J. Crew resides in my closet (zero Ann Taylor : ) but it certainly had me thinking that morning....should I change how I dress... And I decided no, that's not me and me is fine just the way she is. Plus, Pax thinks I am pretty bad ass just the way I am and isn't that all that matters...

And after school we go chillin on a dirt road, laid back swervin like we're George Jones... ok not really, but we do ride tractors on our suburb of a road ; )

In any case my boys love it and holy hell if they don't take after their Daddy! They'll be taking over the company in no time!


Also, you should know we have the next Michael Phelps on our hands...

And while I am certainly no swimmer, I do still love me some running.  Up and at em with Dads team at 5 am.  Which means that alarm rings all to early at 4:15, but it's so worth it to have it over with while it's still cool enough to actually breathe and it never hurts to have the best Coach in Lee county also be your Dad, just sayin....

First person I always get to after running... oh he lights me up.  That smile, it's all him.

And a good run always leads to a good night out with my peeps...

But wherever I am, whatever I am doing, I always come home to them....

And there is truly nothing more amazing in the world.  Beyond measure I am blessed. Beyond measure I am grateful.  Life gives me challenges far beyond what I think my capablilites are, but I do not give up, give in or lose hope.  I have 1, 2, 3 beautiful little souls that remind me every single day that the fight is always worth fighting and it is in the most insignificant moments that life resides.  The riding tractor, throwing balls in the house, snuggled in bed watching Bubble Guppies, dumping all the soap out in the bath to make copious amounts of bubbles moments.

Lastly for today, we have not one, not two, not three, but FOUR birthdays in our near future. Oh' yah September and October are big months around here and ya'll know we do birthdays in a big way.  Austin turns....FIVE! Mason, four. Paxton TWO and last but not least I will turn ahem....thirty freaking two.  When did this happen? Slow down life! Get ready to put your party pants on folks because we are battening down the hatches, prepping and planning. Can't wait to share.
Until then, I will be back to share the moments that aren't so planned,
*The little moments that make up the BIG picture.*

Love and Hugs,

ps~ tonight I am going um' four wheeling in the Everglades with good friends. This girl isn't afraid to get down and dirty. I mean I have never done it before, but I just have a feeling it's going to be to much fun. Wife beater and skinny jeans girl will fit right in!  Booya!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

And so.... I just got a phone call asking if we would like to have our hero of a boy be on the cover of our local special needs magazine.  I was like a little girl on Christmas morning trying to contain her excitement.  I wanted to be like "omg omg, yessss, eeeeee!" to the lady, but rather simply said "we would be honored, thank you so much." You know cause I am all kinds of composed like that ; )

I don't know why this means so much to me.  I guess because my entire mission in life is to raise amazing children and help spread Paxtons story so he can help people going through the same thing.  What I would have given to have some inkling of what I was headed into.  When I think back to those months in the hospital now, it all seems like a foggy dream.  It rips my heart out to think about it and makes me want to stand up scream "Hollaaa!" all at the same time.  I know there is worse out there... I do, but seeing your four day old newborn with his chest cut open, medically paralyzed is about as traumatizing as it gets. Yet, I had no choice but to do it.  There was no option but to get up and face every single day head on for my son. So when I look back I do shout a little "Hollaaa!" to both Pax and myself for  making it through the single hardest time of our lives.

Oh... but the gifts it also offers.  The relishing every moment gift. The grateful to be here for one more day gifts.  The ability to find the mundane things, simply amazing. The ability to learn just how bada*# you can be when you have to be.

Don't get me wrong, this journey has been hell on wheels for our son, for our family and for my husband and I, but we pushed through it.  We hit rock bottom, picked ourselves up and moved forward.
So, yes my boo bear being on the cover of a magazine is well...epic to me.  I am proud I sent that picture in and even more proud that his story struck the hearts of the publisher. Of course, we can't leave out the fact that Paxton is insanely gorgeous and will rock his ahem... wait for it....... photo shoot next week.

It will not end here. I promise you all that.

Oh happy day!


I have been a bit of a world traveler this Summer.  Ok truth is I have been to South Carolina and around Florida, not so much world per say, but enough to do a girl some good.  As always SC brings it.  And with me... I brought Austin. Our oldest.  He. was. straight. up. in. heaven.  He felt all "grown up" like going on airplanes and enduring layovers whilst watching movies on his I Pad.  Really though to be a West boy.  I saw my future as we sat beside each other in seats E and F.  I wanted to snuggle with him and kept trying to hold hands and he was all like "mom can you please stop touching me..."  Gahhh! Kids not even 5 yet.  He felt like a big boy so I let him.  I know he will always be back for more and when we cuddled up to "nuggle" in Grammys bed his "grown up" status disappeared.

He played with dogs (and even pretended to be one whilst crawling in the crate and barking), he watered plants, he played in sprinklers, he stayed up late and enjoyed every single minute of Mommy one on one time.  As did I.  Those are the moments he will never forget.  And Gram, as usual was amazing. She had presents prepared, snacks lined up and most of all Grandma wisdom to share.  And when the night hours crept in, us girls would sit on the couch and well...not shut up. We talked and talked and it was good for the friggin' soul.

Jack, my godson, is enormous and gorgeous and so smart. I held him, made him laugh that awesome baby belly laugh and smelled him until the moment I left. Ohhh the baby smell.  Heavenly.

I so happyyyy being there!

Oh and about those Canon lake June pics.  We took roughly 1500 photos. I am editing and cropping and hurrying to get that post up.  A-mazing pics I tell you.  Oh' the boys never fail me when it comes to pimpin for the camera.


Gearing up for school round these parts. Apparently we are late to start?? I dunno. That said though, I will have an entire day for writing.  As in no kids, Mommy will be working. I am so excited for this carved out time to blog and continue on with Paxtons book.
I. Will. Make. This. Happen.

Until next time friends!



Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Lake June Baby!

How does the song go.... back to life, back to reality.  Mmm hmm, less than 24 hours upon our return from one of the best weeks ever I was bellied up in the pediatricians office; one kid with swimmers ear and one with a yeast infection in a place where boys should never get one, just saying. The water and sunscreen took its toll on my babies.  Eczema flared, toddlers sat in swimmies to long leading to exhibit B ; ) and baller little boys jumped off the second story dock that led to an ear ache so bad I couldn't take his shirt off. Oh the price we pay for fun eh'!

This was Mason and I in one of the early, note: early, 30 minutes of shut eye he got since sitting in that doctors office.  Kid was in serious pain and was up ALLLL night.   So tonight, my pictures are phone I Phone pictures, because we all know girlfriend always has her phone by her side making it all to easy to shoot the hell out of some good times.  My Canon ones are to follow when I have had more than 30 minutes of sleep.  For now though I couldn't wait to share one of the most relaxing, fun, belly laughing weeks ever!  Lord knows I love some me some belly laughing and lord knows I need it.  I have been all to emotional lately over Paxton.  I just can't nix this fear that encompasses me.  I may or may not have cried one to many times during this fabulous week out of sheer fear that he wouldn't be here next year to enjoy this little slice of heaven.... why, why can't I just push it aside.  Gahhh!
Anyway back to the fun!

Like......oh I don't know, jumping off of two story docks screeching like a little girl the whole way down:

Or.....getting up on water ski's for the first time in ohhh' I dunno two decades and on the first try (just thought you should know that.  This beaten body still has it! Booya)

But mostly it was being with my babies, my family and amazing friends for 7 days.  Where from sun up to sun down we romped around in our "swim soups" with nowhere to go and nowhere to be.  Heaven I tell you!

Or watching my Dad also get up on skis for the first time in even longer than two decades, my brother rocked it too.  Oh my heart swelled to see my loved ones grinning from ear to ear and I laughed even more as the days progressed and we all gimped around as if being hit by a mack truck.  Tubing and skiing are no easy task and our bodies are still letting us know that.

And in the words of  Pitbull  "and I might drink a little more than I should tonight..."  will lead girlfriends to bust out to the The Wap on the lake dock for God and all the world to see. Awesomeness!!!!

Cause seriously isn't that what it's all about.  Having fun, dancing as if no one were watching and eating up this life!  We ate it up! Oh yes we did:

And the most priceless of all:

Making memories with my boys that will last a lifetime.  Cheering so loud I peed myself when Austin my ultra shy boy jumped off the deck.  Or fist pumping when Mason beat me in air hockey.  Or tearing up when Paxton snuggled with me on the dock with a "sucker".  They will grow up knowing that every Summer we go to the Lake.  It's a place where life slows down and love races.  

The view from there.....

We said goodbye to the First Annual Soulard/West Lake June Vacation, but know that there are many more to come.
Note the sign language for the letters S and W.  Told ya, you go right back to being a kid there.

Until October Lake June, until October XOXO

My Peeps