Monday, February 21, 2011


Gavin thought he should draw the name, since it's his blog!

"Who's it going to be? I'm so excited!"

Aren't Gavin's little hands precious?!

"I got one! What's it say Momma?!"


Congratulations Davilyn! E-mail us at, to give us your address and to tell us which charity you want us to donate to!

Thanks to all of you for commenting, and for reading our blog over the years! We appreciate your love, support and prayers!

*Photo Credit goes to Caleb, Gavin's 7 year old brother.....he's not too bad huh?!*

"The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise." Proverbs 11:30

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Crazy Week calls for Crazy Clothes!

Last week was a crazy week at the VW house! Our home was filled with lots of coughing, Oxygen tanks, the contant buzzing noises of the nebulizer and oximeter machines, lots of crying(From poor,sick Gavin.....and some from his Momma as well!), lots of calls to and from the doctors, and medications galore!

But, just because our week was full of illness and chaos, doesn't mean we didn't have some fun times thrown in as well! Last week was Homecoming week at our boys' school. Along with all the fun that this week holds for the students, they also do some crazy dress-up days! Here are some pictures of our 3 oldest boys, as they left for school each day!

Monday was wear a hat to school day:

Tuesday was color day: (Each grade was assigned to wear a different color)

Wednesday was Dress like a Historical Figure Day: (This was only for the highschool grades, so only Jacob was dressed crazy for the day. He chose to be Johnny Cash.)

Thursday was dress up like a character from a board game: (This was only highschool students as well, and Jacob's Freshman class was assigned the game Candyland. Jacob dressed up as Mr. Mint.)

I think that Hunter wanted a bite of that "big candycane!" :)

Friday was Zion apparel day: (These were the shirts that the school had made up for Homecoming week.)

I loved these shirts because of what they said on the back. "There's no place like home." I LOVE the movie, The Wizard of Oz! Plus, the shirts also reminded me how thankful I was to be at home with Gavin....and not in the hospital, considering how sick he was!

Our boys love this week of school! The school has a lot going on during this week, and EVEN Jacob loves to go to school during this week! :) The school has extra activities going on for the students. Things like: quiz games, pie a senior day, decorate your hallway, plus there is the Homecoming game on Friday night. Sounds like fun, doesn't it?

Even though last week caused me to have even more to do.....having to help the boys find things to wear, and helping them get dressed each morning, it was actually a great distraction from the fact that Gavin and I were feeling so rotten! The only bad part about it, was having to make time and find the energy to wrestle my boys each morning before they left for school, so that I could get a picture of all of them! I heard lots of, "AHH Mom! Come on, not another picture! Do we HAVE to?!)..........My answer was always, of course you HAVE to! I want to remember these days when I'm old and gray....., plus I have a blog ya know! :)

You don't get to see any pics of me and Gavin though.....we were in our PJ's and sweats all week long.....and we definitely weren't looking picture worthy!

This week has found our boys dressing in their normal,boring clothes.....but it has also found us living our normal,"boring" lives! It feels SO GOOD to have Gavin feeling well again.....and me too! I LOVE "Boring"!

***Don't forget to leave a comment in the last post as well, if you want to be added to our drawing for a prize! We plan on drawing the winner on Saturday!***

"The Lord reigns, He is clothed with majesty; the Lord is clothed, He has girded Himself with strength. Surely the world is established, so that it cannot be moved."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

We are having a party.....and you are all invited!!!

Why are we having a party?

Because it's a new day, and EVERY day that the sun comes up is a day to celebrate!

Not enough reason for you?

OK, how about because I am feeling so much better, besides still feeling exhausted.....but who am I kidding, I feel tired pretty much every day! So, the fact that I am feeling tons better...that's a reason to celebrate right?!

Still not enough reason?

How about the fact that Gavin is OFF oxygen and smiling again?!

Yes, he is! His sats are great(for him)! And, he is sleeping well and is happy! He's still coughing lots, but we can handle "just" a cold, after what he's been through the last 2 weeks! He is feeling so much better and we feel like celebrating!

Oh..........and this is Gavin's and my 500th post of blogging!!!!!

This is the REAL reason for our party!

This blog was started on January 15, 2007. My sister started it for me on the day of Gavin's 1st open-heart surgery. She started it so that our family and friends could keep up with Gavin's progress, and so that they could send us messages of support while we were away at the hospital with him.

I didn't think that I would keep this blog going after Gavin was back home and doing well. But, life had a different plan for Gavin and our family.....and well.....although we believe Gavin is doing great these days(in Gavin terms), his life and health never really got to that "doing well phase" that we had expected it to get to. So, I kept on blogging about Gavin's health and trials and about our family's daily lives.....and along the way we met some great people who were going through similiar situations.

And, I can't even begin to tell you what a blessing blogging has been to me! The prayers that have been lifted up for our family have been so appreciated! The help that our family has received has been so needed, and we have been so humbled by the generosity that has been shown to us! Also, the friends that I now refer to as family, that we have met along this blogging journey have kept me afloat on those trying days...and have filled my heart when I felt like I was dying inside...and who have supported me like so many just aren't able to do, because they just don't or can't "get it" like some of us can!

I am so thankful for so many things in my life....and the friends that have supported me and my family, because of this wonderful world of blogging, is right up there with some of my biggest thanks in life!

Now you may be able to understand why we are having a PARTY!

I just had to celebrate this wonderful thing!

500 posts of: hard times, good times, whining, rejoicing, complaining, sharing, venting, praying for each other, laughing, giving thanks, learning, meeting great people, falling in love with such inspirational children, crying, joking, lifting up prayers, falling down and getting back up again, supporting, getting support, sharing the love of God, and LIVING!

WOW! I am in tears over here!

Thank you to all of you who have read, prayed, rejoiced, shared, and helped me along this road! I couldn't have done it without all of you! I truly thank God for you, and I look forward to sharing life with all of you in the days and years to come!

So, how are we planning to celebrate? Well, it's kind of hard to have a party when we are all over this planet.....but I guess we can all just smile and thank God for bringing us to one another, even if it's only through a computer screen!


I have a gift for someone who comments on this post.

*If you don't feel comfortable commenting publicly on this blog and want to comment by e-mail, that's OK too! (, or on facebook, or even give us a call!* We just want to know who's out there and want to say thanks! :)

I want to give back just a tiny bit of what's been given to me and my family.

So, all you lurkers, who read but never comment, this is a great day to say Hi, and join in on the fun! I promise, we don't bite! :) And, we love to meet new people and know who is out there praying for Gavin!

One commenter is going to win a prize. It's nothing big, but I personally would like to receive this gift.

We are going to write down all of the names of people who comment on this post, onto pieces of paper, and we are going to draw a name from a bowl....and the winner will get:

A $25 gift card to Target! (I mean, who doesn't like to shop at Target?!)


We will also donate $25 to a charity of your choice!

(A charity that we approve of anyway.)

So, THANK YOU for 4 years of love, prayers, support and kindness! And, here's to 4 more years of getting to know each other, and to sharing our lives with one another!

Now.....get to commenting! And, Happy blogging! :)

"This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Heart Day!

Valentine's Day means a lot more to me than just candy hearts, valentines, chocolate, the love you have for someone, and taking time to show your love to others.

On this day each year, ever since Gavin came into my life, I think about our actual heart.....the wonderful organ that God created so AMAZINGLY!

On the day that Gavin was born, and we found out that he had a life-threatening heart defect, my heart had never hurt as badly as it did that day. I was so worried for my tiny, sweet newborn. My first words to our physician and cardiologist were, "What is his life expectancy?" I remember one of the doctors taking a deep breath in, and then holding it for awhile.....and that was one of the longest 2-3 seconds of my life!

Thankfully Gavin was born at a time where there is great success in treating many heart defects! And, thankfully, I have had the pleasure of having Gavin in my life for almost 4 1/2 years! Some days I forget how blessed we are, and some days I forget to thank God for this precious gift.....but on Valentine's day, it's at the forefront of my mind.

So today, as you fill out valentines, or indulge in a heart shaped chocolate.....remember that babies are being born today, who have a long road ahead of them. Remember that there are many families helping to fight for their child's life right now. And, remember how blessed you are to have a healthy, beating heart!

No matter how you think of hearts on this day:

.....remember to say a prayer for all those who have heart defects.....and remember to thank God for your heart! What a beautiful and magnificent thing!

Also, remember that you hold someone's heart in your hands.....and someone out there, also holds your heart in their's.

Here are the hearts that I hold in mine:

I just pray that I am given enough strength and wisdom to hold these hearts gently.....and to give these hearts enough care and love.....and to be able to form their hearts in a godly way.....until I have to set their hearts free again someday.

Because I know how much my heart is filled because of them!.....And, because of God!


Here are a few heart facts and excerpts that I read this morning:

(They were taken from a freelance writer named Beverley Golden.)

-This organ, to which we ascribe all things relating to the most powerful of human emotions, itself has no feeling. The human heart has no feeling!

-If asked to put their hand on their heart, most people would place it on the left side of their chest, but in actuality, it sits closer to the center. The left lung is slightly smaller than the right one, to accommodate the heart.

-The heart weighs in at less than one pound, with the average woman's heart weighing only eight ounces and the man's only 10. And yes, it's true that women's hearts beat faster than men's.

-The heart is almost entirely muscle, the myocardium, and is strong enough to lift approximately 3,000 pounds, close to the weight of a compact car.

-Your heart beats about 35 million times a year ... 100,000 beats per day, 70 beats per minute, with enough strength to shoot blood a distance of 30 feet! Even at rest, your heart muscle works twice as hard as your leg muscles when sprinting. By the time we turn 70, the heart will have beat 2.5 billion times.

-The heart is the first organ to show at 19 days and scientists believe that by eight weeks, when the embryo is only an inch long, the heart is fully developed. The heart starts beating in the unborn fetus before the brain is even formed.

-The origin of the traditional heart shape remains somewhat controversial, as the human heart only vaguely resembles the stylized images we see. If you clench your fists and put them side by side, that's roughly the size and shape of the adult human heart.

HAPPY HEART DAY!!! With Love and Hugs!!

"As in water face reflects face, so a man's heart reveals the man." Proverbs 27:19

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Updates and Longings

Gavin is doing much better! He is only on oxygen at night now. He is having fewer seizures. He is still coughing a lot, and looks quite pale. But, I know that he is headed in a very good direction! I'm not worrying about him anymore, and I feel like I can breathe again! PTL!

I, on the other hand, am still sick. I thought that I was improving on Friday, but when I woke up on Saturday, I felt worse than ever! So, since I was mostly done with getting Gavin through his crisis, I decided it was time to go to the doctor for myself.

The verdict: Strep Throat

So, I'm also on antibiotics now, and they have helped me to feel better already! I am so relieved that I know that I'll feel well again soon!

But, of course, it can't just end this quickly....because Nolan is sick AGAIN! He was sick a couple of days last week and then felt better, but I think he overdid it yesterday playing outside, because today he has a fever, cough and is throwing up! Seriously, will this ever end for our family?! It's been passed between all of us, except Joel, once already.....and now it's coming around again!

Today I said, "Spring and Summer CANNOT come fast enough!" I can't wait until all these germs are mostly gone, and we are able to stay healthy for awhile!

But, until then, you'd be smart to run if you see one of us VW family members come around you! We are obviously walking Petri dishes!

Since I was longing for nicer weather today, I decided to look at some old pictures of fun in the sun! Here are a few of them:

Doesn't looking at them make you long for sun, warmth, fun and a lot less germs?! AHHH.....I can't wait!

"But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth." Psalm 86:15

Friday, February 11, 2011

Finding Joy in the Trial

If you read yesterday's post, you know that I had reached my breaking point yesterday, and that I was sinking fast!

Being sick myself, caring for a VERY sick boy, and not getting sleep is a recipe for is for me anyway! Without sleep, I can't function properly. I NEED my sleep! And, for the last week I have received very little of this precious comodity. So, yesterday morning I broke.....hence the pleading post.

But, getting it all out really helped!

I am horrible at asking for help when I need it! It's not that I don't have people around who are willing to give it.....I just hate to ask! I like to do it all on my own (not that I ever get everything done that I need to do), but what I do get done, I prefer to do it all myself.....even if it means that I break down in the process!

Yesterday I learned that I can't do it all, and that it's OK to ask for help!

(We'll see how long this revelation sticks with me?!)

And, even though I didn't really "Ask" for help.....except from my Mom (Thanks Mom!!!).....I received lots of help, offers to help, and emotional support and prayers!

Which brings me to today.

It's like a night and day difference.

My attitude is better! I'm still tired, but I'm not dragging anymore. I physically feel much better, although I still feel pretty yuck! And, I am reminded just how blessed I am!

And, all it took was to break down, vent on this blog and FB, and to call my Mommy! :)

Our fridge is now full thanks to my Mom, and 2 dear friends! THANK YOU!!! And, I know who I can call if I'm ever about to reach my breaking point!

One friend said something like this today, "You wonder sometimes why it is that God seems so far away when we are struggling so badly." And, it definitely does feel like this sometimes! I was calling out to God for healing.....for sleep....for help! But, the answers and relief just didn't seem to come.

But, I think the answers were always there! God was just helping me, and waiting for me, to see that these answers were right before me! The answers of the Family and Friends, that He has placed in my life!

Plus, when I get to that point of well-being, I'm certain my head is too full of craziness to be able to "listen" to God, or to be able to remember to look toward Him anyway. After all, I am my own worst enemy sometimes!

I mean, How were these people to know that I needed help, if I wasn't willing to ask for it?!

So, today I am able to see past my present trial.....and see the joy and goodness that was always here! also helps that I got a little bit of sleep lastnight too!

And, that Gavin and I are improving some!

Gavin is still on oxygen, but his breathing is a lot less labored. He only had a couple of seizures, so far today. (The neuro increased his Keppra) He no longer has a fever and he slept way better lastnight! (He was started on an maybe it's helping?) And, he is needing less pain medication than he has the last few days!

Look how pretty his new meds are! Pink and Purple! I don't see much of these colors around this house! :) I must be feeling lighter today, if I am finding joy even in medication....right?!

AND.....we saw some of these numers today:

And, EVEN this number!

The top number is his blood oxygenation....and 100 is the best it can get! The lower number is his heart rate.

In days past, these numbers have been all over the place for Gavin! He was in the mid 80's for oxygen and 150's for heart rate.....which just means that he wasn't doing well, and his body was fighting hard!

Gavin normally only runs at about 95-97% oxygenation, because of his lung disease and heart defect. The 99% and 100% numbers that we got today, were with him on oxygen, but in days before he was only around 92%, with O2 on, so he is doing great today, compared with the rest of this week!

This change probably has helped my outlook on life as well!

Oh, and this sweet smile has helped a lot too! I've missed seeing Gavin's happy face! Today I got quite a few smiles!

So, I feel like we are over the hump, and the rest of the ride will be more bearable!

But, if it's not all smooth sailing.....I know that God has given me people to call, if I need help, and many of you who are willing to pray!

"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning." Psalm 30:5

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hanging by a thread!

No cute cute things to funny words filled with hope and thankfullness.....

You will find NONE of these things in this post!

I am barely hanging on and I don't know how much longer I can do this!

Gavin is still sick, and his seizures are OUT OF CONTROL! He fights them so badly and gets himself into such a state of turmoil! His seizures are weird....I don't even know if they are a true seizure, but they make him madder than mad!

He is up at least half the night...crying! I am up with him....feeing miserable and sick as well....and wanting to cry right along with him!

His sats are stable, but since he is crying so much, they plummet and his heart rate goes sky high! He fights everything.....especially nebulizer treatments, which he needs so badly right now! I have very little strength, since I am sick too....and what strength I have left is sucked out of me as I try to control him while I am doing his nebs....seriously.....this boy is STRONG! And, when he is not feeling well, he fights nebs to the bitter end!

I am seriously losing it! I need sleep! I need to feel well again! I need Gavin to feel well again!

Please pray! Pray that Gavin gets better! Pray that he can be comfortable! Pray that his seizures will stop! Pray that he will sleep! Pray that I can sleep! (Because even when Gavin does, I can't.....because I feel so horrible and I'm so worried about him!) Pray that he can stop crying so much! Pray that I can heal and feel better too! Just pray! Thank you!

My prayer for the day: Lord....please give me strength!

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A friend that I haven't missed at all!

It has been one of those weeks! One that can't end fast enough! Although it could have been a whole lot worse than it's been, it certainly hasn't been very much fun! We did get to spend some time with an old friend.....but I haven't missed this friend at all, and I hope to never see them again! Well, Gavin is the one that spent most of the time with this friend.....and he wasn't happy about it either!

Yep that's right, our friend, Mr. Oxygen:

It all started with Jacob getting sick last Thursday, and then Gavin decided to follow suite. The only problem is Gavin's little lungs couldn't take it! He hasn't needed to be on O2 for almost 2 years, but this illness finally did him in!

I'm just thankful that we still had O2 tanks, an oximeter, and tubing at the house.....otherwise we definitely would have been in the hospital with Gavin. He was breathing so fast and his sats were in the low 80's! Once the O2 was put on, he still struggled, but we just did lots of nebulizer treatments on him, and lots of CPT. It was touch and go for a while, but he finally came around and is off the O2 now!

Goodbye old friend! And, please just STAY AWAY!

Gavin is still coughing a ton, and I'm worried that he is going to deflate a lung! He is also having many seizures with this illness as well.....but he IS doing much better than he was, so hopefully he'll be back to his smiley, and mostly healthy self very soon! Thanks for all the prayers that were sent out for Gavin.....Please keep on praying!

Of course, it didn't stop there, because Caleb got sick too...although, he healed VERY fast! And, now I'm sick as well! And, being a Momma is absolutely NO FUN when you feel miserable! At least Gavin is sleeping fairly well the last 2 nights, but I certainly haven't! Between my head feeling like it was going to burst, and Nolan having one of his "migraine???" headaches lastnight, I got very little sleep!

Have any of you suffered from headaches or migraines? Nolan gets a really bad headache just about every month or sometimes every two months, and then his stomach feels nauseous, and then he throws up, and then he is able to sleep really good and when he wakes up, the headache and nausea are gone! It's the same all the time and I have no idea why it happens! The good thing is that it only lasts about an hour or two and then he goes through this cycle....and then it's over...just as fast as it came on!

Anyway, even though I felt so miserable during the night and I had to be up with Nolan, and up with Gavin a little, and up with myself feeling miserable....I seriously found this all to be quite humorous! Thinking about this week and all the craziness and sickness just became very comical to me.....I guess I should be thankful that I was laughing and not crying.....right?!

Or, maybe I'm just going a little bit insane.....or maybe I just need some serious sleep?!

That's probably it..........Please just wake me up when all of this is over, or after the flu and cold season is done! :)

"The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness, but who can bear a broken spirit?" Proverbs 18:14

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow Day!!!

Gavin isn't a big fan of winter, snow and cold weather! I think it may have to do with the fact that he has to wear a hat.

"Why did you put this thing on me again?! I am SO taking this thing off!"

"Great! That didn't go as planned! Now I can't even see!"

I don't blame him! I am not a winter person myself, and hats and coats are something I avoid at all costs! Unfortunately, me and Gavin are going to have to keep wearing our hats and coats for awhile.....cause we got snow dumped on us lastnight!

I know a lot of the country got snow as well. Here's what it looks like around here:

Jake this morning, running back from the neighbor's house, after asking if he needed help digging his car out of all the snow:

Joel running the snowblower:

Jake helping him:

Caleb heading to shovel:

Caleb watching Nolan do most of the usual:

And, him deciding to help after I reminded him to do so:

What it looked like when I opened our front door:

Pictures of all the snow we got:

Snow cascading off our roof:

Some of the digging Joel and the boys did:

Joel usually leaves for work by 7:00 or 7:30, but with all the snow in our driveway and on the roads, he couldn't leave until after 10:00.....there was a lot of digging out to do before he could get the car down our driveway! He said that when he opened the garage door, there was a drift of snow up against it that measured past his waist!

The meteorologists are saying this is like the blizzard of 1978.....which yielded over 16 inches in a 24 hour period. So, there was a lot of digging out do do around here! I'm so thankful to have a hard-working hubby and 3 strong boys to dig us out! Thanks to them, me and Gavin were able to stay inside where it was warm!

But, after all their hard work, they were rewarded with lots of playtime in the snow.....which they loved!

And then, yummy hot chocolate afterwards, to warm up! YUM!

So, what did Gavin do?!

He snuggled with his blanket and with his Momma!

Maybe all this snow isn't so bad after all! :) Getting to spend a day with my boys at home, and not having to get out in it makes for quite an enjoyable day!

Hope all of you are enjoying the beautiful sight of this winter wonderland, and are all staying nice and warm! :)

"Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." Psalm 51:7b