A Matter of the Heart

Today, I got to spend the day with just two of the handsome men in my life…Madden and his daddy.  It was nice.  Unfortunately, we weren’t doing anything fun like going to the zoo or out for ice cream.  It was a doctor visit. Sad smile

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted an update on Madden and his condition of complete heart block.  Truth is there hasn’t been a whole lot to report until recently.  Since diagnosis in May 2010, he has been monitored for 24 hours via holter monitor every 6-8 weeks with an occasional echo to make sure the structure of his heart hasn’t changed.  Madden has remained asymptomatic – praise the Lord!  But with every checkup, Madden’s resting heart rate has continued to decrease slightly (at diagnosis it was in the 70’s and now it’s in the 40’s) and these latest test results showed that his heart rate dropped to an all time minimum of 37…pretty scary for our very active 2 year old. 

Our cardiologist here in Baton Rouge and another pediatric cardiologist in New Orleans consulted with one another and decided that with his decreasing heart rate, it was time for Madden’s heart to be paced.  So Madden is  having a pacemaker implanted next Friday.  Today was our initial meeting with the doctors in New Orleans that will be performing the surgery.  Of course, we were shaken by the news of his need for a pacemaker so soon.  However, after having our question and answer session with the doctor today, both Nick and I feel very positive and hopeful about going forward with the surgery.  To hear the doctor talk, Madden will live a pretty normal life with  a pacemaker.  There is a short list of things that he won’t be able to do….tackle football, competitive wrestling, use a jack hammer or arc welder…not so bad, right?  Other than those and possibly a few other things, he can do anything his little heart desires.  Rough-housing with his brothers?  Totally fine – believe me I asked!   The most comforting thing that the doctor said to us today was that “Madden’s life will not be dependent upon this pacemaker. Something happens to it and his heart will still be beating.”  Just slower I guess.  Then you just have a matter of let’s call the doc and get an appointment to have the pacemaker fixed/replaced.  So Why, then, are we doing this?, you may ask.  Even though, his life is not dependent on the pacemaker, there is the risk that he may become symptomatic – with one of the symptoms being the heart stops beating.  The doctor assured us that this was a very VERY low risk, but a risk nonetheless.  So we (and the doctors) want to take every precaution that this won’t happen.  We love our little guy WAY too much!

Every night we pray for God to “heal Madden’s heart.”  Although a pacemaker is not what I had in mind when making that request, I believe that it is our answer now.  His heart will work perfectly again.  And I am excited about that!  We humbly request your prayers for Madden and his upcoming surgery and recovery. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts! 


"He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me..." Psalm 23:3-4



The Hoe Down Throw Down

I love birthday parties.  I guess it’s because my mom always had cool ones for me and I want to carry on the tradition.  Give me a theme and I’ll run with it!  I don’t know what made me decide the western theme for their second birthday…maybe it was just a good gender neutral theme or perhaps I just love cowboy boots and country music Winking smileI think the party turned out really cute, but most importantly I think everyone had a good time including the birthday boys and girl.

The invitation…


Nanny Alicia’s dad has a chuck wagon that he was kind enough to let us use for our pictures.  It was cold and the kids weren’t thrilled about their picture being taken…I guess they were playing the part of the “outlaws!” 

The getup…

Boots for my buckaroos

Howdy Cowboy Roc!

Even Big Pop played the part

Although I didn’t get any pictures of the grub table, we served BBQ pulled pork sandwiches with potato salad and baked beans on tin plates.  The waterin’ hole was stocked with root beer and Ma’s Sweet Tea, of course.  

Q2-0007aAnother awesome cake by G.G.

Jude helped serve the ice cream

cupcakes and Happy Trails mix too!

We sang Happy Birthday four times for four special 2 year olds!




2nd birthday
Digging in!

It is always a gamble to plan an outside party in February, but we could not have asked for better weather!  It was a BEAUTIFUL day…sunny skies  and 65 degrees. 

The kids had a blast on the WILD WEST PLAYGROUND

The hitchin’ post photo opp


2nd birthday1
I think we had about 24 kids at the party.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of every kid on the saddle, but the ones I did were really cute!

A hayride was our cheap entertainment…



Madden, Daddy & Jagger

Nanny, Rocco, Jana & Cowboy Cash

Sloan with her BFF Karoline!

The presents…they really got into these this year!




The party favors…


Each cowboy and cowgirl got a personalized hobo bag with some goodies.  We had a cowboy name for everyone like Ringo Rogers, Kid Kiger, Calamity Kaitlyn, etc.  Very fun and the kids loved it!

And the award for the farthest traveled to attend the birthday party…

IMG_8700TTHANKS Uncle Bill and Aunt Pat for coming all the way from Nashville.  We had such a good time with y’all!

Thanks to ALL who came and celebrated another year with us!  We LOVE you all.  And HUGE THANKS to G.G. for helping with the party!  YOU ARE THE BEST!



Happy Birthday TWO you!

No…this isn’t a post on the awesome party we had for the kids last weekend.  The kids have all been sick this week with nasty coughs, colds, and fever – and Sloan has tonsillitis – which makes for a week with a lot of loving but not a whole lot getting done.  I still need to sort through all the pictures and put a post together and will try to do that this weekend…promise.  But here is one of my favorites from the weekend.


We did take them to the our favorite pediatrician for their 2 year “well” visit – even though they weren’t really well.  I thought I would share their weights and measurements and some things they are doing at two.  

IMG_8742Sloan Olivia
27 pounds 7 ounces
34 inches tall
Things you love: books, kitty-cats (really all creatures small and furry),  shoes, brushes, baby dolls, pink blanket, coloring 
Favorite foods: cookies, crackers (pretty much all carbs – just like all women!)
Things you say and do:  You love to be clean and tidy up – I hope that sticks!  Your Aunt KeKe says that you have a laugh just like the pillsbury doughboy – we just love it!  You are very tough. Your new favorite saying  is “Oh gosh!” You love to sing and I’ve caught you singing the whole alphabet song, but you won’t do it for me when I ask!  You are the best sleeper.  You haven’t quite learned your brothers yet…everyone is Jagger to you athough you know there is a Rocco and a Madden!  You love to say “no, no Jagger!” to each of them.  We love you SO much and are so proud of you.

IMG_8743Rocco Dean
28 pounds 13 ounces
34 inches tall
Things you love: books, dogs, bubbles, playing outside, wrestling with your brothers, blocks, baths 
Favorite foods: meats, milk & juice
Things you say and do:  You are a big helper when its time to clean up toys.  You love to cuddle.  Your voice is a little deeper than your brothers.  You can also sing most of your ABC’s.  You are almost always the first one awake in the mornings.  You are a very happy boy with a sweet spirit.  Grandaddy calls you Mr. Independent.  You like to say “Yeah Baby!” – one of Big Pop’s sayings!  You can count to ten. We love you SO much and are so proud of you.

IMG_8744 Madden Jax
25 pounds
33 inches tall
Things you love: books, bubbles, playing outside, wrestling with your brothers, puzzles, coloring, dancing, baths 
Favorite foods: You may be the smallest, but you are probably our most consistent eater.  You eat most anything, but your favorite is probably pizza.
Things you say and do:  To you, everything red is “Madden’s”, everything blue is “Rocco’s”, everything green is “Jagger’s”, and everything pink is “Sloanie’s.”  You know your colors the best.  You are very curious and you like to get into cabinets or things you are not supposed to.  You get scared of big live animals (like horses.)  You have a smile that will melt anyone’s heart.  You are silly. Your favorite word is probably “No.”   You can also sing your ABC’s and count to ten pretty well.  We love you SO much and are so proud of you.

IMG_8746Jagger Cole
27 pounds 8 ounces
33 1/2 inches tall
Things you love: BALLS, books, bubbles, playing outside, wrestling with your brothers, puzzles, coloring, baths 
Favorite foods: Breakfast is your favorite meal.  You can put away some breakfast foods – just like daddy! 
Things you say and do:  You are a leader.  If I am correcting your brothers or sister, you also like to chime in and say “Sit down!” “No, No Madden!”, etc.  You make us laugh all the time and you feed off of our laughs!  You are fearless and are a climber.  You love to play with the big kids.  One of your favorite words is “again!” You can sing some ABC’s and count to ten as well.  We love you SO much and are so proud of you.

I am sure this year of the two’s will bring lots of changes and challenges.  But thinking back at how awesome I thought they were just a year ago and how much MORE awesome I think they are now…I am excited! 



Our Untold Story

Since my babies’ (can’t I always call them babies?) second birthday is tomorrow – actually in just a few short hours, I have been reflecting on the last 2 1/2 year of this little life of ours.  You see about 2 1/2 years ago was a day I will never forget and included the happiest moment of my life - up until that point anyway.  It was the day I found out I was pregnant.  I was at home.  Nick was in the living room.  I peed on a stick (Yes, I cheated and did a home pregnancy test the day before my doctors’ appointment…just couldn’t help myself!)  I think I took a short moment to myself before running and giving Nick the news.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  I remember the feeling of complete joy and deepest gratitude to God for allowing this new life (or lives – we transferred 2 embryos with our IVF cycle) to grow inside of me.  It was like He had lifted all the pain, sorrow, worry, and anger of the last several years with one little plus sign on a stick.  I suppose that this feeling is pretty common for women finding out they’re pregnant who have struggled with infertility. 

*Side Note:  Throughout our pregnancy and even still today, we have consistently prayed that God be glorified through our kids’ lives.  I’ve never shared this before (on this blog – our family and close friends already know), but I feel led to because I believe it is a true testament of our Father’s work.   I feel its too powerful not to share. 

So we’re happy and pregnant.  At our 6 week appointment, we had an ultrasound to find out how many hearts were beating inside of me.  Again, we did IVF and transferred only two embryos so we did have a higher chance of being pregnant with twins.  Well we were.  To think that I was unsure if we ever were going to have any kids at all and now we will have 2? Thank you Lord.  Thank you. 

Two weeks later, we go in for a routine ultrasound to check on our little baby A and baby B, as the docs like to call them, only to find out that there is now a baby C and a baby D.  Four heartbeats. Four strong heartbeats.  Wow!  How could this happen?  We only transferred two embryos.  The doctors explained how one embryo split twice and we were pregnant with “identical triplets plus one.” The next 30 minutes to an hour were spent with our doctor explaining how extremely risky this pregnancy would be and the likely outcomes were not good….not good at all.  At this point, we were advised to reduce our pregnancy in order to have the best outcome possible.   We informed the doctor of our position on selective reduction and abortion…absolutely no way so “what do we do now?”    I would have to come back next week (this appointment was on a Friday) to meet with a Maternal Fetal Specialist and would continue to be monitored by one throughout my entire pregnancy. 

So we left there very scared and very overwhelmed.  We spoke to our parents together.   We prayed.   We trusted HIM.  We were going to be okay.  

Next appointment…an ultrasound with a MF doctor.  Our parents were in the waiting room for support.   He didn’t say anything during the ultrasound, but afterwards asked us to meet him in the conference room.   He began by telling us that he was 85% sure that baby C and D were conjoined.  He would know for certain in a couple of weeks because the babies would be bigger and he could get a clearer picture.  If they were conjoined, the chances of them surviving even if I did carry far enough were slim.  The chances of me carrying far enough were slim.  He went over everything with us first, then I asked him to bring our parents in to tell them the news.

The next two weeks were the longest, hardest, most trying, most soul defining two weeks of my entire life.  Hands down.  This news brought me to my knees.  It knocked me down…mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  I would try to go to work but then come home only after a couple of hours.  I couldn’t function.  Our situation just seemed SO impossible to me.  I remember watching a documentary on conjoined twins…it just happened to be on TV that week – coincidence? I think not!  But I remember being so terrified of these sweet innocent girls and thinking, how could I be a mom to conjoined twins? I became so hurt, so angry towards God.  I remember thinking, I only wanted ONE baby God…that’s all I asked.   Why can’t I just have a normal healthy pregnancy – you’ve made me wait for so long.  Although I am not proud of it, I wavered in my faith.  For part of those two weeks, I began not trusting HIM and began questioning whether selective reduction was the answer, if I can save one or even two of my babies and the others probably won’t make it anyway.  Man, Satan was really having his way with me!  But I NEVER was at peace with the thought of that.  NEVER.  And I know the Lord has forgiven me for those thoughts.  Have I mentioned how much I love my husband?  And how I am so thankful for him.  He was so strong for me.  He never wavered.  He reminded me that God is the answer.  We need to seek HIM.  So that’s what we did. 

On the morning of our next appointment, we woke up and just laid in bed for awhile.  I had an overwhelming sense of peace.  I turned to Nick and said  “they’re not conjoined.”  He said “what?”  I said “Our babies are NOT conjoined.”  He let it drop…I think even though he had been so faithful, he had already come to terms that we were going to have conjoined twins plus two more and that God would just help us through it all.  

Ultrasound begins.  Nick and I watched  very intensely, counting every heartbeat fluttering on the screen.  One…two…three…four.  Thank you Lord.  You could hear a pin drop in that room.  The doctor and the tech were studying each baby so closely.  Then I heard it.  I heard the doctor and I will never forget these words as long as I live, “Hmmmm….it looks as though we’ve made a mistake.”  I didn’t have to ask him to repeat it.  I already knew.  Nick held me as I giggled through my tears.  We didn’t get to celebrate to long because the doctor quickly reminded us that this situation, although better, still was not “good.”  I don’t know if I heard anything he said after that.  All I heard was God telling me.  “See Kami.   Trust me.  I am in control.  Not you.  I will take care of you.  Trust me.  I love you.”

That’s when we did our homework, God led us to a doctor we were comfortable with and obviously more confident (yet realistic) in caring for me and my pregnancy.  We moved to Phoenix to be cared for and have the babies and as they say, the rest is history.

I tell this story not because we ended up with four healthy babies(although we did.) I tell this story not because God answered our prayer and the prayers of many (although He did.)  I tell this story because I want to praise Him.  I want to glorify Him.  And He is worthy.


“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mothers womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”  Psalm 139:13-14



Super Bowl Dreams

IMG_8652 Maybe one day fellas!

Happy Super Bowl!



A Birthday Celebration

Several months ago Billy Graf started planning a surprise 30th birthday party for his beautiful wife, Moni.  He threw the invitation out there to all of us quad moms (and dads – no kids, ha! can you imagine?) all over the country to drive/fly to Kansas for her birthday party and I am guessing he never imagined that everyone would jump right on that opportunity! In the end 12 out of 15 of us were able to make it work, but we surely did miss you Kelly, Jenna and Misty!  And can you believe, I actually think  Billy manage to pull off this surprise?!?  He racked up some serious brownie points last weekend.  I’ve written before of the bond us moms share but it was really cool to see our boys hit it off the way they did.  Really cool.

The mamas and papas (except for Billy & Moni haven’t arrived yet) Can you believe these crazy people are collectively responsible for 50 kids!?!  Wow!

Waiting to surprise the birthday girl – yes, in a horse stall!

Back Row:  Jenn, Sandra, Jac, Moni, Gen, me, Mari
Front Row: Heather, Beth, Casey, Amy-Jo, Suz, and Charity

Me with the birthday Girl


We had a blast and I am looking forward to many more vacations with these special people.  I want to give a BIG thanks to Nanny Alicia, G.G., Big Pop, Grandmama and Grandaddy for taking care of our kids for us while we were away! We LOVE you!