Over the past few evenings I've decided that I don't have enough to do and I have re-prettied the blog.

When we started, the header was photos of Lauren. That was great except she got older and I have a hard time looking at photos of her in the weeks leading up to her first surgery (I'm trying to work on it, but I have overwhelming guilt when I think about her being in pain and me not knowing). I made a new one when I learned to use Adobe Illustrator with Illustrator 101 from Nicole's Classes, but I felt like it was missing something. During one of my many struggles to fall asleep I thought that the most obvious symbol to represent Lauren's journey would be a stitched heart. She has the obvious physical marks to show what she went through, but Matt and I also have marks on our hearts.

So, a redesign was called for. I am also working on a website for She's A Miracle Shop (that is still a work in naptime progress) because the accessories are now carried in four stores (what, what!) so I figure they need their own site. I figure this new look is like taking the sweatpants off of the blog and getting jeans on it. (Ironic that I'm doing that while rocking my XL men's sweatpants.)

Lauren also has a new look. Last night we tried pasta for the first time, fully expecting it to be a huge flop, but she loves it! We now have one successful solid mealtime food (Timbits and Ritz crackers are not dinner foods... or at least, they are not supposed to be).

I don't think she's going to thank me for that photo when she's older. 



I first started this blog as a way for people to find out more about how Lauren was doing after I sent out a text message on July 31, 2012 that simply said, "Lauren's heart just stopped. Please pray." Now looking back, those first hours and days have become a bit of an enigma. They are crystal clear and I can walk through every moment, but they are also a blur of emotions. I have never felt such fear or such a loss of control in my entire life. But praise the Lord that he could take care of both of those things.

Over the past 10 months many people have joined Lauren on her journey. Last week, her blog reached the  100000 mark. 100000 times people have thought about her and checked to see how she is doing.  That is amazing! I had a blog my first year that I worked in a high school library and I remember being so excited that when I had 100 views in a month (not to brag, but it is now making the rounds on Pinterest. No big deal). Now we have hundreds of views each and every day.

I have always been a bit of a math lover. It is complicated by my OCD and the fact that I detest odd numbers with a passion but 100000 is so beautifully even that it is great (please don't point out to me that when I took the screen shot, the number was odd. So odd, I think it is even a prime number. Ugh, don't even get me started on how offensive I think prime numbers are). However, here is why I really love 100000. I figure that if only 10% of the time that people opened Lauren's blog they sent up a prayer for Lauren, or any other person because of her story, that is 10000 prayers! Let's keep going with some more what if's for a moment. If only I was praying for Lauren and I prayed once a day, 10000 prayers would take me over 27 years! If I pulled my family and Matt's family into that, with the 12 of us praying, 10000 prayers would take us 2.28311 years. We could stop (but of course we wouldn't) on November 14, 2014.

So thank you, each and every one of you. Thank you for the times that you've prayed for Lauren and for all the love that she gets from each one of you. I love that there are so many people out there who have her in their hearts. She has the largest extended family in the world!



When I was little my ears stuck out. They didn't just stick out a little, they STUCK OUT. Think Dumbo. I never heard a word about my ears from my parents, but the first moment that I told them that a kid at school  was making fun of my ears, I was taken to a plastic surgeon and they were pinned. No, my parents weren't into plastic surgery for a kid. I had no other "work" done. My ears stuck out because I was born without a fold in my them so it was considered a birth defect. When Lauren was born, the first thing that I said when I saw her was, "Her ears don't stick out!" since I knew that could easily be passed on to her (it seems ironic now that I was concerned about that birth defect...).

My parents knew from day one that my ears weren't right but they never once said anything to me about it. As a parent, I know that when they looked at me they probably didn't see what was imperfect about me, because they were looking at the child that they loved.

When I look at Lauren, as she runs around the house in only her diaper, I see her fluffy hair with the beginning wisps of curls, her huge proud smile and her round belly on top of two skinny little legs. I don't see the scar that runs down the length of her chest. However, looking through the eyes of others, I know that it is there.

My desire for Lauren is that she sees the scar as a reminder of her strength and the amazing work of God in her life. However, I know that she might not want it to be such a red reminder, so we got some Silicone Scar Strips from the States and we have been using those for the last 6 weeks.

I actually had a hard time purchasing them, and not because they are crazy expensive, but because I don't ever want Lauren to think that I don't think she is absolutely beautiful just as she is. When I see her, I don't see her scar. But we are so much harder on ourselves. I know that when I look in the mirror, I often focus on the things that I see that are "wrong" with myself and as much as I would like Lauren to live differently, I know that what we want for our children isn't always the way that it goes. When she is a teenager, she probably won't want to rock an angry red scar - a light one will be much easier to wear as a badge of courage.

Even though I gave in and we are using the Scar Strips, I know that Lauren is remarkably beautiful just the way she is. The Scar Strips will not take away the scar completely, but they will help with the redness and the keloid scarring that has developed over the pacemaker incision. Her scar is the length of my hand, and it always will be, but it doesn't need to look so mad. She also has other small scars to either side of the incision from the drainage tubes and the wires that were attached to her heart. Praise the Lord for all of the things that the hospital is able to do!

For a total of 12 weeks, Lauren wears the scar strips 23 hours a day with bath time being the only time that it comes off. However, Lauren tries to extend her scar strip free time by making a habit of whipping her shirt up and yanking her scar strip off each time that she has her diaper changed. It's amazing how fast that kid moves! We used to try to stop her but now we just accept it and try to remember to put it back on at the end of the diaper change. Worrying about a scar strip is not usually top of my list when dealing with a stinky bum.

It has been 6 and a half weeks now and Lauren's scar looks much less angry already! The photo above when she was in the bath was taken just as we started using the scar strips. The ones below are what her scar looks like now. We are amazed by the improvement!

I love how she's looking at me like it just fell off by itself. Oh, monkey!  

What a gorgeous little girl with a brave warrior wound. I hope she never sees her scar as anything but beautiful. 



This is what I walked in on just the other day. Apparently my child with an oral aversion managed to open the Tim Horton's minidonuts box and was helping herself. When I first saw her, she was double fisting donuts and shoving them into her mouth.  

Since then we've been buying her TimBits whenever we are near a Tim Horton's. 

When I was first pregnant I swore that my child would not eat anything other than homemade food. That went well until her stomach problems started after her surgeries and she would ralph the stuff back up. We had a better chance of her keeping the store bought food down, so we switched to that. 

That was okay until her weight gain became slow. Lately it has come to a stop and, even though all of her food has butter melted into it and her oatmeal is made with cream, we need to cram more calories into her somehow. 

Matt and I scoured the grocery store for options. Usually you read the nutrition labels so that you can pick the best option. For us "best" meant the most calories and most fat. We came home with chocolate milk, Ritz crackers, animal crackers, greek yogurt, more cream, more butter, and, of course, a TimBit. 

Last night, Lauren threw up her dinner again. I was so sad because I had worked so hard to get those calories into her. I walked in to Matt giving her a bath and she was chowing down on Ritz crackers dipped in Olive oil and a full sized donut. Whatever works!

On a side note: Did you know that mini Ritz crackers have 100 calories in only 11 teeny tiny crackers! I've been shoving them into Lauren's face all day. Thankfully she also loves them. Eat 'em up baby!



I love to take Lauren out to the playgrounds around our house. There are three that are easily within walking distance. Lauren has been working on her walking and going over the uneven surfaces is a challenge that she loves. When she falls down, she sees that as an opportunity to try to eat wood chips. Perfect. 

It is so nice to get out and let her explore. She loves meeting other kids and will follow them around the playground (even big kids!!). I had a dad say to me that Lauren is very outgoing and energetic. I love that that is how people see her. I'm sure that he would have been shocked to know that she has had 3 heart surgeries this last year! Having watched her since she has fought in the hospital, I don't ever think that her heart will be something that defines or limits her. She is too in love with life. 



When Lauren was 5 months old, she went out to visit Matt at work. She wanted to get in on the action and got some serious business done. 


Last week Lauren went out to visit Matt again. Productivity has gone way down. 



Matt took some vacation days this week and got to come to swimming lessons with Lauren and I on Thursday. Lauren did even better at swimming this week and she loved every minute of it. Her favourite things are licking the water (yuck), being thrown really high into the air and watching us blow bubbles. That night in her bath, Lauren laid out like she was practicing moves for next week. Maybe next week we will be working on Lauren's diving skills.



I haven't posted much this week for one big reason... sleep. I'm sure you've heard this before but Lauren is not a great sleeper. She seems to think that midnight to 2/3am is prime playing time and after an hour of trying to get her back to bed, we end up in the living room with me huddled under my comforter rocking myself back and forth and Lauren practicing her latest babble and running back and forth. Ugh. So her naptime has also become my naptime. Since I typically write my posts during naptime, sanity has taken precedence over blogging. 

So, yet again, we are sleep training. I have also decided that I can't breastfeed her anymore because, although she could benefit from the calories, she will also benefit from a full night of sleep (I will supplement her with ice cream). And let's be honest - it's getting to the weird age. I only wanted to breastfeed until 9 months or so but Lauren's weight and needs after the hospital kept me going for longer. But the fact that she is starting to pull down my shirt, and has recently done this in public, helps make this decision a little bit easier. No more, kid. 

At night, is Lauren vomiting because she cries? Yes. Does she keep us up for hours? Yes. Are we going to keep going? Yes. Is it because otherwise we might go crazy? Yes, yes, yes. 

It seems to be helping a bit. I'm still napping because Lauren continues to enjoy the midnight hour, but the last two nights, Lauren has stayed in her crib and (after a painfully long time) managed to put herself back to sleep. 



Okay, Nicole. This one is for you.

You're taking a photo of this hair?! Whaaaaa!

Apparently the best place to watch TV is on the counter.

Putting makeup on. She's a little confused about mirrors. 

Ride 'em cowgirl!

Look! She's camouflaged! 

Lauren very carefully backed herself into the potato hole. We're planting babies!



Matt and I are comfortable with each other. Perhaps a little too comfortable. There is little that we hide from each other and that works for us but I know many couples who won't even burp in front of each other.

Lauren's cardiologist called me last night to let me know that Lauren's case was discussed (again) at the weekly cardiology conference. She told me that they all agreed that Lauren's aorta was good but that some of them are quite concerned about the thickening of her ventricular walls. However, there is nothing right now that they want to do about it but it is just something to keep an eye on. I hate all of these "buts." Since there is nothing that they will do, I would love it if her doctors could have a dating relationship with us. This type of relationship would allow us to be blissfully unaware of the problems under the surface that don't really matter right now. I would prefer it if I could just live in the moment with the good news. So, since the doctors seem to want a completely open relationship with the proverbial bathroom door left open, I'm going to have to learn to pretend that I can't see inside. Knowing about Lauren's heart blips can make it harder to focus on the miracles that we have had but maybe I should just look up at the URL of this blog. There is definitely a reason that this blog is called Focusing on Miracles, Not Maybes. Now I just need to keep trying to live that every day.

For now, I'll just focus on my little girl as she runs around and enjoys every moment that she is alive. What a miracle!

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