The faces behind the stories!

The faces behind the stories!
My little Loves.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Comes To An End...

I always wait until the end of the year exactly, to write my last post before I print my book.  The only problem is, the end of the year comes on a crazy night where the boys are up late and everyone is wanting to be festive. I'll probably need to change this habit before the end of next year... maybe, write the entry early, and post it day of. I can't "finish the year" on my blog in-case something else happens and I need to squeeze it in! Ha ha

This week, I had a fun time with Matthew in the car. The windows were down and he said, "Mama, can I roll the windows up to ask you something?" I smiled and said, "It's ok to just ask me, you don't have to roll them up." He said, "What does K-s-s-i-n-g spell?" I said, "Well, KISSING spells Kissing, why did you want to know... WHO are you KISSING?" He said, with a soft tender voice, "Only you Mama." Awww. The best part is, it's true. He wont give kisses to anyone else, and I think it's the cutest thing ever. Not his Grandma, not his Nana... just me. I told him, "That's RIGHT, and it better STAY that way MR!" ha ha

This year has been... hmmmm, trying to think of the words, while hearing my boys and their dad search for the tv remote in the other room and Matthew still needing to get dressed from his shower.  This year has been like many others. It's had it's ups, it's had it's downs, but my overall grasp on what I feel is... I feel thankful that through this life and the flow of the ups and downs, I'm in love with a man who walks along side of me and we face things together. I'm thankful for the love that is constant in our home, and the strength that we find in the Lord to go after what He has for us in the midst of this crazy life.

My boys are growing... A LOT right now. They are both "thick" as they prepare for more height to come. I'm afraid 2013 was the last year that I will end with "two little guys." Joe is really turning into a big guy in so many ways. I'm no longer allowed in the bathroom, or in his room while he's getting dressed. We have purchased his first thing of deodorant and have had to talk about showers every day instead of every other. Matthew will still walk through the house absolutely naked and lovin it, and doesn't mind if I am in the bathroom while he's using it or any other time. In that sense, he is still "little." He tends to follow closely after Joe, though, so I'm sure I'll be kicked out soon.

This year has been one with some personal challenges... some things we've had to face, but I didn't want to put in my blog. It's tough for me because I am very "open book" for the most part, but I have to protect "the book" of my boys. Joe has faced some difficulties this year, of which I have not shared much. He has been a REAL trooper, brave, strong, and obedient to follow what was asked of him. Aaron and I have done our best to try to help him in the best way we know how, always starting with prayer.  It's tough for me because I actually want to write out some of the road we've walked... but I'll leave this be and just say this: Joe, I'm proud of you as this year ends. I'm so thankful we are all learning and growing together, and we will always make sure you have what you need to help you succeed and grow into the boy and eventually man that God intends you to be! I love you, and I know sometimes things are just TOUGH... this darn life gives us those twists and turns that are not easy, but it leads us to our knees where we will ALWAYS find the Lord and His peace as we seek Him. Remember, no matter what challenges you face, when things just feel wrong or you feel alone... Bend your knees and raise your eyes (and for me, I raise my hands too because that act of surrender helps my heart to know I AM GIVING IT UP! [not giving up])... The Lord is with you and will NEVER leave you! I hope and pray I am always around for you to come to... but I am doing my best to help you grow in your walk with the Lord so I can have peace in knowing YOU will always know where to turn, no matter if I'm there to talk to or not! I love you son and I'm looking forward to our adventures in 2014.

Matthew... you are still such a tender heart. You're turning into a bit more of a loud mouth though. HA HA... You're coming out of your shell and you're QUITE talkative all of the sudden. You still love to cuddle, and I wonder if you always will. I'm SO curious what these next few years will bring with you, because I can see you going both ways.... staying this tender cuddler, or giving that up to "be big" type of thing. Either way, as I told Joe... my prayer is that you never hide the part of your heart that is tender to the Lord. You will get bigger and you will get "manly"... but no matter how old or big or strong you get... leave that tender connection available to the Lord... that is the one single thing that will always help you to be the strongest and best man you can be. I love you and I am so proud of you also.

Aaron... I'm not sure that you'll ever read this. :) The blog is "my thing"... but, part of my thing is loving to know I have expressed what I feel. This year has been..... again, just like before, searching for my words...  I don't have words for this year. Mostly because it's been really tough, but I don't want to be a whinny baby. lol I know, with out doubt, God is in control and we are blessed... but, I'd say we've been on a tough  stretch on this road of life. It sounds like a dumb card or something... but I think my raw feelings/thoughts are a bit too raw for my blog! LOL I love that I know, you know how I feel... because we don't hide that from each other in our daily life. I'm praying for you in this time of our lives, and I'm excited to watch where God leads you and our family. It's never boring eh? ;)

If any of my readers are still with me... thanks. :) I always love the comments, and I love knowing our family stories and my goofy times with the boys brighten your days. I'm kind of glad this year is wrapping up because it has been kind of a tough one... and I'm praying for us, and for ya'll that 2014 is an amazing year! No matter what it holds, I plan to give it a smile and keep on truckin!

God Bless... thanks for sharing 2013 with me! I'll end the blog year with some photos of Joe... He was helping me to set up my photo booth for a Christmas party I was shooting...


Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas 2013

Here are some fun photos from our Christmas Morning! (I'm trying to be nice by not showing the adults! lol)

Matthew's intensity cracked me up:

 Joe is VERY into art right now... I got the idea to get him this model, so he'd have something new to draw. I was HOPING he'd love it... I think he does. :) Look at this dimples!

We had to do some "Back to back" opening... because sometimes boys just need to get the same things given to them! :) They got to open, but they couldn't say anything about what it was until both of them had it opened!

Just as I knew Joe would love the model... when I saw this puppy "Jingle" and the book that you read to have him react to your words... I KNEW Matthew would love it. I had actually already bought all of the gifts, but I saw this and it just had to be Matthew's. I LOVED seeing him snuggle with it (all day long!).

 More back to back... RC TRUCKS!!! I was so excited to give these to them... but Joe's got broken on Christmas day and Matthew's only held the charge for about 15 minutes (after being plugged in for 8 hours)... I couldn't blame them for being bummed... I WAS! lol
 Nana bought them awesome socks... not quite sure what Joe's face is saying here! lol
 Matthew got a "Mouse in a box." It has a little blanket and pillow, and a book to read as well. Absolutely something that is right up his alley.
 This is what our livingroom looked like after round one. The boys had opened presents from Aaron and I am my in-laws... the Hardin cousins and Grandparents were still yet to come!!
 Joe loves to draw with his Papa... and I loved seeing them use the new model. :)
 Intense much? ha ha
 Oh how I love to see this face so happy. <3
 My mom took each boy to the mall for a date to buy presents for our family. Matthew has a "thing" for Nutcrackers this year... hence Dada and Joe both receiving one as their gift from Matthew (I got sparkly slippers with fur inside)
 Matthew had REALLY wanted this pillow. I had taken the boys to the mall a couple of times and they both LOVED it, but I did not buy it for them.  Joe, on his date with Grandma, bought it for Matthew. I think he likes it! lol

 Uncle JJ drove over from Lincoln... Joe, instantly, had to show him the Christmas.... mess. lol

 Matthew, and Jingle, reading to Jacki.
 All the little munchkins ready to tear into some gifts!
 YAY..... That was FUN! :)

 Aaron's favorite new gift.... thanks Steve and Christina.

 Lilli loves Nawhals.... I used amazon to help me find a fun present for her. :)
 We love having Cubby GG and Grandpa Don at all of our family fun! :)

Merry Christmas to you all!!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Skin Falling Off...

Sooo... I'm sitting at my desk doing some photo editing, when Matthew gets out of the shower. I hear a little voice, "Mama..." "Yes Matthew?" "Um Mama, my skin is falling off of my thumb and it stings, do you know why?" 

I asked him to dry off and come over to me so I can have a look.... 
Now, Matthew takes a shower in Aaron and I's bathroom, and Joe uses the kid bathroom. Can anybody guess what happened to his thumb? I knew as soon as I saw the parallel lines on his thumb... he got my razor!! That turkey! It's up high and it's the first time he's ever done that. I grabbed my razor and it was full of hair... Matthew's hair from his head!! I look over at him, and can't find where he got it from! ha ha ha My boy has an afro like his Mama... so, the loss of hair really doesn't matter.  

So, one good lesson and one good band-aid later... he'll survive... but I think I need a new razor! 

I was just thinking today, "I need to get on the blog and write my last entry for 2013, so I can print my book for the year." This just might be the last entry with a fun pic of the boys and their shenanigans... It's never boring around here!

Thursday, December 12, 2013


Matthew asked me,"Mama, why are you a singer, a talker, and a camera-er?" Lol I responded,"I am multi faceted!" :) I hope my boys find their talents and become lots of "ers" too! Lol

Monday, December 9, 2013

Cardiology Visit... FINALLY!

For those of you who don't know "my story"... Have a look at my blog entry from 5/2/11

Since that entry, I have gone on to have more episodes.. getting to be 3 months apart for the last few. The Dr. in SoCal had told me if I let it go longer than an hour, I am at risk of a stroke. They did a stress test with the EKG machine hooked up to me while I ran uphill on the treadmill, and an ultrasound... both testing ok. We paid out of pocket for those things, because I had just changed our insurance to a 10k deductible since our industries were down and we were paying out of pocket for insurance... AND, we were all very healthy. So, needless to say, it was expensive to have a cardiologist run those tests on me. She gave me the grim news that just because I passed the tests that day in her office, didn't mean I would be ok the next day to work out. She referred me to an specialist... an Electrophysiology Cardiologist and said I should not work out in any way before being able to see him. That was 2.5 years ago now, and we JUST got good insurance again. I knew I wouldn't be able to afford that specialist without the right insurance.

So, between that visit, and my visit today... I have had anxiety any time my heart rate skyrocketed and I kept my eye on the clock to get to the hospital within an hour if I couldn't make it stop at home. My sons heard some of the concern and were worried for my heart, my husband had concerns, my family etc etc. I can't blame the SoCal Dr. for my weight gain since being told I couldn't work out at all... I chose to eat. BUT... I have gained between 40-50 pounds in the last 2.5 years and have lost all muscle tone I once had.

Now.... to today....

I WAS SO EXCITED to wake up and know I get to go get some answers and some help!

The Dr. better defined my diagnosis and showed me diagrams/explained EXACTLY what is going on inside of my heart. Nobody had ever done that for me before, and "Dr. Google" is scary! lol He told me that "SVT" is a diagnosis that just means there is trouble with the lower part of the heart (to put it in laymen's terms)... My condition is actually: Atrio-Ventricular Nodal Reentrant Tachycardia (AVNRT).... (Don't ask me to say that with out my trusty paper just yet... I have to learn that one! lol) Again, in Laymen's terms... there's a "door" in our hearts where the blood needs to flow and it's controlled by the electrical system of the heart. After a flow, the door closes and you can't just open it back up again. There's another door in my heart that is inactive/dormant and doesn't typically get any flow. When my heart goes crazy, it's because it tried to send a flow down the closed door and it ended up going down the dormant door and bouncing back up to the top of my heart.... starting a funky beat reaction. (Just call me "Nic & The Funky Beats" Sounds like an 80's band).


My eyes filled with tears when he said this. I explained to him what I had been told, and he shook his head and apologized for the time I've spent living my life in fear of a stroke because of my condition. There are so many things I didn't do because I was concerned about being too far away from a hospital to get there within 1 hour etc.

Not only that, but he gave me a medicine to take at the onset of an episode. The Dr's in SoCal told me there was no medicine. WHAT? The pill he gave me will slow the rapid heartbeat and my heart will get itself back together... even with out the pill, it will usually fix itself within 2 hours.

Sooo... All these times I've figured out someone to watch my kids so I could get over to the hospital because I was getting close to an hour with an episode... I didn't need to. My eyes just filled with water again. It's very frustrating to me to have lived these 2.5 years with such anxiety every time I felt my heart beat differently etc.

The good news is... I'm ok. :) I have a medicine to help me when I have an episode (It's Verapamil 80mg for my medical friends who are curious! lol), I can work out again.... although my muscles are NOTHING and I'm so scared of what that will feel like! lol... He even said there is no correlation to my condition and caffeine.... He said, "But, there are studies that show coffee drinkers are less depressed!" LOL I no longer need to go to the hospital when I have an episode (although, it could be nice for him to get that data if I could go in and get it monitor while having one)...

There's no need for a specialist. There's no need for fear. I will have heart episodes, but they wont hurt me. It doesn't hurt when it happens, but if you see me start to cough a lot, or squat and hold my breath... I'm just trying to reset my heart! lol God is good, and I know there's a reason why I've walked this road and I'll be walking the rest with my funky beats. I'm a bit sad today for the 2.5 years I spent thinking I was more "messed up" than I actually am... but I'm looking forward to, when the next heart episode starts, continuing my day and not having a slight panic over making sure I get it to stop within an hour. I will not cry from this condition anymore, and I will not be angry at my heart... All good things.

Thank you to everyone who has prayed for/with me, and has encouraged me along the rd. I'll be keeping tabs on my condition and keeping the cardiologist informed, but fear and anxiety over it are no more.

With a lot of thoughts and emotions whirling around today...... Nicole

(One detail I forgot... If the episodes get more frequent, there is a procedure they can do on my heart to help it stop... The Dr in SoCal called it a surgery... this Dr said it's an In/Out procedure that is very safe. So, if it gets frequent and really annoying... there's that option too.)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Thankful for my Appendectomy...

We are just past the month where everyone is posting things they are thankful for... but, this morning, I found a new thing to be thankful for.

On the way to school, Matthew asked me: Mama, did it hurt when the Dr's cut us out of you?" I responded, "They give me medicine so it doesn't hurt." He said, "Well, do you have a scar?"

THIS is the instant I became thankful for my Appendectomy way back when I was a child... I responded, "Yes, I have a scar on my tummy!" (ha ha ha)

So, after school today, they want to see the scar from when they came out... and I'm pretty sure I'll show them and roll with that as long as it'll carry me! Ha ha ha

Oh the joys of being a Mom!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Joe's Birthday Card For Me...

While deep in a dream early this morning, I felt a poking at my side. Then a little voice, "Mama, Mama, Mama." I opened my eyes to find Joe at 6:01am. "Hey Mama, I have an early birthday present for you, but you'll need a light to see it." I picked up my cell phone and shined the light to see a card he had made me... SO cute! 
The Front... with a "..." in place of the "Y" in Birthday.

There's that "Y!" <3 (Not really sure what the rest is, but there's something about a Mansion and Gravity Falls...which is a show he's into right now)

The Inside.
The inside says, "Happy Birth Day. from Joe to Mama. I wish you a happy birth day from north and south Amarica from all the world and my <3." 

HOW CUTE IS THAT!?!?! :) It's Thankgiving time, so he's been learning more about how America was formed etc etc... He brought his learning all the way into my card. I LOVE it!

A little while later, when I was actually up, he said, "I probably should have waited to give that to you until tomorrow." I said, "That's ok, I have a hard time holding on to gifts when I have them too... I just want to give them to the person." He says, "Well, your birthday IS tomorrow anyway." lol He's my boys!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

His First Mole

You know you are a mom of a country boy when he walks in excited to tell you,"I caught my first mole!"

UPDATE: I got a txt from my dad telling me: "Matthew brought the mole in here and showed it to me and had me pet it. He said Chocolate and him found it. I told him to put it way out in the field so it would be safe and he said he couldn't because it was Chocolate's dinner." 
Ha ha ha... My hilarious boy.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Halloween Fun

It's that time of year again... when the boys want to get dressed up crazy and do their best to accumulate the most candy... Here are some photos from our day... They started dressed up at school... Then, we met up with the Danners, Lilli's boyfriend Jake, Uncle Ricky and Grandma & Pop to walk around a really pretty neighborhood in Sonoma.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Matthew & Justin...

I found myself sheepishly grinning at my little ninja with the phone up to his hear. Matthew and his friend Justin have started calling each other. They have talked every day for the past 3 days. Today, I answered the phone and hear, "Hello Matthew!" I said, "I'm not Matthew!" He says, "Oh, it's ME again!" Sooo Cute! He is the sweetest little guy, and I just love watching Matthew enjoy time with his buddy. 

Today, I had to go hunt down Matthew outside, because he was testing out his Halloween Ninja costume! He stood there swinging his nun-chucks while talkin to his buddy. <3

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Matthew's Drive Thoughts....

 Our drives to school are some of my absolute favorite times (when it's not full of fighting! lol).... This morning was no exception....

As we were making the left hand turn at the fire station close to our house, Matthew saw about 20 cars in line at the red light. He sat up in his chair and pointed at them and exclaimed, "Now THAT is traffic!" (I'm laughing again as I type)... I'm pretty sure he forgets about Southern CA living! ha ha It was the sweetest little innocent fascination.

About 5 minutes later, the fascination moved in another direction... space. The boys were talking about needing to go potty in space, and Joe told Matthew they go potty in a tube that goes to a bag and then they let it go into space. Matthew said, "if somebody in space saw pee floating after they let it go, they could think if was jello and want to eat it... but if they took their helmet off, they would die before they make that mistake!"

It is certain, I am a mom of boys! I started this blog so long ago to remember all the funny little things they do... it is more certain that there is no way this blog could contain them all! In my "what if we won the lottery" thought process... I'm thinkin I'd hire a personal assistant just to be with me so I can say, "Write that one down!" ha ha I LOVE picking up my yearly blog book and flipping through things from years ago that I have since forgotten about!

On to our next adventure!!....

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Bear Wrangling

The boys and I had some fun looking through old pictures today. This one caught my attention. I didn't know, at that point in his life... this boy is meant to wrangle bears. Hopefully not quite literally, but God has given him a will and personality that can (and I believe will) move mountains. It's tough for the young ones with so much inside of them, to know how to handle it... so, for now, sometimes his "bear" is just himself and he has to learn how to wrangle it and teach it control. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Our Rainy Day

The boys and I have had a few tough days lately, for various reasons... which will remain nameless. lol  I heard the weather called for rain, and I was praying it would bring a calm to our property and a relaxing day. I was thankful to have nothing on the schedule, that's for sure.

The weatherman was right, it's raining... right now, it's raining HARD. It was just 90 degrees, so this is hard to believe actually.

The morning started out similar to others. About 6:20am, I heard the front door slam, and then Joe as he came running into my room with panic in his voice. He said, "Mama, I was out letting the cats out and I saw a coyote and he was going like this *insert heavy breathing here*, and HE CHASED ME!"  (Now, I don't know about you, but I'm thinkin... coyotes run away from people.) :) I told him to stay in the house, and the coyote can't get him! I wasn't ready to get up yet!

Later, as the rain picked up again, and the boys were playing Wii, Joe asked if he could go outside in the rain. My first response was, "No, not right now." When he asked again 5 minutes later, I thought "eh, why not?"... He asked if he could get his water clothes on and go run around outside. I said, "Sure."

So, as Matthew was snuggled up with "Boots" the cat, watching a movie in the warm house... Joe was running circles around our house enjoying the rain.

My instructions to Joe were, "When you're ready to be done, please do not come in the house... just let me know when you're ready and I'll help you come in!" :) We have a back door that opens to a tile floor, very close to the bathroom!  So, 5 minutes in, he came back for his rain coat... about an hour later, he was done. We got him in a hot bath to warm up that little body, where he spent another peaceful hour. :) My boy loves water.

When they were all dry and warm again, I made us toast with Nutella on it. I handed Matthew his piece and he said, "Oh, this is hot bread.... Hey, it's hot chocolate bread!" :) His little thoughts crack me up.

We're all back to playing Wii and enjoying the sound of the rain pouring in from the open front door. When Joe decided to come in, the rain had let up almost completely... so, he was a little bummed to hear it pick up stronger than ever! Thankfully, he didn't want to go back out! Ha ha ha

I love rainy days... I love my boys... and I love that everyone is made perfectly in their own way.