Thursday, May 11, 2017

You do you, MOM!

It's amazing how long it has been since the last time I've blogged. I think about writing a lot. I think of things that I would want to write about, but then the fingers never meet the keys. Why is that and Why now? 

When I started my blog, I probably really started it just from popularity. Blogs were the thing. I didn't have a "purpose" for writing, and I sure wasn't making money off of blogging. It was just me and my computer. Then I had a baby. A baby with a heart defect. And the blog became my outlet for my emotions and for keeping our friends and family informed. Then after sometime Knox became "stable," life took over, and the blog became quiet. I began to feel like I didn't have anything to say or rather, "Would anyone read?" In the world of technology and social media, it seems like everyone is online and everyone has an opinion. Writing a blog, putting your thoughts/feelings/opinions out there,  makes it easy for people to judge you, shame you, and praise you. 

When I think about what blog life looks like now, brings me to my two boys. Motherhood. Living life with kids. And work. And a house. And making dinner. All of this brings me to one the things I appreciate these days. The network of moms. I don't know about you, but I love HuffParents. I love to read all the articles, blogs, and stories about parenting, mom life, and the good/bad/embarrassing things that happen. 

Motherhood can be the most wonderful place and it can also be the loneliest. Motherhood makes us a bad friend. Motherhood makes us a bad wife. It's an adjustment to juggle being needed by so many people. And then after a long day of spit up, crying, potty accidents; while judging regular life it is nice to escape to the world of social media and see other mom's sharing their days both the good and the bad. Mom fails. Mom praises. 

Then the comments. Mom's supporting other moms. Friends, near and far connecting. Raising each other up. Making each day for each other...Mother's Day. Because shouldn't we always? Shouldn't we celebrate each other everyday? Social media can be so cruel. Shaming people for being different or having a different opinion. Breast milk or formula. Cloth vs. throw away diapers. Organic. Non-GMO. It doesn't matter. You do you mom. 

So, this Mother's Day I challenge you to raise up another mom. A few weeks ago I decided after reading someone's mom day I would take time this Mother's Day to praise another mom, or let her know someone other than shares her home thinks about her. If you know me, I adore cards and I love sending them. So I went to the store, bought a whole stack of Mother's Day cards, and this week they should be hitting the mailboxes. Ladies who are awesome "mom"-models. Ladies who I appreciate it, and am thankful for them being in my life. Some of them are people I see regularly, and some of them I haven't seen in awhile. 

So, girl, share your mom fails because someone has had the same happen to them. Share your victories and praises, so that we can respond with emojis, hearts, love, and likes. Write that blog that you are afraid someone will judge you on. Because, Guess what? You're a MOM! Do your THING! and... Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Christmas Miracle Book Drive

I admire people who blog for a living or all the time. I admire that they have so much to talk about or that they find the time to sit down and do it.

Friends, I let you down in the blogging area. Life happens and blogging doesn't. My last blog post way back in November of 2015 asked you to give to Knox's book drive. And you did! Man did you ever! But with life happening: house finished, moving in, and Christmas I never updated on how it went, or more importantly thanked you for giving.

So this is me saying I'm sorry and you all are awesome.

Since our new house was being remodeled and we were living out of a small space, all the wonderful Amazon boxes got sent to my parent's house. The boxes just kept coming! I cried. It was such as blessing for all our friends and people we didn't know to share in our quest to provide books for children and their families who were going to spend their Christmas holiday in the hospital. In a world with so much negativity, it really is beautiful to see things like this.....

 Every book received a stamp like the one below letting the reader know our little CHD warrior who the books were donated in honor of. But just how many books got these stamps?

When we started the drive I would have been happy if 20 books had been donated, but you wonderful people pushed my little wish out the window. With your wonderful help and support we donated 157 books to Nationwide Children's Hospital patients on the heart floor. 157! 157!

As we were lucky to celebrate Christmas in our new home with Knox I couldn't help but think about those families, and hope that they were cuddled up together by a crib or hospital bed reading a Christmas story and waiting for Santa to arrive.

So, thank you. Even though it is months late, I hope you will accept my thank you for helping us bring Christmas cheer to the hospital. Thank you for being so generous and thank you for loving our little miracle.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Knox's Christmas Book Drive

As many of you know we spent the days leading up to Christmas in Nationwide Children's Hospital for Knox's second open heart surgery. We checked in for surgery on December 19th and thanks to our amazing surgeon Dr. Galantowicz we were released on Christmas day.

With it being Knox's first Christmas, I was bummed that we were spending it inside the hospital walls, but the success of his surgery and his recovery was a beautiful Christmas gift. No matter what your child's illness is being in the hospital around the holidays is hard. Nationwide did a wonderful job providing gifts, decorations, and Christmas cheer to those in the hospital. Santa even snuck in while we were sleeping and left Knox a gift.

Not knowing how long we were going to be in the hospital I brought a Christmas tree, our stockings, Christmas jambes, and a few gifts for Knox in case we were in over the holiday. My dad went across the street to the CVS and bought us all hats so that we could start a Christmas tradition. It was a very humbling and intimidate time to be together, and be thankful for our Christmas blessings.

With the holiday season right around the corner, I can't help but think about our time in the hospital, and the families who will be there this year. To honor Knox's successful heart surgery and to do something for Nationwide Children's Hospital, our family would like to invite you to be apart of our Christmas Book Drive. If you would like to participate we ask that you donate a Christmas book or your favorite story to our drive. Families can gather together in the comfort of their hospital room and read a story together to celebrate Christmas and togetherness.

If you are out of town and worried about shipping your book to us, we have made an Amazon Wishlist (click here) with lots of Christmas stories on it. You can shop and the book will be mailed straight to us. You can always go to your local bookstore and purchase your favorite story and get it to us. All the books will receive a stamp in the inside stating that it was donated in honor of Knox, Congenital Heart Defect Warrior, and donated to the CTICU and the step down unit of the Heart Center at Nationwide.

We appreciate your interest in providing a little Christmas cheer to children with heart problems like Knox while they are in the hospital. We still can't thank Nationwide Children's Hospital enough for all the did for our little guy and our family, and we will continue to support them however we can!

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Though we just celebrated Knox's 1st birthday a few weeks ago, today was another anniversary that will forever be important in the Hatmaker home.

Today is the one year's anniversary of Knox's 1st open heart surgery.

On some of my support groups that I am apart of, parents celebrate heart-iversaries with cakes and parties. I am not sure that I want to go down that road (because there will be a year I forget), but I do feel that this life event is one that we should celebrate as it gave our little guy hope. It allowed him to grow bigger and stronger, and have a life outside of the hospital.

I couldn't help today but think about that day a year ago. I remember staying at the hospital the night before holding him as long as I could.

And then you can't help but see how far we have come. I wonder what the future will be like when I have to explain to Knox why he has a scar down his chest. Will he feel self-conscious about it? Will it bother him? I hope that he can understand how brave he was, how special he is, and what a miracle he is to us.

As I spent my day with my little miracle, one of our heart families at Nationwide Children's Hospital lost their heart warrior. They too, like us, traveled from Kentucky to get their son the help he needed. He had a long, hard road, and fought his awful CHD as long as he could. Please say a prayer for this family as they go through the unthinkable.

Congenital Heart Defects are ugly. Though they range in severity, no child should ever have to go through all this at such a young age. We will continue to raise awareness and funds to help fight against it. And until they find causes, we will continue to celebrate our heart-iversaries and our heart warriors. I know I will.

Friday, March 6, 2015


Well we made it. 

Happy 1st Birthday Knox Andrew Hatmaker! 

For a whole 365 days I have been the mommy to a very special little miracle.  As all of you know we got off to quite a rocky start. It has been down right hard at times. But... it has also been wonderful and filled with more love than one might ever believe to know.

I am not going to lie... I have cried several times leading up to this day. And I am sure I will cry today and tomorrow as we celebrate this little guy. It is hard to put into words what this day means in my life. I guess when I look back to around this time last year that wondered if we would make it to this day...March 7th, 2015. But with the help of medicine, Dr. Mark Galantowicz, Dr. Carol Cottrill, Nationwide Children's Hospital, God, love, prayers, and support - we are here.

On Sunday we will celebrate Knox's birthday with family and friends at our home. I have had many people ask me what the theme of Knox's party is. The theme is: On the Night You Were Born. It is a beautiful children's book that my best friend Salena gave to Knox. Of course, it was to be read on the night he was born, but instead she shared it with him on their first visit weeks later.

The night that Knox was born was not a happy time for me like most parents feel. It was scary. It was uncertain. It wasn't a time of sweet baby pictures and cuddles. Our family was separated. This isn't how I want to forever remember the night Knox was born.

So the story, meaning, and colors of "On The Night You Were Born" theme is like a re-do. A time to remember the night Knox was born as the special night that it should be, and will forever be in my heart. What the story says is true...
On the night you were born, 

The moon smiled with such wonder
That the stars peeked in to see you
And the night wind whispered,
“Life will never be the same.”
Because there had never been anyone like you…ever in the world.

Happy 1st Birthday Knox! I love you more than you will ever know and so glad that God picked me to be your mommy. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Heart Month and our Heart Hero

As many of you know February is Heart Month. While many think of only raising awareness for heart disease in women and adults, research for congenital heart defects (CHDs) is underfunded and doesn't get the attention it needs. 1 in 100 babies are born with a CHD and it kills more children than any type of children's cancer. 

Of course being new to the CHD family, I am not near as good as raising awareness as some of the other awesome moms I have met through support groups. I do what I can though. So when Nationwide Children's hospital contacted us about sharing our story during heart month we were eager to say yes. 

Though many of you have seen our interview with NBC 4 Columbus, I wanted to share the story. We met with Gina from marketing and Ellie Merritt the reporter and news anchor who would be sharing Knox's story in the Magic Forest at Nationwide. We were missing one very important guest at the party though - Dr. G! He was one of the reasons we were excited to do the interview because he would be there as well. We haven't seen him since we left Columbus, and of course, he holds a special place in our heart. 

We went up to the cardiology clinic - a place we were very familiar with and set up in a conference room. We began our interview and waited for Dr. G's arrival.  Of course when he arrived everyone stopped what we were doing. He seemed nervous because he doesn't like the spotlight, and apologized because he had been up all night in surgery. He was excited to see us and excited to see Knox. It was nice to see him and not be nervous and talking about surgery. He is such a wonderful individual and an amazing surgeron.  He have me some advice - but that's another blog. 

Ellie, the reporter was wonderful to work with- Very professional and extremely caring. She seemed interested in our journey and loved Knox. Who doesn't though? We were excited to see what they put together to share Knox's story. I am glad it is something we can show him as he gets older. Thank you to Gina, Nationwide, Ellie Merritt, NBC 4, and Dr. Galantowicz for benign apart of our heart awareness story. 

I have spoke a few times about being a part of support groups on Facebook. You can learn a lot from them and it's a great way to not feel alone. One of the groups I am a member of is exclusively for mothers whose children have had heart issues at Nationwide Children's Hospital. 

One of their projects during Heart Month is to make a video to thank the staff of Nationwide. Here is the wonderful video they made, and you might even see someone you know! Thank you JoAnne for making this video and allowing me to find comfort in this group.

Lastly, the important thing for us to remember is that we should raise awareness for CHDs everyday not just in February. I have seen way too many children affected by these issues this year. 

Friday, January 30, 2015

January 30th.

A year ago today, I was suppose to be in Fort Worth preparing for the Cowtown Classic Sale and celebrating my birthday at Tim Love's Lonesome Dove Bistro. Instead I was doing exactly what the doctor ordered - laying in the bed.

You see January 30, 2014 was my first day of bed rest. We had just returned from Denver and I was having one last baby check up before we headed to Texas. Instead I found myself headed to the Labor & Delivery floor to be admitted for blood pressure monitoring. After spending my first (turns out - of many) nights in the hospital, I was sent home not to travel and not to do anything. Well, we did go out for Mexican and then we came home and sat on the couch.

Birthday night 2014

In hindsight that first day of bed rest was pretty easy to what started spiraling after that first initial hospitalization. But as this 21st birthday (yes I have age issues - get over it) came around this year I couldn't help but reflect on what a different person I am this year than I was last year.

First being that I a mom to a precious -almost 11 month old - heart warrior who is my hero. That precious little boy has changed my life (literally, emotionally, physically, mentally) more than I would have ever thought possible. I have learned a lot about myself, my husband, life, medicine, the city of Columbus, and faith. I am a stronger person than I was a year ago. The person in the picture above would have been in the fetal position (and I was at times) when hard things came my way.  I have a stronger marriage. Not that we didn't have a wonderful marriage before, but going through the past year and having him stick by my side, hold me when I have cried, slept on hospital couches, and became the best daddy has made us both appreciate each other and marriage more.

Though 2014 brought Knox to us, it definitely wasn't my favorite year. It was hard. It was sad. It was nerve wrecking. It was the year that changed me, but I am so glad for that. I know that because of that year, that this year I am able to be a better mother, wife, and person than I was a year ago, and that is worth celebrating.