Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Signing off...

Just now, when I reached my dashboard here on Blogger, and then clicked that little "pencil" button to post something I felt very sad.
I love this blog. I am feeling like this is the end of an era. 7 years of writing. 7 years of so much that has happened to our family. So much good, some just "meh" and some kind of bad. But mostly good. This blog has been an incredible source of figuring out who I am. I go through our archives from time to time and just read away. I see how much our family has evolved and how much my, still not that great, writing has evolved. In 2005 and 2006, I wanted to use this site as a way to store photos of our "Baby James" and put a few captions with the photos. Then I remembered that I can fit a few more words in there. This was right around the time that I discovered SO many other bloggers out there. Bloggers who had been doing this whole writing thing for WAY longer than me. And way better I have to add. I think of Amalah, Joy Unexpected, and artistmotherteacher and that's just naming a few. Those are just the bloggers who are still out there. I've met Bloggers who've ended their blogs and I've stayed in contact with them through Facebook, email, and Instagram. Moms who had children right around the time that James and/or Natalie was born. It's been that long! I followed a blog about a little boy who was born right around the time James was. For about a few months later, I noticed the updates ended for a while. Then I found out that the mom had died in a tragic car accident. I mean... it's hard to not feel touched by these families and their photos and words. Especially when you follow them and hope to see great things happen for them. You think "why wouldn't great things happen..it's supposed to be great!"

One of the other crushing things I noticed with blogging was how the tone and readership changes drastically right when you post about having your second child born with a severe heart condition. My only wish is that someone could have told me ahead of time that that would have happened. I totally get it. Truly, I do. Not many people want to read about sad shit. They don't want to see a family go through this too real of an ordeal because it makes them sad. I've done it! Without realizing how slightly shitty that is, I've done that before Natalie was born. But we've kept a following going of people who have stuck with us through everything! Everything! And I mean everything. From the birth of James, to the discussions about his love of eating avocados, to him walking, to me posting a birth story about his little sister. Then these same people have followed our journey as a "heart family" and to this very day, they are still sticking around. THAT'S the shit that I love and continue to focus on. We've even gained readers because of Natalie's special heart!

I dreamed of being the next attendee at BlogHer. I've dreamed of making money from our family blog. I've dreamed of finally meeting some of my favorite bloggers and people going "OH you're from that Bent blog!!" I know..that's so cheesy and stupid. But those are mah dreams.

I've had rants that I couldn't believe I posted. I've cried while writing a few of these posts. I've even made myself laugh if you can believe that! I never had those dreams become a reality but I can always look back at this blog and feel grateful. Not only did a special group of people follow my family, but this blog has been my scrapbook for the past 7 years. If you took a look at James and Natalie's closet and dug into their big bin of baby books and scrapbooks you would be horrified. This blog has been the best source of documenting their first 5 and 6 years of beautiful life.

I am in awe that I have 2 beautiful children and a husband. I started this blog on September 26th, 2005. During these past 7 years I have successfully given birth because I seriously thought that I would be a human incapable of handling myself during something so intense. And I did it TWICE! I married my best friend in the summer of 2006 and boy oh boy we have had some ridiculous piles of shit thrown at us. Phew. But we keep knocking those balls of shit out of the park. We've gotten hit in the faces a few times with some curve balls but no permanent bruises. Lessons? yes. Scars? nope.
We've moved 5 times during the course of this blog. We've lived in 2 states. We've even included so many photos from an actual CAMERA before our days now of Instagram abuse. I do love my "1977 filter".

Please don't forget to bookmark "The Queen of Hearts". This blog is entirely Natalie. It was my way of having our own little corner on the web that shouted CHDS!!! because we need more of those in my opinion. The blog isn't just about CHDs, it's also about hope and inspiration. I will be sure to throw a ton of sarcasm and eye rolls in there too, so don't worry! But all in all it's about a truly remarkable young lady who I am very lucky to joke with and call her "The Queen". I'll update whenever I can..but mostly when I'm not competing with a 6 year old and his Shaun the Sheep game.

So this is goodbye... but it's a huge "hello" to more good times and shitty times. I just won't be documenting those here. I think that I can only post about boogers, farts, and crazy stuff the kids say in more separate areas of the interwebs. Maybe I shouldn't have been keeping it in one spot? Because just like the good and shitty times, the boogers and farts are bountiful!!

..Signing off....

Friday, August 3, 2012

only 3 weeks until the Heart Walk! : )

I wanted to make sure that I post a little bit even more about the upcoming Heart Walk here in Aurora (Denver) that's happening exactly 3 weeks from today! Our family will be volunteering at the Heart Walk, so we'll be behind the scenes helping out this year, our very first year ever. But I've been so busy that I keep forgetting to ask for donations! Which is important to ask for. Here's the link to the walk page, so go ahead and click on the picture:
If you would like to make a donation you can enter Natalie's name in the sponsor link: Natalie Bent

I made our family goal $875 which is probably pretty high (hey we're new at this) but I also like to make my goals really high, so please? could you donate a few dollars, anything? The Rocky Mountain Congenital Heart Walk is free to register, too!

We hope you help us support The Children's Heart Foundation and Adult Congenital Heart Association. We do this for Natalie and for all of the CHD survivors, angels, and families affected by congenital heart defects. Every little dollar and bit of support goes a very long way.

Remember! You can bookmark Natalie's (aka "The Queen of Hearts") new blog at:
For the month of August, I'll be posting everyday! I'm so excited about this new adventure. And in about another week or so (could be less) I'll be posting some goodbye stuff here on this blog. It's actually kind of sad to end this blog but it's bittersweet, because of so many changes that we're enduring over here in the Bent household. I still have to have this blog turned into a book so I won't be clicking that "delete" button just yet. Soon.. really soon.. but not yet. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Rocky Mountain Heart Walk August 25th!

UPDATE: The link works again..not sure what happened but it works. Sorry if there was any confusion!

I wanted to make sure that I post a little bit about the upcoming Heart Walk here in Aurora (Denver) that's happening exactly 1 month from today! Our family will be volunteering at the Heart Walk, so we'll be behind the scenes helping out this year, our very first year ever. But I've been so busy that I keep forgetting to ask for donations! Which is important to ask for. Here's the link to our family page, so go ahead and click on the picture:
I made our family goal $875 which is probably pretty high (hey we're new at this) but I also like to make my goals really high, so please? could you donate a few dollars, anything? The Rocky Mountain Congenital Heart Walk is free to register, too! Here's a little snippet from the event website:

"Thank you for your interest in the Rocky Mountain Congenital Heart Walk, which will take place Saturday, August 25, 2012 at General's Park in Aurora. This year's walk will include a great route, food, and fun! This meaningful joint venture between the Adult Congenital Heart Association and The Children's Heart Foundation is designed to bring together the congenital heart disease community like never before. We hope that you will consider forming a team and recruiting your friends, family members, and co-workers to become a part of our walk. We look forward to working with you as we unite to fight congenital heart disease."

We hope you help us support The Children's Heart Foundation and Adult Congenital Heart Association. We do this for Natalie and for all of the CHD survivors, angels, and families affected by congenital heart defects. Every little dollar and bit of support goes a very long way. 

Due to the fact that we have only a month left for the heart walk, I will keep this blog going until the walk, so we can hopefully raise some money and awareness. I am so grateful for each one of you that stops by this blog and for every penny we can gather for donations. Thanks so much!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

moving on..

This blog will become 7 years old in September. I never, in my wildest and most awesomest dreams, would have thought that it'd still be around 7 years after my 1st photo post. If you click on that post's link, you'll see Salem. Who by the way, is still around and kicking! I would take a million puffs of my inhaler every day just to have her be with us again. But she's top cat at Gammy's and she's a happy cat. Salem doesn't need a 5 and 6 year old chasing after her on a daily basis anyway.

I've been thinking for a really long time now, about what my goals have been for this blog. Also, what are my goals for the future? I think I've far surpassed my goals by keeping this blog full of our adventures (and misadventures) for 7 years. Initially, I wanted this blog to be strictly photo only. Then I started to type some words. Then more sentences..then more long paragraphs (probably filled with even more run-on sentences). And then I found out that I have a point of view. You can see that well as I became more comfortable with my role as a mom. I had things that I started to get off my chest. I had things that I noted that were stuck to my chest (snot, spit up, etc and more etc). Just like standing in front of an audience and giving a speech, you feel more at ease as the crowd nods and laughs. The lump in your throat disappears as do the awkward sweats coupled with nausea. Although this blog has had it's fair share of barf stories.

But for a solid year now I've contemplated moving on- trying something new. Something that would go right along with how our little 4 person family has evolved so much. I've made the difficult decision to stop writing on Bent, Not Broken and start diving into my goal (head under water and all) with my focus being Congenital Heart Defects. Because without having Natalie, I wouldn't have this passion. I'm very grateful for that. Plus, this blog has evolved into a CHD awareness blog / mom blog (I kind of hate the term "mom blog" but anyway) / this / that. And the focus will, like always and forever, be about Natalie. She is 5 now. She is getting older each day and with that comes more ability for me to share her story and prove that a child with half of a heart can live a pretty normal life. It may be a different "normal" and in Natalie's case, it certainly is a different normal but appears totally normal to the outside world.
Our family is very aware that our child is an exception because her battle has been fought without any extra bumps and bruises but sometimes, I feel like we accidentally put this misconception out there that ALL of those battling CHDs can be just like Natalie. For those who really don't fully understand CHD and may only know Natalie's story, it appears as though that CHD can be cured and it's not so big of a deal. Why keep writing and telling her story when "all" your child has are some scars and has had the surgeries to "cure" it? We wish it were that easy. And in 2012 with super modern medicine, shouldn't it be that easy? You'd think (we'd think).
But it's not.

Appearances are very deceiving when it comes to survivors of CHD. What isn't deceiving is the positivity that we can bring to the world with sharing Natalie's story. All of my own life I've been teased for being so positive about everything. I actually don't mind that sort of teasing. But then I never expected to find out that I had a newborn with half of a heart so it does jolt your ability to be positive all of the time. Thankfully, positivity trumps.
But I'm also.. WE are also.. just following our daughter's lead. None of us have any control over CHD. There is zero control and when you give that up, you can then focus on what it is that you're supposed to learn from your child. Through many tears, anxiety attacks, sleepless nights, and too many days worrying and being terrified, we have learned to stop and take the time to learn from her everyday. Natalie is only 5 and has already taught us heaps of stuff. We still have mountains to learn and that will continue for every day we're alive. We are also still a little afraid, but I don't think it's possible to give that up. I believe that a little fear of the unknown is pretty damn normal.

So with all of that said.. I kept in mind a poem written by my sister, Natalie's aunt Jen. It was written a few years ago and if I'm remembering correctly, it was written right after her Fontan surgery. So yes, she's an early 3 year old at this time. It's a poem at the right of the screen called "Queen of Hearts". Please read it. It's SO Natalie.

I have decided to kick start a new blog, dedicated to Natalie and her journey, properly titled... "Queen of Hearts". How cool is that? I've also been really unhappy with Blogger for a few years now. There are many posts where it won't let me add the amount photos I want because of new rules and restrictions that do not benefit me in any way. Too many posts where it said I exceeded my storage amount and thus, the post that should have had photos didn't.
Sorry to sound so snippy there.
It's just, when you've been dedicated to something for so long and then they change it so you have to eventually pay for it, it gets frustrating. I don't feel like paying for space through Blogger/Picasa/Google when there are so many other choices. So we have moved over to Wordpress. Which has been pretty cool so far! It's a little harder to use, but the more you use it, the easier it gets.

I'll post an official goodbye to this blog over the course of the next few weeks. I'm not signing off permanently just yet. I won't make it that easy for you. This blog will be up for about another 3-4 weeks. I also decided to turn it into a book. : )
So go on over and bookmark The Queen's page. It's in the very early stages of being developed so bare with me. It's looking a little extra plain. But the new blog will also be simple and easy. I want to focus more on the content of my posts and the tabs at the top of the page. I know that we won't have a super huge following. In fact, we don't here. But there is a following and I would love for every reader of this blog to go on over and say "hi" once in a while. And by saying "hi" you can just comment or simply stop by. That'd be pretty awesome.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I do love them.

When I'm not getting frustrated with both kids or yelling in my high-pitched super extra annoying high decibel voice, I am seeing more and more proof of how awesome they are:

*I love how Natalie calls James her "brudder". I can't get enough of hearing it. I love it so much.

*I love how both children run up to any kid at the playground (on example) and ask to play with them. They are pretty outgoing around other children and I am such awe of that. The don't even necessarily do it together, they go separately. The other day we caught Natalie talking to another child on her own while James was on the monkey bars.

*I love how James plays "war" with his stuffed animals and he does that little boy shooting sound.. "pew pew pew!!" He's been doing that a whole lot lately. The stuffed animals need to find a way to stop waging war on each other. 

*We made tie-dye shirts for the kids and I would like to say that I wasn't completely OCD about it but I  totally was. We don't have a yard or anything like that, so we had to dye them inside. They turned out really cool actually. Today at the dinner table their dad remarks to Natalie how much he loves her shirt. James chimes with "don't you like my shirt?" Their dad laughs and replies, "but James you're not even wearing a shirt." 

*Whenever Natalie wants to hear "Somebody That I Used To Know" by Gotye, she asks to hear "the camouflage song". (Are my kids the only ones COMPLETELY IN LOVE with it?) Natalie always says "I'm the girl I'm theee girl!!!!!" Ok ok..you're the girl in the video gah. 

*Natalie's pet Loki (her beanie baby kitty that her Gammy gave her a few years ago) is, as we all know, her most favoritist companion in the whole universe. But lately, she keeps pretending that Loki gets hit by a monster truck and breaks her tail and all of her legs. It's been several months and that poor kitty has been hit by a truck at least 100 times. 

Here are some latest photos of James' artwork and behold... Loki.... 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

some half assed typed sentences..

Ha. I remember when I was growing up my mom would say "half assed" in regards to us doing something quickly and without care. "Stop putting your laundry away so HALF ASSED." When you're 12 it's not as funny but as a 33 year old, now mom of 2, it really is pretty funny. And it's so true. But I won't use this statement with my children. I will want to and there have been many times where it almost slipped off my tongue, but I've kept it inside. Maybe I'll wait until their 12. After all, I hear that this can make my children even more charismatic when they're older.

I am signed up for 2 fall courses. Both online. Both create complete joy in my soul: English Composition II and pre-Algebra. The pre-Algebra goes against what my advisor suggested but I feel like I made a pretty cool decision. Math, on every level, is a whole 'nother language to my brain. I could go into a post about how I'm more right-brained than left-brained but I don't even think that's true anymore. I think I just can't grasp math. I've always been this way. So, without retaking the college assessment math test, I get to actually pace myself and learn math. Math... ahhh math.
The kids need to start school. Now.

We have yet to go camping this summer. We'll probably cram something in this summer. We have a full month left.

We also have the opportunity to visit some theme parks for free (one time free visit) because of the sweet people at Give Kids The World. The day we packed up to leave from Orlando last December, they told us about this awesome opportunity. We still haven't used any. But the kids, especially James, don't really like rides. I just know that if James would sit with me on a roller coaster he would hate me forever. I don't even think I'd get him to sit on it. He'd have to be drugged and well.. that's probably not legal.
How can 2 children, as babies, as toddlers, and as bigger kids LOVE being tossed around in the air (even right after a big meal) be so scared of rides? They are totally missing out. Although..... Natalie is aaaaalmost the right height for some more rides.. I bet I could get her to ride a roller coaster with me. That would figure.. the kid with a heart condition. LOL I love that about her though.. she is a little bit of a dare devil if I can bribe her enough.

The hubs is getting ready for his fall semester of school already, by preparing to get a million shots. He's a little nervous but I told him, "hey I think they'll leave your butt alone".
I hope he feels a little better.
He just has to get the DTaP and a few other vaccines so he can safely take his clinical class and begin massaging people receiving cancer treatments. I think he's more up to date with his vaccines than he realizes.

Am I the only mom out there that is constantly bothering her pediatrician's office for yet another shot record? Just like the lost socks... my copies of shot records end up somewhere in their own land.

Half-assed. I'm still laughing at that. I should call my mom and remind her about this.

That's the beauty of being older, you can just come out and ask them. Hopefully she doesn't make me stand in the corner.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

green cake, smog, and Play-Doh pizza

So now that I'm done with being all sappy and sorry for myself I can move along now..

Sometimes I just feel sappy. But not as bad as the stuff that Natalie rubbed onto my jeans a few weeks ago.

"Hey mommy, there's something sticky and gross..and ewww" then she proceeded to rub the mysterious stuff onto my jeans. Luckily I figured out pretty quick that it was sap, but I was feeling convinced for a few seconds that it was snot.
I probably would have preferred snot.


July 3rd was our 6th wedding anniversary. It was full of buttercream green cake in the shape of a watermelon (and apparently green dye takes FOREEEEVVVVER to leave your system), champagne (said in my best Christopher Walken way), and rest. I also forgot how yummy champagne is and drank it so fast as if it were "extra special" soda. I stood up and realized how much of a light-weight I am despite my heavy-weight status.
The husband overloaded me with flowers and kisses. It was honestly the best, most simple anniversary we've ever had. We usually try to find way to dump the kiddies off at someone's house but we didn't even really try this year. And it was actually really nice to share this day with the kids. Both Natalie and James kept saying sweet stuff about how it was a "special day" for us.. and Natalie would point to our wedding painting in the dining room of James, Ricky, and I and say "where am I?" with her hands on her hips and you know.."that look". She did that a few times but then let it go when I sort of lied and told her that she was in mah belly in that picture. Technically I'm not lying....that much... she was swimming around in my uterus a few weeks later. Whatever. That'll calm Hurricane Natalie for a few years.


So.. 4th of July! The festivities! The barbecues! The parties! The chips and dip! The Bent Bunch shenangians!

We didn't have any of that this year. We tried to but it just didn't work out this year. As most of the planet earth knows, Colorado is so crispy and dry that most of the state has been declared a disaster zone and throw in a bajillion fires burning left and right, well that just makes things so much more interesting in these here parts. A very sad interesting. But as the fires have become a little bit under control, fires in Wyoming and Montana erupted causing this on July 4th...

Is this L.A? Bawlmore?

We still felt pretty optimistic about the area we were headed to, which was one of the super rare spots to see fireworks this year (90% of the shows were canceled this year because of the fire risk). But as we drove closer and closer to the area the haze was thicker and you couldn't see a single spot of the foothills (which are pretty huge and not too far away). Visibility was awful and the air made the back of  your throat burn a little. Hey, that's probably not a sign of something healthy.. but we went to grab dinner and continued to feel optimistic. The weather in Denver can change is 2 seconds so we were hoping that the smog would leave us all. But it didn't. Actually it got worse and the health advisory went up and so.. that's how the story goes. Gotta keep the chillens healthy. Especially a kiddo with a special heart that's already compromised.

The kids cried while we sat in the restaurant and told them that it wasn't safe to go.. then I remembered that I had a few extra bucks so we bribed them with a small trip to the toy store. That immediately perked them up and we couldn't get back to the car fast enough!
"I'm gonna get a new car and a new game.. and a new spiderman costume and... "

"Whoa whoa buddy, I was thinking of a $20 budget".

A 6 year old already knows that $20 isn't going to allow you to afford $300 worth of goodies so he actually sighed...

Then we headed home to make Play-Doh pizza and eat ice-cream while we watched "the guy from America's Funniest Home Videos" count down to the DC fireworks. James misses nothing.

It was a nice night.

And so peaceful. Thank you firework ban for the 1st peaceful 4th of July that I've ever experienced.