Zach’s Heart

As I made the final payment to their pediatric cardiologist online this afternoon, I realized I never posted on Zach’s appointment that was months ago.

Like Lucy’s cardiology appointment, we signed in, got his stats, did an EKG, & then the cardiologist listened to his heart & she heard murmurs. The murmurs were faint & “normal” but she still did a very lengthy ultrasound of his heart.

Suz's Treats Zach heart EKG

His ultrasound revealed a perfectly healthy, normal heart! Yes, for some unknown reason, he has “normal murmurs of childhood” but his heart is in perfect condition. No holes, no issues, no restrictions & no follow up needed!

The Book of Henry

The Book of Henry came out in theaters yesterday, Friday June 16th. I was able to see it a few days ago so I could share my thoughts.

This is a harder one for me to review. Have you seen the trailer?

I think this film was partially marketed as a children’s movie, but y’all it’s not. It has a PG-13 rating & IMO, that needs to be adhered to for this one. I’d call this film a thriller. There were funny parts, super sweet parts, VERY sad parts & lots of suspense.

The main character is single mom, Susan (played really well by Noemi Watts) & her two sons, the brilliant Henry (Jaeden Lieberher) & Peter (Jacob Tremblay).

Henry made me laugh at his classroom antics & made me cry over his sweet love of his family & empathy for others.

Brother Peter, I just wanted to hold & hug & take home with me. I was rooting for him all the way til the very end.

I think one of my favorite scenes in the The Book of Henry is this one between Susan & Henry after they witnessed a domestic disturbance at their local grocery story. Henry saying “Violence isn’t the worst thing, apathy is” has stuck with me all week.

I loved the mother-son bonds in this film. I loved that Henry was the grounded responsible one & mom Susan cussed, played xbox & loved her boys fiercely. Their nightly bedtime routines were so special to me.

Sarah Silverman was great playing Susan’s coworker & family friend Sheila. I wanted to be part of their friendship too & drink some wine & laugh & cuss with these ladies.

As the plot unfolds with what might be happening next door & how or if they can help neighbor & classmate Christina (played by Maddie Ziegler) & her stepfather Glenn (Dean Norris), I was sitting at the edge of my seat in suspense.

I won’t share more spoilers, but I do think this is a good film to go see. Mothers, take tissues.

Cars 3

Cars 3 for my family has been probably the most anticipated film of the year.

While Z isn’t *quite* as Cars obsessed as he used to be (he now shares the Cars/trains/Planes obsession with Batman & TMNT, sigh), Cars & Cars 2 are always movies they welcome watching on a Saturday morning as we ease into the day. We showed them the first trailer & sneaks as soon as we found them & since then, both Zach & Lucy have been asking when do we see it?!

I was thrilled to tell them last weekend & we would be able to see Cars 3 THIS WEEK! I snuck off at lunch to the Disney Store & bought Cars 3 tees (Buy one get one half off FTW!), so as I shared on IG, we were all set & so excited!

In a completely out of our usual behavior, we happened to be early to the screening & I’m glad we were. Lucy & Zach munched on popcorn & settled in for the film. Be sure to be there early because Disney Pixar has as short story animated treat to watch first.

Lou was great! It’s the story of a playground bully & the LOst & foUnd box that stands in his way.

LOU – When a toy stealing bully ruins recess for a playground full of kids, only one thing stands in his way: the “Lost and Found” box. From Pixar Animation Studios, “Lou” opens in theaters on June 16, 2017, in front of “Cars 3.” ©2017 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

We all laughed through it & I hoped my kiddos were paying attention to the message!

Then onto CARS 3!

CARS 3 (Pictured L-R) – Guido, Sally, Sarge, Mater and Luigi. © 2017 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

The old gang was back together & I could not have been happier to see the faces of Lucy & Zach smiling over ole Mater & friends cheering on Lighting McQueen racing!

NEXT-GEN COMPETITION – In Disney•Pixar’s “Cars 3,” a sleek, new generation of racers hits the track, including frontrunner Jackson Storm, who threatens Lightning McQueen’s championship status and forces him to rethink his strategy. With Owen Wilson and Armie Hammer as the voices of Lightning McQueen and Jackson Storm, ©2017 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

New class of rookies with more technology throws a wrench in Lightning’s winning streak & also in the friendly atmosphere Lightning & his long-standing racers had created.

CARS 3 – (Pictured) Lightning McQueen. ©2016 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

The crash that’s seen in the trailers knocks Lightning off his typical confidence & has him rethinking his future in racing.

SIMPLY STERLING — In “Cars 3,” Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) is invited to train at the brand-new, elite, high-tech Rust-eze Racing Center, run by an always-dapper, brilliant businesscar named Sterling. Featuring Nathan Fillion (ABC’s “Castle,” ABC’s “Modern Family”) as the voice of Sterling,  ©2017 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Lightning goes to his new training facility. It’s shiny & fancy & filled with new Cars racers & a new trainer named Cruz. Hilarity ensues & Lightning decides to try training his way. First on his list: Daytona beach like the old days!

OFF TO THE RACES — Disney•Pixar’s “Cars 3” is teaming up with NASCAR this year as crowd favorite Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) prepares to return to the big screen June 16, 2017, alongside elite trainer Cruz Ramirez (voice of Cristela Alonzo). © 2017 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

When that doesn’t quite go as he hoped, he hits the road (with Cruz in tow) to see what he can find.

CRAZY 8 DRAMA — In “Cars 3,” Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) hits the road in an effort to reignite his career. Along the way, he finds himself in the middle of a smash-and-crash, figure-8 race, facing off against local legend Miss Fritter, a formidable school bus who—like #95 himself—doesn’t like to lose. Featuring Lea DeLaria (Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black”) as the voice of Miss Fritter, Disney•Pixar’s “Cars 3” opens in U.S. theaters on June 16, 2017. ©2017 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Lightning, inspired by the memory of Doc, goes ole school & tries to find the racing legions of the past.

MEET THE LEGENDS — Lightning McQueen comes hood to hood with a group of characters who represent the roots of stock car racing—and provide a link to Lightning’s late coach and mentor, Doc Hudson. From left: River Scott (voice of Isiah Whitlock Jr.), Junior “Midnight” Moon (voice of Robert Glenn “Junior” Johnson), Smokey (voice of Chris Cooper), Louise “Barnstormer” Nash (voice of Margo Martindale), and Lightning himself (voice of Owen Wilson). “Cars 3” opens in U.S. theaters  on June 16, 2017. ©2017 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Like Thomasville, NC (home of Cars NASCAR legions & my Pawpaw) ole school where Lightning & Cruz enlist the help of some older cars (including Smokey & Louise, who was inspired by the first female NASCAR driver). I LOVED this section of the film where the directors really paid homage to the history & heart behind the sport.

ROAD TO VICTORY — When faced with a new generation of racers who threaten to derail his career, Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) teams up with tech-savvy, unconventional trainer Cruz Ramirez (voice of Cristela Alonzo) to find his way back to the top. Directed by Brian Fee, produced by Kevin Reher and co-produced by Andrea Warren, Disney•Pixar’s “Cars 3” opens in U.S. theaters on June 16, 2017. ©2017 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Will Lightning be ready to take on the young guns in the final race of the season?! You’ll have to go to the movies this weekend to find out!

I hope you & your family love this one as much as we did! Cars 3 is rated G & I really believe it’s family friendly for all ages.

Zach loved all the races; he could not even pick a favorite scene. Lucy liked Cruz. Jason was still talking about how much he loved it to his coworkers later on this week & we’ve already decided we’ll have to own it as soon as it comes out. & I loved that Cars 3 introduced strong female cars who helped save the day. Y’all know I’m all about that girl power vibe & instilling in Lucy & Zach that historical gender roles should not define who or what you want to be when you grow up!

Go see Cars 3 ~ it was awesome! & while you wait til movie time, here’s a few fun things to get you hyped up. A Corn Fritters recipe from Mrs Fritter! A Lightning McQueen memory game & a Spot the Difference game with Natalie Certain, the new statistical analyst!

While Disney Pixar did provide us with passes (as well as tattoos that Lucy & Zach have been super excited over), their generosity did not play a role in my honest review of the film.

 

A Tiny Little Bit Of a Broken Heart

It’s been a while since I shared much of a status on the kiddos. I share so much with photos & updates on FB & IG that this page gets a little dusty sometimes. But since y’all have been here with me since the very beginning figured I’d share what’s going on.

Let me preface this saying that Lucy is “fine”. We are confident in our pediatrician as well as pediatric cardiologist & trust what they’ve assured us. I KNOW, oh Lord how my heart hurts just thinking about children, my friends children, who have had literal heart break, that this could be oh so much worse. I am not trying to diminish that. But I’m still processing & this is how I process.

So a rewind. Tuesday week ago, Lucy & Zach had their 5yr old check up. We saw one of the main doctors in the practice, one we’ve seen before & that I’d always liked. Height & weight great (44″ & 48lb for L & 43″ & 43lb for Z). Hearing good. Eye sight good. Urine & bloodwork sample good. They passed their can you balance, say numbers, letters “test” fine.

Dr looked at eyes, ears, throat (check, check, check) & listened to their lungs & heart. At their hearts, he had them sit up & lay down & then later in the appointment listened again. I was kinda thinking hmmm? But also wrangling two keyed up 5y olds who’d just heard & realized they were each getting 4 shots, so I was a bit distracted.

After all was said & done, Dr told us that he heard murmurs in both their hearts, more severe in Lucy. And that he wanted us to take them to a pediatric cardiologist this summer. I was shocked. All their Dr appointments over last 5yrs & we were just hearing about this. He advise as hearts grow, things can change. He felt like it could be nothing, but that he recommended seeing a specialist.

They were a bit of a mess from four shots each & I was a bit of a mess stressing over “heart murmurs”, so we stayed home last Wednesday. I still have not googled it as I don’t want to know.

(We stayed in bed watching Netflix for way longer than usually acceptable still-in-bed time. But they were dressed though!)

Pediatric cardiologist office actually called Wed after they received the referral so I was glad I had time to take their call & make appointments. Lucy’s appointment was 6/13. (& Zach’s will be 6/26 & I’ll do an update post on his afterwards.)

So back story done. Here’s synopsis of Lucy’s appointment.

They took us back quick; did basic height/weight then showed us to our room. There Lucy put on a gown & had an EKG done of her heart. The nurse was amazing. Chatted & had Lucy happy & giggling then taught her how to be a statue for the testing.

Next the Dr & a training Dr came & listened to her heart. She told us they could hear 3 different murmurs but not to be alarmed that they’re “normal murmurs of childhood”. For that I was thinkful & honestly we didn’t ask questions. We were happy to hear “normal”. I now want to know what is normal & do all kids have these or is it like badish but still within “normal” range?!

She still wanted to do heart ultrasound so into that room we went. (That room, all the way down to the warmed up gel, brought back so many babies doctor appointment memories for both Jason & I!) Lucy was happy all through the ultrasound because they had Netflix Trolls playing on a TV above her head! (Thank goodness.)

I, on the other hand, thought to myself, this is taking way longer than it should for a “normal” heart. Jason came & sat down beside me & held my hand. I think he was thinking the same thing. Once she finished, we headed back to exam room which is where she told us that Lucy has a small hole in her heart.

A hole in her heart.

I know my face showed all the emotions I was trying to hold back. The cardiologist assured us it was very small hole. When she was born, one of the holes you’re born with just never fully closed. It was an incidental find in the ultrasound as it’s too small to make a murmur heard from stethoscope.

It’s not effecting her in any way. It’s not bad enough she wants surgery. She said it could close up on it’s own but usually if it was, it would have already done so. She wants to monitor it & see us back in 18-24 months. Lucy doesn’t have any medicine to take, no food restrictions, & no childhood activity restrictions.

She does have three things she can’t be or do due to possibility of blood clot or air bubble getting in through the hole. She can’t be an astronaut. She can’t be a fighter pilot (but she can fly in commercial airline). & she can’t deep sea scuba dive. So those are random. & probably not things she’d ever want to have as her career plans.

It’s jarring me still though to know that she does have these limitations (albeit crazy ones that the vast majority of people can’t or don’t want to do). I’m also jarred that my long hoped/prayed/dreamed/stressed over having daughter has had a heath issue pop up like this all the sudden, out of no where. Going into our preterm labor/delivery/NICU days, I had prepared my head & my heart for possible complications. At their 5yr check up after 5 yrs of (mostly) healthy kid life, I wasn’t prepared.

So this week, I’ve held them tighter, read just-one-more-book books way past bedtime, high fived & celebrated their little accomplishments realizing that things aren’t always as you thought. And that your sweet, silly, wild, crazy girl might just have a tiny little bit of a broken heart.

Cars 3: Nat’s Stats

I don’t know about y’all but a certain 5 year old boy (& his sister, & his Dad & his Mom) are getting very excited for June 16th. Because that’s the release date for Cars 3!

We’ve been re-watching Cars & Cars 2 these last couple weekends gearing up. & also Zach’s been pulling out all (what feels like 100+) of his Cars cars all over the den floor rolling & racing them around.

I got an email with a few “Nat’s Stats” about the upcoming film & the new characters that I thought I’d share with y’all.

NAT STATS Natalie Certain: By the Numbers Volume 1.0

Natalie Certain is a highly respected statistical analyst who knows her numbers. Book-smart and mathematically gifted, Certain is a fresh voice in the racing world. While she may earn top marks in her ability to evaluate a racer’s stats, she could be underestimating the importance of determination.

  • 4 Filmmakers added four characters to the film that were inspired by real NASCAR legends, Junior Johnson, Louise Smith, Wendell Scott, and Henry “Smokey” Yunick.
  • 5 Five key areas in the southeast U.S. were visited to research the history of stock-car racing as well as the look and feel of racing in the area. Among these areas are Charlotte, North Carolina, where filmmakers spent time at the NASCAR museum, the Charlotte Motor Speedway, the Hendrick Motorsport facility, consultant Ray Evernham’s garage and voice talent Humpy Wheeler’s house; North Wilkesboro Speedway; Occoneechee State Park and Speedway; Daytona, where they saw the Daytona Superspeedway, Daytona Beach (where early races took place), Daytona 500 Museum; and the Sonoma Speedway, where filmmakers were invited to ride along with professional racecar drivers.
  • 16 “Cars 3” opens in U.S. theaters on June 16, 2017. 25 More than two dozen characters take part in the Crazy 8 demolition derby sequence, including Tbone, a car whose condition improves— temporarily—when he gets hit; SuperFly, who catches air; FareGame, the taxi who doesn’t get any fares; and Jimbo the pickup truck.
  • 50 Junior Johnson, NASCAR driver from the 1950s-60s who inspired “Cars 3” character Junior “Midnight” Moon, won 50 NASCAR races before retiring in 1966.
  • 95 Lightning McQueen still sports the dynamic #95 with his signature lightning-bolt graphics. The design of those graphics is a hybrid of his look from 2006’s “Cars” and his look in 2011’s “Cars 2.”
  • 616 “Cars 3” gets dirty, really dirty. And it turns out, dirt—particularly mud—isn’t easy to get right in an animated feature. Artists and technicians teamed up to get the look just right—not too thick, not too thin—which was important because mud, splatters, dust, sand and sacred dirt appear in 616 shots.
  • 656 Cruz Ramirez is a key character with a compelling and emotional story. In order to give her a dynamic range of motion and expressions, character riggers gave Cruz a total of 656 controls, including 360 for her body and 296 for her face—the mouth, lips, teeth and tongue have 216 controls alone.
  • 1949 NASCAR legend Louise Smith entered her first race in 1949, where she rolled her family’s new Ford coupe. Smith inspired “Cars 3” character Louise Barnstormer Nash.
  • 2015 NASCAR’s Wendell Scott, who inspired “Cars 3” character River Scott, was posthumously inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2015.
  • 60,000 The render farm being utilized to render “Cars 3” runs more than 60,000 cores. Memory has been upgraded recently, bringing the average per core to 10 gigabytes, compared to the 4 gigabytes per core recently used for “Inside Out”.

Eek, I’m so excited!