“If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together there is something you must always remember, you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart I'll always be with you.”

~Winnie the Pooh


not too much going on in the hess household lately.  we've been busy getting back into our school routine, getting up at 6:30 am is not easy for my people.  we are not an early morning group.  that being said, the boys are doing great at school.  they have jumped right back into being the excellent students they are, and even better they get to see each other once in a while which makes my heart happy.  this has been 4 years in the making.  even though they were in the same system last year, they were in two different buildings.  this is the first time since preschool they are actually in the same building.  i'm not sure how much they acknowledge each other but i at least know they are together.  and actually, their classrooms are fairly close to one another which makes it even easier for me.  if i've said it once, i've said it a million times...this move was the best thing we ever did for our family.  we kind of went in blind and had no idea how it would turn out but man did we hit the jackpot.  we simply could not be happier.

next up is miss shelby turning 3.  it makes me want to shed a few tears that she will be that old but am also loving this time with her (well...not all the time.  she is a firecracker.  we like to call her "the beast" sometimes, even warning people to not make eye contact with her).  i didn't put her in a preschool program this year, deciding since she was my last one to keep her home one more year.  it sounded like a good idea, talk to me in january and see how i feel about it then.

picture day.  where did my babies go?

talk about not being a baby anymore...check out this little thing.  i can't handle this bathing suit.  too cute!
just a normal day shopping at wal mart in our cinderella dress.

and coloring our face dressed as minnie mouse.  typical day in our house.

but the best is seeing her with her brothers who love her so much.  especially this guy.  he is her biggest fan.


back to school

can you tell that we have gone back to school?  i can since my last post was at the beginning of august.  whoops.  i'm not doing a great job of keeping my promise of posting more often, am i?  lots has gone on in the month of august, most importantly back to school!  the boys weren't so excited about it (and to be honest, i wasn't either.  i'm more of a summer mom...staying up late, sleeping in late, etc.) but i was glad to get back on somewhat of a schedule.  the best part of going back to school was that the boys are FINALLY in the same school.  can i get an amen?  we have waited for this day for years.  since our school system has a different building for K-1 brooks was at a different school than carson, but not anymore.  they both get on the same bus and get off at the same school.  if i go to lunch with one, the other one is just down the hall.  if we have to donate money for one fundraiser, it counts for both (kind of).  my point is, it is so much easier!  of course, now that they are getting older it's not as much fun to see your brother at school.  the other day carson told me he saw brooks on the playground but he didn't wave back to him.  i was kinda ticked at brooks but when i asked him why he didn't wave to his brother he said, "i was busy chasing some girls."  oh, great.  but the next day brooks said he saw carson in the cafeteria and he waved.  i don't expect them to run and hug like they did in preschool (i am a little sad that time has passed) but i do at least want them to look out for one another once in a while.  now they can do that. 

3rd and 2nd grade with the best teachers at the best school.  go wolves!

before we headed back to school (too early in august if you ask me) we had one last vacation to the beach to visit our buddies who have been in brazil for the past year.  it was so great to see them and play in the sand for a few days.  it was the perfect end to a great summer.  complete with brooks learning to ride his bike without training wheels.  he had gotten pretty comfortable riding around with the training wheels on and didn't seem to mind.  we kept telling him that he could do it, he just had to try a few times.  maybe fall once or twice but that he would learn.  well, the word "fall" kept him from even considering it.  until our buddy mimi, who is 4, zoomed past brooks on her tiny 2-wheeled bike.  that was just the motivation he needed and one try later we were on two wheels.  when i asked him what made him want to try he said, "mimi rode by me on two wheels and she's 4!"  a little peer pressure never hurts, right?

sitting at the water's edge, just where he likes it.

toes in the water, butt in the sand.  we could get used to this.

beach nap with our buddy, mimi.

this may or may not of been right before she decided to throw an epic 2 year old fit and throw sand at me when i put her in time out.  please tell me they get easier at 3.  

no stopping him once he learned.  we went on a bike ride every morning, afternoon and night.


the candy bar!  a new favorite spot.


she wasn't sure what to do, she wanted it all.

someone thought this looked like a good choice.  um, try again bubba.

sweet friends and beach buddies.
feed them sugar

we survived with 6 kids at the beach and celebrated with a dinner out.  till next time, hopefully sooner than later.




oh my shelby

i love this little peanut and everything about her.  she is sassy, silly, sweet and spunky!  our little shelbs is growing up!  in a few months she'll be 3!  and then i'll blink and they'll all be grown.  just trying to savor all these little smiles and moments before she starts to roll her eyes at me when i pull out my camera (the way her brothers do).

almost 3 shelby3

you never know what is going through this little mind
almost 3 shelby2

almost 3 shelby4

such a little doll
almost 3 shelby



i guess we can consider this your "golden" day,  your are now 7 and it has been 7 years since you got a new start at life.  i shudder to think what life would've been like without you here.  seven years ago you were wheeled away from your dad and i and for six hours we sat and waited to hear what your heart decided it wanted to do once it was fixed.  looking at you now, how could we have ever been worried?  a simple (ha!) open heart surgery at 4 months old couldn't keep you down.  not mr. incredible.  i love to see just how much you have grown each year and it never fails that the pictures from the year before i think, "how could you have been so little, look how old you are now!"  it all starts with the first picture from 7 years ago.  funny to think that the doctors were pleased with how you looked.  it sure scared us to pieces.  but, without that first picture we wouldn't have all the ones that followed.  we love you brooks, and your strong, sweet, kind, amazing heart! 

ground zero



b hooray1

hands on heart mcp



and now seven years later...

7th heart anniversary10

7th heart anniversary5

7th heart anniversary1

7th heart anniversary7

7th heart anniversary6

7th heart anniversary8

7th heart anniversary4

happy heart day, kiddo.
7th heart anniversary3


sweet summertime

we have been having such a fun summer i have barely had time to sit down and post about it.  after carson finished his robotic rehab we were finally able to really enjoy our summer.  we have slept in late, stayed up late, watched movies, played on the slip and slide, rode bikes and went to the aquarium with friends.  it makes me sad to think we only have a few more weeks before the daily grind starts up again.  we've got a few more fun little trips planned and also a few more days of sleeping late.  i love my kids just a smidge more because they don't get up at the crack of dawn!

slip and slide fun.  they love taking slow-mo videos.

the beluga's at the aquarium were fascinated with our little group.  they kept swimming right up to the glass and i swear they were trying to communicate with us.  it was amazing!



seriously, it was so cool.





how sweet is this little outline?



grandma white's memorial

the week before our robotics therapy we went to illinois to remember my amazing grandma, emma white.  she passed away back in december but the family decided to wait till the summer to celebrate her life so that we could all be together.  the white family is one like i have never seen and am so lucky to be a part of.  i am one of 19 grandchildren and my kids are 3 of too many to count great grandchildren.  my grandma was one well loved lady and it's still hard to believe she isn't here to sit at the table, drink coffee and chat with.  she was an incredible person who loved her family.

we are a loud and crazy group of cousins but i think hands down the best family around

this picture is just awesome.  this was the best we could get with all the great grandchildren.  it was like herding cats, with a hose spraying water and dogs chasing them. 


robotics therapy

phew!  what a busy two weeks it has been.  carson just completed a two week intensive robotic therapy program at children's healthcare of atlanta.  10 days of driving back and forth and/or staying down town at andrew's parents (which was a huge life and time saver!), waking up early, being stuck in rush hour traffic and just being flat out exhausted.  and that was just me.  poor carson was the one who was really wiped out.  but it was all totally worth it.  he got some really good muscle stimulation and really good therapy.  since carson had his surgery back in january of 2015 we have really been working on strengthening his legs.  there are some muscle groups that just can not be reached with typical PT.  by doing the robotics program they were able to use NMES (neuro muscular electrical stimulation) to help stimulate the correct muscle in the correct way while walking, riding a bike, and also on a anti-gravity treadmill with the hopes of helping his brain remap how to use the correct muscles  it was all so cool and hard to believe that all of this is just down the road (about 40 minutes) from us.  we met several families who were from all over the southeast staying at the ronald mcdonald house just to take part in the program.  there was no question when they called to say they had fit carson into the 2 week intensive program that we wouldn't do it.  he was a rock star and true to form, charmed everyone.  i'm sure the "you can go to toys r us and pick a toy if you don't give any problems" didn't have anything to do with how well he tolerated everything.  honestly though, he did great and we were able to get the most out of the time we had there and also got some really good resources for home.  we will definitely be going back!

stretching and warming up some muscles (and also showing off in front of all the pretty PT girls in the gym).

using the bioness system for the first time.  it was a little unfamiliar to him to feel some muscles being activated but he adjusted well.

walking on the super cool anti gravity treadmill.  i kinda wanted to get in and try it for myself.

here is a video of using the treadmill.  you can see when the chamber inflates with air carson's feet are lifted off the ground almost.  it was really cool.

and this is the bike that he used every morning.  he is hooked up with electrodes and they would fire the correct muscles as he is peddling the bike.  

and when you work super hard and have to be hooked up to electrical stimulus you develop some what of an appetite.  a definite positive side effect for carson.  when he asks to eat i jump.  this time it was triple chocolate ice cream.  you don't have to ask me twice!