Thursday, April 30, 2009

Eileen H. Kelly (Memorial Preschool Scholarship Fund)

Eileen H. Kelley

Eileen H. Kelley, age 67, of Mentor for the past 41 years; formerly of Pittsburgh, Pa., died Thursday, April 23, 2009, at home after a courageous battle with cancer.

She was born Sept. 29, 1941, in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Eileen's smile was always greeting you whenever you stopped at her son, Jonathan's "J's Pizza Market" in Mentor. Prior to that she was a preschool teacher at Widening World Preschool in Mentor and worked at Casual Corner at the Great Lakes Mall in Mentor.

She was a graduate of Shaler High School Class of 1959, and a graduate of Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa., where she received her bachelor of arts in education. She was a former "May Queen" and member of Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority at Allegheny College.

Eileen was the first volunteer for the Hospice of Western Reserve (Lake County Chapter); she volunteered for Meals-On-Wheels in Mentor. She was a member of Western Reserve Junior Service League and Mentor Heisley Racquet Club. She loved to garden.

Survivors are her husband of 45 years, David Kelley; son, Michael (Kim) Kelley of Westerville; daughter, Susan Kelley of North Miami Beach, Fla.; son, Jonathan (Molly) Kelley of Mentor; four grandchildren, Caroline, Amy and RoseMary Kelley and Tristan Escalante; and two sisters, Roberta "Bobbie" (Ronald) Heller Watson of Kirtland and Christine (James) Capitan of Mentor.

She was preceded in death by her father, Elwyn L. Heller M.D.; mother, Mary (Bertovich) Escovitz; and stepfather, David Escovitz.

A celebration of life service will be 11 a.m. Saturday May 23, 2009, at St. John Vianney Church 7575 Bellflower Road, Mentor. Internment will be in Western Reserve Memorial Gardens in Chester Township.

The family requests contributions to be made to Starting Point, c/o The Eileen Kelley Memorial Preschool Scholarship Fund, 2000 E. 9th St., Suite 1500, Cleveland, OH 44115.

Arrangements are entrusted to Brunner Funeral Home & Cremation Service in Mentor.

Online obituary at

This is the beautiful lady I posted about before.  The mother of my good friend Susan.  Although, you probably do not know her.  We did. 

I would like to take this moment to remember her.  Her legacy she is leaving behind.  She was an extrodinary human with a loving heart for children.  

Please take the time to read this letter from Eileen's husband.  If you would like to participate in helping a child's life, please join in on The Eileen Kelley Memorial Preschool Scholarship Fund.

Dear Family & Friends:


We have just finalized the arrangements for Eileen.  As we mentioned in our previous e-mail, her wishes were to be cremated and to have a celebration of her life at a later date.  We are in the process of carrying out her wishes.


The celebration of Eileen’s life will be held on Saturday, May 23, 2009 @ 11:00 a.m. @ St. John Vianney Church , 7575 Bellflower Road , Mentor , OH 44060 .  We would have liked to schedule the service sooner but the facilities were not available on the dates we preferred.


Many of you know that Eileen taught 3-year olds at Widening World Preschool for many years. Her passion was the children and to give them a positive start with their education.  Eileen did it with a genuine love and enthusiasm that endeared her to the children as well as their parents.  She was always concerned that there were children that had to drop out of the program because their families could not longer afford to pay the tuition.  We now have the opportunity to do something positive for those children and to perpetuate Eileen’s memory. 


We were very fortunate to partner with a local non profit organization, Starting Point (, to create The Eileen Kelley Memorial Preschool Scholarship Fund.  Several months ago, a group of our friends collected a generous sum of money and surprised us with the gift.  We were both very moved by the thought and generosity.  We are going to use this gift to seed the scholarship fund.  Should anyone wish to make a tax deductable contribution, it should be made to Starting Point and designated forThe Eileen Kelley Memorial Preschool Scholarship Fund and sent to:


Starting Point


2000 East 9th Street, Suite 1500

Cleveland, OH 44115


We hope to keep Eileen’s memory alive by helping those children that would otherwise be denied the preschool experience. 


It has been a very long journey for us.  Your support, concern and love has made the journey easier for all of us left behind.   


Love, Dave & Family

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Her expression says how I feel.  Us girls are getting ourselves out of this house, which can often feel like a dark cave of never ending laundry, sweeping, sad blog stories and loneliness.  So, we are going to get out and get some fresh air and run to the store and spend Morgan's gift certificates she got for her birthday.  As well as get some safety supplies for around the house.

As a little treat, I may just have to buy Morgan this little baby doll and stroller.  This little girl had one at the park the other day and she LOVED it.  She was walking around while holding and pushing the stroller.  I think she needs something like this that will help strengthen her legs and give her the confidence she needs to walk. She is SO close.  

So here is a picture of a happy cheesy face smiling girl, looking so delicious and adorable. The picture below is of her at Hunter's baseball game this weekend with her knee pads on.  I got this picture with my cool iPhone, she was standing for a good few seconds without even knowing she was standing by herself.  The moment she realized she wasn't holding on to anything stable, she panics and falls.  LOL 



Both pictures taken with my cool iPhone BTW.  

Off to have a girls day OUT of this house!!! 



Just for the record, Hunter has not missed one day of school in all the years he has been in school, because of being sick.  We are so fortunate that he has been so unbelievable healthy and the only days missed of school have been because of choices and not for illness, other than when he broke his arm on the playground.

Hunter's school nurse, we will call her Nurse P., she has called many times when Hunter gets a bump or scrap here or there.  It's her job.  Out of all the times she has called me, she has never really had to call me to say that Hunter was sick and I need to come and get him.

Until YESTERDAY!  (As I start laughing) 

I answer the phone and Nurse P. says that Hunter is in her office complaining of a soar throat.  Ahem... a sore throat? That wouldn't have anything to do with that um, 'lie bump' now would it? 

No, no... I didn't say that. I wouldn't embarrass him like that.  

Nurse P. asked me if she should give him some Tylenol to get him through the remaining 40 minutes or so of his school day.  I asked to talk to him on the phone at first before agreeing to Tylenol.  That conversation goes like this:

"Hi honey, what's going on?" I asked.

"My throat hurts when I swallow." he replied.

"Do you think your throat hurts because maybe it's dry and you need to drink some water?" I asked

"I don't know." he replied.

"Do you want some water, or would you like a little Tylenol to get you to the end of the school day?" I asked.

"A little Tylenol." he expressed. 

"Who is picking me up today?" he asked

"Daddy is getting you because he is taking you to baseball practice." I answered.

"Okay, here is Nurse P."  he says.

"Okay, I love you and Ill talk to you later." 

I texted his dad later that afternoon checking in on Hunter.  He said he was still complaining about his throat.  This morning his dad says he may have a little cold but other than that he is fine. 

Hmmm.... I wonder why?  Laughing!!! 

Just got a response via text from his dad saying his 'lie bump' is starting to go away.  

I am sure as soon as that 'lie bump' goes away, so will his 'cold' symptoms.  

Kids!!! Gotta love them!! 


A little photo fun done on my oh so cool iPhone with an app called ColorSplash.  

I know, I know.... I can barely handle all this coolness myself, that is why I am sharing it with all of you.  :) 

And by the way, this was my first attempt at playing around.  Wait until I figure out how to really make something look cool.  LOL

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

perfect timing

Recently Hunter my 8-year-old, has been rather sneaky about things, or being caught in little white lies here and there.  Its getting to the point that I am getting frustrated with him, and while expressing my frustration, trying to also instill valuable lessons in him.  Explaining to him that all these little white lies, that he often likes to play off (when busted!) as if he was really only kidding around or 'joking' with me. Telling him that all these little 'white lies' are like calling wolf too many times, and before he knows it, one day he will try to tell me something that would be important and the truth, but that I would be hesitant to believe him because of all his little 'white lies' he has told or continues to try and get away with.  

I am a person that a lie is a LIE.  No matter what! However, I also understand that he is a kid, and kids will also be kids.  So, I can't treat him and his 'white lies' the same way I would if the situation were coming from Mark, or any other adult.  Kids are still testing their abilities and limits, and we have all been there as kids.  We don't mean harm by them (as most adults will try to exclaim also), but the difference is that children really do and don't know any better.

Adults know better  -- period! 

Well, this weekend after Hunter's (again) double header, in which by the way my big man hit a HOME RUN.  After his game he came up to me and showed me this bump on his tongue, expressing to me that it hurt and bothered him.  

Suddenly, and instantly, a light bulb went off in my head, as I remembered what my parents once told me.  

"Wow, you must have really told a big one recently."  I said. 

"Told a big one what?" asked Hunter. 

"I BIG lie." I replied. 

His face looks up at me with both the expression as in 'get real mom' and 'is she serious right now.'  

"Yea right, mom." he tried to play it off.  

"Oh, yes it is Hunter, its called a lie bump!  If you tell a bunch of lies or one big one, God puts this bump on your tongue for two reasons.  1.  As a physical sign to your parents that you lied.  Even if your parents aren't aware of every lie you tell, God knows ALL of them.  2.  He places it on your tongue, because he wants to remind you that you have done something wrong. That your lies come from your tongue (mouth) and so he places an annoying bump on your tongue for a few days, to tell you, be careful little tongue what you say." 

As we continue to walk to the parking lot to find our car.  He quickly tucks his tongue into his mouth, while pretending we have moved on to something else to talk about.  

He gets into the car and as I begin to drive away, he tried to change the subject to going to Wal-Mart and getting a new Bakugan.  I had promised him for all his "GREENS" in school that he could get a new Bakugan.  

I thought, this is so my chance, I will make him REALLY think about all of his lies he has been testing out on us and make this a lesson to be hopefully and quickly learned.  He wouldn't expect something like this after just finishing up two baseball games.  

So I asked "hmmm, I know I promised you a Bakugan, but do you think by that bump on your tongue you deserve a Bakugan still?" 

He shrugs his shoulders in a disappointed manner, as his face turns into a pitiful look and he begins to stare out the window.  

So I say "listen, we will still go to Wal-Mart and get one Bakugan because I promised you this as a reward for something you achieved.  I will not punish you by taking away your reward for something you already earned. However, we do need to think about this lie bump on your tongue and what can we learn from it.  I want you to really think about it on the drive home okay." 

His eyes brighten up a bit, but the frown is still there as I get the "whew, I still get my Bakugan, but dang it, do I really have to think about this stupid lie bump? Is it REALLY a lie bump?" kind of face in response. 

Fast forward......

The next morning driving Hunter to school, the conversation went like this.

Hunter:  "Mom, do you think this bump is God's way of punishing you for telling lies?" 

Me:  "I think it could be God's sense of humor by placing a lie bump on the top of your tongue for not only your parents and yourself to see, but everyone else to know that you lied. I think God probably realized that if you didn't want everyone to see that lie bump on your tongue, then possibly you would learn your lesson by it and not tell lies to anyone again." 

He sits there, his brain trying to take it all in.

Hunter: "Mom, can you see the bump when I talk?" 

At this point I am still trying to keep a straight face, because by that last question, I totally know where that little mind of his has wonder to.  Will his friends at school be able to see the bump and know he lied?  Will his little girl crush see the bump when he says hi to her?  Will his teachers at school be able to see it if he speaks out loud in front of the class?" 

Me:  "I don't know let me look while you talk to me." 

Hunter:  "What if I just talked like this, can you see it that way." 

Me:  "Well, I can't see it that much, but I may wonder why you are talking so funny, keeping your lips pretty much closed while you are talking." 

Hunter: "How do I get this lie bump to go away?" 

Another light bulb goes off.

Me:  "You can confess your lies/sins to God, ask Him for forgiveness and tell Him if you have learned a lesson by this and will no longer tell lies big or small to your parents or anyone." 

As my light bulb is still shining. 

Me:  "But, just because you confess and God forgives you, because He will, just as I always do also.  Doesn't mean He will take that bump away right then and there.  He may leave it there just a little bit longer just to make sure you really have put your heart and thought into the lesson of telling lies, and will not lie anymore."

As we pull up to the school, you can see him gathering his things, while holding his mouth closed.  

I feel sort of bad that I am letting him go to school feeling worried and a bit insecure about this bump on his tongue, knowing it was probably caused by the many sunflower seeds he sucked on during his games.  However, when parents can't seem to get through to their kids, we use what we can to help us and THEM.  This "lie bump" came in perfect timing


Lie bumps

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lie bumps (transient lingual papillitis[1] and fungiform papillary glossitis[2] ) are painful, hypertrophic, red and white papillae on the tongue.[1]


The name "lie bumps" is a result of a myth stating that telling a lie would cause one.[3] Lie bumps are often attributed to irritation of the tongue's papillae (taste buds) by sharp food or teeth.[3] However, very little has been written about this condition in scientific articles or textbooks and scientific studies have failed to produce a definite cause.[1] Possible causes include: "stress, gastrointestinal upset, menstruation, acidic or sour food, smoking, and local trauma" (direct physical irritation) of the tongue.[1]


There is no specific treatment for this problem, other than using ice or numbing medicines to ease the pain. [4] Anecdotal remedies include gargling with salt water and direct application of hydrogen peroxide.[not in citation given]

Monday, April 27, 2009

My God is the same God ALL the time.

Even when there seems to be so much sadness all around you day in and day out, we must take time to still focus on the beauty and goodness of God's grace and love, that is also around us. 

Today, while speaking with my friend this was her day before noon.  

1.  Attending a funeral of a 7-year old little girl.

2.  Getting the news that a the father, of her oldest sons friend has bone cancer.

3. A family that she thought would never be in trouble is now in the final stages of divorce, with 3 young children.

4.  I then share in the news that another one of my friends (which I spoke about on her before) her mother passed away Thursday.  She lost her battle to cancer. 

(Again, all of this before noon today)....... its hard to smile or rejoice in your own good when you hear all of this, its hard to find that balance.  So with all of that I want to help with that balance with ending tonight with a big smile, while I also wipe away the tears.



Do you have two coats?


I know I have been pretty quite lately.  I am still here, just been trying to focus on my family.  As many of you may already know that I have a baby girl that I love and have been following for months now, namesd Kayleigh.  As you also know, I call all my prayer babies "my babies"..... I pray for them as I would my own, that's why.  

Kayleigh, I am so very sad to say had a terrible turn for the worse.  I mean worse as in worst of the worst turns.  Some how either during or after her recent surgery, there was a time period in which she didn't get enough oxygen to her brain.  She has now been announced 'flat read' on her brain test, meaning brain dead

I almost can't even believe that as I type it. I have been so torn over this and to be honest I have been upset about it, and I am not even her parents.  They don't have answers.  Doctors have no hope for Kayleigh.  Basically this little one pound miracle who had come SO FAR and her family have been left with an "oops, sorry there isn't anything more we can do." 

They are in the process of trying to figure out if they can take Kayleigh home to spend her possible last remaining days in peace, wire and machine free with her siblings and parents, in her own home.  With that they are facing financial stress like you wouldn't believe.  Along with the tremendous stress of hearing the loss and words of their bay girls situation.  

Anyways, another one of my 'babies' Abby, her dad guest posted on Kayleigh's blog tonight seeking out help for this family.  I liked what he wrote and felt I would take the short cut and simply copy and past his post here for others to read it.  I figured if my blog can get one more reader, one more prayer and one more person to donate to this family, then I am honored.  

Please read Brent's from Serious.Life Magazine below.  


Hi friends, this is Brent Riggs, guest blogging for Adam and Aimee today. They didn’t ask me too, I begged them to let me.

First, I know many of you know me and know that Adam and I are good friends, but a lot of you have no clue who I am. Because of what I’m writing today, it is prudent to give you a quick “who is this guy?” My wife and I have a blog at We have seven children, three are internationally adopted, two from Guatemala, one from Ethiopia. Our four year old from Guatemala, Abby, has Leukemia, and four times in the past year we spent days at a time unsure if she would survive. So we know a little bit about how Adam and Aimee are feeling, and what they are going through (actually we know a LOT about it).

Adam and I have become good friends over the months. I’ve been honored and blessed to have him stay in our home, and to be able to offer spiritual encouragement and advice. You’ll find my ministry site at and my professional site at We also featured Kayleigh’s story in our magazine called “Serious.Life” in a story called “One Pound Miracle” ( That issue received over one million page views.

So what? Did I get on Adam’s blog to promote myself. Nope. I just wanted to establish some credibility and background with you before I began to talk about what I really wanted to say today. One last thing, I want to make it abundantly clear that I CALLED the Freeman’s and asked to be able to speak to you on their blog. They were immediately hesitant and it took a couple of conversations for me to convince them. They are already overwhelmed and infinitely grateful for all the help and prayers that you have provided up to this point. The fact remains for them as they wake up each day, they need help, a lot more than they would ever publicly say.

Let’s recap for the newer readers:

You remember that little mortgage crisis last year? It was “in the news” for a while but it continues to devastate the lives of those who were unsuspectingly caught up in the disaster caused by politicians. The Freeman’s had a thriving real estate business, one that was blessing others, providing for family members and helping the community. The real estate crash disintegrated their entire business and income at the same time they began the long journey of relentless medical crisis with Kayleigh who was born three months premature and has been on a life crisis roller coaster from day one.

The bills skyrocketed, the business plummeted. So along with the emotional strain that comes with the daily battle of wondering if your child will be alive tomorrow, they have also endured the stress of mounting bills, threatened foreclosure and repossession, bill collectors, medical expenses, and all the expenses involved in the constant travel and dislocation at the hospital… this type of situation causes all expenses to rise, new expenses to occur. All the while, their income simply disappeared. We aren’t talking years, we are talking about a matter of months. People of lesser character and strength would have succumbed to despair with half this stress. During this time, I’ve watched Adam try to start a new business, work on getting the real estate moving again, and reach out to help others. We aren’t talking about some lazy “victim-minded” people… these are genuinely good, hard working folks who are walking through an EXTRAORDINARY set of trials.

I know that people have already helped the Freeman’s, as have we. In particular, enough money has been given to keep the most critical element in place: insurance for Kayleigh. I know from personal talks with Adam that this money is almost gone too. Adam would barely even consider letting ME write this blog post because they feel you have done so much already (I had to be very persuasive to get them to consider it). This is FAR from over for them. It was not a one time, short term situation. You can’t name a bill or expense they are not so far behind on that “action” is not being pursued. In the meantime, their precious daughter is lying in the hospital with “no hope” according to the doctors.

No hope? For those of us who believe in our Creator, we know that there IS hope. God could miraculously revive Kayleigh. THAT is hope. God could bring Kayleigh into His presence, if He hasn’t already. THAT is hope.

What we have right now is not a loss of hope, but a family enduring both the crushing stress of losing a child, and the debilitating stress of debt piling up exponentially. There is simply no reason for ME, and YOU, and the tens of thousands of other Christians who frequent this blog to not relieve the one part we CAN relieve: financial stress. We live in a land of PLENTY. Yes, times are a little harder right now, but I doubt many people reading this have anything much less than a comfortable life with plenty of material possessions, entertainment and leisure. I’m NOT about guilt trips. I only remind my Christian brethren of this because sometimes we lose sight of how good we really have it. And I ask you to consider how much YOU would hope and pray for help if you were in the same situation.

The Bible teaches us that if we have two coats, why do we let our brother go cold? If we have water, why do we tell them “God be with you” and not give a cup of water? Prayer is critical and required. GIVING puts prayer into action. There is no need for this precious family and their children to have endure ALL of this suffering. Yes, they will endure the sadness of the probable loss of their child. Can’t avoid that, no way out unless God intervenes. But together WE CAN remove the financial stress, the strain of bill collectors and relentless creditors. Sadly, and we hope it won’t be necessary, we need to remove the stress of how they might have to pay for a funeral.

Friends, as a Christian family, we get to love together, rejoice together, cry together and hang tough together. There is simply no need for the Freeman’s to have to endure the paralyzing stress of both critical illness as well as enough financial stress to cripple most people. One or the other is bad enough. Both? May it never be.

I’m not beating around the bush about my request. With the tens of thousands of people who are visiting this blog, we can all click the DONATE button up there on the right side, and we can almost instantly remove the financial stress so this family can spend possibly the last couple of weeks with their daughter without the overwhelming burden of losing everything they own, and the relentless inquiries from bill collectors. It would be hard for one person to give a hundred thousand, but it’s not hard for 50,000 people to give two dollars, or 10,000 people to give $10 or 1000 people to $100.

I’ve got a daughter with Leukemia. I have seven children. When the financial crisis hit in the Fall of last year, my income was cut IN HALF. But I see a family in greater need, and if we can sacrifice, I know you can too. Our family will lead the way by giving $250 first. (And I gave $100) It’s not much, but if the rest of you join us, it soon will be. 

I’m not one for emotional appeals or begging, never have been. However, this is a case of Christians caring for their own. We should not let our fellow Christians suffer under so much without joining them in their trials. We all have hard times. We all experience stress, and perhaps you are feeling the financial crunch today. I understand that. We are too. But the Freemans are enduring EXTRAORDINARY circumstances, and it is simply to God’s glory that we, as a Christian family, pool our resources together and alleviate some of their burden.

Follow me, as I follow Christ…

Brent Riggs

Please click on button to go to Kayleighs blog and donate!!! 

Friday, April 24, 2009

Model Zoe

Yesterday, I had the privilege of photographing sweet-sixteen, Zoe (yes, 16!).  I have known this girl and her family since she was about 7 years old.  She has grown up A LOT. I took her out to photograph her for fun and we had a great time, because that girl can rock the camera.  I am hoping she will be able to spread the word and I can shoot more student senior photos in the future.  Let me know what you think by clicking on my photography button below to view the rest.  


Remember that Marco Island Shoot in December?

You know, that oh so fabulous trip we took to Marco Island as a family right before Christmas, to do a little photo shoot/ vacation? Yea, that trip. 
Today, I received an email from Marco Island Beach Resort, advertising their new "Experience Our New Baby Butler Packages."  
  • Daily delivery of eight diapers and three swim diapers (in all sizes, up to stage five) per child
  • One tub of baby wipes (64 count)
  • A tube of diaper cream
  • In-room crib or pack-n-play
  • Free meals for toddlers three and under in Tropiks and 400 Pazzi's restaurants
  • A Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort-logoed baby gift
  • 10% discount upon special request, on baby rental items such as infant tubs, strollers, highchairs and bouncy seats
On on the cover of that little email flyer / advertisement I see my hubby and little girl.  Check it out!!!!  
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Although, I have to admit, and you know me, I have to say what's on my mind.  I do believe the shots that I took with my own camera out there were way better. LOL Just kidding, trying to promote my own photography. HA!

Remember these?  The sunset one of Mark and Morgan would have been a great shot to use also. 

Regardless, I just love seeing my little girl and hubby in this picture for all the world to see.  

PS:  By the way, all kidding put aside.  I felt I should give a BIG shout out to Marco Island Beach Resort. I have worked with this client twice now and let me just tell you what a FANTASTIC and friendly place this is.  Its BEAUTIFUL!  The beach is flat and so clean.  Tons of family and adult activities to do there. The rooms are VERY nice.  You are right on the water where ever you go.  It truly is paradise.  So if you are ever in Florida and looking for the perfect little vacation spot, its a MUST to check out Marco Island Beach Resort.  

Thursday, April 23, 2009


(I have no idea why my post has my words highlighted with a white background)

I feel really bad that I am now getting to post this post, but as you all know the parents were all flying in the same day as Morgan had both her 1-year-checkup and her EKG/ECHO appointment.  As soon as those were done and the parents arrived, it hasn't slowed down at all until today.  

I want to first say a HUGE Thank You, to all that were praying for Butterfly this day and have continued to. I have received your emails checking in and asking about her.  I wanted to really take the time to explain to everyone all that I learned this day, because like so many out there probably, I didn't fully understand what it is that my little Butterfly had. My understanding was a 'Heart Murmur' and that is all I have talked about.  I read up on murmurs so that I could better understand, while listening to the doctors explain to you things.  But it goes to show that when you are pretty much delirious after only given birth two-weeks (at the time) while listening to your pediatrician and pediatric cardiologist specialist tell you that your newborn girl as a heart murmur, and will not really know the extent of it until her next appointment in 12 months (her first birthday), but in the meantime will monitor it throughout her checkups.  You only hear "heart murmur" and then everything else is a blur or can't even be recalled from that conversation. 

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Twelve-months later, when I am able to clearly think and hear what it is exactly that Morgan really had, sort of caught me by surprise. Now looking back on things, it was probably best that I didn't fully understand everything, or I probably would have been more of a mess than I was at that time. 

While sitting at the Cardiologist office, I asked several questions, and he even took the time to show me on the charts and posters and answer all my questions.  Although my prayers had been answered today... (Ill get to that in a minute).  I still wanted to know what I didn't fully understand twelve-months ago when my little girls diagnosis was still in the 'unknown' stage.  I thought I would take the time and research and provide you with more detailed information and understanding the difference in a 'HEART MURMUR' and a 'HEART DEFECT'. 

Many parents fear the worst when their child is diagnosed with a heart murmur, but this diagnosis is actually extremely common. In fact, many kids are found to have a heart murmur at some point during their lives. Most murmurs are not a cause for concern and donot affect the child's health at all.

What exactly is a heart murmur? By itself, the term heart murmurisn't a diagnosis of an illness or disorder. To better understand what itdoes mean, it's important to know how the heart works.

How the Heart Works

The normal heart has four chambers and four valves (which function like one-way doors). The two lower pumping chambers of the heart are called the ventricles, and the two upper filling chambers are theatria (singular is atrium).

Here's how blood moves in normal circulation: Blood that returns from the body to the filling chamber on the right side (the right atrium) is low in oxygen. This blood passes across a valve (thetricuspid valve) to the pumping chamber on the right side (theright ventricle) and then travels across the pulmonary valve to the lungs to receive oxygen. The oxygen-enriched blood returns to the filling chamber on the left side (the left atrium), then across a valve (the mitral valve) to the pumping chamber on the left side (the left ventricle). The blood is then pumped across the aortic valve out to the body through the aorta, a large blood vessel that carries blood to the smaller blood vessels in the body to deliver oxygen.

Using a stethoscope, a doctor examines the heart by listening to the sounds it makes. The familiar "lub-dub" sound of a normal heartbeat is caused by the closing sound of the valves as the heart squeezes to push blood through the body. A heart murmur describes an extra sound in addition to the "lub-dub." Sometimes these extra sounds are simply the sound of normal blood flow moving through a normal heart. Other times, a murmur may be a sign of a heart problem.

How Are Heart Murmurs Diagnosed?

A murmur is heard during the heart listening exam, using a stethoscope held at different areas on the front of the chest as the heart beats. Heart murmurs can be heard in infants as well as older children and teens. Of course, if the child is crying, uncooperative to the examiner, or breathing loudly, it may not be possible to hear a murmur. It helps if the child is quiet when the doctor listens, since some heart murmurs are very soft. The doctor may have a parent help by calming the child or having the child sit in the parent's lap during the exam.

Heart murmurs are rated on a scale from 1 to 6 in intensity (loudness). Grade 1 is barely audible, whereas grade 6 is very loud. Your child's doctor will note where on the chest the murmur is best heard, the characteristics of the murmur (for example, whether it's harsh and high-frequency or soft and blowing), where it occurs in the heartbeat cycle, and whether it changes when your child changes position. After this initial discovery, the doctor may refer your child to a pediatric cardiologist for further evaluation.

It's not unusual for a murmur to be noticed during a check-up, even though no murmur was heard before. This is for several reasons. Innocent murmurs tend to come and go, depending on the child's heart rate, position during the exam, and the presence of fever. Some new murmurs may be a sign of a newly-developed heart problem. Finally, some heart problems present from birth (congenital heart problems) may not initially be severe enough to cause a murmur that can be detected during examination.

Because of the common misconception that all heart murmurs are serious, it's important for parents to understand which type of murmur their child has and if it needs further evaluation.

What's an Innocent Murmur?

The most common type of heart murmur is called functional orinnocent. This diagnosis means the murmur is produced by a normal, healthy heart. It can come and go throughout childhood. It usually goes away on its own as the child gets older and doesn't pose any health threat.

Kids with innocent heart murmurs don't require a special diet, restriction of activities, or any other special treatment. They do not need to take a dose of antibiotic before going to the dentist. Those old enough to understand that they have a heart murmur should be reassured that they aren't any different from other kids. In other words, an innocent murmur is the sound of normal blood moving through a normal heart in a normal way. A simple analogy is that just as we can sometimes hear the sound of air moving in an air duct, or water flowing through a plumbing pipe, we can often hear the sound of blood moving through the heart even if there is not a heart problem.

What About Congenital Heart Defects?

Some murmurs may indicate a problem with the heart. If the doctor suspects something other than an innocent heart murmur, your child will see a pediatric cardiologist, who may order or perform additional tests such as a chest X-ray, an EKG (an electrocardiogram), or an echocardiogram. An echocardiogram, or "echo," is an ultrasound picture of the heart structures (chambers, walls, and valves). It records the motion of the blood through the heart and can measure the direction and speed of blood flow within the heart structures.

About 1 out of every 100 babies is born with a structural heart problem, or congenital heart defect. These babies may show signs of their defect as early as the first few days of life, or they may appear completely healthy until later in childhood. Some kids won't show any symptoms beyond a heart murmur, while others will have symptoms that could be mistaken for other illnesses or disorders.

Symptoms of a significant heart defect in newborns and infants can include:

  • rapid breathing
  • difficulty feeding
  • blueness in the lips (called cyanosis)
  • failure to thrive

Symptoms in an older child or adolescent may be:

  • fatigue
  • difficulty exercising or doing physical activity
  • chest pain

Contact your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms.

Congenital heart defects can be seen in chromosomal disorders such as trisomy 21 (Down syndrome), or associated with specific gene abnormalities. Babies with other birth defects may also have heart defects. Exposure to certain chemicals, including alcohol, or medications before birth can be associated with congenital heart disease. While some parents may have more than one child with a heart defect, most heart defects aren't considered to be hereditary. In most cases, however, children with congenital heart defects have no known risk factors.

Maternal health also plays a role. At a higher risk of having a baby with a heart defect are pregnant women who:

  • contract rubella (German measles)
  • have uncontrolled or poorly regulated diabetes
  • have PKU (phenylketonuria, a genetic error of the body's metabolism)

Common Heart Defects

Several different categories of heart problems can present with heart murmurs. These include septal defectsvalve abnormalities, abnormalities of flow between the heart chambers and the exits (outflow tract obstruction), and heart muscle disorders.

  • Septal defects involve the walls (or septum) between the upper or lower chambers of the heart. A hole in the septum can result in blood flowing through it into the heart's other chambers. This extra blood flow may cause a murmur. It can also make the heart work too hard and may cause the heart to enlarge. Some holes may be large enough to produce symptoms in addition to a heart murmur; others are smaller and may close on their own in time.
  • Valve abnormalities are caused by heart valves that are narrow, too small, too thick, or otherwise abnormal. Valves that are misshapen don't allow smooth blood flow across them, and this creates turbulent flow. Sometimes, abnormal valves may allow backflow of blood within the heart. Either condition will cause a murmur. Outflow tract obstruction may be caused by extra tissue or heart muscle that blocks the smooth flow of blood through the heart.
  • Heart muscle disorders (cardiomyopathy) can make the heart muscle abnormally thick or weak. This can impair the heart's ability to pump blood to the body normally.

A heart murmur is an exam finding, not a disease. Your doctor and pediatric cardiologist can determine if the murmur is innocent (which means your child is perfectly healthy) or if there is a specific heart problem. If there is a problem, a pediatric cardiologist will know how to best take care of it.


So Morgan had a little of BOTH (A heart murmur) and (A heart defect).  She had the first type, in which the "wall" (or spetrum) between the two parts of the heart had an opening in it, causing blood to flow through it.  When a child's heart is being formed in the womb, there are these flaps that that flap (almost in a hand clapping mode), because they over lap each tap they touch (or clap).  Those flaps are to clap and then eventually "stick" together, making a wall, and so to stop the blood from getting through.  Morgan's were not sticking together, and blood was still getting through. This was her "HEART DEFECT".  

Her spectrum in her heart (the flap or wall) not closing off or sticking together, allowing blood to flow through, also made extra sounds in her heart.  This would be her "HEART MURMUR". In which was being caused by her heart defect.  

Wow?  I know, me too.... I didn't know this. 

A heart murmur is a SOUND in a heart, some not good, some different but still innocent and healthy.  The question is what 'causes' the murmur in the first place. 

Dr. Skimmings example:  Take a rubber band.  If you take the rubber-band and swing it around on your finger you may not hear anything at all, BUT it is still a perfectly healthy/normal rubber-band.  Take that same rubber-band and now stretch it out with your finger and thumb and thump the rubber-band like a guitar string, you will hear SOUND (doing! doing!).  However, it is still a perfectly, healthy/normal rubber-band, but something was taking place that caused it to make an extra sound. This could be an innocent murmur of a heart. 

I hope this helps you better understand, what I now better understand.  


Meaning, her 'heart defect' closed on it's own, in which was causing her 'heart murmur' (sound) and she now neither has a 'DEFECT' or 'MURMUR'. Being discharged as the perfect little girl she is with a perfect little healthy heart.  



But wait.... God's plans do not stop there.  That is why I love HIM so much. 

While sitting there talking with Dr. Skimming, and looking over pictures of different heart defects and pretending in my mind I was the doctor I should have been (HA!). We begin to talk about Stellan.  I shared with Dr. S. Stellan's story and how Stellan had just been flown right now as I sit with him, to Boston for his surgery.  He shared with me info about Stellan and patients he has had similar experience with.  It was so interesting.  Then, that conversation lead to another one called Camp Boggy Creek (, one of his favorite charity organizations he volunteers at, and was attending this past Friday.  He volunteers as a doctor there.  This time he took his 9 year old daughter to experience in it all with him. Pretty cool!

I told him about my interest in stuff like that, and that I am into photography and wanting to get my foot in the door using my photography in some way for things like that. 

Well, over the weekend I received an email from Dr. S. and he is going to help me get my 'foot in the door' with this charity, allowing me to take pictures for them.  Yea!!!  

And while I am at it here...... let me just give you a quick note on the weekend with all the parents in town and Morgan's first birthday party.  

The weekend with the parents was a lot of fun.  Everyone really enjoyed themselves and had a great time.  Mark and I got to pretend like we were camping while sleeping on an air matress in the formal dinning room for a few nights.  My parents shared Hunters room because he has a full bed and a top bunk in his room. While Marks parents used our bedroom.  

Morgan's party was a big hit.  We had a bounce house, a really, really nice clown, snow cone machine, BBQ, cake, ice cream and drinks.  EVERYONE on my invite list was able to make it.  Since when in the world does that happen where EVERYONE on on your list is able to attend?  Almost never! 

Although a bit windy that day, making the temps in the 70's, it was so much better than being HOT.  Not only did the kids have fun, but the adults had fun.  We played wiffle ball, jumped in bounce house and also got our faces painted.  Okay so I was the ONLY adult with my face painted, but they did jump in bounce house and play wiffle ball.  I brought out the famous playpen gate for the younger kids to play in.  They had a beach ball to bounce and toss around.  While all the boys Hunters age, made their own little party area at another pravilion playing and trading Bakugans.  

Morgan was great.  She was being passed around from one to another, and taking in all the activities around her.  When presenting her the splash cake, she approached it only like a gentle butterfly would.  One little touch here and there, then a taste, a WOW, another taste, WOW-WOW, another taste, to face in the cake and half the cake totally eaten by Butterfly.  That's my girl HER DADDY'S girl.  My next prayer... that she doesn't eat like her daddy.  LOL! 

For once, allowing me to really be IN the party scene and letting me have fun celebrating my daughters first birthday.  Michelle @ Circle of Life, offered to take pictures for me this day.  There were so many great ones, and I am so thankful that she did this for me.  I was able to capture the moment by being in the moment, and not running around behind the camera as I always am.  She put together this collage for me and I thought it was the perfect collage to post here of a special day for Morgan Paige.  Thank you Michelle for being a good friend to us. 


Happy ONE YEAR Butterfly!!! 

 We love you!!! 

*I am still so happy about Morgan being discharged, that I find myself thinking about when cleaning or driving, lost in thought.  I start praising God, and smiling every time I think of that day --- DISCHARGED!!! 

PS:  Did you notice what a busy day TEDDY also had?  Thank goodness I brought Mr. Teddy along.  He saved us many tears and kept a baby girl happy and calm.  


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