Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hott News!

Morgan County Schools get AED's!

The Hott Family made the paper! They even printed an enormous picture of us in front of our fire place. Gotta love the expression on Levi's face! Check it out here:


Another reporter called us today even! Stay posted for another story coming up in the local Morgan Messenger....

Monday, August 30, 2010

Flippin' Out!!!!

Check out the one and only Hott Mama! That's me! Yes! I'm doing a forward tuck over the sun! Sound crazy! ???????

Well, it is! Because this is Violet! :-)

I can't even remember what a tumbling tuck is called much less get my 45 year old gray head to flip over the sun. It can only happen here at a Hott House Sunset Celebration!

Although, believe me, I really felt like I could do flips after last week's Rotary Meeting. Here's why:

Something amazing happened in Berkeley Springs, WV!
ALL MORGAN COUNTY SCHOOLS WILL HAVE AEDs! (Automated External Defibrillators)

I am a full time mom and I made a presentation before our local Rotary, my first time in front of adults in a very long time. It was a topic very near to my "heart"! You see, my husband was diagnosed with a crazy rare heart problem called Brugada Syndrome. (scroll down for links) This disease is fatal without an internal defibrillator. This disease is genetic.

We have 4 children, 3 are very young and attend schools in Morgan County. Dan was told by his Genetic Doctor, that the schools where our children attend must all have an AED, or Automated External Defibrillator, because they are at risk for Brugada Syndrome and could experience a Sudden Cardiac Arrest. There were only 3 in the schools. Our daughter, Violet, is in the 5th grade. Her school doesn't have an AED.

But they are about to get one. Last week, member of the Berkeley Springs community, Mr. Tom Seely, was at Rotary after missing several meetings for health reasons and he sat at my table. Yes, my table! I was terribly nervous to present because I can barely even think about my kids having Brugada much less talk about it in front of "big people". Mr. Seely volunteered to buy EVERY school in Morgan County an AED!!!!

The depth of commitment from this small community literally warms your "heart". Before I got home from the meeting, the Capertons of Gat Caperton Furniture also pledged to purchase another AED for the community ball field. On Wednesday, Sept. 1st, we will have the newly purchased AEDs at the Rotary Meeting with Mr. Seely and "Nurse Patty" from Warm Springs Intermediate School thanks to an amazing superintendent in Morgan County, Dave Banks.
Now you! Yes.... you can participate and bring awareness of such an important need for ALL communities. Please post and forward to your friends.

AEDs save lives! Yours, your kids, your neighbor! Give them another sunset... like this one:

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Excuse me, can I tell you something?

Please click on the links and continue to read on!


For the past 12 or so years, I have had the pleasure and blessing to present creative dramatics to children, mostly in a Vacation Bible School setting. Also, I spend 110% of my time entertaining my kids and thier friends ranging in age from 5 to 20+. So, as you can see, since 1998 when I was last in the "professional" world, I have mostly communicated with those much younger than I. Other than my husband, DannyBoy, one might say that I have had limited adult contact.

Until next Thursday, Aug. 26th.... at noon... a room full of adults.

I am scheduled to present to a group of adults, yes, adults at our local Rotary Chapter here in Berkeley Springs. This time, I won't be reading or playing a part. Oh no! This time, I will be talking about something very near and dear to my "heart". It is quite serious and it is something called Brugada Syndrome.

My mission: To convince the members of the Rotary Club to purchase an AED, or Automatic External Defibrillator for the school where our children attend.

So, "excuse me, can I tell you something?" has something to say and I need your help. For you see, I'm not sure I can communicate this effectively without falling apart in front of everyone. Yes, it's that upsetting for me. Just watch this:

Here is our personal story and why we desperately need an AED for the schools, not only where the Hott children attend but also every school across the county and across the country. It was an early 6:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 5th, when I was admitting Dan to the Cardiology Department of Winchester Medical Center. A few days earlier, they discovered a rare and unusual, not to mention lethal, arrythmia in Dan's heart. He was diagnosed with something called Brugada Syndrome (http://www.brugada.org/), a "syndrome that causes sudden unexpected cardiac death in apparently healthy individuals. The sudden death is caused by severe disturbances in the rhythm of the heart. This disease is known as Brugada Syndrome and it is heriditary."

It wasn't bad enough that we discover that Dan has this crazy, rare, Dr. "House", thing happening with his heart, but to hear his doctor tell us that it is heriditary was just more than any sane person could endure. Just moments before they wheeled Dan down to the operation room to surgically install a permament wire to his heart and "computer" just inside his chest with the capacity to deliver an electric, yes ELECTRIC shock, his doctor calmly tells us that Dan's ecg's were reviewed by Dr. Brugada himself in Spain; his ecg's indicate that he had all three "bad" readings; his prognosis is poor without an ICD, AND our children should undergo genetic testing as soon as possible.

What? Okay, so I've just heard that my husband would die without an ICD and now he was telling me that my babies could have inherited this fatal arrythmia in thier hearts? Needless to say, I was a mess; but fortunately a dear friend came along with me to sit at the hospital while Dan was getting this new piece of equipment in his chest. Andrew took me to breakfast while we waited and all I could do was sob in my Cocoa Puffs. Why? Why were we faced with this terrible situation?

I can't tell you how difficult it was after we first heard the word "Brugada". No one had ever, EVER heard of it! Dan's nurses were looking it up and using his case for nursing studies. One nurse was so worried that she cried before sending Dan home with the knowledge of this syndrome before having the ICD surgery.

And a rough time at home it was! Brugada can strike a healthy person. It is often the culprit of stories of healthy athletes dying unexpectedly. Even rarer for children, it is now thought to be a possible cause for Sudden Infant Death Syndrom in infants. Doctors now have linked this arrythmia to something new called Sudden Unexpected Death. The electronic mal-function of the heart actually appears in an ecg, sometimes!! Dan first was told his ecg was irregular in 2001. Studies show that once it is first recognized, patients live 72 months without an ICD.

Well, here we are in 2010! So... what does a family of six do after literally getting a second chance? We celebrate! We spend precious moments together, laugh, play, worship, and praise God that He arranged for this to happen. Sounds ironic, right? Believe me, it is!

So, we got back from the hospital and the following Sunday was Mother's Day. I was a mess. You know, there is some truth to be said that one can read too much on the internet. The more I researched Brugada Syndrome the more I worried. For children (and adults too), thier heart can experience the fatal arrythmia following strenuous activity OR it can quietly occur while sleeping! My husband would force himself awake to the point of uncontrollable exhaustion and then look at me and say "Watch me sleeping! If I breath funny, bang me in the chest." And my babies... Oh dear Lord, the miles I have walked this house at night just checking on them to make sure they are still breathing. Because after May 5th, each night as I tuck my children and say our prayers, it brings an altogether new meaning to:
"Now I lay me down to sleep,
Pray dear Lord, my soul to keep,
If I die before I wake
Pray dear Lord, my soul to take."

Well, we did celebrate this summer! We traveled to 6 beaches; drove 7000 miles; played in the sand; and if at home, well, we just watched the sunsets. Yes, nothing more than all the little Hotts running outside and yelling "It's time for sunset!" is enough to make me thankful for one more day; because, with the knowledge of this strange thing called "Brugada", it really is an overwhelming sense of gratitude for just that -- one more day.

And now, well... Dan's genetic doctor told him to be sure that the schools where our children are all have access to an AED. An automatic external defibrillator increases the survival of cardiac arrest from 41 to 74% if administered in the first 3-5 minutes. After spending such quality moments and having them within my "radar" all summer, the thought of them being away at school frightens me beyond breath. Take a look at our Violet here. She is our budding athlete:

She goes to Warm Springs Intermediate School. And they do not have an AED.

To conclude, I want to share with you a picture from the back of our house. It is something we discovered just recently. Funny thing is, we have lived here for 12 years. You see, until two years ago, it was there but hidden in the trees. Now, each evening when we see this spectacular sight, I really do hear God whispering, not just to me but to us all ...

"Excuse me, can I tell you something?"

What is He telling you?

So, if there are any blog readers out there, thanks for listening and please think of us next week during Rotary. It will be my first time at a Rotary meeting... hope it's fun! Please comment and send me your advice!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Horray for Gray!

MSN asked for my story too! Check this out. Gotta love it! I've officially placed my locks on the Jamie.Lee.Curtis. category!

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Final Countdown!

Monday morning and all are still asleep at 9:22 a.m.??? Not for long! Only one week left for school to start and LOTS to do! From hemming 6 pair of 6 year old new school pants to scheduling Judo, Gymnastics, Soccer, and Piano, I'm just not sure where to begin.

We managed to find some great deals with tax free shopping in Maryland! Turns out, the only thing I had to pay full price for was Levi's backpack for Kindergarten. He insisted on having a Star Wars back pack to match his Star Wars sneakers and shirt! He'll be the best dress kid in Berkeley Springs! See how silly he is on the paddle boat on Plymouth Bay? The next picture is Levi on the boat's potty but we won't post "that" one!

So, last night we watched the movie "Julie and Julia". Anyone see it? Got me thinking about all the things I can do once school starts and wonder if trying Julia Childs recipes in 365 days would be fun..... nah! But in case you're thinking of dropping by for a visit, you might want to call first. Dan and I could be checking off "other" things on our list!

Unofficially, I have been a stay at home mom since 1999! Any ideas of what to do with myself are surely welcome! Trying to get Dan to teach me to golf; but the last time he tried to teach me to ski didn't go very well. That was 14 years ago and we haven't been to a ski slope since!

For now, guess I'll be bloggin'!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Oh! Oooo! Aaaaah! School Shopping Here We Come!

So, your one and only Hott Mama from W. Va. has managed to incorporate ads in my brand new blog? Not sure if it is working; so, let me know what it looks like! I hope it brings some great deals for all you other moms out there heading out to go school shopping like we are tomorrow!

Did I mention we will be taking all three little Hott's out to school shop for the first time EVER! So, seriously, I hope we find some great deals. More than likely, we will be spending the afternoon in either Walmart or Target. Although, I heard that JCPennys and Bon Ton have great discounts for clothes.

Clothes! Aaaaaah! Our 10 year old, Violet, enters the 5th grade this year. All summer, she grows an extra inch every day. Then there's Isaac. Well, let's just say that he no longer can fit in to his Kindergarten graduation clothes from less than three months ago. For Levi, our fashion conscious five year old, well.... look out Kindergarten! He knows all the latest fashions. I just hope his teacher allows him to go to school as a rock star or super hero! Really!

Finally, Caity begins her last year of college after spending the summer in a grown up job 550 miles from home. Her internship with CVS in relationship marketing demanded several new outfits and even more shoes. I think we will be renting a UHaul just for her shoes. (By the way, we just visited Caity and brought home dozens of shoes. Still, she saved several designs just to have "options" for her last 4 days at CVS!)

Good Luck out there in the stores everyone! Let me know if you find some bargains--just 9 days left till school starts!

Before I forget, I am going to attempt to post a picture of the Hott Kids!.... before school shopping and AFTER! Oh NO! How do I turn the picture??? Someone fix it please!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Just Returning From the Emerald City!!

Ever spend 12 hours in a car with a 5 yr old, a 6 yr old, (both boys... which makes a difference), a 10 yr old, and a husband? With school just about to start, the Hott Family winds down a summer of adventure which included visiting 6 beaches in 10 different states, nearly 7000 miles in the Surburbanmobile, and 80+ hours of travel time!

And we would do it all over again! You see, Dan and I received the unbelievable news on April 28th that his heart needed an ICD (internal cardio defibrilator) due to a crazy rare illness called Brugada Syndrome. Yes, I really thought that we were on an episode of Dr. House! Seriously! This heart condition was actually featured as SIDS (Sudden Instant Death Syndrome) on an episode of Miami Medical just this past April, the week Dan thought he was having a heart attack.

So, every now and then, life throws you some hurdles and makes you realize that the most important thing that matters is the time you spend with each other. Grateful to have another summer vacation together, we decided to celebrate life and go on some vacations! Cocoa Beach, Myrtle Beach, Kitty Hawk, Virginia Beach, NYC, Cape Cod..... see the trend?

Now, here's the icing on the cake. For my 45th birthday on August 4th, Dan surprised me with Broadway tickets to see WICKED! Just as Elphaba says on her way to see the Wizard, your one and only Hott Mama here has waited her whole life to see this production. A drama major in college and a Wicked fan, I never thought that I would be able to see it... ever! Really, who would watch our youngins so I could go to New York City? An occassional dentist appointment maybe, but a trip to Broadway? I just never thought it would happen.

Until last week! The FedEx truck showed up on our mountain with a package conaining 4 Broadway tickets to see Wicked! I read all Gregory McGuire's books and memorized the soundtrack. Coming from an old UMass theatre major from 1987... I literally exploded!

I can't tell you how much Dan honored me by such a precious experience. Not every day does a Hott Mama of four get to spend her first afternoon on Broadway seeing her favorite musical. Not only that, he agreed to listen to the soundtrack for a five hour car ride to NYC! And he's the one diagnosed with a fatal heart arythmia!

So, my dear "I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
and we are lead...
Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But Because I know you
I have been changed for good...

Thanks for the most amazing summer... and birthday ever!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

School starts in how many days?????

It is no accident that "Excuse me... Can I tell you something?" makes its' debut today, the first day of August 2010! I really wish this was true; like yours truly the original Hott Mama could be so organized. Hah... Impossible!

In reality, "Excuse me... Can I tell you something?" is an idea that has been developing on my "list" for quite some time. Do you know what I mean by a "list"? I am referring to the endless sheets of paper I use to compile my "list" for everything from the grocery store, party invites, Christmas shopping, to the "list" that our heart composes of those important life activities one desire to achieve at certain milestones in life.

For example, I'll explain the profile picture selected for this blog. It is the vapor trail from the space shuttle launched April 5th, 2010, from Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Pretty cool picture, don't you think? Ten years and two more kids later, a blizzard of the century, and we finally made it to a shuttle launch. Not a simple task coming from W. Va. Check the "list"!

You see, my garbage is soooo full of the lists I made and regularly forgot to bring along to Food Lion that I will sometimes make lists of things to do and include things I have already accomplished... just to give myself the satisfaction of checking something off!

So you see, "Excuse me... Can I tell you something?" premieres today. TaDa!!! This first day of August. Exactly 3 weeks until all four, yes four of my children ranging in ages 5 to 20 will be beginning school! August 23rd marks the day my youngest, Levi, begins Kindergarten and my oldest, Caity, begins her final year of grad school (at age 20), including Violet, 10, entering 5th grade, and Isaac, 6, starting 2nd. FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 20 YEARS.... EVERYONE WILL BE IN SCHOOL!!!

No, I'm not too excited about that! Well, actually... yes, I am! Because on my "list" of life accomplishments is compiling a "list" of the crazy things life has thrown at me over the years as a mom, wife, substitute teacher, public employee, theatre manager, executive secretary, party planner, vacation Bible school teacher, dramatist intern, recently PD and Brugada and more. So now, about to turn 45, I realize that it really isn't about all the work you've done or stuff you have. Rather, it's about those around you, celebrating and cherishing each day together.

So Hott Family, get ready! Mom's about to share with the world our crazy family "list" and daily adventures. Remember me always saying, "Mom's going to write a book someday!" Or, "Behave yourself, or I'll put this in my book!" To, "EXCUSE ME... CAN I TELL YOU SOMETHING?"! From a blog to someday a book, I hope to record the Memoirs of the Original Hott Mama!

And for those reading this new thing called a blog, remember how you manage your "list" for those around you; realizing that life may sometimes whisper, or yell: "Excuse me! Can I tell you something?"