Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Keep a Truckin' November...

November, November, November...you are flying by and I LOVE it. I normally am a "enjoy the ride" kind of gal, but damn...go, go, go days. With every day, we get a little closer to finishing these phases of treatment. We are almost done with our 3rd phase and then we have 2 more before we start maintenance, which is where things s.l.o.w down and we get EG back in school. Then we do that until October 11, 2019. That is when we finish up and put this journey behind us. Well. Not that easily and simply, but you know what I mean. The treatments and chemo, etc.

On November 30th (if her numbers keep up) we started delayed Intensification, which is going to be where we hit up the steroids again for 7 day pulses. Nobody is excited about that raising its ugly head again. However, opposed to 30 days straight, we do 7 day pulses, two times over 4 weeks. So, hopefully, all the nasty side effects won't join us. I have heard it is short enough to hold them off and I praying that is the case for EG. Plus, just a hodge podge of other meds. So, I have decided to take it as we come and she has proven my medicine fear wrong all this time, so we will keep that going. :) Smile...blink...breath.....repeat:)

Jessica. Girl. That boy Ryder is exploding with his language. His teachers are even saying that is literally talking for all his friends at school. Just hooking everyone up. Ha. He is the old man of the group, so he is just showing his muscles, I guess. My happy heart loves it so much because I would never thought I could trust another person to watch him, but I have. I LOVE that he has found a loving spot and I see him feel safe, loved, and having SO much fun. He needs this and I need to be able to focus on my gal pal, so I will forever be thankful for this little spot! On that note, we will have some closure to his case in January. Let's all hope justice prevails. And I will leave it at that;)

You guys and gals have a good day and don't work too hard! Enjoy the sunshine and do it early because if you too long, that sky will be dark and cold. Not ok.

Until Next Time

- Jenn

Monday, November 6, 2017

I Promised to Come Back...

Hi all. Well. I just reread that last entry and I poured my heart out on the screen, which is almost nice. I got to see such a vulnerable state I was in. Just a bad day. A sad day. However, as I went to bed I told Jeff that there is only one way to go and that is up. And sure enough, my swollen eyeballs came back down, my makeup was put back on the next morning, and this girl has come back to the bright side of things. I silenced all my mom groups that I had been added to and I peek in when I feel like it, on my own terms. That control is nice.

My conclusion in all this is that I literally thrive with a day by day philosophy and I have a hard time feeling too down when my girl is walking me to a local joint to eat lunch, shopping for winter clothes for her brothers, playing connect 4 on the couch and low and behold watching her play soccer with her brother and daddy. I mean. What else can I ask of her while on some added chemo every ten days? Her numbers are "As beautiful as Ellie", which is what her doctor said last week. So, today I choose to celebrate the good parts. I know there are days to be sad, which is part of being human, but I realized after every one of "those days", I am a wee bit stronger. A tiny, little bit.

SOOOOO, there is my better day post. I knew I had to because I feel more centered with a little of every emotion! Let's change the subject...please!!?! My middle son is busy at being five. He just wrapped up soccer and has picked karate. He is always punching pillows and flying through the air to roll, so I decided to channel his actions. My baby boy loves chapel and they all ride on the little buggy that holds six kids at a time. Oh my Lordy, it is precious. But, he is loving school and asks to go, go, go every morning. My sweety is settling into his new job and even made his bonus on this first round, which he was SURE he would not. I think that helped him feel like his hard work may seem trudging along as he learns the biz, but he will come out on the other side with a smile on his face and a love for what he does. The art of a challenge as a career is suiting him well:) I, on the other hand, have something up my sleeve for next year, but I am not going there just yet. We have a few mountains to climb with treatment and I want to focus on that first, but options are there!

OK guys. How are you? Are you still there? Give me a shout out so I can see life on this blog. I love to see you guys on the other side! Find the sunshine today and take a deep breath, and focus on the now. It is working for me and hopefully it will for you too!

Until Next Time-

Jenn

Friday, November 3, 2017

Spiraling...

Hey guys. I am not going to lie. I am down today, completely overwhelmed and really just trying to keep it together. I feel like my cancer mom world in crashing down on me. I have people from all over the realm of this process reaching out and being SO kind to offer programs and support groups and, and, and. I woke up today to a full inbox of moms from all walks of cancer life welcoming me to a group and it is SO nice. I really appreciate the willingness of these strangers to connect and offer any advice and comfort in a heartbeat. But, I am thinking that I don't move this fast. I am an observer by nature. I watch and listen to new worlds that I am thrown into. Well. Apparently going head first is a trigger for me to freak the @beep@ out. I am spiraling, worrying about relapse, not getting a healthy enough diet in her, long term effects. I mean, I can't even get a focal point on my freak out.

I have got to put my phone down and step away from the support. I hate this more that anything on this Earth. I HATE it. Not the support, but the fact that we are here. Sometimes I get a sudden shock in my stomach that my first born, who has been my healthiest of all my kids, was hit. I almost feel in denial, and this is like the flu that will eventually go away. And, I am in full belief that it will, but do I wake up every day wondering if it will hit again?

And this is where I tell myself, in a very stern voice, that I can't live this way. what a waste of time and energy. I could also think this about a car wreck, really. I don't do that. I mean, the PTSD kicks my ass in a big way. So, for now I know those brave and strong cancer moms are out there with open arms, but I can't right now. Maybe never dive in to be a discussion with so much going on. I need to regain my focus on my situation, my baby girl, my family and figure out how to do that. I have caught myself have more better days than bad (which is a good step for me!), so this is just the process. But, I know a trigger is to get ahead of myself. I know this and have to know where my boundaries lie. God help me.

On a totally different note, Ryder had his yearly MRI and check up with Dr. Weprin. He is doing great. He has an arachnoid cyst, which he says in small and is like a birthmark. I know they lie in bigger heads and most people only find them with  an MRI for something else. Anyways, he is doing AWESOME. SO, that is wonderful news and much needed. Ha. My life makes me roll my eyes and wonder who I pissed off. If you are reading this, "I am sorry. Very, very sorry."

Well, for those of you that are checking in, thank you. I am making it a goal to write on a better day to brag about who well Ellie is doing and what a brave and strong girl I have on my hands. But, for today, I will cry and feel sad. Let it get out of my soul. It is the process, from which I know and it too shall pass. I will find some sunshine today because...I need to.:)

Until Next Time

-Jenn

Friday, September 15, 2017

Blink...Just Blink...

I am spying on Ellie and her homebound teacher, so I figured I would sit at the bar and be busy on the computer. I have paid some bills, contacted the hospital for some questions to be answered, answered emails and now...I blog. I told myself I wasn't going to write on this thing again until I had the good news that I could scream from the mountain top. I realize I backed myself into a corner here, leaving my blog on the edge of demise. HOWEVER, I have a gambling heart and rolled the dice and now I get to announce that my baby is in REMISSION! 

I know...so fast. They came in hard and fast and wiped it gone. Out of there. Took it down. I was SO nervous to answer the phone, but the doctor had a light voice and quickly told me he had good news. WHew. As mad I am at God for presenting this challenge to us, I am equally thankful for the quick works on her body. I don't know. My religion and faith is challenged right now, so I tell my friends to pray doubly hard to cover me until I can unfold my thoughts on it all. Anyways, back on topic. SO, many people have asked if she is a go and ready to resume normal life. Unfortunately, it isn't that easy. We have to continue to surge on and follow the "recipe" that has been proven to prevent this coming back 94% in her lifetime. So, of course we continue to tackle this beast. She is now in 4 or 8 week cycles on different rounds of meds. There is one 8 week cycle that I am worried about because it sounds rough, but it isn't until a few months, so I will deal with that on another day. But, we are hoping by March that she will be back at school and we can see her being a kid again. It's the little things isn't it?

On a different note, N loves school. Like LOVES school. He thrives on treasure chests and candies for being good. He comes home every day talking of Hersey Kisses and we joke if there is an insulin kit in the treasure chest. R is making my heart sing with his success by loving his Mother's Day Out. That has been a mountain I have prepped myself on for many months and by golly, the boy likes it. He goes to chapel every day and they said he told the teacher what a Bible was. Yes, my heart is a puddle. 

So, life moves on as we know it. I have some sort of view on where we are going, which is good for me. I look forward to the weather cooling down. Someone find the sunshine...anyone and tell it hello for me:)

- Jenn

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Here we go Again...

So that scare. That one that had me weak in the knees. It unfolded fast and we were not out of the woods. My baby girl was diagnosed the very next day with Luekemia. What the hell? She was light headed. I thought she looked a little pale and she had had a virus within 3 weeks of each other. So, she was showing signs of not feeling well. But, I had iron in my mind. Maybe a weird piece of mono. But, never in my mind did I expect her to be the .0065% of the nation to be in the cancer club. Man. I really can't even go into the details for my days like I did for Ryder yet. But, what I can say is that it has been a constant rollercoaster of hope and a then the valleys hit. The crying and feeling dead inside. I have turned a corner of being more at peace about things as we get a grip on things and see the tests and blood work respond beautifully to the meds. I don't want that to sound easy. The bloating, weak muscles, sadness, confusion, yucky feeling, and overall anger of this hitting my eight year old is almost too much for me. The fact that I have sworn to walk side by side with this angel is my leading force to get out of bed each morning. If she can, I can. Plus, sweet Nolan is again the child shuffled around and now Ryder. Man. Was I a bad person in another life? Did I hurt someone big? So yeah. I still am in the confusion phase and that is ok. Because I am eating again, showering on the reg, putting on make-up with some sort of routine. I hug and encourage my kids, I try to make time to talk to Jeff when I don't feel like sharing. But, since this isn't my first rodeo of a life event of terror. I know my tendencies of closing people off...and I am trying hard to not do it with such depth. My friends are chomping at the bit to help and it overwhelms me and I don't know what help means right now. But, what a lucky person to have a squad, tribe, and cheering section  waiting patiently at my side.

For now, Ellie and I am going to chop off this hair. Mine is wild and hers is falling out and we are all just annoyed with the strands tickling us as they catch on us. We are all at peace about it and so we will  get a cute trim to help take some weight off her blonde baby head.

We are waiting on a call from the office to determine remission, and Labor Day weekend has labs running s.l.o.w....ugh. Stay tuned. Forget you sun...I am in no mood for you right now.😐

Until next time.
-Jenn

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Holy Mother of ....

Ok...let's play a game. Imagine a brick wall. Maybe even a double lined, red brick wall. With a lot of cement slathered on between each brick. Man. A very fit girl ( girl can dream, right?) is trying her best to get the grip at the top of this wall and not slip slowly back down. As I imagine we all are. Just grab the damn brick on top...do it. Stupid wind comes and takes her down a notch. Ok. Do you have the visual in your head? Well. That wall is life and the person is me (so deep huh?) and the wind is life's surprises that show up every now and again and make your head spin. I had started another blog entry this morning but had a big gust of wind sweep through today and so, here I am with that side of things. My oldest had a health scare today. We are not out of the woods, but things are looking up. I don't know if it is my PTSD kicking in, but I do NOT handle those winds very well. I called Jeff to come home and he is like on his second day of kick starting his sales job. Ugh. But, I literally go weak and sling shot my brain ten steps down the road of the worst case scenerario. Ok, I need real talk here. Do you guys do this? Am I screwed up for life because I had a really awful, freak situation happen in my life and now I have to go back to that space when something happens unexpected? I HATE it about myself. And I try to be kind to my myself on these types of issues, but word to your mamma...it ain't good. Sweating, pacing, trying desperately to not speed up my breathing because then kicks in the anxiety attack. I mean bad, y'all. Where are you at here? Just me or you with me on some level. I need a gauge because I may need to seek out my "calm down Dr. friend" to work on my copping skills. So, moral of the story. I am whipped emotionally and I want to improve this about myself. Thanks for hearing me out and chiming in on how you cope with fast and sometimes scary news. Hint, hint:)

So, can we change the subject, please? My cute teacher friend, Ginger, texted me today and she stumbled across this blog! Say what?!I love it and even though my summer writing has dwindled, I couldn't love that more. Hey girl. Those precious babies keeping you busy over there?! I appreciate you reading this silly thing:)

Also, I need to catch you guys up on my surprise girls trip and my cute house that we FINALLY got moved in to. We have really put some time into creating a happy and simple space and I must say, I am feeling it. My friend Schubert keeps telling me that it is so me and I take that as such a compliment because my vision is coming to life. Jeff is throwing in his vision too, but somehow I keep winning that battle! Ha, poor man is stuck with me. Love you, honey.

But Soon, these happy little things will come out on here and hopefully with pictures.

Alright folks. Man, I need the sunshine to calm myself after a trying day, however this outlet has helped. You people are a bright spot and I love you for being here, even when I take time off to tend to children and move. Whew. Blog besties unite! Love.

Until next time.
-Jenn

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Get it Together...

Summmmerrrrrr time and the livin's easy. ... . ...

Well hello strangers. Sorry I have been out of commission these last few weeks, but all in the spirit of good. Right? How do I get stressed over the good? I mean. Perhaps that my nerves go on edge when things start to ruffle and shuffle. Now, I have been wanting to shake things up to start a new us, but now I am rocking in the corner when it starts to happen. I think I will get up from the corner soon. But, I may need to put my tattoo goal on hold because I might need to digest my last month first!

Are you ready to hear all the business going on in our little lives? Jeff got the job. Praise the Lord. This is what we knew HAD to happen in order to tip over that first domino. Well. He has started and we have real insurance, he has a company car, and is officially going into the office everyday. Things just got real. So, we have to get a house fast to get the kids near the school that we all love. Now, if you know anything about loans. Folks don't like to give money to people who switch careers completely. I suppose the risk jumps up to a 1,000 percent of a poor decision in the bank world. I work long hours, but I am paid in kisses and hugs. Apparently the modern day loan program doesn't feel like I am a good candidate either. In other words...HURRRRRYYYY. We found a house we loved and made our offer quick and enticing before Jeff's contract was up. Well. Our plan worked. We were under contract and this couple was in a rush to get out of the house, so it worked out. We are going to lease our current home, so we had the freedom to Go, Go, Go! However, I didn't have time to process much. I felt like we were just printing out our entire lives and handed it over and I was still trying to figure out if it was a good move for us. Jeff kept his eye on the prize and talked me through it, but damn, I felt like I was spinning.

Well, I was spinning actually. In the middle of this two week whirlwind, I had a random moment of crazy in Target. I had all three kids and I was doing a quick sweep of snacks for the little people. In and out type of thing. You know those huge shopping carts that hold two sitters in front of the cart? They are like pushing a tanker truck, but it helps my children complain of aching legs. Because you know, walking around Target takes SO much out of you. BUT, whatever, the choo-choo cart is how we roll, no matter how obnoxious. Long story short, I accidentally run into a kid (say 12 or so) and his mom as they were looking at the deli section. Don't get me wrong, I was the one to blame and she tells me that they were there first and I ran them off. I was so caught off guard that I just apologize and try to figure out how I missed running into two big people. I come to the conclusion that my mind was in house buying world. I felt bad but I guess it was the last straw of my sanity. I starting tearing up and I could NOT STOP CRYING. Nolan asked why my eyes were red and he bought that my make up was running, but ol' EG knew I was crying. However, she was stumped because we were still in Target. I am even confused myself by this scenario. I decide to abort this place, but I needed the snacks in my cart. I NEEDED the snacks for the summer vultures at my house like in an hour.

Don't you worry. I walk up to check out right behind the lady that snapped at me. I felt weird not saying anything so I just caught her attention and told her that the insane cart needed a special license and I was not up for renewal. I then just said, I am so sorry. Right or wrong, I obviously got in their space. She just laughed and said she remembered the days of young children and I remember nothing else of what she said. I started crying AGAIN. I apparently couldn't hold a conversation just yet. I just slowly turned around and walked off sup supping and walked directly to the light bulb section. Who can cry with a variety of bulbs in your face? Well. It worked. I pulled myself together and  got out of there in one piece, with snacks! SO, when I say I was not handling the stress in peace, you know I am not telling a lie.

Now. We have Jeff in a new career, a new house, a house we are going to rent out and as of today....I am going to work at a local church school. I have decided that I am ready to enter this world again and R and I will do it together. I will teach a 4 year old class and my main man will be attending this school as well. It is a Mother's Day Out type thing and I am SO excited to start this new chapter.

Can you say...Starting over??? My baby bud is just chatting away and becoming such a big boy. He truly makes me so proud every day. I am also enjoying my bigs being home this summer and we are trying to pack up this house, all while trying to not cry in Target. Small goals people. Small goals! How is your summer going? I need details!

Until Next Time, find that sunshine but make sure you have SPF 50 on while doing it. Geesh.

-Jenn

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Summer Countdown...

Hi guys. Sorry I missed a week in there. Summer is fast approaching and we are cray, just like the rest of you. I have a crazy summer kicking in. I have been a prepper for these months since February and so it seems surreal that it is almost go time. First off, my main honey bun got his dream job in sales. He is official and we could not be more excited to start this new avenue in the game of life. He gets a few weeks off between jobs to kick his heels up and so of course I pack it as full as I can. The guy doesn't stand a chance with quiet time, but I will throw in a Netflix party of some Bloodline to make it worth his fancy.  And if he negotiates with me, I just might give him a House of Cards Netflix original. Look, I could totally be in the business world. I am practicing the lingo and the act of business stuff. I could fit in his new world at any second. You are welcome, sweets:)

In honor of the new paycheck and new idea of vacation time in a few week increments, I got on vrbo.com and found a condo in Galveston in approximately seven minutes. I guess I was feeling the ocean breeze in my hair already, because we were booked by minute eight. We even bamboozled my in-laws and mom to join us to make this two night stay as fun and crazy as possible. Now, don't think I am done with my agenda yet.

When I get back on Wednesday, I am on go time. You are looking at the Master of Ceremony to the Annual Mystery Girls Trip, round 8. I have put it off until I was backed in a corner of being the last man standing kind of thing. However, my sista Sarah can out wait me by a landslide, so I am in charge this year. She is the closer on us all by planning next year. The rules are as follows: You pay $350.00 in February and we go on the same assigned weekend every year. The location has to include a body of water of some sort and lots of good food and spirits. We have to get creative on food since our budget is so low, which is fine. The organizer just has to do some prepping to have the meals pre-made and easy squeezy. It is awesome and this weekend gets a proper countdown every year. Nine ladies that pack a bag and know nothing about where their weekend is headed is so exciting. I will make them do crazy things this year and they HAVE to do it. Whhaaaaa.....ahhhhh.ahhhhh!😎The power!

After that, we slide into volleyball and soccer camp and things just get fun and free. I am ready for summer and my baby cakes R is just becoming a real little guy. He is talking up a storm and telling me things that he wants and where he wants to go. I am enjoying this phase of the game and we are just the best of buds. I am well aware the two year old crazies are rearing their head in him, so I am enjoying it as it comes.

I am sending all my love out into the universe today for a few of you guys that are facing your own battles right now. Keep trucking and find that sunshine, even i it is for a little while. Love to you all.

Until Next Time.

-Jenn

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

And Just Like That...

And just like that, my frown has been turned upside down. I look back on last weeks post and feel like it was forever ago. Man. I guess those rotten times make you stop and appreciate when the good rolls in. So, I will try to explain this without mixing it all up. Stand tough. I will try to summarize at the end if it gets too confusing.
I received a call from a bill collection agency that we had an outstanding bill from R's brain surgery in October. It is a $4,800 bill from the anathealogist. I actually remember her. She was good. Very invested in the kids and has been in the business for thirty plus years.  With life comes the price of good. She was out of network of our insurance. This bill has gone round and round through me, the CVC, back to me, back to Children's Hospital. I am talking for months. The doctors want us to fight our insurance company. The insurance company is saying, "We don't care, now go away", and the CVC just lost all the paperwork and is requesting it again to start the three month review all over again. (Are your eyeballs melting into your skull yet?) So, in an effort to stop the madness, I call the CVC and wait my 2 days to get my return call. I better have my phone on hand or that is a tragic miss. Mr. Robert calls and tells me that the CVC reviewed the bill and the bill does not match up to paperwork. Hmmm, makes zero sense to me, but let me call the doctor's office and pass this on to them. As I explain this to the secretary/office manager, she gets irritated and starts in on how the paperwork adds up and is a bit cranky about the situation, which I get. Mind you that I am lifeless about it all. This woman could throw a fit and I would have remained dead on the inside (This is my survival mode of insurance and bill work). Anywho, she gruffly asks what happened to this child, and I unleash the waterworks. I have no idea where my weeping (well, I do...but it was out of the blue) came from. So, I sup sup my way through our story, in a quick main idea way and the irritated woman grew wings of an angel. She stopped and spoke out of anger towards the situation,  compassion for my mamma's heart, understanding that I have spent over a year dealing with insurance confusion. After she comforted me, she boldly told me that the bill was wiped. She advised that I go take care of my child and that the insurance paid a small percentage of  our bill and that would do. I could not stop crying. I didn't have the wit to ask her name or if she could advise such a thing. A part of me wonders if the doctor picked up the phone that day. However it happened, I will forever remember that moment of grace. I couldn't sleep that night because I kept wondering if I had dreamed it up. I wrote a letter to the whole office and the doctor the next day. I included a picture of my big guy and hope that she gets it. Because wow. Just wow.

So, that turned my cranky mood around really fast and then good things just started rolling in. My hubs killed his 3rd round of interviews and we are really feeling like this career dream might be turning into a reality. I am so excited to see his spirits lift and we really feel like we are making some bold and exciting changes that make my stomach hurt, but are so worth it in the end.

I JUST got a good sized check in the mail for insurance overflow payments from Children's Hospital that will help cover some house drama we have had these last few months. I can not make this stuff up. When does that happen? I am going to deposit it in the bank today before they want it back!

Talk about the rollercoaster rolling on a crazy course. I better put my hair up because it is a loop to looping too fast for me to stay still. Moral of the story. Feel sorry for yourself when you need to, but get over it because good things will eventually come your way. And trust. I have had a string of the sky dumping mud on my white dress for a long time now. So, with a little hesitation, I believe in the good happening from time to time to balance it out. Slowly step out for the sunshine and things will look up. Right? Any good news out there to join the fun? I would love to hear it to keep the mojo going.

Until next time.

-Jenn




Monday, May 8, 2017

Bad Mood...

Well, hello there. It appears Mondays are my days to sit down and write. That just sort of happened. I love a natural sync and there we have it...come see me on Mondays! Misty, I know you will be here:)))

SOOO, I am in a mood. I can't really talk about what happened but it has put me in a bad mood. An angry mood. And there isn't one thing I can do about it but get over it. I once had a college volleyball coach give me some advice I still use til this day. We were scrimmaging in a practice and I was matched up with the biggest girl on our team, sizing up to be around 6'2". Mind you guys I am 5'7" and she was a powerhouse. I had a strong arm, but man my height was tiny in a Division 2 college sport. (This MIGHT be the reason I didn't get much time in the actual games, but whatevs!) I was trying my little heart out to swing past this girl. She was blocking me left and right (of course she was, but I was the little engine that could). Practice ended and I was so mad. I was leaving swollen up and red and he pulled me aside and simply told me, "Feel sorry for yourself tonight and wake up tomorrow and get over it." At the time I thought that was silly advice, but it stuck with me. So, I felt really sorry for myself this past Wednesday night, but I am now just in a bad mood. But, I suppose it is a step to moving on in our situation and I guess I just need to get it over with. I know this doesn't make much sense, but just know that we are still waiting on our last piece of the puzzle to be resolved in this case with my sweet R. I will need a night out when this is all said and done and I am hopeful that it will end in our favor. OK. Enough of that. Time to move on from that topic of crazy.

My mood could also be based on the uncertainty of our near future. Jeff has rolled the dice and is possibly trying his hand in a new career and this is a domino effect to if we move, if I need to go back to work, if I need to stay at home, and should R start a little class to be around other kids. I mean. My head is swirling and I am over it. We have prepared ourselves for option A), B), and C), but dang...waiting is brutal. That also might be the root of my bad mood. I am trying to have faith that we will be where we are supposed to be, but I never said I was patient at the process. Good night almighty, just let me know already so I can get my ducks in a row. Blah. See? I am just Debbie Downer right now and I suppose I will give myself the day, but after that, "GET OVER IT" and just move on. I will get some news when it comes and then I can do what I need to do with it. However, if someone could tell my jaw to relax and stop clenching, that would be great too.

Well, I am sorry if you leave here in a crankier mood than when you arrived. I usually can find the sunshine and the positive side, but this week may not be the case. So y'all find it for me and hopefully by next week I will be back and better than ever:) If you have any tips for me to snap out of a good ol' fashion bad mood, feel free to share. I might need a new mantra to add to my collection.

Until Next Time.

-Jenn

Monday, May 1, 2017

Sweet, Sweet Baby Jake...

I wasn't sure that I was going to get into my continued struggles after all of my baby drama, but my dad showed up to say hello. And I couldn't resist sharing. So, now I will go on with my sweet, sweet baby Jake. My sweet border collie/lab went to be with Pops three months after his passing.  My kids were very sure of the fact that he wanted to be with Pops. I liked the idea of them being together and my dad chasing Jake, both free of disease. My Jake was my buddy and he literally built this family with us.

Jeff and I got Jake when we had been married for about four months. I had been dropping hints of getting a dog but we were renting and that always gets a little hairy when you bring a pet into a rental property. I had Doodles in the house already, so that seemed to hold over my animal love! Until my birthday hit and Jeff gave me a gift in a puppy gift bag and i just milked it for all it was worth and pretended to make him think that the gift inside was just a bonus gift and that the gift bag was my puppy gift! A real live puppy gift. He was so caught off guard and didn't have the heart to turn down my excitement that we packed up and went up to the shelter. He had buckled and we were on the hunt for a new family member! I can remember going into the shelter and seeing face after face and my heart just bleeding all over the floor for these sweet dogs. The lady led us out to the little yard area and there was a litter of black and white bundles of energy. There were about six of them and this one little fur ball walked up to Jeff with a tennis ball in his mouth, barely able to stretch it wide enough for the ball. And Jeff stands up and says, "This is the one." I was beyond thrilled that he had found our baby because he was so very sweet to embark on this adventure with me. Ok. We found our new puppy. Let's call him Jake!

They had to do all the puppy things at the shelter and I could pick him up on Tuesday. Boy was he a HOT MESS when I got there to take him home. He was a nut and I had a small panic attack that we had gotten in over our heads with this wild and excited pup. I feel like you always question what you have done when you get a new animal. Well, this time was no different! After we got him settled and potty trained and he and Jeff became loyal walkers together. And the full energy breed beat Jeff and it turned into running mates. Jake could go on forever, and Jeff got into marathon running as a result. I love it. Jake was our buddy that welcomed all three of our kids, moved approximately four times, made it through an ACL surgery, sat with my dad the day he he his stroke (he just happened to be over there that day), slept in bed with me, and so many more warm and fuzzy baby Jake memories.  His demise was quick. I took him in for a bum leg, thinking arthritis was the culprit. No. It wasn't. A scan showed a tumor in his spine that was shutting down his legs. He was ten and a half and he told us when it was time to go be with Pops. So, my mom, Jeff, and I once again said good-bye to a loved one and I balled like a baby. I think it all just came out because I was done being strong. We kissed our buddy good-bye and I still miss him every day.

I mean. I had thrown my hands up at that point. I gave up. I couldn't try to figure out my recent year and I still to this point remember just being limp. I guess it was a pretty big low that sparked my surge to begin my healing because I couldn't stay so sad anymore. Baby Jake and Pops didn't want that and really, this is where the blog kicked in. Full circle, right here! I have to confess to Jake that we tore down his doghouse yesterday because we were housing a raccoon. It was pooping in our yard and finding great shelter in his big ol' squishy house. I do not need a need fur baby in raccoon form, so that was that. E and N want to put up a memorial plant for Jake and I think that sounds lovely.

I need to go find the sunshine today. This weather makes it so easy because Spring is the BEST!

Until next time.

-Jenn

Sunday, April 23, 2017

My Pops...

Do you ever get going on the day to day movements of your life and feel like you are on auto-pilot? You make lunches, snacks, wash this, clean that. And it isn't anything I mind doing, but I do it with no thought. And to be honest, this is a welcomed state of being for now. I spent A LOT of time in the last year and a half, analyzing every step of my day. Plotting what needed to be done and why. I have really worked on not over thinking things, which often led to worrying about small stuff. But, I am not sure that I want to phase out completely either. I guess balance is the key. To be present, but without questioning my next chess move. Does that make sense? Either way, it is nice to sing along in the car again and do something without thinking deeply about how it will lead into my next point of action. Bless. My brain is exhausted.

I was having a day of cleaning (which thanks to the flea spotting last week, my house has never been so dang clean)! I have scrubbed every inch and I believe we are back in the saddle. You are welcome Doodles (insert my eyes cutting to the side and pinching my lips together). Point being, when I clean I turn on my "OK Google" dome and hit up Pandora. I have my ol' faithful stations of Willie Nelson, Justin Timberlake, Johnny Cash, and Dixie Chicks. On two different stations, the song "Just Breathe" came on (Redone by Willie Nelson from Pearl Jam), which is my pops dropping to say hello.

Listen Below:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ow-Cx9IX4So


My dad had a massive stroke three months after my first born daughter was with us. He was still in bed when my mom went to work and apparently when he tried to get up that morning he had his stroke. My mom didn't come home until that evening and he had laid there all day:( So, we missed a the chance to give him the shot that reverses the effects of a stroke. He spent years going to rehabs and living in places that focused on the recovery portion after an injury or stroke. I remember taking my tiny, new baby out to Melissa to PATE recovery center every Sunday to see him. Fast forward to almost seven years later and he passed away in a nursing home with my mom and myself as his cheerleaders to let him go in November of last year. My dad had lost a lot of his brain function and physical movement with the stroke, so recovering was really hard. He made some gains, but he was just as content watching TV and taking it easy. Mr. John was not a big adventure seeker. Give the man a beer and an episode of Gunsmoke and he was in Heaven.

I watched him decline SLOWLY and in and out of the hospital, as well as more surgeries than desired. He had fought the good fight for as long as he could. Man oh man. He was with a feeding tube, a urination tube through his belly button, as well as paralysis on his right side of his body, and limited speech at the end. So, I was actually happy he could leave that state of being behind when he passed away, but with that brought back memories of when he was well. My dad. My healthy, talking, walking Pops. So on this day of cleaning, not thinking about a thing and clear of thoughts, my dad snuck in to say hi with my favorite song that we played at his funeral. I was emotional about it because I was so happy to get the old pops in my mind and heart. It had been a long time that I have been able to talk to that guy because when I would visit him over the last 7 years, it was as a caretaker.  But now, I feel like I have my dad back and he was using my quiet as a way to reach out. So, i have listened to that song probably 15 times and will keep doing it as long as I still get a smile out of the deal. It's nice to see you again, dad.:) Let's do it again soon.

On a totally different note, I want to say how excited I was when I saw that seven hundred page views had met this blog. I am not sure if that is a blip on the World Wide Web or not, but hopefully one of those views helped someone, somewhere find strength about something. Like I have said before, that is what I can only do at this point. I now have a musical theme song when I go find the sunshine and it could not be a more perfect scene. I like it. I am on board!

Do you guys have a theme song? If so, I need to hear it. Loud and obnoxiously blasting on my Google player. I have a feeling my cleaning phase will stay on high alert until I can double assure myself that Doodles is home free. (Insert: cutting my eyes at the cat. I am still mad about it all.)

Until next time.

-Jenn

Monday, April 17, 2017

When Life Happens...

Hello on this rainy, post Easter Monday. I hope everyone had a calm and enjoyable weekend. I feel like this year Easter snuck up on me. No easter egg hunts, no pictures with cute little rabbits, no new spring outfits that make little people look adorable. I made my kids stuff their own eggs this year to throw out in the yard at their Granny's house. We stuff our eggs with coins because A) they can't melt and B) I figure a few bucks in coins help ease the hundreds of dollars in dentist bills six months down the road. Don't get me wrong, my kids love some sweets. E asked me the other day for Poptarts and Honeybuns for her birthday. What? So random. And the Easter Bunny brought Nutella stick things, Oreo dippers, and not to forget the old fashion Skittles and chocolate eggs. I mean, they are rolling in some sugar, so why not add about six bucks worth of change. We also hide the "Big Kahuna", which is a big gold egg with a five dollar bill. Let's be honest. I learned that they get my Libra instincts on fairness and this year they ALL had a labeled Big Kahuna, because how do I have time to listen to crying about a golden egg when I didn't even find time to take a picture in some bluebonnets? Priorities I suppose!?!

I feel like I was so jumbled and dazed because my cat exposed to me that she had some fleas. I KNOW. Gross and please don't be afraid to come to my house again. I have fixed this tragic event of nastiness. I noticed this eight pound little INDOOR cat was awfully itchy over the last few days, but chalked it up to allergies. And I swear she was following me around the house. Scratching next to mommy, beside mommy, on the coffee table in front of mommy. Well, it may take some time, but mommy will finally turn a tiny little old lady cat over and see a moving flea. Next mommy will yell out, "OH MY WORD" and scream to Jeff that we have a sitch and to watch the kids. I call him from the car and literally feel like I am racing to the ER. I RUN into Walmart, dodging people and weaving in and out like a Ninja in the night. After I find the spray, brush, medicine, and shampoo, I continue to run to the register. The woman checking me out asked if we had a problem going on at our house. I just mumbled something about a friend in need and ran to my car and made it back home in all of nine minutes. It was not a pretty picture to see this cat getting bathed, sprayed, brushed, and flipped about three times over. She was so mad and eventually fell asleep after bath two because I rocked her in my lap with a big ol' towel around her to comfort this traumatized kitty.  Doodles is still mad at me. But, guess what Doodles, I am mad at you too. How does a cat go on the patio for one dinner while we eat outside and come back with a flea on you? You are grounded. No more patio exploring for you. I have her on the topical meds now and the nice man will be out this week to spray for bugs anyways. Let's take care of this madness. I am grossed out, but Jeff is hiding in the corner thinking all things on him are fleas. I caught this quickly, and haven't had one on me or the furniture, but you would think he is living in a bug cage. Drama is always lurking from somebody.

Needless to say. I blame my lack of Easter hustle on my cat. But, we ended up making it to church and I am volunteering in R's little, tiny eighteen month classroom and he is rocking it. He is playing with other kids and the teachers adore him. So, eventually I will try to leave him in there with just the teachers to work on my trust and his trust with other adults. Let's be clear that this goal is for me, but he has to learn as well. I have stuck him deep in my nook and I am trying to let the fresh air in and trying to trust again. I am really excited that we are two weeks in and I am so thrilled to be here because all I have come across are really good people. Such a beautiful reminder in a world that doesn't always show its' best side. I hope you are staying dry and let's all root for the sunshine because the rain has come and it is time to go. Did anyone else have drama over the holiday? Please make my Doodles story seem like a normal event!

Until next time.
-Jenn

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Cue the Applause...

R had his eighteen month check up yesterday and it was so amazing. He has jumped from like 60% percentile in height to 97th percent. I knew he had been growing, but he has been stretching out. I thought he was going through a regression bit with his sleeping, but the poor kid was probably having growing pains. Sweet bug has stretched out. He is of course 100% in weight and head size. My gentle giant that loves to cuddle to boot. The pediatrician is the long standing doctor with all my kids. We have been with him for almost eight years now. So, when all of this mess came about with our little guy, he was in the mix. He first diagnosed him with hydrocephalus when I first took him in for his vomiting because his head literally swelled inches and inches. Oh, the stomach pains to reflect on that very first visit. Man, hold on tight because you are about to visit hell, Jenn. Let's just say I am good with not going back there too often.

I remember when he called me up at the hospital to check on R and I told him everything they have found with the x-rays, scans, and opthamology checks. His response was quiet and he said, " I will need to talk to someone to tell them that I have never suspected abuse." My heart dropped. And to this day, I still think he looks at me out of the corner of his eye to make sure things are safe for my kids. Jeff says I am paranoid, but we had a lot of people treat us as though we were guilty during our initial hospital stay, and I always thought he might wonder. I have shown him all the paperwork that has cleared Jeff and I, but I hate that I still feel under the microscope. He is very nice and thorough and has never done anything to show for these thoughts, but just a feeling. (*Me vs. My Mind)

Anyways, as we talked about all his screeners and accomplishments and he kept asking me if I had any concerns. I was in such a gleeful mood and I just kept shaking my head no. I didn't want to jinx it. And I am in this far enough to know that we might hit some road blocks, but for now we celebrate. In fact, to show how big time we are, we let the big kids pick a dinner location. Those two joyously shout out, "Subway" in unison. They were foaming at the mouth and so we go.to.Subway.  Bless those baby big kid hearts. They are in this journey just as much as Jeff and I are. Til this day, they include his recovery in their prayers and fountain wishes.

When we see a wishing well fountain (i.e. Northpark Mall or the Arberetum), I give them each two pennies. They make a wish for themselves and one for another person. E and N always make a wish that their baby brother's head keeps getting better and he doesn't have to have anymore surgeries. They saw it first hand and don't really know much about it, but they saw him in a hospital bed hooked up to a lot of noisy machines followed by a few rounds of stitches after brain surgery. Enough to know that he wasn't okay for a while and stamp that image in their brains. I am not sure I appreciated their journey through all this as much as I should have. So... of course they need to take part in the healing portion of this journey. Tonight, we shall eat Subway for dinner to celebrate.

What do wish for when you wish for yourself and for someone else? Such a beautiful concept before tossing that shiny penny into the water. I will forever love hearing those big kids care for this baby brother because they are in the long haul together as a team. And he will be there for them as well. I just know it:)

Until next time, enjoy the sunshine😘
-Jenn

Friday, April 7, 2017

Simplicity....

After a few days of not blogging, I start to get the itch. I guess one would say that I am hooked. I haven't had the nerve to put this out on social media yet, so for now I will continue to just let this be our little secret. There is something to be said about the simplicity of a small group. Ahhh. Simplicity. That is my new catch phrase and it makes my insides happy. Let's be honest. I have been wound tighter than a yo-yo over this last year. Having moments of sheer heart pounding anxiety, that sends me in overdrive. I hate that state of being, but it isn't something you just change over night. So, I have been focusing on bringing it down a notch in my thinking. Once I feel myself start to get all busy and panic like, I focus on a simple something. My new rug ( I couldn't stand the blood stains from the fireplace debacle any longer), my healthy kids running around, a cold Coke ( I know, I know, it's my guilty pleasure), my vacation photos hung on the wall. Something small, yet beautiful. It works for me. Praise the Lord. It has taken me a long time to find some ways to take care of myself that work naturally. I have tried so many that are forced. And this mom of three does not have time for an extra something to do. Am I right out there? You know about half of you just nodded and said, "Mmmhmmm" in unison.


I can tell you what is not simple is my upcoming seasons for my children that include soccer, baseball, and dance. I was smoking crack when I decided it was a good idea to take it up a notch. My middle son is five and he is just blossoming at sports. So, I think my excitement bounced off his excitement and well...registrations were signed and submitted like a crazy person. So, our Saturdays are packed. But, I couldn't be more thrilled to see where this takes him and watch as he learns to be on a team and try his best. You know, all those feel good pregame speeches you heard for twenty plus years. I mean, the kid practices being fast at running at any given moment. How can you not go all in for that kind of sweet effort?!

This is a pretty light hearted entry and man does that feel good. Keeping it simple will hopefully run deep as we start to clean out the house and organize as we start to think about moving!!! THINK about being the word of the day here. But, I am painting baseboards for the just in case side of the coin! Exciting to say the least.

Meet you in the sunshine.
-Jenn

Monday, April 3, 2017

Practice Makes You Better...

I woke up with a few little goals in mind when it comes to my bubbly and excited little one. I feel like I need to let him explore more than I have in the past. A lot of our daily adventures are walking for me and riding for him. So, I loaded R up and we went halfway across America to The Shops of Willowbend Mall. They have this awesome little play area with padded flooring and a pretty little climbing fun area (for the itty bitties). As we pulled up and I am talking up that we are going to PLAY, he just lit up! "Play, Play", he says. Ok. Let's go. So, my goal was to let him play. This includes tripping, stumbling, climbing, and running without me two steps behind him. Now, I get he is 18 months and all, but people, I have been his shadow. After the great fireplace fall, I have had a hard time letting him explore like he should be doing at this age. And with that comes the life of a toddler.

So, we start and he is doing well and then as he sees all the other kids leaping and climbing, he falls into line. At the beginning of our hour play session, I am pretty close with him. We practiced going up this little slide area around twenty times and by the end, big man had it on his own. I still stood there because I am cray, but I wasn't helping! At times he would hold out his hand and I would just encourage him to go for it. By the end, he was all sorts of all over the place. I sat down like I did with my other two kids and let him play. I was on the edge of the seat because I could predict him bonking his head a few times, but I refrained. He got up and came and told me about it and then went back out to play. I was pretty darn proud of us. It's the little things, right?

I was walking pretty tall on my goal and decided that I couldn't pass up this cute pair of sandals, which I really did need for my sad little summer shoe collection. I decided to make a sign to wear around my neck that states:

"WILL WORK ON GOALS FOR SHOES"

or

"TRYING TO TO GET BETTER FOR SHOES"

Then I can wear the new shoes and the sign together so Jeff will know that I am only making this family better for the small price of Billabong sandals. What can I say, I am a cheap self improvement bribe recipient! I am cracking myself up over here!:) Do you have any goals that you bribe yourself to achieve? I need backup here, people!

Meet you in the sunshine.
-Jenn

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Maybe I Wasn't Done Yet...

After I thought I was done and got all my inner most thoughts out, I was left thinking about my reflections and the things that I know now from looking in the rear view mirror. Hindsight thinking always makes things so clear. So, my hindsight realization is to follow my gut instincts. I remember watching an Oprah episode, like ten years ago, based on gut instincts. It had a panel of women that got themselves out of danger by listening to their gut. It sounds so easy to do, but why do we sometimes ignore it and think with our minds only? I don't know why this episode stuck out so much, but these ladies said you have to practice shutting down your busy mind, and often your emotions for a second to follow what your insides already know. So, I have often attempted this method of being, but feel like life makes it too noisy to do so. I must say when I was at home preparing to go back to work with our baby, I had a gut feeling that something was't right with our setup. I don't think I ever said anything out loud because this is what we had set up. See? Hindsight is so clear on how dumb that sounds, but at the time it was what we were doing. I SO wish I had stopped to be quiet for a moment and so on and so forth, but it didn't happen. So many things could have run a different path. Sigh.
All I can think about now is moving forward and taking that twinge in my gut or feeling like something just isn't right to a new level of attention.

 In fact, we have an old car wash by our house and the big kids had done a number in the back seat of the car with some Cheetos. I was oddly by myself, so I did one of those stops that you do to try to squeeze in odd ball errands while you can! I made a stop by the vacuum area of this old car wash, sort of tucked away in a tree embedded area. As I was in the back of the car, with my booty hanging out of the door, I had a stomach punch. I am putting myself in a vulnerable place and one shove and I was in a car and nobody would have been the wiser. It is stupid that I can't vacuum my chip filled car without having these concerns, but I do because I have to. Needless to say, I listened to my gut, dropped that activated suction tube and left the scene. It could have been just fine, but something triggered a reaction and I listened to it. No questions asked. And I was so proud of myself. I think before, I would have just told myself I was being silly. So, that is where I am on that. I can't decide if it is still my anxiety on high alert or if this is just me taking the time to use my Spidy senses that I have had all along. Does this happen to you guys? Do you know what I am talking about?

I would love to hear about it if you do:) I am trying to figure out where my normalcy lies and where it does not. Well, that is a slippery slope, but you guys know what I mean! Ha! Until next time, meet me out in the sunshine!

-Jenn

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Healing Process...

After we came home from the hospital, we were told to basically just watch the little man. I will never forget when we were coming up with a plan in the hospital, the resident neurosurgery doctor told me to prepare myself for him to possibly be MR. She followed that he was a victim of a brain injury and that it was just going to be a waiting game. We were going to have to see how the brain reacts after the swelling goes down. Pause, take a breath mamma, swallow that sentence and try to keep typing. So, we waited and watched.

As we made our way through all of the immediate issues, I didn't really panic too much on his recovery because I was kept really busy on getting my family back together.  I was focused on what had to be taken care of right then and there. Slowly, as the DPS and CPS cases cleared out, I was left with a baby that I didn't know would recover and neither did the doctors. He was showing clear gains, but I was the one who changed. My nerves had been rocked through all this. What I had seen, heard, felt, and been through had sent a shock wave down my spine. How does one stop those waves of panic? I feel like people had moved on and I was supposed to be with them. But, I was not. I was stuck in a state of panic, replaying those horrid incidents over and over again. It was hell. I couldn't escape it and obsessing over everything that took place over the last six months.

I began noticing daily headaches. I casually took some Advil and went about my day. As time went on, my headaches and face just hurt. I went to get my teeth checked and no issues came up. The dentist suggested a mouth guard, so I had one made for a $400 fix. That seemed to help some, but my headaches were still there and driving me nuts. Have you ever just had enough and decided it is time to do something, anything? Well, that is where I was. Living in purgatory is awful and exhausting!

 I decided to go to a therapist to see if I could try to unravel this ball of utter anxiety and fret that lived with me most of the time. I felt like I missed his cutie early months because I was so terrified of something bad happening again. Blah, such a helpless feeling. After a few visits, I was told that this memory flashback issue was PTSD. Makes so much sense. She said my nerves were standing straight up and I was ready. Ready for the trauma and surprise factor at any given moment. Well, apparently you can't live your life in that manner forever. If you do, you hold your breathe and your tongue pushes up on the roof of your mouth, causing a headache. I figured out the root to my headache. Retraining the tongue to relax is no easy task. But, at least I was making gains. Gaining insight on how I was going to move on and start to enjoy life again. I am working. Working on relaxing my sensors and trying to not relive those moments as much. It is getting better. One day, one run, one yoga class, one walk with my family, one happy hour with my tribe, one date night to try to talk with my husband something other than serious stuff. That baby toddler is still on track for now and we will continue to watch and follow his needs, if any, with immediate care. That is all we can do, right?

Holy smokes, have we made it? Did we get to the finish line? Well, good enough:) I have enjoyed (hard to think that word fits, but it does) "talking" with you about the mountains we were given to climb. You guys have given me a release and it is out there now. Yeah. That was my goal and it blossomed well. I really like blogging, so I will have to move on to some of that silly nonsense talk, like tragic fashion tends and funny kid stories that I would so love to think about. :) That just sounds dreamy!

Any questions? Thank you as always for helping me find the sunshine!
-Jenn

Friday, March 24, 2017

Bills, Lots of Bills...

When all this happened, we obviously were in "go" mode with the baby's medical care. Does he need the scan to the blood work, and everything in between? Then yes. Of course, we would all do that. But, after a few months of trying to put the puzzle pieces together, bills were processed and that five night stay at the hospital, surgery, multiple MRI's, x-rays, scans, medicine, etc. were ready for payment. And by this point, my paychecks had stopped rolling in. Might I remind you that we are a household of teachers, so we are locked in with lots of bills and a 50% pay cut. I can tell you that I was starting to panic. Jeff was trying to appear calm, but I know he lost some sleep over it.

Back up to us getting removed from the CPS case. I filled out the role removal paperwork and submitted it and we were officially no longer on the list of possible suspects. With this polygraph, we were also officially removed from being pursued by the DPS. The detective said he was 90% done with us, but the polygraph sealed the deal. I remember him(detective) calling me to tell me this news and he also added that he had been in contact with the Crime Victim's Compensation program through the Attorney General. (I applied for this before we even knew what it was, but just filled out the paperwork given to us on that "go" mode) He said after a long discussion and with there being just enough evidence on our side that we qualified to get all of our bills, gas, time, and lost wages paid by this program. Wait, WHAT? The good Lord shined a beam of sunshine down on me as I sat by the window that day in a silent awe. He really went to bat for us, and I continue to send him Christmas cards every year because he showed the most of human compassion that day. He knew where we stood and made a difference in a very hard line of work to people who needed it desperately.

So, the CVC was my next job to tackle. When I say job, I mean it. I think I spent around 25 days, between naps and nighttime, working on paperwork, calls, more calls, followed by copies and faxes to get all of our information in to Austin. They ended up paying out my school year, and any doctor or hospital bill that was brought on by this crime. We are STILL dealing with getting bills paid, but that is okay. And every time I call them (which is often), I start out by telling Robert how much I appreciate this program and all they have done for us. Ol' Robert and I are besties by this point. Olga is also a big hitter too in our CVC process! We still are adjusting to one paycheck with five people in this family, but have made it work. Thanks to the help of not having medical bills piling up on us. I can not even imagine. Can not.
** When you are called to go to jury duty, please donate your money to the CVC if possible. The karma must be deposited back in that account for the next family to save at such a hard time. Thank you.

As for the legal side of the case. I can't really go into to much more. The D.A. looked over it, but there was just never enough solid evidence and there were some hairy events that muddied the water. So, it was thrown out🤥😠🤐😟

We are still working with another organization on trying to find answers, but is still on going. So, just know we are still fighting to find answers.

I will follow up with the precious babe soon and all the after shock waves that followed this storm. But for now, I will go make some lunch and listen to the rain outside. Because every time I post, I feel a lightness about me and that is a very welcomed feeling.

-Jenn


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

One Thing at a Time...

Has your blood pressure come down after the last post? I believe I have just recovered from retelling that mess. But, it was the best and most direct decision we could have made. We had to book a family meeting with CPS and get a "plan" together on how to move on. We were SO worried that they would back out on removing us after the polygraph that was in a verbal agreement only. We couldn't get it in written form, so we were really nervous. Two weeks later we met with the CPS case worker, the director, a mediator, Jeff and I, as well as my mom and brother. It was a little room and really hot. I could feel my shirt getting sticky. As I handed over the polygraph paperwork, I pulled out my obnoxious, but overly prepared folder of notes on who stayed on what night, times and dates of phone calls. You name it, I had it down and documented. She looked at me with wide eyes. I am sure I had the look of crazy in my eyes, but COME ON. Right?

The director reviewed the results and simply sat back in her chair with a sigh and said, "I gave them my word and I always keep my word." "They need to be removed and released from this case." The case worker, who was new to our case because our original one had quit, tried to fight her on the decision. He even asked to speak to her outside and I simply asked if we could do this together in the room (he was a bit worried). But, bless this directors heart. I half way think A)she didn't think we would pass, B) we wouldn't have the money to actually have a legit test done, or C) we wouldn't want to take the test that gave us an out. She changed her tune 100% after this all transpired and I actually saw her heart of trying to do one of the hardest jobs on this planet. She was trying to protect a child when she sees the worst of the worst, day in and day out. As much as I wanted to hate her, I couldn't. I left with gratitude that someone can handle that job and also appreciation for holding up her side of the deal. We were immediately free of supervision. There we go. One thing at a time. Now, let's focus on continuing the bajillion follow up appointments for that baby and see where the legal case is at this point. The sun shined bright that evening and we could gather as a family to tuck in our babies and not one person had to watch us do it. It's the little things, right?

How are we doing out there? Are we still hanging in there on this marathon? Keep coming back, we are getting there! Thank you for sticking with it and I appreciate you coming along this journey with me.

-Jenn

Friday, March 17, 2017

Sweaty Truth...

This next part of the story is a doozy. The polygraph test was when I was hit with the swirling thoughts and confusion on how we were here. Did the show CSI get lost and hit us, because this is not us. However, it was us and it was so scary to think this was to fight for our kids to simply be in our care. One shot. I knew we were innocent, but I had one chance and Jeff had one chance to prove it. Straight up. CPS wanted a polygraph. DPS didn't want to waste precious time and money on us to give us a free polygraph because we were not high interest people in the case. CPS did not care. So, we had to hire a criminal lawyer to be able to attain a polygraph test from a nationally ranked institution. We wanted the best. Because CPS couldn't argue or back down on their side of the bargain of removing us from the case if we showed up with this solid piece of information, right? Well, that is where we were.

We walk in and pay our $1,800.00 to even do this. Apparently our polygrapher is on demand from many government needs, as well as personal folks like ourselves. Our lawyer worked her magic and we were in within a few days. He (The polygrapher) is a man that holds the room when he walks in. A cigar in his mouth (unlit of course), a bold and deep voice, and a presence that made me sweat on sight. I knew he was business. And here I was in a sweater, a lime green scarf, and knee boots. I just felt like I could have melted in the floor. We first had to answer a questionnaire and I did not mark something correctly and he said, "FOCUS" and, "SPEAK UP". I used all caps because he wasn't trying to be my friend. He wanted answers. We started by talking about my job and what I did in education. He was watching me. Watching my eyes, my body language, if I tilted my head to think. This lasted about an hour. The next hour was me retelling  my story about the baby as he typed it down. We went through every detail. I had dropped off the medical records earlier in the day so he could comb through those as well. He knew our story. I guess he is the best for a reason.

Moving on, I went for a restroom break and found a quiet nook in the corner of the bathroom to strike some yoga poses and TRY to find my center, because when I went back...it was showtime. I sit down and the chair faced a wall and a cabinet. It was an old office chair that looked about twenty years old and looked like it had stories to tell. He put the stretchy wires across my chest, my stomach, my finger, and I was sitting on a pad that picked up information too! These wires were looking for pulse, movement in my pulse and the blood pressure machine was hooked up to my arm. NOW, here is the interesting part. I have to tell the truth on certain questions, such as, "You live in Texas", "You are sitting in a chair", and "Today is Tuesday". Easy enough, right? Then he would throw some questions at me that I had to picture the correct image in my head, and lie about it out loud. For example, he asked me about a time I had done something at work that I didn't want my principal to know about. In my head I had to think about a time I snuck in the back door to get to my room without having to face my trusty leader. (Sorry Mrs. Swann if you are reading this!!!) So, as I am picturing myself sneaking in the door, I would have to answer "No" in the lie detector test. There were about 3 types of questions like this. The computer could tell if my mind was focused or wandering. Meaning, I wasn't picturing my truth in my head. If it picked up on that, I would cancel out the test and it would be invalid. Yes. invalid.

Sprinkled in all these questions about nonsense were some about asking if I hurt my baby, seeing my baby get hurt, or if I knew about him being hurt. The brain is an amazing machine. After I was so used to seeing the truth in my head on the silly questions, I was so very clear on what was true and what was not in my FOCUSED brain. So, as he asked the questions about my knowing of the abuse, my head went blank. But, when I had to picture sneaking in late, I could see myself tiptoeing down the hallway. If you had a lie, this machine and this man would pick it up.

We began the test. I couldn't move or it would invalidate the test. The blood pressure cuff cut off my circulation and after the three minutes, my pinky was twitching apparently. He was NOT happy about that movement and said it counted against me. (?) He told me I better get it together and focus. So, on round 2 of the 3 tests, I did better. He said my mind wandered some, and to only think about my truths in my head. Well, with about thirty seconds of quiet between each question, you start to think about what is going on and such. Well, don't do that. The computer doesn't want small talk in your head. By round three. I think I had a near perfect test. I pulled it together and you get your score right there. I was at 98% of no deception, or telling the truth. He said my 178 heart rate was not in my corner and counted for the two percent. Ha. I mean, really. Some things you just can't help. He mentioned that the death row inmate that sat in the chair from the day before was crying like a little boy. So, I felt like a total bad ass. He reads people for a living and said he knew I didn't do it after talking to me for a bit. He also added that he went easy on me because I was trying so hard. Lordy Mercy on Heaven's Gate, can you even? He might have killed me with too much more.

Jeff was next and he completed 99% of no deception on his test. His one percent was with a wandering issue on the first test. DON"T WANDER JEFF:)

 So there you have it. I felt so justified because we had many people doubt that this could have happened, and all we could say was that it had. At least we had some strong evidence that we had been seeking for months on end. We showed up to play and got the proof we needed to clear ourselves from CPS and the DPS on one sheet of paper.

Crazy huh? I will go get my little buddy and go on a walk to celebrate the sunshine and tests that can literally prove ones innocence. That test was what we needed to move on and I am so thankful for that.

See you soon::) Jenn

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

59 Days and One Bathroom...

Hey guys. Sorry for the lull. We have had a birthday, Spring Break, and a toddler taking the fireplace covers off the fireplace for weeks on end, to then tripping and falling face first on said fireplace. It was a hard hit on his precious head and on my heart. So, we are just coming out of the woods on that bit of continued head drama. BUT, he will be fine:) Thank the Lord above.

I have had some awesome friends text and ask what the hold up was on this blog and it made my day. I love that I get to tell my story and people actually want to read it. Kind of like an accident on the side of the road or a bad episode of Vanderpump Rules (Bravo at its best!) You know the story is hard and such, but I believe people can relate on life trials, no matter what the topic. So, let's keep peckin' away.

Immediately, we had a new roommate at our house. My mom and brother really did swoop in and save our little family. They literally quit jobs, used sick days saved to take off for us, and came on an every other night rotation. They truly rose to the occasion and we will forever be indebted to them. We would cook dinner and have them both meet over here to talk about our latest phone calls, character witness progress, lawyer hunt, detective update, polygraph appointments, and so on and so forth. The kids ate it up. They loved all the company and play partners to tuck them in. I mean, Jeff and I couldn't be in the room alone with the kids, so they literally had a fan club following them around!

I can laugh about it now, but our guest bathroom had a bunk shower that we had talked about replacing since we moved into this house 9 years ago. I was sad we had not done that when we had an extra adult living with us for 59 days. I bet they wished we had to. Needless to say, the bathroom has been redone, with a second working shower. Perhaps too late? Perhaps.

The baby was home and recovering with a tube (shunt) on the back side of his head. It drains the fluid and goes all the way down to his stomach to empty the fluid into his urine. So amazing really. It was a tough surgery on his comfort level, but he was feeling better after a week or so. His head expanded with all the pressure, so even though the fluid was draining, his head size is well off the charts at the pediatrician's office. He will have to grow into it, which is okay since he is a big, little dude anyways.

Meanwhile, I had to call my principal at the school I worked at to give our story, so she knew I was going to have to leave my teaching gig right then and there. I had a dynamite group of co-workers that took care of my school stuff. I remember getting a call from my friend Shannon while in the hospital, telling me to hold off on making any emotional decisions. She said my school would hold my job and I had to think before I acted. I did end up leaving mid-year to stay at home, but boy was it nice to feel so loved and supported. Once again. The kindness of friends in these times make me realize how lucky I am in life.

We had to wait weeks at a time to get answers from cps. I mean....WAIT. Wait on this report, that meeting, a phone call. It was brutal. They FINALLY gave us an ultimatum to either wait on the investigation to be completed (which was not going anywhere because the other pending party hired a lawyer) or we could polygraph and clear ourselves. Finally. Ok. Let's do this.

A polygraph it is.

This is a good stopping place for now. I feel like I am all over the place, but that is about right. We spent our days in this very place. Instead of finding the sunshine today, I shall find my bed. Hopefully, I can dream of things that are not stitches and blood. Ugh. I am still coming off that fireplace incident if you can't tell.

Thank you to all that came back to see me. I appreciate you being here.

- Jenn


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Here Comes the Law...

Hi! Welcome back. I have had to muster up some guts to start sharing this blog with the friends in my life. My first instinct is to bury this mess deep down and pretend it didn't happen. So, thank you for letting me share with you, out there. My audience of compassion, love, and unwavering support. (Insert mushy virtual hugs to all!)

Ok, are we ready to go on? So, as we were getting settled in our room. Jeff went to go pick up the big kids after school. They were terribly worried. They had not seen their mamma or their baby brother in 24 hours and that was scary for them. And rightfully so. He was going to bring them up to hug us all and to have a family meeting on the plan for the next few days. They like to be involved with the planning. It is a calming habit for us all. It felt like we were getting our ducks in a row. HA!

Before Jeff got back with the older kids, I had a drop in visit from a Dallas Police Officer. He was dressed in black slacks, a black polo and carried a black brief case. He got me out in the hallway table fast and with little chat. THANK GOD my wonderful friend Cortney had just happen to stop by to hold my strong baby and to be a touch stone for this intense night.
It was a coincidence, but I think the big guy upstairs knew I needed a person in my corner!

As all the nurses watched us and whispered to each other as we crossed the waiting area by the room. I was hot and my ears burned. I looked guilty to them. Which is just such a crazy thing to imagine, but they don't know me and I didn't know them. However, I didn't have too much time to feel. We started the interrogation. He was soft spoken and so kind. I know that sounds weird, but he just asked very direct questions and jotted down the answers as we went along. I was oddly calm because I knew I had nothing to hide. He took my phone and copied some text messages. And that's when two case workers from cps showed up. They just joined in. So, a round table included myself on one side, a detective on one side, and cps on the other. They were now typing my responses. Two hours later, we were done and Jeff just happened to show up with the big kids. They swooped him to the hallway table quickly. They didn't want us talking. Which is how I preferred it. We had had a plan of transparency and that is what sends a clear message in our situation, right?

I didn't cry one tear that night (shock had set in) until cps interviewed my kids to see if they were safe at home. I couldn't be there in the interview, but I stood across the room so my babies could see me and know they were okay. But, the ladies were very nice and talked to kids in such a light way. They are trained to do this and I knew they would be fine. Heck, they thought it was fun. Most importantly, they shined with manners, kindness, and love. The message was loud and clear that these kids had a good home.

I went back to the room to see my sleeping baby and Jeff left to take the big kids home and spend the night with them to snuggle and love on them. I heard a faint knock was on the hospital door. The cps case worker in training (who I am not kidding looked 15) had tears in her eyes. She said they talked to their director and they were fighting for us. I literally dropped to my knees. I knew what was coming. They told me the kids were going to have to removed from our home.
(STOP the presses. You know that mamma bear that lies quietly until woken up to fight a battle? Well, it is all true. Fight or flight. This bear took on FIGHT mode. I just had to give you feel of the room at this time. Carry on!)

And granted these case workers were on our side, but I flipped my fuc&ing lid. (I had to cuss to give you my level of crazy!) SO, at 10 p.m., we came to a deal to have someone live with us and watch Jeff and I with the kids. Which is so wild and crazy, but ok. They can stay with us. OK. At 11:00 p.m., the case worker met my mom and I (Jeff was shipped back to the hospital) at the house to do a surprise house visit to make sure our home was good for all the kids to live in. She was sold on us when she saw a Christmas tree with presents, baby locks on the cabinets, a bed for every person, working lights, food in the fridge. Stuff we take for granted were every sign that we were a great family that made sure our people were safe. But, we had to prove it to the director. Until then, we had my mom or brother come live with us for the next fifty nine days. We had to figure out how to work our way up the system, which is not as easy as it sounds. (Insert vomit emoji)

So, our next two months were getting the baby through surgery to drain the fluid off of his brain, a full blown investigation with DPS on who hurt him, and a side gig with cps to prove ourselves as safe parents. Can you even? I wonder some days how we made it. I guess that bear was working it out to keep up the fight.

OH MY WORD. I am mad just thinking about all this. It's okay bear, you can go back to sleep...this is just a bad nightmare at this point! Blah.

But on a different note. I need someone to follow this blog and someone to comment! I will feel so official! AND really I am not sure how everything works, so I just want to see it first hand!:) Thank you:)
I know you know that I need the sunshine stat after this hogwash. But, I have to admit it feels good to GET IT OUT! Mamma is getting lighter as we speak!

Let's do it again soon, okay?


-Jenn

Monday, March 6, 2017

One Second at a Time...

Now that I opened this can of worms, I suppose I will keep going. Okay, my fellow friends, come gather around as the saga continues. Where were we?

Yes, in the ambulance and headed towards a hospital that could take the best care of my little 9 week old buddy. I was warned by the ambulance driver to prepare myself. That many different people were going to come at us and to just be as honest and ready as possible. My mind was a tornado, shuffling through what was going on vs. what happened vs. how vs. why, etc. and so forth. However. I must say how kind he was, the ambulance driver. I forced a few questions out and I feel like he could see right through me and just stated some hospital facts and sprinkled some kindness of us doing the right thing. I obviously was sucking up any positive moments to meet my emotional starvation and gloom. I think about that kind man now and again and feel grateful that he was our driver that day.

When we arrived, he wasn't lying. We must have been approached by ten different doctors of all sorts, asking us to retell our history, starting when the baby got sick. Jeff and I joked that we would take turns because it was so many times. Looking back, they did that on purpose. If you are not telling the truth, I imagine retelling your story would get shuffled and mixed up if you didn't have that concrete memory in your brain. So, of course, we matched up every time and things stayed exactly as they happened.

We then began the testing phase. X-rays, CT scans, measurements, blood samples. You name it, we did it all in about a 12 hour time frame. They couldn't decide where to place us in the hospital. Like, what area of focus. So, they started us off in trauma. This is the place where people are in car accidents, or something like that to cause trauma to your body. They wanted us to start there to see if he had any broken bones or issues from any other signs of abuse. (Gulp....that statement was hard to write)

He didn't. Although, his head size had grown from all the fluid and blood around the subdural portion of his brain. We had to watch for seizures and sun-setting. That is where the pressure on the brain causes the eyes to look down only. But, he was a bad ass little kid and could tolerate all the changes in his body. Can I give him a trophy for that? Maybe a certificate of toughness? I think so. Man, already a hero at such a young age. Lordy Mercy.

I suppose this is where the police and cps got involved. However, loyal friends. My stomach is in a knot. Tough entry on this mamma. SO, I will stop there and go find the sunshine. Today's sunshine may come with high wind and clouds, but for the love...I will get it in. :)

Until next time.

-Jenn

Friday, March 3, 2017

Let's Get Started...

I have putting off this post. Kind of like putting off cleaning the bathroom. Just hoping you forget about it. However, the son of a gun just keeps creeping up in your "to-do" list replayed in your head.

FINE, brain. I will just do it and get the ball rolling. You get on my nerves, brain. BTW.

So, I had a healthy baby boy in the Fall of 2015. Big ol' boy, close to ten pounds and just a nugget of sweetness. I got to stay home from teaching for nine weeks and just enjoyed every moment of his kind and gentle nature. The week after Thanksgiving, my life was turned upside down. I was missing him as I went back to work and made it about a week back with getting the new normal in place of dropping him off at his child care home. Then my fresh, new baby starting throwing up. He was not able to get his nightly bottle down. We assumed the same the awful tummy bug that had been going around had hit our new bundle. Sadly, the vomiting continued and it came with an achy baby, who cried with movement and blood in his urine. After a trip to the pediatric doctor and the ER two times in two days. Ten doctors finally entered the room after the critical CT scan. An ambulance pulled up to get our baby hooked up for a transport to a different and larger hospital. They were mad and sharp. "Someone has shaken your baby", he says. We were told that the next few days would be hell and he was very sick. I dropped to my knees and literally started blacking out. It was awful, yet stamped on my brain for...forever. The smell, colors on the wall, the nurse telling me to pull in together. It's like I was in a bubble and everyone else was in slow motion. Trying to think, trying to remember...who had my baby? When was he out of our care? So, I call. I call that person and ask her, "What happened with my baby?" She has nothing to say to help. But, no time to question her then. I had to board the ambulance and my husband has to follow in our car. We drive off and I am quiet. My head tells me to talk. I am now on the defense to fight for my kid and show anyone in my path that my husband and I are innocent. 

This is when shit got real.

Ok, brain. I have to stop there. Opening this wound is hard. But, my goal is to not hold it in. Someone out there needs my story as they are embarking on a journey close to ours. I am lucky. I have an amazing husband, family, and friends that walked side by side with me. It is not lost on me to stop and be thankful for that. 

Whew. 

Now I have to go find the sunshine! For real. This wound is deep and hard, but if I can help just one person. That helps.

- Jenn



Friday, February 24, 2017

First Date Rules

Hello there. My name is Jenn. Let me start off by stating that I realize I am late to the party. The blogging party, that is. I have always thought it sounded fun, and honestly therapeutic. I mean, how can it not be fun to get those bazillion thoughts out there into the light. It just sounds lovely, be it then or now.

I will introduce myself and stick to first date rules. No politics, religion, ex boyfriend stories, blah, blah, blah. How boring, am I right? How can we even enjoy ourselves without sex, drugs, and rock n roll in the first convo? But, I suppose I will be a rule follower today!

I am a momma of three, wife to a hunk, mother to our fur babies, teacher at heart, volleyball baller, yogi wanna be, and anything else that makes my blood rush and tummy pitter patter with excitement.  My life has been turned upside down and little over a year ago and I am trying to stand up again, attempting to once again go find the sunshine.

This is where I can't break my rules. I have to stop here so I leave my first entry as light hearted and fun. Dirty laundry will be here and I will get there, dear date. My soul is ready to purge, but first a glass of wine to toast to this budding relationship!

I will call you tomorrow to plan our next date.