Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Jenny Jenny Bo Benny

I realized recently that I never posted anything about my "girls trip" with Jenny. The funny this is, I think about that week all the time. I wanted to journal all about it. It was fun, it was silly. It was everything I needed. We shopped, we laughed,we sang, we laughed, we ate and teased each other. We screamed on rollercoasters and sung as loud as we could at concerts. We laughed some more and only cried once, for a moment. We were who we always are together. Not even cancer can take the sarcasm and giggles from us.

But I never did, write about it that is. Its hard for me even now to put words together about that trip. Im not trying to come across dramatic but its true. I think because, when it comes to Jenny, I feel too full and that makes it hard to come up with words, simple as they may be. Jenny is, and I know she'll hate this, a sacred topic for me. I think about her always. I imagine what she's had to endure thus far in her life. I go back to that phone call that I got from her on that Spring evening and I still feel the same shock that hit me that day. I try to imagine what I would do and how I would cope if it were me. And that is why Jenny is too special to me. There are the regular old reasons. All 100 of the reasons why I love her and have for some time now. And then there are the "C word"(as she so lovingly calls it) reasons. The reasons that have come about since I have been witness to her battle.

I had a conversation with my Dad recently, totally unrelated to this topic, and his words hit me. I know that there are times in our life where we endure trials in order to learn and then there are times in our life when the Lord, in his wisdom, deems us worthy to become, as he was, the teacher. Jenny.... she is my teacher. She has taught me more than I could ever imagine over the past few months. She has taught me self- reflection, how important it is to push my kids on a swing, how important it is to laugh, the true miracle of my life and that of my children. She has taught me such important, sacred things that I will forever be in debt to her.

I hope she forgives me for this post. She is the last person who wants attention of any kind aimed at her. And I know her greatest wish is for everyone to treat her the same as they ever did, to know that Cancer in no way defines who she is. But it has changed her, and everyone who loves her. And I hate that she has to be the one to take this on. To teach, like she is doing for me, so many others. But I am grateful to her for allowing herself to be just that, my teacher. For literally changing who I want to be on the inside. What a gift you have given though I feel selfish for taking it. And I love you. And I love your Family and I loved, I loved that trip with you..... even though you sang the same annoying word to a song waaaaayyy to much, made me shop until I was broke and almost blew us up in a gas fire.

I can't wait for next time!!!! O' and don't hate me for this post:)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

September 24th is here again...

which means that my baby is 1 year old.

As I went to bed last night I couldn't help but think of that night a year ago. How excited I was and how very little sleep I got. The next morning was a whirlwind. Checking into the Hospital at 5 in the morning, 2 hours earlier than we needed to thanks to someone's mis-information. The butterfly's in my stomach as they started hooking me up on all sorts of machines and IV's. I knew that this would be a day that I would remember for as long as I lived. The day our family welcomed 1 more spirit from heaven. The day Olivia would change our lives.

Things started out slowly and I was discouraged. "Here comes another 17 hour labor (Ella) I thought" But in a whirlwind you came into this world,catching us all off guard. I went from a 5 to holding your sweet little body in my arms with in 11 minutes. I remember the panic I felt as I tried with all my might to keep you from coming so fast, as the Doctor was running down the hall. We became famous in that Hospital on that day (even if it was just for that day), the baby who was 10 seconds from being delivered by our young Nurse.

You were a beautiful baby and,I loved how much you looked like your handsome brother. You hardly cried for hours. Even when having your first bath there were no tears, just big wide eyes looking straight at Daddy.

Your scares started at an early age. At about 5 hours old you stopped breathing, the first time. While your birthday twin, Tyler, was holding you Charity commented on how red you were looking. She took you from him and started bringing you to me. I will never forget her face as she stood at the foot of my bed and yelled, "she's red. She's really red." and after a pause, "she's not breathing!!!!" She rushed you to me and all I remember was your tiny face, now a light blue, eyes wide and panicked. All I wanted to do was to make everything better for you but all I could think to do was turn you downward as I hit your back over and over again. Within seconds Tyler had run out into the hall yelling for help, and then back into the room with a determined nurse by his side. She grabbed you from me and got to work right away, sucking what seemed like gallons of thick goo from your mouth and nose. You started to cry and I felt like I too could finally breath. They watched you overnight, after pumping your tiny stomach, and determined that it all came from being born so quickly, not enough contractions to squeeze all the "stuff" out before you entered the world. Ahhhh, so thats why you never cried, you really couldn't.

There was so much that happened in the following weeks and months. More health scares, hospital stays and surgery. It was a hard yet calm time. I know the Lord was helping us through it because, amidst all the chaos, I frequently felt peace.

There is a different bond that must come with so many scares and so much worry. Watching your baby sleep for hours, making sure she is still breathing, pulling the car over several times on a trip to be sure that she's just asleep and not quiet for other reasons.

I remember once, at about 3 or 4 months old, going into your room to wake you from a morning nap. It was time to take the kids to School which meant your sleep was going to need to come to an abrupt end. You have always been our lightest sleeper. The quiet creek from the door usually awakened you. I was surprised that this time was not like the others in that way. I made my way to the crib and looked at you. I remember staring at you, marveling at how much love there was in my heart for you. I gently stroked your head and whispered, "Olivia. time to wake up." nothing, not even the tiniest movement. I remember being over come with fear. I shook you harder this time and will never forget how heavy your little body felt as I pushed it back and forth. There was still no movement and I will never forget the thought I had, "So this is what its like to come into your child's room and find them dead." I picked you up and yelled, to which you popped open your huge, blue eyes and gazed sleepily at me with a questionable look. I remember holding you. Shaking and crying. I shook the entire way to Luke's School and back. I have never been so afraid in my life. And I hope to never have those fleeting thoughts again. I never talk about that day, I dont even know if I ever told Dave about it.

So, yes, we have had a special bond. I assume that comes with things that we went through together. Long nights rocking in a hospital glider. Singing numberless songs to you as you lay, all hooked up, in a metal crib. The feelings that overcame me the first time you smiled, hours and hours after your major surgery.

You are a special girl Olivia. I love you more than I can even describe. It flows out of me daily and I cant help but know that you are going to do great things in the life. I am so proud of you and so grateful for you.

Happy Birthday my little Liv.

yummy cake, you went totally crazy on the frosting!

In your "1" shirt. Video and better pictures to come....


Weight 16 lbs. 11 oz. (not on the charts anymore )
Length: 28 inches (25%)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

5 days and counting...


Ella has been dry for 5 days straight. Now this may sound silly for me to post about, especially since she is almost 4 and has been "potty-training" since she was 2.

Let me walk you through it.

Age 2. It starts. Ella has always done everything early. She is one of only a few who I have ever known to have almost 50 words in her vocabulary by age 1. Yes, 50. So, here I thought would be no different. It started out well. Within 2 days she would go on the potty just about any time I put her on. But when I didnt initiate it... accidents 100% of the time.

Age 2 years 2 months. Nothing changing. Driving my self crazy. I pull out the pull-ups and put away the underwear. For a little while at least, I tell myself.

Age 2 years 9 months. Round 2 starts. Goes well, no more #2 accidents. Potty accidents, all the time! This time I go strong for almost 6 months. Putting her on the potty all day long, cleaning up accidents when I go too long. No changes except that I am about to loose it.

Age 3 years 4 months. Call the Doctor. Meet with Doctor to get info on new things to try. Check for UTI. This comes back clear. Go home, try all new methods.... see NO changes. Can anyone guess how frustrated we are? Including Ella herself?

Age 3 years 6 months. Start to put 2 and 2 together a bit more seriously. Didn't she have major surgery on her ureter due to refluxing into kidneys? Couldn't this be a piece of the puzzle? Now, to give myself a little credit, I have thought this before. Its the only reason why I never went totally ballistic through all of this. But I didn't want to use it as an excuse seeing as how she is also extremely stubborn. And that too could be the issue.

So I get information from new Dr. Urologist. I won't go into all the detail but he says" Let it go for a while. This is not her fault. Her body can not tell when urine is coming out until too late." etc. I feel bad. I let go. Out comes the pull-ups on my 3 1/2 year old. Which kills me. But I am also relieved to not be thinking about any of this.

Fast forward to this week. She is getting it. Just like he said she eventually would. She has learned to read her body in ways that not many little ones have had to. And she is soooo excited. After the first few successes she has been accident free. I think she got it. I think.

And we are all so relieved. Out comes the cute undies, out goes the Folex. Out come the smiles. 2 years is way to long to potty train.

Good job Ella. I am so proud of you. (and good job to Mom and Dad too... we made it)

O' and I think we deserve an easy time doing this with Olivia. Between all we had to go through with Luke, at the height of so many autism-related sensory issues; which I wont even get into, and now this... well we just need it for our sanity.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Something new...

I have always loved change. I get antsy when I'm in the same place and doing the same things. Maybe this is due to the fact that, as an Army Brat, its in my blood. But its true. And today it was time for just that. A change. And this is the way I got it....

So, good bye to the same old thing. And hello to a new look.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


The house is silent. The only thing to be heard is the clacking of the keys on my MacBook Pro as I type and the humm of our stainless steel refrigerator. Luke is at Kindergarten, Ella preschool. Olivia is sound asleep in the walk-in closet of our bedroom where, a closed door and 10 feet away, Dave is the same. I had planned on going to the gym. Called in an appointment for Liv in the "infant" room, which seems such a far removed word for her these days. But the morning came and went and she wanted to go back to bed earlier than I'd anticipated. Keep her up? Most Mom's know the answer to that... no way! So down she went, as easily and happily as she does everything. And I could still go to the gym, there's no reason why I should chose not to, other than selfish indulgence. I chose to enjoy and indulge myself in this silence.

So here I sit. Feeling like I should be doing something productive. Maybe cleaning those windows in the dining room and kitchen that are streaked with little handprints, among other things I'm sure. Maybe throw some laundry in the washer or make a few calls which need to be made for one thing or another. But I chose to do none of that. I am enjoying this big, over-stuffed couch I sit on and being alone with my thoughts.

My thoughts... which are all over the place. I thing about how lucky I am to have this life I lead. I think about the things I strive to do better with and the habits, all to important, that need to be reinforced. My thoughts lead me to bills I need to pay and appointments I need to make, what book will I read to Luke's class this Friday afternoon, when will I make Olivia's birthday banner? I wonder what I should get done at my hair appointment on Friday evening and whether or not I am going to buy Luke a bigger book shelf to hold all of his many books that now pour out of his mere 2 shelves.

The quite does not seem to lead to any amazing epiphanies. These are just thoughts that go through every busy Mothers head each day. Some may think that this life, one of a stay-at-home Mom, is mundane and slow. Draining and un-fulfilling. But I sit here, in the quiet of my usually chaotic home, and I feel peace and gratitude. I am thankful for every single insignificant detail of this life of mine. From making doctors appointments to parent teacher conferences. And from vacuuming to trying to find "me" time that simply seems to not exist most days. With all the frustration and all the craziness that is my life, I feel joy. I love this life of mine. All of it, down to the last drop.

So I will sit here for a little while longer and take it all in. And then I will gear up for all the hectic hours which will surly come soon. And I will not go to the gym, though my jeans are begging me to.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The chair

I have much to post about, namely my amazing trip to CA for a girls weekend (5 days!) with Jenny. But I had to post this. Because it makes me smile. And because I love this peanut more than words.


This was and is Luke's chair. He has had many an argument with Ella over the years about it. And today, well someone else discovered how cool it was. I think we may need to finally look into another, Im not sure Luke can take on both girls.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Poor Daddy!

Luke came home today, much like every day, excited about Kindergarten. He was very excited to show me all of his new offerings to be placed on our already cluttered fridge. As he took one item in particular out it became clear that there was something missing. Now I'm never one to point out errors in his art work. I ohh and ahh at pictures colored outside lines and body parts of all strange shapes and sizes. When he points out what something is I usually exclaim, "Thats exactly what it looks like honey!" But today I had a few questions.

"This is your Family?"


"Well, point out who everyone is"

"This is Ella, this is Mommy, this is O-live and this is me"

"Dont you think you may have forgotten someone very important to our family?"

Luke looks at his picture, study's it for a moment and then reply's.

"O' yeah!!! But the teacher said we couldn't draw our Dog."

I cant help but laugh. Dave is on the couch with just about the saddest face I have ever seen but also looking as though he's about to join in my laughter.

"Buddy, you forgot daddy!!"

Luke pauses. looks at the picture once more. And then starts to laugh. He points out that he drew an airplane over head to which i reply, in my dutiful Mommy voice, "thats exactly what that looks like"

"ummmm... Daddy's in the airplane"

Best picture yet Luke. I love you. And you chose a great word, your family is fun!!!

I know Daddy forgives you for leaving him out, seeing as how there is nothing more clear than the fact that you two are best friends. Now if it were me? I may not have laughed quite as hard.

For your listening pleasure

The best rendition of this song I have ever heard, and its not just because I love David Bazan (which I do)

Dave, my Dave, introduced me to many new voices when we started dating, most of which I had never heard before. And since he hated my music, and because he drove everywhere we went, most of these are my favorite to this day. David Bazan and Pedro the Lion (his old group) played in the background of many of our conversations, journeys, kissing sessions... you get the idea. It sort of became the soundtrack to our beginnings. We went to many of his shows throughout our Marriage. Listening to him brings back some of my most precious, giddy memories of my sweet husband. Holding hands in his blue Subaru, thinking the World was spinning only for us. I love that music can do this for you. And I love my David.

So here it is, my favorite of his covers.

Baby Olivia

Baby Olivia
bright eyes

My funny Ella

My funny Ella

My handsome Luke

My handsome Luke