August 30, 2013

Are we there yet?

Hi friends!
We arrived late last night in Syracuse.
We're living in a hotel and visiting with my aunt and uncle who live nearby.

Sweet people from our church here (that we have yet to meet), left us a darling welcome basket at the front desk. (Thank you!)
I felt grateful (once again) for kind people and an instant church family.

Our good friends in Philomath just texted Todd a picture of boogers on the wall of our old girls' room.  They are cleaning our home for us and knew we'd get a good laugh.
I love those booger-cleaning folk.

I miss them.
I miss me.

I will say-- EVERYONE and their mother in law told me how beautiful up-state New York is.  EVERYONE said I would love it.  I listened, but I did not believe them.

Deep down I knew Oregon was the most beautiful place on Earth.
Guess what?

It is really, really charming here.
Really, corn fields, rolling hills, green, prancing horses, darling New England style houses, beautiful.
It's literally breath-taking.
I still haven't seen inside my new house, but looking over our land brings tears to my eyes.  

As we drive around I just keep whispering to myself loudly so I can hear, "This is a place you would dream about!"  They have horse and carriage crossing signs.  I get to live the small town life I've always dreamed of- it is a gift.  This place is my Daddy Warbuck's mansion.  I really think I'm gonna like it here.

I feel in my soul that it is a blessing to live here.  I feel so grateful for the people who created such a beautiful home for me to raise my family in.

I will baptize you in pictures once my life slows down.

Today-- I feel tired but grateful to be alive.
I'm still sick to my stomach.  Before I left they had me get two bags of IV saline solution to combat my dehydration.  I feel a lot better not dehydrated, but I'm still loosing fluid faster than I can drink it.  That scares me a bit.

My kids are doing amazingly wonderful.  They are normal good kids.  I'm afraid we will all destroy each other if we don't get some form of normal soon.  They start school next week and it doesn't look like we will be closing on our house anytime soon.  Blah.  

I have more help than I deserve.  At a time when I want to wear black yoga pants, avoid showering and watch reruns of Say Yes to the Dress, I'm making first impressions.  I'm surrounded by people and decisions when I want leftovers and a long, quiet nap.  I really don't want to need help.  I want- to fall asleep for this trip and wake-up when I'm "there".  Are we there YET?

Do you know my baby is almost 3 months old?  Even as I'm whining about timing, I feel God's touch in my timing.  His plan is always better than mine.  I remember that..

I feel so odd driving around streets that are so unfamiliar but will soon become my everyday.  

I feel a bit like a child on Christmas morning.  I'm surrounded by gifts-- new people to meet, places to see, stores to learn, country roads to drive down, a home to create...  
Christmas morning and I just want to sleep in.  (I'm not quite finished with my gifts from last year).  I think by Valentine's day I'll catch the Christmas spirit.  Sigh.

Everything is New here.
New York is stunning.
And I am really (at least trying to be) excited to be here!
Life is good!

August 22, 2013

Just a few...

Today is beautiful!!
I love Oregon weather.

My MIL reminded me that it is good to be sad to leave- it means you have loved.
Yes, we have loved many here in Oregon.

My baby boy is huge.  He's a chunker.  I love chunky babies!!  When he spits up, I have to be sure and wipe out his neck rolls.

Near-death experiences seem to change your soul.  Todd and I were tight before, but we are ONE now.  How I love that man.

Todd is always telling me to let him take care of me.  He says, "Just let me do this for you". This usually proceeds his insistence that I drink more or eat more or take a nap or ride in a wheel chair.  He has arranged for me to talk in church from a chair and wants the airport to taxi me in a car from gate to gate.  I love him but I hate feeling weak and sick.  (He said he would also sit to give his talk if I wanted him to).  So, if you see me being wheeled around the store or airport, just know, I'm doing it for my husband.  I do really like that overprotective guy, and i try to give him a break because he's been through a lot lately.  :)

Anna threw up yesterday, a lot.  Poor girl.  I didn't even touch her as she was throwing up- just directed efforts as I kept my distance.
Ellie said she feels sick.  
Do you know how fast these things can spread through large families?
Lets get this all out before the plane next week...  
I know I'm weird, but as I sat watching Anna puke her little insides out I just was shaking my head smiling a bit.  It was like God was saying, "Quit complaining Jen, things CAN get worse."  
Can you imagine? Me in a wheel chair followed by my eight sick kids boarding the plane...
I'm done complaining and still laughing a bit.  (I think God knows I have a warped sense of humor.)

Even in the midst of my crazy life, my kids are so happy.  I am blessed!  They really are easy, smiley kids.

Massive probiotics are helping slow down my bowels!  I'm completely off dairy products.  They think I'm dehydrated so I'm trying to drink a small pond daily.

I reached my ever looming "goal weight".  My skinny clothes are baggy.  Good and bad.

Did I tell you that I need all new immunizations?  Because I lost all my blood, like twenty times.  Really, I'm a strong black man housed in a frail white girl body.  Just saying.

We move in exactly one week-- I can't wait to meet our new home.

I read a funny Fox News article about a man on a plane getting sued for indecent exposure... He said he had a headache so he put peppermint oil on his head, then on the plane he went to the bathroom and peppermint oil got other places.  When he sat down he was stinging so much he had to unbutton his pants.  Ha!  Don't know why I thought that story was so funny?! 

Today is going to be a good day.

My goals-
Finish meal and baby gift Thank You cards.
Walk up the driveway.
Read two talks on Prayer.
Eat and drink.
Give Ben a bath.
Start finding scout pictures of Jakob for a PowerPoint/picture banner.

Little girls are spending the morning with sweet friends.
Ben has shots this afternoon and we have a house showing.

Boy, that seems like a lot.

I also need a cute swimsuit-- our new house has a pool.  Any ideas?

Breathe deeply!
It is so good to be alive!

August 21, 2013

Shipping Out...

Our cars shipped to New York yesterday.
This is really happening.
We fly out next week and hope to only be in a hotel for a week before our house closing.

I'm a bit of a mess physically and emotionally.  

I have a mile long list of things To Do, although my brain gets anxious with more than one thing at a time.

My SIL reminded me that our new home was such an obvious blessing.  It is funny that with one part of my brain I know that everything is going to work out, that this move (like every move before) is a gift.  I know that and yet with another part of my brain I'm freaking out about everything that has to happen in the next few weeks.  

I try to stay in the grateful place and I try not to think about things that make me crazy.  Not sure that is the best coping mechanism... 

Part of me wants to yell-- STOP!  This is too much too fast.  I can't do it any more.  (Truthfully, I'm not doing much.) But, you can't stop life.  Like it or not, the days are passing and we really are moving.  I make myself laugh daily imagining my conversation with God-
Me- "This is too hard.  I can't do it any more.  I'm done."
God- gentle smile and knowing nod
Me- umm, still walking.
Because really, we can choose life with a good attitude or life with a bad attitude, but we can't always choose an easy life.

I'm trying to choose life with a good attitude.  Trying...

My blood pressure is too low- my Dr thinks I'm dehydrated.  Blah.  I'm trying to eat and drink more.  I still spend half my life in the bathroom.  I'm still loosing weight- my skinny clothes are loose on me.  

I know this blog sounds quite whiney- again.  The honest truth is, my life is not awful.  We have so much help and the move really is going to be smooth.  I get overwhelmed with writing thank you notes and laying on the couch while my mom packs and organizes my house.

My in-laws are coming on Saturday.  Todd and I are speaking in church on Sunday.  After church, Jakob is having his  Eagle court of honor.  Movers are coming on Tuesday.  

New York is making school registration darn near impossible.  They won't even give me a school supply list until my kids are registered in classes and we can't register them until we have current physicals from NY doctors (they tell me the NY doctor part after I arrange 6 physicals with Oregon doctors).  They need proof of residency- and won't accept our signed house contract.  Whateva!! I'm not too concerned if our kids end up starting school late.  The silly state is making pre-registering them quite a headache... And, my head already hurts.

If it weren't for extended family, church friends, and Todd-- we would not be surviving.  Todd is not stressed as long as I am happy.  So, all I have to do is be a happy cripple and we are good.  

Sure, my life sounds a bit hectic and extreme... But I think many of us are stretching through our days.  

Remember the man who was told by God to push a boulder?  After some time, people walking by started laughing at him.  They told him he was never going to move a boulder that big.  The man stopped pushing, feeling stupid.  A few days went by and God asked the man why he stopped pushing the boulder?  The man whined to God that he would never be able to move a boulder that big.  God smiled and said, "I didn't tell you to MOVE the boulder, just to PUSH it."

Today, I'm pushing my own boulder.
I'm not getting far, but I'm getting stronger.
Life is good.

August 16, 2013


Near death experiences are really great for... Loosing weight.

I'm skinny, I don't think it's cute how my clothes are hanging off me these days.
Not being able to eat for a few weeks sure takes the pounds off.

The funny thing is, I'm still ten pounds heavier than what I've been saying my goal weight was.  (Weight watchers wouldn't even let me enter my goal weight last year when I tried.)

Why do we do this to ourselves?
(The ridiculous expectations, not the semi-starvation.)

Back-to-school is such a great time of year!!   I love watching my kids choose a couple new school outfits.  Isn't it cute to see their individuality?  I love new backpacks and school supplies.
Being a mom is great!!

I'm not quite back yet... I was wiped out after a few hours shopping and I was in a wheelchair.  Holy Moly!

Next month is going to be a good month!!

August 13, 2013

Step by step

I'm sorry that I've been lazily posting by phone.
My blogger iPhone app is broken so I
can't post pictures.  I do have some beautiful pictures that I'll tap into soon.

Oh how I've missed this summer.
I've missed berries and garden tomatoes.  I've missed mothering and planning fun field trips.  I love being a mother.

My kids haven't missed out.  Fun grandmas and friends have filled their lives with summer fun, and I've missed it.

I'm so weak.  I try to walk up my drive way everyday.  I'm trying to eat more and figure out my sick bowels.

I'm half a mother and my soul is aching for normal.  Yesterday, I changed ben's poopy diaper for the first time.  He is two months old!  

Todd is spending a few days at scout camp.  It is so good for him and so hard for me.  He is my safety net.  I miss him desperately if he isn't with me.  

Last night I was so sick.  I kept throwing up, which makes me pee my pants, and I had a little guy that wanted to eat.  It was awful- I kept hoping todd would just magically show up and rescue me.  He didn't and somehow I made it through the night.  

I used to be so capable.  Sigh.

So much is happening these next few weeks.  We are moving and my kids are starting school.  I really want to take them school clothes shopping.  I love back packs full of school supplies.  

I saw two, beautiful horses for sale on Craig's List and couldn't help but imagine how beautiful they would look in our fields.  Todd laughed at me when I told him.

I feel like I'm on the brink of normal... It's coming back slowly but surely.
I'm so grateful for the years of fun summers I've already had.  Someday this summer will fade into the past... It's been a doozie.  

A friend was talking to me yesterday about how she needed me time.  She said her whole life was mommy time.  I laughed.  I'm so sick of me time-- all I want is to be a mom again.  I love my normal life...

Life is so good.
I need a nap. :)

August 11, 2013

Grateful again.

It doesn't take me long.
I'm eating more and feeling a bit better.

My sweet husband was laying near me last night.  He said, "it really is a shame your stomach scar will be removed in the resurrection.  I love it.  It always reminds me how much God loves you."

Who says those kind of things about nasty belly scars?
He loves me.  I adore him.
Even though I don't feel good, my life is very good.
I'm so grateful.

August 09, 2013

Home. (Again.)

Yes, I am released from the hospital.
I suppose I'm feeling better.
I'm not myself.
I'm cranky.
I'm not hungry.
I can't sleep.
I hurt and feel pretty sick to my stomach.
(Millions of antibiotics have wrecked havoc on my bowels.)
I'm not feeling particularly grateful.
I'm pretty much sick of being sick.
It is good to be home.
My babies are all growing up while I'm away.
Yesterday, Lily asked me to read her a bedtime story.  She said she can't even remember if I know how to read.
Broke my sick little heart...
The End.

August 05, 2013

9 lives...

Hi friends!
Just taking a minute to check in.
Don't be confused by my cheerfulness, I'm currently on the strongest IV narcotic they make.
I love that stuff.
I want to marry it.

I have been here at our local hospital since Thursday.  I'm one step down from ICU at PICU.

I've had sepsis- a severe blood infection.
This was caused by a super infected kidney.

Regular kidney = tennis ball.
Super Infected kidney = small football.
Ureter = tube that connects kidney to bladder.

My left ureter was very enlarged on the top half and the CT scan did not show the bottom half.

Regular = smaller than an IV line bigger than floss
Very enlarged = the size of a thumb.

A miraculous surgery was able to insert a stent into my ureter and open the passage way.  

Stent = a small straw

As they opened the passage way-- infection like toothpaste oozed out of my kidney.  Infected, nasty, toothpaste puss followed by lots of infection.  Blah.

If they had been unable to open that ureter, I would have had to have had a drain inserted in my kidney from my back until I was we'll enough for additional surgeries.

When I woke up from my surgery and they told me the stent worked, I cried.  My urologist cried too.

My kidney was very, very infected and I've been very sick - I'm still pretty sick.

I was nervous about being here and not up in Portland, especially for my surgery.
As the urologist was explaining the procedure, I had a distinct impression that I was here for a reason.  I knew I could trust this doctor.

I think I broke a pretty big mirror this year- or accidentally ran over a black cat.
One night I had a full body allergic reaction, and my IV pole fell over my head pinning me in bed.  Ha.  Luckily my cute, boy nurse heard my yells for help and rescued me.

Man oh man-- I feel like I've had the flu times 100.  Not pain, unless you touch me, but overall yuck.  Even on major drugs I'm only sleeping and going potty. No showers, barely any phone conversations, etc.. Occasionally, I'm witty enough to joke with the staff here.  I'm having a hard time eating anything.  I think 103 is my new 98.7

Doctors aren't too concerned because my body needs a few days to fight that serious of an infection.  They just changed something so they think tonight and tomorrow are going to be good.

Hey-- I'm able to write this so that is a HUGE progression.

Really, I'm back from the dead again because I just have to watch the 2nd finale of the Bachelorette.
Just sayin.

Life is good.
 I miss you guys and the good ole days!!
Sigh... 2013 what a year!

August 01, 2013

Because I love them...

Today my heart is full and painfully heavy.
Yesterday, I had my last (knock on wood) surgery that I'll have here in Portland.  I have no more appointments scheduled.  Tomorrow I see my home health nurse and my physical therapist for the last time, and tonight they are having a "miracle" baby shower for me.  Tonight might be the last time I see beloved friends from church.
It is killing me- literally, I feel feverish and sick.  (Maybe I am a little sick and emotional because of the drugs I took yesterday).

I think I have a talent to love people.
And, seriously, I do love with my soul.
Leaving the children at church feels almost like I'm leaving behind my own children.

In our church, we call each other brother and sister...  and, I feel that.  I feel like I'm leaving my family.

I was terrified to return to Interventional Radiology to get my filter removed yesterday.  My fear was physical and perhaps a bit of PTSD.  (My last surgery was a bit harrowing).  In addition to taking meds to calm me, I quickly got to know the nurses around me and felt like I was amoung friends.  

I got sweet texts and Facebook prayers.  My sister kept me smiling with her funny texts.  Thank you for helping me feel loved.  My mom sent me off with a smile as she prepared for a busy day with my 8.  Todd stayed by my side, happy, encouraging and full of faith.

The nurse called IV Therapy to start my IV.  The nurse that came was a friend of mine from bed rest days.  She had started an IV for me when I was in trauma icu, and she kept saying how good it was to see me doing so well.  I felt loved and my fear lessened.

While I was waiting, my favorite anesthesiologist showed up.  Can I tell you how much I love the man who kept me alive as I bled and bled on that operating table?  I love that man.  And, saving me has made him love me back.  I felt such peace knowing he was there checking things.

After my procedure, I couldn't open my right eye and felt my cheek drooping.  Again, my angel doctor was there to tell me they had just nicked a nerve with a shot and that I would be fine.  As he assured me, I could feel my face healing.

No one loves me more than my husband.  At my worst times, he would enter the room and my heart rate would level, all my vital sign would improve.  He pulled me back from the dead.  Love is powerful.

We visited the OHSU blood bank to thank them.  They showed me off like a trophy.  They said I received about 200 different blood products- a massive transfusion.  Even at a big hospital like this, they only give one or two massive transfusions a year.  The patients rarely survive.

My anesthesiologist said mine was his hardest case.  He's worked at OHSU for 8 years.   My urologist said it was one of the worst days of her life.  I asked her why and she said, "Because you were bleeding out in front of us, on the brink of death for hours, and we loved you."

They did love me.  And oh how I love them- I loved them before my surgery.  (I especially loved my anesthesiologist because he changed his mind at the last minute and let my husband come in for the birth). 

Maybe I am wrong, but as I was talking to doctors and blood techs that day, I began to see a bigger picture.  I understood why I was in the hospital for a month prior to my surgery.  I felt that my massive transfusion was a combination of excessive hemorrhaging, my strong desire to live, and a medical team that would not give up.  They got to 200 because they loved me and believed in me.  

During my month long hospitalization, I grew from a patient, to a neighbor, to a friend, to a sister.  The hospital became my home and those who worked there became my family.  I really did love them, and they loved me back. 

Love saved my life.  This love, combined with the love of my real family, my church family, my Internet family and most especially my heavenly family-- saved me.

Love doesn't end.  It will come with me and continue to spread.  
I cried as the nurse took my vitals yesterday.  I was so afraid to go back to that hard place.  But, I also cried as I drove away.  

I'm leaving home, all my many homes.  It is hard.
I'm afraid of the future, even as I know there are many I will come to love in my new home.

One thing I know- people all have gifts in them.
We all have a story.
We are all worth the 200 units of effort even when things look pretty hopeless.
Sometimes we stay and sometimes we move on... And through hard and ease, God's love is constant.

He is love.
He is good.

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