Friday, April 4, 2014

i can't look at the stars

On tomorrow's date, two years ago, we lost my grandmother, my Grandma Lou, known to most as Mama Lou (dads mom). She surrendered to the terrible disease known as Alzheimer's. I believe God/life has a plan for everyone, a reason for everything, that everything happens for a reason, etc. While at times it may make no sense, I'm confident in the end that the pieces will come together. But things like Cancer, Alzheimer's... WHY? In my grandma's case, why should someone who lived such a wonderful life, who achieved so much, had a family they love and were so proud of and lived to see and meet her GREAT-grand-babies, forget everything? Everything. If you haven't witnessed it first hand, yes it is as terrible as you can imagine. She would remember me one minute, then not a minute later. How does that happen? How does the brain work? Can someone please cure this awful disease? It's just not fair. Not fair at all.

I come from a very small family. The only grandchild to one set of grandparents. The only granddaughter to the other (and only one in Indiana, my cousins live in Florida.) I had an incredible bond with both. A bond that no matter how hard I try to explain it to someone, they will never understand. I'm an extremely emotional, sentimental, nostalgic person. As I've said before, I love when certain things, smells, ANYTHING takes me back to a memory. While I love those moments, I find myself in a very vulnerable state. I sob. I sob hard. 

my wrist tattoo. i called grandma (moms mom)  happy for as long as i could remember, she was never "grandma" 
this was her signature from a card she had given me. i had the tattoo artist add the russian cross at the end for her.
i will be getting seagull for my grandma lou (dads mom) can't decide where yet. foot, other wrist, forearm? thoughts?
maybe this will be a gift to myself when i reach my weight goal.

We live in Indianapolis, about two and a half hours away from where they are laid to rest. We will call that area "The Region" or better known as NW Indiana. This is/was basically my home away from home. I would go spend weeks up there as a kid. It's a quick drive outside of Chicago, close to Lake Michigan and still has a small town feel. I love everything about it. I would move there in a heartbeat if we could. Well probably not, because I wouldn't leave my parents, but you get the point. I love going up there and driving around, seeing places I'd go to with them, eating at the best restaurants, going to the best shops. While I'm happy, at some point the waterworks start going. 

I lost my grandmas months apart from each other. It was extremely difficult. What am I talking about? It STILL is something I cry over daily. My husband encourages me to talk about the struggles with him, but sometimes I just don't want to. It's probably not healthy to keep everything bottled up, but I don't want my kids to see me cry that much. I don't want him to see me cry. I don't want anyone to know I cry that much. But here I am, putting it out for the world to see. I cry a lot. 
How do you grieve? 
Is there a timeline on how long is normal? It's been two years and I still feel like it was yesterday. 

Sometimes I feel so close to a memory, that I forget that it is just that. A memory. 
Something I am so grateful to have, but I would do anything in the world to have one last meal with them. 
Just one more conversation. 
One more hug. 

Grandparents are so special. They leave a forever footprint on our hearts. 
I am blessed to have an amazing grandpa still in my life who loves reminiscing and could for hours. 
I know I'm lucky to have had amazing grandmothers in my life for 26 years. 
Two years gone, but never forgotten. NEVER.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

tonsillectomy - day six and seven

Days six and seven were pretty good. I'm combining these days because there isn't a whole lot that has changed. Shon and I were just talking tonight about how proud we are of her. She has been such a trooper and has handled this ten times better than we ever imagined. She's a bit of a drama queen if you know what I'm saying. I would never doubt that she was in pain, but I just thought her way of expressing it would be something out of Hollywood. 

Bless her heart. 

The mornings and nights have been a little rough. Her throat starts to burn. I hate saying this word almost as much as I hate the word moist, squirt, crevasse, but the scabs are starting to fall off. Her medicine is starting to burn. We are currently just doing the ibuprofen (over the counter) when needed. 

On day six, Tristan went with my mom for the day and it was back to being Tay and I. It was beautiful out, 65 degrees, yes those temps excite us around these parts. So I decided for lunch to have a picnic and take her on a nature walk at our local state park. It was perfect. A little windy, but she really enjoyed getting up and out of the house and fresh air. She isn't allowed to run around or play and get her heart rate up and going for about two weeks after surgery, so this was the next best thing.

She ate:
ice cream
ramen noodless
bagel thin with cream cheese
popcorn (i was shocked she was ok with this)
pepperoni slices

I don't know what I'm going to do when we clean up our little campsite downstairs in the living room. I've been sleeping down here with her since the night of her surgery and Tristan has joined us. I knew it was going to be rough with the medicine and wanted to be right by her for whatever she needed. That way she didn't have to get up, come in our bedroom and wake both of us up. Shon gets up early for work and drives all day, I work from home. It just made sense and I'm one hundred and ten percent fine with that! 

Anyways, don't get me wrong, we are very close, but this past week our bond has gotten so much stronger. We have had the best time together. I know she is hurting and is too exhausted to unleash her sassy attitude out to play. I know it won't stay peachy keen like this, but really no ones kids are perfect. I'm soaking up every bit I can though. Seeing your baby go through anything like this really makes you think, what if something happened? Thankfully, all of it has been smooth sailing. Everything has gone better than we imagined it would. On that note, I will end our tonsillectomy journey via blog. If anything changes, I will definitely mention it. I can't believe it's already been a week. She still has recovery, but the worst is over with. <knock on wood> YAY!

My final thoughts:
Have patience. It gets hard when you can get them to stop cry, when they wake up in the middle of the night in pain. We got lucky with this and it was minimal.
Cuddle and love a lot. They need it. You will need it.
Have easy meals prepped and ready to go. Something I failed to do and didn't know I'd be completely exhausted. Glad Shon was so understanding with this.
Stay on top of the meds, even throughout  the night. For about the first 4-5 nights, I made sure to wake her up for medicine every two hours. There is where the too exhausted to cook came from.
Adding to that, keep hydrated, throughout the night by drinking and a humidifier. I would make sure to have her drink some water and before I knew it, she was back to sleep. I felt like I had a newborn again, except my kids were a rare breed and slept phenomenal as babies. We also keep a humidifier running for her at night. I will say again, COOL MIST not WARM MIST!
Laxative. Yep. Have one on hand. They will get backed up from the medicine. We use this one.
Encourage chewing. Even if it's just gum. The jaw will become sore from the lack of. Even the things they will chew, will most likely be small bites and isn't really getting the jaw going.
Stock up on non physical activities. Luckily we have a lot of fun things to do inside. Coloring books, reading books, tablets, video games, painting, play-doh, board games... you get the point.
Go for walks. When the child is feeling up to it of course. We went once around our neighborhood, but I wanted to avoid that so she wouldn't get sad seeing all her friends playing together outside. Go to a park or somewhere peaceful if you can.
Reassure them everything will be okay. Every time it started to bother her, I told her it won't be like this for long, in my best Darius Rucker voice.
Let them try to eat what they want to eat. As long as it's not on the list to avoid. Her doctor said she can pretty much go at her down pace with whatever she wants to eat, but to stay away from things like hot sauce, citrus, anything acidic and carbonation (as it dehydrates) The whole ice cream and popsicle thing got old to her literally after the first day. She will still have it as a snack, but sister wants food.
Make them feel special and enjoy this down time at home with them! Like I said, our bond has grown. It's been great being home with her every day. Sleeping with her every night. Make the best out of it!

I hope this blog comes in handy for you, maybe one day. I know all the blogs I stumbled upon were so helpful that I went back and read them over and over. Shon even read them. While the medical/professional standpoint is important for obvious reasons, it's great hearing it straight from the mother herself.
Because Mom knows best!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

tonsillectomy - day five {& link up}

This day brought our first "incident" if you will. Nothing major, but definitely the first real obstacle in her recovery. I was upstairs doing laundry in the morning and Taylor had been asleep downstairs. I hear her start coming up the stairs and I could tell something was wrong. She had thrown up. Here we go, I thought. I panicked because I wasn't sure what could have caused that. She wasn't complaining about pain and she had ate a pretty good dinner Sunday night, so I knew it most likely wasn't the medicine upsetting her tummy. She was also doing a great job keeping herself hydrated. The first thing I did was check her throat for any bleeding. There was none and that was a huge relief. Shortly after that she got sick again. She seemed like she was feeling better. I gave her a nice warm bath and got her cleaned up. She had one more incident right after she got out of the tub and that was it. She immediately wanted something to eat so she grabbed a yogurt and all was good after that. I checked with the nurse just to make sure there was nothing to be concerned about. She said sometimes the drainage can cause the stomach to get upset and she may have swallowed some when she was sleeping. Yuck! She did complain about her jaw hurting a little as well, which is normal since most of the foods she is eating requires little to no chewing. As the day went on and a pack of gum later, that problem was history also.

She ate:
ice cream
penne with butter
bagel with american cheese melted

Her little voice sounds so different to me. Just the way she talks and says certain things, I can't help but smile at her. It's so cute. It makes me anxious to see how she talks in about a month when all is healed and back to normal. Or her NEW normal I guess I should say. 

Coffee has been my best friend these days. I'm talkin I've been firing up the ol Keurig 2-3 times a day. Sleep deprivation is a serious thing. The struggle is real. Between medicine and making sure her throat stays... moist..  I'm waking up every two hours. She's normally half asleep, but the job is getting done and that is what matters.

The Best Of Intentions

I want to talk about ME real quick. My eating mainly. I made sure beforehand that I had my go to produce, so I wouldn't have to try and get to the store while I'm at home with her. I love to cook, except on Fridays, I don't believe in it. It's science that it is impossible for me to cook on that day. Anyways, my lack of sleep and pure exhaustion has made me not want to do anything. ANYTHING. I didn't think it'd be this bad. I'm not eating terrible, I'm kinda just not eating meals. A handful of goldfish, a couple slices of pepperoni here, a few half a bag of cadburry mini eggs there. I think to myself, oh that's nothing significant. That doesn't count. Um, earth to Jessica: YES. IT. DOES. I've got to get back on track. My body does not like this. Time to snap out of this funk, but I can honestly say, if this was a "normal" week, it wouldn't be this way at all. I have lost another pound though. I guess that says somethin.

I also signed up to be a part of the 1800 minute challenge. 1800 minute whaaat?
It's not as scary as it sounds. Not even a little bit. Here are all the deets.
But basically between now, April 1st, and May 31st, it's 1800 minutes of some type of physical activity.
Rounds out to be 30 minutes a day but you don't have to do that.
You can have off days, days that are tougher than others, but in the end it should be 1800 minutes.
There I said it, now I have to do it, right?
Here goes nothin.

Got my glasses Friday. Still getting used to them, but holy crap. They make such a huge difference.
It's pretty unbelievable.
I wore them to the store Saturday morning and I felt like I was wearing a huge sign that read "girl wearing glasses for the first time"
I felt like everyone was looking at me and I came up with three simple conclusions:
1. I look like a complete goober
2. I look super cool
3. Or really no one was looking at me at all

That's all I've got today.
Over and out.

Monday, March 31, 2014

tonsillectomy - day four

Once again, not much change. 
Like I said, these posts may not be the most interesting, but I'm just documenting day by day. Maybe someone will stumble upon these and find them useful if/when they are in the same situation.

Relaxed all day, played on her Rainbow Loom, colored, napped. Rinse and Repeat.
She stayed hydrated, had a popsicle, but other than that, didn't want to eat. Not because it hurt, because she wanted FOOD. She really wanted pizza. So last night we ordered some and just like that I felt like she was one year old again. I cut the pizza into the smallest bites, sat next to her the whole time and wait for it... fed her. She asked me to and I will do anything for her. It may have taken an hour to eat one slice, but she finished it and I could tell she was happy she was able to. 

I, on the other hand, was losing my sanity. I hadn't had a real meal since Thursday night, no solid night of sleep since Wednesday night and I needed a shower badly. Let me tell ya, that pizza tasted like a piece of heaven. As prepared as I was for this surgery though, I wish I would have planned crock pot meals.

But this isn't about me, it's about her. She's been a real trooper and I couldn't be more proud of her. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

tonsillectomy - day three {& link up}

Day three was similar to day two. She slept more than she did on day two, which was good. Her breath is starting to smell something fierce, which we were warned about. My alarm went off overnight, which means we missed no meds and she was able to wake up, take it, take a drink and go right back to sleep. 

She ate: 
ice cream
bagel with cream cheese
chicken noodle soup
frosty from wendys

She is continuing to do great! We are so proud of her!

neely @

What is your ideal way to relax
coffee, a blanket and books/blogs

Where is your favorite place to be
home with my family, outside of the home would have to be chicago.

Who do you consider your biggest role model
i can't pick just one. my mom and both of my grandmas have molded me into who i am today. they are everything to me.

What does your life look like in 3 years?
not too much different! hopefully in a different house. possibly go back to school.

If you could go back and change one decision what would it be?
i don't really have any regrets. one little decision change could impact much more. i do regret not going to see both of my grandmas as their time here was coming to an end. it's something i will never forgive myself for.

What is your biggest accomplishment in life thus far?
my children, hands down.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

tonsillectomy - day two

I debated whether or not to post, because to be honest, I don't have much to say.
I decided I needed to though. I told myself I was going to document this day by day and even if no one reads, it's a way for us to go back and remember this experience. 

I want to show a before and after picture. I have no idea how she was able to breathe.

Yep, that is real life. Left was taken 3/26/14 and right was taken 3/27/14

<begin rant> This is the part where I'm going to tell you about her old pediatrician who kept telling us how large her tonsils were and the next time she got sick/strep she was were refer us to an ENT. Only dealt with that for 2-3 years. We ended up switching pediatricians, not because of that, but to have one closer to home. Went to the new one in December, referred to an ENT who we saw in January and here we are, March 29th. No tonsils, no adenoids! <end rant>


She did great yesterday. A little too great. She wanted to be up and moving a lot which is fine but she's a go big or go home type of gal and she doesn't really know how to take it easy. Being a tumbler, she is constantly doing round-offs, cartwheels, back handsprings, etc. Don't worry, she didn't do any of those things, but it would have led to that. Her little bro had been at my parents since Wednesday and he came home last night. We were all really happy to see him. 

She was also starving yesterday and was asking for things other than ice cream and popsicles. 

She ate:
ice cream & popsicles - I didn't say she didn't ask for them at all! 
mashed potatoes
vermicelli with butter
hard boiled eggs
bagel with cream cheese

No issues with those foods. So she was a happy camper. 

After they both fell asleep, I took that time to do some dishes, make myself something to eat and catch up on my DVR. I set the alarm on my phone to wake me for her pain meds and the next thing I know it's 4:30 am and she's crying in so much pain. Her throat was dry and we were about 3 hrs overdue for the meds. I was so mad at my phone that I could have snapped it in half. I don't know what the deal was, it was set but it never went off. I got her meds, some ice water, cuddled with her and she fell back asleep, back up at 6:30 am for ibuprofen, then around 8 am for the day.

So far, so good!
And like I've been saying, I know we aren't in the clear yet, but can't complain with how it's going so far. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

tonsillectomy - day of surgery (day one)

The night before her surgery we took Taylor to Bdubs, her favorite restaurant; that's Buffalo Wild Wings or BW3's for those of you not down with the lingo. She wanted to have one last spicy meal before her big day. At about 10:30 pm I made her a bagel with cream cheese since she couldn't have anything to eat or drink past midnight. Her surgery was scheduled for 11:30 am and we would have to be there at 10:30 am. When we woke up, she actually didn't complain about not being able to eat. Hooray! I took some pictures of her and some videos (in case her voice was different afterwards). At around 9:45 am we headed out. Shon had to work a couple of hours beforehand, so he met us there. When we arrived, we immediately got checked-in and they took us back to our room. The nurse talked to us and she was so calm and happy. She even asked questions. After the nurse left, the doctor came in, followed by the anesthesiologist. They were all so great and nice to her. She was not once, scared or nervous during all of this. The nurse came back in and told her she needed to change into her hospital gown. 

The doctor was actually running ahead of schedule so they took her back about fifteen minutes early. They gave her the option to drive a little Mini Cooper Power Wheels car back to the OR. How adorable is that? She wanted to walk though. I was able to walk her to the doors and off my baby went. Watching her walk away is what really got me. <cue the waterworks here.> Shon actually just missed her getting taken back and if they did at the scheduled time, he would have made it. That's ok though. When he got there, I brought him up to speed. I ran to the bathroom, then went and grabbed a coffee from the lobby. As I'm waiting at the Keurig for my coffee to finish, I hear the lady at the front desk on the phone say "Hi, is this Taylor's dad?" I about gave myself whiplash turning to look at her because obviously my kid is the only one with that name. She continues to say "She is all finished, the doctor will be in shortly to talk to you." I stood there staring at her. She hangs up and says "Are you mom?" I told her I was and that was so quick. I hurried back to our room, anxious as hell. The doctor came in and told us how amazing she did, how much everyone loved her personality and how brave she was. They probably tell everyone that, but I know how awesome my kid is! They said they would bring her into our room in about thirty to forty minutes. She was still groggy and waking up. The team who performed her surgery couldn't believe how such a little girl had such huge tonsils. The doctor said he's done so many tonsillectomies and they were definitely on the larger end of the ones he has seen. Adenoids came out as well, he said those were pretty large too. 

After what felt like six hours, they finally brought her into our room. <cue the waterworks again here.> We were so happy to see her. She was drinking water well. They gave her a popsicle, she ate it all. A cup of apple juice, drank it all. Another popsicle? Sure! She ate that one all up too. The nurse said that's great and she needed to keep doing what she was doing. Sometimes kids will just deny everything. All her vitals were great. No temp. No vomiting. Hello poster child. 

They did said that days 3-7 can be the worst, so I know we aren't in the clear. I am going to do my absolute best and try to keep everything smooth sailing. We got to leave at around 3 pm. They sent her home with stickers, chocolate ice cream and a Disney Princess balloon. We really could not have asked for a better staff. Everyone was so great. That is tough to come by when you are in these type of situations because you have your standards set SO high for how you want your child or loved one treated.

She fell asleep in the car on the way home. I carried her inside and she woke up, happy. I bought the wrong type of humidifier, so I had to run up to Walmart and exchange it. I know some people swear by these, but we have never had one. I bought a warm mist one and they recommend a cool mist one. I was gone maybe 20 minutes and when I got back she was coloring, had gone to the bathroom and was watching TV with daddy. He set up the humidifier for her. She opened her little bag of goodies from us. Just some coloring books, reading books, new crayons and markers and a Go-Go Pillow. .

At about 5 pm, she said her throat was starting to hurt, along with her tummy. She was scheduled for pain meds at 5:30, so we went ahead and gave it to her, just to keep on top of it. She had another popsicle, drank some water and asked for mashed potatoes. As I was making them, she fell asleep. She took a nice nap. When she woke up, she had her mashed potatoes, more water, another popsicle, some ice cream and mac n cheese. I started to get really sleep around 2 am, so I asked her if she needed anything and that I was going to close my eyes until it was time for her next meds. That came at 4 am, she took them and drank some water. Closed my eyes again, woke back up at 6 am. She was still awake and wanted ice cream. I was just about to get it for her and she fell asleep and is currently still sleeping.

Her voice does sound a bit different right now. Her uvula is swollen, which is normal, but probably has some play in that. We will see what it's like in the days to come.

I've got my coffee in hand and I'm ready to take on day two.
But what would Friday be without a good #backthatazzup sesh? 
The answer is: Nothing. Friday would be nothing.
Tay and I are lovin this song right now.

whitney @

  Classic by MKTO on Grooveshark