Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Card Letter

Greetings! May I extend best wishes for your holiday season and the new year on behalf of our family! I wanted also to apologize for the lack of birthday and anniversary cards, emails, phone calls, thank you notes, presents, and general correspondence coming from us in the last year. I thought I would send along a brief summary of this year's chaos in case you wondered why you did not get a birthday or anniversary card, email, phone call, thank you note, present, or correspondence of any kind!

December 2009 brought us home to sunny funny Florida from arctic Rochester, NY. Hubby's responsibilities along the journey included: driving the huge truck; coaching me on how to not kill myself on the ice; negotiating the large trailer attached to the truck; feeding (including dealing with multiple food allergies), pacifying, and entertaining 2 year old Nicholas; dealing with my hunger and "call of nature" related emotional breakdowns; walking and feeding the dog at rest stops; paying for everything; and navigating the whole trip. My HERO! I was 8 months pregnant, and my responsibilities included: not wrecking. and listening to "Cheeseburger in Paradise", which I find to be the best driving music for snow storms. Haha. As we approached South Carolina, a miracle occurred. I was on the phone with Mama when I realized the white stuff by the side of the road was no longer snow/ice/mud/goo. It was COTTON! I wept for joy, and if I knew how to do a "rebel yell", I would have! We made it home in one piece and enjoyed a crazy/ beautiful Christmas at Mom and Dad's place with my brother and sister and all our munchkins.

The new year passed uneventfully and February brought us the birth of Samuel John. I think I did manage to send you a birth announcement - maybe my only outgoing mail for the year. He is 10 months now and walking, smiling, laughing, and jibber jabbering. He is such an easy going, happy child. What a joy!

The hubby left us in July. Our last days at home were a freakin nightmare because Nicholas contracted the stomach virus from hell- so bad we had to take him to the ER (the first of many trips during this year). Then we ALL got it, and I mean all of us- even Nana and Pop. I feel God was trying to teach us not to suffer too much from the separation, that we should all just be thankful to be alive and not vomiting. Thanks, Jesus. haha! Since his deployment, I have been able to speak to hubby frequently via phone or email. He seems to be doing as well as can be expected in a war zone surrounded by dirty men and sub optimal bathroom facilities. His facebook status updates are agitated and cynical, but he was agitated and cynical before he left.... (just kidding!)

In August, Nicholas, or Pickle as we like to call him lately, began preschool. He loves the directors and his teachers and (some of) his classmates. He is deeply passionate about race cars and he and Pop (my dad) spend hours racing go karts at a local thrill park, driving RC cars, thumbing through techy magazines, watching Nascar, and discussing their mutual need for speed in terms of RPM, MPH, horsepower, and whether or not they are inclined to "drop the hammer". Mom and I are just glad they have each other. We shake our heads and chat about fashion and makeup. Speaking of Mom, she and Dad have been spending about 80% of their time here in Palm Bay with me saving me from my children and vice versa. I've taken to calling Mama the "good little elf" because I'll go out to run an errand or take a nap and return to find that *poof* the laundry is done, the dishes are put away, the carpet has been vacuumed, the whole house is pressure washed, the lawn is newly landscaped, etc. They make every day easier for us, and I am truly blessed to have them. Thanks, Mom and Daddy.

In October, Nicholas decided to experiment with not holding on to the swing in midair. The result was our second trip to the ER 2010.

November brought a new realization in the battle that was becoming Nicholas' health. He had some sort of food allergy, and we couldn't figure out what. Abstaining for everything on the planet finally lead us to the solution: no soy, almonds, strawberries or MILK of any kind. All the stomach complications from the food allergy produced a hernia that had us in the ER again. The hernia was corrected 12/6, but complications from the anesthesia during surgery lead to an aspiration (stomach contents ended up in his lungs), which produced a panicked Nicholas upon waking up (3 nurses had to hold him down), which lead to the need for more sedation, which lead to decreased oxygen saturation, which got us a one night stay in the pediatric ICU. It was a nightmare, but he is 100% better now, and I have many blessings to count this Christmas!

I start back to school in January. Hubby comes home in April. Life is chaos but full of love and laughter. I fully intend to be a better friend this year. Thank you for supporting us with your prayers and kindness and understanding. Merry, Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 4, 2010


So live, that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan which moves
To that mysterious realm where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
Scourged by his dungeon; but, sustain'd and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave,
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.

Rosalie Gwinn died. Why does death do this to us? Make us realize "i should have called her! i should have told her how she changed me. I should have appreciated him. I should have thanked him for everything." I'm not sure there are words enough to say how you changed me Miss Gwinn. You never accepted mediocrity from me. You gave it to me straight when I asked for advice. I think you and my husband are really the only two people who have ever had the courage to be "hard" on me to my face. I'll never forget the little Christmas gift you gave me and Liz. I kept the empty bottle of bath and body works evergreen hand sanitizer long after it ran out. The smell still makes me think of you. You made me memorize Thanatopsis. You introduced me to "hawk roosting" and that English poet that died in WWII- he wrote about the sounds of the gas bombs. You picked on me for my pronunciation during my impersonation of Jordan from Great Gatsby. You had us all memorize all the acts and scenes from Hamlet in case it came up on our IB oral. I ended up getting that Robert Frost poem- Mending Wall, and you had taught me very well. I aced it. You introduced us all to macbeth and the awful Madame Bovary. But more than books and poems. Your smile was one of the most amazing I've ever seen. Not just in your mouth or your eyes, but all over your face, throughout your whole body, down to your toes! You were never meek or softspoken. You had fire in your belly and that insatiable lust for life, but not just any life- a righteous one. One filled with educating (difficult) young adults and devoting yourself to your family. The world will miss you, Miss Gwinn. I will miss you. I'm sorry I didn't find you and have lunch with you and tell you that I'm forever changed because you knew me. That I will forever remember Thanatopsis and I will be always inspired by you and the way you lived this journey. It's but a few words. It's but a weak entry in a little read blog, but you live on through those whose lives you touched, and there are so many of us. Thanks for everything.... and sleep sweetly.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Looking Up from the Bottom

So, I hate to leave things here on a slit your wrists awful kind of awful note as was my last entry. Thus, once I got cheery news, I decided to follow up!

Nicholas has an open house for his preschool today. He starts tomorrow! *gasp!* I really can't get over how big he's getting. He also made a huge poop in the potty today- not that you really wanted to know that unless of course you work at Kid Zone in which case you are ECSTATIC at the thought of not having to clean his stanky butt every day. Anyway, he's getting so big it's out of hand. I can see it now. Next week it'll be, "mom. Can I have $40 to take [ insert the name of some random hussy girlfriend who his mummy will simply despise ] to a movie? also, I need a check for my football uniform and the car keys. thanks."

Samuel John now whines "mama". no, he doesn't say "mama". He only whines it. It goes something like this "waaaahaahahah ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ah mamama whwaaaaaaaa brrrrrrr mamaamamamamama" I'm not sure this counts, but I'm going to say it does. He also is sitting up unassisted for short bursts now!!! I could not be more thrilled! I remember what a relief it was for me when Nick began sitting up. Soon he can ride in the cart at the grociery store, take a bath at the same time as his big brother, eat more food and therefore demand less boob juice, and generally be a bit more interactive. I'm pumped.

Mom and Dad are on there way and I have the house 3/4 cleaned. I will accept this and push forward with my buttload of errands.

Finally, I saved the very best news for last. I heard his voice today. He called. And I answered. And his strong, melodic, comforting, soul exhalting voice came over the wire. Funny how easy it is to take these sorts of things for granted when you lead a normal life. Makes me think of all the times I hung up on him or didn't answer just to piss him off. Now I anchor my phone in my bra and whip it out breathlessly with hope to hear him. He sounded sad. I hope he wasn't sad. Well, I guess I kind of hope he was a little sad. It is important that we miss each other. I tried my best to be upbeat and positive and sound happy. I don't want him to worry. Don't want him to have to think about me being a ninny at home. Between you and I, I sobbed wildly after we were done chatting. It was just such a relief to really really know he's okay. It made the miles disappear and I could feel him again. Absence makes the heart grow fonder I suppose, and if that's true, I'm going to start spouting sonnets any day now, haha.

Well, that's all I had to say. Just wanted to perk things up.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Best Week Ever

The following is a brief recap of the Best Week Ever and by best week ever I mean worst week of my life.

Samuel got things off with a bang by getting an ear infection and keeping me up all night every night.

The afternoon I was about to make our reservations for three family days on the beach in New Smyrna, my love calls to tell me that Uncle Sam cut those three days off. I sob my way to the salon chair where Jillian fixes my hair beautifully and provides me with alcohol to drown my sorrows. So, I decided to shut up, suck it up, and move forward.

Hubby came home. We spent as much time together as possible considering all the things he had to do in preparation for the big "D". We were both stressed out (vast understatement) and seemed unable to connect, which is common for us when times get really hard. This however, left me longing and kind of grouchy because I guess I was expecting a whole bunch of romance seeing as how we'll have at least 9 months apart.

We went to the science center and had a great time :)

Then. it happened. Puke at midnight. Nicholas toddled into the guest room (where I had been sleeping so that my hubby could at least enjoy full nights' rests in his own bed before leaving) postively covered in puked up pizza. Hubby helped me clean him up and took him to the master bedroom for the rest of the night. I cleaned most the house by 1:45 am. Pickle was up all night long vomitting. The next day, he felt better for a few hours in the morning before becoming strange. He got sick again and refused to eat or drink anything. He was clearly dehydrated, and after he vomitted on me during dinner, I asked his daddy to take him to the ER. My hero took him, and they gave him IV fluids and some zofram and did a bunch of scans and blood tests and analyses, etc. Apparently, he just had "the bug" and would be fine, but you can imagine how I felt knowing my baby was sick, and in pain, and that my husband's last night at home was spent in a chair in an ER waiting room instead of in my arms on my couch. So I did what any sane woman in my situation would do! I cleaned the whole house again and began eating the chocolate chip cookies I baked for the soliders...

Nick was recovered enough the next day to ride with us to drop my Hero off at the appointed place so that he may go for the big "d". so. we went there as a family, and I left the place as a geographically single mom/ raving lunatic/ basket case. Mom drove me home in her car while Daddy kept Nick in the truck so that Nick wouldn't see me like that. I felt it best that he not understand the gravity of the situation. (The rest of my feelings about this situation can not be expressed by simple syllables and punctuation. There are no words to make you understand, and trying here would only make me hurt more. Perhaps in time I will find the strength and the adjectives to express some piece of it. In the mean time, this watershed in my life is reduced to this single paragraph, but certainly you understand that there is a great raging waterfall of pain and loss hiding behind this tiny group of words.) We made it to my parents' house. I talked to hubby a few more times and crawled, emotionally exhausted, onto my couch there.

Hubby called that next morning and told me he had been up all night vomitting, etc because he had contracted "the bug!" I felt awful, blamed myself for not cleaning enough, and worried about him being ill and traveling the many hours to where he's going. The funny thing was that although I had been quite vigilant about washing my hands, taking my vitamins, cleaning, and taking the proper precautions with Nicholas, I felt yuck. In fact, I had felt slightly "yuck" for a couple of days but had convinced myself it was all the stress. Ladies and Gentleman, it was decidedly not stress. It was "the bug". And if we want to compare it to a bug, I think we could say it was about a 40 foot cockroach with a scorpion's tail. Huge. Disgusting. and Painful with the potential to be lethal. I took ill that night and, I'm ashamed to say, I took the rest of Nicholas' Zofram to try and tame the vomitting because he was no longer experiencing symptoms. I was petrified that I wouldn't be able to stay hydrated enough to breastfeed Samuel John! The cramps were awful, I was delirious with the pain, and I was up all night long. I survived. My sweet parents let me sleep pretty much all day the next day. I drank some fluids and began coming around.

The next morning, Mama took ill. She maintained that it was the bad salad from the night before, but I knew better. I spent the day feeling responsible and therefore horrible! AND. I was forced to go to the beach and the pool. Can I tell you that 1) I look like a spotted walrus with shaving bumps in my new polka dot swimsuit and 2)that i HATE the beach. why? because I hate sand. and dirt. and places where sand and water meet and climb into your private crevaces.

That evening, Daddy fell prey to the bug. His was the very worst of all. I hear from mama that he is doing better, and now I am home on my couch. Both boys are sleeping, the dog is curled up on his bed, and I am here free to sit around in my bra and blog. But what a freaking week. I hope there is a bit more happiness to be spread around soon. I have faith there will be. Thanks for letting me share it all. you've helped more than you know already.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

will you marry me?

Nicholas no longer stays in his bed until you come to get him. He got out of bed 8 times before giving up last night, once at 4:50AM this morning, twice before his nap, and maybe 4 times before bed tonight. This makes for less sleep and less peace in general.

Samuel John has lost all sleep training progress I had made due in part to his weepy eyeball, part due to his refusal of all fake nipples ie binkies, part due to my not being firm and simply putting the boob in his face to quiet him.

I laid around in my bed eating cookies with Nick this morning, and it subsequently gave him diarreah and a horrible red diaper rash. Nice mom. Make him fat AND miserable. oops.

I nearly canceled my personal training appointment but decided it would be bad. Stress makes me eat, and this personal training thing helps me not want to cheat and eat cookies and be lazy (with the exception of today b/c I was uber depressed due to missing my Matthew deeply after a lovely four day weekend and some crappy news being passed down the pipe.)

So I went to the training appointmet- and got stronger. yay! Nicholas said to me, "Miss Becky is going to help Mama be stronger!" It was so cute I wanted to pop his head like a pimple! I got Nick home and got him dinner and a bath. Then Mom and Daddy came, and I was so excited!

Then. It happened. I decided to take out the trash. And this is what I see one of these....

Yeah. ohmfg. it's a brown widow. apparently slightly less evil than the black one b/c they inject less venom per bite. It's wedged up unde the lip of the garbage can which means that had Jesus not deeply loved me, I woulda stuck my hand up there and got a not so friendly "hello." So. It scared the shit out of me, so I hesitated before I killed it, giving it just enough time to escape up under the lid. So I went in and got Daddy and he came out with me to "end" her. We looked for what seemed like hours but was probably about 1o minutes. Well. shit. we couldn't find her. So that thing is wandering around in my garage. great. well. it gets better. you ready? So.... we push the garbage can back inside after giving it a thorough inspection only to disturb one of these.....
My father, My Hero, helps it out of the garage while I try and get out a hoe to behead the beast. It slithered away and, all fingers, toes, and other digits in tact, I was free to have a complete sob fest/ freak out extravaganza in the garage. Seems like lately as soon as I say to myself, "it's okay, Jessi. This single mom thing is going to work out fine. you can do it," the ASS falls out and something crazy happens. ie a couple of weeks ago when my car battery died and I had both boys in the middle of a Publix parking lot sweating balls and screaming. That happened just after the hubby became complETEly unreachable for a couple days, and thank God a bunch of dear friends came to the rescue. Back to the garage. Just afterward, my darling husband called, and I yelled at him and cursed at him for not being able to be here as if he didn't want to be. Of course he did. Of course he couldn't. I told him I wanted to speak to his commander. That I was going to DEMAND he not be allowed to go and instead stay here with me to kill snakes and spiders for me. For some reason, he didn't give me the number!?! haha

UPDATE: We subsequently found and murdered the brown widow with a wooden stake. And I am now brave enough to enter my garage (during the daytime only of course....)

I need friends. a lot more of them. who can fill positions for my husband. Here are the ones that are available:

  • general contractor
  • snake and spider killer (obviously)
  • vehicle mechanic (only outside of standard maitenance for which I have a service plan)
  • babysitter
  • cook
  • entertainer
  • date night hotty
  • shoulder to cry on
  • i'm sorry. you can't stand in for him on the sex thing. i kind of promised to remain celibate while he's gone... i know. it's old fashioned ;) .....
  • singer of chillean love songs/ comedian
  • general g.i.joe type to wander around the yard with a gun and a flashlight anytime there's a noise in the night.
  • someone to pick on me, especially about my gardening
  • umbrella holder/door opener/ cheer-er upper
  • someone to make me laugh, mostly when I cry and am adamant not to laugh

pay will be... nothing. but i will probably write you a thank you note. you may get chocolate chip cookies out of the deal, and I promise to smile a lot!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

YES- and then perhaps, no.

yes- I'm feeling more competent now with both the boys. More able to go places with them both and more willing to leave them with other people and not freak out or worry so much.

no- I'm still a TOTAL fat ass. I took a week off the gym last week because I'm in a weird place emotionally with Matthew leaving. It actually did kind of help, though. I'm rededicated this week. Worked my legs hard yesterday and took Jeannie's ohmygawd i'm going to kick your ass hip hop style class today. Tomorrow it's arms with Wendy.

yes- speaking of Wendy and friends in general. I'm trying desperately hard to arrange playdates for Nicholas and make new friends for me. I don't want to be totally isolated and have nobody care about me when Matthew leaves, and once he's gone I will have more time to be a friend than I normally would. Today Nick Nick and I had our first official playdate with Joy and Malachi. They were wonderful, and I feel she and I will become good friends. I especially love how close by she is :)

no- It took me entirely too long to clean up for Joy to come, and I had all this crap to do. So I was short with Nicholas and I let Sam cry too long. I said "no" to Nick out of laziness when I could have said "yes" out of love. It was crappy of me, and I have got to cut that shit out. I realize that if I weighed about 50 pounds less, I would probably have more energy. It's freakin' gross, and I must find a way to better myself again.

yes- my sweet Samuel laughed in his sleep today, or I suppose you could call it a chuckle. It was so precious. Then he did it again when I kissed his belly. He is the most tender child, and I wonder sometimes how I ever deserved him. Maybe that's the point. Maybe I don't deserve him, but what does anyone really deserve in the eyes of God? He just gives us what we need.

no- every weekend my baby comes home, and every time he leaves I feel like my soul is being torn from its moorings. You'd think I'd get used to it, but the wound feels new each week. I'm going to need tranquilizers when he leaves. seriously.

yes- mom and dad may come tomorrow. I haven't seen daddy in nearly two weeks and mama in five days or so. I've gotten so used to them being here, and so have the boys. The nice thing is now that I don't desperately need them to be here because I can't handle my life and the boys are too much for me and i'm falling apart. Now I just want them here and want to see them and want to watch my babies blossom in the sunshine of their doting affection.

no- i know two impossibly kind people who are due to lose a loved one this week. My heart breaks for them, my prayers go out to them, and I wish I could fix it, but I don't know them that well. I know these people kind of at a distance or in passing, and I don't know what would help them feel better or what would ease the pain or where I could fill in. All I have are positive thoughts and sincere prayers.

yes- my flowers are growing all over the place, and it is making me a very happy camper!

Well, it's late and I'm more exhausted than usual. Let's pray for some actual sleep tonight.

Friday, May 14, 2010


Last night I had to go to Samuel's baptism class. It was the usual drivel. Why do you want your child baptized? what do these symbols mean? what does baptism mean to you? why does the church value baptism? yada yada. I didn't expect to learn anything. I didnt expect to enjoy the experience. I just wanted to surive it, have my piece of paper signed and move on. But I had a bit of a revelation over the whole thing. Here's how it happened. The first of the group questions was "what do you want the candidate for Baptism to see in you?" I was one of the first to answer, and I said I wanted him to see strength in me- I was thinking of how I'll have to get along without Matthew for the next year or so, and I said I wanted him to see tolerance- I was thinking of how nit picky I've been with Nicholas lately and how I would be a better mommy if I cut him some slack. Answers went around the room, and most people had the same or similar responses, and I compared myself to them as one is ought to do at these things. I thought "okay, good. I'm right on par for the course, and let's move on to the next question so we can get the hell out of here." Then it happened. One of the godparent/ sponsors answered "Joy. I want him to see joy in me." And it ocurred to me. I've been spending so much time lately simply surviving. Get enough sleep to function. Eat enough calories and drink enough water to make breast milk. Buy enough at the store to survive 3 days without returning. Work out enough to lose the weight. Survival. Not. Joy. I'm not concerned about having FUN in my playtime with Nick. I'm concerned that I need to be teaching him something about his ABCs or developing his motor skills. It's crap. I had kids to enjoy them, right? So I'm going to try to focus less on the impending exodus of my beloved husband. I'm going to try to think more about what fun things can we do today?

Just thought I'd share.

ps. Matthew and I have made our backyard into this precious little haven. There's a swing for Nick, a sun shade that billows in the breeze, a bird feeder in our oak tree, sunflowers under the window that Nick and I grew from seeds, and I plan on putting in mandavillas and plumbegos out. Nick has all kinds of toys out there- tractors, dump trucks, trowels, shovels, buckets, balls, and all kinds of things. I figure it's a good place to start with the "joy" thing.