Monday, August 16, 2010

Summer Summer Summer ....

Ari meets Asher
The Jet Set Gang getting ready to take off!
Saying Goodbye to my Baby
The kids enjoying a summer rain shower
Silly officially hates my camera, lol.

A Summertime Fire Ari helped to build
Ari's New Dress from Gramma <3
Real Men Paint Toenails :)
Ari's Backyard Oasis
Mr. Jim and Ari enjoying some down time
Ari wearing a Mommy-Made Dress
The reason there aren't many pictures of my dude :)
The Birthday Princess
Ari giving Caleb's "Aunt Jennie Made" quilt a test run!
Caleb in his cool new ride sporting his Aunt Jennie PJs and Quilt
Krynnies wearing her Aunt Jennie made Dress
Trinny's little doppelganger wearing her Aunt Jennie Fairy Dress :)
Vinnie has resorted to eating his fingers to bulk up :)

Time, Time to Sit Back and Unwind.... sorry, Will Smith, not so much of the unwinding going on around here, but it's all good :)

The pictures above are just a small portion of how we have spent this super busy, super full, and super fun summer, so far!

The children have returned from their yearly Florida "pilgrimage" with my mom. Three weeks of fun in the sun for them and three weeks of "relaxation" (organizing, cleaning, and taking care of Ari) for me! It was really nice, TBH. They are home now, looking blonder, taller and tanner. We are scrambling to get everything ready for their first year in public school - uniforms (yes, in public school!), registration, testing, physicals, as well as school supplies/shoes/backpacks. We are just about wrapped up. Lis's pool is done so they are having a blast at "La La's" (Ari's affectionate nickname for Lis has become EVERYONES nickname for her, LOL).

Trin celebrated her 6th birthday this week. The highlight of her birthday, for me, was when her older siblings donated their arcade tickets to her so she could get a fancy tiara and wand from the prize booth. I was so proud of them <3

I am healing, learning and taking baby steps since my surgery. I have had a few victories (really successful weightloss, plus I am down 2 sizes already!) and a few setbacks (having to go back on my blood pressure meds after being taken off them was kind of a blow). Still, taking it one step at a time and focusing.
Ari has been talking in leaps and bounds lately, full on sentences and using proper pronouns and tenses (as in I want to, not, me wants to). She cracks us up constantly with her observations....

"Bubby Buttface to Me"
"I jumping up to the sky, WAY up there" as she furiously hops with both feet off the ground.

Me-"No, not right now"
Ari-"Come ON"
Ari-"Cause SAID SO!!"


She also discovered "bleeding" when she fell and skinned her knees, but she was a little confused about it, I think. She came up to me crying one day, "I bleeding" ... only it was dirt. I showed her it washed off and she was SO relieved!! 

She got some shots today. She is a smart cookie because when she heard me talking about them, she went and sat on the floor in the hallway and refused to come back in.  Poor baby, that sucked.

 Jess and I celebrate 12 years in two weeks. Still the best decision I have ever made :) 

Monday, June 28, 2010


When I started this blog I anticipated it being a baby book of sorts for my children. There are so many little things they do and say that make up my days that trying to capture some for when my memory will inevitably fail seemed like a nice gift to give them, as well as Jess and I. Now, I am going to document something that is for me, and in a smaller way, them, to remember. Talyn will remember everything, as will Sylver, in the hazy way that children do and it will shape who they become, whether they are aware of it or not. Trinity will have fuzzy memories and Ari will never know a life where her mom was "normal"... although I become more convinced every single day that normal does not exist except in the minds of television writers and misled teenagers.
I decided in April, when God gifted us with health insurance after 4 long years without it to get my health in order while I could. I had been diagnosed with stage 1 Chronic Renal Failure when I was pregnant with Ari. Although I had exhibited symptoms with all of my pregnancies, with Ari they where severe. Every test that could be safely run during pregnancy was run with no definitive answers. This left no hope of a definitive cause or treatment without a kidney biopsy after the pregnancy. Fast forward two years, and I was finally able to follow up. I was left with a dilemma, though... pre-existing condition. In 2010 a person can still be denied treatment for a "pre-existing condition". My children, I hope that when you are reading this as adults, that sounds as inhumane as it actually is. So, I needed to be "diagnosed" in my new state and because no biopsy was ever done, I could do so with the assumption that the prior "diagnosis" was a pregnancy related condition. I pondered this problem, turned it over and over in my head and tried to come up with a plan. I handed it over to God, and asked, what should I do. He answered in a way I didn't expect. Weight Loss Surgery... wait, I said, that's a stretch... what does that have to do with kidney disease? Isn't that for people too lazy to diet and exercise? People too unhealthy to change themselves? Let me show you My Plan, He spoke to my heart. And He did. He showed me specialists, people, and circumstance that He planned perfectly, for me. The entire time, I doubted, I feared, I cowered, but I listened and followed. I watched in wonder as barriers, tests and constraints became nothing. I felt Him take my fear and replace it with hope. I learned through the process that my kidney disease had progressed to the point that I would need dialysis in the next decade, I learned my kidneys had begun depleting something in my system that caused my body to be unable to properly process my cholesterol, thus even with no other markers for heart disease my cholesterol was 317, and I learned that if I didn't do something drastic, soon and permanent my life was going to slowly decay in to an abyss of illness, fatigue, and eventually death. I learned that 2% of people who have 100lbs or more to lose are able to lose the weight and keep it off 5 years later. TWO percent...Those odds are sobering. No wonder the diet and exercise industry is so profitable!! I'm tough, I'm athletic, I'm smart... but the odds of me turning this around by myself where severely stacked against me. I expected, at some point, a doctor to say to me, well try diet and exercise one more time... but all I got from everyone, PCP, pulmonologist, cardiologist, nutritionist, nephrologist, was, "Please get this surgery, as soon as possible, because all we can do at this point is try to control the descent of your disease". I knew it was medically necessary when I obtained a copy of the nephrologist report to my PCP... I was shocked by what I read there and it is the only reason I could hold on with all my might, take a deep breath and just get through it. If I had gone looking for bariatric surgery out of vanity or laziness, the unbelievable fear going in would have turned me away before I got two steps in the door. This is not easy, this is not without risk, but it is what I have chosen and what I believe with all my heart that God chose for me.
That's how I arrived at last week. The week before my Gastric Bypass Surgery was scheduled. 
So, for two days before you go in for surgery you have to go on a clear, sugar free liquid diet. It was TORTURE. I couldn't stomach (ha ha!) chicken broth and I still can't. Jesse said when he came home the first night I was slurring my speech really badly, like I had been drinking. But no, because while a clear liquid, Vodka is actually NOT allowed (I asked, LOL). He ordered me the soup base from my favorite Chinese restaurant and it totally saved me. MUCH better. Still by Thursday I was weak, tired and CRANKY. Jess actually asked if he could stop and get something to eat on the way to the hospital- he got the look of death and quickly said, Sorry, hun.
The day of surgery, I had to be at the hospital at noon. My surgery was scheduled for 2pm. I got there 10 minutes late, cause, well, "It's Jennie time, everywhere, right?" I forgot I was tired, weak, and cranky and started pacing and chewing my nails. They gowned me up and took me back to start an IV... I am a very hard stick. By the time that was done they let Jesse come back. We held hands and talked and I remembered I hadn't called my mom. I called her and told her I loved her and no sooner than we had hung up and they said it was time to go. I wasn't sobbing, but I was crying. Leaking, really. The tears just wouldn't stop. I kept wondering if I was going to leave my family behind and would they be ok without me? In my heart of hearts I wanted to jump up and say, Nope, changed my mind, Let's go grab some lunch. God held me down. I wanted to get up SO BAD. They wheeled me down the hall and gave me something to relax me, which made me cry more (nice, thanks!). I was sitting in the hallway for a moment, by myself and I looked over to the left and there was a door that said "Cardiac Catheterization Unit" and the door in front of me said, "Bariatric Surgery Unit"... I looked at them several times, because I couldn't quite believe the irony... my dad has had heart surgery several times. God said "You can take that door now, or this door later, but trust me when I tell you MY Plan is better than yours".

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

They wheeled me through the door and still I cried. The nurses had me get on the surgery table, wiped my tears, gave me some more relaxation meds and then I thought, NO NO NO, I can't do this!! I have to get up NOW....
Then I woke up, to the most searing, unimaginable pain I have ever felt in my life. A pain so profound that I feel like it changed who I am on some very basic level. I can't think of it even now without feeling the cold fear that I might ever feel that again. I don't know if there was a "gap" between the anesthesia and the IV after surgery drugs, but from what I understand what happened to me isn't normal. I could hear myself screaming and crying and begging for my mother.... please help me Please. I could hear people rushing around me, but all I could feel was stab wounds and burning and agony and nausea like I have never felt. I felt the tears streaming down my face, but I couldn't see anything. I heard them telling me to breath, while I hyperventilated, I heard them telling me to just give the pain meds a chance to work and finally I felt someone lean in, put her hand on my forehead, whisper in a loving, calming voice, Honey, you have to stop, please, your breaking my heart. I calmed, moaned for my mom through the pain, thought "God what have I done? I can't take this back!!" Then I woke up in my room. Jess was there, I think, but I can't really remember. The first day was awful. A haze of pain, nausea, medication and sleep. I made myself get up several times and walk up the hallway back and forth while I dry heaved, because I knew it would make me heal faster. I had the nurses following me and offering me a wheelchair and I told them, No, please, I just have to work through this. I could walk further and further every time without dry heaving and it was such a victory. Jess couldn't visit until 9 pm on Friday, so I spent the day alone, fighting my battles, and I think, in hindsight, it was a good thing. I relied on myself and God and I was shown a strength I still don't think I have :) Izzy came and sat with me for awhile, brought me flowers and a balloon. We cried together, talked together and when she left she hugged me, gently!, and told me that I am the bravest soul she has ever known. Thank You, Iz. I wasn't feeling brave, just battered. 
Saturday, Dr. Wynn left it up to me whether I could go home or not. Because I had  such extreme nausea the day before I hadn't progressed at all on the diet they ask you to do to show you can tolerate and keep down food. I realized that might be a problem around 9 pm, so every two hours at night I got up, paced my room and drank two oz of water. When she came I showed her how much I was able to drink and she agreed I could go home at 6:30 a.m. I finally made it home around 10 ish. As I was being wheeled out I heard the nurses in one of the nurses stations talking about how they had just wheeled a girl up to the dialysis unit and that she would be gone for several hours.... wow, just wow. 

As we drove home, I cried. Yes, that's a lot of crying, but the surgery gives you some kind of hormonal surge thing that makes you a little more emotional than you might otherwise be. I cried for all the people who do this because they don't feel like they are good enough, I cried for all the people who do this, take the gamble and lose and I cried for the loss of my "normal". This is a totally new life, there is no turning back and if I screw this up I have No Where To Go. NONE. This is my one and only chance to turn this around. This is a gift and I am going to treat it as such every day for the rest of my life.

And hopefully, this will help me remember what I had to go through to get here.

Friday, June 11, 2010


I can't believe it's been so long since I posted! June already?!
I have said it so many times, but life just flies by when you have children growing like weeds right before your eyes. Speaking of weeds, they are completely out of control this year in my front garden. I re-mulched and the weeds laughed their way right through it :( Our strawberries, rosemary, roses, basil, lime and lemon balms, and lavender are all quite happy despite the unwelcome company!

We are surviving... treading water, really. Sometimes getting dunked under but God is always there to help us back up. Work comes in spurts for Jesse but there is always hope on the horizon. His ability to psychically work took a hit a couple weeks ago. He walked in to a spike on Uncle John's bike.....I mean, HARLEY (said with appropriate reverence, LOL) and literally speared his knee to the bone. A Dr. visit, a tetanus shot and a couple of weeks later he can sort of bend it. He ices it every night still.

Cori's last day at work is in two weeks. We are going to miss the little Vin Man, but she promises to bring him by a lot. I am so thrilled for her and Mike! He passed his apprentice-ship test with flying colors and was so happy to tell his wife to quit her job to raise their baby. She is over the moon :) I have loved watching my baby sister turn in to a mom. She makes me so proud!

I have been going to the Dr. constantly. My kidney disease has progressed to the point that I am on 6-7 different medications and I am going to need a biopsy in August. I would have it sooner, but I have some other things to take care of first. No worries, though. She isn't looking for cancer. The marker for that is negative. But the diseases that remain can only be diagnosed (and there for treated) with a biopsy. I will keep you all posted. Please keep me in your prayers.

The children have asked to "try" public school this coming year and after some discussion we have agreed. They are very excited, which I think is hysterical. Silly children, don't know how good they have had it :) I am sure there will be plenty to post about, come fall!

This is the summer of change and I am peaceful in God's Perfect Plan for us :)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

What's Happening...

A couple of funny stories I want to share and remember...

We where out and about running errands and the song "Venus" came on. Sylver comes up to me and whispers in my ear "Mom, This song is DISGUSTING!!!" .... clueless, I ask her, "Why, what's it about?"... she looks at me in disbelief before Jesse says, "Honey, it's Venus with a V!!"


Talyn says to me one morning... "Mom, I think Ari wants an innie belly button"
I ask why and he says, "Because I saw her trying to push hers in with a pencil..."
followed by... "Why do I have an innie and she has an outie?"
Yes, I knew it would be entertaining, so I asked, Well, why do YOU think that is?
"I think it's because the testicle cord pulls too hard when the baby is in your belly"
" The WHAT???"
" You know, the testicle cord...."
"Umbilical, baby, it's UMBILICAL!"
"Oh.... well then, what's testicle?"
"Ask Dad when he gets home."
"Why can't YOU just tell me?"

Yesterday in Target, we where in the cleaning aisle and Talyn says, "What are you looking for?" and I said, "Steel Wool" and he Says, "WOW, I want to see the totally awesome sheep that makes that wool!!!".... and the kicker is he was being SARCASTIC!!!! LOL, Momma's boy!!


Other than that, it's life as usual around here. Harried, hectic chaos, which makes for a busy, blessed, content momma. I did go to the Dr. last week and my blood pressure was very high (164/110) even after relaxing and knitting for awhile. I have some bloodwork to be done to see why... could be my kidneys, being out of shape, having four kids or, more likely, all of the above. I am on a beta blocker now, but the adjustment has been pretty rough for me. I think my body metabolizes medications differently because my kidneys don't function as well as they should (just an FYI for those that don't know, I was diagnosed with Stage 1 Chronic Renal Failure during my pregnancy with Ari, it's not as scary as it sounds, promise!). The bottom line is the beta blocker makes me tired, loopy and my vision goes blurry for a couple hours after I take it. But, I have started taking it at bedtime to minimize that and I actually do feel more energetic during the day. I spent five hours disinfecting my entire kitchen from top to bottom Friday! Good times, lol :)

I would like to take a moment to pray for my sisters, Cori, Angel and Brandi. They are amazing women who are going through some difficult struggles right now.  I love you three very much.  I am so blessed to call you sisters AND friends.

Heavenly Father, I would like to take this time to lift Cori, Angel and Brandi up to you and ask that you bring them strength, peace and the knowledge of your perfect plan for their lives. Please Father, draw them close to you and heal their hurting hearts. Please bring them comfort and shower them with your Grace. Please Father, help me to be a source of love, friendship and support for them. In the precious name of your son, Jesus, I pray.

He is Risen! Happy Easter, everyone!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Some Funny Pictures

First up is the look of disgust on Vinnie's face when Trin kissed him... seriously Priceless!!

Next up is Ari "helping" Sylver Rollerblade. She actually dragged Sylver along at times, knocking her off balance.

And this is why we love our Raggies so much... Popeye's big ole' butt in Ari's dainty little doll stroller and he stayed there for as long as she wanted to wheel him around! The cat in the corner is Lola and she just came over to sniff him and ask him if he had any dignity at all, lol. (FYI, I made the nightgown Ari is wearing! & excuse her cute little bedhead). Jess says Popeye got in the stroller all on his own.

Trinity "snowboarding" on a 60 degree day!! We got so much snow that there are STILL snow piles sitting in our yard!

Jesse and the little Vin Man getting in some quality reading time...

And one more cause it makes me smile :)

Monday, March 8, 2010

And some pictures...

I am gearing up to print out my blog in to a book, sometime in the next couple of months, that is what's up with all the pictures. I was terrible at baby books, but printing my blog out every 18 months or so is do-able and will give the kid's memory books to look through as adults. I love looking at my baby pictures as an adult and realizing that my mom felt for me the same way I feel for my children. SO very cool :)

Asher Allan Williams...

Will join the ranks of my sweet Godchildren this summer :) Heather says that Rhiannon shouted out THANK YOU GOD!!! sincerely, when they found out the new baby is a boy! LOL. She is already sharing a room with her baby sister, Gracie, and told me a couple weeks ago she wanted a baby brother because "I don't want to share my room with ANOTHER baby" LOLOL. She cracks me up! Heath got these really cool 3D US pictures, too!! You can actually see his cute little face (and, umm, boy bits, cough- DEFINITELY a boy).
We can't wait to meet you Asher!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Talyn's Weekly Food for Thought...

Talyn's perception amazes me sometimes... he questions EVERYTHING. It can be really irritating if you can't answer his questions to his satisfaction and really thought provoking, at the same time. Don't get me wrong, I want my children to question everything. God made us to question, so that He can provide the answers. Besides, believing something simply because someone says or believes it is never a good thing. It's just, sometimes I feel like I am putting together a puzzle and the end result will never truly be visible. Plugging away day by day, trying to raise respectful yet questioning children with a heart for Jesus, while attempting to walk that line between sheltering them and smothering them... filling their minds with knowledge and their hearts with true purpose. It's a responsibility that can feel thankless and impossible. That balance beam can feel 1/8th inch wide. I often secretly wonder if I am really messing this up. Then there are the days that complete strangers  will come up to me to let me know how amazing they think my children are, how even when I am not watching they more often than not will make the correct choice or the days that people who have known them their whole lives let me know that they are just blown away at how cool and smart my kids are.... reminding me that the path God chooses is always better than the one you could pick.

And then today, Talyn reminded me that while I may plant the seeds, HE is growing them. 

On a fly by to the kitchen he comes out with... "Hey Mom, I was watching this documentary on Oil Use and one of the men said "I don't care who you worship, Oil is your God.""... he paused for a second and I waited to see where he was going to take this, with a small amount of dread. "Where does he think the oil came from??" he chuckled a little bit and bounced in to the kitchen for a snack.
Talyn knows, scientifically, how oil is made and produced (and it's economic and environmental effects) ... but he doesn't accept that all the elements appearing where they are is some cosmic coincidence, even though many of the science shows we watch hard sell that theory.

And, once again, I am amazed at the way he is made. What a seriously cool kid :)

FYI the documentary was  A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash. It's in netflix's instant watch library.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Ariya's Area

Ari has been rejecting her highchair in favor of sitting at the table with us for a couple of weeks, momma has just been in denial...  Guess it's time to retire the highchair and dig up a booster. It's a strange combination of relief and regret to know I don't need to save anything for the next one. Here is she is enjoying her cereal milk. That smile made the room brighter and my heart lighter. Couldn't you just eat her up?

Sunday, February 28, 2010

It's not fair...

I woke from a dream just now and  I was compelled to get out of bed and write about it.
In this dream I was in an abusive marriage. I tried to confront this man and while he made sure that others couldn't see what was going on he made it clear he would continue to harm me for as long as he felt like it. I tried to tell my bosses and they laughed, saying they knew and didn't care. Badly bruised on my ribcage where no one could I see I went in to the parking lot resigned to going home to this man. There was my husband (only in my dream he wasn't my husband). He said I know what's going on and I am going to help you. Why? I asked. Because it's the right thing to do, he replied. He took the keys to my minivan and when I got in the back of it my babies where there. The hatch was open and I climbed in the trunk to close it, as we drove. It was then I saw we where being chased by my abusive husband. Jesse drove through parking lots, side streets and finally we lost him. I stared out the back of the window and was overcome with the feeling that through all of his bravery that I was going to be found and when I was, I was going to return to this marriage and continue to be hurt, simply because, as Jesse said in my dream, it was the right thing to do.

I woke up feeling "That's NOT FAIR". I have always been really passionate about that... things being fair. I remember getting mad as a child and saying that while stomping my foot... and my dad looking at me, amused, but with a little sadness in his eyes , "Jennifer, who told you life was fair?". Every single time, that is what he said. I felt, deep down, what a cop out and he just didn't understand how upset this made me. The ironic thing is I have made an effort to teach my children, just that, and I find myself saying exactly what my dad told me to them. They aren't entitled to something just because one of their siblings got or earned it. It's a hard lesson to learn and one they and I struggle with.

So, my thoughts turned to "true justice" where we would all be held to a higher standard and life would truly be "fair' and I realized quickly that would SUCK. Because, I am flawed, profoundly, as we all are. To have to fairly "pay" for all the wrong I have done, all the mistakes I have made would be simply awful. Then I realized that Jesus paid for all that wrong, so I don't have too... and that's not FAIR! Why should anyone else have to pay for MY bad stuff? And then I realized that if I got what I really deserved all the time... well, that would be painful sometimes, wonderful at others, but always fair. And for the first time, I realized that I am GLAD that life isn't fair. I didn't and don't deserve anything good that comes my way simply because I am here, but God doesn't see it like, Jesus doesn't see it like that. They see forgiveness, they see love, they see my flawed, hopeful heart and they love me anyway. 
I may never be able to let go of my foot stomping "THAT'S NOT FAIR" but for the first time, I realized I am actually GLAD life isn't fair.

Thank You Heavenly Father, for walking me through that. Your Grace isn't Fair and I thank you so very much for that. Amen.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ariya's Area

Heath came over to have me take pictures of Gracie in a dress she made. We wound up putting it on Ari and I got a few shots. I was trying out my black backdrop, had a headache and for some reason my auto-focus was giving me trouble, so I don't think they are very good, BUT, what can I say?  My kid is a adorable and Heath did a great job on the dress, so it's worth sharing.
Gracie is going to be a big sister in 4 more months!

Saturday, February 20, 2010


is still alive, just not being terribly cooperative at picture time recently. Here are a few I managed to get her to "pose" for. She is funny, sweet, a little quirky and NEVER stops moving! So, yeah, she is a prettier version of her brother, lol. 


Friday, February 19, 2010

Memory of the Day...

Ariya is toddling around the house singing, Coooooori, La Lu! Cooooori, Coooori. LAAAAAA LUUUUU! (La Lu is I love you).

She's cracking all of us up! She's so freakin' cute!

And Now she is banging on the laundry room door, calling CORI.... Door!

No, baby, she's not there, she's home with baby Vinnie.

She's replies, K, but is undeterred, waiting patiently by the door and singing, dubba dubba da...

and now, she is toddling around looking for Vinnie, calling, Baby! Baaaby!

makes a detour to unfold some freshly folded laundry to refold it "properly".  No wait, apparently that didn't meet her cleanliness standards because it went back in the pile.

Uh, oh, gotta go rescue a kitten...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Some Other Random Pictures....

I took a bunch of pictures off my memory card and realized I am WAY behind, LOL. I have pictures from Fall, Cori's baby shower, Christmas, and everything in between I took and meant to share. So in the interest of playing catch up (and making Grandma VERY happy!), Here are some random pictures from the last few months. I will be posting more as I process them, so look for new pictures every other day or so (that's my goal, anyway!).
The last pictures I took of Ari before I gave her bangs... that barrette stayed in for the fifteen minutes it took to take these pictures. She's such a booger, though, because she wore a barrette ALLLLLL day long the day after I cut her bangs.... that's Daddy's Little Girl, right there!

These are the moments that I fully grasp the reality that our Father in Heaven loves Me... 
It's so incredibly amazing and humbling. 
Little Vinnie, snoozing away today. He didn't feel well, poor little cherub :( Feverish and sleepy. Cori is taking him to the pediatrician (Apple Dr. Gate) in the morning.