Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A taste of Parenthood

   Approximately 3 months ago we were informed at Emme's 4 year check-up that she had a heart murmur. The Doctors were not concerned, reassuring & telling us how common it is. We were told to be seen back in one month to see if it would correct itself. Okay, no big deal. I was concerned at that point but encouraged by my Husband not to look into it any further than what the doctor said ( research online, family/friend advice, etc.) as there was no need to be worried about something that we were told is common.

   Fast-forward exactly 30 days and we were back at the Dr's. The murmur was still there and her Doctor started to drop some pretty scary words of what it could mean to have a murmur like "sickness related" and "improper valve". Then he left us with "but it most likely is nothing at all". I believed those words to be true as my child is one of the most active, healthy little girls I've seen, but I couldn't help but have the anxiety set in my mommy heart. We were then referred to a Pediatric Cardiologist in Santa Barbara.

   Fast-forward another 2 months of fighting with referrals, booked schedules, and insurance companies switching carriers making things 10 times harder, and you had one frazzled mom by that point. I spent hours on the phone trying to straighten out a mess that was my daughter's referral to see this specific specialist. Although it was time consuming, still the most agonizing part was the wait for the appointment date to arrive. It had now been 3 months since finding out it could be absolutely nothing at all or....not. Again, as hard as it was, I was sweetly encouraged by my husband to NOT think too much into it and to NOT research until we are diagnosed with something concrete. My parental instincts were not blowing any whistles or raising any flags either. I have an active, life-loving, kid. I prayed that I could make it to d-day without having sadness or major concern about it. I can't say it enough, but Eric was there to be my comforter when I would have a bad day about it.

   The big day has arrived and we make the trip to SB and arrive extra early. The waiting room was quiet and my youngins were rambunctious after sitting in the car for 1 1/2 hours. I was soon regretting getting there 45 min before my appointment. I knew that no matter what, we would find out soon so I was surprisingly calm. Eric was unable to come but was able to be a phone call away (which is more than what we're used to as he is studying top secret work). We were called back, Dr. Harake administered the ultra-sound, and 5 minutes later he finished his exam. 

Diagnosis: Healthy Murmur.

I didn't even know such thing existed. But it does. And it was the most glorious news I have heard since finding out I was expecting my daughters.

Apparently, it is true, it IS very common and there are two types of murmurs. The improper valve kind and the "healthy" kind.

He complemented on how well behaved she was during the exam (which she usually is, she actually LOVES going to any type of doctors office...weirdo), and we were given the green light to collect from the sticker lady then go and tell daddy the good news.

I don't know why I felt compelled to write this and so soon too, as we just arrived home 20 minutes ago. Truth is, I started writing this as a status update, but it became too much to abridge. I did not want to "sum it up".

Maybe I wanted to write this to remember that, in the last 3 months I have looked at my daughter differently. I stared a little longer, gave more words of praise of how perfect she is, sang more songs, watched more movies snuggled to the point of claustrophobia. I want to remember the nights I crawled into her bed just to hear her heartbeat and watch her sleep so peacefully, to calm my troubled heart when I had a sleepless night.

I was able to see her as a happy child, as opposed to a grumpy 4 year old that I so easily jumped to on struggled days.

Because when you think, even if it is for just one second, that something could be wrong with your child, you behave differently. Priorities are rearranged and your love for your child could make you piggy-back her across the united states if need be.

This has been my first big scare in my professional mommy career and I have no words about how incredibly thankful I am to have it cleared that yes, she is indeed, a happy, healthy, PERFECT child. My mom instincts were on point and I trusted them. I trusted the professionals and I trusted my Husband and did not let the anxiety make the situation horrible. That is a real leaf turner for me. 

I apologize to family. We did not inform you with any of this, but with the best of intentions. I hope you understand. Just know that your granddaughter, niece, rambunctious little Emmers is just fine. And that makes me one happy mama.  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Alive and very well

We made it to beautiful Arizona!

The girls and I are settled in and slowly beginning to figure out a routine.
I signed us all up for things to keep us busy that are indoor so we can make it through this last month of Summer. 
Em's is taking Swimming, Ballet, and Gymnastics 
I am staying busy at the gym,
and sweet Charlee is busy growing up!

It's been 2.5 weeks since we had to let Eric go back home to Biloxi to finish out processing and now the time has come! He is starting his Officer training class on Tuesday! 
The movers are at the house packing as I type, so things are fast approaching.

We miss him so much already and we are not looking forward to the separation ahead, but at the end of the day, I have to remind myself it's all for good.

E is having a difficult time... to say the least. Lots of frustrated crying, tantrums, and nasty attitude.
She loves Grandma, Papa, and Uncle Doe, but she is very confused and sad about not seeing her Daddy. Skype is a life savor and any time she feels sad about her dad, She can call him up to say hi. Now, once OTS starts, it a whole other ball game. We wont be able to talk with him the first week or so, and after that, he will be limited to the amount of calls he will be able to have. 
I explain to her about the amount of time that Daddy will be gone, but a 3 year old can only comprehend so much. She has yesterday, today, and tomorrow down, but nothing after that. I just have to tell her it'll be "a long time" until Daddy comes home. 

I did run across a cool trick that fellow military wives have done to help kids visualize the days and it's called a "deployment chain"

She doesn't get the idea yet, but every morning, I take a link off and explain to her what it means.
I can see the wheels turning, but I know if she truly grasped what it meant, she would be very upset. 

I am overwhelmed with the role Eric's family has taken on. They have really stepped up and been there for me and the girls. His mom and dad have a lot going on in their own lives, but we would never know. We love and appreciate them for the selflessness they give on a daily basis.

Now that we are so close to family and finally feeling home after 7 years (Texas and Mississippi didn't cut it for us), it's wonderful! I know we'll only be here for a short amount of time, but in comparison to the 2 weeks out of the year we usually spend, it's a world of difference. I am really enjoying myself here. 

I am looking forward to the adventures Arizona offers and the sweet family time we get to cherish for the next 4 months. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Charlee turns 1

Uuugh. What happened?!?
The year snuck away from me, I swear.
My precious, perfect (yes, I said perfect) baby is a year old!!

She has been an absolute DELIGHT to this family.
I was spoiled (and eternally grateful) to have her as my second. She let me ease into having 2 kids and still keeps it low maintenance for Mama.
Emme has needed some special attention the last few months. There have been some challenging days with that one, so having Charlee be so sweet and docile was truly a blessing I prayed for. I feel like I was so blessed to have such an easy going baby, that I am prepared and have MORE patience now going into the toddler years. 

You have accomplished the following:
Eats pretty much everything and anything in sight
Nursing is down to 3 times a day (soon to be 2 times)
Drinks water and apple juice but HATES milk
Crawls faster than Mom walks :)
Pulls up to things and stands alone for 30 seconds +
Cruises the furniture
(walking WILL happen within the month, I feel it)
Says "Mama", "Dadda", "Papa", and "Ruff Ruff" (to Mocha and Java)
Babbles non stop and mimics words 
Sleeps 12 hours at night with a 2.5 hour nap
HATES the gym daycare. Someone has to hold her the entire time or else she'll lose it.
Loves your Sister and making each other giggle but love to pull her hair, you booger!
Size 12 month clothes and size 4 pampers.
Loves to talk with Daddy on the phone.
Watches movies and cartoons
Favorite snack is goldfish, although Grandma's banana bread is close second.
Gives kisses, waves hello, claps, and dances.
LOVES it when people chase her. She squeals the loudest when you do that.
Loves cuddle time with anyone who will give it to her.
Is THE MOST squirmy baby at diaper changes. I am surprised there isn't poop all over the walls...
Loves relaxing in her pool floaty so much, she will occasionally fall asleep in it.
Is very well behaved in stores and loves taking in new surroundings wherever we go.

We celebrated her birthday at Chuck E Cheese and then headed back to the house to open presents and enjoy some cake and ice cream. 

Chuck E Cheese

Ready to party

 Happy Birthday, Charlee!!

Big Sister helping with the candle

No hands haha

Papa and Gma Shur & Great Gma Spellman

End of the day snuggles with Gma. She was beat.

The whole day was filled with love and smiles for our baby.
Daddy was able to Skype and not miss a thing. 

We love you, Charlee Maeh. Now Please, take this next year slower?? :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Last Week in Biloxi, Mississippi

Here are a few fun times had by the Jaegers as we said goodbye to Biloxi

E's last Gymnastics class

Gracie and Charlee playing together while their sisters were in gymnastics class

Finished up another semester at Laniers!

Last trip to NOLA

The Oyster House


Fun days with Daddy

Goodbye Yount Dr! We will miss that spacious house!!!!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Next step

We are starting our new adventure in exactly one week!

Eric, Liz and the girls are hopping in our Volkswagen, u-haul trailer in tow, and headed for family across the United States!

The girls and I will then settle ourselves into Arizona with my In-laws and say goodbye to Daddy as he catches a flight back home to Biloxi.

He then has only a short 2 weeks to out-process from the (enlisted side) military, get everything ready for OTS, schedule TMO to pack the rest of our house, turn in the keys to our home, and then finally drive and report to Montgomery, Alabama before his class starts September 11th.

Estimated graduation date is December 14th, 2012.

We then report -as an intact family of 4- to Vandenberg, AFB in California for 1 year, where he will attend his tech school training for Missiles.
Following tech school, we will be stationed somewhere COLD for the next 4 years. 
Following that, we will then go to the Space side, where he will retire doing Space...things...

So this really is the beginning of the rest of our lives.

We are sad our family must be apart once more for 4 months, but remember that at the end of the day, there are two very different factors going into this separation compared to previous separations due to  deployments.
 He will be safe.
He is making a better life for his family.

I am SO grateful that we will be reunited with family and NOT have to say goodbye to them after 
the usual 1-2 week tease. 
I am excited that the girls get to build a stronger relationship with them.

SO thankful!

We are ready to start this change and find out what is in store for our family.

Wish us luck!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Too Much Information Vacation

 Here is how it all started.

It was a Saturday afternoon and the whole family was in Emme's room setting up her brand spanking new doll house we got for her turning 3 1/2, when just one little comment led to a spur of the moment Vacation!
I was looking at E's stuffed animals and I picked up Mikey and said "Disney World was so much fun, wasn't it babe? I would love to go back". Not thinking anything of it when Eric excused himself from the room, the girls and I continued with setting up the doll house.
About 10 minutes passed and I called down to Eric to see what happened to him.
He asked to give him 5 minutes then he'd come upstairs. That sparked my interest, but I still had no idea what he was doing. True to his word, he entered E's room 5 min later but with the laptop in hand. He sat down next to me and I took a look at the screen.
A full blue print presentation of a 4 night/ 5 day Disney World Vacation!
He thought of every expense and detail that was needed to pull off something this last minute.
We discussed the price and decided it was worth it!

Oh yeah, It would take place in just 3 days.

Now. To tell Mooshk.
We often talk about our Disney trip we took just 7 months earlier and she tells me fun things she remembers, so I knew telling her we would go back would dang near make her pee her pants.

Her reaction was priceless and fast-forward 3 days and we're on the way!!

I will sum up the trip with the pictures then explain the title of the post title later. I'm sure you are wondering the connection.

 Filling up the tank before our 9 hour trip

. Day one spent at the Magic Kingdom

 Beginning of day 2 in the lobby of our AMAZING hotel the Animal Kingdom Lodge. It was SO cool.
 Day two: spent all afternoon and night at the pool 
Char's face tells all about how relaxing that pool was ;)

 Moo having a BLAST

The cute staff at the hotel are creative

Okay. So this part was hands down my FAVORITE. We purchased a room at the lodge that gave us the option to have a balcony overlooking 40 different species of animals! What a treat! That giraffe made Emme and myself so happy to watch. the second morning we found him out grazing the trees and drinking the pond all while eating our breakfast on the balcony. It was breathtaking. Emme squealed in approval many times.
 There is our bud, left in the picture. The whole fam is out enjoying the sight. 

 The breathtaking hotel

 Still on day two in paradise. On the way to the pool

Charzee and Dad relaxing after the pool
 The end of day 2 (little did we know at the time that it would be the end of the FUN trip)

Let me explain.
E woke up around midnight whining every few minutes then falling asleep soon after. She kept this up for about a half hour and each time I either asked her what was up, got mad, sang to her, or just ignored it, each with no response from her. Finally, after hearing another whining session from her, I decided I would take her out on the balcony and rock her to sleep. As I was carrying her to to door, that's is when all hell started. She vomited EVERYWHERE, I was able to get her to the bathroom in time for her 3rd time vomiting. She was hysterical. After tossing ALL her cookies up, she cried and cried and cried. If she is anything like her Mama, I wouldn't blame her. I HATE throwing up. Loath it. 
I threw her and myself in the bath to get all cleaned up. Scrubbed the carpet as best as I could and got us all back to bed thinking she just swam so much just a few hours earlier, it upset her tummy. 

She woke up the next morning with diarrhea and a fever. 

: (

We are on day 3 of the vacation. We had lunch reservations at a meet and greet buffet with her FAVORITE Disney Jr Channel Characters. For sure she wouldn't want to miss that. So we slapped a Diaper on her and gave her some medicine. 

 Seeing Jake and not feeling well. At all.

 No Jake. It's not thumbs up. 

 Feeling a little better meeting Little Einsteins (I don't know her name. Bad Mommy)

 You can see her little sickly eyes in this one

Calling it quits. The next morning we packed up early and headed home. She was MISERABLE.

But that's not the end, my friends.
Sadly, there was SO much more ahead of us.

 This next part of the story is rated "R" and is not intended for a weak stomach. It has crude, TMI details as well as brief nudity. 

(Please don't say I didn't warn you.)

Still here?


Emme was miserable. Mama was frazzled. We gave in and called the vacation quits.
Packed up the hotel, then the car, filled up the tank and started the journey home.

Half hour into the drive:
"Liz, I don't feel so well" said the driver.
"What do you mean?? Like you are going to throw up while going 75 MPH on the freew-"
Yup. Eric puked and filled the designated "puke cup" all the way to the brim. I dumped it out the window just in time before he let more loose.

"Wow. I feel much better."
So along we went. Daddy has the bug now, poor guy, we have to get home.

10 minutes later
"Liz, I am about to poop my pants, I need to pull over"

So there we were, emergency lights on, with Daddy in the woods, pooping his little heart out.
Emme was severely frightened by this point with all the commotion and even told me at one point while poor Daddy was doing his business to, "Just leave Daddy, we don't need him"
Seriously, so funny!
I calmed her down and explained to her, yes, we do need him.

Sweating, pale and looking dead, Daddy returned to the car. I switched him out and started to drive. As I was making my way over to the driver seat, I noticed I had my monthly "visitor" happily greet me at that moment. Holy hell. I had NOTHING to accommodate her very demanding needs either.
So we are back on the road, only an hour into the trip and we are defeated.
I bled through my pants. Eric shit his pants. Emme was whining in the back seat and Char was her content self.  
Okay, we can still do this. Only 8 hours left.

1 hour later:
"I have the chills and my kidneys are KILLING me"
"I think i'm about to pass out, pull over please"

Poor daddy continues his violent dry heaving and poop in the woods while I try to calm down the girls on the side of the road.

"We can't keep pulling over, it's dangerous, we need a hotel"

Another hour goes by and we find a hotel.
Eric pays the clerk in his shit-stained shorts while I get the girls ready for the room.

We figured we didn't need to unpack the car just for a quick nights rest as we would head out in just a few hours.

We got settled in the hotel and changed Char's diaper. I went to pick her up and rest her on my shoulder.


"Not you now Charlee!"

I raced her over to the sink so she could finish her up-chuck.
I held her horrified that I now had 3 people to take care of.
Charlee didn't seem to mind though. She smiled right after she was done tossing her dinner up.

Char and Mom had a quick bath to clean up.
We were now down to a naked baby in a diaper. Me wearing my bloody pants and Eric's shirt he gave me after I threw mine away from it being soaked in vomit. Emme had all her clothes thank goodness.

Bed time.

 1 1/2 later:


Charlee is at it again. This time she was dry heaving and had nothing left in her. She starts to choke and cry heavily. I felt heartbroken holding my little baby over a sink as she was scared to death puking nothing up.

"Eric, we need to just get. home."

So the hotel was a bust. Yet another hotel we ruined with puke, blood, and poo.

We get in the car around 2 am
Emme falls fast asleep with Charlee's blanket in her car seat.
Char is still in her diaper but it gets cold in the car.
I gave her my shirt that once was Eric's to wrap around her.

Between Eric and myself, we are pretty much naked driving home.
By that point, who the F cared????

I said a prayer that I would stay well so I could take care of everyone as well as one for my sweet, sick little family.
We made it a mission to make it home. We had just over 5 hours left. We literally were racing against the clock before I, myself got sick. We couldn't afford to have that happen. With the odds against us, it was BOUND to happen, right??

To not go crazy clock watching on the way home, we allowed ourselves to look at the "miles remaining" every half an hour.

Little by little, we chipped away at that 5 hours. We made them our B*tch.

As we drove into Biloxi, the sun was just coming up.
More and more cars started to be out on the road.
I showed the world my goodies with just my nursing bra and a smile.
Again, we could care less.


We are home and in bed. E went right back to sleep and Char nursed for the first time since puking just hours before. I waiting anxiously, not being able to rest until I knew Charlee would hold that feeding down.

1 hour later:

We are all passed out. Disgusting, but sweetly sound asleep.

The End.

I never got sick.