Heartbreaking MRI Results

Brayden has been on “chemo vacation” for 6 months.  Today, we found out that his vacation is officially over.  His tumor has grown.  My sister didn’t really say if it was “a lot” she said there was “noticeable contrast changes” which when dumbed down for me, means…weekly chemo.  We all knew this day was coming but it doesn’t make it any less hard to hear.  In fact, I might argue that this time it’s harder since Brayden has had 6 months of doing “normal” kid things.  Dr’s offices and needles are not is normal anymore.  He’s had  6 months of parks, lakes, swimming, and playing like a regular kid.  It breaks my heart that he is back to masks and weekly immune-compromising chemo.  I have no idea how my sister keeps it together.  They need your well wishes NOW more than ever!

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A girl and her (borrowed) dog

Jakers (my sister’s dog) stayed with us for a couple weeks while their new hard wood floors were installed.  Lizzy has a love/hate relationship with dogs.  She loves the IDEA of the dog but as soon as she gets around one she would freak..  I thought having Jakers here for a week or so would work wonders on her canine induced anxiety…and it did!  It took her an entire week to acutally touch him but by the end of his visit, she was in love.

Shortly after Jakers went home Hubs started sending links for puppies and when our neighbor came by with their Goldendoodle he was hooked…….So, now we have MILES!


Initially, I felt like we were getting the dog for Lizzy (or maybe Hubs) but NOW the little guy is here and has proven a Momma’s boy through and through…I kind of love it!  He’s such a sweet dog and he’s practically house trained.  He just needs to go out every 30-45 minutes and we are golden.  Otherwise, he will have an accident but he goes the second I sit him in the grass so it’s not all bad!!!  He is a welcomed and loved addition to our little family!

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on an Easter Photo Shoot!

We took the kids to get their Easter photos over the weekend but it was a little stressful for this Momma.  They were much more interested in playing than posing but we still got some super sweet shots; especially of Lizzy and her bestie Brayden!

Easter Besties

We also got some great pics of Lizzy and Logan (even if they wouldn’t pose together.)  Logan can be such a ham:

Easter Pics

I have to give Kendra lots of credit.  She really managed to catch the sweet moments even though the day was mostly full of this:


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To be or not to be….

BOver the weekend my Brother in Law brought over a couple baby bunnies he found in his yard.  Actually, Jakers (his puppy) found them and their mommy was no where to be found.  Lizzy LOVES the bunnies (bunnies have been her thing since we saw one hopping around outside this winter.) Anyway, Lizzy and I gave the bunnies cat milk, spinach, apples and of course, TONS of love.  Lizzy was thrilled and she talked about them non stop.  So, I decided to keep them.  I mean they were the sweetest thing in the world.  Sure, I would have to get some sort of bunny housing, and sure they were a little messy….but they were adorable.  I looked for bunny cages online and the reality started to sink in.  BUNNIES?!?!  What the hell was I thinking?!?!?  The problem is, old, “pre-kids” Jillian would have kept the bunnies no questions asked or second thoughts.  Bunnies would be awesome.  Now that I have kids, I really love the idea of being cool enough to pull off bunnies, but the reality is, I’m sooooooo not.  I clean up/see enough poop with the two kids (and husband) I already have….no way was I voluntarily taking on a MORE poop.  Especially since we are planning to get a dog this summer.  So, this has been a tough realization for me.  I emailed the director at her daycare and they happily agreed to take the bunnies off our hands!  It was the perfect solution….Lizzy can see the bunnies everyday and I don’t have to clean up any extra poop!!!!

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On Having Another Baby

Logan is turning 8 months in a couple days…the kid is pulling up, playing “Where’s Logan,” and just generally growing so fast.  Sometimes, I can’t believe how fast time is flying by and I’m not ready for these fleeting baby moments to end, seriously, he just got his first pair of Stride Rite walking shoes and I nearly cried walking to the car.  Sure, our toddler is pretty great (AFTER we got past the horrific, “Meltdown Mania” in the Summer/Fall of 2013…I would have loved to skip that phase all together.)   But nothing compares to those sweet moments with your tiny, squishy, ball of sleep deprived cuteness.  Is really all over?  I keep thinking I might want to do it all over again.  There are plenty of arguments against having another baby:  We would need a bigger car.  I would have to redo the playroom and move Lizzy downstairs.  Babies are ridiculously expensive.  I only having 2 hands, someone is always left out, and on and on….but then, I think about how much I would love to have another little girl for Lizzy to tell her secrets too (and for her mommy to dress) or a little boy for Logan to rough house with and I’m all conflicted….I really wish I could see what the future held for us, not that it would make the decision any easier.

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Family and Finance

This is an area of life I’m extremely uncomfortable.  My parents were ALWAYS very generous.  As long as I was working my dad would hand out those $20s for a night out without question.  But the second, my shifts slowed down, the $20s didn’t come quite so easily.  (Don’t get me wrong, even when I was “working” it was only a few shifts a week so it wasn’t too strenuous but my dad appreciated the effort.)  My parents have helped me in every aspect of my life without too much question…sure, there were a few times that I was doing something they didn’t agree with and there was a good amount of lip service about how I wasn’t doing the right thing but even in those instances they would pack up a uhaul and be anywhere I requested in a moments notice.  Still, to this day, my mom buys most of my clothes/shoes for birthday, christmas, mother’s day, or “just because.”  And now that I have a couple kids of my own she buys the bulk of the kid’s clothes too.  They have spent a fortune raising me, helping me move, or whatever I needed at the time.  My dad has spent countless hours over here helping with landscaping, hanging screen doors, dealing with our flooded basement, or racing over to kill wasps.  And now they help with the kids.  They watch them, keep them in clothes/shoes, and are just generally around to help whenever I/they need anything.

So, the moment I learned that my in-laws have been keeping a spreadsheet of every dollar spent for YEARS (mostly prior to Hubs and I getting married) is unsettling to say the least.   Sure, I knew about some of it but the magnitude of the total is really comical and there is absolutely no way to pay it off in a reasonable amount of time…I mean, if we paid 1000s of dollars each month (yes, thousands with an s) we would still be paying for year and years.  It kind of makes you feel like giving up on even attempting to pay it or even trying to nurture that relationship at all because seriously, who keeps a spreadsheet of everything you have ever helped your son with?

So, from my perspective it looks and feels like this:  my parents work and help with our kids so we can have money leftover to pay his parents.  I mean, wouldn’t it just be simpler  to have my parents send the money directly to my inlaws?  But then, why should my parents (or even I) have to pay for a lifetime of fun and miscellany that happened  before I was even in the picture?  Family and Finance….ugh.

Edited 4/3/2014: Since writing this post, my MIL graciously bestowed a little debt forgiveness.  So, for that, I am grateful.

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Answering the Unthinkable…

Lizzy is in a phase right now where she asks about everyone….roll call fashion:

Mommy: (cough)

Lizzy:  Mommy sick?

Mommy: No, Mommy isn’t sick

Lizzy: Is Daddy sick?

Mommy: No, Daddy isn’t sick

Lizzy: Paw Paw sick?

Mommy: No Paw Paw isn’t sick

Lizzy:  Maw Maw sick?

Mommy: No Maw Maw isn’t sick

Lizzy: JuJu sick?

Mommy: No JuJu isn’t sick

Lizzy:  Buddy sick?

Mommy: (unable to breath for one second) 

I have no idea how to answer that question because she isn’t asking if  Buddy has an inoperable brain tumor but somehow I just feel uneasy about saying no.  What should I say?  Should I prepare her for what may be to come or should I just act like nothing is going on?  I know her two year old brain can’t really comprehend what’s going on with her Best Buddy but every time she asks, it catches my breath (and heart) for just a second.

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Logans first Bike Ride (edited)The warm weather this weekend (and today) is such a welcome change to the brutal winter weather we’ve been having…actually, I wasn’t really aware of how annoying winter was until I was able to walk The Wee Ones to school and open the windows.  I managed to do a painting project I have been putting off and we strapped Lizzy and Logan in for the first bike ride of the season!  Logan was not impressed so we just took him out the drive way and down the road a tiny bit.  Hopefully, he will like it a little better next time.  Going for a ride in the bike trailer is one of Lizzy’s favorite things to do, or at least is was last summer and I am hoping Logan will like it too!  It’s nice to do something active as a family because this Momma is determined to lose the rest of the “baby” weight this summer!  Unfortunately I just saw that it’s gonna drop back into the 40s for tomorrow and then back in the 60s for the rest of the week!  Looks like those kiddos are going to drive to school tomorrow!

 Edited 3/14: We took Logan for a bike ride last night and he LOVE it!  We took him all around our neighborhood and he just rode and talked without one whimper!


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Hola from Mexico!

It’s been a couple weeks but the Hubs and I took a little a little vacation to Mexico….WITHOUT THE KIDS.  Now, initially when I was booking the flights I thought, 6 days is a good amount of time.  We planned on leaving Saturday and returning on Friday so we would have the weekend to recover before going back to work.  As  the trip got closer and closer I started the think, “6 days away from our babies!?!?  What was I thinking?”  But it was too late to change our minds so I packed up and (reluctantly) went on vacation!  Now, let’s be honest, they were staying with my parents so it wasn’t like they were being left out in the cold!

The first couple days were a little rough.  All I could think about is how silly it was for us to be in Mexico so far away from our world….we even discussed coming home early but after a couple days passed; I finally settled in to vacation mode.  We rode horses on thebeach, went whale watching, drank the drinks, and had a pretty relaxing week.  The whole time we were there, I kept saying Lizzy would love this or Lizzy would love that so I don’t envision another vacation sans kids in our future.  I just missed them too much!





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Out of Difficulties Grow Miracles…or something like that

I’m always leery to write about Brayden’s diagnosis because I have been known to say the wrong thing at the wrong time.  I’m not on the front lines of caring for a terminally ill child so I worry about overstepping.  Brayden is my ONLY nephew and I love him to the moon and back but I can’t imagine what is must be like to be his mother.  I can imagine how I would react to a terminal diagnosis about Lizzy or Logan—the tears stream just thinking about it but Juls somehow keeps it together.  She is the strongest person I know, whether it be updating everyone on Brayden’s latest procedure or weighing the possible treatment options, she keeps it together.  I usually listen with an open mind and heart and make a point to end all discussions about Brayden’s prognosis with a reminder that I’m hoping for a miracle.  She usually looks at me with realistic eyes and tells me (very matter of factly) that Brayden already got his miracle.  Of course, I want to tell her she is crazy; her 2 year old is fighting for his life everyday and she says he already got his miracle?!??!  No.  That absolutely cannot be right.  And then I read the story of Ben Sauer.  In January 2014 (6ish weeks ago), they found a brain tumor the size of a pear (yes, a pear) and after some heroic measures his mother was told to to take her sweet boy home and keep him comfortable…for weeks.  Not years, not months, not an indeterminable amount of time, but WEEKS.  It’s a heartbreaking tale.  It makes me think of Brayden and my sister, and whether or not he got his miracle. 

My sister says that Brayden got his miracle when he was born; 8 weeks early with a whole mess of problems.  I remember how scary that time was; there were some rough days, rough nights, and a whole lot of questions.  It seems ridiculous to thank the universe for all his issues but those issues are what prompted the MRIs that allowed them to find his tumor when they did.  It’s kind of funny, but I don’t even remember what they were looking for on that scan (I’m sure my sister can tell you) but I know what they did find; an inoperable brain tumor.  And Juls has been fighting for him everyday since.  Whether she gets 1 year, or 5 years, or the (additional) miracle I’m hoping for I know we should all be thankful for the year that we already got and thank our lucky stars for the opportunity to do what we can while there is still time to hope….


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