June 10th, 2013 by Jen Hen under Places to Go, The Busy Life, Travel Bug, Travels. No Comments.
I did another vanishing act!
I’m pretty good at that.
No really, I’m like a magician and I can’t tell you my secrets because a magician never tells. Watch closely.
Okay, there was nothing to see, but it seemed like the thing to put there. In all seriousness – life has been beautifully hectic, insane in the membrane crazy (I don’t have to pay a royalty for that one line do I?), and there have been a lot of things going on.
I changed my major. Yep. Again. Have I posted since then?
I finished another semester of school. And started the summer session. ALMOST. DONE! Countdown to graduation is (almost) on!
I took X-man and Lil’ C to FLORIDA! And Lil’ C had his very first DISNEY EXPERIENCE! (Yes, yes that DID require that many capital letters. It was THAT exciting. Just you wait for a post about that.)
The hubs, two of my best friends (one girl, one guy), and myself are heading to BONNAROO!!!! in less than 72 hours! Yeah, that’s right! I’m heading out for my very first Roo experience! Actually it’s DH’s second Roo, C-Belle’s first, Hermithood’s first, AND my first. Oh… AND … we’re going VIP! Yeah buddy! So —
Paul McCartney! Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers! The Lumineers! Mumford & Sons! Of Monsters and Men! Gov’t Mule! Von Grey! I’m about to walk into a musical haven. Oh! And FOOD! Nom nom nom! I’m such a foodie and we’re part of Camp Inforoo in VIP and doing the Inforoo Brunch on Friday plus the VIP brunch on Saturday. So… YUM. Then all the vendors (because we decided to put that in our budget and enjoy the food since we don’t eat out much at all).
Hubs and I are talking about making this a yearly adventure for the two of us and then as the kids are getting older bringing them along because they all love music too.
Anyway – Once I get through June the summer is going to start moving slowly – but until then, things are in hyper drive! I’m sure there will be LOTS and LOTS of posts about Florida and Bonnaroo in the future.
January 20th, 2013 by Jen Hen under The Busy Life. 2 Comments.
There are those who come into our lives and they’re only around for a short time. But then there are those fantastic people who come into our lives at some point and they hear our heart song and they see straight into our soul and they take us for every good and bad thing that composes the fibers of our being.
I am constantly reminded how very lucky I am to have so many beautiful and wonderful friends. I LOVE these people so flipping much! I am the richest person in the world when it comes to these friendships. I kid you not.
Oh sure, there have been times when we have not seen eye-to-eye, me and an individual at a given point in time, and maybe we didn’t talk for a few months or a few years. But then something happens where one or the other of us had a slap of reality and we reconciled and we were reminded of why we had been so close to begin with. Then there were others whose friendship had breaks because we moved in different directions before the days of cyber technology. But then the days of technology and social networking came upon us and by one venue or another and one person searching or the other, reconnection was made and my heavens it was beautiful.
My life could never be what it is without these people who share late night phone calls, coffee talks, long aimless drives, darkness whether in silence or in rambly conversation. These are people who know every secret and every joy. Every struggle and every triumph. They have been willing to beat people down (at least in big talk while we spoke in private, hahaha), and have jumped up and down in joy with me. They have shared with me and we have watched each other grow and overcome things.
We’re all getting there! We’re standing steadfast to our evolving dreams. (Little bit of a word play there, but it makes sense in the long run.)
But, point being… I just love these people and I feel so lucky. So stinkin’ lucky.
January 18th, 2013 by Jen Hen under The Busy Life. No Comments.
There’s something I haven’t shared. I haven’t shared it because I haven’t been ready and I’m still not sure how ready I am to share. I still have a LOT of unanswered questions about what is going on with my own body. In the grand scheme of things, I’ve only just begun the quest for medical answers.
There are a lot of details, and I feel like it’s a bit too tedious for me to type it all out right now. The short of it is that since I was 15, there have been spells of headaches mingled with migraines. Chiropractic care has been known to bring relief in the past. Then there came a point where I didn’t have medical insurance and I didn’t seek any care, so I just pushed through and took over the counter medicine when the pain was unbearable, and otherwise I just dealt with it.
However, about three or four years ago something started changing. The migraines started coming more often. Then even more often. Then mid way through last year something changed even more… and suddenly I found myself in a constant state of migraine-headache-teeter-totter. (This is a phrase that people close to me are getting used to hearing; perhaps sick of hearing even.) So here’s kind of the best I can explain in a short way and to the best I can understand myself (which is not really very well at this point) -
This headache started. Just kind of a typical pain across my forehead ache; hardly noticeable. Then in no particular order and with no particular solitude or particular combination (some were solitary symptoms, some are experienced in combo, sometimes each is solitary, sometimes those same ones will be experienced in combo with something else later; the feelings can change in the same day, sometimes it’s one feeling all day for a few days and then it changes… there’s nothing consistent about any of this) -
- pressure in my eyes
- blurry vision
- “distorted” vision
- “censored” vision (like there are blacked out spots in my vision sometimes)
- weird smells
- weird tastes
- mood swings - irritability
- “into orbit” snappiness
- ice pic stabbing my “crown” sensation (the right side almost always)
- the feeling of pressure building up inside my skull like there’s no more room for whatever is going on – this is INTENSE and causes a numbing sensation on the skin at the base of my skull (or maybe it’s just a coincidence that this always occurs at the same time?) while just inside the bone structure area of my skull —- well, these are the types of migraines that I can’t tolerate – I’m a baby when I get these – luckily these are the least frequent.
- temple pressure
- pressure behind my eyes (different than in my eyes)
- ringing in my ears
- hearing my blood flow in my ear?
- hearing my breathing in my ear?
- “drunk spins” sensation
- occasionally I get sick – in the bathroom type sick… it’s not pretty….
- food cravings – sometimes
- loss of appetite- sometimes
- sensitivity to noise
- sensitivity to smells
- sensitivity to light
- sensitivity to motion
- abdominal cramps
- I can’t stay awake despite my best efforts – only sometimes.
- blood shot eyes – sometimes
- sinus pressure – sometimes
- memory malfunction
- what I’ll call a “brain stutter”
It’s really strange. I never really thought about it, but there are so many different kinds of headaches and migraines. Tension, sinus, … and I don’t know what else, but I can FEEL differences. When my shoulder muscles are in knots, I get certain combos of the symptoms. When I have a cold, I get certain combos of symptoms and typically only a headache (so long as I drink plenty of water).
I’ve been getting chiropractic care. I’ve started medical massage therapy. In November I started prescription medicine. Each of these things only seems to address certain varieties of my migraines/headaches. I know things like Tylenol are HORRID for the liver. I’ve taken far more than my body was supposed to probably ever digest. I know the research shows that the more times a person has migraine, the more white mass brain lesions the person accumulates (which, so far doesn’t seem to show anything other than perhaps an increased disposition for dementia later in life). I’m 32 — I’m too young for this CRAP!
So, next week I’m going back to my regular doctor and I’m finally requesting a referral to a specialist at Vanderbilt. The specialist is a migraine specialist. I want someone who understands that I don’t want to cover symptoms. I don’t want a “catch all” and I want to know the CAUSE. I want things ruled out. There are a lot of possibilities. Is it a hormone change/imbalance? Is it ???? What? There are a lot of scary possibilities. I try not to think about them, but I’m just gonna be honest and say I want an MRI and I want a ct scan and I want to know that I don’t have any masses sitting around on my brain because when you go from having a couple of migraines a year, to a couple of migraines a month, to staying in a perpetual state of chronic pain and three or four migraines a week over the course of a couple of years… you start thinking maybe you have cause to be worried. So…. that’s kind of a really abbreviated version of what’s going on.
But…. I’m living life! And I keep on living life and I’ve got big plans and lots of things to do.
January 17th, 2013 by Jen Hen under The Busy Life. No Comments.
Today was the end of my first week as a college senior! After a little over 13 years of college I finally have enough credit hours to be a senior! Sure, I’ll have to be a senior for two years before I graduate, but hey! I’m a senior! And now, some new realities have begun to hit me.
I’m now at a point in my college “career” where I have to start considering my actual career decisions. Now is the time where I have to begin getting involved in some campus organizations. VITA does free tax preparation for the community – it’s a required activity as I move up through my program, but if I participate more, it will look more favorably. I’ll probably participate this year so that by the time I graduate I will have three tax years under my belt. Beta Alpha Psi is the accounting professional fraternity on campus – I will be attending the organizational/informational meeting next week to find out about pledging. In April one of the top 4 accounting firms will be on campus doing a presentation one day, then interviews the following day. The interviews will be for a two day workshop at their office in Nashville this summer… this workshop is only for people graduating by May 2015 (if I understood the information correctly… I’ll be getting more soon). May 2015— that’s when I am on track to graduate! I have these butterflies in my stomach at all these things to consider and keep in mind. All of these goals to hit, and things to achieve in the next two years. Plus I’ll have to begin studying for the exams I’ll need for my certifications.
So many options abound! Study abroad! So much input! So many classes I want to take that aren’t required but I see their value… so. much. (But I won’t add on because I DO want to graduate in May of 2015 and not 2017… lol.. )
There’s one small thing….. do I go straight to work? Or do I go straight to a Masters program? ………… That’s still the $$$$ question.
December 31st, 2012 by Jen Hen under The Busy Life. No Comments.
It’s the last day of the year, right now, as I write this. I thought I should clarify in case you stumble across this blog and it’s actually July 30th, of some future year.
What a year it has been. I feel like there is so much for me to reflect on. Because there is.
I have sucked at keeping up with this site like I was going to. I set out on a journey to start this page about three years ago and my blogiversary has come and gone a few times and I’ve hit a few little peaks and a lot of valleys in my blog journey. I don’t think I’ve come to my summit yet. I think I’m still trying to find my nitch. I have to find my actual voice. The voice I’m willing and able to share. The voice that gives my truth and my transparency that I prefer so that my writing comes with less effort and more ease.
So, 2012… 2012 brought a lot of things. How should I go about this?
Let’s state the obvious – X-man, Lil’ C and Baby M are a year older. In fact, they’ve all celebrated their birthdays in the last two weeks (ages 13, 6 and 2 respectively). I have a TEENAGER! Oh my GAW! Yes, I have a teenager and one with the terrible twos at the same time. I know I’m not the first and I won’t be the last, experiencing this lovely phenomenon. haha. I love ‘em. X-man isn’t so bad and neither is Baby M so really I’m just being dramatic. Lil’ C has grown and matured so much this year it is simply unreal to me. He has a few struggles with grasping letters and basic reading beyond sight words, but I’ve seen improvements in that with some changes that have been taking place at home the past couple of months.
Within a few weeks of Lil’ C beginning Kindergarten it became all to apparent to me that he was struggling to stay caught up with his peers when it came to his letter skills. Meanwhile, he was excelling in math. Long story short, a screening showed he most likely has ADD. Not shocking news to me by any means. So, we’re taking the gluten-reduction approach for treatment to see how that works out before jumping into medicine. Since the discovery of the link between gluten and ADD there have been so many success stories, and I was hoping Lil’ C might be one of them. Two months into this track, and his test scores are improving in classes. There’s still room for improvement, but we’re taking steps at a time. Lil’ C has, in the past, been easily over stimulated so if I pushed too hard on things it would trigger tantrums that I didn’t know how to control or cope with. Just by cutting down on the amount of starch in his diet, switching to the gluten free variety for his favorite cereals, and moderating his sugar intake more, I’ve noticed a significant change in his behavior overall and it’s like having a completely different child in the house. I’m AMAZED!
Travel is always a highlight of my year in review posts – this year we stayed much closer to home in travels, but the travels were lovely and relaxing and thoroughly enjoyed. There was the weekend trip with X-man and Lil’ C to Chattanooga, Tennessee. Then there was the five day escape with DH to Gatlinburg, TN. I suppose you could almost say we had staycations this year since both places are pretty well in our backyard.
Baby M was hospitalized with a nasty respiratory virus. That was my first experience having a child sick enough to be hospitalized and I have to hope that I never have to experience anything like that ever again. I realize that’s completely selfish but I really don’t know how the parents with seriously ill children survive.
I made it through 24 credit hours of college credit! I completed a full time semester on campus this Fall and completed the semester with a 3.75 gpa bringing me the marking of Dean’s List on my official transcripts, officially bumping myself into Senior status, and getting that much closer to my aspirations for graduation with some variation of Cum Laude next to my degree seal and an extra cord around my neck.
The end of the year found the end of 10 years of therapy. I’ll still call when I hit a bumpy patch – but all in all, ——
In 2012 I finally found acceptance and took ownership over one of the biggest struggles of my life. Ownership in that I will no longer allow the other part of the equation to have control. I have control now. Life has never been more emotionally healthy than it has been this year. And I realized that one of the things I was seeking – my kids don’t even know what they are missing, they don’t know because it was never there with that puzzle piece, so – I have nothing to worry about. They have amazing other puzzle pieces in their life. More on that some other time. Reflection point being – this was a HUGE thing for my life. It was probably effectively a New Year’s Resolution set for myself several years ago that I accomplished in 2012.
I learned – that I’m stronger than I think, and that it’s okay to be weaker sometimes. I learned that I don’t have to be so independent and that I can be more self sufficient at the same time. I learned that I can give my kids more independence, while giving them more guidance simultaneously. I can helicopter while being hands off. I can cook and be organic, while also allowing myself guilt free periods of slacking and getting take out. I learned to more gracefully admire my parenting counterparts who are “with it” with the organic, and more gracefully turn my head at the parenting counterparts who seem to ignore everything. I shake my head at the fretful parents who panic at everything, and I shake my head a bit at the parents who are completely laissez-faire about everything. But all in all, I know we’re each on our own journey, we have our own children to raise, and it’s beautiful that we live in a time when we can all choose so many different routes to take. We have so many OPTIONS! None of us, and I mean NONE of us, are getting everything perfect. But, we’re figuring out what’s working for our family, and our kids, and ourselves. I’ve figured out what my sanity can handle, what my kids can handle, and that I can manage a lot more than I use to think I could (even more than when I thought I could handle anything!).
This year has seen the end to some friendships that really weren’t healthy to begin with. But every year sees those changes. The year has seen some new friendships blooming. The year has seen some networking, some new faces, some passing faces, some footprints, and some trampling. The year has seen some beautiful growth in friendships that have been in place for several years and I’m so very grateful for those beautiful people I hold so near and dear. I can’t imagine what my life would be without certain lovely ladies and dear men to share in the craziness we call life. They laugh with me, cry with me, drink coffee with me, share with me, laugh AT me, keep me in check, encourage me, and remind me of what is important in life. We make memories together that nothing can truly ever take. Late nights sitting in the garage with our coffee cups, talking until much too late; sitting at the local diner with our school books open, sometimes both searching the web for solutions to what should be simple problems for class work; sharing books; sharing our joys and our momentary failures as parents or as humans. Reveling in the fact that we ARE human and that we ALL have less than shining moments but we are able and WILLING to learn and GROW from those moments. Reveling in the fact that part of the human experience is in sharing with not just one or two people but in sharing with a collective network of people that we form through continued contact. Realizing that we expand our very being and aptitude for loving and empathy and understanding life on a grander scale the more we interact with a diverse population.
This year I am thankful for my new friend from China who has been teaching me about the customs and traditions of her Chinese family. For my new friend from Korea who has been teaching me about the customs and traditions of her Korean family. For the guy from Germany who shared his experiences growing up. For the panel discussion on British Imperialism and its effect on the Middle East and Africa and Ireland and Germany and all that it opened my mind to realizing about these wars I didn’t understand and why there has been so much destruction and so many battles and so much death in these regions on the other side of the “pond”. For my new friend who has been fighting a rare disease with all her strength and has been conquering the odds.
I am thankful for the time I was able to spend with my dearest friend Ross before his sudden passing in August. My heart still aches for the loss, but as the time passes I am able to focus more on the fact that we were able to create some exceptionally fantastic memories in the last two years of his life that I can carry with me always. He brought so much laughter to my heart- so much joy to my soul in the years that we knew each other, but the last two years were filled exclusively with happiness and hyperventilation-tear-inducing-laughter.
I didn’t read quite as much as I had hoped I would, but I read more diverse books than I thought I would. I did finally have a yard sale, even if it didn’t draw as much profit as I had dreamed of… haha. I didn’t coupon as much this year, but I am thankful that we had the room in our budget to be rather lax.
I learned a new lesson about mother’s instincts when it came to childcare for Baby M after the crazy babysitter episode which lead to me not hesitating to be picky when things didn’t go so smooth at our part time daycare after that, and then I was so thankful and relieved when my younger cousin was able to take over for the final six weeks of the semester. She was always here, always awesome, and even when she felt stressed on Baby M’s high maintenance sickly days, she was superb. As a bonus? She folded laundry for me two weeks in a row and I totally didn’t ask her to! She was so awesome… man! I’m glad we won’t need a babysitter this coming semester, and I’m glad that she’s getting to go back to college this semester after a semester off – but I sure wish that if we needed someone again that she was the person we could use. I’m sure that Baby M would agree.
My in-laws were above and beyond awesome time and again. My paternal family was super awesome. So many times people called and offered their help when they knew M was sick and I could possibly need coverage for classes, or in the case of my MIL, maybe need a “night off” to decompress (or cram for exams). Even my dad came on multiple occasions to watch the rugrat! He even braved taking care of ALL THREE boys for me ALLLLLLLL day for me when they had just gotten over a nasty stomach virus. I had classes from 9:30am until 4:30pm. Two days later my dad had the virus, but he offered to come again the following week when M was sick with breathing issues again (fortunately I didn’t have to take him up on the offer). Do you know how stinking awesome it is having family willing to help out? It’s AWESOME! I know it has made a world of difference in my life this year and I know it made a positive impact on my performance this semester amongst all the potential overloads. While I worried about things, I didn’t worry at the level that I used to find myself in a position to worry about. My kids were taken care of by people who love and care about them and who would do all they could to care for them until I could get home. Everyone knew I was at school and that I was busting my rear end in classes. And when the end of the semester grades came in and I had the A in Calculus, Dean’s List overall, 3.75? I had given to them- their support had been well invested… at least, I hope that’s the feeling they were able to walk away with.
In the last month of 2012, I began medical treatment for migraines via medication instead of just massage therapy or chiropractic care. The prescription medication has also made a huge difference in my life. My quality of day to day life has improved so much. Instead of starting and ending every single day with headaches that are migraines a few days a week, I’m waking up feeling rested. My brain is functioning normal (most days) again. I’ve only had a few “breakthrough” migraines. I’m actually quite excited to see how I can perform in school this semester with this renewed sense of being. The kids appreciate the effectiveness of my meds too. I mean, come on now, what person is real friendly after 3 solid months of headaches? And now? Now I’m pretty well symptom free! WOO HOO! I do want to know the actual cause, so I still have several unanswered questions, but for now I’m settling with treating the symptoms and running with that.
During the past year I was afforded the opportunity to face some inner demons head on and defeat them. I was able to grow as a woman – as a mother; as a person. I was forced to evaluate how I viewed some topics, why I viewed them that way, and I adjusted my thinking. I became much more open in my thinking – but more than that, I had more of a grasp for the WHY on my perspective. I realized a lot about the basics of even bothering to try and get others to understand why and how I view the world, and I’m good with the fact that there are other people – some in my own family – who will never come to accept how I see things. And that’s okay. I have my journey to travel. They’ve taken theirs.
I’m still learning how to pick my fights, when to fight the good fight, and when to allow myself to lose the battle in an effort to still win the proverbial wars. I worry about my kids and some of the people they are around, but I have resigned to remain confident that I am able to successfully influence them for the greater good and teach them the difference and how to distinguish between or formulate their own opinions, morals, and core values. X-man helps affirm that I’m on the right track with the conversations that he and I have and the things that he volunteers in those conversations. Lil’ C has started making those affirmations as his opinions have started forming.
All in all – 2012 was a great year with a lot of great lessons and a lot of wonderful growth. I’m anxious to see what 2013 brings. I already know a few things coming…
November 25th, 2012 by Jen Hen under Parenting, Toddler. No Comments.
Dear Intrusive Terrible Twos;
GET LOST! No, really, get lost. This is my third time in this rodeo with a child of my own, and the 6th or 7th time a child I was highly involved with caring for has gone in this rodeo. I’m over it. Really. I don’t care what the child development professionals say, I don’t appreciate the lessons that seem to “have” to be learned during this chapter of a child’s life. It’s exhausting. Thank heavens for the other moms out there that I know who are willing to admit how frustrating this phase is, otherwise I’d just completely breakdown. I want my pleasant, happy little guy to stay pleasant and happy – not get into this funk where he spends days on end fussing and whining and throwing fits and generally attempting to demand excessive amounts of pampering. I’ve even been known to get so frazzled that I throw a little fit or two of my own. Ugly. It’s simply not a shining moment.
Since I have a feeling you aren’t going to leave until you are good and ready, I have to hold tight to the down time called “nap”. Otherwise? Otherwise you would find me in a rubber room. No joke.
Signed, Ruffled feathers
November 4th, 2012 by Jen Hen under The Busy Life. No Comments.
Well, I didn’t post in time to hit the third day of NaBloPoMo. Oops.
November 2nd, 2012 by Jen Hen under The Busy Life. No Comments.
Today I managed to complete a majority of my homework for the weekend before I even got home. That’s a load off my shoulders, and about 7 hours I’ve made available after the Baby M goes to bed (X-man and Lil’ C are gone this weekend). I have several “opinion” pieces I’d like to write over the coming weeks. We’ll see if I get gutsy enough to publish them all. HA!
November 1st, 2012 by Jen Hen under The Busy Life. No Comments.
Despite the fact that I fell off the cyber writing wagon, I’m going to make an attempt at completing NaBloPoMo 2012. This post is going to be such a cheap shot at getting started, but it’s a start nonetheless. Right?
I have more Calculus homework to tend to tonight so I have little choice in making this short. However, hopefully I’ll get in gear starting tomorrow. Happy Blogging!
October 10th, 2012 by Jen Hen under The Busy Life. No Comments.
Overwhelmed says it all, doesn’t it? I’m starting to feel better, but I’m also still having my moments. Those moments come in the form of excessive (for me) crying or irritability (which, for me, is something quite vocalized – it’s not pretty, and I’m not proud of it).
I know it will all pass, but I wish it would pass faster. I don’t know how people make it through things who have much bigger concerns. I don’t know how I would make it through much bigger concerns.
Baby M has been sick again. It started over a week ago with a rash. So last Monday I took him to the doctor and it was a horrible experience- rather traumatizing for the little guy. And I didn’t get an answer for what was wrong with him. Then, last Thursday night the same symptoms started appearing that he had before he was hospitalized. I’m not normally a panicky type of parent, but in light of the hospital stay, I’m on red alert, level 5 on a 5 level system, maternal response. Thankfully, it did not get back to hospitalization levels, but I was doing breathing treatments around the clock for two days, and I’m still giving him regular breathing treatments while he’s awake. I was monitoring his blood oxygen level with an over-the-counter monitor and it never dropped below 96% which brought me a lot of peace because during his hospitalization it dropped to 80%. I’ve made a (hopefully) educated guess at the diagnosis as RSV and have treated it as such. He has improved a lot so I’m hoping that’s proof positive.
I hate taking my kids to the doctor office unless it is necessary. Generally, I let my intuition guide me on how to take care of them and occasionally I do some online searches and symptom checking. When the red flags start waving in my mind, I recognize the need for professional care and off we go. I prefer homeopathic means, but appreciate modern medicine for things like Baby M’s respiratory problems. —- More to write, but I need to get in bed. Tomorrow I have classes all day, and an exam in the last class to boot.