Tag Archives: family

Fur Babies

When I was a little kid I loved animals. My mom had a black cat named Scorpio who I took naps with and played with every day when I was 3-4 years old.

Then we moved to an apartment where we couldn’t have pets. We were three for many years. I dreamed of becoming a veterinarian one day. Once we got out of there (when I was 12), we moved to a house out in the country and had many, many pets. Dogs, a bunny, a pig, an iguana, large aquariums, ferrets…. but specifically a great many cats.

The cats were mostly all outside cats. They weren’t spayed or neutered so they just bred indiscriminately. In the spring and summer we would end up with around 40 cats and kittens. But by the end of winter we would be down to 6-8. Between the brutal Iowa winters, disease, parasites, and the highway, there was a high cat death rate. At first I was naming all of the new kittens and getting attached to them all the time. But by the end of 4-5 years of seeing them come and go, I deemed myself NOT a cat person. To me they were too “disposable,” for lack of a better description.

Fast forward to 2010. I was living in an apartment with my older 3 kiddos. One of my friends down the hall had a cat who had kittens. I picked the only orange kitten of the litter. We named her Sunny. She became a permanent member of the family.

Andy and Sunny became inseparable. She claimed him as her human. We got 10 good years with Sunny. Unfortunately she was let outside during our stay in NC and disappeared. Despite all our efforts to find her, she never came home. Out of guilt I got Andy a kitten after that. No cat can replace our beloved Sunny. But Hera has brought Andy a lot of joy.

Then I started evaluating why I didn’t like cats. Yeah, litter boxes are annoying. But if kept clean they don’t stink. Yeah cats can be assholes, knocking stuff over and shredding toilet paper. But they can be the best companions. Then I thought back to the farm life and I understood where my opposition to cats as pets came from. I just didn’t want to get attached to something that was going to break my heart.

Longer story shortened, I decided to get a kitten for myself. I started looking around and found a lady here in town with several litters. I wanted a calico kitten originally. So I went to pick one out and immediately bonded with a grey and white kitten. So I brought both her and a calico home.

Meet Sage (grey and white) and Daisy (calico).

They have been with us for just about two months now. They are both absolute terrors, and sweet little cuddle bugs at the same time. I adore them both, but Daisy is a lot more aloof with me. Sage is my buddy. She sits on me every time I’m sitting down. She gets in my face and grabs my phone for attention. It’s adorable.

These kittens have brought a lot of joy into my life. I’m so glad I was able to move past the trauma of many lost kitty lives, and learn to allow myself to be attached again. It’s been so worth it!!

A Felix Update

As of this month, September, we FINALLY have all our services on track for Felix back here in Iowa. It feels like it took forever, but we’re finally there!

• He has been evaluated and approved for physical therapy and speech therapy. He started PT this week, twice per week. The therapies will be done in “shifts,” such as a couple months of one, then a couple months of another. So he’s not overwhelmed with everything at once.

• He has an occupational therapy evaluation later this month, for which he will also be approved.

• I have the AEA/Early Access (Area Education Agency) involved, also helping with therapies at home, including feeding therapy, and eventually getting him evaluated and set up with an IEP for school.

• He will be eligible for preschool in February when he turns 3, but Jarrod and I are thinking he will start with the next school year in September 2022 instead. We want to give him more of a chance to gain more skills in his therapies first, since there’s been such a disruption due to our move.

He saw his developmental specialist yesterday, and he got a bunch of referrals for more testing:

• He has a sacral dimple that will be imaged to make sure it’s not affecting the function of his spinal cord.

• He will be getting another eye exam because I’m truly convinced he has issues with distance, still.

• He is going to get a swallow study done because his inability to chew and swallow properly is getting in the way of his ability to properly learn to feed himself.

• And finally, he has an appointment for genetic testing and counseling early next year (long wait on that one, it was scheduled in April).

Also with the appointment yesterday came a new diagnosis: Autism Spectrum Disorder. It was bittersweet for me, because I have suspected this from the moment Felix came home from the hospital at birth. With the diagnosis I felt heard and confirmed. But the flip side of that… all the hope I had that he could grow and develop and come out of his delays has now been crushed. This is a permanent state for Felix. I’m not scared or intimidated by this diagnosis. I just know it’s going to be a lot of work. Then again it already has been. We’ve all adjusted to the therapy and appointment schedule. We already know tests will keep coming until we find answers.

The specialist said ASD is secondary to the real issue, and he believes the genetic testing will hold the real answer. Personally, my only concern in the genetic realm is finding something degenerative. That’s my fear. But I’m hoping for the best, and we will cross whatever bridge is laid in front of us when we get to it.

No matter what, this little boy is a blessing. I couldn’t ask for a better toddler. He’s sweet and cuddly, curious and strong, determined and stubborn. He’s growing and learning on his own time, and that’s perfectly okay. I love him unconditionally.

Anniversary At The Zoo

Four years ago today, knowing not much about one another, Jarrod and I hopped in a car and drove to Colorado together on absolutely no sleep. We arrived early in the afternoon, went into the courthouse in the town of Golden, and got married. Then we stayed at a beautiful little bed and breakfast called Meadow Creek Mountain Lodge for our one-night “honeymoon” of sorts. We would have stayed longer but we had obligations back home.

Since then, we have been through an extraordinary amount of ups and downs. More than any one couple should endure in a lifetime, I dare say. And here we are today, still together and back in Iowa, raising our own child together alongside our 6 teenagers, and making many plans for the future. Four years ago our family and friends called us crazy. No one believed it would ever work. Everyone assumed we would fizzle out as quickly as we came together. BUT WE DIDN’T. We love each other not only as much now as that adventurous day, but so much more. We have learned many life lessons with one another and from one another.

Today for our anniversary, with Felix along for the occasion, we decided to visit the zoo and then grab some our favorite cuisine for takeout on the way home.

Felix wasn’t a real fan of the zoo, but he did pretty well. We grabbed some creole food from Buzzard Billy’s for our anniversary meal. And we’ve been able to just relax alone at home together the rest of the evening while Felix happily plays with his toys. It’s been a great day together.

Jarrod, I love you. 💋 Here’s to many more!

August 30, 2021

Snapshot Of Our Lives

Life is ever-changing. Tastes change, circumstances change, people grow and change. I know where I am now, and what I do on a daily basis is far different today than it was a year ago. Or the year before that. So I’m going to make this post once or twice per year. This is a snapshot of what my life looks like today.

Today Felix woke me around 10:30am, which has gotten earlier over the past couple weeks. He was sleeping in until noon. He cuddles me for a few minutes before he goes to play, a morning tradition I cherish. He and I woke Jarrod, and then Felix played for a while while Jarrod and I checked our phone notifications.

Felix and Scout, just starting the day.

Then Jarrod cooked some eggs for the three of us, and I got our drinks. Today we had cold cereal with our eggs, other days we have toast with peanut butter, bacon, or oatmeal. While we have breakfast we watch something on the iPad. News, game shows, reality shows, or sitcoms. Today it was Big Bang Theory. Once we were done eating, around 11:45am, Jarrod left for work. He works noon til 9:00pm right now.

Today we had no appointments. So we didn’t have much to do. I took a shower while Cory hung out in the living room with Felix. Felix played with his toys in the living room and rode his horsey all over the house. Cory played on my computer for a while and had a show playing on the TV. I chatted with him and cruised social media. I also did some light cleaning, and watched our kittens play. Around 3, Felix crawled up into my lap and passed out for a nap. He naps on me, Jarrod or Cory when he naps. Typically he sleeps for about 30 minutes, but today it was about an hour and a half.

Sleepy boy!

Other days Felix may have a checkup or therapy, we may have friends to hang out with, or shopping to do. Sometimes my mom or Jarrod’s will visit, Evan or one of the girls will hang out for a while, or we will go out to eat. If Jarrod has a day off we usually find something to do outside of the house.

Once Felix woke up from his nap, I fed him lunch. After lunch he watched a couple episodes of the cartoons Pablo and Simon on Netflix while I placed an order online at Walmart for pickup, like I do a couple times per week. As of right now, COVID and RSV are quite common amongst children, and though everyone else in the house is vaccinated against COVID, I’m doing my part to protect Felix by reducing my contact with the public. So currently (again) I’m not taking him into stores much. So our trips to the store for pickup are regular outings as well.

When we got back from the store we had a snack, and I put on some music on YouTube for Felix. He LOVES Billy Strings, so I just put some videos on and he will watch and dance. That has bought me a little time to write this blog post. Even though Andy just decided to emerge from his room for the first time since I’ve been awake today. Nevertheless, I’m continuing to write because I’ve already had too many distractions over the last couple days. Once I’m done, I’ll get supper started.

Felix on his horsey, Billy Strings videos playing.

We will eat late, once Jarrod gets home from work. Usually around 9:30-10pm. He will take a shower before he eats, and bathe Felix once supper is over. That’s their bonding time, since he’s gone for most of Felix’s waking hours. While that’s going on, I’ll get the kitchen cleaned up, and maybe tidy up a few other things. Lately I’ve been playing a lot of Sims 4 in the evenings before bed. Jarrod will have Friends or some other sitcom playing on the TV and will play with Felix or look at his phone if Felix is busy playing. We will talk about the day and update each other on anything important or entertaining that happened, or anything coming up either of us should be aware of.

Felix is usually ready to sleep around 12:30-ish. So we will head to the bedroom, read Felix a couple stories, and he and I will brush our teeth. And then we will get into bed. I hold Felix until he falls asleep, and then lay him down on his mattress, which is right up against ours. Jarrod and I both stay in bed at that point too. And the day is over.

The therapies Felix has are Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Speech Therapy. He currently has referrals to get his vision and hearing checked again, and has an upcoming appointment with the Developmental Specialist, and Genetics.

Today was a mellow, rather boring day. Not all days are like today. In fact, often we have so much to do that we’re all exhausted by the end of the day. But right now, I love where we are. I love how Felix is my best friend, and is so much fun to play with and go to appointments with. He enjoys therapy and all of our outings. There are times I feel overwhelmed by my lack of alone time, but then I just take a step back and remember these days won’t last forever. In fact, these days will be short and sweet, and someday not too far into the future I will miss my little boy and our fun times together.

Not today, but adorable anyway. 💕

This is a snapshot of now. I know things will change so much, so it will be nice to have this post as a little reminder of today.

One And Done

When Jarrod and I discussed our sterilization reversals back in 2018, we thought about having 2-3 babies together. I got pregnant on the first cycle, but pregnancy in my late 30s was quite a bit more challenging than it was in my early 20s. So once Felix was born, we both wanted to wait a little while to relax and recover of course. However after just a few weeks, Felix started crying with “colic” that continued for months. At some time in the middle of that, Felix was also diagnosed with a global developmental delay and hypotonia. He got referrals for many specialists and testing, including therapies. The developmental doctor said they wanted to take an aggressive approach as early as possible to give him the best outlook later on. Meanwhile, the “colic” continued until Felix was about 10 months old. Now that Felix is 2 1/2 years old, and knowing what we do, I believe it was sensory issues and intestinal cramping that was causing his crying.

Back to the point… Jarrod and I had planned on more babies, but as time went on, and we got deeper and deeper into specialists and testing and therapies, we not only had less and less time for each other, but it began to become pretty clear that dividing our time further would not be in anyone’s best interest.

Then, a couple weeks ago I really got to thinking about the whole process of being pregnant and having another baby. As things are right now, Felix sleeps on his toddler mattress on the floor, right up against our mattress, which is also on the floor. So essentially he still co-sleeps. I go to bed when he does, wake with him in the middle of the night, and get up when he does. I stay home with him, and take him to his appointments, play dates, etc. He is very demanding of my attention, and trusts I will fulfill all his needs every day, which I do. It’s been difficult to carve out time not only for myself and my own health and basic needs, but also for my older kids who still need me, and my marriage! But the thought that really tipped the scale for me was the idea of me leaving for 2-3 nights to have the baby, and Felix not understanding why I’m not there for him. Then coming home with a baby in need of most of my attention and Felix having his whole life flipped upside down because of it. It was heartbreaking to think of. So after a very serious discussion with Jarrod weighing all the pros and cons of everything I’ve already stated here and more, I decided to get another tubal ligation.

I had an appointment with my doctor last week and made an appointment for a tubal ligation. This particular doctor removes the Fallopian tubes entirely (because most ovarian cancer starts in the tubes), so there will be zero chance of another pregnancy in the future. This time it will be permanent. I think at 40 years old, with 4 kids (and 3 bonus kids), I am more than happy to be done with that chapter of life.

Felix has completed our family. Though he will essentially be raised an only child, with siblings 12-17 years older than him, that just means he will have plenty of people to care for and look after him. And I don’t mind saying we all spoil him too.

My surgery is scheduled for September 27th. It’s an outpatient, laparoscopic procedure, with very little downtime.