Monday, November 26, 2012

Hey, Hey, it's a Givaway!

A friend of mine is doing an Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

Post Thanksgiving Post

Thanksgiving was great. Everything I expected and more. There wasn't as big of a crowd than in previous years, but sometimes that can be a good thing. I always think too much around the holidays. This can be both good and bad. I over analyze a lot. This year I have made some realizations. Probably realized some things I should just leave in the back of my mind, but I didn't.

In digging through past events and recent words, I am hurt. I've realized that my family and I are not as important to some people that I wish we were more important to. I always hoped for a stronger bond, but it's simply just not there and will probably never be. I can get over it, accept it and let it go, but others cannot.

The biggest thing I am thankful for this year is an understanding family. I mean that. Things have changed a lot in the past few years, and we had a major change earlier this year when my job cut me back to part time hours and I needed to pick up a 2nd job. I am working at a restaurant. Sure it's not the most glamorous job in the world, but it helps get my bills paid and you know what, I actually like it. I like making a good impression. I like being a part of a good meal with good service and I hope the patrons go home and remember me. I like the social interaction with customers and co-workers. The downfall (which I didn't realize until recently) is that I now have to work holidays. Of course we are closed for the major ones like Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, but this is a choice I made and I need to deal with the fact that I will now be working Christmas Eve.

When my parents stopped hosting Christmas things started to change. Paul and I were running mad on Christmas Day and never got to enjoy it. A few years ago we decided a change needed to be made, that Christmas needs to switch to the next generation, my generation. My parents are the Grandparents now and the holidays need to be about the children like it was for me as a child. We made a switch, my family started doing our festivities on Christmas Eve. Then I find out I will be working dinner service that night. I requested an early shift, but since I am the new guy, I can't be guaranteed to get it and be done by 6.

I spoke with my mother on the topic, she told me to work it out with my sister and that whatever she and I decide would be fine with her and Dad. A small part of me wanted her to just figure this all out for me, but she put it in the hands of my sister and I, where it probably should be anyway.
I was afraid to call my sister. I didn't want to upset her about making another change. But she was understanding. I offered suggestions for alternative plans. She suggested we play it by ear until I know exactly when I will be working. This isn't like us, we are planners (not me and Paul, my family). It's Paul's family that usually makes plans last minute. I guess these tables have turned this year.

Here are some pictures from the weekend.

my neice on Thanksgiving

pajama day

starting Christmas with my boy

the tree

a gift

Jesse made his own game

Paul's smoked turkey

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thankful & Emotional

I'm emotional today. Not sure if it's hormones or lack of sleep. Last night Jesse woke up several times. I know I should ignore him so he doesn't think that every time he makes a peep, I will come rushing in. I went into his room a few times last night. Honestly, I just wanted him to stop so I could sleep. I knew nothing was terribly wrong, because he was just whining and moaning, literally. I don't know what the cause is. Maybe overstimulation or overtired. If I go in to check on him, he's barely even awake. Sometimes his eyes aren't even open.

This time, I rough night turned into a rough morning. I got up, a few minutes later from my normal time. I got showered and dressed like always and went in to wake Jesse up. He was not having it. He said, "Still dark out," which is what I tell him when he wakes in the middle of the night and I want him to go back to sleep. Turning my tricks back around on me. He clearly wants to go back to sleep, so did I. Paul heard the commotion and came in. Paul doesn't mess around. He entered the fight knowing it would be a fight all the way to the car, which it was. A fight to put clothes on, to put shoes and socks on, to put a coat on and to get in the car. Once we were in the car and headed to daycare, I saw something.... me. I was staring back at my childhood self back there who couldn't catch his breath because he had gotten so worked up. I remember doing this to myself too. Maybe not at his young age, but I do in fact remember this. Is being strong-willed genetic? Or am I raising my son (who happens to be like me) in the same way my mother raised me, and in turn, getting the same results? Oh yes, I could be reading into this way too much. It happens, especially when I am emotional.

Money has been weighing heavily on my mind too. But I don't want to bore anyone with my money problems. Seems like everyone has money issues to some extent now days.

Paul and I got iPhones. It's totally changed how I utilize the internet. Plus I have a new found love for phone cameras. I can't afford the DSLR I want, so I might as well take advantage of the cool iPhone camera. You may say, "Wait a minute, if you are having money problems, why and how did you get an iPhone?" I have asked this in my head about others who have iPhones yet claim to be broke. Well, we were due for phone upgrades and much to my surprise, they were FREE! I didn't even think that was possible. Plus, with our carriers new Talk, Text and Data packages, we were able to get a data plan that fit in our budget. I think Instagram is my new favorite thing.

The only problem is that Jesse wants to play with my phone every time I have it out. That puts a slight damper on taking photos of him. I have to be sneaky.

Thanksgiving is this week. Short office week (with regular week pay, yay!)
People have been posting on facebook a daily thing they are thankful for. I am thankful for a lot, but I don't feel the need to make a daily post about it. I have a generic one, that covers a lot of bases. I am thankful for where we are due to the obstacles we've had to overcome. It's been a rough couple of years, this one being the hardest financially. But we are still here. Still have a roof over our heads, cars, electricity, heat and food.

We are going to my aunt's for dinner to spend the holiday with my Dad's family. Last year we did the holiday with Paul's family and we alternate. This one will be different. My parents are moving to Alabama in February. Sure they say they will be back for the holidays, but who knows if they will have the money to do that year after year. This one could possibly be the last one where we are all together. So that's another thing I am thankful for, my parents being here to spend this holiday with.

Happy Turkey Day!

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Halloween came and went. It was a fun one. Jesse "gets it" this year. Last year he was completely clueless. Heck, last year he didn't even know what candy was! We did our annual traditions, decorated the house, watched scary movies (without Jesse of course), carved pumpkins on Halloween Eve, roasted seeds, dressed up and passed out candy and stickers.

The Friday after Halloween was Tim & Jen's wedding, Paul's brother. It was a blast. Not until the next day when I was looking at pictures did I realize there were no pictures of me! I even liked the way I looked. I got a ton of fabulous pictures of the bride and groom and one strip of Paul and I from the photo booth.

Paul can't resist the boob grab.

It was a beautiful wedding and a fun reception, with good food too. Glad we could be a part of their day!

Now the holidays are coming. I am usually very excited, but this year is going to be different. My parents sold their condo and are moving to Alabama in February . They are currently living with my Aunt (Dad's sister) through the holidays. Things are changing again and I am sad, but accepting of the change. They told us this was their plan last year at Thanksgiving, so I have had time to prepare.

When we were kids Christmas was always at my house. Our house was decorated, we had a real tree, we baked cookies, and lots of them. Dinner was always a huge spread. Roasts, dumplings, veggies, gravy, potatoes.... protein and carbs a plenty. Christmas at our house was a huge ordeal. I don't even know how my Mother did it, but I respect her even more now because I wouldn't know how to pull of something she made look so simple. Everyone came. Aunts, uncles, cousins, Grandparents.... there were a lot of us, my Dad came from a family with 7 kids. My relatives would joke, be loud, be "merry". My uncle would read "T'was the Night Before Christmas" in his best story reading Irish accent and all of us kids would gather on the carpet in front of him. It was magical.

When my parents sold the house, our Christmas traditions were gone too. We started new traditions, our family was growing and things needed to change. My sister and I gained husbands, so therefor we needed to accomodate other families, so we switched our Christmas Day to Christmas Eve with just us, immediate family. It was held at my parents condo. It was quiet and quaint and kind of nice. Mom and Dad would make a fancy dinner and open gifts. Not much changed since we had kids. I liked this. It wasn't a big ordeal like it used to be, but that was ok.
Now Mom and Dad won't be hosting and the Christmas torch has been passed on to my sister and I. It's time to start our own traditions with our own families. I am a little sad, but a little excited too. I don't want to plan new traditions, I hope they just start developing out of what's already in our hearts.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


What an inspiring week it's been. Last week I was asked to write an article about my experiences with my son in relation to beauty for a friends Alternative Modeling site. I really enjoyed writing this piece.

Then Sunday we had our 2nd Annual AmeriFace Family Fun Fest. Another low turn out this year, but it was still an amazing event. I met 2 more families I have networked with online. We all live in different parts of Illinois, so we met at a Pumpkin Farm in DeKalb. I was dreading the drive there, but in retrospect, it wasn't that bad and not as far as I thought. There were 4 families, plus Robin, our area Coordinator. All 4 families have boys and all the boys are 2, all born within a few months of each other. Here's the group picture we attempted. It cracks me up, but it's the image of an amazing experience.  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sometimes it's the Small Things

Work comp paychecks started coming, so one less stress on our plate.

On clear nights, before bed, I take Jesse outside to see the moon. He loves to find it in the night sky, then look at it for a few minutes. I took him out one night last week to do just this. He wanted to lay down on the driveway to look at the moon and the sky. He pointed at the stars, then started grabbing into the sky and says, "Get it Mommy". Priceless.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Time Will Tell

Today I re-installed Internet Explorer, and looky here, I can blog again. I wonder why I didn't think of this sooner.


Work comp denied Paul for the Spinal Cord Stimulator. I am not surprised, after all, it is a $100,000 surgery. Something needs to happen though. His pain has gotten dramatically worse in the past few weeks. He's been missing days of work, therefor our already low income went down even more. The doctor prescribed him a new medication that could help his pain, Exalgo. I guess it's new and doesn't have a generic form. Denied. It was a synthetic, time-released version of Morphine. This may just be a good thing. I can't imagine starting something like this in your 30's could end up a good thing. So it was back to the drawing board. The pain doctor requires patients to come into the office for meds, so an appointment was made and I decided to take this opportunity to go with and voice my concerns to the doctor.

The appointment was this week. I got someone to watch Jesse and we went. I prepared for the appointment, having my concerns ready, have a defense prepared and bringing proof of the amount of pain my husband is in. The topic came up about taking Paul off work, the doctor asked if we were sure this is something we want to move forward with and we both confirmed. It's obviously the best thing for him. The commute itself was putting him in pain, the pain and his work situation was giving him stress, the stress aggrivates the pain more and it gets worse and turning into a never ending cycle. He was down to 25 hours a week and we could barely even live on that. Something had to change, so the change is now made. The doctor wrote a note that states, "Off work until further notice."

Now the scary part. Waiting to see if work comp will resume disability payments. Of course I spoke with the attorney and he feels Paul is entitled to these benefits and has stated he will fight to get them. So we wait. It's scary. I only work part time (not by choice) and we cannot survive on just my salary. I have already started thinking of back up plans. In the mean time I have requested extra hours at my office and at the restaurant I have been working at. If I need to, I will start looking for a new full time job.

Yes, this is a risk, but we had to do what was right for Paul and right for our family. This can possibly help work comp approve the stimulator and/or any future treatments. We believe he was denied because he was working. If this guy can work, he must not need a stimulator THAT bad. WRONG! He's been working in extreme pain, just so he could be a provider for his family. He's been suffering and it needed to stop. Time will tell where this leads us on this journey, hopefully it's a path to something good.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

It's Been a While

Where have I been? I have not been able to post for almost 6 months now. For some reason I cannot log in to this account from my office computer, so right now I am on another computer in the office. I also usually blog in my down time at work and since my hours got cut, I have not had much down time either.
I've had a lot on my mind lately, so I decided I'd find a way to blog. So here I am. A lot has happened in the past 6 months. Like I said, I am part time at my office now. I think this is actually a blessing for me, except for the financial part. Luckily I was able to pick up some hours at a restaurant close to my house. It doesn't make up for all the income I lost, but it's better than nothing. I am working evenings, so I was able to cut back on daycare and the best part, I get to spend more time with my son, which I've always wanted since I went back to work after he was born. I didn't want it to happen this way, but I got it and I love every second of my time with him.
Since my last blog we had a surgery anniversary. In February (the 16th to be exact) was the one year anniversary of Jesse's palate surgery. In March we had his one year speech evaluation, his 2 year cleft team appointment, his 2nd birthday and his 2 year pediatrician appointment. He's doing great. No major problems and he seems to be on track with his growth and development.

Paul is still in a lot of pain for his back and nerves. He's been working and in a lot of pain from it. His surgeon sent him to a pain center. The first one didn't work out and now he's at a different one. He's a candidate for a spinal cord stimulator, so we are waiting for work comp to approve it. If he's able to get it, and it works for him, his pain may decrease up to 50% and can hopefully reduce the amount of meds he takes. Below is a picture of what it is. It's implanted under the skin. The electrodes will block his nerves from sending pain signals to his brain. This of course means another surgery, but if it gives him relief, I'm all for it.

Now for what's on my mind today. I recently discovered that Jesse's hard palate is very high. He was on track with his speech, but lately I have my doubts. We've reached the point again where he's saying something and I can't understand him. This leads to frustration for him and me. He will repeat himself even, but I still don't understand. I am not sure if he's speaking in jargon, or actually speaking words, improperly. I read blogs and facebook posts and see what "normal" kids are saying and I can't help but compare and see that Jesse is not even close to them. He has a good vocabulary, but he can't speak a full sentence yet. I'm told that kids are all different in their speech development and soon he will get there, but I feel terrible when my child is trying to communicate with me and I don't know what he's saying. It breaks my heart. Since the high palate is a new discovery, I wonder if this is what's causing a delay in his speech development. I will need to bring this up at his next team appointment. In the mean time, we might increase his amount of therapy and try and work on his annunciation (I think that's the right word).
I am a bit taken back by the fact that no one has mentioned his high palate (or vault, I think they call it) and I was left to discover it on my own. Certainly this is something the plastic surgeon would have seen when she repaired his soft palate. My first hint was when we went to the dentist and he mentioned Jesse may need a palate expander at some point. Hmmm... this was also never mentioned to me by the PS. The dentist mentioned his repair looked great, so on my own time, I was peeking inside his mouth and saw the roof of his mouth and put two and two together. That is why he may need a palate expander. If he does need one, it won't be for several years. The dentist told us to come back in 6 months for a check up and cleaning and we'll revisit the palate expander possibility when he's closer to age 7. At least the word surgery has not come up again.

Now, it's mid-June. I work part time and I have 2 more days to spend with my kid so we have been taking advantage of that since I have no idea how long this will last. We've been having play dates with friends and family. We've been up to the lake once and have another trip planned this weekend. We play outside in the water and go to parks. It's fun. He's at a fun age and I am reaping the benefits. I also get to be a kid again and we have so much fun together. Of course there are days when he's a typical 2 year old where he refuses to nap, put clothes on or thows a tantrum, but the good times make me forget about those days. Here's to summer and enjoying every second of it!

Friday, January 27, 2012

I just have to say

Yes, I am aware that many of my posts are negetive. I try and throw a happy one in every now and then. But the fact remains, I am going through a lot of shitty things in my life and this is where I vent so I don't go insane. Not sure if anyone even reads this anyway.
The weekend is almost here and I am so looking forward to not thinking about my problems for a few days. That's all.

Developmental Milestone

Jesse has been making very good progress in Speech Therapy. He's got so many new words and he's imitating very well. He's even been saying his own name. The Speech Path says that's a huge developmental milestone that puts him ahead of kids his age, especially with his name being a harder one for the littles.Go Jesse! Keep up the good work little man!

This song makes me happy when I hear it. It reminds me of him. A little bit because of the words and also because he loves it too.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Just when you think things can't get worse...

They do! Maybe I am naive for thinking things couldn't get worse. Or maybe I have not hit rock bottom yet? Or maybe I am being tested once again to make sure I appreciate money when we finally do get a settlement for Paul's back injury? I don't know. What I do know is another curve ball got sent my way.

Monday morning I came into the office like any other Monday morning. My boss tells me we are having a team meeting at 10:30, like we do every other Monday morning. We sit down and make to do lists for the week and talk about business. We did that, then my boss says, now just listen.... uh oh. Uh oh is right. He proceeds to tell me that the company can no longer afford to employ me full time, that he's switching me to part time, 3 days a week! There was some other stuff, but honestly I don't think I even heard it because I was so distraught. I recall him saying something like, "Paul's working now, right?" I think I said something like, "yes, but not full time, he's making less money than he was getting work comp checks." Then I ask, when this is effective, he says next week. Wait, what?!?! You are cuttuing my pay by 40% and you give me a weeks notice??? I ask, "Can you at least give me two weeks?" He complies, but that's still not even enough time. I have to figure out how I am going to support my family in less than 2 weeks. Thanks boss! 10 years with you and you give me 2 weeks notice for a drastic pay cut. Perfect. I heard things like "I'll help you" or something, but the help I need is FULL TIME HOURS. I ask if I can step out, he says yes. I am not even sure the discussion was over, but I heard enough.

I b-line to my car and call my husband, no answer. I call again and he answers, I am so hysterical that I can't even talk. I think I cried the rest of the day. Thank goodness Paul had a xanax and muscle relaxer to give me when I got home because I was a mess, he even picked Jesse up from daycare for me. I don't think I have ever been so devistated in my life. Not soley because of my job, but because of all the other events in my life leading up to this. This was the LAST thing I needed. Of course I want to spend more time with my son, but at this cost? No thanks. I would have much preferred to do that on my own terms, when I am more financially stable, that's for sure.

So since the moment I stepped back into my office, I have been networking like crazy, loooking for part time or full time work. I have sent out handfulls of resumes already, I am not dropping the ball on this one, I can't. I need to be able to pay my mortgage next month! Not just the mortgage (which my new salary barely covers), but also my car payment, utilities, oh yeah, and food.

I'll do what I have to do, even if it means cleaning toilets for dirty, nasty truckers.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

An Update

I'm not going to lie, this past week has been rough. Hard on me, hard on Jesse, but mostly hard on Paul. He returned to work last Wednesday. He went in, as requested, on time and had a meeting with the owner of the company and the head of HR. They discussed what he would be doing, what time he was expected to be there, plans for the future, etc. Mostly procedural stuff. He was told he could have some time to get reacclimated into the work force, but Paul's not that kind of guy. He's a jump in with 2 feet kind of guy, so he did. Probably a bad idea, but he did not think of the consequences at the time. He's been wanting to get back for a very long time now, probably since the day his doctor told him he couldn't work. He is not the kind of person that likes to just sit around. He was very sore after day 1, then again after day 2, then surprise, after day 3 as well. Sure, a person is going to be sore after not working for over 2 years, so he just chalked it up to that. After spending 85% of the weekend on the couch or in bed, he started to realize that this is not good.

He returned to work Monday morning and talked to the head of HR and told her that he probably shouldn't have started at 8 hours a day and wants to cut it back to 6 hours a day, she had no problem with that. By noon I am getting texts from him starting with, "I don't think they know that my spine is fused together". Last night we discussed this and no, they didn't know his spine was fused together. In fact, when he told his supervisor this information, I believe he was asked, "Why are you here?". He went to bed at 9:45pm last night, that never happens. Ever.

Today he went back to do another 6 hours. At 3:20 I get a text from him that says, "I need to figure out how to make money working from home. Quickly. This would be a great job if I didn't have a broken spine." followed by "I guess I should have become a musician when I had the chance." It's very saddening to me. It breaks my heart to see him like this. It's been breaking my heart for the past 2 1/2 years since he was injured.

Jesse and I just have mostly routine changes. We can adapt. He's used to seeing his Daddy in the morning and when he gets home. I am used to having someone do some chores when I am at work and have dinner started. I just have to carry more weight around the house. We'll manage. We need this income, but we don't need his pain getting worse. We can live of WC pay (barely), but even if he goes back to that, it's not going to last forever. Seems like decisions need to be made, and they won't be easy ones.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

How Could I Forget?

The Rahn Family Christmas Card

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Going Back

That last post, I think I wrote it before new years and never published, which is why I am doing 2 posts in one day. NYE was good. Paul's parents took Jesse for the night. We hit the bar for a couple hours to be social, then headed home. We got back about 10:45-11 so we could ring in the new year at home and without the dangers on the road. We had a great time.

Last week Paul got the letter that he's been dreading. The one requests his presence at work. Yup, back to work. Honestly I don't know how he can go back to work when he's still heavily medicated and in pain. I guess we'll see how this all goes. The letter states "We are happy to hear you are feeling better." Um, what?? Who told you he's feeling better? Is this what you are assuming because he was released to light duty? Well you are mistaken.

Since the arrival of the letter Paul's been filled with anxiety. Yes, he wants to return to work. He wants to get out of the house, he wants to earn income. But he hasn't worked in 2 years, he's still in pain, his company hasn't exactly treated him well, etc. This will be quite an adjustment.... for all of us. Jesse is going to miss the time with his Daddy, I will miss the help maintaining a household and I am going to miss coming home to him. Sounds like little stuff, this I know, but none of us adjust to change very well, but we will get through it, we always do.

Come and Gone

Christmas has come and gone. It went by fast. Remind me again why people prepare for this day months in advance? Seems like a waste of energy. I still have a little Grinch in me, I guess. Maybe because this holiday wasn't as magical as it was made out to be. It wasn't bad... but it was certainly not magical. Is it my attitude? Or is it just what happens.

I really hate that this holiday is about gifts. I think I mentioned before that I don't remember gifts from Christmas past, I remember the occasion. Which I think is much more important than any material posession. Paul and I cut back dramatically with each other, but I think we both did good. Got a few needed things and a few wanted things. We didn't go overboard with Jesse because we knew he'd be getting a lot from relatives, and we were right about that. I think I liked the scaled back version of Christmas.

Christmas Eve was spent at my parents home. Probably the last one they will host for us. They went all out with the food and there was no pressure on when to arrive. It was nice and relaxed, but a bit short if you ask me. But that's how things are when littles are involved. I wish everyone could understand that. The kids played, opened presents and my parents made an awesome surf-n-turf dinner. There were crab legs, tenderloin, green beans, potatoes, I don't even remember what else, probably because there was steak and crab. A nice evening had by all.

Christmas morning we did the usual, opened the gifts that Santa brought, then endulged in stuffed strawberry french toast and bacon. I wished I had some bloody mary's or mimosa's, but I obviously I failed in that planning, but I survived. Jesse went down for a nap and the plan was to head over to Paul's parents when he woke. Which we did, and I warned them we'd be late. They started about 2 and we arrived at 3:15. We got there and our neices already opened their gifts and within 5 minutes we were asked if Jesse would open his. Um, no. He hasn't even warmed up to being here yet. A little time went by and before I knew it, his gifts were piled in the middle of the room and it was expected he open. I think he opened one. Before the night was over, almost all of them got opened, but what fun is that? Being pressured to open gifts. Dumb.
We all survived. Until next year.