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Growing Our Family!

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

What a crazy, crazy week this has been! Some of what's gone on, I've shared with my BLC Sunset Stingrays team. The biggest thing of all, though, is what I wasn't free to share until now.

Most of you know that #2 son David moved in with us at the end of last summer, with Erik (now nearly 7) and Sean (4-1/2). He's been a single Dad since their mother left about 2-1/2 years ago. He has another son Marshall (11), the product of a failed engagement all those years ago. He has been living with his mother since his birth.

It hasn't been a good situation for Marshall. He was abused when they lived with her Dad. We complained to Orange County, CA, but he was not removed even though there was a substantiated case following an injury and police report. His mother has babied him terribly, stuffed him to morbid obesity, kept David and us from him when the whim struck, etc. etc.etc.

When David was planning his move here, he tried to get custody. No go, because Marshall repeatedly told/tells us that he wants to be with David - but he wouldn't tell the court advocate appointed for him. And why not? Because he knew she would cry, and he didn't want to see that! His mother subsequently moved to Utah to live with her mother. She has not complied with the court order to pay half of his transportation costs for visits here, so David has borne it all. He has been here one week of Christmas vacation, spring break, 8 weeks each summer.

He has a late spring break compared to Fulton's, next week. David has had a ticket for him for this coming Saturday.

He has been bullied at school, for quite some time. David found out about a week ago that Marshall had been suspended for losing his temper at school. A few days later, he found out that this was an indefinite suspension - because it was a second suspension for this. His mother "forgot" to tell David, and she had told Marshall not to tell him.

So, out of the blue, she told him a week ago that she might let him come here to live. It depended on what she found out at yesterday about how long his suspension would be. And today, she called to say that he's suspended for the rest of the year. She said she had talked with her mother, stepfather, and father about what they thought of Marshall moving here - and they all think she should let him.

Hallelujah! We'd figured all along that when he acted out to the point that she couldn't handle him, that this is how it would turn out.

So now we all have lots of planning to do! And soon we will all have a lot of adjusting to do! But we are ever so thankful that Marshall will be with us at long last. He will arrive Saturday with a letter from his mother stating that she and David have agreed to simply reverse the custody arrangements, with the plan that he will be with her only 5-6 weeks for this summer only, since he's already been with her more than half the school year.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DOTTIEJANE1 4/12/2014 1:21PM

    Hugs and prayers. I currently am living with my youngest daughter, her husband and there daughter. Life sure have improved for.Lots of adjustment for all but soooooo worth it in the end .

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FLASUN 4/11/2014 6:14AM

    Pamela, Praying things will work out!!! emoticon Janice

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4EVER21B 4/9/2014 4:17PM

    emoticon and lots of prayers for you. Wishing the best for your grandchildren and your son. emoticon

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DEBB1313 4/9/2014 10:21AM

    What a blessing on so many levels! Fantastic news for Marshall! How wonderful that he will essentially have a fresh start with strong family support behind him. Prayers that the transition goes as smoothly as possible!

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PEGGYO 4/9/2014 10:03AM

    So glad that Marshall will be joining the rest of the family.

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SAASHA17 4/9/2014 8:02AM

    U have an amazing son shows his upbringing..glad Marshall is coming "home"..praying for a smooth transition for him and he is loved here!!


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CARLYG8 4/9/2014 7:30AM

    I will be praying for a smooth transition for all of you, especially Marshall. And praising your son for never giving up his fight to "save" his son. That speaks volumes as to the kind of man he is. God bless your family!

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JJ4493 4/9/2014 12:33AM

    It sounds like this will be such a positive and welcome change for Marshall and the rest of you! Wishing you all the best as your family adjusts to the new arrangements.

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    I am happy that Marshall will be living with you.
I hope he adjusts well to the move.
As a grandmother myself I know that you are tickled to death that he will be with you at last and you won't have to wonder and worry about how he is being taken care of while he's away.
Have a happy reunion Sat.!

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KELLYFROG 4/8/2014 10:49PM

    I hope everything work out well for you and your family!

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MALAMI518 4/8/2014 9:01PM

    I'm sure that Marshall and the entire family will have a lot of adjusting in the beginning but that it will be so positive for him to be with you! Best wishes for a smooth transition. I know that there will be a lot of love to guide him.

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1CRAZYDOG 4/8/2014 8:26PM

  Wishing you blessings, and especially young Marshall. Hoping he thrives in your care.

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Wild Weather!

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Two days of severe thunderstorms expected here in Mid-MO. This morning, I got caught in it. We'll see what tomorrow brings!

For those of you who know there's also a 4 year-old grandson in the house, he rides a bus to his preschool, so he doesn't figure into this story.

But I walked Erik to school just in time. I went a little farther than usual, making sure I got him safely across the school driveway. (Not trusting drivers, even with kids in the car, to be attentive this morning). The hail started when I was near a house we cut through a back yard. I figured I'd go to another hose a bit farther, knowing folks are home, and just wait there.

I couldn't make it! I had my umbrella - thank God! But my legs were stinging so from being pelted. So I just sheltered under my 'brella near the first house. Soon the worst of the hall was bigger than jawbreakers, but smaller than golf balls. The umbrella protected my head, and the house wall shielded the worst of it. But I took three bad ones on my left shoulder and one on the top of my left toes. (Fortunately I wear leather shoes)! Also had one ricochet off the house and into my back.

Then I found our how hard it is to walk on a couple of inches of hail balls, uneven size and VERY slippery. Took my time coming home and arrived safely. My shoulder was still tingling from the worst hit when I got here. And,since it's still tender, I had Paul check for bruising: minor but noticeable.

Another bad storm about an hour later, and now in a clearing area until sometime after supper. More of the same expected from sometime after midnight until around 9:00am. Thinking Erik might be getting to school a bit late - safety first!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GODZDESIGN95 4/3/2014 12:01AM

    This weather is a sign of the times. Earth Quakes in chili etc. Only the father knows. Keep safe. They are calling for tornados and storms. I am praying.

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KELLYFROG 4/2/2014 10:10PM

    Wow- what crazy weather! Glad you are okay!

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1CRAZYDOG 4/2/2014 9:07PM

  Stay safe!

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MALAMI518 4/2/2014 7:55PM

    That is crazy weather! I am glad that you aren't too hurt.

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POPSY190 4/2/2014 4:49PM

    Glad you had only minor injuries. A niece in NSW Australia had her car written off because of hailstone damage! Stay safe!

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SHANTODD420 4/2/2014 2:57PM

    Wow that is some crazy weather you are having. We are suppose to get freezing rain and snow again here in mid Michigan. I am so over winter and ready for some warmth. Today it is beautiful so maybe they are wrong. Stay safe Nana.

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JAXMOMMY 4/2/2014 2:42PM

    Yikes! Hubby and I were laughing about unusual ways to die and being pelted by killer hailstones belongs up there! Who ever would have thought a person could be injured by hail? In deed safety first for you and your grandson! Be careful!!

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There's WHAT In My Tea?

Monday, March 31, 2014

This morning I read a reference to pesticides in commercial teas, which are largely unwashed before being bagged. So I googled "brand name tea and pesticides" and found numerous articles. This one, and its suggestions, was a real eye-opener.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JAXMOMMY 4/2/2014 2:44PM

    Yikes again! Just said Yikes on your blog about hail! Did you put a link in here and I missed it? I love my green tea! What is the world coming to?

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GODZDESIGN95 4/2/2014 7:45AM

    Global Brands and carrington tea were not on the list. I drink those. I tossed bigelow it had not been opened. Wow this is just awful emoticon . You think you are doing something good for you and it ends on the opposite side. It is ashamed what they are doing to our food. I am boiling.

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KELLYFROG 3/31/2014 11:18PM

    Thanks for sharing! I am a huge tea drinker. I'll have to look harder at the labels!

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SHANTODD420 3/31/2014 4:18PM

    Oh no better check the list for my husband he has been drinking green tea.

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1CRAZYDOG 3/31/2014 12:33PM

  OMG! And the ones listed as good aren't available in any of my grocery stores! Guess I could try on line???? But then you end up w/shipping costs!

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VORTEX33 3/31/2014 12:14PM

    That's depressing. I drink a lot of tea and all my brands are on the icky list. :(

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TEKRU1 3/31/2014 12:04PM

    This makes me so sad! I've been working so hard to switch from the admittedly toxic Diet Coke to tea and find out it may not be much better! Now what?

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CAT-IN-CJ 3/31/2014 11:52AM

    emoticon Oh, and ya know, the closer we look, the worse it gets.

Years ago (before whats-his-name invented the internet) I did lots of research into our foods, cosmetics, skin care products, etc. Ewww, it was pretty nasty then . . . if ya want to see something really disgusting, check out the FDA's tolerance levels for our consumables.....

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Coping Better...And Some Good News

Saturday, March 08, 2014

2 Timothy 1:7
King James Version (KJV)
7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

My original reaction to the news of grandson Jakob's need for surgery on cartilage in his voice box was worse than fear. I found myself almost paralyzed, literally reliving - literally feeling all over again! - the terror of those first few weeks of his life. Coming home from a delightful shopping trip with my mother to have my Dad tell me that Jakob's arrival was imminent, at just 24 weeks and 3 days. Hanging up from Tobias's phone call referenced in my last blog still in tears. Taking a piece of printer paper and drawing a "baby" on it since he was only 11-1/4" long. Holding the paper and crying and crying and crying.....

But I have since been able to let go of that and get on with life. I wish I could say that it was just because of the strength of my faith, but I can't. It was definitely helped along by some good news on the medical front.

The doctor doing the surgery has postponed to the 20th. He is confident enough of not needing to do a trach that he will do it in what's called the short-stay area of the hospital. If he finds he needs to do the trach, he will not proceed but will wake Jakob up and then reschedule for another week out.

As an RN, I was never shy about questioning a doc. But only once did I ever refuse to carry out a medical order. My basic thinking is that I have the knowledge to know what questions to ask, and even to know when the answer just isn't right! And now that I know have seen the pictures from the MRI and know a lot more about the procedure, I'm confident about leaving the activity in this man's hands and the outcome to God.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PEGGYO 3/20/2014 1:48PM

    How is Jakob doing now?


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JAXMOMMY 3/16/2014 9:41PM

    Oh! Glad you got good news and you found some peace! Do keep us posted. Sweet Jacob!

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GODZDESIGN95 3/9/2014 4:59PM

    Still can never pray too much! emoticon

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DEBB1313 3/8/2014 10:29PM

    Im so happy that you have had some good news. It sounds like you are much more at peace and that is wonderful. I will still have you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

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KELLYFROG 3/8/2014 10:28PM

    Glad to hear you are able to cope with this. Hang in there!!! emoticon

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CIPHER1971 3/8/2014 3:47PM


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1CRAZYDOG 3/8/2014 3:39PM

  As a fellow RN, it is empowering to have the knowledge we gain from schooling and actually practicing the art of Nursing. However, on the other hand, it really DOES bring out the interrogator when something doesn't feel right. Glad that you were able to do some research and I'd be heartened too by the fact that the surgeon is willing to wait AND doing it in the short stay area. Sounds like a good plan.
All good wishes and prayers.

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TRUNKJUNK 3/8/2014 3:21PM

    It's awesome when we come to terms and stop worrying about things and remember it's all in God's hands. It's such a comfort in knowing God's got you, Jacob and the doctor all in His hands. I wish the best for you all.

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MALAMI518 3/8/2014 11:24AM

    I am happy that the doctor was able to give you some positive news and even happier that you are coping better! I'll keep you and Jakob and the doctor in my prayers.

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DOTTIEJANE1 3/8/2014 10:13AM

    emoticon emoticon

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Please Help! Seriously, I'm Falling Apart Inside!

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

I'm scared, and I've hardly been able to see through my tears since Monday. Many of you know that my 13-year-old grandson Jakob is a micro-preemie survivor. He was born at 24 weeks 3 days. The only thing he had going for him from a medical standpoint was that he turned out to be 5 ounces bigger than the most recent ultrasound had predicted him to be. One pound, 10 ounces, and 11-1/4 inches long.

But my son's very firm words when I started to cry after hearing that he had been born were, "Mom, he's awesome! IT'S OK! He's awesome!" Truer words were never spoken. That boy was a fighter. At 2-1/2 weeks, he was rushed into surgery at about 3am for necrotising colitis. (Meaning that his intestines were dying). If they found just a dead segment, they would do a colostomy and hope for the best. If the dead tissue was in a shotgun pattern, there was nothing that could be done. Obviously, he had the former condition, and surgery was completed. But he was dying on the table, and they had to close him in such a hurry that he's always had a wall-to-wall scar on his belly that looked like he'd been cut with a manual can opener.

And still he fought! Jakob came home at 4 months with a feeding tube and a colostomy. The feeding tube came out in a couple of weeks, and the colostomy was reversed 3 months later.

Fast forward a couple of years. Limited eyesight (required 100% oxygen to keep him alive). And stridor (raspy breathing) often, even at rest. Eye surgeries, and eventually totally blind in one eye and legally blind in the other. Reassurances that the stridor resulted from scar tissue around the trachea because of how long he spent incubated.

But we thought we were out of the woods. No cerebral palsy. An intellect that just won't quit! Some anxiety issues about medical issues, especially about losing his last bit of eyesight or if the necrotising colitis could happen again. (Totally understandable, given what the trooper has been through).

Then, with fall, came puberty. Voice changes that led to increasing difficulty breathing. A consult with a pediatric ENT specialist. And the bad news. A cartilage at the back of the vocal cords was apparently cut with his newborn intubation, or perhaps when inserting a bigger trach tube as he grew in the time he was incubated. These pieces of cartilage form that "scar tissue" of the original diagnosis of his noisy breathing. And they fused back together in such a way that they're wrapped around his vocal cords. So now, this boy on the threshold of manhood has vocal cords that cannot grow bigger except by growing inward and gradually suffocating him.

He again faces surgery, a week from tomorrow, to remove this cartilage. Even as a retired RN, I have no idea if this will have any long-term effect on Jakob's voice quality. But we do know that it highly likely that the anaesthesiologist will be unable to pass a breathing tube before putting him under; he will likely have a tracheostomy tube until he's totally healed from the cartilage removal.

As a Christian, I really do try to keep all my children and grandchildren in God's hands, to trust in His will whether or not I understand or like it. But as Nana, my heart is breaking for this beautiful and sensitive boy! I feel like it's all I can do to put one foot in front of the other right now. Also, I know that everything I'm feeling in terms of fear and anxiety are probably compounded tenfold in my son and daughter-in-law. So somehow, I need to stay strong. With God's help, I will. But I sure could use some help from my SparkFriends right now too. Thanks - I love you all!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PEGGYO 3/11/2014 1:54PM

    I hope everything is going ok

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BLACKROSE_222 3/7/2014 12:24PM

    I'm so sorry to hear about this. My thoughts and prayers are joining you and your family. It sounds like he has been down many crossroads, and come through - have faith that the path he goes down next will be the one he should be on.


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GAYEMC 3/6/2014 4:56PM

    I am so sorry for your whole family that Jakob has to go through yet another surgery. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of you until it's over and Jakob is back home.

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1CRAZYDOG 3/6/2014 9:31AM

  HUGS and many prayers for your grandson.

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FLASUN 3/6/2014 5:31AM

    Pamela, My prayers go out to you and your family. Your grandson is emoticon just like your son told you!! He is a fighter and I'm sure he will get through this surgery. emoticon Sending you lots of emoticon Janice

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KELLYFROG 3/5/2014 10:47PM

    Sending prayers and hugs your way and letting you know that the Stingrays are here for you!!

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GODZDESIGN95 3/5/2014 5:45PM

    Not only are you a christian but a grandma. Prayers going right now! Dear Lord you have had this dear lad in the palms of your hands from the beginning. You have brought him a long way. I pray that you give the dr wisdom and knowledge during his surgery. Lead, guide and teach them what to do. Strengthen the family and perform miracles as I know you can do. Be with and comfort this family and especially this dear saint who has stood on your word. In the name of Jesus. I count it done Amen. emoticon Please keep us informed. I am friending you so I can keep in touch with you in prayers.

Comment edited on: 3/5/2014 5:45:58 PM

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    As a Grand mother I can feel your pain.
It brings tears to my eyes to hear what Jakob has been through. He sounds like a real fighter. I wish the best for him.
I will remember you, Jacob and your family in my prayers. emoticon

Terri emoticon

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DEBB1313 3/5/2014 2:22PM

    I can imagine how you must be feeling. It seems so unfair when the little ones in our life have to fight and suffer through so much when instead they should be moving happily through their life experiences. It sounds like Jakob is an incredible fighter with an amazing spirit. I very much believe that the universe rewards with positive healing energy those that require the strength in times of need. I will be sending every bit of positive energy I can in Jakob's, your and the families direction. Hoping that your Stingray sisters can at least distract and perhaps entertain you a little along the way of this journey.

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RHOOK20047 3/5/2014 2:06PM

    I will be praying for you and Jakob. Just be there for him, and let God do his wonder! He sounds like a real fighter, after going through all that he has so far. I believe God has much more in store for him!


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MALAMI518 3/5/2014 1:10PM

    I wish that I knew of a way to help more than to say that I will keep him and you in my prayers, and I'll be thinking of you. He sounds like a real fighter and a real survivor. It's so unfair that he has to face more difficulty, but I pray that you will all come through this with God's help.

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CHOCOHOLIC2276 3/5/2014 12:51PM

    My heart breaks for this beautiful boy. I will be praying that the operation is a success and may God be there guiding the surgeon's hands through all of this.

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-DAVE- 3/5/2014 12:47PM

    My heart is with you and your family.

A lot of challenges and I firmly believe that challenges make us stronger for our loved ones and for ourselves, no matter how crazy that sounds. Sounds like a small vacation with Jakob (whenver time is available) is in order or at least some bonding with all friends and family...

I think (and I am no psychologis), but I'd think that a bunch of people coming over and distracting him to not concentrate on surgery, but perhaps what a great person he is and using positive reinforcement; especially if he has fear about next week.

Does he have any hobbies or interests that could be "sparked" during the next 5-6 days; this may help with distraction and positive outlooks.

Love, support, and all the things that I am 100% sure he's getting of course. Please keep in mind that I am not sure if he's able to do any of the things I am suggesting, but love, talking and interaction certainly can do a person a world of difference whether you think they realize it or not.

My dad was in ICU for 3 weeks prior to us having to make an awful decision and he was in the worst shape ever - I could not bare to see him like that. All we did was talk to him and if he opened his eyes and then opened them brightly (because he recognized us) we smiled and talk calmy more to him. Only the good things. I was promised by many people that he enjoyed that and that was the best thing a son could do for a father.

Give Jakob your love, your loving words and of course the freedom for him to experience life whichever way he wants like we all inevitabely do. Jakob is certainly braver than I.


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SHANTODD420 3/5/2014 12:40PM

    Thoughts and Prayers being Sent Nana. He will pull through he is a strong boy. Hugs it can only get better.


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