About Me

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Hi I’m Jen- I'm one lucky lady to be married to the most wonderful man, Jason. I am a mother to three beautiful children, Grant, Norah, who was born with hydrocephalus, and Mason. I love spending my time with my family. I also like to challenge myself with new things. I'm on a constant quest to become more organized, it may never happen but it's a dream. I currently work part-time as a RN in an emergency department. I love this journey of life that I am on with God by my side, knowing that all things are possible when you Believe.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Finally a MRI

The day finally arrived, it has been just over a year since Norah had a MRI. I couldn't wait for a good peak inside that little head of hers. Norah last had an ultrasound in January that said her ventricles were shrinking and that's where we have been left hanging. In June she was scheduled to have an MRI and her doctors felt she was doing so well they postponed it until now.

Norah is doing great, I know, I see it everyday in her interactions with us, her babbling, and her crawling. Lately I find myself needing some reassurance, especially since Jason and Norah's tumble down the stairs leaving Norah with the cephalohematoma, which is nearly gone now. Norah's head circumference has changed little over the last six months, she has gone from 90th percentile down the the 15th percentile for age. That's a almost a straight line down the chart, not the nice little curve they tell you it should be. We've been told a decrease is normally after shunt placement, since the extra CSF is being drained off, but I still see no plateau in sight.

Norah also has a flat spot on the back of her head that we have been told would round out once she was sitting up. No change. In fact it almost seems to be getting worse, it looks like a dimple in the back of her head. That leaves us wondering if her shunt is over draining, not leaving enough CSF to cushion her head and let her head round out.

So today Norah and I head to Children's Hospital of Wisconsin and finally had a MRI. Norah was a trooper as usually, and as always a fighter. She fought the nurses putting in her IV and fought against the nitrous gas ripping off the mask. But after getting a fourth person to hold down my little 17 pound baby, an IV was place after the 3rd attempt and off to dream land she went.

Norah took almost two hours to wake up from her sedation. While I was waiting for her slumber to fade, I got a sneak peak at her images. Her images are still far from normal, but it was nice to see that black space that was previously filled with fluid that couldn't circulate was filed in with beautiful brain tissue. I sure we will not know what the report says for a couple weeks, worse yet until she sees neurology in November...what I know I told you before, Norah is doing great!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Life's Rollercoaster - along for the ride

Romans 12:12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer

This last year has brought many ups and downs for our family. Today I'd like to think that we stayed strong together, weathering the long ride, hopefully getting to be waiting in line for awhile. I truly believe that God won't give us more than we can handle, but I have definitely said a few prayers to help give me the strength to endure.

I have talked about Norah hydrocephalus, but haven't said much about some of our other stresses. Jason started a company with a few other men about 15 months ago, and starting a business is no easy feat. I make a long story short, there hasn't been any money for payroll the last couple of months. We have been living on an extremely tight budget. Also our insurance benefits that we have through COBRA are about to expire, and the subsidy that makes it affordable has expired. Thankfully I have been able to pick up extra hours at the hospital I work at which has helped out with out finances.

We have had a role reversal, most days Jason gets to hang out and play with the kids while I head to work. He still puts in time for his company, despite not being paid. In hopes of being paid in the future, the work must be done.

I feel so blessed to have Jason in my life. He is strong and steadfast, so patient with our children, he loves being involved with their little lives. He helps to keep me grounded and reminds me what our priorities should be, and not to worry about the what ifs.

Last week Jason's company received their first contract, and I increased my permanent FTE (hours at work), I now work two - twelve hour shifts a week. This way I work one day during the week and every other weekend. Jason works from home one day a week to care for the kids so it keeps daycare costs away, not to mention other people experiencing all these precious moments with our kids. Grant is now potty training and doing an excellent job. Norah's cephalohematoma is healing very well and she continues to amaze us daily with new accomplishments that we were told may never happen.

To put it simply, we are blessed.

Potty Training Success, at least stage 1

We have been working on potty training around here the last few weeks. We first introduced the potty chair in March after Grant turned 2, he was very interested in all things potty and bathroom related.

He would use his potty chair off and on since then, we never pushed training until a couple weeks ago, when Grant showed clear signs that he knew what was going on and just preferred his diaper. We started by having him run around naked at home for a week, and would use a diaper when we went out. He quickly mastered using the potty chair, for both #1 and #2.

The next step I was dreading, going out into public without a diaper. Our first few outings, it was as a family and Jason would take Grant to the bathroom, luckily enough there were urinals that were low enough for Grant to use. Then on Sunday we went to a starving artist show in which a port-a-potty was our only option, Grant put it best, "Eww, groody. No peepee." Yup. He's not a huge fan of the public restroom, but he has checked out the bathroom at every store we've visited this last week. He has at least been able to hold it until we have arrived back home to his singing potty.

He still is night trained and occasionally having accidents while napping, but we are getting there!!

In honor of one week using his potty, this morning was all things play-doh. Grant loves play-doh, I on the other hand think of the big mess of sticky little pieces that get tracked over the house. But I let those thoughts go and enjoyed our time together while little Norah napped.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

White Chicken Enchiladas

Yum, yum, yummy, yum. Did I mentions these are yummy?

These have become a favorite in our house this summer after I discovered the recipe on another blog, Cassie Craves, worth checking out. Hope you enjoy.

White Chicken Enchiladas 
Souorce: Cassie Craves

8-10 soft taco size flour tortillas
2 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese, divided

2 cups shredded cooked chicken

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

1 can chicken broth

1 cup sour cream

1 7-ounce can diced green chiles

Cilantro for garnish, if desired

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix together 1 cup of the cheese and the chicken. Place an equal amount of the mixture into each tortilla, roll up and place seam side down into a 9 x 13-inch pan.

2. In a skillet or saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken broth, whisking until smooth. Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Stir in sour cream and green chiles. Pour over the top of the enchiladas; sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese.

3. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro.
**I have also substitutes shredded beef and pork from left over roast for the chicken, I think I may like shredded pork the best in this recipe. ~Jen


Norah's hair is now long enough to wear these cute little bows, making her even more adorable.

We now need a place to keep them together and out of the hands of her 2 year old brother. That means it's time to get crafty!! This is what I made to hopefully keep her little bows together.

I love how it turned out, and it was super easy to make. Not to mention, it's a little piece of art for the wall. Now what to do with her headbands??

Friday, September 3, 2010

Loves me, loves me not...

Sometimes having a big brother is nice....

and sometimes having a big brother is not so nice.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Jason and I love minigolfing. The last two summers with the addition of Grant and Norah to our family, our chance to hit the greens have been few and far between. We decided to accept the challenge of minigolf with to little ones in tow.

Jason took on the task of carrying Norah, since the course was not stroller friendly.

I chased after Grant. What were we thinking giving a putter to a 2 year old?

Norah decided she had enough after the 13th hole, and decided to take a nap.

I think we'll wait until next summer to try this again.