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.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Day 4 ~ Zoo

With all the things to choose to do I hesitated on the idea of heading to the zoo in St. Louis. We have a membership to the zoo in Milwaukee, so we often go to the zoo. But I also know Grant and Norah love the zoo, and Mason is happy to tag along anywhere, and with our zoo membership in Milwaukee there were perks to be had at the St. Louis zoo. So the zoo it was.

I did get a little lost on the was to the zoo, and I may have run a red light in my disorientation, but we made to the zoo safely. And as for the red light, we'll see if I get a ticket in the mail to prove it.

Once we arrived at the zoo, I found out the free admission is realative to if you can find somewhere nearby to park. But I happily paid to park near the zoo rather that walk a mile to park for free.

Our first stop inside the zoo was the children's area. A special area set aside with animals that you could pet, playground, and a building with activities for my little ones. I sure they would have been happy to spend most of our day in this area, but there was a big zoo to explore, so I made them move on.

We then found an elephant foutain. Grant was fasinated with the money in the water, so I dug out some coins. Then, all of us threw in our coin while making a wish.

We wondered through the zoo, until Grant had had enought, he loves trains and did not want to wait any longer to have to ride the ChooChoo. I was nervous, I had Mason fast asleep and I was worried moving him from the stroller to the train would wake him. Also we couldn't all sit together in one seat which meant I had to trust Norah and Grant to sit together in front of me. They did great, and the train ride was excellent.

Once we were done riding, we were off to find the elephants, along the way we found the hippos (best hippo habitat I've ever seen) and some other animals. Norah couldn't decide whether to walk to ride, so back and forth about ten times between her walker and the stroller I was nearing the end of my patients. So I bribed her with some juice and goldfish and she found that she was content to stay in the stroller for awhile. We were able to finally find those elephants, we even saw a baby elephant.

We moved onto the penguins. Grant declared the building was too cold and wanted outside. Hmm, does he know winter is on its' way and it will soon be that cold every day.

Norah and Mason decide it was time to nap again. Mason has been of like a bird in a cage all week. Sitting in the stroller I throw a blanket over him and he sleeps peacefully. As soon as the blanket is removed, he begins to squak.

Grant and I used naptime to finish explore the zoo and have some fun time for just the two of us.

We headed back to the hotel and Grant and Norah played some Angry Birds until Jason was done with work.

Day 3 ~ Magic House

Well last night Grant stayed awake until 11pm. Eeeks, I was seriously concerned about what the day would hold with a kiddo that lost out on precious sleep. That is the drawback of staying in a hotel, too much excitement for a little one to sleep.

We were off to the Magic House, a children's museum, to play for the afternoon. I must say if I had to write a review for this place as a parent, it would not be good. If Grant was given the opportunity to review it he would say it was excellent, and demand to go there everyday. I had some of my first moments of frustration with what is considered accessible. Norah's walker was unable to get to many places, I even saw her get upset over not being able to get through a door with her walker. I was also told a few times that my kids were to young to play with an exhibit. A children's museum with age restrictions, seriously?

Review over, on to the good times of the day.

First up, a sand table, which Norah loved.

While Norah was busy with sand, Grant was busy pumping gas, climbing through netting and going down a slide.

Then there were small spaces to climb through.

A water table, my nightmare. Wet clothes, Norah drinking dirty water, potential falls from slipping on wet floors. Thankfully Norah attempted to drink the water after being warned which brought the water table fun to an end. I know, I'm no fun.

Then into the pretend play area. Grant and Norah loved this spot the most. Dress up and pretending to fix cars, go fishing, play house, make pizza, work in the nursery of the hospital...who wouldn't love this (again, accessibility was an issue here as well.

Then things got electrifying! Good thing we were done with the water.

Well let's see what else we can find...

...an adventure in Wonderland.

Then Big. Musical. Toys. This is just one of them; drop the balls at the top and listen to the music they make as they roll down.

We ended our day in the play area outside.

Off to Sonic for the slushies that were promised for behaving and listening to mom.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Day 2 ~ Botanical Gardens

We are here to explore, and fall is one of my favorite seasons to be outdoors, despite my allergies trying to prevent it, so today we went to Missouri Botanical Gardens.
We started in a dome that Grant and Norah loved walking through, peeking over the bridge railings and trying to get into the waterfalls.

It lead to a tree house exhibit and a green screen to stand in front of and play. I was nervous about letting Norah stand on the box, so Grant being the helpful big brother he is held on to her...by her neck. If you look close you can see that he is trying hard to keep her up.

Outside we found an area that was especially for kids, but it had a separate entrance fee. We had only begun to scratch the surface so we skipped it this time (with kids of napping ages, time can be a limiting factor. Next time we come back we will definitely take time to check it out. Grant and Norah didn't realize they were missing anything, they were busy playing in a covered wagon and open carriage.

It was nearing snack time, so we found a great spot in the Chinese garden to read the book we brought, The Five Chinese Brothers.

Then we were off. Grant enjoyed all the drinking fountains around the gardens, and even perfected how to drink the water while we were there.

Norah was took a break from walking and found a spot on the stroller with Mason. Our stroller is definitely a big stroller, but what is necessary to keep three little ones together.

Norah found her second wind after awhile and was off and running with her walker. She was getting silly, at times walking on her tip toes, sometimes running, and sneaking in some duck walking occasionally.

We ended by the pools and it was time to find some lunch and find our hotel for some naps before daddy get done with his day.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Day 1 ~ The Arch

After meeting a new friends, what's the next thing to do in St. Louis? The Gateway Arch, of coarse. It's what St. Louis is known for, right?

Jason and I headed down to the river front and the check out the Arch. Jason and I had stopped at the arch once before. It was six weeks after I had delivered Grant. My grandmother in Arkansas had passed away and we were driving down for her funeral. It was early spring, but it was a good spot to stop, stretch our legs and feed a hungry baby. Fast forward three and a half years, we've got two more kids in tow.

Playing on the stairs up to the arch. It made me nervous especially when you look over and find your son laying on the edge. So I did what any good mom would do - not panic, grab a quick picture of him, then quickly get over to him and tell him not to do that again.


Great start to our mini vacation.

IRL Hydro Friends ~ Tyler & Diane

I love the Internet for the simple idea of people being able to share information and experiences. That is why I write this blog - for our family to know what we are up to so far away and to share our experience of raising kids in particular Norah who has hydrocephalus.

When we first learned that Norah had hydrocephalus we dove into the deep end of the pool researching as much as possible about what the future would hold for Norah. Well a lot of the medical sites shared the same general information. Then I came to the Fetal Hydrocephalus website, it was exactly what we needed. Real life information put together by a mom whose son was also living with hydrocephalus. On her website other families are allow to share their stories. A wonderful thing when there is such a wide range of how hydrocephalus could affect a person.  Stories and experiences were read and I continue to follow many of the blogs that gave me hope in those first gloomy weeks. That is also where I met Tyler and his family, through Tyler's Trip.

When I decide we were traveling with Jason to St. Louis I dropped Diane a note asking her if they would have time to meet us at all this week. Diane is very busy these days on top of being Tyler's mom and keeping up with his busy schedule, she works full-time, is nearing the finish of building a new house to move into and is 8 months pregnant! I thought about not saying anything because I know how busy they are but after having the chance to meet other families this summer, I just couldn't let the oppertunity pass.

On Sunday, Diane and Tyler drove 2 hours to meet us and I couldn't be more grateful. Tyler has an infectious smile that makes you instantly fall in love with him, and Diane is completely genuine. Grant, Mason and Norah welcomed Tyler right away. Grant wanted to know where Tyler's bounce house was (he remembered seeing pictures from Tyler's birthday party this summer) and Norah got right in his face showing what it is going to be like having a little sister around. Mason even chimed in at times crying, letting Tyler know what having a baby around will be like.

We headed to Tilles Park which is completely accessible. Norah was able to take her walker everywhere with her, and Tyler was right behind in his chair. Or a few times Norah bumping into them trying to start a game of bumper cars. Norah and Tyler has fun swinging, in all of the pictures I took, Norah is not taking her eyes off Tyler. I think she thought it was pretty cool to see Tyler IRL instead of just on the computer screen. She was so comfortable with her new friends when she was done swinging, she grabbed Diane's hand and they took off walking. That's OK it gave me some prime time swinging with Tyler and playing catch with his famous football.

After grabbing some lunch, Diane came back with us to the hotel. I had a couple kids that still like to nap and were in need of sleep. Jason took the kids back to the room and Diane, Tyler, Mason and I sat in the hotel lobby and talked for couple more hours. I felt so comfortable talking with Diane and sharing our experiences. I felt like I was talking to a friend I hadn't seen in a while and we were catching up.

I do have to give a shout out to my husband, Jason. Thank you for taking the reigns of the kids so Diane and I could visit with Diane as much as possible. And a big thanks to Diane's husband, Travis, for loaning you family to us for the day. I hope you got lots of work done on the house, but next time we won't let you use that excuse :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Turning Daddy's Business Trip Into a Mini Vacation

This week Jason's work brought him to St. Louis. I started pondering the thought of staying at home with our three little ones. Well I love being home with our kids, I enjoy the part of the day when Jason is done with work and home to play with all of us. I started looking at what St. Louis has to offer, then I knew we were going with to explore. I figure that if we tagged along with him to St. Louis it would be a fun adventure for me and the kiddos, and not as lonely for Jason.

Here we are in St. Louis. I will try and share our adventure as it happens we'll the kids nap each day.

Well 2 out of 3 napping isn't bad, especially when Mason is giving the best smiles ever.

P.S  Today we were featured on another blog - All Things. Julie is a mom of a lovely little girl who also has hydrocephalus, like Norah. To celebrate Hydrocephalus Awareness Month, she has been featuring stories of other families who has a child diagnosed with hydrocephalus. Click here to read all about it.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Walk-y, Walk-y, Walk-y (as Norah says)

Post have been sporadic lately. Life is busy with three kids, 3 years and younger!! But a time out was called today, for today was momentous! Today Norah was walking in therapy. That's right, better yet I had the camera with us to record some of this real walking.

But this was a one time event today, she did it a second time.

And if that wasn't enough for you (it wasn't for me!!) here is Norah doing that walking thing again!!!

That's Emily in the vidoes with Norah, she's Norah's PT. Emily can get Norah to move, and we are thankful for her. While Norah isn't yet walking independently, after months of a plateau in gross motor skill development, the last two weeks she has made huge strides. Norah has been doing great the last few weeks, no off days, and we can see some great development taking place. I guess Mom knows best, the developmental team said to take a break, we pushed on and God is good!

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Walk to the Park

Yesterday while we were enjoying the nice fall weather, we headed out to the park. Norah asked to take her walk instead of go in the stroller. I have been reluctant to let Norah walk to the park with her walker for various reasons. The park is just over two blocks away and Norah's 2, even a typical two year old may not be able to walk that far, let alone with gross motor delays and a walker. If she couldn't make it that would leave me to carry her, push a stroller with Mason in it, and have to carry back her walker. All while trying to keep Grant with us too. Not really the situation I would like. BUT yesterday Jason was working at home, I was excited that Norah wanted to walk, so I thought I'd see how things would go. Jason was a quick phone call away for reinforcement if I needed help. Grant was just as excited for Norah to walk to the park as well, so he left his trike at home and walked with her. I'm so glad she has a big brother.

We made it to the park. And we had fun, chasing each other on the playground equipments, going up and down the slides, a game or two of tic tac toe, and swinging. Grant and Norah kept me busy on the swings. Grant would demand a push, while Norah was telling me to sit right here next to her and in circles I went keeping the both happy.

Mason slept through it all. I do love this park' besides the nice archways, it has a fun tree sculpture, you can frequently find people throwing a party for their dog their in the summer, and the yoga studio down the street holds class there in the summer.

I love how Grant likes to help Norah navigate with her walker. Everytime she hit a crack in the sidewalk he was there to help her out, so sweet.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Hair Raising Experience

Today was another fun Thursday morning at physical therapy. We ended the day with Norah and Grant going down the slide a playing in the ball pit.

Can you tell the weather changed this week? Back to dry air and static.