French Fries Make Everything Better Pt 2

He needed a blood transfusion and antibiotics and medicine to make his heart slow down. There were wires everywhere. He was swollen and tired. It was the most surreal situation I’d ever experienced.  

The doctors were good and informative but there were so many. And no one had the answer. At one point photos of the secondary infection sight were shared with colleagues because they’d never seen a case like his.  

We had our family and friend’s support. But my John and I were distant. We weren’t very strong before. I didn’t feel hopeful or secure. I didn’t pray. And I didn’t know how this would impact us. 

People wonder how you can be strong in times of crisis. You just are. You just do it. You have no choice. 

After a week in intensive care we spent a few days in the pediatric wing. Things were under control, even looking up and B was starting to get back to himself. We took wagon rides down the hallways and around the garden. Before it was over it started to feel normal. 

Because he was so small and so sick his body developed an autoimmune disorder called Autoimmune Neutropenia that would ultimately last for two years. His immune system was compromised so extra precautions were in order. But he was ok now – so we did what we had to do to keep him healthy. 

It’s been three and a half years since B’s initial illness and I still feel guilt and failure. It’s probably natural for the mother to blame herself. Seems logical. We are the protectors. It wasn’t until recently I actually said out loud that my son was deathly ill – he could have died. 

If he hadn’t recieved the transfusion he would have. I can’t imagine having actually lost him. Thinking of it all I see is an empty life. Writing it doesn’t even seem real. 

In talking to close family about this we all seem to recall different peices of information and memories about that time. Still no one knows for sure how this perfect storm of bad luck was formed. And why??

On the last day in the hospital my mother-in-law brought B french fries (exactly what he needed – fried chemicals). I took this picture of him on her lap. Resilient and happy as can be. 


Love to all going through a hardship. You will make it. 

Jen 

Advertisements

French Fries Make Everything Better Pt 1

So I had family over last night to celebrate a birthday. As we were eating my step mom said “You really should consider being a writer.” As far as I’m concerned that statement came out of no where. I was enjoying my pork chop thinking about how my son probably put his ham in the vas next to the table. It’s hard for me to accept compliments. I don’t know if I even said thank you. I immediately lowered my head and talked about why I haven’t been writing. Well folks, the bottom line is I haven’t really wanted to write about my life. I think I’ve gone and picked the wrong thing to talk about. Crap.

Actually there is more to it than that. I have doubt. I don’t want to face some of the things we’ve gone through. I’m not sure I want to air out our beeswax. I’m not sure if I can spin it into humor. And if I’m going to write chronologically, what happens next is our oldest becoming very, very ill. Maybe I’ll just speed on though it (and some other shitty happenings) to current events… Sound good? No? Ok fiiine.

I’ve gotten closer to God in the past two years. You’ll figure out why once I get there. I’ve noticed I’m picking up on things – signs or messages if I must. Maybe what my step mom said last night and what others have said in the past is someone poking me in the shoulder saying “pull yourself together Jen and write this shit down!” He probably wouldn’t swear but the FS&HG are probably getting pretty annoyed with me by now.

So while I’m at it why don’t I just start.

B had just turned one. He just started daycare. He just started having ear infections. Then he had a fever and diaper rash that wouldn’t go away. I’ve tried to map this all out to figure out what happened exactly but still there are only theories. Inconclusiveness from a variety of physicians with different opinions. One doctor had the perfect explanation right up front that I still hold on to. It was a “perfect storm of bad luck.”

One night I was settling into bed, hoping the fever would stop with both of us giving B around the clock medication regiment. Nope. The tele nurse told us to get him to the hospital. Off we went to the emergency room. Talk about scary. Talk about feeling helpless. I still replay that night in my head clear as day. Thinking we and they could have, should have done things differently. Better.

After what seemed like way too long we were transferred to the children’s hospital early in the morning. In retrospect I can see the fear on the nurses faces when we were in the room. I asked “how long will he have to be here?” “But he IS going to be ok?”  My brain has a way of ‘not going there’ in the worst of situations to save itself I guess but freaking the f out when everything is fine. It didn’t feel real. MY child cannot be THIS sick.

And then we tried to sleep for a couple hours until he went to the PICU.

To be continued.

 

He makes it guys so everybody can take a breath.

Jen

 

 

 

The First Party

Pinterest can go straight to hell. When your first child is turning one (or 52.143 weeks for some) the last thing you need to do is browse the work of thousands of perfectionistic mothers. But I am guilty as charged. I wanted the best for B and didn’t know unrealistic expectations (or just regular ass expectations) are disappointments waiting to happen. 

People need to be aware of what it takes to throw a legitimate party. First I made the invitation list, got it approved by the elders and scrounged around for everyone’s address. Like where they actually live because I had the bright idea of sending hand made invitations. Someone else was paid to make them but it was my idea and design after all. Second came worrying about the mixture of familia under a 1,200 square foot roof. We had all kinds of in-laws, ex-spouses, ankle bitters and a few other people we love. Next came the table decorations and balloons and a little banner and matching plates and paper straws with little blue polka dots on them. Then I insisted on a damn root beer float table. And the cup cake wrappers had to match the paper straws and the paper straws had to match the effing puff balls hanging from the ceiling. Let’s not forget about the last minute cleaning that happened all jacked up on coffee. And wine. Finally, I cut out little stars and glued photos of B on them to make cup cake toppers. Those jagged edges can kiss my ass. And why the hell do cup cakes need toppers? It’s called icing damnit. 

I mean really. Can we all agree this is bananas? I’ve seen a hand full of photos of my first couple of birthday parties and I don’t recall paper straws. Or puff balls. At this point in B’s life he was happy just watching the robot vacuum sweep the kitchen floor. 

An hour in to it we ran out of the cute little foods so my mom ordered pizzas and made a run for more red wine. And then it was acknowledged that it is the mom’s job to open the presents for the crowd. OK why does this happen? Birthday parties, bridal showers, wedding showers, bachelorette parties, diaper parties, housewarmings, circumcision ceremonies… At what point did we stop dropping the present off on the table to go enjoy the party like in the movies? Wouldn’t it be more fun to stand around for an hour while someone tears up a ton of presents and awkwardly thanks that person in front of everyone who has honestly forgotten where they were 20 minutes ago? No.

The first party went off without a hitch though. I have nothing to complain about. I’m just a mom. On a blog. Bitching about the expectations society puts on us to make sure our kid knows we love them. Similarly, my John and I have boycotted cards for the last couple of years. You can’t tell me how I feel Hallmark! 

But B was loved and showered with too much. Supporters and lovers of our family traveled from out of town. Everyone behaved themselves. All the silly decoration stuff I stressed about ended up being memorable keep sakes. Or maybe I kept them because of all the damn thought that was put into it. No, looking at it already melts my cold, cold heart. The only thing that still irritates me to this day is that we didn’t get a picture of the three of us (due to the pure chaos that ensued) and that the root beer float table melted. Why didn’t they mention you can’t leave everything out on display just like in the picture? Frauds. 
Here is B at his one year photo shoot not interested in his smash cake. By the way, 1984 did not have smash cakes. 


 

Godspeed. 

Jen

Funny Story

Before The Great Fire of 2012, I forgot to mention the time I cried naked in front of a high school rival and the other time I almost knocked over the wedding cake at the Waldorf Astoria. 

I was tapped to be maid of honor to my best friend’s wedding. For the sake of anonymity I’ll call her Betty. To fully appreciate the state of my mind during this time I must tell you shortly after becoming Betty’s MOH I also became with child. And six weeks before Betty’s big day I had baby B.

Final preparations for Betty’s wedding included alterations to my gown and a spray tan. Upon picking up my gown I realize the little lady butchered this several hundred dollar designer dress. I mean she chopped the hem off this dress like nobody’s GD business. I rarely engage in altercations but the postpartum rage came over me. It was beyond repair and that meant I had to ditch my new heels, wear Jesus walkers, and inform the bride the photographer probably shouldn’t shoot below my knees. I stormed out of there after slamming a twenty on the counter and shook all the way to my spay tan appointment. FYI the total was not twenty dollars. She wanted me to pay over 100 for that mess. 

Anyway, this was the first time I’ve ever been hand sprayed. I usually opted for the car wash type but didn’t want to chance the stripes or a Ross experience. I knew I’d have to be pretty much naked but didn’t think about the reality of showcasing my freshly babyless bod. “Who cares I’m sure she’s seen it all,” I told myself. Well wouldn’t I be surprised when I recognized the face that was about to be inches away from my giant areolas. “Suck it up Jen. Just keep your hormones in check for the next 10 minutes.” “So how’s your day, how have you been?” 

Oh fuck. Why is it that when someone asks you how you’re doing when you’re on the verge of a meltdown it all has to come out? The eyes filled up, the room went blurry and there it went. Naked. Just gave birth naked. To a person who didn’t even like me. 

Now. Moving on to a couple days later when I’m waiting in line to make my grand entrance into the Waldorf Astoria ballroom with the best man. We’d both had a few drinks and I was very anxiously awaiting my speech.  We half heartedly made plans to strike a funny pose and dance in together. You know, the usual. 

It goes good for about 4 seconds then this guy butt bumps me all kinds of sideways. I shake it off and try to play it cool the rest of the way to my seat. My John was at the table waiting for me. I sit down and look through my purse for my speech. He proceeds to tell me that I missed knocking over the beautiful masterpiece of a cake by as much as a hair on my head. He saw the table move. I instantly start ugly crying. Since I didn’t even realize I almost ruined the fanciest wedding I’d ever attended and it didn’t actually happen, why the hell would he tell me such a thing? And right before I’m about to face the entire room. I managed to ask him that while making the worst scowl imaginable. “It was funny,” he said. Oh. 

After the bridesmaids and I’m sure others started to notice my shit was no where near together enough to make a speech in about 60 seconds I snapped myself out of it. Up I went in my unfashionable flats to the front of a packed house and did my thing for the love birds. Golden brown and cake free. 


They end. 

Jen

It’s Britney Bitch 

Coming back from my hiadious, I’m hearing ‘it’s Britney bitch’ like I’m back from my trip to crazy town with my umbrella and fresh hair cut. I didn’t go there I’ve just been letting a few things get in the way of writing. 

Since creating Lattes Liquior and Lettuce, I quit my job to care for our littlest around the clock. He has a medical issue which is predicted to resolve around one year of age. He requires lots of warm water soaks and specific TLC (I can relate). I surprisingly love being home with him everyday but pray for his healing. 

Since starting my new gig I hadn’t been feeling like my usual specimen of perfect health. I broke down and saw my old friend the primary care physician. Do you guys know how important iron is? My hair was falling out and my sinuses were under ninja attack all because I didn’t have enough iron (my lady cycle hadn’t readjusted itself since the whole giving birth thing). I bet you didn’t think you’d be reading about that. After a week of meds and red meat I was feeling like a healthy vampire. Then came the eye ball ulcer. Yep. What the fuck kind of cherry on top is this shit. My John compared me to an old dog with the mange. I thought the same thing. Just put me down! 

So anyway, I’m awaiting some hip new glasses so I can keep up with the cool moms and not give myself another contact ulcer. I literally asked “so are these what’s current?” Just as the words left my lips a silver lady fox chimed in, “oh she sounds just like me, I need to know what’s trendy too.” I made a friend. Awesome. She got the classic Tiffany’s. 

Ok, so I left you in the past at my mom’s house fire then gave you some fun Jen facts. I wanted to make an appearance here so you didn’t think I had completely dropped my Triple Ls. I’ll be back soon. Until then ladies remember this – order the steak (medium rare) and don’t lose yourself so much that you have to be educated by the sales girl about what’s in style. 

Jen 

Silver lady fox – if you’re reading this lets do an early bird soon. 

12 Truths and Some BS

Is it weird reading about a person you don’t really know? Want to get to know the woman behind Lattes Liquor and Lettuce a little better? Well ok then. 

Who can spot the BS? 
1. I rode a camel in Tijuana. 

2. Eight of my family members are police officers.    

3. I got a tattoo in Las Vegas.

4. I tried to catch toddler vomit in my hands but jumped away yelping at the last second.

5. I denied Adam Levine’s advancements on his tour bus.

6. I didn’t make the softball, volleyball or cheerleading teams in middle school.

7. I had a modeling contract in high school.

8. I kissed a lady stingray while swimming with her fam in the ocean.

9. I’ve lived in ten different towns. Some multiple times.

10. My sense of direction is abnormally keen.

11. I was elected Sweetheart to two fraternities in college but was dethroned by one after a cheating scandal. Gasp.

12. Louie the Pimp was the name of my pet squirrel. 

13. I believe in love at first sight and ghosts.

14. There were annoying weeds in my yard so I pulled them out by the roots with bare hands. It was Poison Ivy. 

15. I embezzled my fundraising candy money.

 

Stay safe out there.

Jen

Home 

Now back to where I was…

It was a nice little home. It was the first place we looked at. We’d been together for merely months when we bought it. “When you know, you know.” I resented that wisdom…probably because I never experienced it. Then one day I did know.

That knowing feeling goes for house hunting and man hunting. People associate men as the hunters but I think it’s actually the women who are. We are constantly hunting. Hunting for nice things to bring back to the nest. Searching for and ready to pounce on the next good deal. Scouring the stores for the food our babies can/will eat. Analyzing never endlessly the pursuit of a man. I had it pretty easy though. I just knew. I had a feeling of calm and peace when I met him that didn’t go away. A feeling of being drawn to his side and being myself when I was there. Kind of like home.

Men of course can hunt. They can bring home the bacon so to speak. To think of them as hunters is sexy, but in this sense…sometimes they’re not so good. Defiantly not as stealth like as the she folk.

Anyway, our hunt had ended and there we were in our home. Two guys, a gal and her crazy ass dog. My John and I (and the village) were doing a great job keeping baby B alive. He was giggly and cute and growing. The first months of his life are a blur – thank goodness I have his half completed baby book to look back on. In the book there is a photo of B on the day he was inside my mother’s home when it caught fire. (Oh Lord Jesus, it’s a fer?!) Too soon?

All jokes aside (and with shit like this you have to find humor) my mom lost her home, her sixteen year old poodle and Olivia the fluffy rescue cat. Not to mention all of our family and earthly possessions. A friend’s new car went down in flames too. Thank God B was in the capable hands of that dear friend. He was just six months into his rain of terror.

I was coming from the salon in full trial wedding hair and makeup. I could see the smoke from miles away but still thinking it wasn’t real. It was probably just the garage. Nope. I remember a neighbor prayed for us and another with small children offered me vodka mixed with red kool-aid because she didn’t have anything else in the house. That is humanity right there. We didn’t know what to do so we saved photos under a tent that a kind neighbor put up to block the summer sun.

Later we sat in our garage on lawn chairs and drank beer. Me still in fake lashes and a baby on my lap. That fire was an undeserved bitch slap to the face. She had already survived a cheating second husband and cancer twice (so really cancer three times). 

We would never know how it started or why it had to happen. We just helped pick up the pieces, salvaged what we could from the mess and tried to restore hope. My mom began hunting and we got back in the swing of things… as much as one can after trauma hits so close to home.

This was a bit of the hard stuff I told you about. 

Jen

P.S. On the plus side no one got bronchitis. 

  

Catch the Pregnancy

Lets take a quick walk back about 9 months or so…

“Johnn…” I half yelled down the hall in a voice neither of us had heard before. He came walking in already knowing what was happening. There it was, a bright pink plus sign screaming “you bet your ass you’re pregnant girlfriend.” We looked at each other and blacked out. Just kidding. But all I remember was the overwhelming feeling of holy. shit. is this really happening?

With positive tests (yes there were multiple) and the continuous pain I’d been experiencing, we unblacked ourselves out and decided a visit to the hospital was the next logical step. After blood work confirmed that yes, this IS really happening, I slightly exaggerated my pain level (who really knows how to answer the 0-10 question anyway?) so the nurse would give me an ultrasound. This type of attempted medical manipulation was a theme throughout the next 9 months.

There ‘it’ was on the screen…I will never forget the sight of that tiny, peanut shaped being and learning that I was seeing an actual heart beating. That was the first thing I learned about any of this. There was a tiny heart in my body and it was beating at barely six weeks. It’s amazing what you experience when you enter the world of parenting. I was the only child. I did not grow up around babies in the family. I had zero interest in babysitting. Frankly, I didn’t really care for kids at all. But that doesn’t really matter because regardless of one’s background, no one has a fing clue about any of it until you yourself catch the pregnancy.

So when do we inform the folks and the bffs? We didn’t know the rules so out it went. That was interesting. One very special family member pushed for a shotgun wedding in between the awkward laughter. Call me old fashion, but I agreed that we should all have the same name before there were three of us.

By now I’m pretty sure everyone close to us can gather that we’ve been married a little longer than when the big, fancy party was held. Or maybe they hadn’t and I’ve just jumped into the deep end of a shit storm. Either way, we did what we thought we should and tried to make it right. A nice judge made sure the two of us were legal in a white gazebo at the park on a beautiful day.

Don’t think that this was all just easy breezy, go with the flow type of stuff. I cried that morning while sitting on my bathroom sink getting ready. Throughout life I never dreamed of a wedding or even pictured myself being married. This though was not the recent vision Pinterest gave me. The bouquet was cheap and my crazy hormones decided to turn my hair red during the last dye job. Nevertheless, I tried to keep my shit together and go through this was some grace and humor.

Some readers might be thinking that I was selfish and ungrateful. The truth is, (in my experience at least) it doesn’t matter what is happening in your life when you become pregnant or how much you are dying to have a child (or not); when you are pregnant and if you’re being honest with yourself, you will find yourself dealing with some pretty difficult emotions and having thoughts you’d never imagine a woman would think.  I mean you’re only creating the mirical of human life within your own body – no big deal.

My acceptance and gratitude came soon. I was fortunate to have had a pretty easy pregnancy as far as pregnancies go. It was still disgusting (fire breathing heart burn, unforgettable smells and noises…you get the picture) and hard though. But by the end of it baby B and I came out healthy and happy. Really I knew what was going on the whole time. Secretly I had been asking to be made a better person. It was indeed granted but by the unexpected means of disrupting our plans and catching the pregnancy.

Be careful what you wish for because you could wind up with a perfect, beautiful baby B that you have to teach how to wipe its butt.

Over and out.

Jen

 

 

 

 

Big lady pants.

Well what the hell does lattes, liquor and lettuce mean? My mind travels to funny places and that is where it went while I was running around our first home hopped up on caffeine trying to keep a tiny human alive and button my pants again.

I am the founder of the revolutionary Triple L Diet. Lattes. Liquor. Lettuce. “How did you lose the baby weight so quickly?” Lattes. Liquor. Lettuce. “How do you seem to have it all together?” (ha!) Lattes. Liquor. Lettuce. “Why in God’s name are you doing that?” Lattes – because we had a new baby. Liquor – because we had a new baby. Lettuce – because I got knocked up during our engagement and had weeks to fit into my beautiful, overpriced, size why was I that thin to begin with wedding gown.

Don’t take this too literal. I ate and drank other things. I’m not a crazy person. I stayed hydrated and mostly sober. It wasn’t so much liquor as it was wine (but that just doesn’t fit). I had some cheese too.

But lets get this straight real quick… This isn’t a health and wellness blog. This isn’t a dieters blog (I’m not actually promoting the ‘diet’). This is definitely not a self-help or life coaching kinda place either. This isn’t a place to take yourself seriously or be a Judy Judger. Lattes, liquor and lettuce began as a random thought and was used as a witty comeback. It has a nice ring to it and the more I think about it and that time in my life the more it just makes sense to put it to use again.

Oh, and about the “non-mom” description. That is my definition of the kind of mom I think of myself as. Or thought I was. Or started out as. Or maybe still am. I don’t know. I might just figure that out as I carry on. It’ll be fun.

So this is where I will introduce you to my thirty something year old life. An engaged but still living in sin with the proof down the hall, twenty something. I’d take myself for an organized, type A, planner but I gotta tell ya, I’m not sure how this will all unfold. I don’t know any bloggers, I didn’t research blog etiquette and I don’t use perfect grammar. However, I can’t deny that I like to write. So I’m giving this a whirl my way.  I’m pretty sure I have life experiences and a sense of humor all kinds of folks can relate to and chuckle at. And I like to make people chuckle. I’ll take you through the happy stuff and some hard stuff. I might go in reverse or catch up to the present. I might tell the whole truth, embellish or completely make shit up every now and then. Anyway, put your big lady or man pants on cause here goes nothin!

Jen