Our Fall Family Adventure & Halloween 2017

I have felt like no one has ever been supportive, happy or excited to see our family grow. The only person that came to visit me in Florida was my mom. Most all expected and wanted me to fail. Born and raised in a small town with drugs and alcohol surrounding me and barely making it through high school graduation, I am now a Registered Nurse with a college degree, a wonderful husband, two beautiful daughters and one screwed up childhood memory. And who can I thank for the direction and support that put me through college? Not a soul but myself (and my husband, of course). Because living and learning has made me stronger. I am the one that made a life for myself. I am the one that said “this is not where I will stop”. I am the one that worked my ass off all alone in a city, a state and an apartment all though nursing school, away from my husband just to give us the life we have now. It certainly was a small sacrifice and I’d do it over again if I had to. And God forbid any one of our family members to be proud of us (Bobby and I both). He is a University of Michigan grad with a chemical engineering degree, excelling at his career. Because let’s face it, my husband is great at pretty much anything. I always wanted more out of life ONLY because I wanted children. But I refused to ever have them if they were to grow up like I did. I wanted to give them the life I never had and LOVE them like I was never loved. Educate them like I was never educated. Read to them like I was never read to. LISTEN to them like I was never listened to. Raise them like I was never raised. Support. Love. FORGIVE. And most of all…never, ever, ever, ever DISOWN because of some nonsense bullshit he said/she said crap. My children are my BLOOD! I created them. I gave birth to them. And no matter what phase, no matter what words come out of their mouths in my lifetime (and with two girls, Lord knows I’m in trouble!), my LOVE and job of being their parent and support system will never, ever disappear. Because at this point…my feelings don’t matter. They do. They can say all the hurtful things they want to me, but that will never change my love and make me disown them or wish death on them like my family has me. How could I? My love is so deep for them. I imagine life without them and I just cry and imagine a life so empty. I never really knew love existed until I had my children. Words are words. Yeah, they burn…but life goes on. You only have ONE life to live. I love my husband, but there is NO LOVE like the love for your children!

And as the days, weeks, months and now years pass us by, I become even more and more angry. But also more understanding of my dysfunctional family. The illness that has swept them like a virus. The self-righteousness. The self-loathing. The narcissistic bullshit. The self-fulfuling dependence on someone else to complete them! What ever happened to being able to survive on your own? Being able to make it or separate you from another person? I am grateful that Bobby is who he is and I am who I am. I am me and he is him. We are of one but we are also very much okay without being completely and utterly dependent upon one another. How can one be happy with themselves when they depend on someone else to make them happy? It’s impossible. Luckily, I’ve learned this in life. It’s become part of my strength. And if anyone is living like that, and you don’t realize it now…you will. I know that I can survive without him and that even though I love him with all of my heart and he is my person, my soul mate, my best friend in the entire world, I know I can survive and be my own person. Because my thoughts are my own and his are his own. But we complete each other and are great at being parent’s together and raising a family and a beautiful home. I am grateful to God for giving me that independence and intense strength.

I am grateful to God for making me strong.

Bobby is unique and one-of-a-kind. He’s always so level headed and knows me more then anyone on this planet. I’ve known this man since I was five-years-old. He knows secrets about me only he and these four walls know. He’s my saving grace. He’s literally saved my life ya’ll (you may or may not know that). The father of my children. My one and only. MY ONE AND ONLY.

He is always optimistic. So going to him for constructive criticism is always helpful because either I want to hear it or I don’t. A long time ago, I didn’t want to hear it, because he was right. And most recently, he’s still right, but it’s what I NEED to hear. When I seem to fall in my little pit and cry, he brings me back to reality. Reminds me of the hurt and pain and the words. Ohhhhhh, the words. He reminds me that we don’t want to expose Josie and Juliette to THAT pain…ever. Because he sees it now. The truth. He sees through the lies, history and the pain. The years and years of damage I’ve taken on as a child. The years and years of loneliness and isolation as I was once a child just trying to survive. He sees the truth now and he was brought into that nonsense as I am an adult now.

Bobby is the most patient and kind man I know. It’s been said that a woman usually falls and marries a man just like her father. I can tell you, with certainty, that Bobby is absolutely the complete opposite of my father…how ironic.

So after I texted him my emotional cry, his text went something like this: “I know they all have one thing in common: they are all children.”

He’s always so wise. And so truthful. Whether I want to hear it or not, like I mentioned, he’s smart. When I’m feeling vulnerable and sad, he reminds me of the real situation. And also reminds me that I did what I could (“Stacy, you can only say you’re sorry so many times, what do they need? For you to slit your wrists and write it on the wall?”)…in ALL instances and with ALL those lost family members. “It is what it is. Move on, Stacy. We have our own life now…our own family…”

I’m only mentioning this because this is the time of the year I start to get a little weak and sad.

I suffer from PTSD…

Holidays are here…

I see hummingbirds everywhere I go and everywhere I look…

I miss my grandma Hubel daily…

I still can’t talk about her to Bobby without crying. And all he does is hug me with his big wide chest and open arms. And that’s usually enough to calm me down until Josie or Juliette are crying for mama. But I also don’t want to talk about her. I just want to honor her. In my mind (and I do, every single day). In my heart. In my actions. With my children. With holidays.

Easter will never be the same…ever. That will be the day I lost my “second mother”.

You know what sucks the most? When you look at your children and you see those family members. You see them in smiles, laughs and facial expressions. I see my dad a lot in Juliette scrunched face. But then again, my Grandfather claims that I need to get a DNA test because he truly believes (after all these years) that I am not my dads daughter. Wow! What a way to put the fork in the soul! It sickens me, saddens me and reminds me of what an absolute disaster this has turned into. Thankfully, both girls look A LOT like Bobby…so it’s very rare that I see my family in them. But when I do it almost always stops me in my tracks and makes my stomach turn. I love when I see my Grandma…or my grandpa. Regardless how much hate they have for me. It makes me smile. And someday, in another world, they may be able to see just how cute they are.

Once October gets here, things start to get hard. I’m reminded of my Grandma’s death. Then the holidays hit one after another and I think about my other Grandma’s death just a few months apart from one another. I lost them both that same year last year. It was tough. Recovering from child birth, a new baby, struggling with postpartum depression and losing both Grandmas to almost the same similar disease.

I think about how she died and what happened and how I never got to say goodbye. To either of them. Then my mind wonders on to the next and the next and before I know it I don’t even know how my mind got there to begin with. It’s pure mental exhaustion. All I know is anxiety and heavy breathing takes over. I glance at my FitBit and see my heart rate of 110 and remind myself to STOP. Take deep breaths Stacy. Think of something else. This IS killing you. So I do…

I think of my girls. The joy they bring to my life. The family outings that we so rarely all get to do together because I feel like we’re still trying to unbox and move into this huge house. Hey-we finally finished the media room. That’s something to celebrate, right?

Halloween has never been one of my favorite holidays until I had children. My one bin of decorations changed over the past three years to four bins. I won’t even tell you how many I have of Christmas. (secret: maybe 10 bins+? Yikes!). Christmas is my absolutely favorite. It’s so near and dear to my heart.

Still even now, to this day, the only support system I have is my mom. And I thank her for that. We haven’t always been great as I was growing up, but she’s a wonderful grandma to our girls and always there for me. I talk to her every single morning. I only hope that our relationship grows stronger. She would never disown me because she knows that a child’s love is unconditional.

Recently, we went to 7 Acre Farms here in Conroe with the girls. It was a lot of fun. Juliette is in that weird stage where she wants to crawl everywhere and is not yet walking and absolutely doesn’t want to be held because she wants to get down and crawl (there’s that damn independence!). So most of everything we do lately, she stays in the stroller entertaining herself eating creamies and organic puffs. Time goes by so fast ya’ll. I feel like just yesterday Josie was in that same situation. We couldn’t go on a car ride without those dang rice crackers fully stocked in the car because heaven forbid we run out. She’d eat them over and over and over again no matter where we went. Amazing how similar these two girls are…I truly love being their mama. I love these two girls to the moon and back.

On Halloween, Juliette and I were in the hospital. But Daddy did a great job at handing out candy and also taking Josie trick-or-treating. It was really a rainy Halloween, so it didn’t last long. But I’m so glad she got to experience it. Texas Children’s Hospital also held a very, very fun interactive Fall Festival of games and prizes for the kids and I was able to take Josie there. That was great. We even made the Texas Children’s website! I may look tired, worn and deathly…but I’ve been busy taking care of my 13mo with pneumonia and a chest tube…(another post of that to come).











Food Allergies Suck!

I guess I should say allergies SUCK! And so does asthma!

So I know I haven’t said much about what has happened to our sweet Josie on this blog (in the past). I have promised an update or story but never really did it. It was too hard for me to travel back down that road and re-live the events that occurred. It was emotional and terrifying. But most recently (a few days ago), we had her retested and this was my update:

At 9 months old she had an allergic reaction to diary and eggs. And days away from her 2nd birthday, she had an anaphylactic reaction to dates and cashews (tree nuts). I almost lost her that day (I’ll always and forever be grateful for the love and friendship of Shantel Brock-you are an Angel). While her lifeless body lay in the hospital bed and her lips blue and her lungs trying to pull in all the air they could, I lost myself that day. Since that moment, I’ve never been the same. I’m scared at every given moment. No one TRULY understands. It’s painful. Not only does she suffer, but I do too. I always try to get out with other moms to get Josie to play with others but most people don’t know that I suffer in silence. I worry. My anxiety has turned into panic attacks. I make myself sick. I worry about too many kids with too many food items and not being able to watch her every move. It’s literally drove me insane. To the point where now I am seeking help to be the best mother to her. Because that’s all I want. I want to be normal, too. I try to stay strong for her. It’s hard. And no one can tell me anything that will make me feel better. Only a parent of a child with allergies can explain or relate to the never-ending fear that lives inside. The nightmares. The “what ifs” that seems totally ridiculous (to most people). Well, my little girl got blood tested after her near death experience and PICU at children’s hospital (over a year ago). And the results were shocking. Almost unbelievable. And here we are, more than a year later with high hopes that maybe, just maybe something has gotten better. Maybe something she was able to out grow. I finally found her a fantastic allergist. Who sat with me today for 4 hours ya’ll! 4 HOURS!!!! Why? Well, here’s the story: I made the appointment because my sweet girl starts school in August (Pre-K). And also because I’m tired of harboring her from play dates. I make up excuses but never want to blame it on her allergies. Really, it’s my worry (is what I keep telling myself). I just want her to get out more! The allergist and I sat there and talked about blood vs. skin testing. Skin testing is much more able to tell you the truth rather then false positives. Her blood work could have very well had some false positives. The doctor and I were positive and sure that that was the case. She asked me if I wanted the “tree nuts mix” or each separate nut tested on her skin. I asked for each separate. We tested, dairy, egg, tree nuts (all), peanut and chicken via skin test. Prior to this we were both so excited that she may be able to try COOKED dairy and egg (it changes the protein), and she may eventually out grow this. Skin test usually take about 20 minutes to react. Josie’s took 20 SECONDS! Yup…you read that right! 20 seconds! My poor girl came back positive then ever to all the allergens that she once tested positive to. Only this time it was actually worse. The doctor lost hope at that point. Her face said a thousand words. Her voice changed. She seemed truly concerned. I asked if we had to go to the ER? Was it THAT bad? She said it was pretty bad but we would keep an eye on her, give her benadryl and all that we spoke of earlier was out the window. No cooked dairy or egg. No trials. No reintroducing foods. She even mentioned that the likihood of her outgrowing this is not likely and won’t be tested again until she’s 5 years old. My heart sank. I can’t help but feel immense guilt. What did I do to her? Why? What happened? I made her, why can’t I fix her? I tried to keep my composure so Josie wouldn’t read my emotions and get even more scared. The doctor knew it was happening…I lost it. If I could do ONE thing in this world it would be to take THIS away from her and give it to myself. I’d do anything to make this go away. So the entire point of this post? Well, because some people don’t take Josie’s allergies seriously. THIS FOOD IS POSION FOR HER! It’s immediate and it’s DEADLY! IT IS POSION! IT CAN AND WILL KILL HER! And I hate when people say “oh just a little tiny bit won’t hurt.” Or they let their kid sip on my kids cup (well, your kid just ate a cookie that contains eggs/dairy, whatever else). People don’t realize the seriousness of contamination. Did you know that when I almost lost her more then a year ago, she ate a teeny, tiny bite of a Lara Bar (dates and cashews)? Tenny tiny! That’s all it took. Seconds went by and BAM…ambulance, ER, PICU and almost intubation. FAMILY, FRIENDS: PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE take this serious. I can’t bear the thought of anything happening to my baby as long as I’m living on this Earth. I NEED you to understand the seriousness! I NEED you to respect my wishes. Understand why I clean like I have OCD! Because there ARE allergens in our home. THIS is why I have a hard time getting out. THIS is why I have a hard time meeting other moms and getting my child to play with others. She’s a great kid! She’s super sweet and smart and LOVES to play with other kids. I just don’t want to be the mom that looks like I’m crazy, or hovering or nuts. The PTSD from almost losing her was and has been hard on me. The nightmares still happen. It could be why my panic attacks are at night, randomly. I wake up crying some nights re-living that event. The images just don’t go away. So although I’d LOVE to meet up and have my kid play with a ton of other kids. I just can’t because of me. I’m grateful to the friends and family who understand. Who truly know that one teeny tiny bite can kill her. Who respect my “craziness” and know I’m not insane. I love my daughter. And without her, there’s no me. Everything I do and don’t do is for her (them). Below are the pictures from today. They are heartbreaking. They are scary. They are what they are. My girl is happy and healthy. What she eats, is all she knows. She doesn’t eat junk. She’s doesn’t live off fast food, she just eats to live…she doesn’t live to eat. We live in a society where eating is all part of socializing. So with me having celiac disease and Josie’s food allergies, we don’t get out much. And it’s sorta depressing at times. It’s a lot of work to leave the house to go somewhere. I always worry about what she will eat…what I will eat…it really IS exhausting. So this is the truth ya’ll. THIS is why I am who I am. Josie NEEDS a mom like me who is hypervigiliant. I am her mother and her advocate. Please understand…my daughters life is priceless to me.

***The top left is PEANUT. The bottom left is CASHEW (what she had a reaction to in the Lara Bar a year ago). To the right is Chicken, Egg and Milk (top to bottom).

After thinking about this for the past several days/nights, I’ve determined that I’m not stopping here. We are going to see another allergist next Thursday. I want more done. More testing. Most opinions. I can’t stop and won’t stop at “well, we will re-test her again when she is 5-years-old.” At first that was okay. But the more I think about it…no! I am not done! What can we do?! There has to be more! I want blood work done. I want it all. I want her asthma reassessed. People seem scared to touch her. Tell me what to do-I’ll do it!