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Hello! I am Shauna, very happily married to my soulmate, Jarrod. Proud mom to 4 boys, and proud step mom to 3 girls, and a much bigger family beyond just that... as well as furry family members. I am currently a stay-at-home mom. I am a big believer in free self-expression. I am heavily tattooed, and I enjoy being able to wear some of my favorite images on my skin to see every day. I have always been an artistic, hippie soul. I take lots of photos, draw, sculpt, and whatever else I can get my hands on. Iย am a peace-lover. Donโ€™t get me wrong, I enjoy a good debate, and learning about other points of view. But when it is all said and done, I donโ€™t hold grudges or resentments. I am good at letting go the things that upset or anger me. But I always learn from those lessons. I believe war and any type of discrimination is ridiculous, and as cliche as it may sound, I wish we could all just get along. Anyway, to find out more about me, our family, and our life, read my blog! Follow it if you like what you read, and feel free to share it with your friends. Thanks for reading!

The Stories Iโ€™m Told

I met a gentleman today. Like many elderly before him, he saw me walking around in hyvee with Felix in his carrier, and said that it wouldโ€™ve been nice to have when he had been raising kids. He then went on to tell me his life story.

His wife passed away when they were both 35 years old. They had a son and a daughter, and the daughter was still a baby at that time. So he raised his kids alone. He never remarried.

He had polio as a teenager and beat it. He joined the Army when he was young and was in the Korean War. He enjoyed the Army, and worked with explosives. Not explosives like we have nowadays he said, but the ones with glycerin, that can go off for any little reason. He enjoyed traveling and all that he was able to learn and do.

Then he jumped ahead to talking about his wife passing away, and raising and taking care of his son and daughter. He said his son passed away at age 51 to MS, and his daughter passed away at age 46 (I donโ€™t remember why). He said he took care of them as long as he could, until he could no longer. He then helped raise his grandchildren, and they all look out for him when he has medical procedures. He also helps with his great grandchildren now.

This gentleman was proud to tell me he is a born again Christian, and when he was diagnosed with cancer he certainly was not afraid. They told him he had it everywhere, including his lymph nodes and many organs in his body. He had 10 surgeries and watched every one of them he was awake for. He said the nurses and doctors got a kick out of it, but he said itโ€™s his body and he wants to make sure theyโ€™re doing it right. Plus he was fascinated to watch them work. He listed off all the organs affected, which included his pancreas, liver, and intestines (plus several others). Many surgeries, many ICU stays, and even life support. Doctors told him he would never survive it all, but years later he stands there in hyvee telling me about it, cancer-free. He told me about the surgery sites not healing properly and needing to care for it at home. And then he told me about being diabetic and needing to change his diet in order to have a final surgery to repair the open wounds. He changed his diet so much that he no longer needed insulin.

He claimed to never have drank soda, coffee or alcohol other than tastes earlier in life. He said thatโ€™s why he believes he does not have dementia. He currently visits folks at 3 different nursing homes here in town.

He said he drives a pickup truck now because itโ€™s easier to get into. But until recently he had a Mustang. He said just once he got it up to 140 mph. He said heโ€™s heard youโ€™re supposed to die with grace, but he wants to go out with a bang. He wants to enjoy life, every moment of it, and live to be 120! He said the hardest part about being as old as he is, is watching all of his loved ones pass away or lose their memories. But heโ€™s happy to still be alive at AGE 91!!!, against all odds.

I couldโ€™ve listened to him talk all day long. Iโ€™m absolutely fascinated with his stories. And I didnโ€™t even catch his name. Just a photo of him as he left.

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Felix is 8 Months Old!

Felix is 8 months old today! In the last month he has really blossomed. Whatever funk he was in for the first 6 months of his life has definitely passed.

Things he does now:

โ€ข Looks at faces, makes eye contact, smiles, and has stranger anxiety.

โ€ข Rolls front to back, back to front.

โ€ข Reaches up and out with his hands to grabs objects.

โ€ข Sits for a few moments at a time, with improvement every day.

โ€ข Stays on hands and knees for a few moments with help.

โ€ข Squeals, babbles, and razzes all the time.

โ€ข Enjoys bath time (and swimming at the Y).

โ€ข Likes playing games and singing, like โ€œPat-A-Cakeโ€ and โ€œItsy Bitsy Spider.โ€

โ€ข Actively and happily participates in physical therapy at appointments and at home.

โ€ข Drinks breastmilk on demand, and eats purรฉed baby food twice a day.

โ€ข Sleeps in his crib (no longer his bassinet) for longer stretches of time at night. But still doesnโ€™t nap well.

โ€ข Still prefers the outdoors.

Iโ€™m sure there are a few things Iโ€™m missing. But these are all big changes that came all at once. He also got his 6 month shots today since he was on a delayed schedule due to his previous CMV infection. At his appointment he weighed 18 lbs 1 oz, and was 27 inches tall.

Now if I could just get him to smile for a picture, it would be really helpful for these monthly updates. Haha!

Cars, Kids and the Concert

I just wanted to follow up my previous posts with some updates. First of all, it turns out we were fully insured. Insurance deemed the car a total loss and paid us out. We were able to find a minivan at a reasonable price and are getting some repairs done Friday to make it last us a while. Felix continues to do amazing at physical therapy except for the last couple days, when he just wants to be held all the time. I’m sure a big part of that is the fact that he’s teething. He’s gotten one tooth and the second one isn’t far behind.But anyway, Felix can roll front to back and back to front now, and when he does the exercise when he’s on his tummy on his boppy, he’s getting strong enough to push himself off and over it. He’s also really been studying faces lately. I’m so proud of his progress.

Andy got his braces off today! He had them for 3.5-4 years, with a jaw surgery during that time. He said it feels weird and a little sore. But he’s happy.

Evan had court today to review his court ordered outpatient committal. The judge dismissed the case, saying Evan was no longer a threat to himself or others. But he’s gotten 2 criminal charges and has violated his probation (recently). I told him the ruling may seem like a good thing, but what it really means is that now when he decides to act a fool, he can’t hide behind mental health. He will just be treated like a criminal. He faces a judge about his second criminal charge soon.

Jarrod had a really good time at Riot Fest despite his shitty adventure on the way home. He got to see a couple bands in particular he was very excited to see: Guided By Voices and Ween. I’m glad he was able to go and enjoy himself, even if I was unable to join him. Hopefully I get so fortunate as to be able to go to a concert soon.

Left: Guided By Voices โ€” Right: Ween, photos by Jarrod

I finally saw a doctor about a few things I had been avoiding and/or putting off. Nothing too serious. I’m not going to go into any of that right now because Felix is starting to wake up from his mini nap and I don’t have time to type about it. I’ll update again soon.

As If There Wasnโ€™t Enough Wrong

So, we’ve been down on our luck. Jarrod lost his job not long after Felix was born and had to find a new job. I had planned on staying home with Felix for a while after he was born, but about the time I thought I may wanna go back to work we were not only still dealing with colic, but other developmental concerns, as previous blogged about. We have had serious financial strain since I haven’t been able to work, and have been fund raising to get help paying for rent and bills. And now….

Jarrod was on his way back from Riot Fest in Chicago (tickets and expense money were gifts, not irresponsible spending). He was almost home last night, driving through very dense fog, and being unable to see well, he hit the guardrail-type cable fence along the side of the interstate. HE IS PERFECTLY UNINJURED, which is the important part. But the car’s driver’s side tires were shredded to the point of being non-existent. The car is totally irreparable.

So now we are incredibly broke AND without a car.

Yes, we have insurance. They are trying to work quickly for us, but they said it will probly be 4 days before we hear back from the insurance adjuster. It could be a couple weeks or so before we have any sort of payout to get a replacement. In the meanwhile, we need to find rides for Jarrod to go to work, for grocery / household needs, and most difficult of all, out of town appointments.

Can our luck turn around now? We need some good news. Some good fortune. Something to lift us up.

Meanwhile, I’ll be cuddling Jarrod a lot closer tonight, thankful he made it through that experience alive and unharmed.

Free Donuts!

A couple weeks ago we got Hostess crunch donuts and they tasted AWFUL, like burnt plastic. So Jarrod called Hostess and let them know. They sent us coupons for free products to replace what was bad.

Jarrod took those coupons to Kwik Star tonight on his way home from work. The person training the lady behind the register decided to charge him $1 a piece for the donuts even though the coupons said up to $2 each. And the donuts were $1.79 each. Rather than argue, Jarrod paid $1 each and came home.

He told me about it, and immediately I decided we werenโ€™t standing for that shit. I took the donuts and the keys and headed back to Kwik Star (in my pajamas). I walked in the door and went straight to the counter with the donuts. I dropped them down on the counter, and the lady tried to ring them up. I said, โ€œDonโ€™t ring those up. I brought them in. My husband was just in here with coupons for free Hostess products and you charged him $1 a piece anyway. THATโ€™S NOT HOW THAT WORKS. I want our money back AND the coupons back.โ€

The lady was calm and ok about it, but the guy training her was obviously pretty nervous. He was fumbling around, asking her where things were, his hands shaking. But I got our money and our coupons back. I wasnโ€™t very nice about it, didnโ€™t say thank you. Just walked straight back out the door.

Then I went to Caseyโ€™s and got our free donuts as previously attempted. Jarrod was riveted by the story when I got home. lol! No one messes with my man. Just because he doesnโ€™t like to argue or make waves doesnโ€™t mean Iโ€™ll allow people to walk on him.

And now we can enjoy our Hostess crunch donuts in peace.