Happy Father's Day to Our Hero On the Other Side of the World

Happy Father's Day, Nicholas!!  

When I think of you as a father, the first memory that comes to mind is finding out we were going to parents.  Telling you I was pregnant was one of the best days of my life (even though you knew before I did).  I knew how badly you wanted to be a father; my greatest fear was letting you down.  You married me knowing that our fate of biological children was unknown. We spent ten years together not knowing if I was capable of conceiving a child that would could be carried to term; there was a great chance chemotherapy and radiation damaged my eggs enough to ever reach the point of a term baby. I will never forget the emotions I felt when I saw "pregnant" pop up on that pregnancy test.  God had answered our prayers.  We spent every day of the next 33 weeks hoping and praying that this little baby would enter our world and make us parents. 

Watching you become a father has been one of the greatest joys in my life.  It makes my heart ache knowing I won't get to see your interactions with Jaxon for many, many (too many) months, but the memories you've made will always bring a smile to my face. Thank you for being such an amazing Dad. Jaxon doesn't yet realize just how amazing you are or how blessed he is to have you. But I do. Jaxon could not have a better man to look up to than you. I'm lucky to have you as my partner in this journey. Parenthood has had its ups and downs, but you've always been our rock, our voice of reason, king of patience, and an ever loving dad and husband. I cannot thank you enough. I hate that you're away from us today, but please know that we are so incredibly proud of you for protecting our little family and our great nation. We can't wait for you to return home safely to us. Jaxon misses you; as much as I try, I will never be able to fill the role you have in this boy's life. We Love You!!! Happy Father's Day!!

Jaxon Health Update: Anemia, Hernia, Viruses, & Surgery

Hey y'all!!!  Remember me?  Probably not.  I haven't really been present here in a very long time.  I won't apologize because I'm not really sorry.  I mean, I do miss this space, but I've had more important things going on.  My husband has been gone a lot (much more than he's been home) so I've been busy being mom AND dad, while having zero help from family.  When Nick was home, we were soaking up every bit of family time we could.  Then we traveled home to St. Louis and when we got back, we had just a few days left together before Nick deployed.

In the midst of all of this, we've been busy taking care of Jaxon and trying to figure out what's going on.  We finally have answers.  Kind of.  And since Nick is gone and I have some more free time, I figured I should update you all.

If you follow me on social media, it probably seems like Jaxon is always sick.  Yeah, I feel that way too.  In all actuality, he hasn't been sick as much as it seems.  But lately, goodness, he can't catch a break.

I should start out by saying that (other than being born preemie and having typical preemie issues at birth and the two weeks following) he has been healthy most of his (very short) life.  We feel very fortunate that until the age of 9/10 months old, Jaxon never even had so much as a cold; he was a healthy boy.  I always thanked God that he appeared to have received Nick's strong immune system.

But from 9/10 months old until now (almost 13 months old), Jaxon has now had three infections, two colds, two viruses (one of those being right now), anemia, and a hernia.

Anemia and hernia?!  Say wha?!


Let's back up.

Around 11.5 months old (end of April), we took Jaxon to the emergency room for an extremely high fever that had persisted for quite a few days.  While there, we noticed an enlarged area on his body.  We pointed it out to the doctor and he sent us for an ultrasound.  Without giving too many details, we discovered Jaxon had a hernia and would need surgery.  The next day, we were in a pediatric surgeon's office.  He examined him and said it wasn't emergent and we did not need to cancel our trip to St. Louis for Jaxon's birthday party and baptism.  He said unless it becomes enlarged and stays enlarged (at this time, it would decrease and increase in size) or if it became painful, we would be okay to wait.  But if either of those issues would arise, he might need emergency surgery.

One month later (May 6th), it's Jaxon's birthday and we're in his pediatrician's office for his one year well baby visit.  He was currently not himself; crabby, fatigued and only being awake for an hour before wanting to nap, and loss of appetite.  I attributed this to the ear infection he was fighting and his new tooth coming in.  During this visit, they pricked his finger to check his iron level (standard protocol for 12 month visit).  His iron level came back low so they drew blood and sent it off to the lab to get a more accurate count.

Saturday (the next day) we received a call from his pediatrician telling us that his iron and hemoglobin are very low and she wants us to go to the emergency room and get labs drawn again;  she wanted to make sure they weren't dropping even lower.

This is where I freak out.  If you know me, have been following my previous blog, or know anything about my own cancer story, you'll know that my story started this same way.  I discovered my cancer because I was extremely fatigued, went to the doctor, had low hemoglobin, was diagnosed as anemic, and just one week later, discovered my tumor.  I cannot even begin to express the emotions and thoughts I had.  Scared does not describe it.  But that's a post for another day.

Thankfully, after a traumatic IV insertion, his labs showed that his iron and hemoglobin were remaining the same.  We were so thankful we would not be admitted for a transfusion and could go home.

The next Monday, we had a follow-up with our pediatrician.  She told us she was going to refer Jaxon's case to a hematologist-oncologist and if he thought it was best to see him, we would receive a call from him.

Hearing the word "oncologist" made me almost throw up.  I knew we were more so looking into the hematology side of things, but I just couldn't shake that we were seeing an oncologist.

The next day, I received a phone call from the hematologist-oncologist's nurse asking us to schedule an appointment for two days later.  She made it seem urgent and I was so incredibly scared.

A few days later, we entered the Hematology Oncology unit.  After checking in, I began to walk forward to the waiting room to sit down and fill out the new patient paperwork when she asked us to go on the other side of the wall, through the door and sit in that waiting room instead.  As we rounded the wall, the door said "Immunosuppressed Waiting Room".  Nick and I both gave each other "a look" and I thought, "is there something they aren't telling us??"  I was a ball of nerves.
Thankfully, after meeting with the doctor, he is fairly confident this is a textbook case of iron deficiency anemia that is often seen in children ranging from 9-18 months.  Jaxon already consumes a lot of iron in his diet, but we have to add a liquid iron supplement.
We left his office with an appointment to come back in one month to recheck Jaxon's iron and hemoglobin right before his hernia surgery.

Now we fast forward to present time.

With Jaxon being pretty anemic, his immune system is very weakened.  It should have come as no surprise when he caught a bug of some sort.  This past Wednesday, Jaxon was a little fussy, was coughing, and he wasn't too interested in eating.  Around noon, I noticed he felt a little warm so I took his temperature and it was 100.7.  I decided to call his doctor because in addition to this, he was fighting his first ever diaper rash and it was BAD.  (I was told the iron could change the composition of his stool and could be causing the rash).  I tried various essential oils recommended to me, coconut oil, and various diaper rash creams.  Nothing was working.  So I called the doctor.
We went in and he had a fever of 103.4.  She said the diaper rash looked more fungal and prescribed us an anti-fungal (and it worked immediately!).  After checking his ears and throat, both appearing clear, she thought maybe it was due to his vaccines.  She said they're known to cause a high fever for about 24 hours up to about 12 days after the shots (we had to delay his vaccines from his one year appointment due to being on meds for an ear infection so he had received them just one week ago).  But she said if he still had the fever the next day, to call and come back in because it might be something else.

Next day (Thursday) he still had the fever so back we went around 11am.  His fever was 102.6 but ears and throat still looked clear.  She swabbed his throat anyway (because strep is going around and she's seen a few kids with it whose throats look normal) and swabbed his nose to test for the flu.  Both came back negative.
I had also mentioned to her that his hernia, which used to increase and then decrease, was staying enlarged.  She took a look and we noticed it was now darker in color.  She advised me to call Jaxon's surgeon and get his advice.  She was fearing there might be an infection.
I called and they said it sounds like incarceration (his intestines might have slipped in and are cutting off blood supply) or contusion.  I was told to go to the emergency room and get imaging done.

Thankfully, when we arrived at the ER, there was NO ONE in the waiting room.  We were taken back within 5 minutes of arriving and the doctor was in our room with 5 minutes of being brought back.  He took a look at the hernia and felt it, but didn't seem to think there was incarceration or contusion but would order an ultrasound to be certain.  Since we ruled out flu and strep, he wanted to check Jaxon for a UTI since his fever was still so high.
That. Was. Awful!  I hope little man never has to get that done again!!!!  One nurse held his legs down while I held his arms down and comforted him.  The other nurse inserted the catheter to get the urine sample.  She just kept feeding the tube in but at a certain point, it wouldn't go in anymore and she couldn't get a sample.  After five minutes of trying (which is a LONG time for baby in pain and fighting you) they removed the catheter, switched, and the other nurse tried.  More forcing and frustration and she finally got a sample.  My poor boy had to have it done twice.  He was SO upset.
After that, we went for the ultrasound.  Thankfully he laid perfectly still for those 40 minutes (but screamed the entire time).
When we arrived back to our room, we were told the urine was negative and there was no UTI.
Just a few minutes later the doctor came back in and said the hernia did not appear to be incarcerated or having contusion.  He said it seems like just a nasty virus and sent us home, advising me to call the surgeon the next day and ask if he still wants to wait three weeks for surgery since it's enlarged and staying enlarged.  I was also told that the next one or two urinations would irritate Jaxon a little from the catheter.

A little?!  Let's try a lot!  That night, Jaxon woke up every 2 hours SCREAMING bloody murder and each time, he had a wet diaper so I can only assume it was from urinating.  We started our day around 7am and he just cried all day; from the fever and virus, from painful urination, from being tired but not being able to sleep from pain, and from his hernia.  It's now causing him pain when I manipulate it whereas before, you could touch, move it, and gently squeeze it and he didn't mind at all.  I called his surgeon and was told that although it seems to bother him now, the imaging showed no need for an emergency surgery and thus insurance would not approve it if we tried to do anything today or over the weekend.   We now have an appointment early next week to meet with him and maybe reevaluate the date of his surgery.

So that's where we are.  I feel like he always has something wrong, but in reality, it's just his anemia making him more susceptible to things.  In all honestly, two colds and two viruses in his first 13 months of life isn't bad.  But this hernia and anemia are a bit much.  The past two-ish months when all of this has gone down has seemed like forever, which is making me feel like he's always sick or has something wrong.  Bleh!

I honestly think today has been the most difficult day of motherhood I have ever had.  Jaxon has never been as unhappy or in as much pain and discomfort as he has been today.  We never exceeded 10 minutes today without him crying; except for naps.  But those only lasted 30 minutes before he woke up screaming.  I am emotionally, mentally, and physically drained.  The worst feeling in the world is helplessness.   I wish I could take his pain.  I wish I could do something to bring him comfort.  My boy is not a snuggler so giving him extra love doesn't even work :(  I just want to hold him close, rock him, and cry with him, but he won't let me hold him for more than 5 minutes (unless I'm nursing him).

So when people ask how my first few days of deployment are going, I just try to fight back my tears.
Murphy, you bastard, you can take your damn Law and eff off!!!!!

Okay, now that that's out of the way, I'd truly appreciate some prayers, good vibes, a healing dance, magic dust, or whatever the hell else you've got to help my poor boy out.  And me.  This mama is being strong for her boy but at night, once he's asleep and I can rest my head, the tears begin flowing.  I miss my husband; my rock and my partner.

I hope you all have a great weekend.  Looks like Jaxon and I will have to nix our plans to hang with friends so we can contain the virus to our house and not spread the germs.  Sometimes sharing is NOT caring.

Here's to hoping tomorrow is a better day!  Have a great weekend, y'all!

Goodbye to Our Hearts on Memorial Day

Today while you're enjoying your barbecues, beer, pool, and time with loved ones, please take a minute to remember what today is really about. Today is a day we remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country.

Today hits a little closer to home for me as we just said goodbye to Nicholas earlier this afternoon. It was harder than I expected watching my husband say goodbye to our son and then having to say my own goodbyes. But just like that, my heart is gone and off to sail the seas and soar through the sky. While I'm greatly saddened, I'm also filled with immense pride. Nick's passion and dedication to his career gives me a sense of comfort with our goodbye. 

I won't lie or pretend I'm not upset.  Having my heart swell with pride as I watch Nicholas walk away from us knowing he's off to protect our country doesn't take away any of the pain of his absence from our lives.  But I try to remember, on today, Memorial Day, that while my table is empty, we pray that it's only temporary.  In 2017, we trust the good Lord that our hearts will be whole with Nick's return.  There are far too many families that are not as fortunate.  Many loved ones will forever have an empty seat at their table.  No matter how sad we are without our hero here at home, we are thankful he's still here on this earth, sending us love from afar.

we are proud of you.  Don't worry about us. We'll have rough days but our days of laughter and love will get us through.  Jaxon, you and me, we've got this!  

Babe, I will think of you always, sending my love to the sky, and pray everyday for your safe return. 
Fair winds and following seas, My Love. 
I Love and miss you beyond comprehension.

(This was the day that Nick boarded a plane and headed to another state where the aircraft carrier was in port.  He was there for a while before the ship actually left port and set out on deployment.)

We Live at the Children's ER

Want to talk about a bad case of the Mondays?   We spent ours in the children's emergency room.
And then we had a repeat of that on tonight.

Sunday evening, while changing Jaxon's diaper, I noticed he was a little warm and he had been fussy that evening, which is very unusual for our normally happy baby.  Since his diaper was off, I decided to check his temperature. (I always take it rectally because I've been told this is the most accurate, and oddly enough, it's the easiest way with him.)  102.5.  Wonderful (hopefully you sense my sarcasm there).
To make matters worse, our AC unit for the second floor of our house stopped working that day.  It was 82 degrees at Jaxon's bedtime.  There was no way we were putting him in his room, which was 82 degrees, with a fever of 102.5.  We set up his Pack n Play in our bedroom (the master bedroom is on the first floor of our house while the three other bedrooms are on the second floor), and put him in just his diaper and his beloved Zippadee Zip and put him to bed with a dose of Motrin in him.

Thinking back, he hadn't been too interested in eating food all week.  But I attributed this to the tooth that had just popped through his gums two days previous.  He wasn't eating well, but he was still nursing 4-5 times a day, was happy as could be (until Sunday evening), and was gnawing on his fingers and anything else he could get in his mouth.  But 102.5 seemed a little high for teething.  I went to bed (knowing I wouldn't sleep worrying about my poor baby) and figured I'd call the doctor in the morning.

Monday morning, after a night of Jaxon whimpering all night long in his sleep (talk about breaking a mama's heart!) he woke up and was BURNING up.  I have never felt a body so hot.  I immediately took him upstairs to his room to change his diaper and take his temperature.  104.4.

I called his pediatrician's line and they paged the doctor for me since it was before office hours.  I received a call back telling me to go to the ER because his fever is high and she thinks it could be a UTI.

{Let me go on a little bit of rant here.  I really like his pediatrician.  She's great with Jaxon, he loves her, she explains things well for Nicholas and I, and is very personable.  However, after this incident, we will be switching doctors.  This is the THIRD time in two months that she has sent us to the ER without seeing Jaxon first.  The first two times were just days apart:
I called her reporting a high fever in Jaxon and she told us to go to the ER because it was close to closing for them (it was 4pm and they close at 5pm).  Okay, fair enough.  Maybe.
(After sitting in the waiting room from 5pm-9pm) the ER failed and didn't clean his ears to see well into them and told us it was the flu.
The next morning, they called and his flu test was negative so they said it was a virus.
A few days later, I call his doctor at 9am reporting that he still has the fever of 103+.  After FIVE HOURS I never received a call back so I call again.  It's now 2pm.  I finally get a return call at 6:15pm (!!) from a nurse telling me that his pediatrician said, "It's ridiculous they didn't clean his ears.  They need to clean them.  And it sounds like a UTI and I can't catheterize him in the office so I'd send you there anyway to get it done."
So off to the ER we go.  Again.  We wait for forever in the waiting room and are not even seen until 1am!  The doctor there cleans out his ear.  Ear infection.
So had my doctor seen me, she could have diagnosed the ear infection.  Instead, we made two ER trips (and the ER is about $100 each time we go) and waited in their waiting room, with a crying baby who refuses to sleep anywhere except a briskly moving stroller, his car seat with the car moving, or flat on his tummy in his bed.  Okay, end rant.}

So off we go to the ER on Monday morning.  Thankfully the waiting room was empty and we were taken back within 15 minutes of checking in.  A doctor comes in and does an exam on Jaxon.  He said his ears and throat look clear.  I mention the UTI my doctor was thinking it could be and the doctor is confused why my pediatrician has jumped to that conclusion.  He said UTIs are very rare in circumcised males over the age of 6 months.  He said if he were not circumcised or had a history of them, then they'd consider it, but it would be last resort to check for that given his circumstances.

 They decide to give him a dose of Motrin and monitor him for 1.5 hours to see how the fever responds.  During this time, I nursed him and he FINALLY fell asleep.  Poor child had been awake since 9am and it was not closing in on 3pm and he'd had no nap.  Thankfully he felt a little better have his short nap and was even playing a little, which was a good sign!

His fever went down 2 degrees about 90 minutes after being given the Motrin and we were given a diagnosis of a virus, told to let it run its course and to follow up with our pediatrician in one to two days.

Tuesday was a pretty rough day for Jaxon.  If he wasn't sleeping, he was crying or snuggling.  If you know my child, he does NOT snuggle.  He is NEVER still.  Ever.  He will not just sit in your lap.  Normally after he nurses, he's wiggling all over to get down.  This day, he just released and laid on me.  Additionally, he would just sit in my lap and watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  This does not happen.  Ever.  (I wish he was a snuggler but I have one very busy, crazy, and active boy on my hands).

Fast forward to Wednesday.
Jaxon's pediatrician did not have any appointments available so we opted to see the Physician's Assistant.  Jaxon had a fever of 103.9 when we arrived.  The PA did his exam on Jaxon and said, "How on earth could the ER tell you his ears aren't infected?  I can't even see into them to see if they're infected or not."  I asked if he could clean them out, and he tells me no, they don't have the tools to do so.  He then says with a fever that high, he thinks it could be a virus or a UTI but he will go talk to Jaxon's pediatrician.
He comes back about 10 minutes later and says her recommendation is to head to the ER for a catheter because a fever that high makes her think UTI.  I told him this it the third time she's said that and when I mention that to the ER doctors, they don't think that's right.  I can't necessarily MAKE the doctors do a cath on him and I asked if he could give me orders to the ER or to a lab to get it done.  He says no, unfortunately the ER is the only place to get a cath done and they can't do orders to the ER.

I'm beyond annoyed but head back to the ER with a very sick looking baby

This time, it's about 1pm and it's crowded.  Jaxon is beyond miserable.  He's been crying nonstop since Monday morning and that is very far from how he normally acts; even when he's teething or had an ear infection before, he was still a relatively happy baby.  We've never seen him like this.
We wait about 1.5 hours before being taken back.  The ER doctor cleans out Jaxon's ears and tells us that he can see fluid in his ears and it's also infected.  His guess is whatever virus he has has now built up fluid and caused an ear infection.  So we're given a prescription for antibiotics and sent home.

(Nick was rocking Jaxon's car seat (one of the only ways he will sleep if he isn't in his bed, a moving car, or a briskly moving stroller) and he reached up to grab Nick's fingers.  I thought it was too cute.)

We arrived home around 5:30pm and Jaxon took a nap since he hadn't really had one today with being at the pediatrician's office and then the ER.  When he wakes up around 7:30pm, he's drenched in sweat but his body is cool.  The fever finally broke.  Thank goodness!!!!!  His mood is a little better so we take him downstairs for dinner, but unfortunately, he's still not interested in solid foods.

We played a little and it was so nice to see my little boy's smiling face again!!!  He started to get tired again around 9:30pm and I didn't want to put him down!  I was enjoying the happy babbling and laughs.  Three days without them was far too many.  But rest is best so down he went.

Now I'm enjoying a nice fat glass of wine and hoping we're on the uphill climb now and that his ears don't spike a fever or make him miserable anymore.

So tell me, am I wrong for being completely done with his pediatrician??
When you call your child's doctor with a concern of a high fever, do they bring you in or send you straight to the ER?
Does your child's pediatrician clean out their ears if they're unable to see past the wax?  Do they have the tools in their office?
Do you wait HOURS for a call back when you call with a legitimate concern??
All of this just seems unprofessional to me.  What's the point of having a pediatrician if they're never going to see us except for his scheduled well-baby checks?

Now, let me also add, I could maybe see if she was annoyed with me.  You know, if I were that annoying parent that always called.  (Although, even if I were, her practices still seem unprofessional to me).  But I'm not!!!  His ear infection at nine months old was the first time I have ever called her for anything other than scheduling his well-baby visits at 3, 6, and 9 months!  And I haven't called between that incident and this one.  So I'm not crazy or annoying!

Anyway, I hope this all going to be behind us now that he's on the antibiotic for his ears and his fever from the virus finally broke.

Messy House Means Full Hearts

My floors are covered in bags, uniforms, boots, and junk.  My house has a strong smell of a very well oiled machine.  But it's all very welcomed because these things mean we have our favorite guy back!!!  Nick is home and our hearts are full and complete!!!

Friday evening Jaxon and I headed out and met Nick as he got off the plane. He has spent the last give weeks on aircraft carrier on an underway for training somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean.  Jaxon was a little uncertain of him, but he wasn't crying.  He was just whining and reaching out for me.  I expected that reaction, maybe even some tears, because lately he's been very attached to me and had a little bit of stranger danger when others hold him.  But when we got home, Nick got him out of his car seat, carried him in the house, and Jaxon was all smiles.  (sorry for these awful iPhone photos taken at 9pm when we got home).

We spent about an hour and a half in the loft just playing together.  I mainly just stood back and tried to prevent my heart from bursting watching Jaxon crawl all over Nick, wrestling together, and Jaxon just giggling away with his Dada.

Even though Nick was only gone five weeks, that's a very long time in the life of a 10 month old child.  Jaxon has changed so much since Nick left.  We spent most of the evening showing Nick all the new things Jaxon has learned while he was gone.  The biggest includes standing, unassisted, and taking steps!  Yes, you read that correctly, you little guy takes between 4-7 steps before falling or flopping down once he's close to his destination.  He resembles a very drunk man while taking these steps but soon enough he'll be stable and running!

"How is it having Nick home?" That's the question I get asked a lot.  It's amazing, duh!  But it could be a lot better, unfortunately.  He arrived home Friday night, and Saturday we ran errands but at least we were together as a family and I had hand reaching out for mine while we drove.

Sunday, Nick had a friend over to study for a few hours and after she left, he continued to study all day long.  He also has today off, which is nice in theory since he's been gone, but his friend is back over here all day studying.  (Nick has a big pilot qualification coming up and he has to sit for a few boards; it's a stressful and busy time for him, which sucks for our family but we're making the most of it.) 

Regardless of him being busy, he's sleeping in bed next to me.  He's eating breakfast and dinner with Jaxon and me.  I'm waking up next to him.  He takes quick breaks from studying when Jaxon from his naps to make sure he's the first to greet him, and takes part in bathtime with him.  For this, I am thankful.  It might only equal about 2 total waking hours a day, but that's much better than the zero we had the past five weeks.

This weekend the house was a mess.  I didn't care one bit.  That mess sat on our bathroom and bedroom floor for a few days.  Actually, it's still there.  And today, when Nick gets his sea bag from base after the truck drops it off, it will be an even bigger mess.  A mess that I just stare at and smile.  A mess that means my heart is full because my husband is home safely and I'm back in his arms again.

Life Lately

It's been a long time since I've done a post that is kind of about nothing yet sort of about everything.

Life lately has been busy, yet mundane.  With Nick on an aircraft carrier in the middle of the ocean, Jaxon and I like to keep ourselves busy to help our days pass.  Okay, so I don't really know if Jaxon likes to keep himself busy, but I assume he does.  I mean, when we're home the kid is definitely keeping himself busy as that little tornado never stops moving.  And he pretty much has my same personality, which means he likes to be out and about.  We plan things around his nap time, or around when he can catch a nap in the stroller (he naps great in the stroller so if we're going to a park around his naptime, I can bank on him taking his normal hour nap while I walk him around in the stroller.  Otherwise we stay home and head out between naps.)

I would say at least two days out of the week we're doing something with friends.  It might be brunch, the zoo, a park, hanging at each other's house, etc.  It's nice because it gives Jaxon the socialization as well as giving me some time to have real intellectual conversations with adults.  In addition to outings with frends, at least once a week Jaxon and I are venturing out to run errands, usually grocery shopping. (this kid loves to eat! I feel like every other day I'm running out of fruit!)

The weather is getting warmer here.  For the past 6 months, Jaxon and I have spent our afternoons outside on the patio.  It was the perfect temperature whether in the sun or shade.  But Florida is heating up, and it's now not so pleasant outside between the hours of 11am-4pm.  (Soon, those times will change to dawn to dusk).  So we try to get a walk with the pups in before the heat really sets in.  I'd love to go in the morning, but kids are walking to the bus stop between 7:30am and 9:30am!  (For real, when does school start here?!)  While my dogs love people and listen to my commands, it just gets annoying to constantly say, "Leave it.  Leave it. Leave it" every time we encounter someone.  So we opt to go about 10am.  But I feel pretty soon we won't be able to do that because in a month or so, it will already be about 85 degrees by 10am.

Our pool opened about a month ago, so we plan to go sometime next week.  I am just hoping the water has warmed up a bit because this mama does not like cold water!  Our neighborhood is also currently building a splash pad for kids right behind the pool.  I cannot wait for that to be finished.  Jaxon is going to love it!  I just wish I could find the poor kid some water shoes that fit him.  He's a size 2 and while I've found very few water shoes in that size, they must run big because the 2s I do find are big on him!  But his Converse and other sandals and shoes are all a size 2.  Any advice?????

Other than that, I've been spending my time planning Jaxon's 1st birthday party (excuse me while I go cry).  We're having it back in St. Louis with all our friends and family.  In addition to that, we're also getting Jaxon baptized.  We're a big Catholic family for those that didn't know. My siblings and I (and all my cousins) went to Catholic schools from kindergarten through 12th grade). We wanted to baptize Jaxon when we were home at Christmas, but you kind of need the Godparents to be present and well, my sister couldn't travel since she was about 36 weeks pregnant.  So we had to wait but better late than never!!!

And lastly, we're approaching the big D.....deployment.  So we're nailing down our "to do" list.  Some of them are fun things like, "Get family photos taken" and "Celebrate our anniversary" and others are not so fun like "update our power of attorneys and will" and "get the AC units serviced" and other house crap.

So that's kind of it.  Jaxon, Yadi, Vino, and I are anxiously awaiting the return of Nick, which is now sooner rather than later.  I don't know why, but this underway has felt so much longer than the previous ones.  All I know is that I'm ready for one long hug from that man!

Easter Basket Fun

Ever since I was little, we've had Easter baskets.  Easter morning, we'd wake up and have to find all the Easter eggs we dyed earlier in the week.  That sneaky Bunny hid them and we loved finding them.  (It was a sad day when my little sister learned (SPOILER ALERT) the Easter Bunny wasn't real because the egg hunts didn't occur anymore.)  After the egg hunt, we'd look at what the Bunny left in our baskets.  It was always something small and simple, pretty much just candy.

Later in the day, we'd head over to my grandparents house where we would, again, hunt for eggs (we each had a certain number with our names on them) and our baskets.  It was always so fun to run around the yard and the house with my cousins, searching for our baskets and eggs.  Typically we had change and small dollar bills in the eggs (normally never totaling over $5), candy, and depending on what was cool at the time, a Treasure Troll, or a TY Beanie Baby, etc.  Nothing big or over the top.

You know why?  Because in our family, Easter is NOT Christmas!  I will admit, Jaxon got a bit more than I'd like in his basket, but it wasn't anything crazy.  (But to each their own).

After Jaxon's morning nap after we got back from church, we opened our baskets.

My parents and my grandma (Jaxon's Gigi & Papa and his MawMaw) sent him a little basket and treats.  They also sent Nick and I cards and a small little candy bag.  (Because despite that fact that my cousins and siblings range from 22 years old to 34 years old, we STILL get baskets and candy and stuffed plastic eggs from my Grandma.  Now, she just mails our stuff).

Also, "Awwww....gag me" alert!!! This morning, I got an email from my sweet husband telling me to go look in the garage, behind his motorcycle, and I would find my Easter goodies.  How freaking thoughtful!!!  I did NOT expect him to remember or even find the time to get me something and hide it.  Lately, I have been addicted to Lindt Lindor truffles.  The milk chocolate ones.  I think addicted is an understatement too.  It's so incredibly unhealthy how obsessed I am with them right now.  So he did a gooooooood this year!!!

Then Jaxon opened his stuff from his family in St. Louis.

Next he moved on to the basket from the (mommy & daddy) Easter Bunny.
I originally was just going to give him two books (kids loves books), bubbles (he hasn't experienced bubbles before) and a ball (he's obsessed with balls).  But then I remembered that I bought Donald, Goofy, and Pluto (to match his Mickey) during an after-Christmas sale, so in the basket they went.  Then I got him some adorable Converse shoes and figured I'd toss those in too.  They're practical, right?

Thankfully he won't remember this year.  Because starting next year, he's not getting much.  Pretty much just candy, a book, and something simple like bubbles (pretty much, anything I can find at the dollar store!)

Overall, I'd say Jaxon loves his ball and the eggs the most.  (And he loves the eggs because, to him, they're mini balls.  Which is a current obsession of his.)

By the way, how cute is his basket???  That basket with the liner was $7.99 at Walmart.  I then took the liner to a local embroider place and they put his name on it for $8.  I had been looking on Etsy for a personalized basket for him and could not seem to find any with liners that I liked. Not to mention, they weren't too cheap.  I could not justify buying a $40 personalized Easter basket online when I wouldn't even really love the liner.  Then I stumbled upon this one in Walmart and I really liked it.  Can't beat a personalized basket for under $17!!  Sometimes, rarely, but sometimes, Walmart gives you a win y'all!!

Check out my other Easter posts: