Saturday, April 28, 2012

My Robert

Today I had a dizzy morning. That happens from time to time but it is short lived usually just a sign that I  need more water. At times like this, I just lay down as getting up often leads to a drop in blood pressure and passing out. Oddly, this almost always happens when Robert is with me. I don't know if I'm just lazy with him around (I'm fanatical about getting enough water when it's just me and the kids) or if I'm blessed to be healthy when he is away. Probably both.
So this morning while I lay in bed, Robert took both boys to their soccer games, did the laundry, had the kids clean up the living room, mowed the lawn, made lunch and brought it to me in bed, and went to get milk at Sams. I'm probably missing a few things. Really?  This man is super human with a heart as big as a Texas dream.
Marrying him was the best thing I ever did!!  I knew from the minute I met him that he was special. Unfortunately so did any other girl he met. He and I were just friends for a couple of years.  I had others tell me to walk away and stop spending so much time with him, I resolved not to hang out with him and meet other guys, and even promised my dad I would never date him (he was stupid for not seeing the greatness my totally unbiassed dad saw). But something just kept me there. At the time we finally both figured things out, he had just ended a relationship and I was just starting one,  but finally, the timing was just right.
The road to finding him was a very difficult one for me. When I was 12, the dad of my friend began sexually abusing me. It went on for over a year, and left me emotionally scarred. Among MANY effects of the abuse was my perceptions about myself and my relationships with boys. If good guys did ask me out, I felt like I was somehow ruined and deceiptful by dating them so I would act wierd on dates or find some way to sabotage any chance we had together. I felt more comfortable dating boys who were more...well...questionable. As I got older, I was more mature but still felt unworthy.  I dated a couple of guys who were basically good, but I never felt that I deserved to be treated well and I didn't like myself so I would let guys try to make me into what they wanted and let them treat me with less respect than I deserved. It was only after I did the whole police and court thing, started therapy, and started the super long (lifelong?) process of healing that I was able to have healthy relationships with good guys.  After the dating experiences I should have had all along, I was ready when Robert came along.
I think it was good that he and I were only friends for so long. It gave us a chance to get to know one another without always putting our best foot forward, and because trust was a huge problem for me,  it helped me to get to trust gradually and fully.
Man am I glad I waited!! He was always so good to me but since the stroke he has taken such sweet care of me and always acts so happy to help me. He has quite literlly carried me through the  really horrible times when it would have been so much easier on him to just walk away. There are things about him that are so tender and loving that it brings tears to my good eye just thinking about them. I love my Robert and feel so blessed to have him with me forever.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Getting Recognized

Today I went through the checkout line at a VERY busy Sams Club. Anonymous, right? Wrong. The Checker recognized me and commented about how long it had been and how nice it was to see me. I wish this were a one time thing but it happens everywhere I go. I admit, I am hard to miss and easily remembered. I have spoken numerous times on a couple of different topics, in a few different places. Consequently I am often approached, waved to, talked to, smiled at and hugged, and otherwise recognized, often by name. Often my response is, "" I remember faces but names and places not so much. I always feel bad about not knowing people but I also love that I'm aproachable. Too often I feel scary or strange.  I hate when people avert their eyes or scold their children for staring. This just adds to the idea that I am something to be avoided or even feared.  The best response I heard was when a little boy asked his mom what happened to me. Her answer was to tell him she didn't know and why doesn't he just ask me. This gave us the opportunity to talk, him to touch my face, and even laugh about how silly it made me talk. I will bet that boy won't be scared of me next time.

I hope my kids learn from me to never be afraid of differences. So many great people and opportunities would be missed if they were.

" In fact, some of the sweetest spirits are housed in frail frames."  Russell M. Nelson

Just to be clear, I am not claiming to be one of those sweet spirits. Anyone who really knows me can testify about how un-sweet I can be! Just ask Robert how sweet I am when he snores at 3 in the morning.

On a different note, today we signed up Jain for soccer. I can't wait for that! She already has a pink soccer ball and brings stuffed animals outside to watch her play and she recently asked if she could play while carrying a purse. A girlie girl playing soccer should be fun to see.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


This blog is a great way for my mom to keep track of my world while she is gone. So to catch her up...

We all went (again) th HAFB museum. We took my change collection and put it all in the "wishing well" and had a huge crowd of kids gathered to watch. We had to have help signing in (Aleq told the volunteer that my hands were too strokey) and our usual name given out-Stockton-just was not in my head.  So, sadly, I had to settle for using my real name. All 4 kids loved seeing all the exhibits and especially loved their stickers and pilot wing pins. Aleq even held my hand outside because the wind was blowing and, yes, it still knocks me over!

We have gone to "Get Air" a couple of times and the kids love it!  And it exhausts them so I love it. Brittany Comeau works there and the kids love playing along with her. Jain doesn't so much jump as run. Don't you love Tommy's fake sad face?

                                  Tommy lined up all of his Mario Brothers toys. He is so proud.
Jain had to have her picture, too!

We got invited to Bentley's (Lindsay's daughter) birthday party. Obviously it was pirate themed. Seriously, does it get cuter than this?
Jain before her friend's princess party.
The Easter Bunny came right to our door!!

I hope you don't mind all these pictures. I realize I'm a bit biased  but I think these kids are the best. Even the borrowed ones.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


My other blog was more of a medical record. Because this is a journal, too, I thought I would occasionally write down memories of people and events that I want to remember. So lucky you, you get to join  me.

Because my kids all have birthdays in the same week (November 1, 2, 8) The boys had birthday money to spend but I hadn't quite gotten to it with having a new baby and the chaos involved. So, the day before Thanksgiving, 2007, I ventured to Walmart with all 3 kids. I know others take more kids with them but this was my first outing with them all and I was a bit nervous.
I managed to get us all in to the store, put the baby carrier in the cart, and started past the greeter. Just then my eyes could only see black and my legs gave out. I managed to yell to the greeter to call 911.  Two ladies, who didn't know me or my kids immediately came over and took care of my kids. I never did get their names or get to thank them but I still get emotional at their sweetness. Walmart employees formed a protective circle around me. I remained conscious the whole time and by the time the paramedics arrived I felt shakey, but fine. And really embarrassed!
They cheched me over and wanted to take me to the hospital, but I declined. I really felt fine. But they said they could not leave until I had someone with me.They asked who they could call and I let them call Robert, who was understandibly freaked out. I then called Karen Stallings to come get my kids. I got no answer.  Come to find out, she was on the other side of the same store! I then called my mom for help. She got my sister from across her street and they drove like crazy to Walmart. Unfortunately, they went to the wrong Walmart and had to talk to the manager to find out where I really was.
While we waited for the cavalry, I got moved out of the entrance and into the optical center. They brought me water and crackers and one manager even took the boys and helped them pick out their gifts.I am now a Walmart shopper for life! My mom and Wendy arrived and right after came Robert. I don't even want to know how fast he was driving to get there so fast!
My mom and Wendy took the kids and Robert and I went to see my doctor.  The best way I could describe to him what happened was that I had passed out. He (without having all the facts) said that was fairly normal after giving birth and to rest and maybe get a massage. He was right for the symptoms I described. Looking back, I realize I should have explained more. In actuality, I had a TIA or mini stroke. Often it a stong indicator of a big stroke coming. many people suffer no lasting effects from TIA's but they should never be ignored!!  But a stroke was not even in the back of my mind. I just didn't know.
That day my sister asked Aleq if he was scared. He replied that it wasn't a scary story at all.  I love this!  Realizing that I was cared for, many people went out of their way to make sure my kids were okay.  What could have been a  terrible experience for them was, instead, an almost fun day for them. This was the first of MANY times I could see The Lord working through others to help us through this time.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


I asked my neighbor for some input on adjusting to illness. When I read this, I just thought, WOW! It definately deserves it's own post. This girl is strong and smart and sweet. And she plays princesses with Jain, so we love her!!

As you know, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease when I was 16.  At first I was overwhelmed because my life had significantly changed at an age where I was least expecting something like this to happen.  I felt like I was on my own and had to learn how to deal with this trial without putting my burden on others.  I was struggling with a disease internally and people didn’t always see that it was affecting me just by looking at my outward appearance.  Things finally got bad enough that I soon had to let others in and accept their help in my situation.  I learned that so many people go through different challenges but can have a hard time showing it on the outside.  It doesn’t matter what people’s problems are; they can be suffering from Crohn’s disease, a death in the family, or even cancer, but I now know that it is so important to be aware of others’ needs and do everything possible to help them adjust to their new situations.  Because people made a difference in my life, I want to help make a difference in others’ lives.  This is a huge part of adjusting to illnesses, because it is impossible to deal with some specific struggles on your own.  There are always other people willing to be of support, and I want to be that person in the lives of those I love.  I was so grateful that people around me wanted to be there for me when I was struggling.  But what meant the most to me was when people asked how I was doing a year after I was diagnosed.  When other people became aware that I had been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at first, they wanted to do all they could to help.  Their words were sympathetic and comforting, but this support eventually died down.  People moved on with their lives and went back into their daily routines.  Although everyone else moved on pretty quickly, I was still learning to adjust to my Crohn’s.  I can count on one hand how many people kept me in their thoughts and remembered what I was going through.  Months later, someone asked me how I was doing with my illness when I hadn’t talked about it for a while.  This meant so much to me because I knew that people still cared about me and wanted to make sure I was adjusting alright.  It is the simple things people do for me that truly help me to better adjust to my illness as I go about my life.
Adjusting to my illness has been difficult these past three or so years, and I have had to learn to deal with certain things on my own that no one else can do for me.  All of my efforts to heal myself physically and emotionally have greatly helped my life, but I couldn’t do everything on my own.  My family, friends, and neighbors who are close to me have filled the remaining holes in my progress towards adjusting.  No, my life will never completely go back to how it was before, but with others by my side I have been able to make more progress than I would have been able to on my own.  I have made a commitment to myself to “pay it forward” to others and do the same for people who are going through similar things.  I can relate to those who struggle and really want to do what I can for them.  After all, it is the least I can do to help others adjust to their illnesses after many have helped me adjust to my illness.

Adjusting To Illness

Today I presented at a conference for social workers. My cousin, Amy helped organize it, and my brother, Jed was asked to present so, of course, they had to use old reliable Jodi. I think I was a good time filler for Jed. The topic was adjusting to illness. It is a difficult subject for me because I don't think of myself as sick and adjusting is something I struggle with every day. I'm no expert by any stretch of the imagination. But as I thought and prepared, it occurred to me that my injury is just the kick I needed to make the changes I should have made anyway. Simple things like saying I love you or I'm sorry more, giving out more kisses, hugs and smiles, letting the dishes go because Jain wants a story, being serious about and fighting for my marriage. I have had to really think about what is a must do, and what is a like to do. Don't get me wrong, the stroke has changed every single part of my life so many changes were not really a choice. But some of those changes ended up being really good for me!
Also, my sister and I were talking about it and we just had to laugh at how others view us and how we view them.
What she sees: I have adjusted very well.  I have it all together. When she visited last I was dressed and and ready for the day bright and early.  My kids were all groomed well and Jains hair was braided just right. My house was very clean, and there were home made cookies cooling. As she puts it, " I didn't even have a stroke and my life isn't that together!"
Reality: I knew she was coming so I pulled myself out of bed before noon. I did my hair exactly once this week. I spent 30 minutes and many growels trying to do a pony on Jain and the braid is the easy part. Robert helped the boys get dressed. The living room and kitchen are the only two clean rooms in the house. I make the cookie dough on the rare occasion that I have extra energy, freeze it, and pull it out when I need a little sugar rush. And as soon as you leave,  I'm taking a nap.
I  want a big sign on my door that reads, I HAD A STROKE, LAY OFF!
So, no, I haven't  really "adjusted" I'm just barely getting by. But that's true of us all!
I had one lady ask me if there was a point when I  realized that my old life was gone and my new life was starting? And what motivated me to keep going and working on getting better? It really hit me in the ICU when they were dragging a sharp object up my foot to see if my toes would flex or point. I remember thinking, "This is serious. I may never be the same again." Almost immediately I had the thought, I have 3 kids. Lets get going  so I can take care of them!"
Anywho, it was a good day but my 30 minute presentation was an all day deal for me with getting up early, driving, talking to people ater, etc. so I'm going to bed now.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!!

Today we get to celebrate Easter.  Actually we celebrated all weekend. Yesterday there was the annual Eastman Easter Egg Egg-stravaganza which included a hunt, picnic lunch, pick up soccer games in which tackles were legal, and even a cheer from my sister, Wendy. Today we got up early, got and ate too much candy, wore new clothes to church, had a fantastic lunch at Roberts parents followed by a few hours of enjoying the warm weather (for now) and visiting with neighbors we never see in winter because we are all hibernating. It was a great day!

But my favorite part of it all?  Having all 3 kids explain the real reason for Easter. They have obviously been listening and learning in Primary, Family Home Evening, etc. Wendy was chatting with the kids about the hunt and party and asked them what their favorite part of Easter was. We all thought candy or the like but Sito said his favorite was Jesus's resurrection. I was proud and a little sheepish.

I heard a quote today in RS but I can't remeber who said it so, sorry. "Without Easter, there would be no Christmas." I had to think on that but it's absolutely true. I am so thankful for what Christ has done for me. I realize that He sacrificed for all his brothers and sisters but at times it feels like a very personal gift. I can never thank Him adequately.
             Before Church. Sadly, we were all frustrated and it  was a nightmare to get an okay shot!

  We all used to sing off key to help my dad feel like he fit in. This is the same concept to help me fit in.

On a more secular note, the Easter Bunny again left tracks all through the neighborhood. Jain and Sito went looking for more this evening and put flowers (weeds) on all they could find to let the Easter Bunny know they loved him. Super cute and sweet.

Just because I can I will take a minute to show off my husband.  This past week I had 2 of my extra strokey days. I couldn't get out of bed except to shower. My kids were home and just making meals was almost more than my body could handle. I'm not gonna lie, there may have been a lot of cold cereal. The laundry piled up and the house...well...having 3 kids running wild...a few items were slightly out of place. When Robert got home from work on Friday, he took one look at  things, waited for me to shower, loaded us in the car, and took us to dinner. Afterwards, he folded clothes, loaded the dishewasher, supervised the kids cleaning up, put all 3 kids to bed, and then started a movie for us.  Seriously? Unreal! I love that man so much that my heart might just burst!