Thursday, October 2, 2014

Analyze This

In short, all is well.

Texas- Texas is frustrating, annoying, too hot, too many bugs, too far from home, full of insane-crazy drivers, NOT a cheaper state to live in, and Perfect! (for now)

Texas Weather, boring but important- North Texas had an all time shortage of rainfall for September...not a big deal for me since the summer marked the coolest in a hundred years. But when it does rain here I LOVE IT! I run outside, raise my arms to the heavens and squeal (pretty much imagine that moment in The Sound of Music when Lisal gets kissed for the first time). I know that doesn't sound like a big deal but in Oregon thunder and lightening are rare, like only a couple times a year PLUS the rain here is so warm so standing/dancing/prancing in it for as long as the storm lasts doesn't result in chills. I don't understand why all my neighbors aren't outside twirling with me instead of shaking their heads from behind their kitchen windows. =)

Work- Work is work. My job is like any job; there are days that I feel awesome and proud of my ingenuity and ingeniousness ;) and other days I feel like that one mumbly-stapler-guy in Office Space when he's all like, "I'm gonna burn this place down." Really, the annoyances are all from the highly anal apparel managers who are so stuck on following corporate they would rather have our section look like crap than have me...I don't know a MERCHANDISER-merchandise so stuff looks great and sells! I understand it's truly not personal.

I know I've mentioned this before but dang it the best part of my job is putting on my iPod and listening to whatever. I listen to books, podcasts and lots of old conferences. Listening to conferences has been wonderful, yes wonderful! When I was young I remember my mom always saying how much she loved conference and I did NOT get it, ahhh it was tough! But now I honestly look forward to it and feel so enriched, as in my heart fills full of gratitude. like a glass of water for everything our Heavenly Father provides to all my trials designed specifically for me.

Trials- Trial #1. Since arriving in Texas I have had three prescription changes, none have been smooth. Not too mention several times of missed dosages causing bad days of icky. At present I'm on a new regiment and it seems to be a good combination (fingers crossed).

Trial #2- I believe I mentioned in May I had started a completely new therapy for my back and neck called spinal decompression. The process was 20 sessions of being stretched in my cervical spinal neck and 20 sessions on my lumber, that's it. About 80% of the way through my treatments I was feeling pretty good. I would say my back was 50% better and my neck treatments were really making a difference in range of motion and the constant achy pain was lightened. However, a very weird and new-to-me thing happened.

After an extra hard week of work I woke up in the middle of the night to my right-side sciatica throbbing and by morning my foot was numb and my calf my swollen. I went into the office for my 4-times-a-week treatment and my back went out during the lumber treatment. IT WAS BAD. The worse part was the doctor wasn't in the office that week, it was just the nurse and office manager doing the best they could. I was out of commission for the rest of the day and by morning I was better or I thought, still completely numb and swollen but my back was better BUT when I went in for another treatment. I couldn't get off the table. I was in absolutely so much pain. Getting off that table was one of my top most personal painful experiences. The nurse tried the TENS unit to help but it didn't. I don't understand HOW I got to my car nor why the nurse let me try walking to my car at all!? I could barely move a few inches at a time. THANKFULLY Tom was home from work that day and met me at my car when I pulled up home. (I think he used a shovel to get me out ;)

Fast forward 10 weeks, ~$4000 poorer, ultrasound and an MRI later I still have numbness though very little now. I am seeing a new doctor. (Oh and for the record, I think my spinal depression doctor was one of the most wonderful, Christ-like people I've met. I think the therapy is successful for many reasons and not good in a few.) Anyway, the latest is this: The new chiropractor does a specific kind of injections similar to getting an epidural. I met with him Monday to go over the MRI's. My neck has severe degeneration in a couple disks along with a tear and only really bad degeneration in my L3 and L4lumber along with a bulging/oozing disk in L-5 pushing on my nerves causing that numbness/swelling. Treatment? Arrive at doctors' office with prescription valium and pain killer, get epidural-like injections every 2 weeks and not cervical and lumber on the same day. The new chiropractor said he thinks this will be the fix for now and we won't have to look at surgery yet. ??? I have no idea what that even means. What surgery? What kind? Who? He told me I should not lift anything heavy EVER again, no matter what. ummm okayyyyy.....

Deep Thoughts- I've known forever I am a home-body. I've known forever I do NOT like change nor trying "new things". I am contented with my circle of friends and even though there is great distance in ever direction with all of them I still feel close and talk regularly. What I didn't know was the extent to my introversion. When I was younger and in the singles' ward, etc I was definitely more life-of-the-party and really I was "my other Jessica". Heck, even when I get cabin-fever bad and need to get out by the time I've arrived at the mall or grocery store I'm usually ready to get home again. I've been trying to figure out what I even like doing because for the most part I don't care for lots of things;
Crafts- I'm not crafty. I don't care to make things unless I'm making them for other people. I think I like home decor when I buy it (snobbish? Probably).
Sewing- nope, still can't even think about going there.
Reading- I have to be in the right mood. And that mood is usually every few years.
Operas/Musicals- The problem with them is the singing.
Writing- I enjoy writing but finding or making the time AND being in the right mood is a rough combination.
Shopping- I DO like going shopping. I'm happiest when I don't feel rushed in the least so going by myself or with Tom especially when he's extra patient AND I have money AND not feeling guilty spending the money on me.
Baking- I enjoy cooking and baking but it's not always fun when I can't eat what I'm making without all-night repercussions!
Outdoors- eww. Why?
Movies- I love movies and movie watching it just doesn't happen very often now but sitting back and getting super emotionally entranced in an action or drama is fun.
Yard Work- I DO like yard work dang it. With "no more lifting EVER again", that's kinda hard to do but I feel successful is making things pretty and colorful.
Day-Dream- I day dream a lot! I so look forward to the day when Tom and I can be huge givers. We definitely do what we can now but I desire to do so much.

It's crazy before these last 7 months in Texas, time was something I had too much of and I felt stir-crazy and anxious just about every minute of every day. Now time is scarce and so any time not spent on work and basic health & hygiene I'm usually mentally walking in circles trying to figure out WHAT the heck to do to feel creative until I come to the question of, Do I even WANT to be creative?? I feel like I am creative already and doing some "thing" isn't the void I'm feel needs to be filled. So what void isn't being filled? hmm well one thing that keeps popping in my head is painting and I've been putting it off for 9 months, 9 months!!! It's only acrylic painting. If I don't like it I can keep painting over and over it until I do like it. I think I'm afraid to even make something that I don't even like and criticize...I might need help with figuring that out and getting past the scared of being disappointed again wanting to make something I like and it DOESN'T turn out.

Tom- Tom is a rock. He plays substitute Apple store manager often and they love him because well he's Tom and Mr. Lithium, Mr. Calm, Mr. Professional, Mr. Great with people, etc.. He's taking Calculus 3 which is weird b/c he took Cal 4 a year ago. His homework looks like alien crop-circles. I think he'll get residency in June '15 and the plan is full time though I have no idea how. We talk college, more babies, our killing of debt, etc often, heck I feel like I bring up all three at least once a day. Verdict? Just keep swimming, just keep swimming and hoping Heavenly Father helps us know the answers.

Benny-Boop -Ben is three and has been 3 since he was 18 months old! I haven't started potty training because he's not ready though I think starting some attempts would be good. It's funny when other parents seem to throw potty training in your face like "oh my kid was potty trained by 13 months!" It's like okay is that the reason you asked me how he was doing just so you could boast that? Okay, thanks. Every kid is different and believe me if I could stop buying diapers and wipes I'd look it! I WILL admit to being a little scared of all the, "I gotta go potty now!" moments when it's so inconvenient; THAT'S when I'll miss diapers the most! Ben, like many 3 year olds is pretty head-strong. He learned the phrase, "Go Away!" a couple months ago and I really mislike it. When he gets mad, even if what he's mad has nothing to do with me he'll still say, "GO AWAY MOM". I try to not take it personal. On a nicer side, Ben LOVES babies. It's so flipping sweet to see him be gentle with infants and toddlers. It makes my heart swell and I know he's going to be a great big brother some day! I love my Benjamin, it really is SO true how much you continuously expand your love, concern, attention for, and care for your kid(s)!

Keegan, Ben, Jackson

Cassi & Benny

Finding a soft spot to play on the iPod

Nature is slimy

Grandpa Clark came to visit

Fourth of July

Museum with Daddy

Lots and lots of water parks

Cassi does a GREAT job taking photos!

Keegan, Jackson, Ben

Keegan & Ben- best friends, worse enemies (depends on the minute)

At Six Flags

Cassi enjoying the ride!

Riding a horse at the Dallas Zoo

Cooling off in the fridge while Cassi was cleaning it out (Ben's feet got super scraped up while pushing a tricycle without shoes and then skidding on the tops of his feet at least a couple feet. He still has scars)

Ben turns 3!!!


This kid LOVES McDonald's french a LOT

Friday, May 2, 2014

Working Girl

In short, I'm tired. I'm very tired.

About two weeks after we arrived I got an email asking me if I was ready to work again along with giving me a long list of stores for the taking and it couldn't have come soon enough. Even at my busiest in Portland I didn't have a quarter of the amount of work I have now. I started April 1st and driven well over 2500 miles.

Working and being a mom is hard. It's really hard. I've always thought the phrase, "balancing family and work" was an oxymoron and it is because something always gets more attention than the other, so there is no "balance" at all, only a teeter-toter that never has equal weight on each side. It's a tough place to be.

Tom signed up for his first two classes, $1200 not including books or materials, I know that's nothing compared to law books but it's still a chunk. A very big chunk.

My work sent out tablets to everyone as we are making a huge switch in how we will be reporting our store visits. I know that for soooo many getting a tablet would be awesome and wonderful and cool; for me...(rolling my eyes) it's ONE more thing to learn and have to take care of!

When I got it in the mail I opened it to make sure it wasn't broken and than immediately put it back in the box and put it away and waited until Tom got home to ask him to do the set-up as directed by my company. I had a two hour conference call going over how to use it and it was grueling! For persons who DON'T understand what its like to not only NOT care about tech stuff but actually find it a waste of time let me see if I can help you feel my pain. It's like when a new kids toy has come on the market and every kid is screaming for it while you're looking at the toy thinking that thing isn't even interesting, I dislike the color and can't stand the recorded voice inside, plus once it gets dirty I can't wash it because it will ruin the voice chip buttttt I'm suppose to let the dirty, small child love it until its filthy in two seconds??? Hmm maybe that doesn't quite paint the picture of how I feel. Let me try it again. Basically, it feels like the only vocation that is forced on everyone. YES technology is awesome and no I don't want to live without it! But I hate learning how I've been using my fingers wrong to scroll through a "browser" or whatever. I know I sound like an old bitty. I am an old bitty! Where's my typewriter? ;) Naw, I need my hulu so I can watch my episodes of Parks and Recreation, Call the Midwife, check my bank account, email and read and re-read blogs. I love technology I just hate feeling like once I got the hang of something that thing is already "sooooo five years ago". I still think "the cloud" is a moisture pocket in the sky!

I'll say this and then will shut up. The tablet is a lamo Galaxy thingy I mean....Apple is designed so incredibly user friendly, I can not stress it enough. It makes learning new stuff easier for people like me but for the rest of the world who likes figuring out everything totally backwards, and the harder way, and the completely inefficiently way, AND in the long run the more EXPENSIVE way- there's PC's (insert barfing sounds). So ya, if I had gotten an iPad MAYBE I would have spent more time looking at it but really only an extra moment or two BECAUSE I still have 20 year old re-run watching to do that is still MORE interesting than technology. (Not really, tv watching hasn't really happened since we moved here and I love it).

Okay rant is over. Like I said I'm so tired and worn out. I apologize for whining, I really do! I think more than anything I'm frustrated with my body to a degree I can not ever fully articulate but only comes from someone experiencing for themselves. In short I know I need nay HAVE to just set up an appointment to see a new chiropractor and heck I hear radio commercials everyday for several in the area so I know I'm in a good place. I'm not sure why I have been putting it off especially when the pain has never been so severe- probably because each day feels like it goes by so fast and when I have a day off it doesn't even cross my mind but maybe that's where I need to use the technology stuff and set more and more reminders??!

In other news. Ben is speaking better and better and more and more! He is a hyper, very excited to be doing something kid (just like his mom and dad and his grandpa White). He's doing pretty good with me being gone so much but it is hard when I come home he usually starts tearing up and runs to me which is so bitter-sweet. I miss him more than ever when I'm gone and like last night where I got home at 11pm and had been gone since early morning I was very tempted to just go snag him from his bed and just hold him.

Benny really loves his cousins. I would say he has a love/hate relationship but there's no hate its more like love/tease (gets the teasing from uncle Rexy). But he definitely loves them more than teasing =)

I wish I would have taken before and after photos of all the yard work I've given myself to do. I really do enjoy being able to make a yard look nice! Just today I mowed the front yard and because there's more dirt than grass I was covered, I mean COVERED in dirt within a minute or two. I should have had Cassi take a picture, it's incredible and so not like mowing in Oregon where the worse you experience is mud. Nope. Here its dust and more dust and a single lawn fills up six bags (mostly dirt) and every bit of your clothing is filthy but man it's so satisfying to have a nice lawn! =) Tomorrow I'm going to work on digging out a tree stump I cut down about a month ago. I cut down 2-3 more the other day and need to work on digging them out as well. So exhausting. I swear 10 minutes of that kind of work has to equal 3 hours in the gym. Don't believe me? Go try picking up a pick-ax and shovel and see how long it takes before you feel like you're dieting. haha

Monday, March 24, 2014

Starting Over

We've now been in Arlington, Texas for four weeks! Overall, it has gone by very fast; fast and very busy... I'm almost too tired to type about it. But I will because I think it's important.

It's interesting in the last year we have consolidated our stuff down to less than ever before- its been for the good as we have needed to lessen the load, help pay off debt, and help our stuff fit in a smaller space. A few years ago Tom's grandpa sent out a Christmas letter saying something to the affect that after he left the Air Force he got rid of all his belongings except for a suitcase and a backpack. I really liked that thinking- it reminds me of that quote, "Things you own end up owning you." Thus, we've started over with less than we had when we first got married, heck even way less than when we were both single and truly we've never been better!

First, the move. The weeks before we moved were packed. There was not an hour that wasn't accounted for, it was nuts. Trying to visit everyone we wanted was impossible and even now it's annoying to think of all the friends we just didn't have time to visit. GRR (Sorry Emily, Michele, etc.)

After church on February 23rd we drove down to my parents and had a dinner where Bek and her family came as well as another of my favorite people, Marie Winegardener and her husband Dave. My mom also asked a friend to take photos and I'm excited to see when they're done. The big activity that evening was watching family slides! Okay, I know for some watching slides is grueling but in the White House its awesome! The highlights were seeing slides from my dad's mission in Australia as tons of unsolicited comments from us snarky kids were added but dad was a great sport and really they were cool photos! We also re-looked at my parents wedding, Rex's and my births but by the time we got there it was after 8:30pm and we still had to get home, finish packing and start early the next morning so we couldn't stay longer, as it was Ben screamed SCREAMED for a good 30 minutes after we got home around 10pm, it sucked.

I can't remember when we went to bed that night nor when we got up the next morning but I know we were tired. We loaded up the moving truck with help from a couple guys from the ward and help from my brothers, Scott, Brian (both who have backs like mine, except Brian's who's still way more messed up from his accident a couple years ago) and Scott's girlfriend Gretchen and my mom who kept Ben out of trouble!

We were able to load up the moving truck and have everything cleaned up and keys turned in about an hour. Then we drove up to north Portland began packing our two moving pods, both 7x6x8. For the record that is not a lot of space. I got so nervous! I was freaked we were going to have to try and sale couches or just drop them off at a Goodwill BUT we were able to make it all fit! Oh and during all this the rain was majorly coming down! We were all soaked for a few hours.

After we finished we all went out to lunch, said a last goodbye and then drove a doctor's appointment for injections, YES they are THAT important to me! From there we checked into our hotel close to the airport where the girl who promised to buy my car several weeks earlier kept her promise and bought it! (Side note she was VERY nice! I kind of want to text her to see how she's doing with her pregnancy but I'm afraid JUST in case the car decided to die after we left or something horrible that wasn't fore scene) Anyway, I said goodbye to my little Focus of 10 1/2 years! Lacey and Ryan also came up for a last supper (pizza) and we all hung out until Tom and I could barely keep our eyes open. We woke up Tuesday morning, wolfed down a continental breakfast and took a shuttle to the airport. Ben did pretty good through the whole trip, in fact, the almost 4 hour flight flew by (no pun intended). And soon after we met Cassi and her two boys (Jackson and Keegan) at baggage claim. As Tom was getting Ben in his carseat I got a bit emotional and needed some husband hugs for a few moments.

Fast forward three weeks- a TON as been accomplished: reorganized kitchen, pantry, raked and bagged 36 40lb bags of leaves and branches, unloaded and put our new bedrooms together and completely unpacked everything, helped clean out tile to-be-grouted-lines and then grouted about 1000 sqft, and sealed the floors, helped Cassi organize her room, got Tom a new license (I'm stalling as long as I can- I like my Oregon license dang it!) We've (I) also found a car and will be picking it up today or tomorrow! Oh it's a Saab =) 2001 4-door TURBO Super exciting!!!

Things I don't understand about Texas:
  • First thing I noticed before we even got here was how ridiculous car prices are. For instance... here you'll find a trillion ford taurus' or chrysler vans or any normal, typical domestic car way over priced. Like, people want a ton for their junky, banged-up 200K miles+ re-built title crapper. But on the other hand people sale their 80K miles, in fantastic shape imports for a steal! You'd think, okay maybe Texans just want their American made cars but....there are tons of BMW's and VW's and Mercades everywhere I guess Texans just have no idea what good a Saab and/or Volvos are?! (Totally their loss and their loss is our gain).  
  • People don't have gutters here. It makes ZERO sense! ESPECIALLY with how the dirt reacts to water (like oil and water) it makes even MORE sense to have gutters but nope!
  • My sense of direction is shot to heck here!
  • My garmmies have been destroyed in just a few weeks. Help me figure this one out please. I know I'm an easy sweater but it hasn't even been hot yet. I know I've been doing HEAVY, hard labor and def have been sweating a lot while being in a dusty environment, but my garmmies all have dark brownish stains in the armpits like they were used to clean dark mud....????? Am I sweating out toxins or is it a sign I eat WAY too much chocolate and now I'm actually sweating it out?!
  • This isn't really a Texas issue but my period has been insane the last few months. I've had 2-3 periods just 13 days apart and this last one was 20 days apart so I guess its getting better?!
Things I am enjoying:
  • Having girl company all the time. Cassi is the best! I am absolutely spoiled in the in law department! 
  • There are some awesome converts in my new ward whom I assume were southern baptists at one point so during sacrament meeting and relief society there's a lot of "Amen!'s and "Amen Lord" and "Yes ma'am!'s" etc etc I LOVE IT! 
  • For the MOST part Ben and his cousins get along pretty well!

Last Sunday with the White Family

Moving van

After loading pods and finishing lunch

Ben calls the iPod his "mePod"

During the first week we arrived Tom went with Cassi and the boys to the zoo (I was home sick for a moment I thought I was pregnant but then remembered you don't get morning sickness on day 9 lol)

Loving the Merry-Go-Around

Playing at one of several parks close to home with older cousin Jackson

Ben LOVES to get dizzy!!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Results are in and the winner is...

I put Ben down a couple minutes ago and decided to write! Interestingly enough this is the first nap in a while I haven't gone down with him. If ONLY I had forced myself to take naps in the first I wonder how different life would have turned out? Deep thoughts indeed. but yes I have been taking regular naps for the last several weeks and life has been better.

I think the most noteworthy information has to do with my X-ray results. (Drum roll please) Finds are I have moderate to severe scoliosis, the words my doctor said were, "Its not quite severe but saying its moderate its putting it lightly." I also have arthritis in the curvature areas (jealous?) lol this last Friday I got injections from the rheumatologist and it was a very different experience from the countless before it. It was a much more gentle procedure, I didn't have swelling or welts but I wish I had had more b/c it seemed like I got a children's aspirin dose instead of codeine, ya know? I go back in Monday to have more done on my back since the last ones were only in my shoulders. The doctor said he only does a certain amount each visit or its not as effective or something...or maybe this way he gets TWO co-pays? Either way its still a WHOLE heck of a lot cheaper than what I was paying before!

Treatment for scoliosis is pretty bleak but I'm going to start swimming laps once we get to Texas and I should also be pairing it with physical therapy and further injections. I'm also on a regular dose of twice a day muscle relaxers (low dose to start off). They alone make me sleepy added to the other two meds that cause drowsiness- its a miracle I'm not sleeping 18 hour days! :) One interesting side effect of muscle relaxers is they can make you extra irritable- a lot like PMS. So...Watch Out!

Texas. No definite date yet. Tom had his third interview yesterday and should be hearing back Wednesday on an offer and starting date. I guess Texas would have him asap but they want to give the store he's currently at time to replace him so anywhere from 3-5 weeks.

We sold Tom's Saab last Saturday. Tom took it like a trooper. I think I'm still having issues honestly. I think I'm in between the stages of anger and grief.

Everything is back to normal with Ben's room. After several weeks of dehumidifiers and commercial/industrial fans going 24/7 the apartment decided to pull down the ceiling, which had asbestos in it so it was quarantined and we stayed at a hotel. In all, Ben was in our room for about two weeks so this last Sunday we had to do sleep training all over again. I know I know JEALOUS again! It has gone better than expected though so I'm happy about that!

Ben. Ben has been talking more and more and better and better each day. It's wonderful and kinda sad because it means he's getting older and bigger and I wish he were a little new born all over again. =) I really know my favorite stage is the first two months. Yes, your body and mental state are mush but I love the little little baby stage the most!