30 June 2009

Another day

...another interview.

That's right, I'm still looking (and interviewing) for a job. But Clarissa, didn't you get a job? Why yes, yes I did. After sitting thru 5.5 hours of orientation (which by-the-way really shouldn't be called orientation. It should be referred to as filling out paperwork and watching outdated videos on what the company is NOT about.) the manager discussed the schedule. Sweet! Not. The company only allocates a certain numbers of hours to each store per week to be divided among it's employees. Sounds normal. Each store has 1-3 managers and managers are considered salary and therefore must have 40 hours per week. Alright, again sounds pretty normal. This particular store has 3 managers and so 120 hours immediately goes to these three individuals (who by-the-way also get mostly daytime hours). The store is allocated 150 hours per week. Hmm. 30 hours left. Alright, here comes the kicker-each associate is then given 3-6 hours per week. I'm sorry, I thought you just said 6. Oh, right. Six.

I went home feeling not so great. Six hours per week would barely cover my gas, not to mention the fact that ultimately I need a job that offers benefits.

So Stuart and I talked about it. We prayed about it. We talked about it some more. Then I called and quit. slow, deep breath

This whole job search thing is not only exhausting but so depressing. I know I am a good worker. I know I have skills that companies want in their employees. No, I don't have a college degree. No, I haven't "worked" in 4 years, but why should staying home to rear your children be held against you? There are plenty of moms that could walk circles around CEOs because running a household is SO MUCH MORE than just cooking, cleaning, and changing a diaper.

And so I have yet another interview today in which I must plaster a smile on my face and act like I am completely excited about potentially coming to work for whatever company and all I can think about is if I do get whatever job my kids are going to have to go to daycare and that just breaks my heart. I do want to get a job so that I can a) help my family, b) be there financially for my husband since he has been there for me/us for the past 6 years, c) be around adults and d) actually put clothes on. (I do wear clothes...)

There is an up side to all these interviews though: I get to see the craziest people known to man and they all happen to live in this city. Fun.

BTW-there's an update on baby Luke here. Thanks for praying!

29 June 2009


This week has been a weird one for me. I'm seriously not wrapped up in the MJ death or the Farrah death or Ed's death and not even Billy Mays' death (but Billy Mays? Really?). I think it's sad that they passed away and my heart goes out to their families but it's not something that I have hemmed and hawked over. These deaths have however reminded me of Jennifer's death.

Stuart and I were sitting on the couch one night this weekend and laughing at something on tv. For some reason it reminded me of the time right after our wedding rings came in the mail. We were so excited to have them; it was a physical reminder that we were getting married! So excited were we that we decided to don our rings when we went out to dinner that night. We laughed and smiled and flirted, all the while looking like we were in fact already married. I'm sure that no one else in the world noticed that we were both wearing rings but to us this was a huge magnifying glass to our hands and everyone had to know.

After dinner we went back to Stuart's parent's house. As soon as we walked in Jennifer immediately noticed that Stuart was wearing his wedding band. To say she was hysterical is an understatement. Needless-to-say, Stuart's ring was in Jennifer's possession from then until moments before our wedding.

I was retelling this story to Stuart, laughing and thinking about how silly we were.

Stuart: Oh, that was nothing. My mom was not hysterical at all.
Me: Really? I thought she was pretty mad.
Stuart: Nah, that was 'slightly concerned'.
Me: Really? I thought she kinda flew off the handle.
Stuart: Nope. You haven't seen anything.
Stuart: I guess you never will.

I miss her. And it's hard to put into words what that does to me.

26 June 2009


son and dog

25 June 2009


I have been bestowed a gift. A gift unlike any other. Ta-da!
And with this I am privileged to advise you on 10 honest things about me. Like I haven't already explained to you the complexity that is known as me. So without further adieu, here are 10 note-worthy, honest-to-goodness things that you might not have known about yours truly:

  1. I grew up in Fortaleza, Brazil. My parents were missionaries there for 5 years. So along with Portuguese being my first language, my first memories of childhood belong to a country of Carnival, beans and rice, and frogs that used to jump out at me from our indoor garden.
  2. I am somewhat of a Jew when it comes to money. Stereotyping I know, but seriously, I am. Not only do I obsess about money to the point of making fancy, shmancy spreadsheets, I balance the checkbook every day, double checking it against what USAA.com says, I make spreadsheets about where our money is to go and check that against our "Bills" spreadsheet, I have an unhealthy relationship with coins to the point of rolling them and paying for a $10 purchase in all pennies (the clerks, the love me), I get giddy if I can pay for anything in exact change and I verbally assault my husband when he nonchalantly throws pennies away.
  3. I love to coordinate things. Smallest to largest, color order (white, pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, grey and black), alphabetically ascending, rotation (used last to used recently); these all add order to my world. And if I walk into a space that doesn't have this type of order, I mentally process how I can remedy the problems.
  4. I'm a bit of a control freak. I think you get the point.
  5. I used to shave my eyebrows instead of plucking them because it was less painful. I know, I know. Where was my mother at this time? Now, don't get all freaked out. I didn't shave my eyebrows off, I just shaved in between my eyebrows.
  6. My "pointer" toes are longer than my big toes. Stuart thinks this is the weirdest phenomenon to which I pleasantly remind him that this trait means I am a genius.
  7. It drives me bonkers when people say "I could care less." By definition this means that you could, in fact care less. It's "I couldn't care less." By definition meaning that you could not, in fact care less.
  8. "Sex and the City" is my not-so-in-the-closet guilty pleasure. And yes, I own the entire series plus the movie.
  9. One of my biggest fears besides all thing dark, reptiles, rodents, bugs that fly, scary movies, and clowns is yogurt. Something about "live cultures" makes my skin crawl. Unsubstantiated, but real none-the-less. I do however encourage my children to eat this dairy product. And they love it.
  10. I can't drink milk. And by can't, I mean won't. *shudder* Yuck.
I am bequeathing this jewel to:
Marci because she's my sister
Jennifer because she's hobolicious
Brooke because she thinks like me
Brittany because her son's actions match those of my children
Amy because I want to hear what she has to say
Aubrey because she's a new mommy
Raena because she needs to blog more
Autumn because she also has two boys
Bri because she was my other half

24 June 2009

Summer Nights

23 June 2009

Naked Boy

Last summer we were doing our typical morning thing: I was at the table feeding Tucker, Tyson was playing in the living room, Turbo was whining at the back door and Stuart was getting ready for work. Very typical morning. Tyson wanders over to the backdoor to investigate what his toys have been up to while he was sleeping-nothing.

"Naked boy mommy."

Huh? See, Tyson was just 2.5 years old and still developing his amazing verbal skills.

"No buddy, you're not a naked boy right now."

After baths we would let Tyson run around naked because he loved it and in the hopes that not wearing a diaper would magically make potty training happen. (Obviously the potty training did not happen for another year, but it DID happen and we are all happier for this incredible gift our son bestowed on us.)

"Naked boy mommy."

"Tyson, you're not a naked boy right now. Why don't you go play with your cars?"

"Mommy! Naked boy!"

"Tyson..." as I get up to help him away from the back door, I look up and see a naked boy. A.Naked.Boy.


There is a little boy, naked, standing at the back of our fence just staring at Tyson. I open the back door, look around, see no one else outside (it is only 6:45 am), mentally check off all the kids that live around us, and deduct that I have no clue who this naked child is.

"Honey, what are you screaming...whoa, who's that?"

"I have no clue."

He doesn't seem to be hurt, just naked and a little scared. I walk up to the fence and ask him what his name is. Nothing. Where's your mommy? Nothing. Are you ok? Nothing.


"Do you like my puppy dog?"


I look around again, desperately trying to figure out who this child is and why no one is outside claiming him.

"Alright sweetie. I'm going to pick you up and we're gonna find your mommy. Ok?"


I lean over the fence and heave him over, trying not to scare him and trying not to scrape him against the chain links. As I walk in the door, Stuart immediately peppers me with questions, "who is he? is he ok? do you know him? what's his name?"

"I have no idea."

As Stuart walks outside to surely find a panic-stricken mother, I grab a pull-up (kind of handy that we had just decided that week to start potty training and thus had a brand new package of pull-ups) and semi-clothe this naked boy. He immediately spots Tyson's cars and pads over to start playing with his new non-naked friend.

Stuart comes back a few minutes later-no one is outside, no one seems to have lost a child.

"I think we need to call the police."

15 minutes later our house looks like a crime scene. We have 2 SAFB Police cars, 1 WF Police car, plus the usual gawkers realizing that their neighbors are now crazy too. One of the SAFBPD Officers takes the little boy so that Stuart and I can give our accounts of finding this toddler and another officer starts walking up and down the streets. Mind you, it's been a good 30-45 minutes since we have found this child.

Finally a social worker makes her way to our house and thanks us for finding and clothing the child (he was the same size as Tyson).

It's just at that time that one of the officers spots a woman wearing only a long t-shirt walking on the street behind our house. He quickly flags her down and we learn that this woman is in fact the derelict mother.

Apparently the little boy woke up, got out of bed, rounded up the two dogs, opened the unlocked back door, let himself and the dogs out into the yard and then opened the unlocked back gate so that the dogs could play more. All the while his mother slept mere feet from the ruckus. (I don't know about your dogs, but mine aren't exactly quiet first thing in the morning.) After letting the dogs loose, the little boy took off trying to get his dogs back-thus the repeated "puppy." When the father came home from PT he found an open back door, open back gate, missing child, missing dogs and a sleeping wife. I can only imagine the string of obscenities that came out of his mouth.

Finally getting the full story, CPS still had to take the child into custody till they could further investigate the "problem" and the officers finished up with Stuart and I. Turns out the naked boy only lived a block away from us but his parents had no clue how long he was gone.

Yesterday, Tyson was playing outside and out of no where asked me about the naked boy. Strange what these kids remember.

22 June 2009

Mommy Brain

I think all mother's understand the incredible, delusional, upside-down, bottom-side-up phenomenon known as "mommy brain" or "baby brain" if you will.

For me this started a mere 30 seconds after Tyson was born. I could not remember my name, where I lived, who my husband was; you know, the highly important information that you need to answer before being discharged from the hospital. I was even more amazed after getting home (and by the way I delivered Tyson in San Antonio though we lived in Las Vegas, so we drove home when Tyson was 4 days old and what normally took us about 21 hours to drive took us 30 hours with a new, newborn and a nursing mommy. Yeah, fun.) that what normally is a fully functioning brain had turned to absolute mush.

It should have been no surprise to me that this last week the memory skills that I normally pride myself in were gone. Disappeared. Finito. Out the window. Au-vi-da-sen. I have no idea how to spell that but it sounds nice doesn't it? And distinguished. And international. See, there I go again.

Here is a sampling of my mommy brain from this last week:

  • After searching for my cell phone I finally gave up figuring that someone was bound to call me at some time and I would hear it and find it, unless my phone was on silent and then I was out 'o luck. Luckily someone did call me and low-and-behold, my phone was in the refrigerator. And it still worked.
  • After a particularly long night with Tyson, I went to make breakfast. This was a comedy of errors. I began by putting cream cheese on a frozen bagel and THEN putting the cream cheese laden popsicle in the toaster. After realizing my wrongness, I quickly popped the bagel out of the toaster and put the toaster under the faucet to clean it. It still works. Giving up on toasting anything, I filled a bowl with cereal and took the milk out of the fridge. As I was pouring the dairy, Tyson look at me and quizzically asks why I am pouring orange juice in his cereal. Alright, enough of that. Two down. Searching for anything else to feed my son, I grab a bag of chips and declare, this morning you can have whatever you want.
  • When brushing my teeth, I grab the toothpaste and put it on my toothbrush. Man, this feels weird. It's at this point that Stuart walks in and asks why I am putting shaving cream on my toothbrush.
  • Upon waking up on Saturday, I did a mad dash to get Stuart's Father's Day cards on the table before he woke up. I had the boys ready and rehearsed on saying, "Happy Father's Day Daddy!" I was prepared and he was going to love it. Too bad I was a day early. At least I wasn't a day late. (Oh man that just made me think of being pregnant..which I'm not, I just had a flashback. Remember Stuart had the 'ole snip, snip so unless I have a miracle baby this family d-o-n-e.)
I am amazed that I haven't done more permanent damage to myself.

20 June 2009


Happy Father's Day!
To my husband-
I couldn't ask for a better father and husband. I love you more than words can say.

And to my padre-
I love you more every year of my life. Thanks for being a fabulous Peepaw!

Something New

After some thought, prayer and contact with Luke's mommy, we decided to make a blog for Luke. You'll see the link on the right side (--->) of this blog. Feel free to look around and read about the amazing journey that Luke and his parents have been on. Feel free to copy the button and place on your blogs as well. And as always, thanks for your prayers!

19 June 2009

Hotness Sickness

A plague has befallen over our house. Sickness has made it's not-so-grand entrance again and taken hold of the youngest humans. The boys started sneezing Wednesday but I didn't even think twice about it since we live in allergy-ridden Texas. Unfortunately I should have taken head because the boys both woke up with coughs and one faucet nose and one clogged nose. Oh and did I say "woke up?" Maybe I should clarify: I woke up to that. Tyson never really slept. He was awake from 12-5 am Thursday morning because he couldn't breathe well.

Medicine was tried but quickly spilled over, spit out or sneezed out. I then brought him into the living room to let him calm down while watching some tv. I took him to bed with me. (Let me just say that I have no idea how parents who sleep with their kids do it. It was horrible for me. If Tyson wasn't kicking me in the legs, stomach or face, he was tossing about in such a motion that all the sheets ended up on the floor and the dogs ended up on the bed to investigate the party going on, leaving Stuart naked, cold and still sleeping on the far side of the bed.) I took him back to his bed. I ended up sleeping on the floor of his room.

They were pretty puny.

An even worse monster has been rearing it's ugly head all week-heat. Not just it's-a-bit-hot-and-I-wish-I-were-inside-heat, but HOLYMOLYIAMGOINGTOMELTTODEATHTHEMINUTEIWALKOUTOFTHISHOUSE heat.
And apparently our A/C also has it in for us. Thanks to a frozen evaporator coil, air was not getting into our house and so the temperature was not-so-slowly rising.

I know what you're thinking. Come on Clarissa, put on your big girl panties and deal with it. Trust me, I did. I yelled and whined and kicked things. I thought I handled this situation remarkably well. My therapist, not so much. Just kidding, I haven't talked to my therapist about the h-e-double hockey stick that we went thru for a couple of hours till the block of ice melted. I mean, we did have to turn the A/C off and run every fan in the house to make it feel like an island paradise. And I by no means threatened to go to Walmart just to get out of the heat inside our house. I also didn't eat two ice cream cones during this time to cool myself down.

On a good note, my electric company must love me and think just like I do. They provide a graph on every bill to show a visual of our electric use. So that's where my $191.87 is going to this month.
I just love a good graph.

18 June 2009

Momy, Mommy!

I think I may have mentioned before about the life cycle of poop in this house. I mean, I do have a potty-trained 3 year old (thank heavens!), a constantly full diaper-totting 2 year old, a mammoth 5 year old (good gracious, Turbo is really 5?) lab AND an ever growing 1 year old great Dane. Yes, there is a lot of poop that filters thru this house and particularly thru my hands. It's nasty and yucky and no one really wants to deal with it, let alone talk about it, but this is my life and I feel compelled to share the gory details with you. (Come on, you know that you too investigate your child's poo. It's just amazing how bad it really smells and how the kaleidoscope of colors changes from every angle and oh! the corn that doesn't get digested...)

So I deal with poop on an hourly basis. This act, however, did not prepare me for what happened yesterday.

I took the boys outside to play around 9 am. Why so early? Because it's so obnoxiously hot at 12 pm that we get sunburned just being inside our house. It's really getting out of hand. So we go out early and then try and not burn the house down in the afternoons.

So we're outside, the boys are running around and doing boy things, the dogs are playing the weird "boy-girl dog" dance (Turbo is fixed so there are NOT going to be any puppies in our house) and I am picking up, well, dog poop. I'm telling you, hourly. I finish up with my duty and go to grab the trash can to dump it's contents along with my steaming fresh dog bowel clean up bag into the dumpster. [We have a dumpster behind our house. Yet another example to the old-ness of our house. We don't have the conventional Tues/Fri curb-side garbage pick-up that most of the city does. While this is great for taking our trash out whenever we feel like it, not worrying about the trash that's piled high and rotting since we (and I say we because it was always my fault that the trash didn't get taken to the curb when we lived on base. Apparently it was too hard for someone else to remember to take the trash all 10 steps to the curb when that someone was leaving for work and had to walk around the poopy diaper laden refuse, so the task befell on me. And in order to fulfill this task I would have to remember to put it out the night before as the handy-dandy waste management team would come to collect our offerings at 6:30 am.) forgot to take it out and therefore missed a pick-up. It's not so great when the all four dumpsters in the alley behind our street are filled with limbs and mulch and other gardening left-overs and so the trash that is stinking up my garage can't fit. Ahem.] I do this too, on a very regular basis.

Off I go; 1 minute later as I am walking up thru the back of the fence I hear, "Mommy, Mommy!"

Now this was not a scared mommy, or a Tucker just bit me mommy but a very enthusiastic Mommy!

"I'm coming Tyson!"

I open the gate and am met by my beautiful three year old smiling ear-to-ear. (I now know what this particular smile means)

"Mommy, mommy! I went poopy!"

"You went poopy?"

"Yes, mommy! I went poopy! All by myself!"

"You went poopy?? In your big boy underwear?"

"No mommy. I went poopy like Turbo!"

"Like Turbo?"

"Mommy, look!! I went poopy like Turbo in the grass!!"

And he certainly did. Just like Turbo, in the grass.

17 June 2009


Have I mentioned how much I love you ladies?? Y'all totally rock! And I am so glad that y'all have also lost your children. And also just as glad that the losses where only temporary and children found quickly. *Round of applause*
Here's your prize:

no, you don't get to have him, just look at him and then we can talk about arranged marriages since all of you have GIRLS. :)

Here's another update on baby Luke. Thank you so much for your prayers and support! This little family is so sweet and my heart breaks every time that I think about all the pain they are going thru.

Some of you have requested an update after Luke's chest closure.
Yesterday, Dr. Mendeloff closed Luke's open chest. The surgeon left Luke's chest open after his operation to allow Luke's heart to expand and swell as it adjusted to the changes that were made. We were told that this is a common thing to do on babies like Luke, and he would likely have his chest closed between 2 and 7 days after his operation. Because of Luke's body swelling caused by his kidney dysfunction, they were not able to close his chest sooner. By yesterday however, his swelling had reduced enough to make it possible. The procedure took about an hour and a half and we were able to go back and be with Luke about 2 hours after we left him. Luke's incision is now sewn closed and his sternum is closed back together with wires. He'll have scars to match his mommy :). Meanwhile, Luke is a little more swollen today than yesterday, even though he peed over 120 mL in 24 hours yesterday. YAY! They are continuing to pull fluid off his body through dialysis. To get off dialysis, we've met the first goal of peeing 1 mL per kilo per hour. This has to be done consistently over several days. Luke's creatanin (sp?) and BUN (no idea what that stands for) levels must also return to normal, and we have quite a ways to go on that front. Luke's leg is doing much better, though they are continuing to attempt to reduce the swelling with warm packs on both legs. Apparently warm packs on his left leg will encourage the blood vessels in his right leg to dilate and reduce the swelling. Luke's returned to taking some medications that he had been weaned off of, but the nurses say that's common for a brief period after chest closure. He is being slowly weaned off his ventilator settings. He's taking quite a bit more breaths than just those that the ventilator is giving him, so that is a good step in the right direction. They have begun feeding him 2 mL of mom's milk per hour. They are starting very slowly to allow his digestive system to slowly wake up and not be overloaded. Also today, he is less sedated, so we've gotten to see more of his beautiful eyes. David and I are much more at peace yesterday and today to see him doing so well. His nurse last night commented that she expected he would be back down in NICU by the beginning of next week. That's far from the final word, but we're excited that these medical professionals keep commenting that he's doing so well. Continue to pray. Getting off dialysis seem to be our last hurdle before going back down to NICU to learn to eat. Please pray for a fast recovery. We're so ready to be back home. Thanks for your prayers.
We love you,

David and Rachael

16 June 2009


While we were at the reception of my cousin's wedding on Saturday, I lost Tucker. Seriously, I.lost.Tucker. It was the scariest 30 seconds of my life. We were sitting/standing around our table waiting for Mr. and Mrs. Cunningham to arrive when I realized something was off. Stuart was holding Kate, my mom had Tyson, my dad was talking to my sisters and Shane, but what was I doing? The numbers didn't add up right.

Where's Tucker?

My heart literally stopped beating and I started sizing up all the people around me to check for nasty pedophiles. (Note-there were no pedophiles at my cousin's wedding but when you loose your child everyone around you morphs into someone or something else)

Where's Tucker?

I looked up into the more crowded tables, down around my feet, next to the fish tank...no Tucker.

Oh my gosh, we are in another state! He's gone!

It was just at that moment that I stammered into the doorway and there he was.
There was Tucker.
Sitting on the floor, eating yogurt melts out of Kate's no-spill-cup.
All in one piece.
Still in the same state that I was in.
Not abducted.
Just being Tucker.
And my heart started beating again.

15 June 2009

The family that caravans together...

Well it's been quite a weekend here at the Casa de Doss. As you know, my family came into town and all 10 of us (really there are 11 of us but my BIL Scott was out of town for a work thing) co-habitated under my roof for 2 days. It was wild.

Marci and Kate made their debut early Friday afternoon and from the get-go the kiddos had a blast. Tucker particularly took a liking to Kate as she is smaller than he and he was just enamored by this fact. It also helped that Kate was Tucker's roommate. The kids played and played and Kate was fascinated by all the "boy" toys that we possess. She might have also liked the plethora of hands willing to pick her up, but that was secondary to the "new" cars.

Sometime that afternoon, we found out the A/C was broken upstairs. It was 104 outside and about 90 upstairs. Great. The timing was impeccable.

Later that evening my youngest sister, Jordana and her boyfriend, Shane appeared from Abilene and thus completed the mad chaos known as the family get together. Shane had no idea that he was going to be helping Stuart install a new window unit upstairs, but he had to earn his keep...

Soon enough it was time for baths and bed for the youngest three.

Saturday morning began with the sweetest giggling from Tucker's room. I went in to find Tucker standing in front of the pack-n-play and firmly declaring, "Kate wake up mommy!" Precious. Then began the fury of getting 7 people showered and clothed and out the door. My cousins was getting married and we were all caravaning up to Edmond, OK to witness this fantastic event.

2.5 hours later we arrived at my aunt and uncle's house to change and head over to the church. The wedding was beautiful. To my utter amazement the boys lasted thru the entire ceremony. This was no small feat. Unfortunately Kate did not fare so well, I think she might have been jealous of the attention being paid to the beautiful bride. :) We got to see my aunt and uncle, cousins, and a few other family members that I haven't seen in years. (I may or may not have told me cousin Rebekah to procreate NOW.)

Soon enough, the kids warned us that complete meltdown was immanent and so we loaded up and headed back to Wa-chee-tah Falls. During the drive we went thru the craziest and most beautiful lightening storm I have ever seen. Then the 60 mph winds started and I wasn't as impressed with the storm. We got home and found one of our trees snapped in half and laying against the roof. Ouch.

Sunday morning was a flurry of packing and loading. Everyone was gone by 10:30 am and all of a sudden my house was eerily quiet.

Shout Outs:
Yogurt Melts-apparently my children think of you as candy.
Magna Doodle-you totally kept my kids quiet during the wedding.
Wedding favors-chocolate!

14 June 2009

Baby Luke Update

Here's an update on baby Luke. Thanks for praying!!

Wow, have we had a stressfull couple of days!
Last time I gave an update on our precious little son, was the day he had his surgery. Almost a week ago. It's not for not having anything to report, it's because things have been so scary and crazy and awful that I haven't gotten a chance to get on the computer. I know that when things were the worst was when I needed to rally everyone to pray, but I have had faith that people have continued to pray earnestly, even though you don't know the specifics.
Most scary was when we were waiting for Luke to come out of surgery when we could go in and see him. The surgeon's nurse came out and told us that Luke's heart had arrested in the elevator going up to his room. they couldn't shock him out of it, and so had to be put on a heart lung machine called ECMO. This machine did all the work of Luke's heart and lungs for him while he rested and started to recover from the shock of surgery and cardiac arrest. Luke was in arrest for 27 minutes. This seems like a really long time to me, but the nurses tell us that Luke was able to be put on ECMO lightening fast. This was able to happen because Dr. Mendeloff, Luke's surgeon, was in the next room preparing for his second case. God was with Luke, answering all of our prayers by making Dr. Mendeloff so near and available to save Luke's life for the second time that day.
We were told that one of the risks of ECMO is bleeding into the brain. They told us that if Luke began bleeding in his brain, they would have to take him off ECMO, and his heart would either have to work properly, or he would die. Before the surgery, Dr. Mendeloff told us that Luke would get much sicker after surgery before he got better. They told us when we saw him right afterward, we would see his chest still open (though covered with a skin-like membrane) to allow his heart room to swell, lots of new IV lines, he would look pale, and he would be cold to help his heart regulate his heart beat. I thought I was prepared. I wasn't. When I walked into his room, the first thing I saw was his IV tree. Luke had two IV poles by his bed and I counted 18 different medications being given to him at the same time. When I looked at my son, he looked dead. I would have thought he was if I couldn't hear his heart beat on the monitor. He was so pale and still. His body looked like he had been through a war. Like he had been chewed up and spit back out. He looked like a little doll chewed up by a dog and then sewn, taped, wired, and jerry rigged back together. I was in shock. I couldn't speak, all I could do was cry. It didn't even look like my little Lucas.
On Wednesday, the doctors were encouraged that his heart and lungs were doing well and had become strong enough to do the work on their own. God was again in the timing because we found out that morning that Luke had begun to bleed a small amount into his brain. We needed to take him off the machine, and he could not go back on because of the bleeding. We prayed that Luke could survive on his own. All throughout the day they weaned Luke from the machine and he did more and more of the work on his own. About 5:00 that evening they took him off completely and he did beautifully, in terms of his heart and lungs. That moment began a second critical period of 48 hours in which we waited to see if Luke could take what we are putting his heart through. David and I traded off shifts, allowing each to sleep a little while one of us was with him around the clock.
We were told that Luke would get sicker, but we only expected things to go wrong that were heart-related. We were wrong again. All kinds of things started to go wrong all over Luke's body. One of the down sides to the ECMO is instead of your body parts getting a pulsating flow of blood like they woud when your heart beats, they get a continual steady stream of blood. The kidneys really don't like this. So this pulse problem coupled with the 27 minutes of arrest on Monday caused Luke to go into kidney (renal) failure. He stopped making urine and doing other things that kidneys are supposed to do like regulate potassium and calcium levels and make red blood cells. Wednesday morning they told us that Luke would have to go on dialisis because his potassium levels were getting dangerous. So they again transformed his hosipital room into an operating suite (they did this when they took him of ECMO) and put in a dialisis catheter into his abdomen and started his dialisis treatments. Because of going on dialisis, Luke's fluid levels and body chemistry, primarily his glucose levels and blood pressure, are constantly out of whack.
Also Wednesday morning at 6:00 and 6:45, my mom and I witnessed Luke have two siezures. They don't know why he had these siezures, but it probably has to do with either the 27 minute arrest, the bleeding in the brain caused by ECMO, or both. They will do a Head CT later when Luke is stable enough to move to the CT lab.
Luke is also having trouble with the circulation in his right leg. They had an arterial line in his right foot, but somehow it caused a blockage in the veins of some kind, causing his leg to become engorged with blood. His leg has been purple from the knee down and incredibly swollen.
Wednesday was a nightmare, and I admit I had several moments when I wondered why we were putting him through so much. It was difficult for me to comprehend that his heart isn't the only thing we have to worry about. It's so incredibly frustrating to have things that are supposed to help him, like ECMO and dialasis, end up causing more and more problems for Luke to surmount.
Yesterday and today though, we feel that Luke has turned a corner. Instead of getting progressively worse, they seem to be getting better bit by bit. David and I arrived at the hospital this morning to meet the smiles of his cardiologist and his surgeon. They announced that he's making a little bit of urine now, the swelling in his body is going down, so they may be able to close his chest on Monday. They both were quite encouraged, which as you can imagine is quite a relief to David and me. His blood pressure is becoming more steady, and it looks like we have his chemistry levels under control for the time being. His little leg is even headed towards the right color, though it's still very swollen.
We've had an extremely long week, and the road will still be longer. We need to pray that function will return fully to Luke's kidneys, that his heart and lungs will continue to get stronger so we can get off of the pacemaker, and that God has protected Luke's brain from any damage in function through the 27 minute arrest and siezures. We need strength to keep going with Luke through this. I knew this was going to be very hard, but I didn't expect it to be THIS hard. I'm thankful that my mom and dad are still here to support us. They will go home on Monday. David's sister is getting married today, so David has gone for the day to see her get married. He'll return late tonight. Please pray that nothing critical happens while he's gone.
Thank you all for your continued prayers and support. We love you.
Rachael & David

11 June 2009


It's Thursday.
Thursday, really?
Is it not already Friday? Or Saturday?
It's been raining all week.
Fun for wanting to sleep, not so fun for outside play.
Oh, the places you'll go...
(that really made no sense but I felt like writing it)

So if you have not read about the blog that is causing turmoil ALL OVER THE WORLD, you can do so here. It's heart-breaking and infuriating and all things bad, but it is none-the-less.

And on to a complete separate subject, my parents came into town yesterday for a little visit. It will culminate in a caravan-style trip to Edmond, OK to see my youngest cousin get married. This also means that on Friday both my sisters, my niece and my youngest sister's boyfriend will overtake my house. Let me just make this ridiculously clear: on Friday there will be 10 people living in my house-7 adults, 3 children. Holy living-cow!

So since not much is happening around here at this precise moment, I leave you with this little gem:

yes, my husband loves me THAT much

10 June 2009

It's Her Day!

We love you so much!

09 June 2009

Parking Lots

I think that I have mentioned before that our house is 80 years old. With that said it also needs to be mentioned that we live in an older neighborhood which also means older streets, older houses, older trees, older everything. Most of the houses around us do not have garages (we do) but just carports. For this reason a LOT of people don't actually park under their carports but in front of them so that the carport can be used for storage. I completely understand this as we do not park in our own garage because of the massive, overflowing piles of crap (oh, I mean tools) that Stuart has stored in there.

The thing that really urks me though is my across-the-street neighbor. They're a non-married couple (and I don't really know why you need to know that, it's just a fact) with a blended household of 4 kids total all under the age of 12. (TMI?) So then, why does this family with only 2 licensed drivers need 5 vehicles?? And to add to my ever growing anger management issues, why do they ALWAYS park one of their extra cars in front of MY house? It's infuriating. Go find a parking lot, the street that only has room for 2 vehicles to drive through does not constitute as a permanent surface for your car to be a fixture on, especially when it's in front of my house.


In other news, has anyone else been following the April Rose blog? The blog is down now but I'm interested in what others think. Stuart thinks it's a complete fake and a waste of my time to read and put energy into thinking about it. I guess I'm more optimistic and can't imagine someone lying about their child being sick. And then writing about it for the world to see. I dunno-I can see both sides of the coin. Thoughts?

P.S. Thank you ladies for all your encouraging words about my job and future jobs. It's been so discouraging job hunting right now and oh so scary not knowing what our future holds. I know that I need to leave this all in God's hands and He WILL provide but it's hard and scary and I just want it all to be over with.

Shout Outs:
Side-walk chalk-so much fun! And you clean off very easily.
Oxi-Clean-totally got red jello out of the boys clothes.
Cupcakes-'nuff said.

08 June 2009

Luke Chisholm Update

Luke had his first hear surgery today. This is what my cousin posted about it:

We are sitting in the OR waiting room. After 7 and a half hours, Luke is finished with surgery and is headed up to recovery in the Pediatric Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit. The surgeon is "cautiously optimistic".
The surgeon said that he did everything he planned to do and most of it went according to plan. He put a patch over the valve that isn't working, so blood will no longer pass through that valve into the right ventricle. Instead, blood will get to the lungs to get oxygenated through a shunt that the surgeon placed between his right atrium and the aorta. He also cut out some of Luke's right atrium because it was too big. The surgeon also closed off the artery (PDA) that they've been keeping open with medication. The PDA is important for fetal anatomy, but isn't normally used in infant anatomy. The PDA normally closes within 24 hours of birth, but in Luke, we needed to keep it open so blood could get to the lungs another way. Now that we have the shunt, we don't need the PDA to stay open anymore. No more medication that makes him sleepy or causes apnea! So Luke should be awake and alert more often once he gets off of his sedation and anesthesia meds.
Because of the surgery, Luke's heart (left atrium and ventricle) is substantially smaller (and will get still smaller as time goes on). Therefore, his lungs have more room to expand, and guess what, they are both inflated! These are all answers to prayer, and we thank you for praying them and thank God for answering them.
Some things did not go according to plan. The surgery was supposed to take between 4 and 6 hours. We left Luke to a very nice anesthesiologist at a little after 8 this morning. The anesthesiologist planned to put in several new "lines" before the actual operation started. These lines are for blood draws and giving Luke medication intravenously and some other things. Luke is notoriously difficult to "stick" and establish these IV lines. The anesthesiologist tried to get these lines in for I think over two hours and couldn't get them. So Dr. Mendeloff, our surgeon, came to the rescue and got them in. Surgery commenced about 11:00-11:30. The other thing that didn't go according to plan is that patients who have a shunt put in like Luke are prescribed baby aspirin to avoid clotting at the shunt site. Luke's been on aspirin for about 10 days, but should have come off of it temporarily 72 hours before surgery. The neonatologists never gave that order, so Luke got some doses of aspirin that he shouldn't have, and this made it pretty difficult for his blood to coagulate after surgery. Post op took a really long time.
Dr. Mendeloff came out and talked to us about the surgery and then left. About 30 minutes to 1 hour later his nurse came out and talked to us again. She explained that during the surgery Luke's heart had trouble keeping a rhythm a few times and they had to shock him. This is pretty normal during heart surgery. However, on his way up to recovery this happened again and shocking him didn't help. She explained that his heart is too sick and too tired to beat on his own right now. So they put him on a heart/lung machine just like the one he was on during surgery. This does all the work of the heart and lungs for him. She explained that Luke can be on this machine for up to 5 days. If his heart cannot do the work on its own after these five days, it means that it will not recover and Luke will die. If it can, then they will slowly ween him off the machine and then he will recover as planned. Also with this machine there is a risk of bleeding into the brain. They will do a brain scan (sonogram?) every day to monitor for this. If he does bleed into his brain, they must take him off the machine and he will have to make it on his own or die. The surgeon and cardiologist say that he still has a very good chance for recovery, so that's good news. We are very scared about this and are on pins and needles waiting for Luke to recover. Please pray.
If Luke recovers as expected, we expect Luke to be in the Pediatric ICU for 1-2 weeks (about), and then he will go back to the Neonatal ICU where he will learn to eat without a feeding tube. This time in the NICU we are told can take anywhere to a few weeks to a few months. Heart babies typically have a pretty difficult time learning to eat on their own because they tend to tire so quickly. But Luke is strong, and we have every hope that this stage in the process will go quickly. Once he can take every feeding on his own, we can, hear this, FINALLY TAKE HIM HOME!
One final thought. On Mondays Dr. Mendeloff takes part in a conference with other leading cardio and thoracic surgeons in which they share info on cases and put their heads together to make the best decisions for patients. Dr. Mendeloff presented Luke's case in this morning's conference. Once he showed them Luke's chest x-ray, the doctors could not believe that Luke survived the pregnancy with his heart as big as he did. They have never seen that before. That's the power of prayer folks. No matter what happens, Luke is a testimony of faith and the power of prayer, simply because he survived pregnancy and was born at all.
So we implore you to pray Luke through these next 5 days. We need this baby boy healthy and to continue influencing people for his kingdom.
We thank you for the prayers that have gone up today for him (and for comfort for mamma and daddy), and we ask you to keep it up.
We love you.
Rachael & David

Please keep this sweet family in your prayers!

KKB One Year Later

**Please pray for my cousins today as baby Luke undergoes heart surgery. I'll give more of an update when I receive one.**

So while I was sitting in my orientation on Saturday learning that I would only be given 6 hours a week to work, my little family was missing Kennedy Kate's first birthday party. So sad! To make it up to her and to allow me to get out of the house, the boys and I drove to Dallas yesterday for a little KKB play date.

The boys were thrilled that Kate can not only talk (babble if you will) but she can walk! They were beyond impressed with her skills. To add to her plethora of abilities, they taught her the delicate art of screaming. Priceless. Every child needs to learn how to scream for no other purpose than making their parent's toes curl. Point accomplished. I'm not so sure if Kate's daddy felt as joyous as the boys did in this accomplishment but boy, was it funny to hear her squeal (she's a girl so we'll say squeal) and then laugh at herself.

My handsome brood also showed their cousin how to climb atop her new "crayground" and sit on it's roof. I do think we have a bit of time before this feet is added to her repertoire, but the seed has been planted. To top off her list of all-things-Doss, Tyson demonstrated his expert urination skills. That's right. Tyson showed his baby girl cousin how to pee on the fence. Marvelous!

Things have changed a bit in a year. Here's what the play date looked like last year:

What a difference a year makes!

We love you baby Cake!

06 June 2009


Alright people, I know you have been anxious waiting for this announcement:

wait for it
I got a job!

Just a few catches. (You knew there had to be some, right? Right? I mean there are jobs out there or people who don't have a degree but could give you a dissertation on changing poopy diapers, mixing formula, which cereal is better due to volume of marshmallows and how many hours of Handy Manny are in fact dangerous to your health, right?) This is not a full time time position. In fact after my 5 hour orientation I was pleasantly informed that "associates" usually receive 6 hours per week.

I'm sorry. I thought you just said s-i-x. I must have been thinking of today's date. So sorry about that. Oh, right 6 hours. Per.week.

Well that's really not going to help with the unemployment status that our family has now earned. So I'm still looking. But at least I have a jobby-job. A whopping 24 hours per month, plus the 5 from today. This might take awhile kids.

There are also no benefits. Well not in the you-will-now-have-insurance-so-that-if-you-break-your-back-the-bill-won't-be-$50,000 sort of way. I will have a company discount. Which my 6 hours per week paycheck will apparently pay the difference of.


I thought this was supposed to get easier as I got older. Not so much.

05 June 2009

We're Done

Finished. Out. Finito. Gone.

Today is the first day of the rest of our lives. Cliche, I know, but so, so true.

I woke up this morning thinking that I was going to be feeling different. Like some cosmic force had fallen on my house in the middle of the night and changed the course of the world and we weren't going to be getting out of the Air Force and life wasn't about to take on a radical new color. But when I woke up all I thought was, this is it. And while I was in the shower I just kept thinking about all the knowledge that I have acquired while being a military spouse will never be used again; like the difference between a PX and the BX, ranks and insignias, ABUs and BDUs, blues with and without an Eisenhower jacket. See? When am I ever going to need to discuss the benefits of living on base vs off and getting BAH?

As I sat in the separations office with Stuart and the boys it didn't really dawn on me that I would never step foot in this building again, or this base for that matter. My boys wouldn't see the static displays anymore and proclaim with gusto that there was an AIRPLANE MOMMY! As I drove down the road I thought, I will never have to pull over and come to a stop for Reveille. Next time I see guards with guns I might be a little apprehensive, but not on base.

So, *to keep the memory of the military alive just a little longer, we did this:

*It wasn't really to keep the memory alive. Tucker just really wanted to have hair like his brother's and after enough whining we gave in.

So here's to the rest of our lives-clink, clink! Yes, the hard stuff is totally appropriate at 9 am.

04 June 2009

One More Day

We have ONE MORE DAY left in our military life.
Tomorrow Stuart will become a civilian.
I will no longer be a military spouse.
I will no longer have insurance.
This kinda scares the _ _ _ _ out of me.
I went to the commissary for the LAST time today.
Stuart had to take my military ID and turn it in this afternoon.
I will no longer be someone's sponsor to get on base.
I will have to be sponsored.
Holy flippin' cow,

03 June 2009

Because it's so hot

02 June 2009

Sleep, Right

I think that I have made it abundantly clear that I am a creature of habit. A creature of ritualistic habits to be exact. It was during my pre-sleep ritual that I realized something was wrong. Terribly wrong.

I have a hard time falling asleep at night. As soon as I lay my head down, my mind starts racing thinking about all the things that I need to do the next day, things that I want to do in the next week, reminders of what I need to add to the grocery list, checking off my done list, remembering what I need to remind Stuart of the next day...it really is exhausting. But not exhausting enough to make me fall asleep.

So I read. It really helps my mind slow down and in a short amount of time, I am more prepared to actually fall asleep. The reading thing drives Stuart nuts. He doesn't understand why anyone would need to read to get tired, not-to-mention the fact that I am always "complaining" of being tired-so just go to sleep! is his solution. Not so easy buck-o. The light, all-be-it a reading light makes him pull the covers over his head to show his disdain. (This is also pet peeve #678- covers over the head. I start hyperventilating thinking about him or anyone not being able to breath and then I visualize the claustrophobia he must be feeling from being under the covers with no way out and then I start yanking the covers down in a dramatic attempt to save his life. He thinks this is wildly funny.)

After I have filled my head with written words, I get out of bed to put my book up high (or else Scout will eat it-she's already demolished one book), jump back into bed so that the monster under the bed doesn't grab my feet, take my glasses off, turn the light out, pull the covers up to my chin, flip over to my stomach, then furiously search under the covers with my foot till I find Stuart's foot. Then I pray. I do all these things, in this exact order, every night.

It was during my prayer that I realized something was wrong. My mind started wandering, yet again, but this time it was about my blog. My blog? MY BLOG. Seriously. I was lying there writing out my next blog(s) and trying to come up with just the right wording, something witty, anything funny, scenarios that might relate to someone else's life-are you kidding me? Prayer Clarissa! This is not the appropriate time for this!

It was also during this internal dialogue that the first clap of thunder sounded. Crap! Not now! I am such a baby, I love to sleep during the rain but I like for it to start after I fall asleep otherwise I get so scared of all the noises that I want to pee my pants and throw myself into Stuart. Literally into him. Because that would be the safest place.

Speaking of pee, Tyson peed in his bed again last night. Hmm, two nights in a row. This has never happened before. But last night as I tore thru the kitchen yet again, I was much quicker in going from OMG my child is being kidnapped and he has no cell phone! to Turbo's sleeping in the living room and he would totally rip an intruder in two to oh, Tyson peed in his bed, again. It was a much better transition than the night before.

Much to my surprise, when I awoke this morning to Stuart's ridiculously loud getting-ready-for-school, that I dreamed about blogging. Actual dream. This is getting out of hand.

01 June 2009

The Simple Things

I got a new door. A NEW DOOR! You might remember what happened when I went away for a couple of days here. It's been a rough go without a door to my room but I guess in the bigger picture Tyson really needed a door and I was ok with going without for awhile. But no more! Since Stuart is all-things-fix-it, he finally made his way to Home Depot or Lowe's, I honestly don't know, and came home with a new door for Tyson.

Unfortunately his epiphany to make the house whole again came at 7:30 pm on Saturday night. Coupled with the fact that the door required an hour of adjusting and tweaking to fit into our 80-year-old-custom door frame, it was a little past the boy's bedtime before the door was officially put on. And it still doesn't have a knob, or a hole for a knob but that's A-okay. Baby steps here. And I have a door again! The simple things really do get to me.

On a completely separate note, Tyson woke up at 2:37 am this morning in an all out shriek. I jumped out of bed and tore thru the kitchen with one thought running thru my head: Tyson was being kidnapped and he had no cell phone to tell me about it! (Have I mentioned that I can't, I mean literally CAN NOT watch scary movies? I have always had vivid, wild dreams but when I got pregnant my dreams took on a whole new dimension. Watching a scary movie just became out of the questions because of the nightmares that I would have for days (and years, I still have some) afterwards. So much so that I can't even watch or listen to a preview for a scary movie. Stuart knows now to mute the tv and tell me when I can look again. Yes, it's that bad. Either way, we decided to rent and watch "Taken" Saturday night. I had heard that it's wasn't scary so much as it was suspenseful plus it got really great reviews...so we watched. 1) I am so glad that I don't have a daughter, 2) Stuart would totally learn to use some "skills" if we did, 3) um, hello!, now I'm having dreams about kidnapping.)

I had run thru every scenario of how I was going to deal with some mongrel that had broken into our house and was taking my baby out with him in the 15 seconds it took me to get to his room. When I threw open the door, I realized: He was still in his room! He was without an intruder! I didn't have to buy a cell phone for my three year old! He had peed all over himself! Oh, wait. He peed all over himself.

I wasn't mad because this was like his 3rd accident since potty training started and he's done so well that he doesn't wear a pull-up to bed. But it did mean that I had to fully wake up so that I could change his clothes, his sheets and sneak into Tucker's room to get a fresh set of sheets for his bed.

By the time I made it back into bed I was thinking about the scene in "The Strangers" where Liv Tyler is running thru the woods...another very poor judgement in movie selection.

Shout Outs:
Noise makers-thank you for providing enough noise to sneak into rooms.
Vinyl fitted sheets-peeing in the bed is not quite as awful with you.
Doors-you just need some sometimes.
Fans-it is so.stinkin.hot outside! but you take the edge off.