Thursday, March 26, 2015

Scarlet Fever

On Sunday Riley began running a fever over 101.  We figured it was a virus as she had no other symptoms.  We had Monday off school and then Tuesday.  On Tuesday she threw up her medicine and hadn't eaten anything since Sunday morning so she was feeling pretty puny.  Yesterday her fever was gone, but hadn't had anything to eat so I didn't want to send her to school until we knew that food would stay.

After lunch, I was looking at her face and saw pinkish red spots appearing.  I asked her if I could see her belly and back.  She was covered in spots everywhere.  It looked like chicken pox to me so I called the doctor.  We were able to take her in at 4:30pm.

The doctor tested her for strep despite the fact that she said her throat didn't hurt.  Sure enough - she has strep.  He said there was a strong red line showing it was positive.  She's still contagious so we're home again today.  He said that the rash is due to the strep and will go away as she takes medicine.

It turns out that strep and a rash equals scarlet fever.  She woke up this morning with the rash looking much worse.  She's tired of me asking to look at her and taking pics.  I explained that the pics help me see if there's improvement or not.  I did the same thing with Julia when she had the giant hives.

At this point, we're just watching and making sure the rash goes away.  Riley's such a trooper and hanging in there.


Julia Turns Five

Julia is loving being five years old.  She had an Elsa and Anna birthday party here at the house last Saturday with five friends from school.  The girls played upstairs, created 'snowmen' out of marshmallows, chocolate chips and pretzels and Julia opened presents.  The girls and I made a cake for the party.  However, the kids were so full from the 'snowmen' that they really didn't eat any cake until the end of the party.

She was given such thoughtful gifts: a barbie car, barbie, mermaid outfit, Frozen towel and other fun things to do.  It was really cute to see her playing with her friends and having such a great time.

We started to give her five chicken fingers at dinner now and she asked why she is eating five of them now.  Our reasoning:  because you're five.  She's buying that and eating more.  :)  We'll see how long that keeps up.

She's counting the months until she's out of daycare and can start kindergarten!  It will be such a great year.

Jeremy turns 40

Last night I told Julia that Jeremy was going to have his birthday tomorrow.

Julia: How old will Daddy be?
Me:  Forty.
Julia:  WOW!  Does he know how old that is?  Dat is so old!



A week ago, Julia had this discussion with Jeremy at night as he was putting her to bed:

Julia:  How old are you going to be on your birthday?
Jeremy:  40
Julia:  (opens mouth, rolls eye and does the face palm where her hand hits her head) How old are you now?
Jeremy:  39
Julia: (does face palm again)
Jeremy:  I love you.
Julia:  Good
Jeremy:  Julia you're on a roll!
Julia:  Why?  Why dad?

Theresa Turns 50

Our old neighbors, the Simonsens, were such an incredible couple to live next door to for the three years we were in Stewarts Peninsula.  We have lots of fun memories from when we were first married and living next to them.  Sam, their son, was only five and threw little acorn-like things at us while we did yard work.  Theresa came out and called out to him to stop it.  (Though we were just as mature and throwing them back)

This past weekend Theresa turned 50.  She still looks incredibly young and hip.  Always will.  John invited us to celebrate her at a surprise party at Maggiano's.  There were about 35-40 people in the room ranging from coworkers to friends to church family.  We sat with the Klimeks, Ron and Lori. Each person had been asked to say something special about Theresa if they felt compelled.

Lori started off telling the story of how Theresa first met Lori.  Lori was on her trampoline in the backyard and kept jumping to see Sam who was in his backyard across from them.  Theresa told people that Lori was too perky... and some other things.  Then she found out that Lori would be Sam's kindergarten teacher and the friendship was sealed.  Both are great people.

Others shared and then came Jeremy's turn.  He talked about how Theresa would tell Sam that he shouldn't pick his nose because people would call him a booger-pickin'-moron.  He also shared how she would always tell us that she just loves us so much because we wouldn't get offended when they told us to leave.  Because we just lived next door and they could say "You need to go home" and we were never offended.  So true.

People continued to share and then Lori shared something like "And here's to a shirtless John Simonsen ten years ago mowing his lawn."  To which I added "And ours!"  Because he really did mow our lawn.  I shared that I figured he did it because we were newly married and didn't know how to take care of yards so he got tired of our yard looking terrible.

Since I was standing up I figured I could be brave enough to say something.  I began by saying "Our first year of marriage was terrible.  It was awful."  To which everyone in the room began laughing really hard.  I was actually quite serious about it so I said "It really was!"  Then the guy at the table next to me said something about at least I got to look at John mowing our lawn with his shirt off.  I replied "Well, I don't really remember that."  He laughed and said he doubted that.  The room was laughing loudly.  John said "Ok Jess - go ahead" since we had to wait for the laughter to die down.

I brought it back around but was totally flustered in my speech.  What I meant to say was that as a newly married couple who struggled through our first year of marriage, it was such a blessing to have John and Theresa so close to help us fight for our marriage.  That they were such key players in helping us make it.  Instead I think I said something about how they fought for their marriage in the hard times and were an inspiration to us.  Same thing, but at that point, I think I lost all manner of clarity of speech.  Note:  I had nothing to drink but water.

I sat down and Theresa blew me a kiss.  Forgetting I had a full glass of water in my hand, I went to blow her a kiss and ended up spilling the entire thing all over myself.  My pants were soaked, my shirt, my sweater sleeve was soaked.

I started laughing so hard in shock.  People were looking at me.  So I tried to explain what I did and squeaked out "I just spilled my water trying to blow her a kiss."  It came out a hot mess and completely unintelligible.  I saw my friend Kathy turn to her friend and say "What did she say?" so I attempted to say it again and same thing happened - totally high pitched cracking.  Embarrassing.

John then says something about that's why they love me because I just say what's on my mind at the time.  I felt like the booger-pickin'-moron of the group.

Sat through the rest of the night in wet jeans and shirt.  Had a total blast.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Combs that Curl

Riley has had swimming classes every day this week (Tuesday-Friday).  The entire second grade goes to the LISD Aquatic Center by our house and learns swimming safety. She had 'the best day of her life ever' on Wednesday when she ducked her head under the water without plugging her nose for the first time.  She loved it and feels so brave now.

Today she said that she got to judge whoever did the highest dive because she was the student who did the lowest dive in her group.  She said she really had fun judging them.  Then she said that one of the instructors told a student that they should be on the swim team because they are really good.  She wished that the instructor said that to her as she felt like it meant that she was really bad.  We talked about how it wasn't a commentary on her abilities - great or weak - it was more of a commentary on the other student alone. These were the findings after we got into the car at the end of the day.  There was an earlier event at the swim lessons that was something we'll always remember.

On the bus ride home from the aquatic center, Riley took her large pink comb out of her bag.  She wanted to curl her hair with it so she spent a long amount of time trying to twist it and turn it with the hair at the front of her head.  So much so that a large part of the front of her wet hair was wrapped around the comb many times.  She couldn't get it out; her teacher couldn't get it out.  Mrs. Ward was afraid she'd hurt her as it was so tight it wouldn't budge.  The comb stayed in her hair for the rest of the bus ride until she got to school where they tried to find me.

I was talking with our Mrs. Klimek in her room when Mrs. Ward walked in to tell me that Riley was in the office with a comb stuck in her hair from trying to curl it.  She said that she had no idea how she'd gotten it so wrapped up in her hair, but that it wasn't coming out.  I laughed and said I'd go immediately.  Walked into the nurse's office to see Nurse Tiffany doing her best to undo part of her hair from it.  I just smiled and don't remember what I said, but I'm pretty sure that I laughed a little (or a lot).  Riley was smiling sweetly.  Tiffany said she'd already gotten some of it untangled.  I told her I'd take her to my room and see what I could do.

When I walked with Riley, I simply said "I love you!"  And she replied that she loved me too.  Once in my room, the first thing I did was to take pictures of her.  She told me not to send it to her Dad, but I said that I'd just text it to him later. It didn't take long to realize that her hair wasn't going to be able to untwist from it much.  I told her that I'd likely have to cut her hair which she said would be fine.  I found a pair of scissors, but they were too blunt.  Found another pointy pair and got to work, cutting them as long as I could.

Once her hair was cut, I could tell that the only thing to do was to give her bangs.  I told her what I was going to do and then cut the other side as evenly as I could.  She looks incredibly different with bangs!  Not bad; in fact quite cute!!  Just not used to seeing her with bangs.  I took another picture of her 'new do' and she asked to see herself.  She laughed when she saw it and then said she loved it.  I love her confidence!

I told her that she was still beautiful and that I loved her.  We had a short talk while walking down the hallway about how when she walked back into her classroom, the students might make comments because she looks so different.  She said that she loved her new look and I said that I was glad and that she looked cute.

We ran into Mrs. E and Mrs. Gooding in the library where Mrs. Gooding gave her a strange look and said "Nice haircut!"  I held up the comb and then she shared that she twisted a comb in the side of her hair when she was little.  Riley smiled and it made her feel better.

I asked her if she wanted to walk into her classroom by herself or with me.  At first she wanted to do it herself, but with her hoodie over her hair to hide it.  I told her that we're not allowed to wear hoodies in school and that she had nothing to be afraid of.  It's better to face her class looking her beautiful self than to hide something that she doesn't need to hide.  She took it off and said she wanted me to walk in with her.

We walked into her classroom where all the students were sitting silently and getting work ready. One of the girls saw me and then looked at Riley and said "Who's that??!!"  Another kid said "It's Riley!"  The kids were a little quiet and all staring at her.  Riley was a little red in the cheeks and I kissed her cheek and said "I love you! Have a great rest of the day!"  I still had the comb with me (to show Mrs. Klimek as we were both just cracking up about it when we got the news) and a kid said "Ewww - that's gross!"  I held it up and said "No it's not - it's just her hair wrapped around the comb.  Just a lot of it.  I cut bangs for her since it wouldn't come out and that's just what it is."  The kids didn't say much more and her teacher came back in.

Riley told me that the kids kept telling her she looked so different.  I asked her how that made her feel and she said "I took it as a compliment."  I told her she should and that it's something new and unexpected so she'll probably hear that she looks different a lot and that's ok.  Different isn't always bad; just sometimes unexpected.






Grey Teeth

About two weeks ago, Julia fell in the gymnasium at her school on the hard tiled floor.  Her front right tooth took the brunt of the impact and we immediately noticed that her tooth had been pushed back.  Thankfully there was no bruising or other issues with her face or mouth.  She got teary but didn't cry.  Jeremy arrived to pick her up immediately after it occurred and thankfully he did as they weren't planning to write an accident report on it.  Otherwise we wouldn't have known she had hit her mouth unless she told us... which she probably would have, but it was nice for him to get more details from the teachers as to what exactly happened.

We kept looking at her teeth as she smiled.  The tooth continued to turn from somewhat white to light grey to dark grey.  I made an appointment at the dentist for her and took her in yesterday.  It was her first time ever to see a dentist.  We don't have dental insurance (it's actually more expensive than not having it for us) and there was no need to get expensive x-rays and cleanings when we're consistently cleaning/brushing/flossing every night at home.  At least at the age of 4.  This is just my opinion...

Julia was excited to go.  She loved that the chair moves up and down. She loved that she got to wear a big napkin around her neck.  As for the x-rays, she wasn't too fond of holding this large black square in her mouth and biting on it for a few seconds.  But she didn't fuss and did an awesome job.

Dr. Seidler told us that the tooth was not cracked despite the nerve being dead.  She didn't have an abscess, but it's possible one can occur as the permanent teeth pushes down on the dead tooth where there is already trauma.  He told us what to look like (basically a pimple with a white/yellow head on her gum above the tooth) so we'll keep an eye out in the next 1-2 years until the tooth is pushing.  At that point it may need to be pulled to avoid infection, but she's good otherwise.

Now to build up her esteem in case kids say "what's wrong with your tooth?" or "why is your tooth grey?"  Giving her words to explain will help so that she doesn't feel that she looks wrong or bad. Earlier in the year a girl at her school told me that I needed to brush Julia's teeth more because they were nasty.  Julia came home crying because three girls made fun of the way her teeth looked.  Made me so sad for her and you can believe that we took care of it in a healthy way with her friends. Thankfully her teachers became involved and listened for the mean conversations about her looks. They were great about helping out and worked to build up Julia while quieting the mean words.  Since then, the girls have been really great.


Friday, March 13, 2015

Candlelight Breakfasts

Our girls love candlelight meals.  This morning Julia asked if we could get out all of our candles (we have a favorite set that we bring out for meals) and have a candlelit breakfast.  I agreed so we set about putting 10 candles out, gathered our breakfasts and sat down to bask in the glow of the light on this rainy morning.  (Speaking of which - WHERE is the SUN??!!  It's spring break in Texas and every day the weather app has shown sun only to replace it with rain and clouds whenever the morning came around)

Riley came down in a terrible mood.  She told me that she was going to have a terrible day because she was so exhausted, needed to be left alone and wished she could have slept longer.  She began to cry over her four plain eggos with peanut butter and syrup.  I put the peanut butter on them but told her I would only risk my life one time each morning to do it as I have a severe reaction to nuts.  In other words, once the peanut butter was away, I refused to get it back out because it required cleaning the counters, washing my hands and safely not touching it while applying it to the eggos.

Julia had the breakfast of champions: a bowl of Frosted Flakes.  Have you eaten these in a while?  It's sugar-coated sugar pieces.  Practically candy.  Me?  I had four pieces of wheat toast with honey on it.  My everyday go-to breakfast.

With Riley claiming she would be in a foul mood all day and Julia purposely taunting her, the morning was off to a typical end-of-spring-break mode.  The girls began to discuss which candles they liked the best and which ones they wanted to blow out.  Riley claimed five on the right side. Julia claimed that she wanted specific sized candles.  The argument began over who owned what candle and who could blow out the tall one, the short one, the big house, the tiny tree.

I didn't care who blew them out!  I just wanted them to stop yelling at each other over candles.

I asked if they wanted me to blow them all out to which they both cried out "NOO!"  I told them that we needed to settle the matter and be willing to work as a team.  It was incredibly tempting to just blow them out, but then they wouldn't have learned anything.  Sure, they would've stopped yelling and then would have cried and been mad that I blew them out.  But they wouldn't have resolved their frustration, their selfish desires, their inability to work together.  So we talked and worked out a solution.  The girls then took turns blowing out candles one at a time.  Then went to play barbies together upstairs.


For the Love

Reading is one of my loves.  When Jen Hatmaker posted that they were looking for a launch team of people who would read her book, give feedback and endorsements, it sounded like something that I would enjoy.  After all I absolutely loved her book "7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess" and the opportunity to be part of a team to pre-read the book before it comes out sounded fun.  I never thought I'd actually get chosen.  Over 5,000 people applied and only 500 were chosen.  Incredibly so - I was one of them!

It has been amazing to 'meet' the other 499 people on the team and to find others who love Jesus and reading... and Jen Hatmaker too.

I opened my email to find this:



Knock, knock. Who's there? YOU, because YOU are on my Launch Team for 'For the Love'!! Yeah baby!! We only had room for 10% of all applicants (what the??), and we think you got the stuff. THANK YOU for your amazing enthusiasm; I couldn't possibly love you more if I tried with all my might. You are leading well and using your influence like a boss. We all think you are amazing. We are going to get this thing off the ground together! Let me tell you, launching a book is really fun. And some of you are going to end up on the inside cover, so THAT. I said on January 1st this year that one goal was to spend less time pleasing "Not My People" ... well let's be clear: YOU ARE MY PEOPLE. I love you so. I really do. I am loyally yours forever. Let's do this thing.

My marketing team will now tell you all the fun details.

- Jen



It has been amazing to 'meet' the other 499 people on the team and to find others who love Jesus and reading... and Jen Hatmaker too.  Hoping to help launch this amazing book and encourage others to read it.  Such great information and encouragement in the pages of it - can't wait to fill you in more as the book launch gets closer!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

A True Sweet Love Story

The past few days have been bittersweet.  My Grandpa Mo passed away on Tuesday, March 3 at 5:30am.  He had stopped eating last week on Tuesday and it was almost a full week of no food.  He was on morphine which they were giving to him every hour to help his breathing and keep him comfortable.

My Grandma Dosh was truly heartbroken and went home a few hours after his death, laid on the couch and her heart stopped beating.  Her daughter called 911 and she was resuscitated.  They took her to a nearby hospital where her heart stopped a few more times.  She was hooked to a ventilator.  Her heart stopped beating for the last time at 5:00am.  Almost exactly 24 hour after Grandpa.

I think it is incredibly sweet that they are together.  They aren't in pain.  There are no more radiation treatments.  No more hospital stays.

My mom told me the story of how after Grandpa passed away, they took Dosh to say goodbye to him. She was very frail and kept saying "John, what am I going to do without you?"  She kissed him and was very sweet with him.  My mom says she imagines my Grandpa in heaven, delighted to see her but asking "What are you doing here?"

Side notes:

Dosh and my Grandpa often teased each other.  My Grandpa wore a toupee for years.  When he went into hospice, he no longer wore it.  There was no need to - comfort was of the essence.  His hairpiece was placed in a drawer and Dosh told her daughter to go get it for fear that the nurses would think it was a hairy rat.  So her daughter brought it to their home.

I shared with Riley that Grandpa Mo had died.  She got teary eyed and gave me a big hug, but we talked about how he is no longer in pain and he is with Jesus.  I didn't get to see Julia that night because I had grad class.  Riley told me when I got home that she told Julia that he had died.  She said that Julia was crying over something in the bathroom so she thought it was a good time to tell her.  She simply said "Today Grandpa Mo died."  Then she explained to me that Julia just cried harder, but she'd already been crying so it was a good time to tell her.

The next day I shared with Riley that Grandma Dosh had died.  In the car on the way home from school, Riley turns to Julia and says, "Guess who died again today?"

Julia replied "Grandpa Mo?"

Riley says "No!  Grandma Dosh died today."

Julia then asks "Will her daughter die tomorrow?"

Riley then explained that she thought her daughter was only 58 or 54 and that she wouldn't die next.


Sunday, March 1, 2015

D Magazine's Ten Restaurants that I want to try

I looked at the top 100 Dallas restaurants listed in D Magazine.  Found my favorite top ten in the Far North Dallas area (where we live) as well as the Park Cities/Highland Park area where Jeremy works and I go to Grad school.

Ten Places that sound amazing:

Patrizios – Park and Plano
Fearing’s
The Grape – lower Greenville
Nonna - Oak Lawn
Zio Cecio –
Rise no 1 – Lovers Lane
Urban Crust – Plano
Banana Leaf
Neighborhood Services – Belt Line
Cadot