Things around Roosevelt house are seriously ramping up! Not only is Tres Birds booked til July, but 4 Tres Birds kiddos leave no rest for this momma bird.
Friday, May 28, 2010
Things around Roosevelt house are seriously ramping up! Not only is Tres Birds booked til July, but 4 Tres Birds kiddos leave no rest for this momma bird.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
New business cards.. LOVE THEM!! Like alot..they were made on a vintage letterpress..they are just yummy! (that is if you could eat paper and all)
Above mentioned press..pretty awesome.
Speaking of awesome....
Top Ten FAVORITE things about summer vacation..
9. What did you do today honey?
8. Ahh coconut tanning oil. One of the very best smells EVER.
7. Road Trips.
I'm not lying when I say few things send Amber into blissdom more than open roads, loud music and Strehle kids tucked happily into the back seat...Freedom!
6. Lack of really important, have to be there obligations. No music lessons, no sports, no homework, no blah, blah, blah, blah. (can you tell I'm burned out?)
5. Being Tan.
One of my most used quotes is from my sister..
"Tan fat always looks better than white fat." Nuff said.
4. BBQ's and volleyball.
Food and middle aged people trying to relive their glory days..hilarity follows (along with a trip or two to the E.R.)
3. Ice Tea.
2. You know when you were like 16 and summer would come and life would seem so carefree? Every once in a while, when the breeze is blowing, the music is loud and all is right with the world, I feel that way..even just for a minute or two.
For 2ish long months I can read alot..almost guilt free.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Amber, I’m honored that you would ask me to be a part of your blog…and life! I think you’re fabulous and super easy to talk to. I seriously could just talk with you for hours!!! Thanks for the wonderful intro as well…you are way too kind!
Talk to me about your very sweet kiddos. Blake seems like such a sweet big brother, and Faith is really about the cutest thing around.
Thanks! Well, Blake is my sweet and easy going guy. He loves all things camo/army/military etc. and is a huge Lego fan.
Faith…ahhh…Faith…where to begin. She is a very smart little gal and fiercely independent. It has been quite interesting to watch her over the past two years…I’m pretty sure she hated being an infant.
I have to tell you, when I told Zach that I was going to ask to interview about Jenika for Mommy Monday, he stopped mid tracks and said..”You sent her an email asking, what?”
I’m not going to lie, I don’t even know how to ask you about Jenika..
I totally understand where you’re coming from. There is one thing you should know about me though…I’m a talker…so you don’t have to be afraid of asking me anything. I try to view everything that happens to me as a learning experience. That’s what life’s all about right!?! We are here on borrowed time, so it only makes sense to share my story with others. Especially since what happened to our family has and is happening to other families. It has become my club that I wish nobody else would become a part of…but unfortunately…it continues to happen to many others.
So, if the interview is hard for you…I’ll just start.
My “Mommy” story is that I am the mother of a stillborn baby girl. We named her Jenika Loraine Fodge. She was my second child and I carried her full term. She died about a week before she was to be born. It was a total blindside for sure. As part of my grieving process after she died, I actually wrote her story down…
The next day (Wednesday) I went to work and was really busy teaching, organizing, and planning ahead for the substitute who would be coming in to take my place for the remainder of the school year. I worked pretty late. I left the school around 6:30 or 7:00 o’clock that night. When I finally got home I went upstairs to check e-mail on the computer. After I sat down, I realized for the 1st time that I didn’t remember feeling any movement from Jenika that entire day. I told Ben that I was concerned because I didn’t remember her moving or kicking at all. I told him that I was going to go and take a shower to see if she would move…I tried it, she didn’t move. I went and laid down on our bed…still no movement. I started to panic and we decided to look up what we could on the Internet to see if we should call a doctor. He looked up some medical websites regarding the 38th week of pregnancy and I’ll never forget the line that we read. It said: Call your doctor if your baby is overactive, less active, or if you feel no activity at all. I looked at Ben and said, “Oh my gosh! She was overactive all day yesterday and today there is nothing!”
We immediately called the Evergreen Nurse Hotline. They had us do a “kick test.” I had to drink ice cold water and push my stomach around for about an hour. If I wasn’t able to feel 10 kicks within the hour…I was supposed to call back. Well, I felt nothing and we ended up driving to the hospital, dropping Blake off at my aunt’s house on the way. We arrived there around midnight. I was escorted back to a bed where the nurse (Andy) tried to find the baby’s heartbeat…he searched and searched. I knew this was bad because we were always able to find Jenika’s heartbeat right away. He couldn’t find it and so he told us that he was going to get the ultrasound machine.
When he brought it back, he had the monitor turned toward us as he started searching. I’ll never forget seeing her profile. I could see her head, her arm and a little hand aimed upward. The only thing moving on the entire screen was the fluid around her. She was completely still. There was no activity in her chest where her heart should have been beating. Her fingers weren’t wiggling and she wasn’t flipping around like she had done every other time we had seen her on an ultrasound monitor. All I could say was, “She’s not moving…she’s not moving.” Nobody was saying anything and he just kept searching, hoping to find some sort of movement somewhere. I finally said to Andy, “Will you please tell me what you are thinking, because I know what I’m thinking.” He simply replied, “Your doctor is on his way.”
At that point I pretty much lost all track of time and space. The room felt as if it was caving in and I couldn’t stop shaking although I didn’t feel cold. I told Ben that I needed to call my mom. It was the worst call I’ve ever had to make and I’m sure it was the worst that she ever had to receive. Ben called his dad and then we just cried. The whole situation was so unreal. This just couldn’t be happening. It just couldn’t end like this. When the doctor got there he searched on the ultrasound machine just like Andy had done and then, with a big sigh, turned it off and looked at Ben and said,
“I’m really sorry.”
So that was it!?! After that I wanted answers! “What can happen in a day? I was just at the doctor’s and she was fine. I didn’t fall, I wasn’t sick, I didn’t get in a car accident…nothing happened to me!!! How can she be gone when nothing happened?” There was no explanation for this kind of tragic ending to our baby’s life here on Earth. It wasn’t fair! I didn’t do anything wrong. I made all the right choices and I didn’t choose this. This was not acceptable! My world was changed forever.
Jenika Loraine Fodge went to live with Jesus on February 2nd, 2006. She was 6lbs. 15oz. and 19 ½ inches long. She had lots of dark wavy hair and a very distinct dimple on her chin. She looked as if she were only sleeping. She was absolutely beautiful. I remember thinking that she should be so full of life and movement…just like Blake had been on the wonderful day that he was born. Instead, we had this beautiful, perfect little girl, who didn’t even get even a chance to fight for life. Her fate was already sealed and there was nothing we could do to change that. We were powerless to help her and that was the worst feeling that I’ve ever experienced and one I’ll never forget.
We had an autopsy done to see if we could figure out just what happened. Much to our dismay, the autopsy came back with inconclusive results. I later discovered that apparently 20 percent of these types of cases come back with no answers whatsoever…we are in that 20 percent category. I guess for now, we are not supposed to know why this happened to our Jenika.
As you can imagine, life totally changed for us. Looking back at the story that I wrote after this experience, I find it interesting that I didn’t write anything about what happened after we found out she was gone. I guess maybe at that time I wasn’t ready to actually go through each detail of what giving birth to a dead baby was like…I guess I kind of put that behind a “door” and moved on, knowing that I could actually “open that door” at any time and re-live every single second in excruciating detail if I wanted to. I have to say it was a total out of body experience (probably shock) because it was like my brain hit a record button. Although during the whole experience I couldn’t tell you what day it was…what time it was…nothing. Very strange what traumatic experiences do to you.
So, I guess part two of Jenika’s story would be that after my doctor finally came I was taken to a delivery room and they began to induce me. While Ben and I sat there, it had only been about 20 minutes and in comes my brother Justin. I couldn’t believe it. I hadn’t called anyone but my mom. He told me that Mom had called him and said that he needed to get to me because she couldn’t get there fast enough. After he came in…the door kept opening and more people piled in. My grandparents, Ben’s parents and grandma, his siblings, my parents. It was unbelievable the support that immediately surrounded us. Even my friends seemed to find out…I couldn’t believe how fast word spread. It still blows my mind!
I also want to mention that we were at Evergreen Hospital…and the nurses there were so wonderful. When life gets hard, I truly believe that God sends you his wonderful and caring people to help you get through the pain. He sent me so many angels that day. Besides my family that came, the nurses took care of me as if I were part of their family. They cried with me, hugged me, cried with me some more. They were amazing. Once I was induced…it didn’t take long for Jenika to be born. I remember being so scared to see her. I wasn’t sure I wanted too. So, Ben cut her cord and saw her first. The nurses took her away for a moment to clean her up and then I remember Ben telling me she looked just like Blake did when he was born. Then I WANTED to see her…really badly. I remember all of a sudden being afraid I might forget what she looked like. It was as if I realized that I would only have a few hours to ingrain her image into my memory. Then those wonderful nurses stepped in again and asked if we wanted a picture of her. We said yes…and then Ben’s wonderful grandma tugged at the nurse’s arm and said “only one?” So, we ended up with a CD of over 50 pictures by the time we left the hospital. Amazing. I later created a wonderful Shutterfly memory book of Jenika using those pictures and Ben created a DVD. I am so thankful for the photos…so thankful.
When they finally handed her to me, I looked at her and I remember thinking how perfect she looked. Just like she was sleeping. She was so beautiful…so perfect. Perfect tiny fingers and toes. She had that wonderful new baby smell. She looked chunky even though she was only 6lbs. 15oz. She also had a perfect dimple in her chin. I also felt a twinge of anger that nobody was trying to resuscitate her…as if maybe there were some chance she would live. I knew in my mind that she was gone…but looking at her…my heart was broken. I wanted to know her alive…I didn’t want this reality. This was not something I had ever fathomed would happen. You know when you map out your life and think of things that could possibly happen to you…this was not even a blip on my radar screen. Seriously…what the heck…right!?!
Ben and I both held her and our family members were with us. I wanted everyone with us. It was weird because while I was holding her…I wasn’t sure what I should do, or what I could do? I know this sounds strange, but I distinctly remembering wanting to pull back her eyelids and see what color her eyes were, but I wasn’t sure that would be appropriate? I was also sort of freaked out that maybe something scary would be lurking under her eyelids…and I’d have to live with that memory. So, I never looked. I regret that. Later, I had correspondence with another family that had a stillborn baby girl, and she let me read her story (coincidentally, she wrote hers down too) and she mentioned that they had looked at the baby’s eyes and they were brown. When I read that…I cried. I wished I would have looked into Jenika’s eyes. My hunch is that they were blue…just like Blake’s were.
All our family members were able to hold Jenika in the hospital. We actually have pictures of nearly everyone getting to hold her. I’m so glad that everyone WANTED to hold her. I wasn’t sure that they would. I was almost afraid to ask, but I remember saying…”does anyone want to hold her?” I guess I was expecting people not to want to…but everyone did. I mean, honestly, who really thinks that they will have to hold a dead baby during their lifetime…or actually want to. I was very thankful that we have such strong and supportive family members who were willing to walk with us during our time of sadness. Because of this, we didn’t end up having a formal service for her. I think we all had enough closure and frankly, I don’t do well at funerals. At the time, I didn’t think I would be able to handle it. Ben and I knew that she was with Jesus…and that was all we needed to know.
I remember after leaving the hospital…I couldn’t go home, so I went to my Grandma’s house. I have never cried so much in my entire life. I didn’t know that it was humanly possible to cry as much as I cried. I remember looking in the mirror and not recognizing my own face. It was a sad time. Yet at the same time, people kept reaching out to us and it became totally unreal. We received so many flowers. I couldn’t believe how many people sent us flowers…cards…candles…gifts…e-mails…money…the list goes on and on! We also had visitors and people who brought us dinners, deserts, and even toys for Blake. It still to this day is somewhat indescribable how much love and support we received after this tragedy. I will be forever grateful.
Explaining what happened to Blake was the hardest part. He was only 4 at the time and expecting a little sister. We explained to him that Jenika had to go live with Jesus instead of with us, but we would see her again someday…in Heaven. Luckily for me, Blake is the kind of kid that if something’s on his mind, he is pretty vocal about it. I remember always trying to gage his feelings about what happened. It was sort of funny the times and places that he would think about her. It usually occurred with strangers aka: the store cashier, the joggers going by our house, etc. He would just say or call out “my baby sister died.” Usually, the stranger he said this statement to would stop and stare at me as if to say “how do I respond to that?” It was always totally awkward. I actually didn’t mind though because I thought, well Blake must have needed to get that off his chest…so he did! I figured with strangers, we wouldn’t see them again so no biggy…although I did feel sad for them in the moment because I’m sure they felt really bad and generally didn’t know what to say to his matter of fact statements.
Now that I have a family blog, I sort of have an outlet to remember Jenika on her birthday…which is really nice. Here is Jenika's 4th Birthday post.
Happy 4th Birthday Jenika
Wow...another year has gone by. I can't help but think that I should be planning a party for a 4 year old little girl. I wonder what the theme would have been. What would she be interested in?...What would she have asked for?...What would she have looked like, sounded like? The questions are endless. I also think, wow...if she were here today, I would have had an 8 year old, a 4 year old, and a 2 year old. That would have been very interesting. :-)
I've decided that when you've had something terrible happen in your life, you are left with many strange thoughts and theories. I chalk it up to the fact that it's hard to wrap your mind around things that are unexpected and tragic. I feel that being on this strange road of having one of your children die...before they are even born...is sometimes a tragedy that not many can really relate to. I call it "my club that no one should have to join." Unfortunately, I have discovered that there are many people that get thrown into this "club" with me. Since this has happened to me, I hear about these stories quite frequently. Over the past year I have been told notified of 3 different stillborn situations. I feel that I have become sort of a "go to" person for those who know someone who is caught up in this tragic situation. I am so sad when I hear these stories. It's so sad to think of someone having to deal with the loss of their child. It's really just not fair...not fair......it's just plain WRONG.
I know that there is nothing I can say, or do really to help them make things better. What I can do is send my condolences and share our story. I've put together sort of a "care" package that usually includes: a card for the family with a message from me, Jenika's Story, my blog post from last year, and my contact information. I feel that by doing this, Jenika's short life here has a purpose and she lives on. It allows me to talk about her to people...which, I don't really get to do too much because I feel that people either get uncomfortable or think I'm feeling sorry for myself. It is a strange road indeed. I do have to say that I am not afraid of hard situations anymore. I have been through the grieving process and I know that everyone handles it different.
The main thing to do is LISTEN, DO NOT BE AFRAID, and DO NOT AVOID. I remember that there were a couple of people who did not want to look at Jenika's pictures when I offered to show them. They did not want to look at her for whatever reason. It really hurt my feelings and it also made me angry. I wasn't directly angry at them...but more angry in the fact that they could CHOOSE to look at them or CHOOSE not to look at them. I never got a choice...I never got to CHOOSE. It just wasn't fair. I had to walk down the path whether I wanted to or not. So, through this I have learned that if someone wants to share with me something that is HARD or PAINFUL, I will go with them...I will take their hand and I will walk with them. I will CHOOSE to be the friend that doesn't avoid the hard stuff. I think that because of this, Jenika really does live on and has made me a better friend, mother, and person.
But, I still miss her and will always miss her presence...I wish she were here and I wish we were celebrating her birthday. We prayed that God would give her a big hug from us...I think he did.
Although I think of her every day, I don’t get to talk about her much. So it’s really nice when someone wants to know about her. As you can tell…I sort of just explode…and to think Amber, you didn’t even ask me a question. I bet you’re wishing you would have now huh!
Jeri you told it better than I ever could have..you are a true Mommy hero to us all, thanks so so much for sharing your story.
I'm sure Jeri won't mind me offering up her email if anyone would like to contact her, just contact me via email@example.com and I will pass her info on.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
10. Ok I know I've been totally neglecting this blog..yes I've been "around" but no Amberish post..I'm sorry.
9. How was your Mothers Day?? Mine was perfection..breakfast in bed prepared by my very sweet boys, including a Mimosa and Starbucks, Zach cleaned out the toxic area know as my mini-van, we took a drive to the beach followed up by Chinese food. Good day.
8. Umm those 2 weeks of rain here in Washington..almost killed me..serious.
So I got to thinking, I don't care if I die because of going to a tanning bed..yes skin cancer is really bad..and I will more than likely get it..but the truth is how many people are going to die after seeing my white legs in the grocery store?? I'm sure alot..
so really it's kinda like a public safety measure..your welcome.
7. Are you scared to dream big??
Because I'm scared to fail big.. I hate failure...but then my fear stops me from trying
it's such a VICIOUS cycle.. I'm over it.
6. Last weekend I was humbled.
5. This weekend when I was at the beach I decided it is high time for Amber to buy some spring clothes..what do you think about these??
All of these beauties can be found here..cute stuff..even cuter price:)
All men dream, but not equally.
Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity:
but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Girl!! I’m so excited to interview you!! Although, I guess I’m a little nervous, I’m sure there are a TON of grammar errors in this interview…ha!
How are your girls? Two teenage girls in the house at once?? I know they are good girls..but how many fights have you had over the bathroom mirror..hahaha:)
My girls are completely awesome! They are fun to be around! And they can talk just as much as I can! But that bliss is not without its occasional ripples or tidal waves. In fact, just the other night I was in my bedroom doing something amazing (folding laundry) when suddenly, I heard screaming, running, and then a huge THUD. I meandered out of my bedroom and found my youngest daughter sprawled out on the tile floor in the kitchen. My oldest daughter was standing over her sister with a look of, “Oh, #*%#!” written all over her face. The reason for this lovely altercation? An Ipod. Enough said.
You met my sister while living in Maui, talk to me a little bit about that time in your life and what brought you to Maui.
~Maui allowed each one of us to blossom into who we are supposed to be. We were completely blessed there. Initially, I didn’t want to go. I hated the idea of leaving home. The only hometown my husband and I ever knew, South Pasadena, California (So. Cal.). However, moving to Maui was so freeing. No longer were we consumed with the affluence of the town we grew up in. Suddenly, people were accepted or rejected based on character rather than wealth. It fit perfectly because my husband had been diagnosed with brain cancer, and long story short we lost all of our monetary indulgences. Keeping up with the Southern California lifestyle (snobby), was no longer something we could participate in. What a relief! A relief I didn’t even know I needed at the time.
How many years was Mario really sick, and when did the reality of having to raise your girls on your own really hit you?
My husband was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor when he was 26-years-old and I was 18-years-old. Out of the blue, he had a gran mal seizure. Because he didn’t have a history of such things, his doctor did extensive testing to figure out what was wrong. Mario had radiation and recovered completely after eight months. He lived completely healthy for nearly ten years. The doctors gave him one year to live, what do they know anyway? Not much! God had a different plan. We were married after dating for three years, had our first daughter after being married for three years, and when I was pregnant with our second daughter, he began to have a chronic seizure disorder. Signs that the tumor was probably active again. And it was. Damnit. Slowly but surely our life began to completely unravel. My husband could no longer participate in his career as an accountant effectively, we had to pull out of a house we had put an offer in on in Laguna Hills, and we were living off of our savings which was running out…so we went to Maui! After moving, he was feeling well for several months, but then the tests showed that the tumor was growing. He went through chemotherapy and continued to do well for nearly five years. But those five years were a constant battle between feeling good and feeling bad, yet he never once complained (never). I don’t mean to imply he was arrogant about it or living in denial, he just didn’t want the focus. He was busy tending to his wife and raising daughters, there was no time for cancer. However, he cried once. He sat in a green rocking chair in our living room and completely broke down. I went to him, of course, so stricken and so badly wanting to help him in some way. He rubbed his face and laid his head in the palms of his hands and said, “There’s nothing you can do, baby, I’m in this alone.” And he was right. I was right there beside him, helping him, loving him, all of it, but I wasn’t sick, he was. He was alone.
I don’t think I have yet accepted the fact that I am raising my daughters on my own. I know that sounds crazy, and I don’t mean to imply that I think he is here with us right now. But, I think that if I truly accept that I am alone, I will be terrified of the responsibility. My husband was the dearest friend I have ever had, he filled me completely, blessed me beyond adequate words, and I was full. I feel like that experience has left me feeling capable, not alone.
How did you move on from that point, and how did you move on after his death?
~I move on day by day, inch by inch, breath by breath. After his death, I sat in our comfy leather chair in my jammies staring out the window at the horizon. I held a cup of coffee in my hands that was always cold because I never actually drank it. One day while sitting in that chair, I suddenly became very aware of the fact that my oldest daughter, Bella, was standing in front of me. She was staring at me and the look on her face was worry. I had never seen her look at me like that before. I felt sorry for her, for the little girl whose mom was burdened with unbearable sadness. She didn’t know what to do. She was eight. She had her life ahead of her. This voice inside of me said so clearly, “Okay, Mya, it’s time to get dressed. These girls have their entire lives before them, they have to know that just because great sadness strikes a family, it doesn’t have to redefine and demolish that family.” I was suddenly aware that they were babies. They hadn’t had their fairy tales yet, they hadn’t dreamed yet, and I didn’t want their experiences to be stifled by my sadness. So, I looked at her and conjured up a smile and said, “Hi, baby girl, why don’t you go and tell your sissy to get dressed and we’ll all go to Keokea Park, and we’ll stop at Gramma’s Coffeehouse for a cinnamon roll.” Her face lit up. She was so happy. I knew that I had to continue doing all of the things we had always done for my girls. I knew I would eventually feel happy again. I didn’t realize it would take five years. I don’t mean to imply that there weren’t happinesses along the way, but sometimes I felt disconnected, like I was going through the motions for them, but I didn’t really feel anything. I was relieved when one day I realized I was happy. Really happy. Blessed. Content. I was happy I could feel complete again.
Talk to me about how your girls did during these years? Looking back now, what do they remember about when Mario was alive?
Our girls remember different things. Bella, our oldest, remembers the most. She remembers how he laughed, how he ate his cereal. She remembers that he loved to watch Marlon Brando movies. She remembers laying with him and reading and sharing ice cream from the same bowl. They are so much alike. Same mannerisms, facial expressions, tilt of the head, and gentleness. She remembers laying in bed with him and talking to him during his last few days with us. She remembers touching his cheek and telling him that she loved him.
Our youngest daughter, Helana, was six when he died. She doesn’t remember as much. She recently said that she has a hard time really remembering her Papa. That makes us both sad. But she does remember him reading to her and her sister every night from a Father and Daughter Bible stories devotional. She remembers he used to tickle them like crazy when he was supposed to be putting them to bed. She remembers he liked to play games and make them laugh. She remembers he liked ice cream. And they both remember that every day when they would come home from school, he would have a sucker in his pocket for each one of them. I found a stash of them in his nightstand after he passed away. They both remember how much he loved to spoil them and how much he loved them. They remember that he was gentle and kind.
What does your life look like today? And what is your very favorite part about it?
The bird’s eye view of my life now is pretty awesome. I am a blessed woman. I love my daughters, and more importantly, I like my daughters. They are my best companions. I am an awesome teacher and I adore my students (Chase, one of my students, is watching me type this, and he is really starting to get on my nerves). I have great friends. I love tending my “subdivision farm” which is a name I totally made up (I think). I always wanted hens, so I got some! Even though, I’m pretty sure my HOA would tell me that that is a no no. I love to host gatherings and serve food and drink. I love to talk, talk, talk, so friends are over all of the time. I love listening to really loud 80’s music (& I’ve Gotta Feeling by the Black Eyed Peas and Train and…). We take road trips every summer, compete in 5K’s (we have one this Saturday!), laugh, cry, fight, you name it. Life is good.
My favorite part about my life is that I have been blessed to have been loved by a great man. Because of him I am full. I am content. He gave me children and a purpose. He showed me how to love and how to be kind. He showed me how to be understanding and how to be humble. He showed me how to laugh and not take everything so seriously. The best part…having him as my best friend and having my girls. The rest is still unwritten.
One week..money is not an object..what would you do??
I would go back to Maui with my girls. I would rent a house on the beach on the north shore and an old VW bus. I would buy gobs of sunscreen and a cute bathing suit. I would drink cocktails in an adirondack chair on the beach with Johnna by my side. We would laugh and watch our children play in the surf.
You can follow Mya and her illegal chickens here...go give her some blog lovin:)
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
So I'm busy posting some pretty awesome stuff over on my photog blog.
Go check it out!!
Yes I will be back soon, with something other than Mommy stuff, but right now this is a little all encompassing..sorry:)
Go comment and make me feel better about myself..I'm needy that way:)
Monday, May 03, 2010
Before Jamie was a Mommy she was daughter to one of my very best friends. It’s been pretty fun to watch her mature from teenager to Mother, and from what I see she rocks the Mommy gig pretty good. She is mother to Nolan and wife of Josh who is currently serving in the Army on his 2nd tour of duty in Iraq.
So before we get into the Mommy part of this interview, lets talk about Jamie!! You are a Gene Juarez trained hair “artist” and LOVE fashion and such, coming from a house full of boys how did you turn out so girly???
Simply put I was born that way. I remember loving that stuff since I could walk and talk. One of my favorite stories of my childhood is when I was a baby and I would get fussy they would put a pretty little dress on me and like magic I was happy again. They had never seen anything like it! My mom was also a huge part of the equation. She is so beautiful and always dresses nicely. Believe it or not she at one time wanted to be a fashion designer and so in a strange way that I can not fully explain I was drawn towards that sort of thing partly because of her dream.
You met and married Josh pretty quickly..love at first sight..right??
I never really believed in love at first sight until I met Josh. The fireworks were going as soon as he walked into my parents kitchen. *sigh* I get butterfly's in my stomach just thinking of it:)
From what I remember you guys were only married around 10 months before he deployed on his first tour in Iraq. How was that sending your new husband off to war? And more importantly how was it when he came back, after witnessing war?
Sending Josh off to war was horrible. The first few days felt incredibly hopeless. I literally felt like my heart had been torn out. However I was just starting beauty school and about two months into the deployment Toni (my sister-in-law) and I got an apartment together, so I became incredibly busy.
When Josh came home he was definitely different. He seemed older and he had a sadness about him that was not there before. At the time I had I barely heard about PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), but the amount I did know helped prepare me a little bit for his return home. He would see things that were not there and at times he even saw people that had died. I seldom asked him about what he saw or did over there, knowing he would eventually tell me when the time was right. He would tell me that God would never forgive him for the things he had done and that he was going to hell. Josh could not forgive himself and it was taking a toll on him.
I did a lot of praying. Things started to change though. I remember one night we went to dinner and a movie. We ended getting in a huge fight because I asked him to turn the music down. That fight led into one of the deepest conversations we had had since we were married. We parked in a parking lot and talked for a long time about what he saw and did in Iraq as well as God and forgiveness. Through a serious of events over the next few months Josh eventually began his journey to healing and forgiveness. War and hate changed him, but God never left him. The dreams may never go away or the ache of old wounds, but God has a hold on his life and with that hold, healing.
Your plan was when Josh came home on leave you wanted to get pregnant..it worked! Talk to me about being pregnant without him around, then he his home..and you are far along!! So many adjustments all at once!!
It was difficult at first. I lived with Toni (my sister in law) at the time so her excitement helped me get over my nervousness and doubts. There were times that I was pretty irritable, but Toni was always very gracious with me. When it was time for Josh to come home I freaked out a bit. I was 7 almost 8 months along and I was huge. When Josh left after his mid-tour leave I was in the best shape of my life. My body had changed so much since then and I honestly thought he would take one look at me and run away screaming. On the day of Josh's return I tried to remain calm, but on the inside I was a nervous wreck. It was one of those days where it feels like everything was going wrong. The outfit I had bought for his homecoming was suddenly not as cute and I felt like a whale trying to squeeze into a small swimming pool. I wondered what Josh was going to think? Would he think I was still hot? Would he be embarrassed by my appearance? Suddenly I wished I had exercised more and controlled my eating a little better. However when Josh and I first saw each other and he put his hands on my stomach, the tenderness in his eyes melted all my worries away.
Soon you knew that Josh was going back to Iraq, I can’t imagine how hard that is. How much more different has it been this time having Nolan than last time?
Josh had been home nearly 16 months when he shipped out again. We had gone through so much in our lives leading up to that day. We had become best friends on such a deep level that the thought of being apart again was really hard. We had learned to lean on each other through the difficulties of normal life, an extremely fussy baby, his PTSD and simply adjusting to each other again. So far it has been incredibly different. I am so much lonelier then last time and even though Nolan keeps me busy I am not as busy as I was the first deployment. My mind tends to wander more frequently and it is hard watching Nolan grow without his dad around. Without Josh there are certainly some challenges, like the moment of panic every time I go into a grocery store wondering if Nolan will let the whole store know he is unhappy and I have to leave without getting anything done. I also have to really want something before I go to the mall with Nolan and I have to make it quick. On the bright side, Nolan and I have developed a good relationship and I have learned so much about myself. He is a little character and makes me laugh quite often. Although when Josh gets home I am going to go out, and tan, get my nails done, leisurely shop (MAC counter is a must), buy a coffee and enjoy not having to rush around.......all in that order:) Oh and perhaps lunch at the Nordstrom cafe with a friend or two!
You are soo blessed with a super supportive family, tell me about your parents?? They are wonderful and encouraging. Whenever I need a break from Nolan they take him for a while. Dad is always good for hugs and an encouraging word. Nolan absolutely adores him and always wants to be around him. Mom is my sounding board and has helped me through some difficult things that have risen up with this deployment. They are truly great people and the greatest examples of what Godly parents and friends should look like.
Ok fun questions..what is your ultimate hair dream??
Right now I want to go to Syndey, Australia and work under Sharon Blain. She does amazing work and I aspire to have that kind of talent. After doing that for a couple years and getting tired of living an 'haute couture' lifestyle I want to come back to the states and start my own salon........with a state of the art daycare. A place for women to come, kids or no kids and relax with no worries. I want to make a woman look at herself in the mirror and see a beautiful classy lady looking back.