Friday, September 30, 2011

Yo shortie it's my birthday....

Checking in to check out. It's my birthday weekend~ the big 3 to the 2. Wow! Time flies eh'. 32 years and many lifetimes of wisdom....
Cheers friends!
I'm going to party like it's my birthday.. Ok not really I'll probably catch up on Greys Anatomy I just happem to like that song. Old school right there :)0

I'll check in with y'all on the flip side,
Have a fab weekend~ we sure plan to.

Hugs~ j

Friday, September 23, 2011

Austins 5th Birthday!

Dearest Austi Bear~

I look at you and melt.  Your sweet, angelic face had me from hello. Your coy smile wins me over every time.  I absolutely adore the little gap in your bottom teeth and your dimple, oh those "dimpies"  are the cherry to my sundae.  I canNOT believe you are 5!  I remember the day you were born like it happened minutes ago.  You have been amazing from the moment we met you and for all the struggles you have had to conquer you rally through like the "super hero" you really are.  You fought physical therapy tooth and nail and today we couldn't hold you back if we tried. You have opened yourself up little by little and in a mere 3 months we have seen enormous strides in your personality.  You are obsessed with me today just as deeply as you were the day you were born.  You are my golden boy and Daddy says its time to "cut the cord". I say that cord can stay as long as you like.  I love when you climb into my bed and snuggle up against me.  If I could bottle your smell I would.  I love your belly laugh like I love french fries and if I could listen to your sweet, precious little voice all day every day I would.  I am so stinking proud of you for taking the last two years and fighting them like hell, but also fighting through them.  You were lost when Mommy was gone~ heartbroken and sad, but you pushed through when I was worried you were forever hurt.  My resilient, strong boy has come back stronger than ever and my pride continually flows as I listen to you spell your name or watch you love on your baby brother.  Some days I think of how deeply I love you and your brothers and it scares me.  I will never be who I was before you. I can never go back to that freedom, not that I would want to, but know that so long as there is air in my lungs I will love you, be here for you, fight for you and show you the way.  There will never be a day that shall you need me, I won't be there. You will never call and not reach me. You will never cry out and not hear me coming.  I am your Mommy now and forever and that is the greatest gift in the entire world.  "I like you today Austin."  I like you every day for the rest of my life and I am so glad "you like me" too (insert his hands on my face here as he says it) for as a wise Aunt of yours once said, like almost means more than love, because there are people I love that I don't necessarily like today, but "like" that's big stuff right there.  Happy, happy birthday gorgeous, gorgeous boy!

What you like today:

Jack Bode
Stupid Sponge Bob (gahh!)
Sleepovers with Mom
All Ocean Creatures
Noodles, noodles and more noodles
"Daddy juice"

You think you are "almost a grown up" now that you are 5. You boss Mason around like it's your job. Are as kind as can be to Paxton.  Will go to the ends of the Earth for Mommy. Love to play ball with Daddy. Are afraid of monsters to which we bought magic monster lights to keep them all away.  You are now playing pretend play with your toys and making up stories (love to eavesdrop on that) you go to First Pres. Your teacher is Miss Dunwiddie. Your class friend is Cyrus.  You are door man on the playground and open the door for everyone. You say please and thank you all the time. You think burping is funny.  You think laughing is funny just because. You no longer think when I laugh that I am laughing at you (thank god).   You have grown up tremendously over the Summer and as much as I want to keep you little I adore watching you grow up.

To forever baby boy!

Masons 4th Birthday Letter

Dear Mason~

You are my full speed ahead boy.  You came into this world in a just a mere few hours and haven't stopped since.  My little chia pet full of spikey black hair, squishy, pissed off face. I will never forget when they announced you were a boy. We waited 9 months to find out.  Exhilarating.  
You are so much person rolled into that four year old little body of yours.  Apparently you look just like me, but act like your Daddy. Mr Congeniality, sensitive yet social as can be. Everyone is your friend and if they aren't they will be within minutes of meeting you once you introduce yourself.  We are working on the stranger danger.
You are fearless ( unless there is thunder involved) and wild. You adore Austin more than anything, are a Mamas boy, non stop chatty Kathy, Doogie Howser smart yet will stop and smell the roses for cuddle time with Mom.  You're not such a big fan of Paxton, but I attribute that to middle child syndrome.  You love "to hold me".  When I go in to check on you just before I go to bed,  I will cover you up, kiss you and tell you I love you and you will wake from a deep sleep to mumble "i love you tooo..." and I melt. I melt looking at your honey eyes and chubby cheeks.  You laugh with everything you have and those little baby teeth create the best smile ever!  Just like I told Austin this year... there is no measure to the depths of my love for you.  You boys are my entire world and I will always make sure that you know that.  Every year these letters  to you change because every year you change. You grow and learn and are turning into these amazing, intelligent, kind boys.  You make me proud.  You, Austin and Paxton are my proudest moments in life.  I love you "Mae Mae, Moo Moo, Maci", mean it!

What you like today:

Monster trucks! "mote"/remote ones preferably
playing outside
riding tractors
playing with your friends
sweets~good lord do you have a sweet tooth
you love all sea animals
"daddy juice"
mommy to "hold you"
you will try anything once
you are afraid of thunder
yet love playing in the rain
you think its funny to burp
you think you are the boss
you love to lay in "mommy's bed"
No! David is your favorite book

Every year  I never know how to end these.  I don't like endings... so I will just say until next year.  We have so much to look forward to, so much fun to be had, so many memories to make.  Mason Wayne, my wild child, forever and ever! Happy Birthday to the happiest boy!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Here is where I tell you that I have been up to my eyeballs in life.  In getting back to the basics and where I apologize for not at least letting you know sooner that we are home and Paxton is well.  First and foremost to me is being a Mommy and once I stepped foot back on 239 territory everything else fell to the wayside.  I missed the boys first day of their new school so I  had to have a redo of that day.  I had a stack of bills worth hundreds of thousands to sort through ( naturally most of them were medical)  I had to go though all of the boys paperwork and help Paxton with pain management and eating.  All this after zero to no sleep for seven days. I tell ya folks I just dont know how I partied studied like a rock star in college. Thinking back to those days now I am quite impressed with myself.
Ahem...on to more important things like brotherly reunions, birthday parties and being surrounded by the ones who love us most, when needed most.

 <3 you Li! Thank you for picking me up...

 Nanny Max.  As always,  girlfriend keeps it together at the Wests in my absence.  

Oh' sister! "Til death do us part B!"

Grammy Cindy, Aunt Niki and my Godson Jack came all the way from South Carolina to join us.  Can you say heart...full...of...happiness!


Paxton had his g tube placed on September 9th and we were released on September 11th.

 He did amazing. He woke up and while pretty painful, was amazingly affectionate and playful.  I got to watch Nemo that week approximately 972 times, the bright side of that is I got to hear Dori remind me 972 times to "just keep swimming"  when I found myself wanting to melt.   I belieive one of my facebook posts went something like this:

It's official! We are here until tomorrow to monitor for swelling.  It's also official that my leg hair is approximately 4 inches long.  I am now stylin dreads and the bags under my eyes are nearly touching my boobs at this point.  Hotness all rolled into one right here. Tomorrow is gonna be awesomeee!  

And it was.


We are home now.  Paxton while sensitive is no longer in pain. He is eating for the most part on his own again.  The tube however, allows me to help him when he gets to tired to eat.  It will prevent him from getting dehydrated therefore landing us back in the hospital.  I am grateful for the safety net that is the gastrostomy tube.  I am also shouting from the rooftops how happy I am that Paxton leaves his "boo boo" alone. I had visions of him yanking that bastard right out of his stomach. He looks at it and says "ewwwwww isgusting" every time he sees it (and yes I spelled it the way he says it), but it's like he knows its there to help him.  Some pictures of the week long journey below. All different days, same clothes as indicated by facebook post above.  Hospital life is definetly not paparazzi worthy unless of course you are Paxton freaking West!!!

apple doesn't fall far....

So I can't reach the shelves in my kitchen, but 5'2" is the best gift in the world right here! 


I had an official redo of the boys first day at their new school.  To which they happen to L.O.V.E.  and I am T.H.R.I.L.L.E.D with myself.  The boys teachers are A-mazing and in a mere two weeks I can see big changes in Austin already.  This hurdle I have been debating jumping for some time now, was a success.

Their first day at their new school

Re-do with Mommy (and Masons girlfriend Karly)


Fast forward 1 week:

I got home just in time to launch myself into fifth gear prepping for the boys birthday party in a mere 5 days.  You know we do birthdays big here in the West house, so I had a lot to do. Not a single thing was done, for I had no idea we would be hospitalized for so long.  I give thanks though that we were out in time to prep and carry on with our pirate plans.

We had an epic celebration for two boys that continually step aside for their baby brother time and again and do so with brave hearts.  I know it isn't easy when we disappear for days, sometimes even weeks at a time from their lives only to poof return back home.   My heart was bursting to throw them this party. To give them their day.

They asked and we brought.  It was perfection.  Surrounded by family and friends. Piercing screams of little boys tearing through the joint with blow up swords. Oh it was heavenly.  For I will trade those screams any day for those of the monotonous beep...beep....BEEP's of ICU monitors.  Only pictures at this point could portray the enthusiasm that filled that room.

Arrr Mateys....


Adie working that camera

 My Godson Jack

No inkling who this lady is, but God bless her for taking on these boys

 He thought he was so cool sporting his pirate patch!

Spiderman i.e. Birthday Boy Mason

 Best Friends Foreverrrr!

 All he wants is to be one of the boys... and he so is.

Whatever that wish is Austin and Mason...I will do my best to make it come true...


For all the times we wind up hospitalized, I leave that place a wiser, deeper, more grateful person.  This is not to say that I haven't been an exhausted grump, because that I have been.  No sleep is certainly a form of torture and at the end of the day, it quite often catches up with me.  My husband is the brunt of it and yet he still loves me in spite of it.  He praises me over and over. He gets me diet cokes even if its 11 o'clock at night. I fish like a little girl to be reassured that I am doing this ok, that I did it ok and he reminds me that in the depths of my exhaustion I continue to get it right.  When the option isn't there to fall, you don't  This I have learned.

My list  continues to grow longer and longer. For every thing I mark off three more are added, but I take a deep breath, remind myself what matters, what can wait and what tomorrow will bring.
Shortly after we got back Dave and I went on date night, down to this little outside bar (a bar...shocking I know ;) on the water.  Right across the way is this little breakfast cafe'.  I remember looking at it and looking at him, I said you don't remember this, but nearly 3 years ago I sat at that table with my mom and sister just after we lost Tadem. It was the first time I had been out in public since I had surgery to remove him.  I robotically ate, I will never forget the fog that encompassed me.  I hated that life went on around me when I was so deeply broken.  I told my husband this story and how I sat today looking at that cafe in complete and utter awe of how far I had come.  I did not think I would be ok and I was.  I am. We are.
Tadem prepared me for Paxton. Tadem is Austin, Mason and Paxtons guardian angel.  They say for every person that passes new life is born, this I believe.  There is a lesson behind everything. While it may take years to find, if you open yourself up to its possibility you will find it.

I find it here:
Sleepover with Mommy

and here:

and here:

Happy Birthday Boys.  I am pretty sure you already know at 4 and 5 the depths to which I love and adore you.  Your birthday letters for your memory box will follow shortly behind this.

As I habitually do, I wonder where we will be next year at this time....

For those who continue to drop in and peek at our corner of the world in spite of my tardiness in writing, I thank you.  I will never trade this for them.  Now that we are home and settling back in, Tuesdays will be my writing day and you will hear from us a lot more.  Paxton has a lot to teach us all.  He is just shy of his second birthday as well.  Lots of celebrating around these parts so stick around.

Remember this does not end here....

Love and hugs,


Monday, September 5, 2011

No sooner do I write in my last post that something is up with Paxton that I now write to you from the CVICU. Story of our lives. I am heartbroken and sad tonight. Is it so much to ask that this kid catches a break... Is it so hard to allow me to be home to take my kids to their first day at their new school tomorrow.... Speaking of hearts mine feels so damn torn all the time. I feel so much guilt for Pax taking precedence over everything else. He just does. He is fragile and the west world stops when he gets sick and two little boys are left in the wake. It pisses me off and makes me cry all at the same damn time. I need sleep but we all know I don't sleep without medicinal help because my mind never, ever shuts down and I can't take anything here so I just lay here and silently cry. My head is pounding. I want my bed. I want 3 little boys snuggled up beside me in it. This damn heaviness needs to go away. It such a heavy burden to bear. What to do. Surgery or not. Risk it or not. Somebody decide for me so I won't sit here and wonder if I will make the wrong decision. My only solace right now is having a bad ass nanny that is part of our family who will ensure my boys will be ok and a dear friend rearranging her own day to stand in for me and make sure they transition ok. That same friend who is awake with in her own bed worried about me sending me reassuring messages as I type this. And Aunt Lisa who forced me to nap today in the midst of my first meltdown.
I know the tears will cease. I know the boys will be ok. I lmow tomorrow brings a new day. A day in which hopefully Paxton will eat and drink so we can go home. never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have....

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Recipe For Life...

So many things on my mind, so little time.  We have big changes taking place around here.  All for the better.  Mommy has been hard at work trying to get some things figured out and next week they will take place.

Today unbeknownst to me, Paxton became a star.  Not that he already wasn't, but now it's in print.  Oh' yah, his magazine debut hit the shelves today!  Proud beyond measure. I didn't think this cup could runneth over any more than it already does, but I suppose there is always a little more room.  If this helps one family, then Pax has done what he was put here to do.   Oh' how I look at that and can't believe he is sick.  He looks amazing and gorgeous and perfectly well...healthy.

Speaking of Pax, we had a little emergency room trip on Sunday.  We have given new meaning to the name wild, wild wests! Boys are obsessed with their ride on tractors and we go on them just about every. single. day. as I wrote in my last post.  Well, this time around Mason, bless his wild heart, was full speed ahead showing off when he knocked Paxton down and ran him over with that 50 pound tractor (plus two brothers on it) with all its weight right across the back of his chest.   You know, that chest that's been cut open twice. That chest that encases half a heart.  Gahhhh! Talk about freaking your freak!
It happened so fast neither Dave nor I could move. We just stood their like raging idiots frozen in our tracks. We couldn't believe our eyes.  Good to know we have good reaction time....or not.
I picked him up, ran him inside and called cardiology.  They said he was probably fine, but that it was a lot of weight on him so to take him in. We did.  He was fine, thank you God, and it turned out to be the fastest ER trip we have ever had. It was kind of a thrill to go in and be released in an hour, we never get to do that, so we pranced out of there all badass, singing "peace out NCH!" in our heads.  Tough doesn't even begin to describe that boy!

my favorite tongue of concentration, so very austin of him.

UPDATE (saturday 9/3) :

The above portion of this post was started the other night.  I have not been able to come back until today.  It has been a "uber" emotional week.  I don't know why, I only know that Paxton consumes my mind.  I have a a very hard time differentiating between fear and mother's intuition. The two make out all to much and I can't see one or the other.  I laid in bed a couple days ago and just let er all hang out.  He's growing, he's now a star (sort of ;)  his heart is working ultra hard, he pants~hard, he sits down mid activity, perhaps in the aisle of Michaels craft store, because he can walk no more.  I pick him up and hug to me. Today in spite of an amazing morning, he is vomiting.  I sense something is up, but cannot name it and not having a name to something kills me, especially with him.  He has been attached to me, he wants Mommy when something is not right, if he's sick, if he's hurt....

And I realize this will never go away.  So I cry when I need to, for hours sometimes, prepare for the worst and hope/pray/beg for the best.  So far so good right.

And now that I have had diarrhea of the heart, lets get on to happier things like my boo being a star! Oh yah.  I may or may not have his cover already framed in every room of the house.  There is a pride in him that outweighs anything.  Like this morning when he ran his first 100 meter kiddie dash.

that's my daddy in the navy shirt cheering all of the kids on

I wish with all that I had that I could do this for him, fix this for him, take this on for him, but all of this makes Pax who he is so how could I change it... At least he had apparently been bitten by the running bug.  He knows this is how Mommy channels it all so, he thought he would give it a shot too.
Oh pavement and you are my solace in this life.

this is where dave and i got married 4 years ago.  i looked at it today and was in awe of the journey our lives have taken...


The older two boys will be starting a new school on Tuesday.  That is the change I have been working hard on that I mentioned above. It's a smaller school with smaller class sizes and for my boys that is of utmost importance to us.  They are extremely excited to start and I am thrilled to see just how much they flourish in their new environment. So we will have a redo of first day of school pics coming up after the holiday weekend.  Paxton gave the ok on the school too. We took Daddy in for a tour and he was in heaven. I even ahem....mentioned a half day slot for him day because he wants ever so badly to attend big boy school.  The other two were already in two days a week for socialization, but I haven't been able to let go of Pax just yet. Much to my relief they did not have a spot. I feel I tried for Pax and it worked out how it should. Just as it worked out that there happened to be two very needed spots at this new school at the exact time we looked. There was a higher power putting all of these pieces together for us.  HE has our back and I am ever so grateful.  

Oh and I have been told to remind you all that we have a countdown til party day around here.  Not sure when I will EVER learn to not let the boys know about things to early, because all I hear everyday all day is "Mommy, is it party day yet?"  We do birthdays big and I thrive off the build up and excitement for them.


So while some days I have to step away an d some days we/I may falter,  seeing this smile.....

.... always allows me to see another day.  To submerge myself in moments of bath time with Pax or dinner talks with Mason.

These are the moments right here.  I cherish each and every one of them for all to fast they will be a fleeting memory.  I have so many of those, children and otherwise.  My head and my heart are full of so many moments and I take each one "tuck them away and go to them when I have nothing else".  Sometimes daily. A lot when I am running in the wee hours of the morning.  It's like an old movie that just keeps playing over and over.  A reel that continually streams happiness, heartache, lessons and love...   And that is the recipe of life.  

 Goodnight moon....

Love and hugs,

ps--That night in the everglades I mentioned in the last post.... awesomeness! My West Virginian butt ate. that. up.

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