Monday, March 31, 2008

Getting to know Jen

Here's one of those fun little survey thingies. Read on and learn some kooky things about me! I"m just trying to be the best Jen I can be...
(Pictures of Dean tomorrow, I PROMISE!)

1. What time did you get up this morning? Hehe, which time? 1:30, 4:30, 7:00 (that time for good)

2. Diamonds or pearls? diamonds

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? I Am Legend (really good--now I want to read the book)

4. What is your favorite TV show? Lost

5 What do you usually have for breakfast? Smart Start Cereal

6. What is your middle name? Marie

7. What food do you dislike? olives and mayonnaise. YUUUUUK!

8. What is your favorite CD at moment? A mix that Marcus made for me. Dean smiles when we listen to it. ;)

9. What kind of car do you drive? Marcus drives our Dodge Stratus and I ride in it.

10. Favorite sandwich? the reuben

11. What characteristic do you despise? tardiness

12. Favorite item of clothing? my black maternity yoga pants. I'm never giving them up. Never, never, never!

13. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? Italy

14. Favorite brand of clothing? I luuuuuuuuv New York and Company! Someday I may fit into their clothes again!

15. Where would you retire to? The Florida Keys

16. What was your most recent memorable birthday? For my 30th last year, Marcus and Daniel threw me a big party at Daniel and Justen's apartment. There were a ton of people there from different phases in my life and we had a blast. There were many dishes served with cheese as the main ingredient and Daniel and I made cupcakes. We even did a big collage of pictures from my whole life. (Thanks, Mom, for providing pictures of the "claw bangs" phase in middle school!)

17. Favorite sport to watch? SEC football!

18. Furthest place you are sending this? into the blogosphere

19. What color is your shirt? Hot pink

21. When is your birthday? February 13

22. Are you a morning person or a night person? definitely a night owl, though Dean is working on making me a morning person

23. What is your shoe size? 5. It used to be 4, but they grew after I was pregnant. Yay! Maybe now I can shop in the big-girl section!

24. Pets?
My cat, Audrey, lives with my mom and dad. She is almost 11. I found her in a bush at the library when I was in college and rescued her. She was not supposed to live. Guess she showed us.

25. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with us? Check back and read tomorrow's post...

26. What did you want to be when you were little? I always wanted to be a teacher. Then I discovered theatre and knew that's what I was meant to do. My career has turned out to be the perfect mix--teaching and theatre!

27. How are you today? weary

28. What is your favorite candy? The Strawberry Twizzler. Oh, how I love thee.

29. What is your favorite flower? Daisy

30. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to? May 12 (Start at TWV)

31. What is your screen name? It used to be smjennelson. Then I got hitched and now it's my name.

32. What are you listening to right now? Dean's swing. It plays some funky calypso tunes.

33. What was the last thing you ate? leftover pasta

34. Were you on the Homecoming Court? No way...that would have meant I couldn't dance with the Bronco Belles for Homecoming. (The Bronco Belles were my high school dance team. And we rocked it!)

35. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? PURPLE

36. How is the weather right now? rainy and gross

37. Last person you spoke to on the phone? my mom

38. Favorite soft drink? Dr. Pepper

39. Favorite restaurant? In NYC, I love 44 SW (Italian) and West Side Cottage (Chinese). In Oxford, Ajax and Abner's. In DC, Five Guys Burgers. mmmm Give me another city and I'll tell you my favorite from there. ;)

40. Hair color? dark brown

41. What was your favorite toy as a child? BARBIES! I called them my "little dolls." I created VERY intricate storylines about their families and cut all their hair into mohawks.

42. Summer or winter? can I say spring?

43. Hugs or kisses? yes

44. Chocolate or Vanilla? chocolate (Did you seriously just ask me that?)

45. Coffee or tea? COFFEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! (perhaps I should cut back on that...)

46. Favorite guilty pleasure? Glamour Magazine.

47. What is under your bed? I'm terrified to look.

48. What did you do last night? Drove home from DC and it took FOREVER!

49. What are you afraid of? clowns

50. Salty or sweet? yes, please

51. What color is your toothbrush? It's purple.

52. How many years at your current job? Stay at home mom since 1/5/08! (stage manager professionally since 2001)

53. Favorite day of the week? Saturday, especially during football season!

54. How many towns have you lived in? Oh, jeez, 9??

55. What's your favorite potato chip? It's hard to beat original Ruffles.

56. Random fact about you: I have no sinuses in my forehead. It's true.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

My dad calls it "getting your neffers checked"

I had my first appointment with the nephrologist yesterday. (That's the kidney doctor) I liked him a lot. He put me on some blood pressure medication, which already seems to be working, and let me ask all my questions about polycystic kidney disease. I am in the very, very early stages of the disease and am overall very healthy. We talked about ways I can adjust my diet to help slow the progression of the disease and I got to ask my million-dollar question--will I be able to have another baby? I was expecting a hearty "NO!" but was told that it wasn't out of the question! :) Obviously, I would be a high-risk pregnancy, especially since I've had pre-eclampsia before, and my blood pressure would have to be very stable because you can't take BP medicine while you're pregnant. There are a lot of other factors Marcus and I will have to consider before we make the decision whether or not to expand our family in a few years, like can I handle having pre-eclampsia again, what will I do if I have to go on bed rest (especially since Dean would be 2 or 3 at the time we had another one), is it worth the strain it may put on my body to go through another pregnancy and is it worth potentially spreading this disease to a child. These are all huge things to think about, things that may very well lead us to the decision that Dean will be our only child, but hearing that having more kids is not totally out of the question made me feel really good. See, it's Dean's fault--if he wasn't so sweet and cute, I wouldn't want another one! haha

I've been thinking about taking this blog in a different direction and I'd like to hear your thoughts. Originally, we started it to keep a lot of people updated while we were out of town for the summer. While I was pregnant, though, I started reading some blogs on, which led me to a couple of other blogs, and now they are some of my favorite things to read. My absolute favorite blogger is taking some much-needed and deserved time away from her blog to devote to her darling daughter, who was born a couple of weeks before Dean. Her blog is so much fun and is like having a conversation, and it inspired me to start learning more about blogging. It's something I really enjoy doing, so I'm thinking of making this one more my own than just an "adventures of Marcus and Jen" kind of thing. I'd like to talk about some issues that are important to me and my family (which I already do to an extent) and get you, the readers, more involved in the way of comments and links. That said, I'm thinking of changing the name of the blog. Suggestions?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Picture pages, picture pages

I got some unhappy feedback for not posting pictures with yesterday's sorry! :)

Here are a few shots of Dean's visit to Oxford where he met his Papa and Grammy for the first time. He's going to DC to visit Pappy and Grandmama this weekend. "Spoiled" doesn't even begin to describe it.

On a totally unrelated note, has anyone ever tried those Folgers Coffee Singles? I got some yesterday because, yes, it is even too time-consuming to brew a pot of coffee some days. I can't decide how I feel about them. I think I need to steep longer so it will taste better. Ugh. Coffee really shouldn't come from a teabag, but I guess you do what you gotta do.

On another unrelated note (sparked by the picture pages theme, which is now stuck in my head) why do we think they discontinued making Jello Pudding Pops? Bill Cosby was working it trying to peddle those things and they were goooooood. Perhaps we should start a petition to bring them back. I'll look into it.

Monday, March 24, 2008


Yes, it can still happen. Even with an 11 week old, I can have a productive day! Dean slept in this morning, so I got the overnight bottles washed (Lord, will all the bottles ever be clean at the same time?) before 10am, hand-washed some delicates in the sink, cleaned the kitchen and even ate breakfast all before the little guy woke up. We rolled down to the "good" grocery store to enjoy the nice weather on our way and get some stuff for dinner. Then we stopped at the drugstore to hit the day-after-Easter candy sale for Marcus. (Who can resist Cadbury creme eggs at half price, I say?) Dean even napped long enough this afternoon that I got to open the enormous stack of mail that piled up while I was out of town. It included a jury duty questionairre by the way, which made me MAAAAAD! I did my time 2 years ago and I'll be danged if I'm going back! Marcus and I have a ton of things to catch up on tonight over dinner. For a while, especially during the colic days, I wasn't sure I'd be able to hold it together, meaning housework, baby, remembering to pay the bills, etc. Let's not even talk about when I go back to work in May. But days like this remind me that I can still get things done once in a while. We'll see how tomorrow turns out!

I'm getting more excited about the summer, too. I have officially hired my two assistants for the summer (Great gals who I can't wait to work with!) and we're plugging away at the rest of our hiring and casting. Having two assistants is not only going to be great for me, but so wonderful for the company. I won't have to call every single show, so I can sit out and do notes when I need to. We will also have an extra floater for the backstage track if we need it. And the best part is that, since both of my assistants are college students, I get to do a lot of teaching while we work. Yay.

I go to the nephrologist tomorrow. I"ve been apprehensive about it all week and I finally figured out exactly why. Yes, my blood pressure is still high and I desperately need this guy to put me on some medication before, as my mother so plainly put it, I have a stroke. But I also need to get answers to my list of questions, the most burning of which is can I have more kids. I have a feeling I already know the answer. But, as Marcus reminds me, we are both teachers at heart and there are always kids in our lives, so maybe I"m meant to be a kind of surrogate mom to them. Time will tell, I guess. I"ll let you know how the doctor visit goes.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Cold meds + Mommy brain = silly Jen

Thanks so much for all the sweet emails wishing Mr. Dean a speedy recovery! I'm happy to report he's on the mend! We are decreasing his breathing treatments by the day and he's back to his usual, charming self. He hung out with his Papa for a while today while Mommy got a nice long shower. Mom, Dad and I are still quite under the weather. My mom, voted the sickest of all of us and, for other obvious reasons, went to the doctor today. She got antibiotics and some heavy-duty cough syrup. She even came home bearing cold medicine for the rest of us. I should get really loopy here in a minute or two.

We are in the thick of hiring for our summer season at Theatre West Virginia. Marcus and I are really looking forward to getting back there and it looks like we're putting together a great staff for this summer. I'm looking forward to not having morning sickness during rehearsal every day. Dean is going to get sooooooooooo spoiled! (Like he's not already!) I'm sure "Baby Awesome" will be the company mascot this year. I imagine that, on my first day back at work, I'll take Dean with me and someone will take him from me that morning, probably Lou Ann or Ms. Gayle, and I will probably not see him again until the picnic dinner that night. And that's why we love's one big ol' happy family.

I PROMISE to post pictures as soon as we get home and get them developed. My digital camera died about a minute after I got to my parents' house and of course I didn't bring my charger. Thank goodness for disposable cameras, huh?

The cold medicine is kicking in now, so I'm gonna go watch the trippy screen saver. ;)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

I get it now

When you're growing up, or at least when I was, and my parents would do something I though was weird or over-protective, they would always tell me "Someday you'll understand." That someday came this week. Dean and I have been in Oxford visiting my family for almost 2 weeks now. Last Tuesday, he started coughing. I called the doctor in NY. They told me it was a cold, to steam him and watch his temperature. On Wednesday it was a little worse. I called again. They told me to steam him and watch his temperature and that it might get worse before it got better. By Wednesday night, after steaming, he was wheezing and my mom and I had decided he was going to walk-in hours at the local pediatrician's office. We got there at 7:15 Thursday morning. The next two hours flew by in a blur as they listened to his chest, took a nasal swab, poked his little finger for a blood test and passed us from the nurse practitioner to the doctor. At 9:30, I walked out of there with orders to have Dean admitted to the hospital. He was diagnosed with RSV or Repiratory Syncytial Virus. This is apparently a very common illness in young babies, especially those born in the winter months. If it's not caught and treated early, it can turn into pneumonia. The doctor told us the easiest way to treat it was to put him in the hospital for 24 hour observation and breathing treatments. So off we went to Baptist Memorial, me crying all the way. Remember my mom had a kidney transplant 3 months ago, so she can't even go near a hospital or doctor's office unless she's wearing a mask. Her transplant coordinator wouldn't even let her pass through admissions. So Dean and I went up and got settled in the room (I'm still crying at this point) and I called Marcus to tell him our 9 week old was being hospitalized. The word terrifying does not even begin to describe how I felt. Long story short, they took more blood, out of his little foot this time. If you've never had to hold your baby while someone squeezed blood out of his little heel, you are a lucky parent. They set up a croup tent over the big hospital bed and Dean had to sit under it to receive straight oxygen. He also received breathing treatments from a tiny nebulizer. I was able to get into the tent with him and also to sleep with him in the bed. (not that we really slept much...) My dad and my grandma arrived about an hour after we checked in and it was great to have company. After a few hours in the tent and a couple of breathing treatments, Dean started to bounce back. By the next afternoon, he was his usual, charming self, batting those long eyelashes at all the nurses and causing them to melt. We were released Friday night with our own tiny nebulizer so we could continue breathing treatments at home and orders to sleep with a cold-mist humidifier. We will go back to the doctor Monday afternoon to see how things are progressing. He is feeling MUCH better now and his cough is almost gone. He is such a brave boy when he does his little breathing treatments. He never cries or fusses, he just takes it like a man. The doctor told us we wouldn't be ready to travel on Tuesday, so I changed our flight to get us home on Friday evening. We miss Marcus terribly and I know he's dying to set eyes on his little boy just to see that he's ok. (we web-camed for a bit last night)

I knew I adored my little boy even before he was born. You've all seen the picture of me holding him for the first time, and if you can't see the absolute, unconditional love in my eyes, then you must not be looking at the right picture. I love Dean so much. But I had no idea how much until something was wrong with him. I know this isn't the last time he'll ever be sick, which is a scary thought in and of itself. I am so thankful that he has pulled through this so well. (babies bounce back fast!) Somehow, I feel closer to him after this ordeal. (16 hours in a croup tent together will do that...) There is no better feeling in the world than going to pick him up when he wakes up and seeing that big, beautiful smile just for me. I get it now. And if anyone tries to take blood out of his little heel again anytime soon, I may slug them.

PS: RSV doesn't affect adults as seriously, it just manifests as a bad cold. A cold which my mom, dad and I all have. Niiiiiiiiice.

PS2: As horrible as the hospital ordeal was, I just have to tell you that my little boy looked SO adorable in his tiny peach hospital gown. ADORABLE. And no, I didn't take a picture. :(