Sunday, November 6, 2011

Busy Busy Here!

Well I guess it has been a while huh????.....Sorry for that.  Life here is so busy and just really NEVER slows down at all.  Weird how even through the never ending daily life Ethin is always still right there.  I would assume that it will always be that way, but maybe one day it will ease up.  Even when everything is perfect and going well he is really always just a constant thought. 
Jessa, Jonathin, and Jayde are all doing great.  Jonathin turned 9 last month and Jessa will be 10 before the month is up.  I still can not believe that I have these three amazing people in my life.  How blessed am I?!  They all appear to be doing well in school, but tomorrow I will find out for sure as I have conferences for them all.  I somehow am not even worried about Jessa, Jayde will pry be alright, and for the first time I think that I am going to hear a lot of great progressions for Jonathin.  Jessa is almost done with basketball season.  Jonathin and Jayde will be starting basketball.  And Phil's son Owen is done with football, but basketball is almost here for him as well.  Which means we will be very busy.
So yes Phil and I are still together and doing well.  Our lives are so busy, but we still find time to maintain us.  I work thirds, he works firsts, and I bowl every other Saturday when we are kid free.  It does make it hard to find time for each other, but when we do it is always very nice!  We spend every other weekend with 5 kids between the two of us and that is always fun....OK mostly fun.  With five kiddos sometimes it is not perfect, but they are kids and mostly we are just thankful that they get along as well as they do.
Well one great thing in this house is fall.....Fall means a ton of yard work, but it also means Michigan State football which in this family is a BIG deal!  Phil's family has season tickets to MSU for football season and that means someone is always at Spartan Stadium for a game!  I went with Phil's dad Phil to my very first MSU football game!  It was Central Michigan and State and we won!  Here are a few pics from the day.
 Me in front of the Magic Johnson statue outside of the Breslin Center at MSU
 Phil Sr. and I in front of the statue...I am so blessed to have such a great relationship with Phil's family
 Me on the Daughtery Football wall
 I was so happy!!  I am a HUGE MSU fan
So after going to the CMU vs. MSU game I was offered a ticket to the Michigan vs Michigan State game....Now anyone from Michigan knows that this is a BIG game!  I am a die hard MSU fan and could only in my dreams have ever imagined going to this very big game.  I was given the ticket by some friends and I went to the best football game ever in the history of football games!
 Michigan State Spartans getting ready to make their walk to the field....I can see my favorite player here...
Coach Dantonio leading the Spartans and the player on the far readers right is Kurt Cousins the amazing 5th year senior quarterback for the Spartans!
 The captains meet in the middle!
 I was so stoked, but it was a chilly day!
We won we beat Michigan for the fourth year in a row!  The game was amazing the environment was awesome and just being there is still very unbelievable to me!  Thank you Brian for the ticket and thank you to Phil Sr. for taking me with him and making it the most epic trip ever!
So I have no new pics of anything else that has happened here as my camera broke! :(  However I will tell you that I have almost everything I have ever wanted right now.  I have amazing kids, an amazing boyfriend, and I am loving life....My life has been different since June 27, 2009, but it just keeps getting better!  I will write again soon as the holidays are coming and to be honest I am still not a big fan, but I am thankful I am so very thankful for my life and the gifts that God has given me!

Monday, September 19, 2011


Well here I go again revamping the blog......I think I continue to find that as life continues to change here I want the blog to reflect that also!  I mean so much is always changing here especially the J Triplets!!!  I mean can you believe how much they have grown and changed since our journey began just over two and a half years ago?  I can't and so I thought I would show you a then and now picture of each of them in this blog.  Also Phil and I have now been together for 15 months as well!!!  There is a constant change happening here and I would say it really is good.  Reflecting on what was and knowing and living in the what is has been how life has been for quite some time.  Never forgetting Ethin, but seeing how his life has shaped the lives around us and how we live ours has been a delicate dance and I would say now it is a way of life for us.
Ethin changed who we were as a family when he entered this world January 9, 2009.  He continued to change us while he was here and we see his hands in everything we do now too.  Jessa just the other day said to me, "Mom I want to run Ethin's Heart Still Beats when I get bigger."  Jonathin all the time says he wishes he had Ehtin here, but loves that he has Ethin everywhere.  Jayde still cries and I still tell her that it is OK cuz I cry too.  However the tears have slowed down and I continue to try and see God's blessings each and everyday.
Just the other day I went out to the cemetery.  It is normally a very quiet place for me to think, pray, talk to God, and talk to Ethin.  While I was there for the first time in just over two years I felt a great sense of peace.  When Ethin was born they said that it was as if he was born with just half a heart.  When Ethin died I said his heart was whole, because he took half of mine with him.  As I sat there last week I realized that Ethin is in all of my heart and that my heart as broken and as hurt as it was feels almost whole again and full of love and happiness.  If Ethin never would have existed I would not have met so many people or have so many of the friends I do.  If Ethin were still here I would not be head over heels in love with the most amazing, patient, and understanding man ever.  You see Ethin's life and death has shaped my whole life.  While my plans and dreams, and hopes all changed on June 27, 2009, God had already been laying out the life HE intended for me to lead.  HE was putting everything in place for me to succeed into the woman HE would need me to be to be a good mother to the J Triplets and to be the woman that Phil needed too. 
I am learning a lot these days when it comes to relationships.  Phil and I have required much understanding and patience for one another.  While we clearly have a lot of fun together we also have moments that are difficult.  I to this day am not even sure how he has watched me go through two June 27th's and stayed right by my side through it.  He allows me to cry if I need to and has even told me he doesn't know what to do for me, but he does just what I need him to do; he never gives up on me!  Phil and I talked about if Ethin were still here and we are both very sure that we would not be together as my life would have led me down a completely different path.  There is a great understanding from Phil though that I would give this up for Ethin to be here.  However that is not the case and that has opened up a way and a light for Phil to be a very present part of my life!  Just in case I forget to mention I honestly believe that Phil is the LOVE of my LIFE....Through heartache, heart break, tears, loss, and fear he is truly the one man I can not imagine my life without!  I am blessed!
The J Triplets........As promised here they are just two weeks before Ethin was born.....................
Jayde almost 5, Jessa 7, and Jonathin 6

And here they are now.....................................
Jayde 7.5, Jonathin 8.5, and Jessa 9.5

Can you believe how much they have grown and changed in the last 2 1/2 years?  I sometimes can not!  I so badly wish so many times that they were teeny tiny small again.  Jessa will be 10 in just about two months and she just started her last year in the elementary school as a 5th grader.  She in three weeks of school advanced herself into being an independent reader and seems to be doing well.  She still amazes me everyday as she just finished memorizing the books in the Old Testament.  Jonathin will be 9 in one month and just started school in the upper elementary school here as a 3rd grader.  When he smiles I see Ethin every now and then.  They looked a lot alike when they were babies and so when I wonder what Ethin would like as he grew up I look at Jonathin's pictures and his smile now.  Jayde will be 8 at the end of December and just started her last year in the lower elementary school as a 2nd grader.  Jayde is still unaware that there is a world around her, but I think that is what makes her so much fun and it is for sure what makes her a handful!  These are the J Triplets these are my babies.  They will always be my babies.  I am so blessed that I get to watch the three of them play and learn and grow together.  
Phil also has two kids that I honestly feel completely blessed to be a part of their lives well.  I love the life I am living even though a part of me is missing.  I still have those feelings where I feel opposite things at the same time.  I feel so full yet I know there is a piece missing.  I have days where I am happy and can still shed a tear.  All things are different, but this different truly has become my new normal.  I have different dreams now than I did two and half years ago.  I have fallen in love and fall more everyday!  I love being a mom and know how lucky I am to be one.  So the blog title is still Ethin's Heart Still Beats and I still have the same thing on the title above....Learning to live with part of me in Heaven...Love Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow....I added until the day after forever as a reflection of my love for my children and Phil!  I hope to continue to share our life with all of you and thank you for being such a part of our lives still!  Thank you for continuing to support my family and I.  Thank you for your prayers and your love!  My life is so blessed!!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Emergency Surgery....Recovery.....Planned Surgery......Fully Fuctional 2 days later!

I wish that I blogged more than I do!!!  I just never can find the time or the words to say!  But I am going to start making a much better and more honest effort at doing it.  Not because things are bad all the time actually just the opposite, but because you have all shared so much of this journey with my family and I that I want you to be a part of our journey as we do continue to grow and Live!!!  Sooooo On with it then right???
This adventure all began about 3 weeks ago....Phil and I spent the evening and night hours together with our combined 5 kiddos.  It was a great day, but a twice through the day I had this tearing feeling in my right abdomen.  I however just continued to go on with the day once the pain had subsided.  Our kiddos ages: 7,8, 8, 9, & 14 Were all running through the dark night playing Ghost in the Graveyard having a blast laughing and yelling while Phil and I sat by the bonfire in his backyard.  To be honest with you it was the best sound ever hearing our children all getting along so well as let me tell you that it is not always the case!  At 11pm the kids went in and Phil and I continued to enjoy the fire and the new found quietness!  When we got up from the fire at around 12:45am I had a terrible back ache and was cold.....To me there was a logical reason for both of these issues; 1. Phil's bonfire chairs are hard plastic and 2. I was near a fire and now was not therefore I should be cold!
Phil and rallied my troops up together.  My back hurt so Phil carried Tater Tot to the car while I rallied the older two picking up shoes, sweatshirts, and sandals.  Once in the car and headed home I blasted the heat and we were home and in bed by 1:15.  At 1:30 I was still cold and said to myself, "Self I think you are running a small fever you should take Tylenol."  So I got up took some meds and went to sleep.  That cat nap lasted until 2am when I woke up shivering so hard Jessa woke up and thought I was having a seizure.  At this time I thought man I am really sick!  I called a friend of mine who has a medical background and asked him to come to my house ASAP.  Jessa found the thermometer and we took my temp the best we could as I could not keep my mouth closed around the thermometer because my teeth were chattering so hard.  Jessa looked at the digits and said, "Mom it says 1 0 33"  I interpreted that to be 103.3.
Five minutes went and my friend Jake came through the door and Jessa told him my temp.  He looked at me and said, "We need to get you in a tub of cool water."  I was so exhausted and hurt so bad I just shook my head and said no.  Jake began to pick me up and realized quickly that my temp was high and he wanted to take another temp which came out to be 104.7.  His plan quickly changed and we were going to the ER.  I called Phil who had been sleeping and told him I was very sick with a fever and in his sleepy voice and calmness said, "It's just a fever I will talk you through it."  Jake got me and my kids to the car we dropped off my kids and arrived at the local ER around 3am.
By this time I was hallucinating from the fever and my body hurt so very badly that when they asked what was wrong with me I could not give them an answer as my whole body ached and my brain was boiling!  My temp was now 105.3......An IV was started and my temp began to subside and the little red monsters I was seeing also disappeared.  The docs again asked what was wrong.  By now the only things that really hurt was my abdomen, my right flank, and my head.  They decided that peeing in a cup and blood tests would determine my ailments.  Before long they came in my room with the UA results and said it did not show any white blood cells and only showed 1 gram negative and one bacteria so nothing screamed that my bladder or Urinary tract was the issue.  However my blood test showed enough white blood cells that they new I was very sick somewhere.  Being that I had abdomen pain they decided to look at my appendix.
At around 7am I was getting a CT scan of my appendix.  At 8am they changed doctors and let me know that my appendix looked fine, but I had a large kidney stone and my kidney was 2 1/2 times the size it should be.  They also let me know they were calling another hospital and a surgeon to see what the overall general consensus was on how to treat me.  By 8:30 they came to tell me I was being transferred via ambulance to another hospital I was loaded up and enroute by 8:45.  I arrived at Mercy at 9:10 and at 9:15 the surgeon came in and said after reviewing my charts and test results I was septic and would be in surgery at 9:30.....I was in so much pain but looked at the clock and said that was in 15 minutes he said yep see you in the OR shortly....HELLO SURGERY!!!!!
Well I called Phil right away I only had 15 minutes to tell someone that I was headed for surgery and I was at this hospital alone!  Now on a side note I just need to fill you in on my boyfriend......Phil is very calm and level headed.  I would say this is a great thing, because in the worst situations he is under control.  However it is a bad thing to as I am not always sure if he is worried about anything EVER!  Anyhow I called him and his calmness at that moment and his steady assurance of the situation was amazing.....I told him what was happening and his very calm yet sturdy strong voice he simply said this, "Everything is going to be OK I love you."  I told him I loved him too and we hung up.
As I hung up that phone call the Operating Room (OR) people were there taking an inventory of my things and wheeling me down a hall.  I was placed on another bed and told to begin thinking of a happy thought....My thought was the conversation I had just shared with my boyfriend.  I clearly was put to sleep and a 20 minute surgery turned into 45 minutes and I woke up screaming in pain in the recovery room.  They made me comfortable and I was taken to a room upstairs where they would continue to treat my septic state.  Phil showed up at 1pm after he had taken care of his children and also he gave up a golfing event to be with me.  Another insider on my guy he lives to play golf in the warm months!!! We snuggled down on my hospital bed took a nap and watched the Tigers game together.  Oh how romantic we are!!!!  Phil left and I was given drugs and quickly fell asleep.
Monday morning the surgeon came and talked to me.  He told me that I was very sick and would need surgery again in a few weeks.  He also let me know what he did.  He placed a stint from right kidney to my bladder.  He also let me know that he was surprised to see me doing so great after being septic.  Later Monday afternoon they released me from the hospital and I was brought home.  Phil set up a ride as he was working and before I knew it I was leaving the hospital just as quickly as I had gotten there.
Fast forward to three days ago.....I arrived at the hospital for my scheduled surgery to fix my kidney and my inards.  Phil and I trekked the hour to the hospital and the medical peeps began to prep me for surgery.  As they wheeled me away I grabbed Phil's hand he kissed me and said, "See you in a little while."  I told him, "I love you." as the tears rolled down my cheeks I was so scared.  He simply said, "I love you too."  As I drifted off to sleep again I thought of Phil and the love we share.  When I awoke in the recovery room the first thing I said was Phil.  I asked right away for him.  After they got me comfortably drugged up so I was not in pain they wheeled me to where he was waiting and the first thing the nurse said was, "You must be Phil she asked for you as soon as she woke up."  I guess some things are just so perfectly put together that nothing not even a surgery can get them off your mind!  Phil ended up taking care of me Thursday night.  What a good man he is cuz I am a terrible baby when I am not feeling well.
By Friday morning when I woke up I felt fantastic.  That was the best I had felt since this whole kidney issue began 2 1/2 weeks prior.  So I went on with a normal day and looked forward to Friday Night Lights!!!  Yes Football season!  I LOVE the fall season and all it brings; crisp air, football, beautiful colors, football, cooler weather, and did I mention football?  Friday nights in this small town and the towns that are surrounding us are a big deal even if you have a team going into a game that is 0-20.....Yes going into Friday nights game against our school rival we had a record of 0-20.....Friday nights game was AMAZING!!!!  Phil and I are both Alumni and our children also attend Newaygo and as we watched our team not only give Grant a wooping but we watched them shut em out!  The final score was 42-0 and Newaygo had finally won a game!!!!  As the game ended and we all stood on our feet to clap along to the fight song it was an amazing feeling watching the football players run to the victory bell and finally ring it after so many games had gone by without it ever being rung for a victory!  Yes we are onto something I do believe!
Yesterday was a very busy day for us even though we did not have kiddos.  The EHSB golf outing was in the morning and we netted just over $400.  Then Phil coaches his son O in football and their first game was yesterday afternoon.  To top it off we had a wedding reception to attend as well!  Needless to say as I sit and finish typing this blog that I started on Friday morning I feel very relaxed to finally have a second to breathe and a minute to complete some thoughts!
Over the Labor Day holiday we had a huge storm rip through our small town and my kids and I also spent some time with good friends floating down the river and camping.  I am going to share pictures from everything that has been happening from the river trip to yesterday!!!!  I will try to be better about updating, but I can make no firm promises! 
 Whitcaps game for Faith's Angels a nonprofit that raises money fr the research of CHD's
Amanda (Heart mom to Carlee), Carlee, Myself, and Monica (Heart Mom to Faith a CHD Angel)
 Carlee CHD Warrior and I at the game!!!
 Jayde and Liz on the river....No she did not drink the liquid that was in that bottle!
 The J Triplets being river rats
 Jessa in her tube
Loving the river life!
Where's Jessa????
 The first place team from The Kidz Garage Daycare
 Phil and I 2 days post op at the Golf Outing
 Look at that swing!!!
 Myself, Rick, and Ryan
Look at that trophy
 Phil and I at the reception....I kinda really Love this guy
 Dancing to My Best Friend by Tim McGraw
 Dancing to some Def Leopard at the reception!

Ethin however is really on my mind today and besides you all love this face anyhow!!!

I love you Punk!

Never Forgotten 9/11


Friday, August 26, 2011

Urgent prayers Please!!!

Well I feel like I rarely write anymore and now I come to you all begging you to please pray for a very special little girl......Brittney Butcher is a wonderful young lady who received a heart transplant in December of 2008....Her family is amazing and supported not only my family when Ethin was at Mott but so many others too. Monday night Brittney was admitted to Mott's PCTU and it was discovered that her heart was only functioning at 25%. Since then her heart is functioning at even less than that. Her kidneys and liver are taking a hit from the rejection of this heart. Britt started dialysis and they are trying to clean her plasma as a way to treat rejection.
Brittney is such an amazing kid and I feel so blessed to know her. She is a part of my family and so is her whole family. She has to pull through this. Please pray for her and her whole family. Visit their carepage and leave a note of encouragement....Thank you for this!Her care page is as follows

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A year later pics then and Now....It's all Good!!!!

Ya know I recall pry writing a post about a year after Ethin had passed away.....This post will not be like that at all.......Just over a year ago I started to date my best friend....We went to a Tigers game together for the Donate Life game.  We had so much fun last year.....And well last night we went to that game together again....Yes a year later still just loving being with him.  Boy am I blessed!!!  Here are a few pics.....
Last Year Tommy and I
Peace out!!!

I love this kid
Being goofy Rally Capping....This boy last year could not get enough of me
This year I had to beg for these two pics!!!

He is my buddy though!!!
And then here is Phil and I last year

So fresh in our relationship.....And this year
 Well take one He smiled but was still watching the game!!  LOL I love it!!
Take two We still look good and Man am I in love!!!

By the way the Tigers won 6-5 and well that my friends makes for a great night we relived our second date and it was amazing....I could not have asked for more a good game, awesome friends to share it with, and Phil I am seriously the luckiest girl in the whole world!!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A summer of Pictures!

Well I have some free time and I guess I am feeling the need to write.....I am not sure how this works from time to time, but sometimes I just feel the need to write and continue to share our lives with all of you who have on some level become a part of our lives through this blog.  So here we go..........
Ethin is so much a part of life every day here.  I am at times completely shaken by the reality of this life I am living without him here.  Sometimes it hits me like a train.  When I least expect it to there are moments when I can not even move sometimes I find it hard to breathe.  Thankfully these moments are no where near as often as they were when Ethin first passed away, but now when they hit me they hit me with a greater force.  I find it hard at times to look at his pictures or to really put thought into him.  How terrible that must sound but sometimes it is just to hard.
In other news the J Triplets and I are enjoying our summer!!!  We have gone to Lake Michigan, Brooks Lake, Fremont Lake, Rafting down the river, played ball, watched fireworks, had bonfires, and who knows what else but we have truly enjoyed it all so far.  This update will include some pictures of our amazing summer thus far!!!  I promise! 
So with the fun stuff there has been little time for the serious stuff, but we are planning a Golf Outing for EHSB....Here is that info and then I'll share some pics!

Ethin's Heart Still Beats 1st Annual Golf Outing
September 10, 2011
Briar Hill Golf Course
950 W. 40th
Fremont, MI

Ethin's Heart Still Beats has teamed up with Briar Hill to offer a a fun day of golfing to help make the difference in the heart of a child! The day promises to be fun as four men/women golf all 18 holes with the chance to bid for bragging rights for longest drive, closest to the pin, and longest putt. There are many ways to help be a part of the day and we hope to see you out there!!! At the clubhouse we will be having a ton of fun with raffles, 50/50, and some other fun activities.

Hole Sponsorship
Hole Sponsorship is a great way to get your business' name out there for a day and for a great cause! EHSB is offering two different types of hole sponsorships. We are also offering a split sponsorship. There is a $300 sponsorship that is a 4ftx2ft vinyl sign that if you purchased this year any year after this year you will pay the smaller sponsorship fee and always use this bigger sign! There is also a $100 sponsorship and that is the size of a yard sign and is two sided. The split sponsorship is $50 yard sign and is one sponsor on one side and another on the other. Sponsor a hole and play golf $475/$275 accordingly.

The outing is a four man scramble. Every hole will be captains choice for the card. The cost for the four man team is $200. Your $200 covers 18 holes of golf, a cart, and lunch for the day. Tee off will be a shotgun start at 9am with 18-30 teams entered to golf; 30+ teams will have a tee off in the afternoon. There will be extra cost to enter contest for closest to the pin, longest drive, and longest putt. We will also be selling mulligans 2 per person which limits it to 8 per team for the day. You will be able to buy them the morning of the outing. 1st place traveling trophy will be awarded as well as a trophy for each team member of the team. Awards for 2nd and 3rd place teams will also be awarded. EHSB is also offering teams the opportunity to buy shirts for the golf outing this is an extra cost of $10 per shirt. Preordering ensures availability. Hope to see you out there.

Contact Info:
Jessica Twigg Founder/President EHSB
Deanna Traxler Co founder/Treasurer EHSB
email us at

 Jessa at the canoe rental before we left
 Jayde in the tree too
 Jessa chillin out
 Me waiting too
 The bus ride to the entrance point
 We are ready to get in the raft and go down river
 Playing at the island Jonathin was really airborne!!
 A picture of us at the island now lets get going!!
 The cottage day with Phil's family!!
 Jonathin jumping off the diving board!
 Jessa going in
 Jessa swimming
 Me landing from the diving board!
 Phil's son Owen going in from the diving board
 Jonathin and GP coming to the raft
 The kiddos jumping in Jonathin, Jessa, and Phil's niece Shelby....What a great day!
 Owen and Jayde with the blue gil that Jayde caught
 My very baby bluegil!
 Me at softball on a Friday night
 Me making a play at first Michelle you are out!
 Jayde at Lake Michigan
 Two of my nephews and my two girls in the hole they dug at Lake Michigan
 Me at Lake Michigan
 Jayde at Phil's for a bonfire
 Jayde and I
 Jonathin just lazing in the yard
 Let the festivities begin!
 The J Triplets, Phil's son and the boy's friend too!
 Jessa with a sparkler
 Phil lighting sparklers for Jayde
 LOL The kids goofing around!!  Owen, Jayde, Seth, Jonathin, and Jessa.....Ah Ah Ah Ah Staying Aliiiiiiive
 What a group of yahoo's
 The water slide!!!
 Loaded with a water gun!!!
 Thumb's up I'll go down too!
 Oh yeah that is cold!
 Jayde coming down
 Love my kids
 Jessa coming down
 Jayde riding horses
 Jessa riding all by herself!
 She has such a natural love for horses!
 We barebacked cuz of the heat so here I am getting on!
 Let's run
 Loving the horse
 You can take me out of the country but you can never take the country out of me!
 This is so freeing!
 I am not sure if there was more fudgsicle in her belly or on her face but either way it made a great picture!!
 Jonathin hanging around
 I caught the pig and now I will kiss the pig
 My kids caught one too!!!
 The pucker up to kiss the alpaca!
 Jonathin kissed the alpaca too
 And the Alpaca kissed Jayde!!!  LOL
 Jayde and I hanging out on the beach at Brooks lake
 My kids waiting for the parade to come through
 Jonathin at the water battle
 Jayde at the water battle
Firemen's Water Battle

Thats it so far for pictures this summer, but I promise there will be more as I am going to a Tigers game next week with Phil, a White Caps game in two weeks with my kiddos, and a trip to my brothers for camping!  Yes the summer is no where near being done and in the mix of it all we are living with part of us in Heaven Loving life Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow!
Yes I did say Loving Life and I meant it I am truly loving life and loving being in love with the love of my life!  I am blessed by my kids, his kids, and him!  Next week we are going to relive our second date here is what we looked like a year ago at that game!!!

I do love this man and look forward to sharing pics of us at the game next week with you all!