Shawn Bowen's Fund

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Shawn Bowen...You Can Help!!!

I just found out that an dear, old friend of mine (Justin Bowen) recently received news that his 5 year old son has leukemia. Please go to this site to check out more and donate to help cover medical/family expenses...

Shawn is absolutely precious!


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Do I Hear Wedding Bells?

Saturday night, my mom's boyfriend Scott Francis proposed.

Congrats, Momma!

Jessie and I are busy planning the wedding/reception for the immediate families.

I'll miss my mom when she moves out. She's been the best wife/husband I've ever had by taking care of the grass/landscaping, cooking, cleaning, babysitting...okay, now I've just made myself depressed. :)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Recent Fun Stuff

Jessie and I took took the kids to the Clark County 4-H Fair. Jessie convinced Landon to do stupid things each time that they passed me. In the picture below, they are picking their noses. I have never been prouder of my son.

This year Lauren was tall enough to ride the slide by herself. Last year, we convinced the ride operator that my 16 year old niece Tyler was Lauren's mom so that they could ride together. I'm not brave enough to go down that thing!!!

We spent most of today at Poppy's house. Poppy is Jessie's Dad, Dexter. It's a Sunday routine to stop in to visit with Dexter and Elaine and eat a little lunch and let the kiddos to play.

This one cracks me up! All three kids played in a baby pool with about two inches of water. They can have fun anywhere, anytime.

We decided to take the Gator down to the creek to play in the water. Landon was scared to death from the bumpy ride down the hill.

Lauren and Maggie found a turtle. They named her "Sandy".

Landon decided to take a quick pit stop to pee in the swimming hole. Nature calls sometimes, ya know. :) His favorite thing is peeing outside. Must be a "Boy Thing", because he certainly didn't learn this from me.

Jessie was convinced she could catch the big fish that was swimming a little part of the creek.

She was right. How GROSS!!! Her nails look pretty, though.

If I look surprised, it's because Landon is trying to crawl between my legs while Lauren, Sandy, and I pose for our picture.

This is my favorite picture from the day. How cute is that boy?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

It's True Love!!!

I love the Jonas Brothers! I'm not ashamed! My heart belongs to Joe Jonas (he's 18, so that's okay).

Friday, July 11, 2008

Another Medical Mystery

I admit it. I have a hot doctor. While I do adore visiting him, I'm ready to be well. Here are the details the latest health issue...

Wednesday night after work I picked up some balloons and fixins for my cubicle life partner's (Robin) 40th birthday. Along with Landon, Maggie, and Lauren, I went back to work to decorate her desk. While blowing up the balloons, I noticed that my lips felt a little funny. Then I noticed that I was talking a little weird. Then I looked in the mirror, and they were swollen! I figured that I must be allergic to the latex or the powder in the balloons. No big deal, right?

The next morning I woke and my eyes were completely bloodshot and sore. I went on in to work, put in some Visine A (for allergies) eye drops, and continued on about my day. When this didn't resolve the issue, I decided to make an appointment with Dr. Hoke. (I could have gotten an earlier appointment with the other doctor at the practice, but I was willing to wait for Dr. McDreamy.)

He looked at my eyes while I told him about the balloon incident. He felt like that while I probably did have an allergic reaction to something in the balloons, I might also have an infection in at least one, if not both eyes. I asked if he had put a hex on me, since I've been soooo sick since starting to see him, and he said he did have a house payment to make. :) Cute and funny...SWEET!

Armed with my prescription eye drops, I went on about my evening as normal.

When I woke up this morning, my eyes were almost swollen shut. They were ultra swollen (including below my eyes), gunky, and hurt pretty bad.

I'm doing much better now, but my eyes still hurt and are red. The girls at work have treated me like I am diseased, and the anti-bacterial hand gel is a-flowing! In fact, I told Beth Spencer that when she is on vacation next week, I'm gonna rub my eyes all over her desk so that she can catch "the eye funk". :)

Jessie wanted me to join her for dinner tonight along with some coworkers from out of town, but I feel really ugly because of my disease-ridden eyes, plus my tummy hurts really bad from the missing gallbladder. I decided to stay home, and just hide my face from the outside world. I really miss my liquid eyeliner and mascara. I'm just not the same without it. :)

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Great News! I'm Alive!

The surgery to remove my gallbladder went well on Monday. The doctor had a tough time getting to my gallbladder, so he had to open up an extra hole in my tummy, so I have 5 cuts instead of the normal 4. I have been ultra sore for the past few days (not tummy tuck sore, but it still hurts even so). Today I felt well enough to go with Jessie to her doctor's appointment. Dr. French looked at my belly, and assured me that everything looks like it is healing well. That was a big relief!

I can't drive because of the pain medication, so I'm relying on Jessie and Mom to tote me around. I'm hoping that Jessie will take me to Sam's tomorrow, so I can pick up some last minute ingredients for all of the goodies I will be making for Matt's birthday. Jessie's boyfriend, Matt turned 30 on July 2nd, and we are going to her Dad's on Friday to celebrate. It should be fun. I can't wait to go for a ride in the Gator and maybe wade in the creek.

I had to postpone the Upper GI, since I just didn't feel up to it, but I plan on rescheduling for sometime next week. More info to come on that test and the results...stay tuned. :)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Down With The Sickness

So...a few weeks ago, I started taking Chantix (spelling?) to stop smoking. I've smoked for around 12 years or so, and I really, really, really want (and need) to stop. This medicine is supposed to make you feel sick when you smoke, but so far, the only thing that makes me sick is the price of the prescription...ouch!

Anyway...around three weeks ago I was spending the night at Jessie's house (about two weeks into the Chantix medication), and in the middle of the night around 2 am, I woke up with this terrible pain in my stomach that went all the way through to my back. I tried changing sleeping positions, sitting up, walking around...but nothing would make the pain stop. Just when I thought I was going to have to wake Jessie up to help me, I ran to the bathroom and threw up. It was bad! It was one of those times when you are sick and you can't even come up for air between hurls. I ended up throwing up that nasty yellow stuff (bile), and kept dry heaving after everything was out of my stomach. YUCK! After I had gotten sick, my stomach/back pain was not gone, but it wasn't nearly as bad as it was before I got sick.

Jessie kept saying that it was the stop-smoking medicine making me sick, and I thought that if it was...the reaction was a little extreme. My stomach actually hurt to be touched, and that just wasn't normal.

A couple of days later, the same thing happened in the middle of the night. I was convinced I had a bad stomach bug. Three days later, it happened again. This time, it was worse than ever, and at 3 am, I had started getting dressed to go to the hospital. We had important people in at work from out of town, and this couldn't have hit at a worse time. Once I threw up, I felt better, so I didn't go to the ER. But, I did call the doctor in the morning to see him.

I teased the doctor and told him that I think I'm a closet bulimic, but he was convinced that it was either my pancreas or gallbladder. Several tests later, we found that my pancreas is fine, but I have big gall stones, and one is actually blocking the entrance from my gallbladder to my stomach. (Your gallbladder stores extra bile from your liver to help break down food when needed.) So, when I eat high-fat foods or lettuce (my #1 trigger for attacks), it tries to release the stored bile, and it's blocked from entering my stomach. Since it can't go into my stomach, it has to come up and out of my mouth. This causes the horrible pain and causes me to get sick.

I'm scheduled to get my gallbladder removed on Monday morning. I'll arrive at the hospital at 8 am, and the surgery is at 9:30. (If you happen to remember me during that time, please pray that I will be okay and that everything will be fine.) I'm having the surgery at St. Catherines Hospital in Charlestown. I know that they have a bad reputation, but my surgeon is really awesome. I love him, and my doctor says he's the best around this area.

I'm very relieved to know that very soon, I should stop being so sick all of the time. When I looked back at the past few months, I realized that the gallbladder issue is the root cause of why I have been eating tons of antacids, and feeling nauseous all of the time. This has been going on for the better part of 6 months or so.

On Tuesday, I am having an Upper GI procedure to see what is causing another problem I'm having where my food gets stuck in the middle of chest when I eat. I'm hopeful that this is not a big deal, and they can just fix it without another surgery this week. I've had this problem for probably a year and a half, and have just changed the foods I eat, and the way I eat to reduce the scenarios where this causes an issue. When this happens, the food starts to swell where it is stuck, and it feels like my chest is going to explode! I have to throw up to make the pain stop. Seems like I'm doing a lot of throwing up lately. :) I'll let you know what they find as soon as I get the results from the test.

I have a tendency to let things go until I just can't take the pain anymore. I really need to stop doing that. Now that I have a new, adorable doctor, I may just have to make more regular visits to see him. The bad thing is that when I saw him for the first time, I made the comment that I would need to find reasons to be sick so that I could have more doctor time, and then the gallbladder thing blew up! Be careful what you wish for, for sure!

If anyone is in the market for a new Primary Care Physician, I would highly recommend Dr. Hoke in Charlestown. He has a practice with Dr. French, and both doctors are really caring and kind. They are both super hot, too, so you can't go wrong! Delores Eickholtz works in their front office, and the nurses that I've had encountered are wonderful as well. I am very pleased with every experience I've had with their office. Tell 'em Cara sent you if you decide to try out their office. I think after I refer 10 new patients to them, I get a discounted surgery. I think I'll choose liposuction (in many places) or collagen lip injections. Maybe I can refer 20 people and get both. :)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Lauren's Blog

My 6 year old daughter has started her own blog. Click on the "About Me" area to go to 'Pretty Princess Lauren's Blog'. I'm letting her type it, create the content, and spell words like they sound without my help. She's soooooo smart, and I love her soooooo much! She's a little Cara. :)

Check it out!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

9 Galtinburg Gals...and a Boy

We just arrived back home from a 6 day stay in Gatlinburg, TN. I am EXHAUSTED!!!

Here are the details:
ATTENDEES: Cara, Lauren, Landon, Jessie, Maggie, Heather, Hailey (Heather's daughter), Dee (my grandma), Linda (my mom), and Sharon (Heather's mom)

VEHICLES: Cara's Expedition, Sharon's Camry, Dee's Volkswagen (not sure which model...I think it's a Jetta)

ACCOMMODATIONS: Gatlinburg Falls 3-bedroom cabin with hot tub and game room complete with Golden Tee and Multi-Game (PacMan, Galaga, Donkey Kong, Frogger) arcade games, pool table, and air hockey table

Beth Spencer and her family stayed at Gatlinburg Falls a while back and loved it, so we decided to try it out! We stayed in the Altitude Adjustment cabin (, and the pictures on the website do not do it justice!!! I would highly recommend Gatlinburg Falls to anyone looking for a great, fairly inexpensive, quick get away within a few hour driving distance. I've stayed at other cabins in Gatlinburg, and this was the best one by far!!! At the cabin, there is a guest journal that each group that visits that cabin writes details about their stay. It was fun to see what everyone else did on their trips. Very cool!

The "big" things we did were go to the Ripley's Aquarium, Wonder Works interactive learning center, Sky Lift, and Space Needle. We also hit the flea market and outlet malls. Jessie and Heather got a special card and secret instructions to go to another booth to be taken "behind the walls" to buy Coach purses. It was a little too weird for me, so I stayed out with the kiddos.

We had a blast...see below pictures for highlights!

Sunday night, the grandparents (or "Adults" as we called them) watched the kids so that Jessie, Heather, and I could go out on the town. We decided to get tattoos.

Heather got this swirly flower design. Very cute! She already had the Japanese symbol for "Heaven".

I was a little jealous when I saw the cool blue color. I had already gotten mine, and it was too late for me to change my color. :(

Our tattoo artist, JR, used to have a shop in Scottsburg, IN. He knew exactly where we were from, and it turns out that we even knew many of the same people. It sure is a small world!!!

This is my tattoo. It's the Capricorn symbol. It's about 2 inches high and is in the middle of my upper back. I had planned on just getting it in all black, but JR said he wanted to add some color and shading. I had no idea what the finished product would look like, but it turned out great!

Jessie got her existing tattoo touched up. It's an ichthys (Jesus fish) with her mom and sister's initials in it. It looks great, but for some reason, I don't have any pictures of hers. I'll get them from Heather and add them later.

Jessie acted like it was no big deal to get a tattoo and talked and joked around while getting it done. I did okay, but toward the end when JR was adding the color up my spine, I got really sweaty and angry. It hurt really bad! They said I looked like I was going to punch JR in the face. :) Heather doesn't "do" pain, and ended up getting sick with only 30 seconds of work remaining. Bless her heart! JR had a really weak stomach, so I told him to get out of the booth while I helped Heather clean up. She's a trooper! I really like my tattoo, and am already thinking about what my next one will be.

On Tuesday, we took the kids to a little carnival type of place, and they had a great time. I even got to ride the train! Notice my super-cool Coach sunglasses...Heather swears they are real even though we bought them at the flea market.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mothers Day!!!

Today, Jessie, Mom, and I decided to take the kids to visit Big Mommy (my great-grandma Martha) and my great-aunt Cris. They live in Austin, IN, and it is always an adventure taking a mini-roadtrip with the kiddos. I guess it is a small taste of what we will experience when we head to Gatlinburg on Saturday.

Jessie and I have always called our great-grandma "Big Mommy". We never thought that this was weird, but as we've gotten older, people look at us like we're crazy when we mention it. The story behind the name is when Grandma Dee was pregnant with my mom, Big Mommy was also pregnant with my great-uncle Roger. Big Mommy said that she wasn't old enough to be a grandma, so she would prefer to just be the "Big" mommy and Grandma Dee would be the "Little" mommy. It stuck, and I will never call her any thing but my "Big Mommy".

Big Mommy is an amazing woman. She is 86 years old, and looks amazing! She is so strong, and tells me that I need to look for a rich old man to take care of me. She also tells us to never let a man take advantage of us or treat us bad. She's says that men just aren't worth the headache. When you talk about someone with a flaw or baggage, she says "He has a spider in his dumplings". I love that phrase! She smokes a pipe occasionally, and used to carry a pistol in her purse. She's Hazard KY all the way!!! I hope I'm just like her when I'm older. :)

Big Mommy and all of her great-great-grandkids

My great-aunt Cris is an amazing woman as well! She's in a wheelchair, missing a leg from her diabetes. She's blind, on kidney dialysis, and is a breast cancer survivor. After all of the physical attacks she has endured on her body, she still has an unbreakable spirit! She is one of the most caring, loving people I've ever met.

This woman needs to write a book! She has never been married, and she says that it's a good thing. She could never imagine having to ask for permission from a man to do anything. She also said if a man were to lay a hand on her child, she'd kill him. :) I completely understand. When I got pregnant with Lauren and wasn't married, she called and made me feel so much better. She balances never being judgemental equally with telling you exactly what she thinks.

Her son, Steve, was born one day before me. Cris and Mom were pregnant at the same time, and when Cris called to tell Grandma that she had just given birth to a baby boy, Grandma was getting ready to leave to get my Mom to the hospital because she was in labor. How crazy is that?

A few months ago, she was in the hospital for kidney dialysis, and Jessie and I put on a little impromptu concert singing a handful of songs for her. I've never felt so good about my singing as when we sang for Cris. She loved it! I feel guilty that I don't see her more often. Jessie and I need to make a concerted effort to make the good ol' trip to Austin every chance we have.

Jessie and I are very lucky to be surrounded by such strong, smart women. They are truly examples of what independent ladies should be. The bar certainly has been set high for Landon with the women he has in his life. He'll have a lot of trouble finding a girlfriend/wife that we think is good enough for him. :)

On a side note, my friend Kent from work and his wife Kelly gave birth to a big ol' baby boy on Thursday. Baby Cohen was 9 lbs. and 21 inches long. He's a doll. How cool is it that Kelly is celebrating her first Mothers Day with her three day old son. :)

New momma Kelly is absolutely beautiful!

Proud papa

Happy Mothers Day to all! Be sure to treat all of the mothers in your life with respect and love every day of the year!


Monday, May 05, 2008

Kentucky Derby 2008

I got to go to the Kentucky Derby courtesy of Heartland Payment Systems, the great company I work for. Here are some of the pics from the amazing day!!!

In the TARC bus on the way to the Downs

Me and my hot momma!

Our tent was right next to the red is Carson Daly (he is super skinny in person)

This is Lennox Lewis...a boxer

We also saw Hugh Hefner's girlfriends, but I wasn't wasting the battery power to take their picture. Yuck!


The view from our box

My momma

Me again

Me and the big boss...the "Marty"

The restroom trailers...oh yes...we even had lavish bathrooms!!!

We had a blast! A special thanks goes out to Mrs. Deola Haymaker for watching the kiddos! I have the best grandma in the world!!!