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A New World

Hello Everyone,
        It has been a long while. So much has happened and changed over the last 4 months I don't even know where to begin. So I guess I will start from the beginning. I will try not to make this to long. 
       The last time I posted was right before Christmas. It was a very hard Christmas for many reason but the biggest being we lost our beloved JJ. I can't tell you how much I loved that dog. I didn't even want to look at another pup for a long time. I didn't understand why after going through all the surgeries and such that he still wasn't going to make it. I was very upset. I felt like I had been kicked in the gut several times. Having to tell the children that JJ wasn't coming home just devastated me. They took it pretty hard for awhile and then it became easier and easier. I will not own another St. Bernard though after him. He was just to special of a pup. He was the last connection to Jake that we had. But through all that, Ben and I moved to the Indiana University family housing. Our apartment that we had first moved to was not in a good area of town. We had no clue. We were fortunate enough to have found a townhouse on campus to move to and now Gracie is in a much better area and in a much better school. The best school in this area from what we have been told. Had we still had JJ we wouldn't have been able to move here. Just goes to show that God does have a plan even though I don't like his plan all the time. 
       So now we live on Campus. It has been very enlightening to live here. We have lived here since the beginning of March. It was hard at first to adjust. The apartment is only about 875 sq. ft. It's cozy to say the least. It's like we are living in our own dorm with kids. Luckily it is two stories and there are a lot of closets. When we moved in there was a water leak that the maintenance men assumed it was from our shower leaking down into our kitchen. We didn't have a bathroom for a week. After they completely renovated our bathroom, the water still kept seeping down the kitchen walls. Needless to say we didn't have a kitchen either for awhile. They found the leak next door:) Another first is going to the laundry facility to do laundry. Oh, how I miss my washer and dryer. Things people take for granted including me. Jonathan hates "Laundry Day." It takes just about all day. There is a positive though. I can do 4 loads of laundry at a time:) 
      I have to say even thought this place is small the campus is beautiful. Now that it is getting warmer out and everything is blooming, we have a lot of fun walking around campus. There are a lot of kids here from all over the world. The kids were kinda culture shocked when we first moved here. Even with some language barriers the kids and I have made some friends. There are a lot of big fat squirrels, owls, deer, skunks, we've seen quit a lot. There are a few places to eat. College food...places to eat within walking distance. We have also gone to family night to watch a movie with other families in our area. 
         What else is new?   We started going to the YMCA!! The kids love it. We go about 4 times a week so the kids can swim. Jonathan has now learned to swim without floaties. Huge accomplishment. Jonathan has also been very healthy this winter. We haven't had any pneumonia's or any other asthma related illnesses. That is huge for him. He has always been sick from the time the first frost hits off and on until summer. Thank God for that. We also are signing him up for Kindergarten tomorrow. I literally can't believe it. He is ready and is happy to start. I think he will be awesome!!!! He is still very loving and cuddly. He has gotten very tall and he has lost all his baby weight. It's like he turned 5 and he grew up. He looks more and more like his older brother and acts like him more and more everyday. He definitely got Jake's big heart. 
      Gracie, well, she has been on a roller coaster. A never ending roller coaster. She has had a lot of health problems related to her stomach and migraines. Now we have learned that when one is out of whack the other goes too. I was really really worried about her for awhile. Her attitude on life in general just plummeted. She lost her sparkle and her smile for a long while there. She is slowly getting it back. With lots and lots of tears and tantrums. Tearing up paper, stomping her feet, screaming. I don't know how we got through but we have. She is doing much better now that she is in a good school. I am a true believer in good teachers. We were spoiled in Westfield. A teacher can make or break a child. I know it goes hand in hand with home life, but a teacher can really do a lot for a kids self esteem. Gracie really struggled at first. She had been in three elementary schools and every one had there own way of teaching things. She has a lengthy list of spelling words and when she first brought home her first list, I have to say I could've cried. I knew it would be hard. We worked and worked every night and she kept saying she was going to get them all wrong. We prayed before she went into class that day and she Aced the test. She was given a treat for that one and now she knows that hard work pays off and she has done excellent. She just needed that little bit of confidence.  She has also grown a lot. She is very tall. I keep telling her she is going to be taller than me by next year. 
       Other than that Life has been hard. Very hard. Grief has been every present in our lives. Especially with Gracie. She was the one that took Jake's passing in stride and went on living. What I am learning is that kids cope differently. It sneaks up on them when they least expect it and smacks them in the face. She needed to deal with it. Life has changed so drastically for her in the last several years. She needed time to catch her breath. I am glad that she fell apart when she did. I am glad that she has been letting her anger out and she tells us what she thinks. It is hard to hear some times but I know that she is finally dealing with life. It's okay to miss her brother. But what I have told her over and over is after you give yourself a day to stay in bed all day and ball your eyes out. Be angry. It's time to dry it up and do something that makes you happy. I am glad that swimming is what she has clung too. She is amazing. That is the one thing that she knows she has in common with Jake. Their swimming. 
     Also, I am trying to go back to school this fall here at IU. Another change, but a good one. I have wanted to go to school for a long time and now I have the opportunity to go. I am a little nervous but determined. I know what I want and I am going for it. The kids will be in school and the thought of staying in this little apartment all day would drive me nutty. God has a plan for my life and I am seeking it out. 
       I think that is all for now. Lots of changes. SO many its hard to keep up. I'm enjoying my time with Jonathan at home for now. Life keeps moving forward. There are days I just assume to stay in bed with the covers over my head and ball my eyes out. I miss Jake terribly. Especially this time of year when it was only a few years ago we were in Florida. He would have graduated from Elementary school this year and would have moved on to the Intermediate. I miss his wavy blond hair that grew back after chemo and that beach smell he always had. I guess that's why flip flops and swimsuit season is my favorite. Now more than ever I am determined to get out in the world again and really focus on the future. I can't stay in bed and cry the rest of my life. I have to feel again. Love again. Smile until my cheeks feel like they are going to crack and laugh at everything. One day I will see Jake again. But until then watch out world. Here I come. Happy Easter!!! As Jonathan likes to say that the Easter bunny must have a sore hiney, for pooping out all those eggs:) Then he will giggle and say his new favorite words. "That's Inappropriate!" haha

25 people hearted this

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Jaime Young
Thinking of you often and praying for all of you as you come to mind (particularly when I'm worrying about the well-being of my sons....and since I worry a lot, I pray for you a lot too! ;) Please tell Gracie I miss her sweet singing voice. I'm so glad she is letting her emotions out and will pray that it will help relieve her physical issues. Looking forward to the next update!
Ellen Bosman
By Ellen Bosman
Natosha~thank you for sharing your new life. It is hard as you resurrect your new life. Your kids are so lucky to have you for a Mom. Happy Easter!
1 person hearted this
Karen Alessandrini
By Karen Alessandrini
I'm so glad to hear that things are getting better! One day at a baby step at a time, right?! I miss Gracie so much and so do all her friends....but I'm glad to hear that she's in a better school and finally getting a chance to work through her grief. Please tell her (and the rest of the family) that Monon Trail 2nd grade loves and misses all of you and we hope you can come to visit again!
1 person hearted this
Heidi Robbins
By Heidi Robbins
Glad to hear you're doing well. It is often that I think about you and your family and it continues to amaze me the strength that you find in each and every day. I wanted to share something with you guys that really melted my heart....about a week or so ago Ashton attended a birthday party for one of the other Monon 4th grade boys and he insisted on bringing his Jake's Buddy pillow pet for the sleepover. I told him to grab another one because I usually don't like to let that one out of the house but he was firm on this. When I asked him why, he told me that he wanted to take it so Jacob could be a part of the party with them. Say no I fought back a few "proud moment" tears I simply smiled and said ok and off we went. Even as time continues to pass the wonderful memories of Jake and his most generous big heart and all of his courage still lives on and will never be forgotten. Hope this story about my curly blonde boy and the impact Jacob's life had on him brought a smile to your face. Wishing you all the best!!
1 person hearted this
kathy wyant
By kathy wyant
Happy Easter Everyone from your friends at Pillow Pets!
2 people hearted this
Jeanie Braunschweig
By Jeanie from Elk River, MN
Love and hugs from snowy Minnesota! Happy Easter.