JEN, KARA, and PARKER JOHN

THE STORY OF TWO MAMAS, PARKER JOHN, and TWO CRAZY CRITTERS!







Friday, December 11, 2009

Dr. Freitag and the Diamond Headache Clinic

This post is by Jen, just so none of you out there get confused :) Well, yesterday I had a check-up with Dr. Freitag at the Diamond Headache Clinic in Chicago. He changed my nightly medicine and added additional pain meds for me to choose from when I have my migraine attacks. Unfortunately it means I have to carry more medications with me, but it also means I have a better chance of keeping the pain under control. This is especially good news since I'm going to begin working really hard on my dissertation in order to graduate in May.

The really good news is that I didn't have to go into the hospital in order for him to change my medication. That means one less medical bill for me to pay which is a good thing since I'm still paying off bills from the first two times I was in the hospital in Chicago and the ER visits from right before my first visit to the Headache Clinic.

The other good news is that Dr. Freitag gave me a ton of free samples. He gave me three months of one of my medications. That saves me almost $400 and is worth $2400. He also gave me a bunch of other samples too. Considering he called himself "Mean Dr. Freitag" he was a pretty nice guy and I can't thank him enough for all the samples. I also can't thank him enough for all of the time he spends with me as he is trying to help me. He's a good guy and I just know that one of these days we are going to get my migraines under control so I can lead a happier and more playful life.

Dr. Freitag did make more work for me though. I have to track my headaches with more accuracy and more detail. By this I mean I have to note the type of pain so that I can tell what is different about each headache. By doing this he hopes we can figure out why different pain meds work sometimes but not others. He also thinks that this will help him to better identify the preventative medication he needs to prescribe to help me have fewer attacks. So I think I'm going to modify his headache calendar and have it printed on legal size paper so that I have a place to track everything he is looking for. That's a lot to do for the next six months, which is the next time he thinks I need to come back for an appointment.

That's all for now. Here's hoping everything starts to improve!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I shaved my legs!

Yes, it is sad...but that is all I have to report. I shaved my legs. And...it is noteworthy...because it hardly ever happens. :) Actually, this was a couple days ago. Now I need to shave again. And the reason I need to shave again is because I have to go to the girly doctor tomorrow for my yearly. But...that's not all...I'm also going to talk to her about getting knocked up! This adoption thing just doesn't seem to be working out...so Jen and I are going to try this new route to becoming mommies. I'm excited, nervous, scared, anxious, happy, sad, etc., etc. about this. I am scared of being pregnant (I don't wanna puke for 90+ days)...and I'm terrified of giving birth (I don't want to be in so much pain that I actually ASK for a needle shoved up my spine!). So I guess I did have a little more to report than just shaving my legs... :)
Kara

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Christmas Shopping

We did it! We braved the crowds in Ft. Collins today and did a bunch of Christmas shopping. All the little ones in our lives are taken care of and should be very happy when they get their gifts. It is so much fun buying gifts for little ones. We can't wait til we get to buy gifts for our own little one. That will be even more fun!

It's not even Thanksgiving and our Christmas shopping is almost done. Yippee! This way we can can enjoy the holiday season without having to do lots of shopping.

Here's hoping the rest of you are getting your shopping done too!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

School and Work

We both went back to school in late August and Jen got a last minute job to pay for her schooling and provide a stipend. It was definitely a blessing! Kara has a very full class this year and she enjoys working with the kids. Some days are harder, but that's true in most jobs.

Jen is teaching a Diagnosis and Psychopharmacology class to first year masters students in the Counselor Education program. This and providing supervision (of their counseling) to the first year students is what is paying for her school. Of all the classes the department offers this is the one class Jen really wanted to teach so she is very excited. At times it is more work than expected, but it is very rewarding and will help with her future career goals of being an adjunct professor.

Jen is also still working on her dissertation. She has 3 of her 4 research participants and has interviewed each of them one time. She also has a lead on her 4th participant so things are looking great for her to be able to graduate in May 2010! Very exciting for both of us.

Jen is also a business owner now. She is co-owner of Alliance for Growth: Counseling & Consulting, LLC which is where she does her private practice counseling. The economy is hitting the business hard, but things should work out.

We are both enjoying our crafts and have been doing a lot of quilting and a little knitting. Both of us have finished projects in the last couple of weeks and are trying to finish up some quilts before we start new ones. The unfinished projects were starting to take over the room so they really needed to be finished!

Way Overdue Update

So, it's been forever since Kara or I (Jen) have posted an update to the blog. I'll start with the vacation we took with my mom and Dad to Yellowstone in late June/early July. We had a great time. Even saw a bear! Below are some of my favorite pictures.

This is the first elk my mom remembers seeing. We took a family vacation to Yellowstone the summer I turned 8, but she didn't remember much from the vacation. It was cool to see her reaction to seeing an elk. I took lots of pictures of this elk just for her!

Above is a really cool burned tree. My parents do Old West shooting competitions and Dad was with me when we saw this tree. It reminded both of us of a man holding his arms up saying "Don't shoot!"

Buffalo just amaze me. This is one of my favorite shots and I took lots of pics of buffalo! We did see a buffalo taking a dirt bath, but the pictures didn't turn out.





Upper Falls at Yellowstone. As most of you know water amazes me and it is one of my favorite things to take photos of. I could have stayed at the waterfall for hours just staring and listening!



Jen, Kate, Gerry, and Kara. We had a great time on this vacation. Thanks Mom and Dad!



Here is Old Faithful. A trip to Yellowstone wouldn't be complete without it. If it went off more frequently I could have stayed there and watched it a few more times.

Somewhere I also have pictures of a buffalo herd and a bear. When I find them I will post them.

Thanks for being patient. We will try to do a better job of updating the blog!


Friday, September 18, 2009

New website

Check out our new website! Tell us what you think...

www.jenandkara.com

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Our lives in 3 minutes and 30 seconds!

video

I can't believe that I (Kara) made this video! I am getting so tech savvy! It's amazing!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Jen's Aunts Visited


Aunt Louise, Kara, and Aunt Lori



Rocky Mountain National Park

The second weekend of June was filled with the visit of Jen's two aunts, Lori & Louise. They were a riot and it was great having them out here to visit. It was a quick visit, but we packed it as full as possible so that it would be memorable. The first day we went down to Rocky Mountain National Park and then the next day we went to Vedauwoo just East of Laramie.

Lori has been out here a few times, but never got to see the Bighorn Sheep in Rocky Mountain National Park. This time she finally got to see them, well their butts at least. She practically stole some guys binoculars so that she could see them way up the mountain. Oh well, at least she got to see them. It was kinda like a kid in a candy store!

Louise had never been out to visit us or the area. She was just amazed and couldn't stop taking pictures. She even took a picture of the back seat, okay probably not on purpose but it sure was funny. Louise kept all of us laughing the whole weekend. I think she enjoyed Vedauwoo the most, she got to look at the rocks and use her imagination to see the shapes they made. I can't even make a list she "saw" so many things in those rocks.



It was a great weekend and they are both invited back any time. Below are some pictures from the weekend. Oh, we even saw a porcupine and watched it climb a tree! Craziness.



Yellow Bellied Marmot playing peek-a-boo.







Jen's favorite place on earth.



Reflection in Bear Lake

It's been a long time

Well, it has been a long time since Kara or I have updated this blog. So, briefly here is what has been going on. Stay tuned for pictures, lots of them....

1. Two of Jen's aunts came out to visit for a weekend and we went to Rocky Mountain National Park and Vedauwoo

2. Jen's niece had her first birthday. Then the grandparents came to Wyoming and we went to Buffalo, Cody, and Yellowstone. It was a good time with lots of good pictures to come.

3. We celebrated our 9th anniversary on July 7th.

4. Kara is currently on vacation with her mom and new stepdad, David. Guess where? Yellowstone, that's right. Kara is there for the second time in 3 weeks and the third time in a year.

5. Kara and her family will proceed to Logan, UT to see her sister, brother-in-law, and cute little nephew Clay for a few days before they come home to Laramie.

6. Just today Jen did her fisrt interview for her dissertation. What a relief to finally be proceeding and get the first one out of the way.

7. Kara and her family have seen 3 bears in Yellowstone already!

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Ugliest Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park

The mountains "opened" on Memorial Day weekend. Every year we drive through the Snowy Range when it first opens. Here are some pretty cool pictures from our drive.
This shows just how deep the snow was. Apparently, it was 20 ft. deep in some places (or so we were told.)
Kara loves this picture. Do you see which way the stop sign is facing? That means that there is(or is supposed to be) a road right there!
We also went to Rocky Mountain National Park. On the way there we saw this cute little Bighorn sheep. He's so adorable...I want him for my very own! :)
And finally, we saw thousands of Elk in the park but they are not very attractive right now because they are losing their winter coats. This gal came very close to our car and we dubbed her "The Ugliest Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park."


If you want to see more pictures, check out Jen's Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/people/jjrude/

In other news...
Kara only has one and half days of students left, then two and a half more days of staff development and she is done with the school year!!! Bring on summer!!!
Jen did not get the job that she blogged about in the previous blog. :( But that's okay because she is going to build up her private practice. She got her own office and is having lots of fun decorating it. So if anyone knows any mentally unstable people in Laramie, tell them about Jen. Heehee.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Enjoying Some Time Off

Jen is officially done with her graduate assistant position at the University of Wyoming and is enjoying some much needed time off. She's trying to stick to a routine though in order to manage her headaches and it's working out okay so far. The last week has been rough, but overall the past two months have shown so much progress it is unbelievable. She would definitely recommend The Diamond Headache Clinic to anyone who suffers from migraines.

Jen is also waiting to hear back about the interview she had last Tuesday. She could hear anytime between now and the 29th of May. The wait is starting to get on her nerves, but hopefully the wait will be worth it. This potential job is nearly the "ideal" job that she could wish for. Pretty cool to have the opportunity to have your "almost" dream job and only be 30 (well almost 30).

Kara is counting down the days at school. She's down to single digits with the kids, June 3rd is the last day they come. Then Kara is done with school on June 5th. Yippee!!!! We can't wait to get to spend more time together and to go up into the mountains.

That's all for today. Hope everyone out there is doing great.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Not much to report...

Hello all.
There is not much to report on around here, but I felt like I should update the blog.

Kara only has 20 days of school left and then she will be free for the summer. Jen has a job interview on Tuesday at the university...so send positive thoughts, prayers, and energy her way.

We are still waiting for a potential birthmother to contact us. We are so excited to start our family, but the wait is getting long!!! Kara is sad that she won't have a little one to spend her summer with...but you never know... So keep spreading the word: Jen and Kara Want to Adopt! If you know of anyone who is making an adoption plan, please send them to our website at http://www.jenandkara.com/

By the way, we are re-doing our birthmother letter so if anyone has anything NICE to say about us and what great parents we'd be...please post. We might just pick your comment to put in our letter. :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Leprechauns tried to steal my change!


Awhile back Jen really wanted to get a Wii. We weren't sure we should be buying a Wii right now for several reasons, but then I had this brilliant idea. I told her that if there was a significant amount of change our big change bottle, that we could take it to the bank, put it in our account and buy a Wii. So one day we sat on the bed and counted change for hours. It ended up that we had almost $200! Not enough for a Wii...but enough to make us feel ok about buying a Wii. However, it was Sunday and the bank was closed. So we bought the Wii anyways with the intent of taking the change to the bank on Monday. Well, that was a couple weeks ago! (I'm a little bit of a procrastinator.) So today, since I'm on Spring Break, I decided to take the change to the bank.


I pulled into the parking lot, hopped out of my car, and grabbed the gallon sized baggie that held $200 of quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies. (This is when the lephrechauns tried to steal it!) The baggie burst open and $200 of change flew all over the parking lot!!!! It took awhile, but I scooped it all up, took it into the bank, and was glad to be rid of it. Next time we have to take $200 of change to the bank....I'm making Jen do it!!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Snowshoeing...not so much

Jen has wanted to go snowshoeing all weekend and it just never happened. So, today after work and school we came home changed, cleaned out the car, got the dogs ready, and headed up to Happy Jack (mini-mountains only 15ish minutes away). We get there and guess what, yep, that's right...NO SNOW! At least not enough for snowshoes. We got out anyway to let the dogs play, mainly because they were driving us crazy. Nakai goes absolutely nuts when in the car. She can't wait to get somewhere and get out to roam and run about.

Here are a few pictures from our outting. We hope you enjoy.

This is Jen's favorite nature picture of the day. The berries just demanded to be digitally captured!

Jen just thinks this one is kinda cool. Kara had to help by holding the branch down low enough for Jen to get the picture. Just one more time where being short was a disadvantage. You'd think we'd be used to this by now.

And last, but not least.......

Kara playing peek-a-boo with the camera.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Jen's Updates

Well, I've decided it is time to let all of you know that I will not be going to Africa this summer. This was an extremely hard decision to make, but it was a decision that had to be made. Financially, it is not possible for me to go. I applied for a grant through the University of Wyoming but was denied. With no financial assistance and my new monthly prescription expenses there is just no way that Kara and I can come up with the extra money for me to go to Africa, even though it was for a good cause. Maybe our finances will be better in two years when another Africa trip should be planned. Who knows.

I have also been to the Diamond Headache Clinic in Chicago, Illinois. This is supposed to be the leading headache clinic in the country, possibly even in the world. My trip resulted in a 6 day hospital stay so the doctors could change my medications and monitor me closely during the process. I now have minimal daily pain, which is huge progress! I'm still having my migraines, but the new medications actually cause the pain to go away. So, when I have a migraine I don't have to just tolerate the pain, I can actually get relief. Definitely a step in the right direction. I now feel like I will be able to be an even better mom when the day comes.

Bonus - while in Chicago I got to see my best friend Ella who I hadn't seen in just over four years. I hadn't seen her since a few days before I closed on the house. Craziness! It was great to get to see her and meet all of her new friends. Although I must say they are all high anxiety and a little neurotic! Thankfully, they all agree with me so there won't be any disagreements when they read this post.

Thats all for now. I hope all is well with all of our blog followers, family, and friends.
Jen

Sunday, February 8, 2009

THE ONLY BOY KARA WILL LET CHEW ON HER TOES!

This is our good friend Anthony. Apparently he has a thing for toes!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

100 DAYS AND COUNTING!!!

Today is the 100th day of school. That means there are only 80 days left! YAY!!! I think teachers like summer more than the kids. And I feel so sorry for all of you Iowa teachers that have to make up tons of snow days and go to school until mid to late June. That's awful! :( But I'm glad its not me! Hehe!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Update on Jen's Upcoming Africa Trip

This week I finally learned more about my trip to Africa this summer. There are seven women going as part of the clinical outreach team and then a few additional women who are the organizers. We will attend an international multicultural mental health conference in Gabarone, Botswana and during the conference we will have the opportunity to go sight seeing. That makes me very excited. I was afraid I was going to Africa and I wasn't going to get to do any of the touristy stuff (big sigh of relief).

After the conference we will spend one week in Gabarone colaborating with mental health agencies and providing supervision. They have a very limited number of mental health professionals and have asked for clinical supervision so they can have fresh ideas on how to better help their clients. We will also spend time in the schools and a day hospice center for individuals suffering from HIV/AIDS. These are two places where I will most likely get to conduct one-on-one counseling with the residents of Africa. We will also spend time doing informal outreach and helping the residents get connected with local resources so they have lasting help that will continue after our group has left.

I will also get to spend a week in Johannesburg, South Africa doing similar work. Sounds like we will also get to go to some of the smaller villages to see how the individuals live and to see what additional help we may be able to offer them.

We will also travel to Malawi where we will visit the National Black Child Development Institute. This is an organization aimed to help the children of Africa receive an education and have other needs met as well.

There is also a chance we will go to Cape Town because this group had a wonderful experience there in 2007. From now until my departure on July 3rd at 5:20PM from Washington Dulles Airport I will take part in monthly teleconference calls, online training, online readings, online videos, and online discussions. All in an effort to ensure I am culturally compenten to be of assistance to the individuals of Southern Africa. Also, it is so the group of us who are going can begin to get to know one another so we can be of support to each other while we are in Africa.

Just today I found out that my passport application has been approved. I should be getting it in the mail any day now. One less thing to worry about. My passport just came in the mail!!! Kara's jealous, she doesn't have one.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Finally.....we got to go snowshoeing!

Jen's cough is finally gone and that means we finally went snowshoeing, for the first time this winter. Seems like the dogs had even more fun than we did! Know what the best part was? The dogs slept all afternoon and evening, and so did Jen.



Kara posing for a quick shot. I think she just needed a break!


North Fork Little Laramie River. Just loved the icicles hanging from the snow,
yet above the river.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN!

I am so proud of America today. This is a huge day in America. In the years to come, people will ask, "Where were you when the first African American man became president?"

I heard a story today that touched my heart. A preschool classroom here in Laramie had the inaguration on today while the kids were playing. A 4-year-old African American boy stopped playing, walked over to the TV, and said to his teachers with a huge smile on his face, "That's Barrack Obama, our new president. He's like me!" WOW!



I have such high hopes for this man. I am very excited to see what the next 4-8 years hold.

Hope,
Kara

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Jen and Hayden (Hayden is 6 months in this photo)

pictures