Monday, September 11, 2017

Journal - Hurricane Irma the Before, During and after in The Osborn Household

Journal - Hurricane Irma the Before, During and after in
The Osborn Household


I am writing this in stages over the next few days. I want to make sure to give you the most accurate and up to date information about us and what we see as it's happening.

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This is not the first hurricane we've been thru, and it won't be the last. We are usually prepared with items that everyone else runs out to get, such as bottled water. When it's hurricane season it's just smart to always keep a case on hand. But this time we needed other necessities to be able to ride out the storm. Having our daughter this time around we needed to make sure we had plenty of diapers, milk and food for her and us. So yesterday I went out with Jolene to prepare, this was an interesting trip to say the very least. We had to hit up Costco and then Publix. First stop, Costco. I get there, and there is a line halfway down the store of people waiting to get two cases of water. The thing was, there was no water, and I was told that they were expecting a new truck full within a few hours. So these people were basically just waiting on the next ruck to get their water. I will say, I would never wait two hours for a case of water. You can fill water bottles at home, or go to other stores. It was crazy to see so many people in a complete panic. Obviously this was their first hurricane. But, we went ahead and got the items we needed and then rushed to the front to wait in the extra long lines to check out.

After Costco we arrived at Publix. At this grocery store I expected it to be slammed packed, but it was actually not that bad. Mostly because they had a massive sign out front saying NO WATER and a sign on their propane saying they were all out! I was once again thankful we had water and that we had two full propane tanks at home. If any of you don't remember or just never experienced a hurricane let me explain why I am always prepared. In 2004 we were hit with 3 storms back to back to back. In my house that I grew up in we were without power off and on for 2 months. Everything was hard to find, and when you did find water, gas or prone it was rationed so everyone could only get a little bit at a time. The first hurricane it knocked down trees on the roads and we were unable to leave our neighborhood for almost a week. So for me, being prepared at all times is not something I take lightly. You never know what kind of situation your going to end up in. You hope for the best, but prepare for the worst!


Today was fairly uneventful. Got up this morning only to realize that I forgot a few things at Publix yesterday. So off I went back to Publix at 8am with Jolene. It was a mad house at 8am. A truck load of water just arrived and everyone was loading up. Luckily I was only there for diaper pale bags and laundry soap. 

Throughout the day the news was reporting that the hurricane is now moving west. This is bad news for us, because that means the eye is slowly turning right in our direction. After much persuasion I finally convinced Jeff that this hurricane is serious and we need to get to boarding up windows and getting prepared to hunker down. 

There's a joke around our area. When it comes to the weather man Tom Terry, is that if his jacket comes off to pay attention. If he rolls up his sleeves it serious, and if the tie comes off then hang onto your butts! Well his jacket was off today, and the storm is still two days away. Needless to say, I'll be watching to see if the tie comes off, lol.

9/8/2017 & 9/9/2017

These past two days have been filled with the final stages of prepping for the storm. The storm is now projected to hit the west coast of FL, but we are still not out of the line of fire. The storm is over 600 miles wide so we will still feel strong winds and see damage. However, it won't be as bad as if it were to go right over us. 

Jeff has been cutting down loose tree limbs and storing them away until after the storm, and then later today we will be boarding up the windows. All of our shopping is done, we picked up the generator and got lots of gas. Now it's just getting ready for "Show Time". 

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On a Funny Side note, our house made the news! I thought I'd leave a funny message for Irma. Maybe she's got a sense of humor and will be nice.

9/10/2017 & 9/11/2017

After all the preparations were done, and we were hunkered in, we prepared mentally for the storm. Even though we've been thru storms before, this was the first big storm with our daughter. As parents you tend to worry more, and hurricanes are no longer fun. Before our daughter we would've probably gone to a hurricane party, drank too much, and then played in the wind and rain. But now, we have a little life that needs protecting. So our days of hurricane parties are over, for now. 

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At about 5pm there were reports of tornadoes one city over from where we live. This was a little concerning because it was 10 hours away from what was to be the harshest part of the storm. Slowly as the night wore on the sounds outside became more and more scary. The wind was slowly picking up, and every few minutes a strong gust would shoot past the house like a freight train. The power would flicker off and on, and for a few minutes the cell phone service was fading in and out. We stayed cooped up in the living room with the TV set to the local news channel most of the night. Videos were coming in of damage early on. One road was completely washed away before it was even 8pm, mobile homes were gone, and roofs were already torn off in some areas. We were still in great shape though, no damage at that time.

Throughout the night the winds got stronger and stronger, the noises outside became increasing more alarming. The sound of wood cracking, pops and snaps, big objects falling and the howls of the wind made it almost impossible to fall asleep. However throughout the night we managed to get a few hours here and there. At about 3am I was woken by the sound of extreme wind. When people say it sounds like a freight train, it truly does!!!! I was so scared but tried to stay calm so Jolene didn't sense anything from me. The fence behind our house fell, and huge limbs were slamming into the ground. You could hear these hit the ground and shake the walls. We had a sheet over our bathroom door in our master bedroom, because its in the middle of remodel. When I looked at the sheet it was being sucked up into the spaces where the wind was coming thru the open area from construction. Even though these areas didn't lead directly outside, it was obviously that the wind had found a way thru the vents to get into the bathroom, and this did not help in the "being scarred for our lives" moment. After freaking out for about an hour I finally was able to calm myself down enough to fall back to sleep.

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Waking up this morning, looking outside, the image was clear. We had a hurricane roll thru last night. The fences all around us were knocked down, panels on the pool enclosure were blown out, limbs of tree were broken and dangling in the trees, and there was debris everywhere from all the neighbors trees. Luckily, our house didn't sustain much damage at all. Just a few small items that we can fix no problem. After a few more hours of waiting for the winds to die down, we put Jolene in the stroller and walked around our neighborhood. There was tree limbs and debris all over the road. Everyone was raking their yards and moving the fallen trees. You could hear hand fulls of chains saws running in the distance, and leaf blowers around every corner. Slowly we made our way down to the boat ramp at the end of our subdivision. We live on a spring fed lake with dozens of houses located right on it's edge. As we approached the ramp to this lake we found that all the boat docks were under water, as well as all the sea walls protecting the houses. Luckily all the houses were set far enough back that the water had not yet flooded them. 

Of course our city was not spared by Irma. She caused much damage including, down trees and power lines, torn apart roofs, pool cages, and more. Below are three pictures taken in my city of Longwood. The first was from our local news station; it's a part of the interstate right next to me. The whole side crumbled and caved under a sinkhole. The picture to the right is a company vehicle crushed by a massive tree. This was a fellow coworker of the company my husband works for, and this was a company vehicle. The final picture below is one I took while driving. All the street lights were out in the city, and most road signs were either damaged or torn down.

All in all, this was a very interesting and scary week long experience. We learned a lot as parents and new homeowners when it comes to hurricanes. The crazy part about this whole thing is that we are only half way thru hurricane season here in FL. My only hope is that this is the last one we have to deal with during the 2017 hurricane season, but until then we will make sure to be prepared in case we get hit with another one again. 

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Until Next Time, Keep on HIKING!!!!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Get To Know Crystal - Our Struggle with Fertility, Story of our Daughter Jolene

Get To Know Crystal -
Our Struggle with Fertility,  Story of our Daughter Jolene

For our close friends and family, they know that we have been truly blessed with this beautiful little girl we call Jolene. For my husband Jeff & I our journey to having a baby was not an easy one. While most people we know were literally getting pregnant with almost no effort we were not having that kind of luck. 

Jeff and I were married for a little over a year (together for almost 6 years) when we decided that we wanted to have a baby. While telling my best friend about this very exciting decision, she asked if I ever thought about seeing a fertility doctor. Well, no.... We had literally just started trying and I never had any symptoms of major issues previously. I had normal menstrual cycles, and I was always on time. So this question kinda caught me off guard. She told me that after she had such a difficult time conceiving, herself, to just got to a fertility doctor and make sure that everything was working properly so I could save myself all the heart attack if we were infertile. Well, after much persuasion I listened and made an appointment to her fertility specialist.

Going into this appointment I thought, "This is so silly, she's going to look at us and tell us we are wasting our time. We haven't even been trying for more than 6 months." At the time I remember walking to the exam room and just regretting having taken time off work for something so silly. But, after her initial exam, she then decided to do an ultrasound. This got me a little concerned, and then without even a second glance she looked at me and said, "We need to schedule you for surgery". WHAT?! Wait a minute here, what is going on, and how is this possible? My heart sank right to the bottom of my stomach. The doctor explained that I had a massive septum in my uterus that would complicate us getting pregnant, and that it was her recommendation we get this fixed and hold off on trying to have a baby for the time being. I remember crying most of the way home, I was completely devastated. Why did this have to happen to us? What did we do wrong?

So a few weeks later I was getting wheeled into the OR for surgery on my uterus with my husband kissing me good-bye and telling me, "It'll all be ok, I'll be here when you wake up." I was just ready for the surgery to be over with. I knew that I'd be in recovery at home for a few weeks on bed rest so I had everything set up for when I returned home. All my shows were recorded on the DVR, lots of books I'd been trying to read for months on end, and my yarn to crochet and knit with (yes I know how to knit and crochet very well). When I woke up from surgery, which was supposed to be an easy 45 minutes in total length, I was told by my husband that it was a lot more in depth than originally planned. I was under for almost 3 hours instead of 45 minutes! The septum was so large that it took up almost my whole uterus on the inside, there were fibroid tumors they removed, scar tissue from ruptured cycsts on the outside of my ovaries, and scare tissue from what looked like an early stage miscarriage (which we had no idea we even had). It was shocking to me and the doctors, the fact that I never had any symptoms such as extreme pain, heavy periods, bloating or anything. I literally felt completely normal with all these issues. I was also informed that my 2 week recovery was now going to be 6 weeks long. Well, isn't that just wonderful, lol. 

So after my 6 weeks of recovery and another 3 months of waiting to heal we were back at the doctors office to finally get the all clear to start trying to have a baby. We were told there was a very small chance that during my healing process that the top of my uterus where the septum was removed could heal together and would need another surgery. We were reassured many times that this was rare and it was an extremely small chance. But, not so lucky for us, guess what happened? Yep, my uterus healed wrong and I would need yet another surgery, wonderful! Once again I was driving back from the doctors office in tears. All we wanted was a baby, and it seemed like we were never going to be able to have one. 

3 more weeks go by, and here I am at the outpatient office to get my next surgery. I remember waiting there just praying that this was it, that this was the last surgery. I didn't know how much more emotionally I could take. So off to surgery I went, and when I woke up I was in much more pain than the first time around. By the time my husband got me home I was bent over in the fetal position screaming in agony. So back to the doctor we went, and come to find out my body was rejecting the balloon in my uterus needed to keep it open so it wouldn't heal together again. After removing it and replacing it with a different one, I was free of the extreme pain, and off to my bed at home for another 2-3 weeks of rest. 

Fast forward yet another 3 months and here we were back at the doctors office. In those 3 months away we had a lot of misfortunes in our lives. We had to move out of our home we were renting with only a short 30 day notice (due to problem the landlord couldn't fix with the house), my husband's sister passed away unexpectedly leaving behind her 2 year old daughter, and within a month after that we had to put down our dog after she had an FCE (spinal stroke) and lost all function in her kidneys. We were so emotionally drained, you could see it on our faces. When the doctor walked in with our results we were just hoping for something positive, and by chance, today was our lucky day. We were FINALLY cleared to start trying to have a baby. This time when I cried on the drive home it was tears of joy, and it was perfect timing. We were headed out on to vacation in our favorite place later that week, The Florida Keys! Little did we know at that time, it was on this very vacation that our daughter was conceived!

I'll never forget when we finally found out we were pregnant. I took a pregnancy test, without telling my husband, and I wasn't even late yet on my period. I just thought, "ya know what, what the hell, lets just take it." So I did, and it came back almost immediately positive! I couldn't believe it, after everything we went thru that last year we were finally pregnant. Now you have to understand the scenery going on in the background. I was about to get into the shower, so I was only wearing a towel and the water was running. I grabbed the test, ran to the living room where my husband was watching tv, literally threw the test at him and screamed with joy, "Huffy look!" (I call my husband huffy, it's his nickname). His first reaction and response was, "Seriously, there's pee on this." Lol, only my husband would react this way, but he was excited and didn't believe it. So I got dressed and we were off to the store to get another test, well 4 more tests, lol. And they were all positive!

Our pregnancy was not much easier, I was on bed rest the first trimester and the last trimester. The second trimester I wasn't on bed rest but I ended up getting sick with Bronchitis, and wasn't allowed to take very much to improve my health. This left me sick as a dog for almost a month. Towards the end of my pregnancy they found out I had a lot of excess fluid in the amniotic sack, and suggested taking her two weeks early, which I was fine with. At this point I just wanted my little girl in my arms and not up in my ribs which is where she felt most comfortable on most days, lol. 

I'll never forget getting rolled back into to OR, only this time it was to have our daughter. We gave birth via C-section, and our daughter's song was playing while she was being born in the operating room, "Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, JOLENE"! Yes she was named after the Dolly Parton song, I love Dolly and Jolene would kick me like crazy every time I played it! That first scream was magical and the first time I held her I knew that all the pain, heart ache and waiting was worth it. I'd do it all over again just to have this little angel in my arms.

Now she's 15 months old, running everywhere, and on the trails with us!
Our little gift form God, our baby girl Jolene!
Mommy and Daddy love you baby girl!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Journal - Sometimes hiking doesn't turn out perfect, and that's ok

Sometimes hiking doesn't turn out perfect and that's OK

Laurel Fall, Gatlinburg, TN

For the past 6 months I've really delved into the hiking world head first and have learned one important lesson. Hiking is not always magical and perfect, sometimes it's really hard. There are times where you will be crying your eyes out on a trail, ready to give up, and will literally question why the heck you do this in the first place. Especially for those of us who hike with infants, toddlers and/or kids. Basically once you add a small human to the mix the chances of a "perfect hike" go to almost 0%, lol. Something is always wrong, we forgot the favorite snack, God forbid we have an explosive diaper on the trail, and so much more!

One of these moments, for me, happened while out hiking with my mom at an Old Sugar Mill in Port Orange, FL. I use a hiking baby carrier to carry my daughter on my back. FYI, best investment EVER!!!! She's just sitting in there, drinking her sippy cup, relaxing, while my mom and I are enjoying the beautiful gardens around the property. Everyone was so relaxed and calm, then all of a sudden, I felt this wet trickle down my leg. I immediately asked my mom is she put Jolene's spare sippy cup inside the carrier's back pocket. I thought, maybe the water leaking out. Alas no, my daughter had an explosive diarrhea diaper all over herself and it was now leaking into the carrier, onto my back and down my legs! Panic, just shear grossed out panic! What do I do?! So I calmed down, realized my daughter wasn't crying, but laughing, so I better take advantage of her happiness and get back to the car. My mom kept asking me if I wanted to take her out of the carrier but I was so scared that the diaper was acting like a ticking time bomb in the carrier and didn't want the poop filled situation to get any worse. Once back to the car we get her out, cleaned up, changed and then I ended up driving home sitting on a towel without a shirt (wearing a sports bra), because my back and pants were covered in baby poop!

The calm before the "poop storm"!

Another time when we were in TN on a vacation we had a momma bear break into our truck and steal our lunches just before we got ready to go hiking! We had sandwiches, snacks, Jolene's food, drinks and more all in one bag. Big mistake! We found out really quickly that this bear could open a truck door and then took the entire bag of lunch with her! After feeling like complete “tourist idiots” we headed back inside, made a whole new bag of food (which we guard with our lives) and then headed off to the trail!

The most recent example of a "not so perfect hike" happened a few weeks ago. Our favorite park to hike, which is right near our house, is Wekiwa Springs State Park. We've hiked many of the trails there but this time we wanted to try something new. So we hiked the bicycle path, which is a 9 mile loop thru the woods. The beginning of the path was great, we got there early, it was still cool outside, and we were all excited. Then we hit the biggest collection of bugs I've ever seen. We were on a part of the trail for almost 2 miles fighting off mosquitoes the sign of a golf ball, horse flies, bees, you name it! I walked in front since I had Jolene on my back in the carrier, while my husband was behind me swatting off all the bugs that got on her. We kept coating ourselves over and over again with bug spray but it wasn't enough. When we finally got out of that part of the trail we were then met with a stampede of Wild Hogs! Luckily they turned before they got too close to us! And about another mile in guess what? More bugs!!! I am telling you, when we got done with the hike both my husband and I looked like we had a disease. We had so many bug bites. Luckily our daughter didn't get too many because we kinda covered her in insect spray and towels. Needless to say we will not be doing hikes near the swamp anymore until the winter time when the bugs die down.

Trying to escape the bugs!

These are just 3 of the multitude of times we have had rough experiences hiking. It's never easy, but worth it. I love seeing the smile on Jolene's face when she sees a bird fly by or hears a deer run thru the brush! I love experiencing the close family time we have on the trail with no technology getting in our way. We would go thru the hard times on the trail 100x over again as long as we know we have one another and we are experiencing it together! These are memories we may. It may not be happy ones at the moment but in the future we will look back and laugh about! So don’t let these minor hiccups scare you or your family from experiencing the great outdoors. It’s what makes the trip an Adventure!

Until Next Time, Keep On Hiking!

~Crystal Osborn~
Osborn Family Hikes

Day 4 Quarantine WOD

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