Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Iron Man Update, Cousins, Sisters & Holy Week

Giving kisses is easier without the helmet!
Joey and Daddy

Joey has been rocking his Iron Man style for almost 3 ½ weeks now.  We still haven’t committed to how to add some flair to his sweet, blue helmet.  If we don’t make a decision soon, he might be out of it before we get his accoutrement on.  

I don't know if it is because I'm the oldest or because of my military background, but I am a big rule follower.  When the doctor told us Joey needed to wear his helmet for 23 hours a day I took him very seriously.  This week’s appointment came with excellent news—Joey’s head has already changed between3-4mm!  We started off with a 10-11mm difference and now he is down to between 7-8mm.  The goal is to get his measurement down to 2.5 or 3.0mm (ie: “normal”—love that word.  Still don’t know what it means).  In an ideal world he could possibly get down to the right measurement before his open heart surgery, but if not, it’s not a big deal.  

A visit from Miss Kelly!  Joey and Tommy adore Miss K.

Weeeeee!!!!  Not in focus, but what a great face!

Falling asleep in mama's arms.  Nothing sweeter.

If I had any doubts about getting the helmet in the first place they were all dispelled this weekend when my sister and niece drove up from Dayton for a last minute trip to visit the Iron Man himself in person.  My sister kept saying, “His head looks so good!”  And you know what, she’s right.  If you measure 3.0mm it’s not a large amount, but already his little head looks rounder and the slant does not seem nearly so severe.  Go Joey!!!  We let him take off his helmet a little bit more this weekend so everyone could kiss those fabulous cheeks and even I have to admit that it was so nice to get to see his precious little head more.
Aunt Lu Lu and Mallory playing with Baby Joey.

Precious cousins.

Sweet Mallory with Hershey Kiss.
It’s always such a treat when we get to see family.  Tommy and Mallory ran around the house and played on the porch until their faces were flushed and sweaty.  We all went to mass for Palm Sunday.  While the Priest was blessing the palms, Tommy asked (loudly- very loudly), “What’s that man doing?” Tom said, “Father is blessing the palms.”  To which Tommy replied, “I do it myself!”  You’ve got to love a two and half year old in church.  The boys and Mallory did a great job until the very end of Mass when was very quiet, right after communion, and Tommy piped up for one last giggle from the older ladies behind us when he told his daddy, “I gotta go now.”  Amen.

Mallory and Tommy had a blast!

Church is one of the few places other than doctor’s appointments that we take Joey.  I think we all need as many prayers as we can get and nothing gives me more of a sense of calmness and being grounded than going to Mass.  A lot of people in mass curiously looked at Joey’s helmet and I always smile—as if to reassure them that it’s okay.  It’s just a little helmet.  Nothing that major in the big scheme of life. 

I don’t know what it is, but as I get older and live more, I get really emotional at church.  Especially during the songs and communion.  We have so many blessings and so much to be grateful for and when I hold Joey or Tommy during church or get to attend Mass with some of our out of town family I feel it even more. 

It was so nice to see cousins together.  It’s too rare that we get to see each other and we missed seeing Carly and Uncle Brian (our other niece and my BIL), but it was a treat to get to hang out with Laura and Mallory.  Drink a glass of wine, catch up and take pictures of the kids.  Thanks, Lu Lu and Mal—we loved the time together.  Now I just need to track down Lu Lu’s photos since somehow I didn’t manage to get one of her and Joey or her and me.  Looks like we’re just going to have to get together again very soon! 

Yep-- I let Aunt Lu Lu take my picture with no make-up on and my hair half wet.  Doesn't matter-- these photos are clearly all about the most important subject--- Baby Joey!

It’s tough living away from my side of the family.  It is tough not having my mom or my sister down the street for those spur of the moment meals or get togethers.  Some days and weeks it is even tougher.  It also makes it even more special when we do get to see each other.  We’ve only gotten to take Joey home to Dayton once, but I’m hoping that once we make it through his surgery we can plan a big trip for him to make another Dayton debut and visit Grammy and G-Pa’s house and see his Dayton cousins. 

Thoughts about Joey and Holy Week

Joey was named Joseph David for a number of reasons.  My husband’s middle name is Joseph and both of our dad’s first names are David.  My father-in-law’s name is David Joseph, so we thought Joseph David would be a nice way to honor both grandfathers as well as my husband.  Also—Joey and I have the same initials, and that just tickles me to no end!

Finally, growing up in Dayton, one of our neighborhood friends was a boy named Joey Upshaw.  He was in my sister’s class and he spent a lot of time with us at our house.  He was one of the smartest boys in his class.  He was one of kind of kids who had the brains, the humor, the athletic skill and the personality.  Joey was hilarious, kind and a lot of fun to grow up around.  He was also an awesome big brother to his sister, Erica.

The second photo is my sister and Joey at their high school graduation.

When I was a third year law student at OSU, Joey was a senior in undergraduate at OSU.  I remember getting the call during Holy Week that Joey had passed away.  It was like a part of my sister’s and my childhood had died.  All those memories, all the laughter he brought to our house.   My heart broke for my sister, for Joey’s sister and his parents.  Going to the funeral of a young person always feels so unnatural and so unfair.  Death is hard to comprehend at any age level and especially when it is someone who had his entire life ahead of him.  Joey’s family still honors his memory through a golf outing and a website in his honor:  http://www.joeupshaw.org/.  I think about Joey Upshaw a lot, but especially during Holy Week and Lent. I also think that perhaps my Joey has an extra special angel watching over him who shares the same name.


  1. Jen thank you for sharing and I love the pictures.This makes me want to meet your little guys even more.give them kisses and hugs from Aunt Susie

  2. so i'm getting caught up on the blog, and this page got me!! we can't wait to bring carly to play with tommy too! i really wish we lived closer, and i really wish we could share some meals, but I agree the time we spend together is precious! this blog is amazing, thanks for honoring Joey's angel, Joey, on this, it really means a lot and I know he will be looking over him June 8th! You're amazing Jen, good work!
    lots of love-


Thank you for your comment! We read every comment!