Website and Life Updates

Its been a while. Mostly because I’ve been overhauling the site with a little help from my friend Brandon of BDG WebDesign. So I’m sharing some website AND life updates. It shouldn’t look much different to anyone, but everything behind the scenes is new and improved and it took some time to get it done. Thanks to Brandon for doing the stuff I don’t get and for years of tolerating my questions. OK, he “pets” my hair when I’m really not getting things, so it’s an even deal…

Dane and I got our CCW (concealed weapon permit) for Nevada and Utah so we’re legal to carry in most states. We’ve done some shooting (OK, quite a bit of it actually) and it’s been a blast (HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!). Really, very fun and enlightening. I’ll do a blog post more on this later. I bought a new meal bag/laptop bag. I love this thing although I work from home quite a bit, when I’m in the office, it means I can stay on track with what I’m eating. I can’t afford to eat out and it’s not healthy, so there you go. Dane found the company, I found the bag.

My daughter Alana, who is a senior in high school, getting ready to graduate and join the Air Force Guard, got sick the day after Tavin got sick and they had the exact same flu symptoms. 3 days later, I brought Alana into urgent care because something seemed off to me. They did a flu test, and when they did the exam (while said flu test was percolating), she screamed when her abdomen was touched. The doctor sent us to the ER and let me know Alana would probably be getting her appendix out later that day. At the ER, when Alana peed in a cup and the nurse picked it up, we both gasped. You could SEE it was awful. (Word to the wise — have kids pee in cups when they have flu symptoms??). Kidney infection.

She was then transferred (by me) to the pediatric hospital for admittance and after crashing for the 3rd time, went into the ICU. I sat and watched my daughter’s stats crash, knowing she was septic and thinking I would lose her. It was horrifying. The first night I didn’t have a chair or fold-out cot, so I laid down next to her for an hour and cried while she was knocked out on pain pills. Two days later, I brought Dane into the ER. Two days after that, I brought him back. Three people very sick (Tavin’s flu lasted a week) all with the same symptoms but all with something different. Dane has been working 70+ hour weeks for over 8 months and not sleeping well. I went out of town the week prior to everyone getting sick so he had more on his plate. The doctors told us he’s burning both ends and the bottom fell out. His body literally had a nervous breakdown. Rigors, fever, hallucinations, vomiting. It was one of the most difficult weeks I’ve had. Thankfully everyone is recovering. Alana is doing great, Tavin doesn’t remember being sick and Dane is slowly recovering and changing his work schedule.

Two weeks later, Dane’s mom passed away. A week after Thanksgiving 2015 she was diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer and it pretty much spread everywhere very quickly. It was expected, but still very difficult. She was blessed to live out her last months at Dane’s brothers’ home and we got great pictures and had wonderful conversations with her especially towards the end. Her memorial will be in CA in April.

In the midst of all that, my 17-year-old son, Nicolas went through VERY intense testing. He’s been diagnosed with Autism, but up to 50% of the time the diagnosis is incorrect. 5 visits to UNR’s UCANN team, he is indeed, autistic. We got great information from them and feel better about our plan moving forward. Also, Tavin was chosen to be the “Spotlight” child in Kindergarten. It’s a time when we make a poster board of her life and she gets to tell her story. I’ve been meaning to make her a scrapbook and this was pretty much the kick in the butt I needed. Since Dane’s wife passed away (Tavin’s first mommy), I’ve wanted to make her a scrapbook so she can see her Mommy Danielle when she wants to and the family can tell her the stories. It’s now done and it’s a masterpiece.

I’ve been trying to meditate more often. Leo Babauta of Zen Habits says when his day is hectic and he needs to refocus, he makes himself Matcha Tea so I got myself some to tinker and refocus myself. It’s pretty neat. I like the ritual, the stirring, the calming effect it has. Also, Dane heard an ad on the radio about a store by us selling pure Maple Syrup from Vermont (where I’m from) so he stopped and got it for me as a surprise. Awesomeness!!!

I’m writing a book (finally). My book is called “Hello, My Name Is……” and it’s about my childhood, upbringing, etc.. I’ll eventually have a website (the domain is already mine) with speaking opportunities, videos, coaching, writing, etc… on it and that’s a very scary, very exciting process where I’m learning a lot.

I ran a 10K. Inaugural Biggest Little City which was fantastic. I placed 26th out of 213 total finishers, placed 3rd in my age division with a total time of 53:19, averaging 8:36 minute miles. Still a little slower than 18 months ago before I broke my foot, but I’ll take it. I also got to wear my new RecoFit tights made by the owner (and my dear friend) Susie. In the meantime, the weather warmed up in Reno so we dug out shorts and went on walks, to the park, on a hike and I took 3 girls to a basketball game.

Then yesterday it snowed a foot. Sunday we hiked in shorts and today (three days later) the kids are making a snowman. Welcome to Reno.

With everyone’s health as a slap in the face, Dane and I are revamping some things. I’ve remade a sort of vision board for myself — how I want to look physically, what things I want to do from buying a tiny home to getting out of debt to eating a more healthy diet. I had signed up for some health and nutrition courses with Food Matters and Dr. Axe and the timing was perfect. Now more than ever I want more training in nutrition. We’ve always done well in the healthy diet arena, but we’re not perfect and the changes we can make aren’t huge but can make a huge difference.

While that was happening, my VitaMix blender died….. Geesh. We also minimized more. So far (9 months after moving into this home), I’ve gone through the 3 closets, the living room, our bedroom is pretty well done and I’m ready to tackle the kitchen again. The garage I’m saving for Dane and me to do together. Lucky man! Minimizing is an ongoing maintenance project and it helps de-stress me, so I like keeping up on it. The vision board is keeping me focused on my true goals and the diet revamp means we’re getting back to basics.

Originally published at



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Jenn Taylor — Mom Of 18

Mom Of 18 Certified Birth & Bereavement Doula® Adoption & Surrogacy Doula Breastfeeding Counselor Reno, NV 15+ Years In The Foster Care Sector, Blogger, Podcast