Monday, August 1, 2011

Transitioning into "Normal Life"

So we have decided to settle down and start transitioning into a "normal life" whatever that means, haha. We are both job hunting, and ready to have some stability to our lives (aka not having to travel the world and move every 9 months)! The older the kids get, the harder it is to take them overseas away from their family. And with them getting closer to school age, it would be nice to get a routine down! Plus we really love having Tayden home, going to his school for kids like him... he has grown so much there, and they truly love him, and it's so good to see.

But it has been an adventure... that's for sure. This job hunting thing has been interesting! Praying we find our way through this all, and come out on top :) And with the way the job market is nowadays... well it's definitely a challenge, but we aren't ones to give up easily.

My husband has been asked to speak and share his testimony at many different churches, christian camps, and even at the Alive Festival! So he has been staying busy this summer. He has now been trying to move away from the professional basketball player title and break into the basketball coaching world, and I am so proud of him :)

As much as I love working from home and being a mommy... it's time for me to get a job outside our family life! I'm trying to find something that I can possibly grow in... I am still trying to figure out "What I want to be when I grow up". I am ready to get my degree... just not sure which avenue to go! Thinking Marketing... but I guess I will test the waters and then decide :) I have a blast with our business (Stockman Basketball) doing all I do with that I really enjoy it... the website, the planning, the people, the events, promoting.

Anyway keep us in your prayers! Things have been rough, but regardless we have still been incredibly blessed.

Friday, April 1, 2011

It's not all glitz and glamour.

A lot of people don't understand what all goes on when your husband is playing basketball professionally. They think life is good, life is great, no stress, just fun. Don't get me wrong, we are truly blessed... my husband gets to live out his dream, not many get that chance. We are thankful. But a lot more goes on behind the scenes than one would think. 

Yes it's so fun to go to another country and experience the culture... but what you have to remember, is usually each year, we end up somewhere new. It's hard when you have been in France for so long, just starting to learn the language then you end up in Mexico, and then Brazil. It's hard to go to a new city not knowing anyone there, or having family around. It is hard when you finally make a lot of really great friends in one city only to end up in another the next season. It's hard to just move period, imagine doing it every couple months! It wears on a person. 

What's even harder is what the stress of a bad game or even a bad season will bring... always nervous of him getting cut if a game doesn't go right, or not getting asked back if a season didn't end well; regardless how well he played. And for our family that's scary... to not have guaranteed stability. But I guess nowadays nobody really does... but for us it's much more sensitive. He can be on a team for 1 week, and get cut if the coach doesn't like him, or if they lose a game regardless whose fault it is... and it can be hard to bounce back from something like that. 

Plus being in the public eye people will have an opinion on your spouse, or even you... and that's something I struggle with. I have a hard time if I hear one person bad mouth my husband about his skill on the court, because I feel like they just don't understand! He's amazing, a great basketball player, a great athlete. But being American they expect you to win all the time regardless of what the rest of the team is doing and that's stressful. But good thing he is so amazing, so I don't have to hear the trash talk all that often... and I think I get more stressed about it than my husband does lol. And then I feel like because I am a "basketball wife" people feel like I might be cold, or stuck up or something... so they are afraid to approach me, when that's not me at all. I am one of the most down to earth people, and I love meeting new people and making new friends. I mean come on... back int he day on most of my reports cards you would see "Social Butterfly" in nearly every comment box, it's who I am! lol

Now I will say this... out of all the countries that we have been to so far, Brazil has been my favorite. Not only is the league well organized, and so fun to watch and keep up with (there are a lot of really great players and teams), but the people and the culture is one of the best I have experienced so far. And don't even get me started on the food: FANTASTIC! I feel like people truly care about our family when we are here, they aren't being fake, it's all real. People are so warm and kind here. 

My kids seem to be having a great time and that's also very important to me. They are going to school here in Brazil, it's 5 days a week, 4 hours a day and they LOVE IT. They have picked up so many amazing and cute brazilian mannerisms, I love it. If we come back next year we are hoping to get B-ray into a soccer school or club down here. He loves soccer. And what better place to learn and play on a soccer team than in one of the most famous "futbol" countries in the world? Brazil.  Now not sure how much Portuguese they actually have picked up, as this is their 2nd year in Brazil... and we speak only English to them so they respond in english, but we do hear them say some things in portuguese... like whenever B-ray or Maddox makes a mistake instead of saying "opps" it's "Opa!" lol... or if they get scared instead of "Ah" and "Ey!" lol.  And here in Brazil Tayden has had the most amazing therapists and doctors maybe he has ever had! Plus I love that usually when someone sees Tayden they will walk up to him, and put their hands on his head and pray for him. You don't see that in the states that often, but here it happens all the time. And to have people praying for him like that, and love him like that, it's just amazing to me. 

Okay I got swept up in my love for Brazil yet again, lol... that wasn't the point of this post, but another post I will go into more detail about how amazing Brazil has been to our family these past 2 years. 

The point of this is that life for us isn't all glitz and glamour. We still have to work hard to get it and work hard to keep it. Now my husbands season is coming to an end and the real fun begins... what's going to happen next season? Where is our adventure going to take us this time? And how long will it last?

This life is definitely interesting and exciting... but it's definitely not for the weak hearted. 

Thursday, March 31, 2011

A little about our family.

Our family is a unique family in a unique situation. Let me start off by introducing my family. My name is Brittany, I am a wife and a mommy who tries my best to keep our family together, happy and healthy.  My husband Tony is one of the most amazing people I have ever met. He is so kind, genuine and real. He is my best friend and I am so blessed to have him in my life. He is also a former Ohio State Buckeye, who now plays basketball professionally all over the world. We have 3 little boys: Tayden (6 years old), Braysen aka B-ray (3 years old), and Maddox (2 years old). We are currently in Assis, Brazil... this is our 2nd year in Brazil (we have also lived as family in Mexico, and France).

It is very important to my husband and I that our family stay together no matter what. With his profession no matter what kind of family you have it's so hard and stressful to keep up and stay together. The traveling, the visas, the passports, the plane rides, the bus trips... and then getting the kids in school, getting used to the culture, trying to the learn the language, adjust to the food. It's all very overwhelming, but definitely fun. But for our family, things are always a little bit more interesting... and here's why:

The reason it's a little bit harder for our family to stay together regardless of where we are in the world is our oldest son Tayden. Let me start from the beginning with this...

When my husband was playing for The Ohio State University we got pregnant with our first son. He was due around the end of the season and everything was going according to plan. I went in for my 37 week appointment just for my regular scheduled check up. I had lost 2lbs so the doctors scheduled an ultrasound to make sure that I wasn't leaking any amnionic fluid. Well my husband and I go to the ultrasound excited to see our baby one last time before the birth, but that excitement would soon change to a parents worst nightmare. 

What they found on that ultrasound changed our lives from that moment on. The reason I had lost 2lbs was because our son had actually stopped growing... our son had something called hydrocephalus, which is a large cyst in his brain. This cyst had gotten so big that you couldn't even see the left side of his brain, it looked like it wasn't even there. I remember looking at the ultrasound and seeing black on one side of his brain and feeling like I was going to pass-out. Now this cyst a progressive cyst, it wont ever stop growing, and because of this they wanted to induce me immediately so that the cyst didn't grow anymore and cause even more damage. We were just so shocked... it was so hard to call all our family and let them know what was going on... it was so hard for us to wrap our minds around the fact that our child was going to need lots of medical intervention once he was born and who knew how long after.  It just felt like we couldn't breathe, we couldn't relax, everything was so up in the air, everything was just so unknown. 

Don't get me wrong, we were so grateful that the doctors caught it in time, they could have decided to overlook the 2lbs lost and not done an ultrasound, and our child could have no even made it had we waited another week... But to this day I still can't find the words to describe what it felt like to think your baby is completely perfect and healthy the whole pregnancy to finding out that it wasn't that way at all.

I remember it was so hard my first night in the hospital after they had induced my labor... my husband had a game against Northwestern that night so he couldn't be with me... as I sit alone with just my thoughts, a bunch of monitors, all our family and friends had gone to rest... I cried. I was so scared, I didn't know what to think. Everyone didn't want to talk about it, it was like if we didn't speak about it it wasn't really happening. Luckily for me there wasn't much I had to go through alone... my husband had return from his trip, and after 36 hours of labor, his little stubborn butt wouldn't budge, so they delivered him via c-section and he was immediately whisked off to the NICU. Neither my husband or I really even had a chance to see him... 

I remember feeling terrible for my husband he was going through all this all while he had classes to attend and practices to go to... during all of this he had of course missed a practice and it cost him his starting spot on the team. All of this that we were going through was just too much to handle, but for him, there was just so much more he had to deal with. Of course he doesn't regret it, or hate what happened... but it had to be hard for him at the time. 

A few hours after he was born we were aloud to see him, they were getting ready to transfer him to Columbus Children Hospital that was all the way across the city... because they were going to have to place a shunt in his brain so it could continuously drain his cyst and the best neurosurgeon in Columbus was at Columbus Childrens.  I remember this day so clearly... the doctors allowed me a pass for a few hours to go be with my son after he got out of surgery, I was so grateful for that. I remember our family, and even Tony's assistant coach, was there and how much that meant to us. I remember seeing my baby after his surgery so black and blue and bandages all over his head and stomach but thinking... wow, he is mine, he is here and he is perfect. I knew he was going to have a long road to recovery ahead of him, but after seeing him I was so ready to conquer this with him, I felt so strong! 

He was in the NICU for almost 2 months, he finally started eating on his own so they released him. We still weren't sure how the hydrocephalus was going to affect him... only time would tell. But his brain had started to go back to where it needed to be and the cyst was slowly draining, but most importantly... HE WAS COMING HOME!!! :)

I remember how excited we were to have him home with us! Finally we got him to ourselves! But we started to notice that he was getting really scared every time a door would open, or even when we put dishes away, and then we started noticing that he would never look at us. That's when we found out that he had something called Septo-optic dysplasia, basically he doesn't have as many optic nerves as he should have, and because of this he is completely blind. 

Now what's common with Septo-optic dysplasia is seizure disorders and something called panhypopituitiarism, which basically means his pituitary gland doesn't work at all, so we have to replace ALL those hormones with medications (Thyroid Medication, Growth Hormone, and DDVP for his central diabetes insipidus). So basically since he was 6 months old he has been taking numerous medications twice daily, and suffering from annoying seizures that we can't seem to stop, but no matter what this child has gone through in his 6 years of life, he ALWAYS has a smile on his face.

Now he might not run, walk, or even crawl... but he is just so full of life you can't help but be sucked in by his bright blue eyes and that stunning smile. We work with him every single day, therapy wise and just playing and having fun. He has changed our lives for the better, but always has made it more interesting to travel! With all the medications, and needles for his growth hormone and central adrenal insufficiency it's been interesting getting through airport security. We always have to make sure there is good endocrinologists and neurologists in whatever city we are going to, a hospital near by, and pharmacies that can take care of all his medication needs. 

It interesting planning for trips with him, but he is actually the easiest out of all 3 of our sons to travel with. Haha he was so laid back, but our other two are all over the place.

Braysen aka B-ray is our 3 year old with a heart of gold. That kid is too smart for his own good though, he is always getting into trouble by experimenting with how things work. He's also a sneaky son-of-a-gun too. Real stealth lol, all quiet. But he is always looking out for his brothers, even though he isn't the oldest he has took on that roll. He is always watching out for Tayden, and even though he picks with Maddox 100% of the day, he wont let ANYONE else pick with him lol. He's got everyones back and I love that about him! He is his daddy's twin too... they look just a like it's crazy!

And then there is Mad-dog aka Maddox. He is our 2 year old and a spunky little thing! His personality is WAY too big for his body... he might be more cocky than Kanye himself! That boys has so much confidence lol. And he is so driven... he has a natural love and talent for basketball just like his daddy and he can't seem to get enough. He will practice for hours on end just shooting and dribbling, and he even watched basketball with us when we are watching our NBA League Pass. It's crazy! But also this little punk is incredibly stubborn. It's his way or the high way...

Never a dull moment with my family :) They are fun and hilarious, definitely entertaining and I am so grateful for them!! I love them so much and I am so excited to see where our next adventure takes us! 

Maddox Stockman... it's just in his blood.