Sunday, June 21, 2009

(Note to bloggers - this is Jerad writing as a "guest" with special permission from Janel "the Blog" Barnett...)

For those of you who know me, you know that I am a man of few words and I prefer that those few be funny, but I will try to put on my serious hat for the most part and capture the day, Father's Day, through "Dad's" eyes as my wife requested...

Unfortunately it was another sleepless night for Ally, and her stomach pain seemed to be a little more severe. Not exactly what we were hoping after they switched up some of her medications on Friday in hopes of helping with the belly pain. This continues to be the number one issue, and it is very hard to watch her in so much pain through the night that she wakes up crying every hour or less. Tonights experiment: sleeping on her stomach. We noticed her napping this way a couple of times so we are trying it. At this point, we'll try any home remedy or witch doctor potion to make the pain go away.

In some ways, this was my worst Father's Day as much as the Ned Flanders in me hates to admit it. Seeing Ally losing her hair upsets me, seeing her sit idle while her cousins and friends play carefree upsets me, forcing medicine down her throat until she crys upsets me, and of course seeing her in stomach pain upsets me. I know the old Ally will return soon and will be stronger than the old, but in the meantime this process is very painful as a parent to watch and live.

But in other ways this was a great Father's Day (Of course Flanders would prevail!). My parents came in last night and went to church with me, then we raced home and tagged Janel so that she could hurry off and go to church with her Dad. With Ally's immune system at absolute zero, we may be tag teaming church for awhile, but I'm glad we were each able to go with our Dad on Father's Day. And it doesn't hurt to be a Dad. All the Dad's stood up at St. Brigid and received a special blessing and a round of applause. This was only the beginning of the freebies - my Dad, Evan and I went out for a round of putt putt and the Dad's played for FREE! This will probably be an annual event now that we know because it is pretty much the 3 of our's favorite thing to do. No DNA test needed for Evan, his passion for putt putt shows he's a Barnett. Here's a picture of Dad and Evan at Indian Trails.

Another favorite pasttime with Ally's illness has been playing board games, and I have to admit that I am secretly enjoying this. I haven't played this much Clue, Life, Yahtzee, Monopoly, Uno, Battleship, and Solitaire since I was 10 years old. So to try to perk Ally up we whipped out the Monopoly and she seemed to light up immediately. I know her belly hurts her a lot, but I also know that when we distract her enough, the pain seems to subside. She was giggling so loud Janel heard her upstairs, especially when I told her about Evan falling on the counter and into the sink earlier in the day (I have to admit that this was quite funny, I heard a noise and looked up to see his head and two feet sticking out of the sink!). I know Monopoly doesn't sound wildly exciting, but anytime we get to hear Ally giggling like her old self instead of crying in pain, it is very uplifting.

After Carly woke up from her nap, we headed to Janel's Dad's to christen the "Fox Hill Pool". Although the pool isn't quite ready for swimming (turns out a 38' water slide is a custom order!), the patio and outdoor kitchen, complete with a real wood fired pizza oven, were ready to go. Kudos to Bob and the Hess's who I know spent a lot of time getting dinner ready because the pizzas were excellent. Below is Kevin, Janel's cousin, moments before he combusted from the heat of the pizza oven.

Ally did MUCH better than we were expecting, lasting about 2+ hours before she was ready to leave. Ally and Bam Bam (Ally's great grandmother) and Pa (Janel's Dad) seemed to have a great time under one of the umbrellas doing some coloring and talking about various alternate middle names for me. Here they are below probably scheming up "Ralph", the name that seemed to produce the most giggles from Ally.

It was nice to spend some time with Carly at the pool as well. She's a Daddy's girl but not quite as much as Ally, and she's at one of my favorite stages where she's just starting to string words together and communicate. Tonight it was "c'mon daddy, go cookie mmm" or when dinner was ready "c'mon Nonny (how she says Evan), c'mon Owey (her cousin Owen)" at the top of her lungs. She's probably been the surprise through all of this ordeal because I can remember a time when Janel & I couldn't sneak out of the house without her screaming for a half an hour with a sitter, and now we have left her with just about everyone but the mail lady and she has taken it in stride. In fact, she picked my Mom to take her outside over me ("c'mon Gramma") and Janel to put her to bed over me which never happens - can someone tell Carly it's Father's Day? Here's my sweet Carly with her wild blonde hair.

So there's the Dad's input for the first and maybe last time (depending on blogger wife is adamant that the hits better not go down!) I was actually going to post something a week or so ago, but I have to say that my wife is doing a wonderful job and I did not want to screw it up. I can do this once a year, but to go through every day like this would drive me nuts. So keep up the good work Janel, and thanks for a great Father's Day. And to all of you who are reading and following, who we don't know that well or haven't talked to in ages, THANKS SO MUCH for everything that everyone is doing and has d0ne. Your support is uplifting and overwhelming.

Most importantly, please say a prayer for Ally's battle with this terrible disease and for her constant stomach pain. Thanks again from "Dad" to Ally's Army.


  1. Bravo Jerad! A very good post. I don't think the hits will go down with this one. The picture of you and your children is beautiful. Thanks for sharing and I hope you might continue to post in the future (that is if Janel will let you.) We will continue to keep Ally in our prayers and pray that her stomach pains will go away soon. Happy Father's Day!

  2. Great post bro. While I say many prayers aimed at helping Ally advance through this crappy pain and sickness, I say just as many in thanksgiving that she has you as a Dad. You see things on a daily basis that I know come close to ripping your heart out, but somehow you continue to stay so optimistic and faithful (you and Dad have always battled for the "Most Optimistic" award!). Keep that spirit high and stay positive because it is truly infectious. Ally sees that and for someone who has a knockdown, dragout fight over the next 3 years, it will be critical.

    Here's hoping the sleeping on the stomach does the you guys!

  3. Janel and Jerad, I have not commented yet but I do want you to know that I read your blog daily. You are in my prayers and have asked all my friends and neighbors here in South Carolina to pray for you as well. Please know I am always thinking of your family even though I am so far away. You will always be my best friend Janel. Happy Fathers Day Jerad!
    Your friend,

  4. Just to let you know I waited until midnight last night for this post :-), the anticipation was high!. You did not disappoint. You Jerad are one of the best Dad's I know. I am so glad you decided to post on Father's Day. To see you go through this breaks my heart, but as Brad said, Ally is so lucky to have you as a Dad to support her day in and day out. I could go on and on singing your praises, but I will just say I am honored to be your friend and more importantly a part of Ally's Army. We (all of the Winger's) love you and are here for all of you every step of the way.

  5. Terri Barnett ShumakerJune 22, 2009 at 9:00 AM

    That was Great Jared and you even added you little bits of humor that you do love to do. I don't know about others that read this daily but I feel like you are writing this to me personally and I love being able to connect with you all this way. I love the pics and you have great families on both sides. Hope to see you all soon.

  6. I couldn't wait this morning to check the post. I couldn't help but wonder all day how this Father's Day was going to affect you. It's hard to hear the pain it causes you (yet completely understandable), but wonderful to hear your optimism and determination. (That's the Jerad I know!)I LOVED that you went putt-putt golfing with your dad and Evan and that your dad was here to spend the day with you. You are a great dad no matter what circumstance you are in. Love from us...Suzy/Larry

  7. Great job! We demand an encore!

  8. Fabulous post Jared. You should continue to make "guest appearances" on this blog. Your perspective is as important as anything and years from now, when Ally is a teenager and this disease is only a faint memory, your words will mean so much to her, as do the words her mother writes here.

  9. Great post, Jerad. I would have expected nothing less. Mom and Dad talked about what a really great time they had with you and Janel and the kids. I've always been so proud of what a wonderful father my "little" brother is, and that pride continues to grow as I watch you getting through this. We can't wait to see you guys.

  10. continue to be an inspiration to so many, and to me specifically. Your courage and positive mindset, even in the midst of what I know must be emotional anguish, is so awesome. You are indeed a wonderful boss, but I must say that I am just in awe of your abilities as a dad and husband. Your quiet confidence and strength is such a comfort to those around you. You are truly setting an example - not only for your children - but for all who know you. God certainly knew what He was doing when He blessed Ally with you as a dad. As I've said before, it is an honor and a privilege to work for and with you, whether at the office or in your home. You're a remarkable and Godly man. I continue to pray for YOU and for Janel, and of course for Ally, minute by minute. I loved your post...and I love all of you. Call on me for anything...24/7.

  11. I too was waiting for the post--no pressure! You did great and I second what others say that you should post again sometime. What Ally (and Janel) need is your optimism and humor to continue and I know that they will. I know this isn't easy, but I also know you all can do it. Ally couldn't have a better Dad (and Mom, bro, and sis) to help her get through this.
    I too am an enjoyer of board games, so whenever you need another player just ask! I would love to play with her and she and I do need a rubber match at Battleship sometime. :)

  12. Great job Jerad - we knew you could write an interesting post! It has to be so hard on all of you but you do have to believe she will be back to her old self PLUS some more! I just hope that isn't too far from now - I am glad you had an enjoyable Father's Day- hang in there! Your strength and attitude through all of this is truly an inspiration!

  13. Jerad, you deserve a Father of the Year Award. Your sense of humor and positive attitude mean the world to your family. They are all lucky to have you. We continue to pray for Ally and wish you all more moments of joy and laughter together. (By the way, tell Ally I suggest "Herbert" as your middle name!)

    L, Lisa

  14. P.S. my sis was logged into my computer -- sorry for the confusion but the last post was me. :)

  15. Jerad, you provided a wonderful, heartfelt post. I hope that you consider contributing a guest post more than once a year because your insight as a father is inmeasurable and your love for your children flows through it. Ally Evan and Carly will cherish these words from you, clearly written from your heart.
    ~Shelly H.

  16. What a great picture of you and your little ones! I can only imagine the difficulty of facing this situation with Ally, but I'm glad to see that she has an amazing Dad and Mom to help her through it. You are doing a wonderful job. I'm glad to see that you're keeping your optimistic attitude! Don't ever lose it! Craig sometimes gets tired of mine and says, "Can you stop trying to be so damn positive for 2 seconds and see things from my point of view!" LOL Just keep seeing it from your point of view, and you'll do great! I'll continue to watch Ally's progress and keep you in my thoughts and prayers each and every day.

  17. Good job, Jerad...I know you were nervous about posting, but you did a great job! My heart goes out to both you and Janel, I've seen the pain you are going through and it breaks my heart. And seeing Ally this weekend in pain was just about more than I could take. It was so wonderful to hear she was better Monday. (I think it is now Tuesday!). Always remember that we are here for you. You are a wonderful Dad, and I must say, you had a great teacher in your own Dad. We couldn't be prouder of our two sons and the "Dad's"_ they have become. Love you, Mom.

  18. Jerad, Wonderful post!! It was so good to hear your sense of humor and that Ally was giggling. Great stress release for all of you!!! Stay optimistic and keep smiling as often as you can. As always you are in our prayers.

  19. Jerad and Janel-
    Great post Jerad! We are praying for you and your amazing family. You are an inspiration and Ally is blessed to have you both as her parents.

    Wende M-E

  20. Bravo, Jerad! I really enjoyed reading your post. You have a great attitude. Hang in there.


  21. What a great post, Jerad! But, I'm not surprised - I knew it would be! I echo my siblings' sentiments above, but I can't say enough how proud I am to be your sister. Your and Janel's strength through all of this is truly amazing. And Ally - I know exactly where she gets that strength of hers as well.

    Know that we are here for you each and every day, for anything you need. We will beat this! Love you all and we'll see you on Friday!

    Love, Aunt Jess and Uncle Shaun

  22. Janel and Jared,

    I have not commented yet and just wanted to let you know that I have been following the blog and Janel you are doing a wonderful job. Thank you for giving people like me, who do not even know Ally, but certainly care about her and your family, the chance to stay updated. I pray for her and you guys daily and know she will continue to fight.

    Jared, you did great on your first blog! You two are such awesome parents, I'm glad you had as good of a father's day as you could have at this time. Stay strong and God bless!


  23. Jared and Janel -
    Such wonderful, and sometimes anguishing, thoughts you share with these posts. Imagine the book your family will have in the years to come...Very powerul.
    "Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. Love still stands when all else has fallen."
    Thoughts and prayers for healing and courage and strength and grace.
    Much love,