Friday, December 27, 2013

The post in which I upset someone. Probably.

So, not really sure how to start this gently, so let me launch right in.

But first, a disclaimer. Some of this stuff I've learned the hard way. Because I've messed it up. And I'm sure I'll get some of it wrong again in the future. And maybe I'm getting some of it wrong now. But I also strongly feel that this needs to be said. So here goes.

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To my Christian friends:

Either you're a Christian, or you're not. Either you believe the Bible is the holy inspired Word of God, or you don't.

This picking & choosing what you believe, or maybe just what you spout, based on your own opinions, or current societal standings, or what's popular at the moment is not okay.

Either it's the Truth, or it isn't.

Yes, there are some so-called "gray" areas. If what you read in the Bible conflicts with what your mind tells you is logical, then I beg you to spend some time in the Word and in prayer, studying the scriptures that are causing you confusion. Look up the original languages if necessary. Research the background. Read commentaries if that helps. Talk to other Christians whom you trust. But work it out. Don't just assume it's okay to bend the Scripture to make it easier for you to swallow. It's not meant to be easy, it's meant to be truth.

A little vague? Maybe. But in my experience what is a struggle point for one Christian may not be so for another. You see the struggle isn't in the Scripture themselves, it's in how our own experiences, culture, and thinking affect our translation. And since those are different for every individual, so it stands that the struggle points are different as well.

To give  you examples, here are some issues that I have struggled with in the past, when what I read in the Bible seemed to conflict with what my own thinking said was logical:

- divorce
- modest dress
- drinking alcohol
- homosexuality
- premarital sex
- relationships with nonChristians
- interracial marriage

For you, those issues might be very black & white, but you may have others that you struggle with that are not a source of struggle for me. Whatever those are, if you find yourself attempting to dismiss or twist Scripture to fit your current way of thinking, or what is popular, or what your culture says is okay, I beg of you to stop and take some time to really study the Word before making a firm stance.

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While we're on the topic of sins & scripture, this whole picking-one-and-harping-on-it-as-if-it's-the-only-thing-that-matters thing is getting really old as well.

Now which sin it is tends to vary depending on your church environment, family background, etc. but social media outlets have made it easier & easier for Christians to "gang up" on one particular group of sinners.

And that's just wrong.

The Bible is very clear that it takes just one sin, any one sin, one ounce of impurity, to keep you from the Gates of Heaven. It is very clear that the only way to cover that sin is by the blood of Jesus Christ and accepting him as your Saviour.

Any one sin. That white lie you told your boss. The $5 you didn't give back to your spouse after shopping. Anything. Think back on every little thing you might have possibly done "wrong" in your life. Heck, just in the past week. Without Christ you just damned yourself for all eternity.

The same as anyone committing that "big" sin you've been harping on.

The current trend is homosexuality, right? So let's judge all gay people, blast them repeatedly, and single them out, making them feel alienated and unloved by the Christian community. Because that's the way to win people to Christ, right?

Wrong. So very wrong.

A few years ago the popular sin to bash was abortion.

When I was a teenager (prior to social media linking us all together in this "cause") I heard a lot about secular music, public schools, and women wearing pants. I mentioned I went to an extremely conservative church, right?

Now, I'm gonna backpedal a little bit. Because I want to be clear.

There is nothing wrong with educating yourself (or if you are in a leadership position, other Christians) about different sins, what does that Scripture specifically mean by mentioning that sin, intellectual discussions, etc.

There is also nothing wrong with approaching someone who is entrapped by sin and attempting to educate them, witness to them, etc.

But there's one caveat: it must be done with love. And yes, that can get tricky at times.

Berating, spouting hate speech, judging, rejecting others because they sin differently than you do is not love. It's just not.

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And since we're on the topic of love:

I think this is one thing that we as Christians struggle with, but I also think we're getting better at it. At least in my world of experience, I've seen improvement.

God is love.

Love.

This doesn't mean  you have to love every single thing that every single person is doing. But it is very clear that we are instructed to love... everyone. Yeah, racking my brain here and can't think of one single person the Bible says it is okay to not love.

Yes, we can gently correct those around us. You correct your children, whom you love, don't you?

But so often I see Christians quick to judge and slow to love, slow to forgive.

And quite frankly, Christian or not, how do you want to be known? As someone quick to judge? or as someone quick to forgive? As someone quick to call out faults? or as someone quick to love others unconditionally?

I admit. I struggle with this on occasion myself. It's not always easy to show love to someone who hurt you, or attacked your family. But isn't it in the hard things that we grow the most? So... love.

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And before my nonChristian (or maybe more liberally minded Christian) friends think they're getting off the hook, there's more:

I am sick & tired of people claiming to be open-minded and tolerant, claiming to hate intolerance, yelling at people for not being more accepting of everyone then turn around and judge and blast and ream those who think differently than you do.

You don't get to have it both ways.

Either you want tolerance and acceptance of everyone, or you want a world where anyone who thinks differently than you do is fair game.

Don't believe in a higher power? Fine. That's your place on your journey.

But that time you made a joke referencing the Flying Spaghetti Monster? Disrespectful to millions around the world and alienating to the three co-workers who overheard it.

Don't believe in creationism? Fine.

But that time you claimed anyone who didn't believe in evolution was an idiot? How tolerant was that?

Think those picketing abortion clinics should be arrested, screw their First Amendment rights?
But think those gathering in support of gay marriage should be left alone, because they're simply exercising their right to free speech?

Really?

Yes, there's a lot of work that Christians (including myself) need to do to really walk the walk.

But the hypocrisy I see from the other side is just as bad. If you want tolerance, you have to live tolerance. And that includes accepting and tolerating those who think differently than you, those you disagree with, even those who you think are just wrong.

To claim that you want tolerance and acceptance, and then in the next breath disrespect, call out, or yell about those who think differently than you do is not only hypocrisy, it ends up undermining your entire argument.

So... stop.

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So there ya go. The post that I'm sure will probably upset someone. But that I also think needed to be said.

As always, thanks for checking in.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Quick Update

I actually found a few minutes with access to Blogger to write! Yay! LOL.

I am nearly 16 weeks along in my pregnancy. Things are going well. We have our big ultrasound to find out the gender after Christmas.

I will say that this pregnancy is much rougher than my first. I know, I know. Every pregnancy is different. Plus I'm 5 years older than I was then. It happens. We are still incredibly blessed, and I know that it's not really that bad.

The biggest issue is the fatigue. It hasn't let up at all. It tends to come on schedule, between 10-11am, 2-3pm, and 7-8pm. Jason jokes that the baby's already on a nap schedule. Ha!

I also have ridiculous (in my opinion) shortness of breath. Especially walking up stairs. Ugh. Ridiculous.

The past week or so I started experiencing a pain in my groin area. Hopefully not TMI. It's not the infamous "lightening crotch" (google it, it's a thing), but more of a bruised feeling. I've noticed it gets worse the more I walk, so you know, that's fun.

And the latest uncomfortable-but-at-the-same-time-glorious thing is that I feel the baby. I don't really feel Peanut move just yet, but when the baby gets into certain positions I definitely feel it. The first time it scared me that something was going wrong, but I guess that's what happens when you have five years between pregnancies: you forget what all those twinges & feelings are supposed to be like.

Peanut definitely likes to push on my bladder, and seems to favor a really low spot. As in, so low it's uncomfortable to walk or to sit up straight. Seriously. Only sixteen weeks! I can tell third trimester's gonna be tons of fun, LOL!

Well, I really need to run. Glad I was able to get on here for a minute. As always, thanks for checking in!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

{{ waves hello }}

Quick note to say I miss my readers and I miss blogging! Hope to be back soon!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Private School

Earlier this week we went to one of the private schools in the area to meet with the director, have Jena tested for placement, etc.

It was the school that was at the top of our list for private schools, and we're satisfied that they would provide a quality education and try to work with Jena at her level.

The testing was a little... unclear. The way they do testing is to review work that the students are currently doing. So for Jena the teacher reviewed both Kindergarten work and 1st grade work.

Kindergarten work, no problem. But they are small classes, they believe in advancing the student as they are ready, etc. So sounds good.

1st grade work... well, everything they covered is something that I know Jena knows how to do. But... how it's delivered confused her.

For instance, for reading they asked her to identify which words follow the "mb" combination sound rule. Things like "lamb", "climb", "plumber", etc. She couldn't answer.

But here's the deal. She can read all of those words. She knows how to pronounce "mb" in combination. But no one has taught her that it is a "rule", that it's a "combination sound", etc. So to ask her to identify words that follow a "combination sound rule" doesn't make sense to her. But if you asked her a different way, I know for a fact she knows that information. Does that make sense?

So probably if we were to send her there we would go ahead and start her in Kindergarten, so she could catch up on the way they teach there. Does that make sense?

We haven't made a decision yet, but I'm glad we went. It gave us a lot of good information.

One issue we have to look at is finances. The private school tuition, plus after school care for over 3 hours a day, means a significant chunk of my paycheck would be going just to her schooling.

Plus, since this school starts earlier, but I still can't pick her up till after work, she'd be either at school, or in an after-school care center for roughly 9.5 hours a day. I know she's already in preschool for 8 hours a day, but that extra 90 minutes just makes it sound like a lot. I'm not sure how comfortable I am with that.

We're keeping our options open, and continue to gather information. I'm sure we'll figure it out in the end.

We're also considering the possibility of homeschool. Any readers care to share their experience / knowledge on the subject?

As always, thanks for checking in!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

I'm here

Sorry I've been MIA. You have no idea how much I'd rather be blogging, LOL.

Lots of drama, very busy.

Baby is good. 13 weeks. I'm doing well.

Work sucks. More details than I can go into now. Or maybe ever. Confidentiality and such.

Biggest news is we're looking into private schools and homeschool options for Jena. Long story, but that's consuming much of our personal time right now.

Hopefully I can get back on here for real in the near future.

As much as I miss writing, I miss checking in on your blogs too. Hope to be back soon!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Work Struggles

So lately I've been really struggling with my work situation.

As you may remember, we went thru a major organizational change nearly 2 years ago, and as a result the entire culture & environment I am working in has changed drastically as well.

And I'm miserable.

First of all, and probably most serious, here is advice / tidbits I've gotten from people who have long-term been in the group we merged with:

Trust no one. I've seen too many people stabbed in the back by people they thought they could trust.

Trust no one.

Welcome to the fishbowl. Where everyone's watching you, either to feed on you or to hide behind you.

Watch what you say. Everyone's listening, and they will twist your words and use it against you.

This is completely out of character to everything I've known during my 10 years with this company. Sure, I've had my issues (who doesn't?), but I could always trust my co-workers. Heck, I know many of their spouses, our kids play together. After 10 years, a lot of them feel more like family.

I've already experienced some of this first-hand. And so has at least one of my co-workers / friends.

It's really sad.

You wouldn't think the culture in a company could change that much from one division to another, but obviously it can.

Another big difference is that now there is a much bigger emphasis on appearance. You see, since being here I've always worked in an engineering group. There's a huge focus on productivity, results, etc. Now that we've merged with an administrative group, it seems to be all about appearances. It's not enough to do a good job. Now you have to spend ridiculous amounts of time making a pretty report to "prove" that you did the work. And if your report isn't pretty enough? You might as well not bother doing the work at all.

It even translates into personal appearance. Which I find interesting considering we're all under the same dress code. Here we have a business casual dress code.

My guys tend to dress in a polo, slacks, and steel toed shoes (they're cuter than you think). Now that we've moved (oh yeah, our office moved to another building - ugh)? Women in heels & dresses nicer than I wear to weddings, men in ties. It's even different in the bathroom. In the other building, you did your business & got out. Here? Women spend copious amounts of time preening in front of the mirror.

It's sickening how much emphasis is put on appearance over function now.

Add to that my actual work situation. Due to the org change, the vast majority of my projects were handed over to another group, because it better fits in their responsibilities. I was supposed to be backfilled with new projects.

That has yet to happen. It's been brought up to my (new) manager multiple times. But there's been little to no development, and the work he's given me to try to fill my time is rote administrative tasks. Which I don't mind doing, to a point, but...

I realized the other day that I am in exactly the same position I was 10 years ago.

Ten years ago I started here, in this building, on this floor, surrounded by people I barely knew, spending the vast majority of my day doing data entry.

I did well, they gave me more responsibility. I did that well, they gave me more. Rinse, repeat. It took seven years for them to max out my capacity. I led multiple projects on a regular basis, led cross-functional teams as needed for special projects, presented to the entire division regularly. And I loved my work.

Now? Ten years later? In the matter of about nine months, because of handing off projects that weren't backfilled, because of an office move made due to corporate politics over business need, I am in exactly the same position. Nine months has made the difference. It has been a huge step backward in my career.

I am in the same building, on the same floor, surrounded by people I barely know, spending the majority of my time doing data entry.

I've repeatedly told my Manager I want more: more work, more responsibility. Teach me. Develop me. Let me do more. He seems to listen, but nothing happens.

My husband thinks I should go over his head, to the General Manager, who came from my old group and with whom I've had a good working relationship. Maybe he's right, but I'm reluctant to pull the go-over-your-head card.

But I am miserable.

I feel trapped.

Because, let's face it. I'm probably not going anywhere for a while.

Jena's tuition is subsidized by my employer. So until she graduates Kindergarten (in May), I'm not leaving. Oh, and my due date is in May, so then there's maternity leave, so... basically I have a year. And let's face it, even if I were willing to leave before then, no one wants to hire the pregnant lady. Oh, they legally can't list that as their reason, but we all know it's true. So that leaves a year. A year to find a way to improve things.

Sometimes I think I just need to improve my attitude, my outlook.

All I know is something's gotta give. I just hope it's not me.

As always, thanks for checking in.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Ramble

Ramble:

I don't really have a blog post put together, but I hate that my blog has set un-updated for so long, so here's some ramblings.

We got Ashes her puppy shots last weekend at a shot clinic held by a local rescue. Discounted shots, and $$ goes to help a rescue? Yes, please.

We also bought some flea treatment, because of course, now that we bring old dog and little dog in for the cold, NOW they have fleas. Which means the cats now have fleas too. Aaaagh!

We had a bad infestation of fleas at our old house. So I may or may not tend to over-react if I see so much as a speck of dirt that might possibly resemble a flea. Just sayin'.

Luckily we appear to have caught it early, and we're going into Winter, so we're hoping a one-month treatment will knock it out.

Ashes is roughly 30+ lbs now, at just 4 months of age. And her paws are still disproportionately large. Can't wait to see how  big she gets.

Old dog (Buddy) is definitely less tolerant of the cold. We now bring him in if it gets below 50 degrees. The good(?) news is that his hearing appears to be going as well, so he's not as gun-shy as he used to be. You know, because he can't hear them as well.

Molly is getting more friendly. Lately she's taken to finding me when I first get up in the morning and go to the bathroom. She literally runs to the bathroom and rubs my legs while I'm peeing. Hope that wasn't TMI. Not sure why she's picked that time to want affection, but it's kinda nice to have a friendly kitty good morning routine.

There are multiple co-workers who are sick right now, but who keep coming to work. And I don't mean a tiny little cough sick. I mean hacking all day, runny nose, red eyes, visited the on-site clinic sick.
Now, this bothers me usually. Why spread the germs? Why would  you do that? Go home. Rest.

And our company provides really generous sick leave. So take a day. Or two. Or five. Go home. Get your germs outta here!

But now that I'm pregnant (momma bear about protecting this tiny baby) and pregnant (can't take any medicine if I get your illness) I'm a getting more & more upset that they're not taking off. As in, not one of them has missed so much as one day. Grr!

Jena is doing really well in Kindergarten. She knows all of the sight words they're doing right now, so her teacher has altered the assignment so that instead of practicing reading her sight words every night, she's to practice writing the sight words every night.

By the way, I don't know why they teach sight words anyway. But that's a whole 'nother post.

Okie dokie. I gotta get going now. I'll try to write a real post as soon as I can.

As always, thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

10 weeks

Sorry I've been a little MIA. Jason & I went out of town for our anniversary, and work has been crazy since I got back, as we were in the midst of an office move.

I just wanted to check in and give you a little pregnancy update.

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Seems like the question I get asked most is "how are you feeling?"

Well, now that my ankle is (almost) healed, and now that the bad cold I had is (almost) gone, I feel pretty good.

Oh sure, I could complain about how my stomach seems to think the only two possibilities are either extreme hunger or serious nausea, or about how I'm so fatigued I go to bed early at night & could easily nap during the day (if life would let me), how the extra blood beginning to course thru my veins leaves me short of breath at the smallest exertion, how round ligament pain sometimes stops me in my tracks, how pelvic rest leaving my husband and I very frustrated, or how within the past week my blood sugar has started dropping suddenly.

But the truth is, that even with all that, I feel great. Wonderful. Happy. I love being pregnant.

I have prayed for this child. I have waited for this child. I knew this child was meant for our family.

I am thrilled. Excited.

How am I feeling? Blessed. I am feeling very, very blessed.

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The other thing that seems to be drawing attention is my belly. That's right folks, I "popped" at about 9 weeks.

Now, I realize that it's bloat. I know the baby is a teeny tiny peanut and cannot possibly be making my belly that big yet.

But I also know that with my first pregnancy my bloat turned straight into bump. I got big early, stayed big, then got bigger.

I also have only gained 5 lbs, which would also be consistent with bloat (each month pre-pregnancy I gained between 5-7 lbs of water weight during my period). How a measly five pounds can turn into my giant belly, I have no idea. But it does. See proof below.


And yes, other than a few pieces of my larger-size clothing that also have a lot of give, I'm wearing maternity clothes now.

But I'm actually pretty pleased with my weight gain. You see, if you remember, the last time I went off my endocrine meds I blew up like a balloon. I don't recall exactly, and it may or may not be in my blog somewhere, but I want to say it was something like 25 lbs in three months. And since I had to stop the meds cold turkey the day I got a positive test, I honestly was fully expecting to put in 10 lbs or so in the first couple of weeks.

But... nope. Stopped meds cold turkey + 10 weeks pregnant = 5 lbs weight gain. So I'm pretty happy with that. I also have a theory that my endocrine system loves being pregnant as much as I do and might actually be performing as it should. And I'm a little hopeful that maybe somehow this will set things right for me in the end. Wouldn't that be awesome?

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So that's my 10 week update. I'll try to get on here a little more often, but things have been pretty crazy, so no promises.

As always, thanks for checking in!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Random Updates

I've had a bit of writers' block lately, in case you couldn't tell.

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From spraining my ankle, immediately followed by getting a bad cold, I haven't had a chance to enjoy this pregnancy yet.

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I've had "morning sickness" this time around. Never had it with Jena, so that's different. It usually doesn't hit in the morning though. Typically I feel mildly nauseous 30-60 min after I eat, and I feel really sick around 2-3pm every afternoon. Fun times.

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Work is okay. Nothing spectacular to report.

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Jena is doing well in Kindergarten. She loves it and we get good reports on a regular basis. They just finished  formal assessments, and we're eager to see how she did, as it may have an affect on her education plan for next year.

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I've seen two good friends from college and five good friends from high school in the past two weeks. Several I hadn't seen in over 10  years. It was good to see both of them and catch up, even just a bit.

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Jena called it "our baby" the other day. Our. As in hers too. I'm taking that as a good sign.

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Jason has been really good at not hassling me over by-passed housework or my lack of attentiveness to him. In fact, he's even the one who said I haven't "had a chance to feel good yet". Supportive husband? Yes please.

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I guess that's it for now. As always, thanks for checking in.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Check Your Boobs

I've been thinking about writing this post for a while now, but I'm having a hard time organizing it. So I'm just gonna ramble, okay?

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My mom is a breast cancer survivor.
My aunt is a breast cancer survivor.
My great aunt is a breast cancer survivor.
My friend from high school is a breast cancer survivor.

My co-worker is a breast cancer survivor.
My friend from college lost her battle with breast cancer.


In other words, I have been personally touched by breast cancer.

If you must know, I have had unexpected changes in my own breasts, so due to that plus my family history, have been getting regular mammograms since the age of 27.

Breast cancer, all cancer really, is a subject I take very seriously. Dude, cancer kills.

I've seen a lot of talk this year about pink. Everywhere. And there is, for some, a disdain for the pink.

source
Here's my take on the pink.

When my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, yes, I wore some pink. For some reason I wore more after she hit her 5-year-clear mark. I can't tell you why. I don't know. All I know is that it has to do with my processing of her disease.

My mom has never worn a pink ribbon. Ever. It's not something she feels compelled to do. Though she hasn't said it, I think it has something to do with not wanting to be defined by the cancer.

I think sometimes, for some people - and by "people" I mean those personally affected by the disease - being able to outwardly show support for patients, survivors, and victims is part of the healing process. It's part of their need to process what is happening to them or to someone they love.

I also think, that if for one month of the year, if putting pink on everything gets just one person to perform a breast self-exam, or if it gets just one person to think "maybe I should schedule that mammogram I've been putting off"... if blasting the world with pink results in just one life being saved... then how can I have distaste for that?

My friend, Julie, died at the age of 33 after a years-long battle with breast cancer. THIRTY FREAKIN' THREE.

Julie, as I remember her, in our college years and full of life (source)

Here's the thing: Julie found her lump because the news was doing a thing on breast cancer and self-exams. She had no family history of the disease. She was healthy & in her late 20s. But she checked on a whim because a news program was doing a thing on self-exams.

So I know that people check their breasts because of things like news programs, or seeing a sign, or maybe even seeing the world splashed in pink.

So blast the world in pink. I don't even care if companies make money off the pink (as long as they're not misleading consumers). But show the pink. Wear the pink. But more importantly... check your boobs.

33 years old. I know for a fact that there are young women out there who did their first self-breast exam because of Julie's story. You see, Julie was very public about her battle with breast cancer. Like, go-on-the-local-news, tell-anyone-she-sees public. And because of her openness and candor about her disease, there are women who did their first breast self-exam because of her story.

33 years old.

Don't let Julie's death be in vain. I don't care how young you are, I don't care whether or not you have a family history of breast cancer, I don't even care if you're a man. Check your boobs.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to have a good cry over the loss of my friend, and then to feel myself up.

Here's hoping you're doing the same.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

{{ head desk }}

Seems like I've been having more than my normal share of {{ head desk }} moments lately, so I decided to share them with you lucky readers. Maybe one of them will inspire a laugh for you. Enjoy.

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Vendor insists that they cannot ship item without us issuing an electronic Purchase Order. We comply. Two weeks later we follow up to see why item hasn't shipped yet. They haven't shipped it, because no one in that department knows how to check to see if a PO has come in. And they want us to figure out how their system works so they can do it. But we're in another state and don't have access to remote into their system But they're insisting we help them or they won't ship the item {{ head desk }}

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International vendor will only accept electronic wire payment. Says they don't accept credit cards because they want to make sure it arrives in their native currency. We try to explain how both credit cards and wire transfers work the same, converting US Dollars to their currency, but they honestly don't seem to get it. By the way, this is the research department of a major university in a developed country. {{ head desk }}

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We're currently working on an office move at work. Manager wants me to check on getting new book cases for three of our team members. I check with Facilities. Report back to him on the process. In the meantime he has checked with a random  person in Accounting, who told him something different. I'm to do what the person in Accounting told him. Because clearly Accounting knows better than Facilities how to get office furniture {{ head desk }}
*update* this morning Facilities sent me an email saying they couldn't support the request because we didn't follow the proper process. I got the pleasure of forwarding that on to my Manager. Tee hee.

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Ob nurse asks if I've been sexually active. I look down and rub my barely-bloated belly. Isn't this how we got here? {{ head desk}}
Except... it gets better. She says you'd be surprised. Already today she had one woman, who is 4 weeks pregnant, tell her "not in months" and another tell her no, because "you can't have sex once you're pregnant". According to her they were both college-educated career women. {{ head desk }}

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Told my boss about my lift restriction (no more than 5 lbs), considering we have an upcoming office move. You know, in case I need to ask for help, so I don't get the stink eye for asking help moving a box or something.

He wants me to submit a detailed plan outlining exactly when I will need assistance, for how long, and how much lifting will be required. {{ head desk }}

I'm considering the following responses:
- Nevermind. I just won't move.
- Nevermind. I'll just ask one of my friends for help if I need it instead.
- I don't know. I haven't moved my desk in 7 years, and never on restrictions. Can't I just ask for help if & when I need it?
- When: next Thu & Fri. How long? 30 seconds to one minute at a time. How much lifting? more than 5 lbs.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

We Have a Peanut!

Last Friday we had our ultrasound.

Baby is in a good position, appears healthy, and has a strong heartbeat. We have a peanut!

Needless to say, there were tears of relief the second I saw the flutter on the screen.

But that wouldn't be complete if everything didn't get hushed a few minutes later.

We noticed the ultrasound tech measuring another section of the screen, away from the baby. But she wasn't saying anything. So we finally asked.

It appears to be an area of bleeding in the uterus. She needs to print out some pictures and go consult with one of the doctors.

She leaves the room. Comes back a few minutes later.

Subchorionic Hemorrhage. Fun. Doctor says I'm on pelvic rest (no sex, no running [impact], no lifting more than 5 lbs) for 4 weeks, at which point I need to come back for another ultrasound to make sure it resolves on its own. If I experience any spotting / bleeding at all, I'm to call the office.

I haven't had any spotting / bleeding, which is a good thing. Rate of miscarriage goes down significantly the longer you go without any spotting. So far, so good.

I am measuring at right about 8 weeks along, due the last week of May.

Signs of pregnancy are right on track: hunger has gotten some better, nausea has gotten some worse, cravings haven't been quite as bad lately. Shortness of breath & peeing constantly are right on schedule.

I've only gained 3 lbs, which considering being pregnant and going off my meds cold turkey I think is pretty good. But as much as my belly has grown you'd think I'd gained 15 lbs. Seriously!

I showed really early with Jena as well, being in a bella band by 8 weeks, and maternity clothes by 12. I realize it's gotta be bloat, but with Jena bloat turned straight into bump. I got big early, and stayed big! This time around I've decided to skip the bella band. I don't see any reason to struggle to fit into regular clothes and be uncomfortable any longer than I have to. So Jason's already dug my maternity clothes up out of storage, and as soon as we announce to the world (probably later this week), I'm going for comfort! Just in time too, as only a few pair of my regular pants still fit comfortably.

So that's the latest update. As always, thanks for checking in!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Asking for Help

Since I injured my ankle, my mobility has been limited, so yes, on occasion I need help.

But I'm the type of person that doesn't want to ask for help unless I absolutely need it.

So it's been suggested by several people that perhaps my injury occurred so that I would learn to ask for help.

I've considered that. And yes, I've asked for help when needed. And I've been chastised for not asking for help more often, for making myself work harder than I had to struggling to accomplish certain tasks.

But here's the thing. I'm beginning to wonder if perhaps I've been conditioned to not ask for help.

Because the truth is that probably three-fourths of the time that I do ask for help, the assistance is granted begrudgingly. I've gotten comments about how I need to heal faster so I can do things myself. I've had multiple people visibly express frustration at my requests, complain about how much work they're doing for me. And if they do help, it's made very clear how much helping me is a burden on them, and how off-put they are by my request.

And here's the kicker: much of the time, these are the same people who have chastised me for not asking for help more often.

And I'm trying really hard to only ask for help when I absolutely need it. Can you imagine if I asked for more?

I feel like I'm in a lose-lose situation.

Don't ask for help = chastised for being stubborn & prideful
Ask for help = upset & burden those around me

So while part of me says that yes, maybe I could learn a lesson about depending on others, trusting others to help me, putting aside pride, etc. another part of me feels like I'm learning exactly the opposite. I'm learning that the more I depend on others, the more they see me as a burden.

This morning I had the thought that maybe the lesson to learn isn't mine at all. Maybe this happened so that others could learn a lesson about serving graciously, not judging someone if you haven't been in their position, and humbling yourself.

And maybe I can learn that lesson too, and make sure that when I am asked to help someone else in the future, I am doing so with kindness & mercy, with humility of spirit, with a gracious presence and a servant's heart.

Maybe there's more than one lesson to learn here.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Ouch!

It was evening. Dark out. I was giving Jena a bath, while Jason let Ashes out for a potty break. Right about the time that I finished washing Jena, I heard Jason outside calling for Ashes.

Then I realized. He was calling for Ashes. Walking around the house. Looking for her.

Crap. We cannot lose the new puppy. Worried about both the puppy, and what Jena's reaction would be, I told Jena I needed to check on something and would be back to get her out of the tub in a few minutes.

Hearing Jason at the back of the house, I went out the front door. My plan was to walk around the yard calling Ashes, then meet up where Jason was in the back.

I had just rounded the back corner of the house. I had heard Jason say "There you are!"

Me: So you found her?

Jason: Yep.

Me: Good {{ walking towards him }}

Step. SNAP! and down I go.

In the dark I had not seen the hole. I stepped in it, heard a loud "snap", and down I went. There was much hootin' & hollerin', tears, and quite possibly a curse word or two.

Honestly, it was the most pain I'd experienced in a long time. Like probably since childbirth / complications from.

We were both convinced that it was broken. But now... what to do? I can't walk. Jena's still in the tub. It's almost her bedtime.

Jason got Jena out of the tub and told her to get dressed in whatever she wanted to wear. He put the puppy in her crate in the house. As Jason walked around gathering needed items, calling his mom, and getting the car, Jena walked out on the back porch in her PJs and socks.

She was soooooooooooooooooo upset.

He drove the car to where I was lying, in the grass, with dogs lying on either side of me (aren't pets the best?). Then he picked me up with his brute strength, helped me get in the car, and put Jena with me while he finished getting us ready for our trip to the emergency room.

We dropped Jena off at his mom's house (thanks MIL!) and headed to the nearest ER.

Long story short, it's not broken. They called it a "severe sprain", wrapped it, gave me crutches, told me to stay home and ice it for two days, and if it weren't "a lot better" in four days to call the orthopaedist.

Well, four days later it was a little better, but I still couldn't put any weight on it at all. So off to the orthopaedist I went.

They confirmed that it was a severe sprain. The snap? Well, apparently if it's bad enough you can actually hear the ligaments stretching and sometimes tearing. Awesome, right?

I now have an orthopaedic walking boot and crutches. With the boot, I can put a little bit of weight on it, but I still need the crutches. Hoping to be off of the crutches within a week, and just be on the boot.

So here I am. It hurts pretty much all of the time, but not too badly except when I move it certain ways or put too much weight on it (even in the boot). Everything's just a lot harder to do, which is super-frustrating, and since I still need crutches, I'm a little limited in what I can do. Especially around the house.

Thank goodness Jason has been a champ, and has helped us keep up with a good part of the housework / household chores, as well has handling Jena's drop-off and pick-ups on days he's not on shift. I can't tell you how much I appreciate what he's done.

The one thing I am trying not to freak out about is Jena's 5th birthday party, in less than 2 weeks. Our house is no where near party-ready. My plan had been to work on it gradually, room-by-room, then I took off the day before the party for last minute cleaning, decorating, etc.

The problem is that with mommy laid up, the house has gotten worse instead of better, and I don't know how much function I'll have by the time of her party. So I'm freaking out just a tad that we'll be having guests over to a messy house, no decorations, and I'll be having Jason pick up a store bought cake instead of making one myself, like Jena has specifically requested. Worried enough that I'm entertaining the idea of paying someone to come over and make the house presentable. But that's not really in our budget, so... Ugh! Stress...

Anyway, that's my story and a bit of an update. As always, thanks for checking in!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Introducing Ashes

Wow. I just realized that I never told you about our new puppy.

About three weeks ago, we got a new puppy. She's perfect.

As Buddy has aged, he's gotten a lot slower, doesn't patrol the property as actively as in the past, has lost quite a bit of weight, and can no longer tolerate the cold.

Since he's our primary working dog, we knew we'd be looking for a new dog to take over his job in the near future.

So about a year ago, I began scouting dog rescues for a puppy that would meet our needs. We wanted another guardian breed (Anatolian, Akbash, and Great Pyrenees being our top three, in that order). And it must be a puppy. After the whole cat-aggression thing with Tootsie, I've decided that no more adult dogs in this house. As much as I love me some rescue dogs, I don't feel that it's worth the risk.

Add in that we need dogs that won't eat chickens either, and are okay around small children, and I really feel that, for now at least, there will only be puppies as new additions to our crew.

So, puppy. And with guardian breeds, they tend to imprint on what they are supposed to protect at really young ages (6-10 weeks). So, puppy.

After a year, I had not found a guardian breed puppy at a rescue. Plenty of adult dogs, no puppies.

So I started researching breeders. The closest Anatolian breeder that I found that I felt reasonably was responsible (ie. not a puppy mill nor a "back yard breeder") was in Texas. Add shipping into the price of the animal, and his pups would cost us nearly $1000.

So not happening. On a whim, I put a search into Craigslist. Sure enough, not often, but occasionally, there would be a farmer with guardian pups for sale, working parents on premises, etc. Good. Felt confident that when the time was right, we'd find the right pup.

Bored one day a couple of weeks ago I searched Craigslist again. There were pups for sale about an hour away from our house. Anatolian / Great Pyrenees cross. Working parents on premises. Raised with poultry.

It doesn't get much more perfect fit than that.

We went up to check them out. Yep. Perfect.

The dad was a huge Anatolian. Nearly twice the size of Buddy, who we refer to as our big dog (since he's lost weight, Buddy's down to 75 lbs - the dad was 140 lbs). Other than size, he was a dead ringer for Buddy in appearance and personality.

Mom was a "small" Great Pyrenees, weighing in at roughly 80 lbs.

After spending about 45 min talking with the farmer and observing & interacting with the pups, we chose one of the females. She was friendly but independent, whined less than several of the others, and just seemed to have a nicer personality. Add to that that she looked much more Anatolian than the rest of the litter, and that Jena picked her as her favorite... it was a match made in heaven.

{{ photo coming in the near future, when I figure how to get them off my camera without my laptop crashing }}

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Things are Going Well

So, pregnancy signs are in full swing.

My stomach rotates between being ravenously hungry and being mildly nauseous. The nausea has been worse the past few days, especially in the late morning.

Cravings are also in full swing. I never really had those when I was pregnant with Jena, so this is new territory for me. They are so random and strong it's crazy! Now I know what ya'll were talking about! They've ranged from hanky panks, to mashed potatoes, to bacon & onion pizza, to my dad's chili. No rhyme or reason and they seem to hit out of nowhere.

I am also prone to feeling freezing cold for no real reason at all, and at the drop of a hat.

I've been more tired lately, but so far not as bad as I remember the exhaustion being with Jena. So that's a good thing.

I also have to pee a ridiculous amount. I get up 4-5 times during the night to pee, and seems like at work I'm getting up at least once an hour. I do remember this when I was pregnant with Jena as well, because it was what made me decide to tell my boss-at-the-time about my pregnancy even though I was only 8 weeks along. I was worried he'd notice how much I was getting up from my desk and want an explanation so I told him before it came up. Ends up he hadn't even noticed.

I haven't weighed myself since getting that positive, but despite feeling bloated most days, my clothes are still fitting fine, maybe even a little loose.

All in all things are going well. Until we get our ultrasound to confirm things are okay, I'm taking all of these things as positives. They are all signs that my body is adjusting to the tiny life growing inside of me.

Please continue to pray for us! Thanks!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Update

So, since my numbers were good and I'm not having any issues, my Ob's office is treating this like a normal pregnancy.

As in, my first appointment will be a nurse's appointment, and won't be for another week.

I guess it's good that they think it's "normal", but I'm a little anxious. Even if they just did another blood draw in between to make sure my Hcg kept rising, it would make me feel better, you know?

We've decided to wait until after our ultrasound to announce, so that probably won't be for another 2+ weeks.

Another thing that frustrates me is that even though I've told them repeatedly that I don't know how far along I am and I could be anywhere from 6 - 10 weeks, due to how screwed up my cycles have been since my first miscarriage, the reason the initial appointment is so far out is because they are assuming I am just now 5 weeks, and they schedule first appointments around 6 weeks.

When I asked why I needed a nurse appointment, and what will be done, they told me they'll "confirm everything" and determine my due date.

Well, that's stupid. I've already had Hcg results that "confirmed everything", and there are about 63 different online due date calenders that can tell you my due date is probably around the May-ish time frame, but that since we don't actually know what cycle I conceived on, only an early ultrasound will help us know for sure.

I don't think the receptionist liked when I pointed this out to her. I basically got the response that it's how they do things, so tough.

I understand the need for having standard procedures, but I honestly don't understand this one. You have a patient who's had 2 early miscarriages in the past 6 months, already had confirmed Hcg results are good this time around, and has explained to you why it's virtually impossible to know how far along she is, but they are treating this patient the same as someone who has had no problems, didn't have the blood draws done, and has regular cycles. Just doesn't make sense to treat the two the same. At least not to me.

Oh well. It is what it is.

As far as how I'm doing, no real changes yet. Other than that I pretty much alternate between being sooooooooooooooo hungry, and being mildly nauseous. I can go from stomach-growling, must have food now hungry, to feeling sick in the blink of an eye.

The hunger's been tough. Because in my head I know it's early to be needing extra calories, and I know it's just due to hormonal changes, but... seriously. So hungry. Wakes-me-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night hungry. I'm trying to be good, because I know it's not "real", but when you're body is telling you that you're starving it's hard to just sit there and let your stomach growl.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

No Carve Halloween Pumpkins


These are our Halloween pumpkins from last year. Easy, no carving mess, I love 'em.

What you'll need:

medium- to large- size pumpkin
stencil of chosen critter
black matte spray paint
self-stick laminating sheets
sharpie
scissors
Place a laminating sheet over the stencil. Trace the pattern onto the laminating sheet with the sharpie. Once finished, cut out the stenciled shape from the laminating sheet.

Stick onto pumpkin (make sure it's sticking really well, especially around the edges of the stencil).

Take the remaining parts of the laminating sheet, cut into strips, and use to wrap the stem of the pumpkin.

Spray paint, covering all surfaces.

Let dry.

Remove laminating sheets (strips from stem, and pattern from main part of pumpkin)

And... you're done!

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Hashbrown Casserole (recipe)

Easy hashbrown casserole. Great as a side dish for any event. I'll be honest, I find this recipe a little bland, but it gets rave reviews anywhere I go, so I haven't adjusted it. Yet. Ha!

Easy enough to let the kiddos help.

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Hashbrown Casserole

I forgot to take a picture at home, and it shifted during the trip to the park. Whoopsie!

Ingredients:
- 2 lbs of frozen hash browns (thawed)
- 1 can of cream of chicken soup
- 1 small tub of sour cream (8 oz)
- 1 small bag of shredded cheese (8 oz)
- corn flakes
- 1/2 onion (diced)
- 1 cup butter (melted)
- salt
- pepper

- preheat oven to 350

- use cooking spray to grease inside of 9x13 pan

- set aside the corn flakes and 1/4 c of butter

- mix the rest of it together. Thoroughly.



- dump into a 9x13 pan

- smooth out as best you can

- crumble corn flakes on top, covering entire casserole

- drizzle remaining butter over corn flakes

- bake at 350 for 50 min

Friday, September 27, 2013

I Don't Know What God Has Planned

Nearly one year ago, my husband went on a mission trip to Haiti. He worked on an orphanage / school there, which had sustained significant damage from an earthquake years before.

While he was gone, I had a dream that he & I went to Haiti together. To live. Along with our dog, which looked a lot like Buddy, but I can't say for sure was supposed to actually be him.

A year later, I can still see the scene from my dream vividly. The green grass. The blue ocean in the distance. The white building with columns on the outside. The concrete patio filled with children who seemed to be waiting to meet us. The way a few of the kids ran up to hug our big dog.

I also remember, in my dream, the dream-me having the realization that I was going to get to be a mom to all these kids. And being very happy about that.

Other than Jason, I've never told anyone else about my dream. Until now. It seemed too real. And a little scary.

The past few months, I've thought a lot about that dream. And as I suffered thru first one miscarriage, then another, that experience merged with thinking about this dream to come to a realization. One that I knew in my head, but hadn't really accepted: while I believe our family is incomplete, that there is another child destined to be in our family, there is no reason that it has to be ours biologically.

In fact, I guess there's no reason it has to be one child that is legally ours either.
What if, in God's master plan, the reason there is a hole in my chest is that there are 30 kids in Haiti who are waiting for someone to come work at their orphanage and be their "mom"?

And I accepted that possibility. Wholly. The possibility that our next child(ren) might not be biologically ours, might not ever be technically "ours".

And that idea is good. Really good. And makes me happy.

Listen, if you're waiting for the announcement that we're selling all our earthly possessions and moving our family to Haiti to work at an orphanage, it's not happening.

At least not now.

But what I am saying is that I am open to the idea. More than open. I have accepted it.

I don't know what God has planned for our family, in relation to children or anything else. But I know that I am receptive to it. And for now, that is enough.

As always, thanks for checking in.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Update

So, last week, the day I had my second blood draw, I busted my ankle. Good.

Emergency room good. Off work for 2 days good. On crutches for a week good. Now in an orthopaedic walking boot plus crutches good.

Not broken. They're calling it a "severe sprain".

Hurts like the dickens.

It's made life rough.

Also, my numbers were good.

For the few of you that know me IRL, this is not public info.

More updates later. Just wanted to keep you posted.

Thanks for checking in.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Parental Guidance

If your parents sent you to school... thank them for making sure you got an education.

If your parents helped you learn to read, even if it was simply by making sure you got to school so the teachers could help or reading you a story once in a while... thank them for giving you the gift of reading.

If your parents helped you learn basic mathematics skills, even if it was simply by putting you on the bus to school each morning... thank them for giving you the gift of math.

If your parents checked your homework, punished you for a bad report card, or showed up for a teachers' conference... thank them for showing an interest in your development and education.

If your parents permitted you to participate in school plays, music groups, sports, or any other school activities... thank them for supporting your interests.

If your parents permitted you to participate in church groups, community leagues, scout programs, hunting, fishing, community classes, etc... thank them for supporting your interests.

If your parents made you do chores... thank them for teaching you about work.

If your parents gave you an allowance, or even just trusted you to use your lunch money for lunch... thank them for teaching you about money management.

If your parents insisted you help take care of animals at your house... thank them for teaching you responsibility.

If your parents punished you for wrongdoing... thank them for teaching you discipline.

If your parents worked hard nearly every day... thank them for showing you a strong work ethic.

Friday, September 20, 2013

How Far We've Come

Sometimes it's nice to look back at where we were in the past. It can be amazing how far we've come in a relatively short amount of time:



One Year Ago:
Things were just starting to calm down. After my father-in-law's passing in April, followed by my nephew's overdose in May, plus some major changes at work, last year was rather hectic and stressful. By September things were beginning to resemble something closer to normal. Finally.


Two Years Ago:
I was battling a bevy of health issues: my legs & feet were tingling from my spinal injury, I was struggling with some major digestive issues, and finally met with a pulmonologist about my recurrent cough. As you know, everything turned out okay in the end. This was also Jena's first Summer at preschool.


Three Years Ago:
We were house hunting, struggling in our marriage, and I was fighting major depression. I was busting my butt at the gym & following a strict diet, only to not see any results, as my metabolic disorder was as yet undiagnosed. We were just beginning to realize Jena may be speech delayed, and she was still watched by my parents full-time.


Four Years Ago:
Wow. Four years ago I started my blog. While I struggled with post-partum depression & anxiety, I was blissfully unaware of the marital issues that were lurking around the corner. Jason was getting ready to start medic school, Jena was a toddling machine.


Five Years Ago:
I was hugely pregnant, madly in love, and looking forward to starting our family, as we celebrated with baby showers and 4D ultrasounds. The pregnancy and dreams of our little girl pretty much consumed our lives at this point.


Six Years Ago:
We were engaged and busily planning our upcoming wedding. Invitations would be going out right about now. I had finished my Open Water certification and we did quite a bit of diving that Summer. Fun!


Seven Years Ago:
It was around this time that I knew I wanted to marry Jason. We had been dating only a few short months, but I just knew. We spent the Summer going to festivals, taking walks, and just being in love. I had finally had my back surgery earlier in the year, so was enjoying my first pain-free Summer in what seemed like forever.


Eight Years Ago:
Single and unattached, work was  pretty much my life. I was just beginning to look at apartments closer to work, and I still volunteered with my college marching band. I was also on the Alumni Band Board of Governors. In other words, I kept busy. Post-accident but pre-surgery I was in pain daily, and often walked hunched over.

Nine Years Ago:
Still enthralled with my new job and employer (where I am now), I also struggled with boredom. My previous jobs had been fast-paced and the work endless, but I now was constantly asking for more work. Fresh out of a relationship, I was constantly scouting the engineers at my new workplace (it's true!). I volunteered with my college marching band, which kept me fairly busy.

Ten Years Ago:
Actively searching for work, desperate to leave my job with the bad manager (as it's become to be known). I was miserable with my job, volunteered with my college marching band, and usually took seasonal jobs as a trumpet, marching, or drum major instructor with local high schools. Yes, I was (and still am) a total band nerd, LOL.

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It's amazing how much our lives can change in a relative short amount of time, isn't it? I feel like the past 8 years especially have been a whirlwind.

What about you? How has your life changed in recent years?

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this post inspired by this post


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wish me luck!

Well, the results of my first blood test were good. My hcg was at 141.

Of course, it doesn't really mean anything. Yet. We already knew it was higher than 50, or else I wouldn't have gotten a positive pregnancy test.

The big answer will come tomorrow, after I get the results of the blood draw I'll have done today. For those of you who aren't familiar, up is good, down is bad.

Wish me luck!

Monday, September 16, 2013

I'm scared

Yesterday I took my regular monthly pregnancy test.

It was positive.

I'm scared.

Today I go to have bloodwork done. We'll repeat on Wednesday to make sure the levels are going up.

Did I mention that I'm scared?

I'm trying to be positive, but...

Sunday, September 15, 2013

What's a Diet?

Recently my 4-year-old daughter and I had a conversation that was quite eye-opening for me.

It began as she looked over my shoulder while I checked Facebook. As I was scrolling down, she asked me to stop & go back up so she could look at a picture of a very overweight cat.

source
She asked why that picture was on there.

I explained that it was a story about a cat who was rescued and put on a diet.

"What's a diet?"

Crap. I have tried very hard to not let any references to dieting, weight loss, body image, etc. into our home. As much as I have struggled with my weight, I am keenly aware that girls often inherit body image issues from their mothers. And that is something I do not want. So I have consciously avoided the topic, or deflected when it came up.

So now... what to say?

I told her that a diet is what they call it when someone is trying to eat healthier, to put more good, healthy foods into their body. That the cat needed to be healthier, so they put him on a diet.

"People go on diets so they can be big & fat like you?"

Heart. Sinks.

My daughter knows that I am fat. Even though I did not tell her that, and try very hard not to use the word in our home, she came to the revelation herself. It's not a secret. The eye-opening moment here was that she thinks it's a good thing. She thinks people want to be big & fat like Mommy. $@#+!

So I tried gently to explain. No, people don't want to be fat like Mommy, in fact Mommy has too much fat and I'm trying to eat healthier to try to lose some of my fat so I can have a strong and healthy body like Jena.

Oh.

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It's a delicate tightrope, discussing weight with our daughters. We want to inform them, give them a healthy perspective, but we also want them to tolerate differences and love themselves no matter what they look like.

Once, while clothes shopping, Jena asked what size she should be when she grows up, as if she could aspire to be a certain size.

I responded that I didn't know yet, that we won't know until she's older, but that she should be a size that is a good, healthy size for her.

Then we had a little talk about how everyone comes in different shapes and sizes (and skin! and hair!) and that that's okay, it's good even, that we're all different. God made each of us, so it's all beautiful. That everyone should just try to be a size that is good and healthy for their body, and that's going to be different for everyone.

This whole experience just doubles my desire to reach a healthier weight, not just for me, but for her. Because the fact is our daughters are watching us and they want to be like us.

It honestly never occurred to me that my daughter might aspire to be as fat as I am, or that she would think other people would want to be this fat.

Sure, she loves that we both have blonde hair, and we both have blue eyes, will she be as tall as Mommy, etc, etc, etc.

But it never dawned on me that she'd want to be as fat as Mommy as well. My bad.

Mothers, we need to be healthy, have healthy habits, present ourselves in a healthy manner not just for us, but for our kids. We have to realize that as a parent, it's not just about us anymore.

As always, thanks for checking in.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Deviled Eggs (recipe)

A classic picnic or party appetizer, who doesn't love a good deviled egg?

When the chickens first started laying, I knew I'd need to come up with some good egg recipes. And believe it or not, as much as I enjoyed eating them, at that point I had never made deviled eggs. It seemed like a no-brainer that it would be my first egg recipe to try.

My deviled eggs quickly became a favorite at family functions, with several relatives declaring them to be "the best" they've ever had. Well, I don't know about that, and I don't think I do anything super-special, so I'm putting most of the praise back on the chickens.

There's just something about food made from your own backyard that just tastes better, no?

So without farther ado, here's my recipe for deviled eggs.

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Deviled Eggs



Ingredients (brands that I prefer listed in parentheses):
eggs (from my chickens)
mayonnaise (Hellman's)
mustard (French's or Grey Poupon)
relish (Vlasic)
salt
pepper

- get eggs
for the best peeling, use eggs that are 10-12 days old. If you are using fresh-from-the-chicken eggs, let them sit in the refrigerator for at least 7-10 days. If you are buying from the grocery store, they are probably already that old (or older), so no need to wait

- boil eggs
I suggest boiling a few extras, in case you run into some peeling difficulties
how I boil my eggs:
    * put eggs in pot
    * add water till water level is 3/4 of the way to the top
    * put on stove
    * turn stove (
ie. burner) on high
    * wait
(if you're better at this than I am, you will stir them occasionally during the boil - keeps them from becoming flat on one end)
    * once a rolling boil is achieved, turn stove off
    * wait 20 minutes
    * using a slatted spoon, move eggs to a bowl of ice
    * place bowl of iced eggs in refrigerator for a few hours to cool completely


- peel eggs




- slice eggs in half long-ways

- dig out yolks and put in bowl

- place whites (minus the yolks) on your serving tray

- mix up your schtuff
Here's how I do it:
    * use a fork to mush up your boiled egg yolks
    * add in a glop of mayo
    * add in a squeeze of mustard
    * add in a glop of relish
    * sprinkle some salt on top
    * sprinkle some pepper on top
    * stir
    * repeat all but the first step as necessary to achieve the desired consistency





- put your yolk-y schtuff into your icing gun (Pampered Chef)
I highly recommend using the largest opening tip that you have to prevent pickle chunks from the relish from clogging the whole thing up. Not that I know from experience or anything ;)

- use the icing gun to fill the yolk-holes left in your egg whites


- enjoy your yummy deviled eggs!

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 As you can see from my pics, this is also an easy recipe for kiddos to get involved with. Just not the boiling part. But you knew that, right?

Thanks for checking in!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

It seemed nonsensical

** warning: this post contains images from 9/11 that some readers may find difficult to view**



I was working as a medical receptionist in a busy dermatology practice.

One of our patients came in and said "a plane just crashed into the twin towers".

We just stared at him. What an odd thing to say. It seemed nonsensical.

He stared at us blankly as we began to process his intake. Looking back he was probably wondering why we weren't more interested in his announcement.

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A few minutes later our head nurse informed us that we were under attack. Her husband was retired Secret Service, and still did some consulting for the government. His phone had started ringing off the hook, and he stopped long enough to call his wife and let her know what was going on.

One of the medical assistants headed to the basement to turn on the one television in the building.

The lead doctor came out and informed us that his wife, a State Representative, had been told to leave the city.

He made it very clear. They weren't told to evacuate the building (being a government building), but to leave the city, to be out of the metropolitan area.

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We finished work, probably a little quieter than normal. Took turns going to the basement for a few minutes at a time to catch updates. Got updates from patients as they came in.

The President was in the air. The Vice President was in a bunker. Fighter jets were scrambled over the Capitol. We had been attacked. We were being attacked.

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The next morning I remember watching the news as I was getting ready for work. Instead of showing the latest from the New York Stock Exchange, they were reporting on the Nikkei. A sign of what had happened, of how it affected our world.

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I lived near a major international airport at the time. The "no fly" rule put in place from border-to-border immediately changed our skies. You don't realize how much planes are a part of the background of your daily life until you don't see them.

And I distinctly remember days later, the first time I saw a plane back up in the sky, and how eerie it felt.

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The weeks and months that followed sealed the fact that our lives were changed forever. My generation had never been thru anything even remotely close to this.

We would receive faxes from the CDC and other government agencies regarding the latest bio-hazard threats. We were trained on how to triage patients who suspected they may have cutaneous anthrax.

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Friends went to war. Came home. Went back. Rinse. Repeat. Care packages got sent.

One is there. Again. Fourth tour.

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There's no doubt about it, our lives changed forever in the blink of an eye. As much as we have, 12 years later, settled into "normal", you cannot dispute that the normal of today is much different than the normal prior to 9/11. In addition, the acts of that day have, and will continue to change the way our country approaches a multitude of subjects.

So, dear readers.... where were you when our country changed?

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