Wednesday, November 30, 2011

One Year

One year ago today I received a phone call that my dad was being admitted to the hospital.

One year ago today I found out he would need a triple bypass.

One year ago today, I called out to you, my readers, begging you to pray for my daddy.

One year ago today, it felt like our world was turning upside down, and I was scared.


One year ago, my daddy didn't look this good:

One year later, my daddy is doing just fine.

One year later, he has more energy than he's had in years.

He has been cleared by the cardiologist and only goes back for yearly check ups now.

He follows his diet strictly, and he & my mom have both lost a significant amount of weight. They both also work out regularly at the local YMCA.

We've all adjusted to the new normal, because yes, all of our lives changed.
FireGirl had the biggest change outside of my parents, as they were her primary "daycare" before his surgery. Now they watch her just once a week.

And we're all pretty happy with that.

My parents are planning a major trip in the next couple of years. Yes, big enough that it takes a couple of years of planning.

And yes, they're planning on both of them being here for a couple of more years.


One year.

One year ago. One year since.

Oh, the difference just one year makes.


I love you Daddy. And I am so thankful for this year, for all the years past, and for all the years to come.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Discerning of Spirits

"Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues"   --  I Corinthians 12: 4-10

discerning - showing good or outstanding judgement and understanding
synonyms: detecting, determining, distinguishing, getting wise to
spirits - supernatural, incorporeal beings 
 synonyms: specter, supernatural being, wraith, presence


Congratulations to the winner of the giveaway: Rebecca from over at Rebecca Runs !!

Rebecca - please email me at KYFIREWIFE at gmail so I can get your info to Walk By Faith Studio 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Not Just Another Blog Challenge #14 - The Worst Thing About Married Life

I don't know that I would call it the "worst", but rather the "hardest", and that would be the meshing of two people into one life.

When you share your life with someone so intimately, the intertwining of the two of you sometimes results in... knots.

The fact is that even though you are sharing your lives with one another on the deepest level, you are still two totally different people. You have different personalities, different ideas, were raised differently, different wants, different don't-wants, different likes, different dislikes.

Getting all of those things to successfully merge is hard, H-A-R-D, hard.

It's a matter of compromise and of give-and-take. Sometimes you give more, sometimes he gives more, sometimes you're both trying to take and no one wants to give.

Sometimes... you remember how nice it was back in your tiny one-bedroom apartment just you and your cats when you didn't feel obligated to ask someone else's opinion before you made a life decision.

But mostly,  you figure it out. You do the dance. You give, he takes. He gives, you take. You both give and the kid takes.

And sometimes it sucks, but mostly, once all the dust has settled... those knots? the ones that got in the way when you were trying to gracefully intertwine your lives? Yeah, it's those knots that made the two of you stronger together than you were apart.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Dave Ramsey Got Me Scared

FireMan & I started taking the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University course thru our church.

FireMan was on shift, so I went to the first class alone.

And I can't stop thinking about it.

Not so much the class itself, or (to be honest), anything Dave Ramsey said on the tape DVD (whatever, I'm old). But something that was said in the discussion we had afterward.

One of the core teachings of the class is to have a substantial emergency savings for you / your family. During discussion, we were discussing what a true "emergency" means.

Of course, people immediately started talking about medical bills.

As they talked, I started to get physically ill thinking back to everything I went thru after my accident in 2002. Not just physically, but what that did to me financially.

I had the realization long ago, that had it not been for my supportive family, I probably would have ended up on the streets.

At one point I was seeing eight different doctors. That means eight different doctor bills. Plus the emergency room bills (because you know if you make one visit to the ER, you'll get like five different bills, right?). Plus prescription meds.

And let's not forget my car was totalled (I managed to drive it for another year - some parts literally held together with duct tape - before it actually died).

I missed work, unpaid. But not quite enough to file for short-term disability.

My health insurance wouldn't cover it, because I was injured in a car accident.

My car insurance decided to fight my claim, so I had to hire a lawyer.

Thank God I lived with my parents at the time (something I lamented at the time, but later saw as part of God's plan. Maybe I should tell that story on here someday).

And sitting in that class, my stomach completely sank when the gentleman leading the class said:

"Okay, many of you are bringing up medical bills, so obviously it's happened for several of you. Now think for a minute... what if that happened again, right now? What would you do (financially)?"

I seriously wanted to puke.

FireMan and I have a little savings. We have good equity in our house. We have things we could sell to get money.

But... honestly? If something like my accident happened to one (or God forbid, both) of us right this minute? Where we were seeing eight different doctors, none of our insurance would pay it, our vehicle was totalled, we were missing work unpaid, etc... Oh.... my.... goodness.

The thought of it literally sickens me.

The chance of that happening? I'd like to say slim-to-none. But then again, it happened to me. One thing Dave Ramsey explains in his philosophy of saving for an emergency is that the unexpected isn't really unexpected.

These things do happen. People get sick. Accidents happen. People lose jobs. It happens. To say it's unexpected, really just shows how much time we spend living in a fantasy world where these things don't happen. Because they do.

The good part of this? I'm excited about saving.

Now... we're just starting Step 1: Have $1000 in your emergency fund, but I'm already thinking ahead to Step 3: Have 3-6 months of expenses in your emergency fund.

Can you imagine having 6 months of expenses in your emergency fund?
And then, because I am also baby stepping my way to stockpiling via coupon savings, can you imagine having 6 months of expenses in your emergency fund, plus 6 months of food & toiletries in your stockpile?

What a comfort that would be. Combining the two you would surely have 8 - 9 months of a cushion, should someone lose a job. And what a security net should there be an accident, illness, or other unexpected occurrence.

I can't stop thinking about it.

So much so that I've thought about cancelling our upcoming trip to save the $$. Except some of our reservations are non-refundable. So... I'd rather get something out of it, then not go and lose both the money and the reservation, ya know?

Besides, I really think this upcoming trip is going to be very beneficial to our marriage, which is an even better investment than money.

So... what's your savings situation? Have you taken Dave Ramsey? Thoughts?

As always, thanks for checking in!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Not Just Another Blog Challenge #13 - Best Thing About Married Life

I think the best thing about married life, or one of them, is having someone else to go thru life's journey with. That one dedicated person who is your travelling partner.

The person who will hike with you up to every mountaintop, and is riding the avalanche with you down to the valley. And is strolling with you hand-in-hand down every smooth path in between.

It's not always perfect, and sometimes you lose your grip on each other and wonder what happened, but in the big picture of life... there they are, waiting to begin the next big adventure with you.

Yeah, I think that has to be the best part. Never wondering who's going to go with you, but knowing who will be beside you as you go.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Friday Fragments

Mommy's Idea


I've been on a huge writing kick, which is awesome, but I kinda feel like I've neglected keeping ya'll updated on some issues, so let's do it in a Friday Fragments post, 'kay?

Jena is now 3 years old, and is finally settling in to her new classroom at preschool. She resists change (like her momma), and still wants me to watch her for a few minutes, and occasionally cries, and always pouts, but drop offs no longer take 30 minutes, nor do they consist of the staff literally ripping my daughter off of my person while she screams bloody murder and sobs about wanting her mommy, so... I consider that as going well.

I am really impressed with the curriculum in her new class. They teach reading via phonics, and she's already beginning some basic math concepts. Very impressed.

Potty training has regressed, and I'm at a loss. After washing way-too-many loads of sheets, comforters, and the like, I finally gave in and bought some Pampers UnderJams for bedtime. Mostly because I was getting too far behind on our regular laundry trying to keep up with the pee laundry so our house wouldn't smell like urine and Jena would have clean bedding to sleep on.

The vast majority of her accidents are at night (every night), with rare accidents during the daytime.

Sometimes I wonder if it has to do with stress from changing rooms at preschool. But then again, since they're mostly at night, I don't know.

The chickens are growing. Fast! I can't believe how fast those little suckers have grown! They are very tame, and have now moved to their chicken tractor in the garage.

Just by word of mouth we already have people putting in orders for fresh eggs once they start laying, so that's a blessing. Because we just won't eat a dozen a day.

Oh, and one is HUGE. I call her Fatty (endearingly, not insultingly). Much bigger, in every way, and not as social as the rest of the flock. We're starting to wonder if "she" is really a "he". And being new to the chicken business, we don't know how to tell yet. Guess we'll find out soon enough.

BTW - they came sexed with a guarantee of 90% accuracy. Not bad. We can deal with one rooster. As long as it's just the one.

Jason & I are still doing well in our marriage

We are also taking Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University, and are getting a better handle on our financial situation.

We decided to cancel our family trip in December. Mostly due to finances, but some due to other stuff. But mostly money.

I'm really enjoying being on this writing kick that I've been on, but I'll try to do a better job of keeping ya'll updated on my life as well. After all, you guys are the best readers a gal could ask for!

Today is the last day for the giveaway, so don't forget to sign up!


Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Not Just Another Blog Challenge #12 - Worst Thing About Dating

The worst thing about dating? I think it's the moment before it's over. No matter how short or how long you were dating, there's that moment... when you know it's over before it actually is.

Doesn't matter which end of I-don't-want-to-see-you-anymore you're on, that moment sucks.

The anxiety of does-he-really-not-like-me-but-I-like-him-so-much, or I-really-wish-he-didn't-like-me-so-much-cause-this-is-gonna-be-hard.

Yeah. That moment. Sometimes it's a long moment. Sometimes it's a quick moment. But that stomach-sinking moment is the worst.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Girlfriends (aka The Good, The Bad, the Socially Inept)

The other day I went out with a couple of girlfriends. One a long-time friend, one I've only known a few months. Both very good friends.

The three of us get along fantastically, and have been trying to work out our schedules literally for months. I eventually ended up using a vacation day to make it work.

And it was well worth it.

We met at IKEA, and walked and talked and walked and chatted and walked and shopped and talked.

Then we went to dinner and talked some more. In the parking lot we just couldn't shut up so we decided to do dessert, and kept on talking.

It was very, very good.

It was refreshing. It was renewing. It was healing. It was just about every good word that ends in -ing wrapped up in one afternoon that dragged on into evening.

And it reminded me that I need more girlfriends.

I've never had a lot of girlfriends. For whatever reason I found it easier to connect with the boys. So I always had a lot of guy friends (not boyfriends, mind you, but that's a whole 'nother blog post), but relatively few girlfriends.

And I've been pretty okay with that, to be honest.

I mean, the girls I have been close with... are awesome. So I didn't need many. And I always had those guy friends too. So my social circle was full. I had a great family. Got plenty of support. Life was good.

Since I've written about them before, I won't delve into it again, but some things happened in my past that left me feeling defenseless, and I pushed away some of my friends, and I built up a wall, and I developed some trust issues, as well as a good dose of social anxiety.

Not the best for developing close relationships with people.

I kept my family close, but not many friends.

But recently, some of the closest people in my life have literally been moved across the world. Literally.

First, one of my best friends' husbands got relocated to California. Then my sister got transplanted to Iowa. Then one of my oldest friends follows God's call to teach in Africa.

While I was left with a lot of good acquaintances, my friends were all gone. Literally, physically moved away from me.

I hesitate in writing that line. I hope no one is taking offense, thinking "hey - I'm your friend". So let me explain.

In this post, by "friend", I mean a close friend, the one you can stay up talking to all night, who can call you at any hour for any reason, who is as close as family or closer, who you can't imagine your life without, the one when you were younger you imagined being your maid of honor in your wedding and living next door to raising your children together.

I need some good girlfriends. Some more gal acquaintances would be nice too.

Of course, working with all men doesn't help things.

Don't get me wrong, they're great guys, but... not only am I a little hesitant about the befriending-a-coworker thing, I'm also a little hesitant about the whole befriending-a-married-man thing too, you know?

So... where was I?

Oh, yeah. Girlfriends are awesome. I am so jealous when I see girlfriends out together, or see people post on Facebook or Twitter or their blog about their gal pals and how they just hang out, casually as can be.

Because on the rare occasions that I do get to see any of my very few girlfriends, it seems to take so much effort.

Coordinating the schedules of even just two of us can sometimes take weeks to find a date to get together.

The message boards that I used to belong to, and still talk to quite a few of the ladies from, well - they get together quite often. During the day. Not always formal get-togethers, but playdates & such. During the week. During the day.
Of the numerous more formal get-togethers they've arranged over the past four years, I was only able to make it to one.

I volunteered to organize one once, and after surveying for good times & places, selecting a time, and choosing a place that was convenient for the majority, but would make me drive an hour to get there, we only had 1 person besides myself RSVP, so it was cancelled.

And it doesn't help that I'm completely socially inept.

Confession? I don't know how to make friends.

And when I try, I tend to fail. And then I feel like a big fat loser that nobody likes. And when you feel like that, you're not exactly appealing to potential friends.

Trying to make new friends is a lot like dating.

Confession? I hated dating.

Examples of my trying fails? Sure:

Tried to do something nice for someone at work. Got accused of being a stalker.

Tried to do something nice for an old college friend. Was told I was being "too nice", and must have ulterior motives.

Threw a party. Invited 120 people (no lie). Five showed up.

Threw another party. Invited 75 people. Six showed up. But two of those were my parents, so...

With their blessings, sent out a mass text prayer request for a friend. Trying to be nice & supportive, right?
- had one person respond that I was invading privacy by sending it out regardless of whether or not I had permission and reamed me for "overstepping my bounds"
- had another person accuse me of doing it to draw attention to myself
- had yet another person yell at me for "scaring them to death" because they got a text about a random person being sent to the hospital and they couldn't imagine what had happened (apparently they were driving and in & out of dead spots and only got half the message, but it was my fault, even after I showed them the whole message, and I just shouldn't send things like that).

And my husband wonders why I have social anxiety, why I don't put myself out there more. It seems like even when I try to be a friend to others, to be nice, to do something good for someone else, I'm either ignored, or it gets twisted around and I somehow end up the bad guy. Again.

I swear I'm not a bad guy. I'm not.

I'm not perfect, but I'm good. And I'm nice. And I try really hard to do right by other people. I do my best to be fair.
Again, I'm not perfect, but I certainly am not bad.  Really, I'm not.

And when I put myself out there and try to be friendly to others, open my home up to others... no one comes.

And yes, I realize I'm rambling right now.


I guess what I'm trying to say is that the other night made it even more evident to me how much I need good girlfriends in my life. A good, strong support system. Good friends to laugh with and cry with and share life with. To share their lives with them.

And I want that. I really do.

And maybe the problem is that I'm trying to force it, and relationships like that can't be forced, but they sure as heck aren't just falling in my lap either.

This post seems rather disjointed to me. A little rambl-y, I suppose. Just putting some thoughts out there.

All I'm saying is I need some good girlfriends. I want some good girlfriends. I've been trying to make some more friends, to make more time for friends, to make it more of a priority for me... but it just doesn't seem to be working.

I end up with a few really good nights, interspersed with a lot of bad nights. It's depressing. And it reminds me so much of dating: you know, mostly rejection. For me, anyway.

I recently had an acquaintance tell me that to make more friends I need to "show yourself friendly". To be honest, it kinda ticked me off. I mean, really? Because I thought being a big fat jerk-wad was a good way to make friends. Seriously! But I already told you, it's like even when I try to be nice, it blows up in my face. I try to be friendly, I try to open myself up... and it doesn't seem to work.

Maybe I just don't know how to "show myself friendly". Whatever.

Anyway. Those are my random thoughts right now.

Thanks for checking in

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Not Just Another Blog Challenge #11 - Best Thing About Dating

I think the best thing about dating is the possibility.

The excitement, the oh-I hope-he-likes-me, and then oh-wow-I-think-he-actually-likes-me!

It's meeting new people, going to new places, and the dreaming about the possibility of where it all might lead.

Yes, as much as I definitely do not miss dating, that one little piece of it, the possibility of it all... that was definitely the best part.

What about you? What do you think was / is the best part of dating ?


PS - don't forget to enter the giveaway! It ends Friday at midnight.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

It's Sunday. I Need a New Job. Or Something.

Following our anniversary, we stayed home to work on renovations. And after having six business days off work (10 days total), I was dreading going back to work on Monday.

Dreading it.

The fact that FireMan seemed happy to go back, just really annoyed me. He was practically singing as he gathered his gear and placed it by the front door.

I mean, I'm happy for him and all - happy that he has his dream job. But... annoyed. Kinda like when you're not a morning person, and some happy chipper person keeps buzzing around your face, you know? You just kinda wanna swat it down.

It just... I just... I get no fulfillment from my job. One of the mornings we were off we cleaned the manatee tank. I woke up tired & cranky. FireMan kept irritating me. Or maybe it was just because I was already cranky. Whatever. I was in a foul mood. Frustrated. Stressed.

And then I got in the tank. I vacuumed up poop. I scrubbed walls. I wiped down windows. I fed manatees.

All of which is physically demanding labor.

And I got out in a better mood, and much more relaxed, than when I went in.

Pretty sure it wasn't the actual work

Why can't my real job be like that? Why can't I leave my paying job in a better mood than when I go in, instead of the other way around?

I have such a hard time explaining it. I mean, I actually do like what I do. And I love the vast majority of the people I work with. But I get no real satisfaction from it, no fulfillment. It's just a job. And it is sucking the life out of me.

I literally get a greater sense of satisfaction from doing a load of laundry at home. Or taking out the garbage. Or cleaning out the kitty litter.

And it's not just the lack of fulfillment. It's that when during the work week, I feel so stressed all the time. All. The. Time. I have to work to relax, which is just ironic, and in some ways adds additional pressure to my life.

I mean, really, when you're feeling pressure to relax... I think it's a sign something might be wrong.

Maybe it comes down to balance. Or lack thereof.

Whatever it is, I hate it. I dread it. And I sat there and fretted and sighed and moaned and dreaded going back. And Sunday night I stayed up really late, because in some crazy illogical way I thought it would postpone Monday morning.

And Monday rolled around, and lived up to all of my expectations. The day started okay. But I knew it would be a crazy day at work, having been off for a week, and we had class at church that night, which we're already pressed for time to make it to, so when I was fixing FireGirl's breakfast and realized we needed more milk, I knew I'd have to factor in a trip to the store. Then I got in the car and saw that FireMan had left me just enough gas to get me thru today, but not enough to get back to work tomorrow, I knew I'd have to factor in a trip to the gas station sometime. And then we got to FireGirl's preschool and they informed me they were going to start transitioning her to her new classroom this week. Which means longer drop-offs all week. Which means I have to work a little bit later to make up the time. And then I get to work, and yes, have 898 new messages in my inbox. And am informed that I have to present on not one, but two, topics at a division-wide meeting that afternoon. And during the meeting our General Manager starts quizzing me about a third topic. And somewhere in there Once Upon A Child calls and says my box is ready for pickup, and if I don't pick it up within 24 hours, they'll donate everything to charity. And I realize I forgot the book for my class.

So I make the decision that I'm skipping class that night. You can make up sessions online anyway. Stay a little bit late at work to make up for the longer preschool dropoff that morning. Go the vending machine & get some goldfish for FireGirl because I know it's gonna be a late dinner. Leave work. Pick up FireGirl at preschool. Head to OUAC to get my box o'stuff. Then to the bank because I have no cash. Then the grocery store for milk. Then the gas station. Finally head home.

I got home just before 8pm and started dinner. Frozen pizza. Did the dishes while the pizza was in the oven.

And yes, of course FireGirl needed a bath.

She didn't even get to bed until 9:45pm. After she went to bed I did two loads of laundry, between folding laundry & putting new loads in, I changed the baby chicks' bedding, fed & watered all the animals. And thought about dusting the living room. I also thought about taking a shower and thought about making my lunch for the next day. But since it was already midnight, I decided to go to bed.

Other than bathtime, I didn't get to play with my daughter at all that first Monday back. Not once. I skipped a class I really wanted to go to in favor of errands that needed to be run. Exhausted (lack of sleep + time of the month + trying to get sick) I overslept that morning.

I hope this isn't coming across whiny, because I don't intend it to. I'm not in a whiny frame of mind at all. I'm just stating the facts of my day. This is what happened. And that is a fairly typical experience. Not every day, for sure. But enough. Enough that I consider it typical.

And it sucks the life out of me.

It just seems so backwards.

I spend so much more time doing something I get no gratification from, and what I do find satisfying, what is my priority in life, gets my leftovers.

Is it just me, or is that backwards?

Maybe that's why I feel so out of balance sometimes. What do you think?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Not Just Another Blog Challenge #10 - A Change in Your Life You've Been Wanting

Well, if you've been around here very long at all, you can probably guess that my change would be to become a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM).

How do I think this would change my life?

Well, on an abstract level, I believe I would be less stressed, because I would no longer be trying to juggle the working world and the home life, no longer feeling the pressures of contributing to our family's finances, plus 95% of the housework and the vast majority of the child care and the greater part of the animal care as well. I wouldn't be so overwhelmed that I felt like I was drowning and / or failing most days.

This decrease in stress level would reverberate to my relationships with my husband and my daughter, as well as my extended family and my friendships, even my pets. All would improve. Or have a better opportunity to improve, at least.

On a more concrete level, we would obviously be doing better financially, since we couldn't make this change without already being there.
And I would have more time.
Ah, sweet time.

Let's look at today, for instance. What difference would being a SAHM make to my day (theoretically, since I don't really know).

Real Life (as a working mom): I've been fighting off an illness for over a week, so I overslept. Again. Woke up and was immediately rushing around trying to get everything ready to get FireGirl & myself out the door at a decent time. Had planned on packing my lunch, but no time this morning. FireGirl has also not been feeling well and has been sleeping in. I don't usually have to wake her up, but at 8:05am, I have to. I've got everything ready to go, except her. Bring her clothes to her in bed, dress her, still in bed, carry her to the car. Buckle her in, and floor it to the preschool. We got there so late we missed breakfast. Her classmates are already back in the classroom. So I sit with her while she eats breakfast by herself. Walk her to her room, put her things in her cubby, say goodbye. Drive to work and get there at 9:15am (I know, still pretty impressive, huh?). Work 8 1/2 hours. Drive to preschool. Pick up FireGirl. Drive home. Arrive home a little after 6pm. Thank goodness for a short commute. Make dinner. Eat dinner, finish around 7pm. She plays while I start her bath. Bath time is the most 1x1 quality time we'll have together today, without distractions, and including washing, playtime, drying, and putting on PJs will probably last until around 8pm. She'll help me change the chickens' bedding, and it's now 8:30pm. Watch a show or read 2 books (her choice), hopefully in bed by 9pm. After being quiet for 15-20 minutes to make sure she's asleep (open floor plan + nosy toddler = if we're not quiet she gets up to see what we're doing), I'll fold a load of laundry, put another load of laundry in the wash, do the dishes, and begin clipping coupons for tomorrow's grocery trip. At some point I'll feed the dogs and the cat. Hopefully I won't pass out from exhaustion, and will be able to do at least 2 loads of laundry tonight, plus I have two gigs coming up, so I really need to sit down and go thru those materials within the next few days, so that would be nice too. And while there are about 50 other things on my To Do List, those are the minimum for me to do tonight and not feel like a slacker. I should get to bed between midnight and 1am.

If I were a SAHM? : Well, I don't know how long we would have slept, but since we're both fighting illness, we need to rest and get better. So... let's say I woke up at 8am. Folded some laundry & put another load in. Had breakfast waiting on FireGirl when she woke up at 9am (cold breakfast - just because I'm suddenly a SAHM doesn't mean I've learned how to cook... yet). We casually eat breakfast, then clear our plates. I take a shower & get dressed while she plays in her room or reads. Then I get her dressed. We play a game together. I put another load of laundry in (or not, maybe I wouldn't be so behind on laundry if I stayed home). I promise her we can paint after lunch if she plays by herself for a while, so she does and I do the dishes. Then we eat lunch. Maybe tomato soup (her favorite). After clearing the table, it's time for paint. We do paint, and then maybe Play-doh, or craft. Something else that causes a mess. Because why not? Then it's rest time / quiet play and I send her to her room (we actually do rest time / quiet play on weekends). I proceed to clip coupons for tonight's grocery trip. Since she's not been feeling well, she falls asleep sooner than usual, after about 30 min. After I finish the coupons, I tackle the chore list: maybe some dusting or sweeping? A few simple things I can fit in during her nap, nothing major. Go outside and spend a few minutes with the dogs. Around 5pm I start dinner (I don't know what, like I can cook yet, right?). She wakes up soon after, and we eat around 5:30pm. Then we head to the grocery store. Home around 7:30pmpm, straight to bath time, but not quite so long since we've had good play time together the rest of the day. Nighttime routine is similar. She's still in bed by about 9pm. I relax on the couch for 30 min while she falls asleep. Feed the pets. Go thru my items for the upcoming gigs. Check the clock. It's 11pm and I decide to head to bed.

See the difference? I do. I really do.

And just like every day now is different, every day as a SAHM would be different to, so that's just one possible scenario. But do you see the difference? The chores that I have to save for the evening are done in the afternoon, and more! The grocery shopping I'll have to wait and do tomorrow, would get done today! The time I would have to read and play games with my daughter, just to be with her. I mean, do you see the difference?

I do.

Still busy. Very busy, in fact. But what a difference. What a real difference.

So... what's a change you've been wanting in your life? How do you think it would change things for you?

Friday, November 18, 2011

We Have CHICKENS !!!

Fifteen to be exact. All hens. Plymouth Barred Rock.

We got them when they were approximately 28 hours old.

We've been talking about getting chickens since we moved onto this property a year ago. The house sat empty for so long, plus the previous owners didn't take care of it, plus it is in a wooded area, so... we had a major bug problem. Primarily wood roaches and wolf spiders, which were probably feeding off of the wood roaches. Plus when Spring rolled around we had a major mosquito issue because of our neighbors' (non) maintenance of their (stagnant) pond.

So we had several people suggest to us that chickens are an effective, non-toxic, and green way to control bug populations.

But neither of us have experience with chickens, and I actually had a fear of chickens (little known fact), plus we had plenty of renovations to work on in the house, and some marital issues to focus on, so... chickens weren't exactly a priority.

Just doing the renovations & cleaning up the property greatly helped control the roach & spider problem. And we purchased some Mosquito Control Rings which Jason secretly threw into the neighbor's pond, all but eliminating the mosquito problem within a few days.

But we do live in a wooded area, so... there will always be bugs. Always. As the colder weather has been setting in this year, the little critters have already been making their way indoors.

And so... chickens. All natural, non-toxic, environmentally friendly bug control, plus excellent producers of organic, sort-of free range eggs.

Technically I think they qualify as "free range", but once they reach adulthood and are outside, we will be confining (ie protecting) them by housing them in a rather large chicken tractor, the square footage of which is nearly double the recommended size per bird. Yay.

But with Tootsie's history of, ahem, not being nice to animals, and even Buddy, when introduced to the baby chicks we hoped he'd protect... yeah... ends up he thinks baby chicks look yummy. So a very secure chicken tractor. Very secure chicken tractor is in the works.

They are currently in their brooder, locked in the laundry room (away from Tucker), but will be moved to their chicken tractor in the garage within a few weeks, as they outgrow the brooder. This Winter they will be too young to be outside at the outset of Winter (we intentionally chose a cold hardy breed, so future Winters they should be fine outdoors, but this year they will be too young).

So far having chickens is fun. But they poop a lot. Surprisingly a lot. But they're still fun. Thanks for checking in!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Just in time for Christmas... a giveaway!

The very talented Julie Ramsey over at Walk by Faith Studio has graciously offered to sponsor a giveaway for my readers! Yay!

I just love her work, and we currently have this piece framed and displayed in my daughter's room:

Whether you choose an original drawing, a print from an original, an ACEO, or some digital artwork, you are sure to be pleased with your selection.

And I just have to take one moment to mention my absolute favorite thing about Walk by Faith Studio - it's the care Julie puts into every piece. This is evident not only in her work, but also in her shop, where she carefully describes each piece and why each and every one means something special to her. I just love this personal touch to her work!

One lucky winner will win my current favorite at her shop... an original 8x10 India ink drawing declaring "God is Love". This original piece of artwork will come signed by the artist, sprayed with a professional quality final fixative and with an 11x14 dark gray matboard with backing.

To enter simply visit her shop, review her artwork, then come back here and comment, telling me which is your favorite, and where in your house you would display it.

As an added bonus, use coupon code KYFIREWIFE on your order between now and December 31st, and you will get 10% of your entire order!

So, now hurry on over to her site, because this giveaway will end at 11:59:59 EST on Nov 25 (Black Friday!)

The contest will run thru 11:59:59pm (EST) on November 25, 2011. The winner will be selected by random draw and will be notified via email. He or she will have 48 hours from the time of notification to respond before another winner is drawn.

All thoughts and opinions shown here are exclusively my own, and no compensation was received for this post.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Not Just Another Blog Challenge #9 - What Occupation Have You Been Told You've Been Good At

I think the one that's been on my mind lately is Animal Behaviorist. Since I was a young child I connected with the animals around me, and loved pretty much all of them.

Sometimes I honestly wonder how I didn't end up with a job working with animals of some sort.

A friend recently told me it's never too late to find your passion and make a career out of it, and while I know it's true, and also kinda feel like working with animals will always be more of a hobby for me.

In the long run that will probably help keep it more enjoyable for me anyway.

What about you? What job have you been told you'd be good at? Are you doing it? Why or why not?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

Not Just Another Blog Challenge #8 - your exes

#1 - Well, ya'll know about "the" ex.

My college sweetheart. A little over a year younger than me. A mechanical engineer. Now married with children. You know enough of the rest of the story.

#2 - the Portughese lover

A Portughese pharmacokineticist & marathon runner, nine years older than I, we were together for just over 4 months, when he disappeared. Literally. Home phone disconnected. Cell phone disconnected. Work phone rolled to the main operator. A drive-by showed his condo appeared empty & dark, with a "for sale" sign in the front yard.

Very weird. My sister thinks he was a terrorist. I've considered the possibility of witness protection. I have a few friends who work in various... industries... who offered to find him, but I declined.

I mean, disappearing overnight like that? It's just never good. I decided I'd rather not know.

#3 - the single dad

A single dad, recovering alcoholic and recovering narc addict, 11 years my senior. We met at church, and were together right around five months.

A very sweet guy, and a great dad, but not the best boyfriend. He had just finished the police academy when we started dating, and was a part time police officer for a nearby town.

I broke it off when I realized I was staying more for his daughter than I was for him. Still think about him her often.

There were a few others interspersed between those three, but those are the ones I considered actual relationships. You know, when the topic of marriage comes up seriously... I consider that a "real" relationship.

Thanks for checking in.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

FireGirl's Pink & Purple Birthday Party !!! She's Three !!!

That little boy? That's her boyfriend. Shhhh! They're so cute together!

She got a set of 3 Llama Llama books. And proceeded to read them to the other children.

She got her trumpet!

Random dancing

About 30 min after we got home I noticed she was very quiet. Yep, passed out on the floor of her room.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Not Just Another Blog Challenge #7 - Something You Struggle With

I have no idea what I had in mind when I came up with this as a topic. But now, it makes me laugh out loud. I mean, if you've followed my blog for, say... six months or so, at least, then you know I struggle with plenty.

Of course, we all do. Maybe that was the point. Maybe I wanted to connect us all in the thread that we all struggle with something.

Right now I struggle with motivation, primarily at work. And with eating well.

I really should probably look for another job, as my current position just leaves me so terribly unfulfilled. I struggle with being motivated to work, am easily distracted, my productivity is way down... and I don't even care. That's the worst part, the tell that something is wrong.

As far as eating well... I'm not sure what happened. It seems like somewhere along the way junk has crept its way back into my diet. Actually, it feels like it jumped back in overnight. I mean, I never ate as well as I could, it was always a struggle for me, but then after seeing my endocrinologist I had made some changes and was doing fairly well, better than before, anyway, but lately... ugh. I just can't seem to get enough of it. I feel hungry all the time, even on my meds, and I'm craving the really bad stuff for me. Bad. It's not good. I'm scared to get on the scale.

I don't know what's going on. Part of me says if it's chemical / hormonal, that something has gotten out of whack, and no worries, because your checkup is next month anyway. You'll get your bloodwork done, see where everything is, talk to the endocrinologist, he'll adjust your meds, and everything will be fine. But I guess the doubting Thomas part of me worries that this solution that seemed so good might end up being too good to be true.

Part of me wonders if it's exhaustion-related. I'm just so tired lately. And it seems like the more tired I am, the more junk I want to eat.

All I can say, is that it's a good thing we don't regularly buy junk food at our house. Or I'd be a blimp right now. But curse the vending machine at work. Seriously.

So... those are my current struggles. What are yours?

Friday, November 11, 2011

It's Friday Afternoon...

... and I can't stop smiling.

The past few weeks have been like this. Around 3pm I get downright giddy. Literally cannot wipe the smile off of my face.

Everything makes me happy. You pretty much cannot bring me down at this point in the day week.


Well, because the work week is over, I'll get my baby, go home to my hubby (2 out of 3 Fridays anyway), and have two blessed days off. Two days to be a wife and mother and nothing else. Two days to spend with my family. Two days to go on family outings, to run errands, to play with FireGirl, to go to church, to cook meals, to talk with FireMan, to do chores... and if I'm lucky I might even get to sleep in on Saturday.

Two whole days to be a wife and a mother and nothing else.

And I am literally giddy about it.

Have a most wonderful weekend everyone!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Not Just Another Blog Challenge #6 - How are Your Current Spiritual Views Different from How You Were Raised ??

Hmmm... when I came up with this question, I actually thought it would be a fairly easy one for me, but it's a little more intricate than I realized.

So, when it comes to big stuff, core beliefs and what-not, well... my beliefs aren't different at all from how I was raised. They are different from some of the churches that I attended thru the years, but not from the spiritual teachings of my parents.

There is some little stuff that is different, but the complexity arises when I realize that regarding these fragments,  my parents have altered their thoughts as well, as their relationship with the Lord grew.

An example? Sure.

When I was little, as a girl, I was not permitted to wear pants. Girls / women were only to wear skirts or culottes* no shorter than knee-length. Boys / Men were permitted to wear only full-length pants.

* as it was difficult to find true culottes in most stores, we usually settled for the baggiest walking shorts we could find, often bought in a size bigger than needed, than tailored in at the waist by our mothers

Not sure what exactly changed my parents' view on that. By 2nd or 3rd grade I was permitted to wear sweatpants during the winter, and only for gym class or out in the snow. I got my first pair of jeans when I was 13 years old. That... was a big occasion.

Since the church we went to maintained that dress code for all of its youth events, I still dressed like that quite frequently, even after my parents permitted a more modern method of dress. So I wore culottes into my first year or so in college (until they wore out). To me it was no big deal, just another thing to wear, you know?

So that's a little thing, and example of something small that my parents changed their thoughts on as their spiritual relationship grew.

Now I think probably the biggest difference is one that I'm still figuring out myself. I grew up being taught that the spiritual gifts are no longer given to believers, no longer evident in today's world. My husband grew up believing that they are still manifested. And so began the discussion.

Honestly, when you read the scriptures regarding the gifts of the Spirit, I can see both interpretations. As I've delved deeper into the Word and prayed for insight, I'm actually leaning more toward that the gifts are manifested today, but that many believers who use these gifts use them incorrectly (per the instructions given in the Bible). I'm still figuring it out, so don't get upset with me either way, but the more I read & learn the more I am thinking that the incorrect use of the gifts, by believers ignoring the instructions of the Scriptures when it comes to using the gifts given to them, probably leads to quite a bit of confusion within the church, and may have led to this split in pedagogy.

So... like I said, when it comes to big spiritual beliefs, no change from how I was raised. When it comes to smaller issues, there are a thousand snippets of teachings that both my parents & I have grown to interpret in different ways. These are just a couple of examples. Thanks for checking in!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Not Just Another Blog Challenge #5 - Something I Side Eye

Okay, I just want to say that I have no idea why this bothers me, it just does. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, and I know that in my head, but if I see it, it just irks me to no end, and definitely gets the ole side eye from me.

What I side eye: people who take their kids out in public wearing their PJs.

The kids wearing them, not the parents.

Yes, even infants.

Yes, I know it's weird that this bothers me.

Especially since when I was in college I would occasionally go grocery shopping in pajama pants & a Tshirt.

But it still bothers me.

Even when FireGirl was a newborn, I didn't care if she stayed in her sleeper all day at the house (heck, I've been known to put on my PJs as soon as I get home from work), but if we were going anywhere, I insisted on dressing her in a clothing outfit (ie. not sleep clothes).

Again, I have no idea why this bothers me so much, but it does. It really, really does.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Look at Me !!

In that last pic, FireGirl was originally bending upside down like her daddy. That's what I was trying to take a picture of. FireMan is completely oblivious to the fact that she has just taken a header into the ground, and I snapped this pic as it happened, capturing the split second after face-plant but before screaming started.

She was fine, just scared and a little upset.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Not Just Another Blog Challenge: #4 - What's so Great about your Place of Worship

Our church is pretty awesome.

I think what I admire most about our church is how much they reach out to the community. I don't think I've ever belonged to a church that was as involved in our local community as this one.

We support a local ministry that provides food to those who are struggling, primarily homeless adult men. Members provide bags of food & toiletries on a weekly basis, that are loaded up once a month & delivered to the ministry.

Once a month the members of the church also go to the ministry's primary location and serve a hot meal, as well as providing music & a quick devotional. Still primarily homeless men, but as the economy took a downturn they started seeing more & more families.

The church is also heavily involved with an organization that provides for men recently released from prison. This group owns two houses that serves as a type of transition house as the men find their footing back in the real world. They are provided a furnished room, and must attend counselling sessions, etc. while there. The organization also helps the obtain basic job skills so they can begin working again.

In addition, our church has a jail ministry, where members of the church go to area jails several times a month to minister to the inmates, pray with them, or sometimes just listen to them. Inmates who have shown good behavior are permitted to attend local worship services, and our church provides transportation for approximately 10 inmates to attend our church every Sunday.

We also support the local pregnancy crisis center, providing counselling to pregnant women who find themselves looking for alternatives to abortion, many of them feeling they have no options, but don't know what else to do. They provide everything from basic baby supplies, parenting classes, adoption counselling, basic prenatal care, and sometimes just listening to the women's struggles.

I'm sure I'm missing some areas of community involvement, but those are definitely the big ones.

There a thousand other great things about our church, but the outreach to the local community is definitely one that has stuck out to me.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Hey! We Went to A Marriage Conference

And it was amazing!

I've already blogged about the experience on my other blog, but since marriage is (obviously) such a large part of my life I wanted to put a shout out over here too.

If you want to ready the whole journey of how it came to be that we went, read:


then this

and lastly this

Long story short, I cannot say enough for the experience, and how it has positively transformed our relationship, our marriage, and as a result our family. We're still a work in progress, there's always work to do, always ways to improve, but I never would have believed that we could see such an immense change in just a few short days.

I've tried to write about it over & over, because I personally know so many other couples are - or have - struggled in their marriages, and I want to share this resource with them, with all of you, but words just keep failing me.

Maybe the timing is wrong, maybe the words are wrong, I don't know. All I can say is that we are so very, very glad that we made the decision to go, and I do believe we will see a lasting change in our marriage and in our selves as individuals because of it.

Praise be to God!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Not Just Another Blog Challenge: #3 - My First Job

Ahhh, my first job. Not including chores. Not including mowing relatives' lawns for cash, or babysitting for the neighbor's kids. My first real job.

My first real job was as a dishwasher for a steakhouse in the local mall called York's Choices.

My job was to clear dirty dishes off of tables, take them to the back, rinse them off, load the dishwasher, unload them when done, take out the garbage, and sweep & mop the floors.

About a year after I worked there the local location was closed down. The rumor was that it was shut down for health code violations. Having worked there, I believed it. I tried googling it, and it appears the entire chain is now defunct.

It was a hard, smelly undertaking. My uniform smelled like garbage (literally), no matter how many times it was washed. It stunk.

I worked there the summer between my junior & senior years of high school. I wanted to keep working part time when school started back up, but my dad was insistent that my job was school. Period. I had to talk him into letting me get that job.

My dad is so wise. Seriously. Here I was, a teenager begging him to let me get a job so I could have some extra spending cash, and my dad kept telling me "Your job is school. You have plenty of time to work once your education is over. You'll be working the rest of your life. Right now, your job is to go to school & get good grades."

Wise, I tell ya, wise.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Trip to the Zoo in Pictures

FireMan teaching FireGirl about insects

watching the gorillas

brushing a goat in the Children's Zoo

First time riding the train

Photo by FireGirl - she directed us to "make a funny face"


Peacock - photo by FireGirl

Loving on the manatee statue

Hiding behind the manatee statue
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