Saturday, September 29, 2012


On our family vacation we stayed at the campground at East Harbor State Park. FireGirl had a blast playing on their playground. See for yourselves!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

My Fat Butt - less soda pop

Well, dear readers, I'm here for another check in.

On my 2nd month of reducing my eating out, I didn't do as well as the first month, and finished at 47%. Still much better than my initial 60%, but those numbers need to go down, not up.

But on my 1st month of reducing my pop intake? I dropped it by just over half, from 43% of my beverages, to 22%.

So, to re-cap: I've reduced eating out by 21%, and reduced pop intake by 51%.

And gained another 4 lbs.

To say I'm frustrated is an understatement.

But I will press forward. Work on dropping my eating out numbers back down (and farther!), work on lowering my pop consumption even more. Work to increase activity (which should be lots of fun w/ a bulging disk), and work to increase fruit & veggie intake.

I will press on. But I will also consider moving up my next endocrinologist appointment. He'd taken me off of most of my meds about 4 months ago, because I was having some pretty bad side effects, and my levels had been very good, so we decided to stop them. And in those 4 months I have gained roughly 15 lbs, 6 of which have been while being very intentional at making some lifestyle changes.

So I will continue to do the work, but I also have to consider the possibility that I may need medical intervention to keep my weight from progressing back to where it was before I got diagnosed.

I'll continue to keep you posted. Thanks for checking in.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it -- that that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. ... These are people who pay no income tax. ... [M]y job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives." -- Mitt Romney

The statistic is accurate. 47% of Americans pay no income tax, yet receive government assistance.

I have no problem with most of this quote. The last line could have been stated a little more eloquently.

Because the fact is that roughly 5% of Americans are on disability (ie. have been determined by a medical professional as unable to work).

So let's lower that number to 42%, 'kay?

Another 10% are elderly. So let's lower down to 32%.

Another 7% work, but bring home less than $20k. So let's lower some more down to 25%.

That seems more reasonable to me. Including from my own experience.

One-fourth of our population pays no income tax, but believes they are entitled to government benefits.

While his statement could have been stated a bit more... tastefully... the point behind the statement stands. A large portion of our citizens have grown to rely on the government for things they could provide themselves, but don't. They believe they are entitled to certain provisions, and honestly don't understand why they should pay for them, when the government will. I've heard them argue this point with my own ears.

I know people who work just long enough to qualify for their unemployment checks again, pretend to look for work each month so they can keep drawing them, get the checks till they run out, then work another month or so. Just long enough to get back on the taxpayer's payroll.

I know people who get ticked off when the government cuts off their benefits, because what are they supposed to do now?!? (hint: get a job).

I know people who get their hair & nails done, wear name brand clothing, smoke a pack a day, then complain that their government stipend doesn't cover their living expenses.

I know people who take their food stamps and do their grocery shopping at the local gas station, paying incredibly inflated prices for junk, because they don't want to walk another block to the grocery store.

I can tell you that after my car accident I was told by several doctors that I "more than qualified" to be on disability (government paid, taxpayer paid, disability) - yet I was always able to work, and in fact during that time often worked more than one job. So how many of that 5% do you think are, in fact, truly disabled? truly unable to work?

I can tell you that when I finally had to declare bankruptcy due to medical bills, and attended my government-mandated financial counseling, the counselor told me he was shocked at how frugally I had been living. After all, I had been "entitled" (his actual word) to things like cable, having my hair & nails done, eating out, entertainment, etc.


The fact is that our government does have programs that were originally intended to help those truly in need, but which over time have somehow evolved into providing aid not only to those in need, but to those with entitled mentalities. It's the truth. It is.

How you can have a system that tells able-bodied people they're entitled to disability, tells poverty-stricken people they are entitled to luxuries like cable, professional hair appointments, manicures, and the like, tells people that they are entitled to use their food stamps to buy food that is of little to no nutritional quality, that they are entitled to work the minimum amount required by law and never recognize the pattern of abusing they system... how these things can continue to happen over & over again, how these entitlements can continue to expand, how our taxpayer system can become more & more strained...

I just don't understand how this can continue to happen. How can we Americans continue to be okay with it? How can we call requests for reform unsympathetic?


Maybe you like these entitlements. Whether you're currently using them or not.

Maybe you think I've just had a lot of bad experiences, been surrounded by the rare exceptions. Maybe you're right.

But we all have to base our opinions based in part by our life experiences, and unfortunately my life experiences have been full of entitled laziness. Friends. Family. Neighbors. And I'm sick of it. I'm tired of trying to ignore my friends' complaints about how the system doesn't give them enough, while she tells me her latest scheme for abusing my tax dollars.

I'm tired of it.

If you're okay with living in a country that entitles people to be lazy & spoiled, then fine. But I'm just not.

I get what Mr. Romney was trying to say. Could he have said it better? Sure. But then again, I'm sure I could have written this post better in some way as well. I'm sure every one of you has at some point in your life said or done something that came out differently than you'd intended. It happens. And while I haven't yet decided who is getting my vote, I'm not going to count him out because of one minor miscommunication. Not when the overall point stands so well.


I acknowledge that this post rambled a bit, and got longer than I'd anticipated. If you got this far, thanks for hanging in there. And as always, thanks for checking in!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Aaaagh! Railroad Crossing!

On our recent vacation to Lake Erie, we were nearly to our destination when we got stopped by a train. And by that, I mean the train stopped on the tracks right in front of us. That's never good.

that's the end of the train. stopped

this is how close we are to the crossing

you know it's never good when workers start poking at the train, LOL

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I had someone ask me this morning what makes someone's behavior an addiction.

We were talking about someone that I believe is addicted, and she doesn't see it.

So, we talked it out.

Like, lots of people drink alcohol, what makes an alocoholic?
Lots of people visit casinos, how do you know who's a gambling addict?
Our entire country is filled with overweight people, who is truly addicted to food?
Every man likes sex, how do you know if he's a sex addict?
Most women like to shop, which ones are shopping addicts?

I finally came up with it: the difference is that an addict is no longer in control of their own behavior*. The desire for the object (alcohol, gambling, food, sex, shopping, etc) controls them.

An addict can lose everything, and still can't stop. An addict can know how destructive their behavior is, and still can't stop. It has reached a point where the activity is no longer a choice, it is a need.

Now, before someone says "oh, but they chose to (insert whatever)"... you're right.

They did choose to. At some point. In the past. And at some point they may have even realized they were on the brink of a problem. And they chose to keep going. But now? It's no longer a choice. They truly feel as though they need it (and in some cases their own bodies will perpetuate the lies - withdrawel is a witch). They cannot function "normally" without it.

Nine times out of 10, the addict is not:

- the person binge drinking every weekend. It's the person who can't go one day without a glass of wine.
- the person hitting the casino once a month and blowing their entire paycheck. It's the person blowing $25 a day on an online poker site
- the person stuffing their face with food the one night they're out with the girls. It's the person sneaking food at home after their spouse has gone to bed.
- the person who cheats on their spouse once. It's the person who can't stop looking at pornography.
- the person who goes on one shopping spree and blows their house payment. It's the person who spends $5 at Goodwill. Four times a week. Every week.

It's the mom who's been in & out of jail and rehab, and who the judge gives one last chance to be successful at stopping her drug use, or lose all parental rights to her children. And she sobs, and promises to clean up her life, because she does indeed love her children. But within just a few months is back in jail, all parental rights terminated.

It's the man who views pornography daily, then escalates to local personal ads, then begins an online flirtation, whose wife treatens to leave & take the children, and he chooses to walk away from "everything he loves" rather than get treatment.

It's the husband whose wife, whom he truly loves dearly, threatens to leave  if he doesn't stop drinking. And he's dry for about 2 months. But then he can't help himself. And his wife leaves him.

That's the difference. That's an addiction. When you don't know why you do what you're doing, but you can't stop, even at the threat of losing what you hold most dear... you are no longer in control. You are bound, a slave to your addiction.

That, is the difference.

* I am not a professional, and other than a random class here & there, plus my own experience dealing with addicts, am not actually qualified to make these statements. If you believe you or someone you love may be dealing with an addiction of any sort, please speak to your family doctor, or Google addiction support for your particular concern to find help near you.

Monday, September 17, 2012

My Thoughts on Gay Marriage

Since this has been such a hot topic lately, both in the news and in my owns circles, I wanted to do a post on it, only to realize I already had. This is an update on that original post.


The more I hear about the issue of gay marriage, the more I don't really care.

Now, I know, that sounds a bit harsh. But the truth of the matter is that as long as it's between two consenting adults, I don't really care.

I certainly don't think the government has the right to limit the activities of two consenting adults who aren't hurting anyone else, themselves, or property.

And I don't think the government should be involved in anybody's marriage. Not heterosexuals, not homosexuals, not polygamists. Whether or not two people are joined in marriage isn't the government's business.

Let me explain.

Marriage is an institution put in place by God. Therefore, it is at it's core between a man, woman, and God.

No one else.

Yes, biblically speaking, marriage is to be between a man & a woman. The Bible is very clear about where God stands on homosexuality, and all referances to marriage are always in reference to husband & wife, or man & woman.

But is it right for our government to uphold what is essentially a spiritual belief? I say 'no'.

The decision to marry is a very personal, private matter. While the decision should be rejoiced, at the same time who is involved in the decision should be left between the two people and God. Period.
Where it gets murky is because a lot of benefits, tax breaks, etc. are specifically given only to married couples. Well, quite frankly, I have thought this was wrong since my single days. You're refusing me a benefit because I'm single / gay / have 3 wives? Sounds like discrimination to me.

Why not permit one "civil union" between 2 adults, regardless of gender, for tax & benefit purposes, and leave it at that? Leave marriage itself as the sacred institution it is, not a government decree.

And while yes, I believe homosexuality is a sin, it doesn't mean I think it's okay to disrespect or discriminate against those who practice a gay lifestyle. That's not okay at all.

We are all sinners.

"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" -- Romans 3:23

Do I believe that marriage should be reserved for a man & a woman? Yes. The Bible tells me that.

Do I think that the government has a right to decide who can & who can't get married, or put any other limitations on the institution of marriage? No.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Bulging Disc

After finally giving in and seeing my family doctor, and the subsequent MRI, we have a diagnosis.

Bulging disc.

Same disc that re-injured last year.

Same disc that I had surgery on in 2006.

Same disc originally injured in a car accident in 2002.

I didn't realize it'd been hurting for six months (that long?!?) until I stumbled across this blog post from February.

The pain gets better, gets worse, but never goes away. I'd say it stays steady in the 3 range, sometimes down to a 1 or 2, sometimes spiking to an 8 or 9.

Six months. I was thinking it was only three. See, this is why I blog. My memory stinks.

Anywho, I had my MRI, it's a bulging disc, and with no big surprise he's referring be back to my neurosurgeon.

I don't really want to go thru a surgery & recovery again. But I can't go thru life in constant pain either. Especially with a munchkin depending on me.

And (I know I should wait to talk to the surgeon before I even think about it, but...) I also am pretty sure that the surgery won't be as bad this time around, as (I think) it would be a routine discectomy.

My original surgery took more than twice the estimated time, my scar is double the size I was told. They got into my spine & found my injury was more complicated than originally anticipated. The hardest part? Scraping the calcified gunk (annulus fibrosus) off of the nerves surrounding the disc. My disc had exploded into my spine, and over time the gunk (not a medical term, my term) had calcified on the nerves. My surgeon said  one nerve was actually cemented onto the bone, unable to move. In addition, the center of the disc (nucleus pulposes) was no longer in the middle of my disc, but was bulging out of the opening left by the absent gunk.

Long story short, it wasn't a routine procedure. And recovery was long. And miserable.

All that to say, I'm thinking hoping that if I do need surgery again (and I think that is what he'll recommend), then this time it will be more of a routine discectomy, right? RIGHT?!? (just say 'yes' to make me feel better, 'kay?)

So, that's my update for today. As always, thanks for checking in!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Questions ??

After having a completely-overwhelming-and-stressful beginning of the year, and not having time to blog, I've struggled to get back in the flow of writing as frequently as I did before.

So... I'm opening it up to you all, my faithful readers.

What would you like to know? About me? My family? The fire life? Post questions in the comments section below, and I will do my best to answer them.

As always, thanks for checking in!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Oh, it's just an old back injury...

I find myself saying these words more & more lately.

I haven't mentioned it on here, or really anywhere else, because I've ignored it best I can.

But the truth is, my back has been hurting for at least 3 months.

The numbness & tingling from last year never went away, I just got used to it. But now I'm in pain. Near constant pain.

It's tolerable. I'm not on pain meds yet. Then again, I tend to be the refuse-to-take-meds-until-I'm-completely-nonfunctional kinda person.

Using the 1 thru 10 pain scale, I'd say most of the time my pain hovers around a 3, but there have definitely been spikes up to 9, and I've thought about staying home from work / leaving work early because of it. You know, when I almost collapsed walking between buildings because of the pain that shot into my back. That day, I almost went home. But I toughed it out.

Which, if you know me, the fact that I thought about going home is saying a lot.
It feels a lot like last time, before my surgery. Lying down hurts in no time, so I wake up every night in pain & try to change positions to get comfortable again. Sitting down for long periods of time makes it very difficult to get up. I'm doing the old-lady-shuffle in my trademark hunched over fashion.

And so, I finally gave in and saw my primary care physician.

He cringed as he watched me walk, offered me pain meds (I refused), and kept saying I'm too young to be going thru this.

He should have seen me 7 years ago.

In the end, he ordered an MRI and referred me back to my original neurosurgeon. Pretty much what I was expecting.

I'm trying not to get ahead of myself, but I don't know what I'm gonna do if I need a repeat surgery. I mean, financially things will be much better (I have paid sick time, as well as short term disability now, which I did not have before), but the recovery was so difficult. I don't know how I'll manage with a preschooler.

To give you an idea, the surgeon prescribed a med to essentially knock me out within 15 min of taking it, and keep me out for 2-3 hours. The point is to force me to be as immobile as possible so the surgery site can heal. I basically slept for a month after surgery. If I remember correctly it was 4-5 weeks before I was cleared to drive. Walking was difficult. And someone has to check the site daily & change my dressing. As a single 20-something, I moved in with my folks for about 10 days (till the dressing no longer needed changed), then went home to my apartment with my cat & spent my days sleeping & watching TV & being bored out of my skull.

But healing. Which is the point.

I just can't figure out how that would possibly work with a preschooler, house, & 20 animals to take care of, plus a husband whose job requires him to be gone every 3rd night.

I know I need to stop worrying about it, because I don't even know for sure if I'll need surgery, but the planner in me can't help trying to figure it out.

So anyway, that's a little update on me. As always, thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

*updated* Parenting Advice from FireWife

Original post here.


This is a blog post to my possibly future self. I'm just letting you read it too.
Feel free to leave comments with your own advice. I'm sure I'll be updating this post as I remember additional tidbits / discover new things.



Pray for your unborn child.
I'm convinced FireGirl likes veggies because while I was pregnant I prayed that she would like all the healthy stuff that I didn't.

Try not to gain more than 50 lbs.
Screw the tables the AMA comes up with, but keeps changing.
Knowing your family history, and how much you gained with FireGirl, 50 lbs is a reasonable target (for max).

Follow your gut.
You're an awesome mom already. You know what to do. Do it.

Eat more fruits & veggies.
It's just good for you. And the baby.

Labor & Delivery:

It will not go as planned.

If you're comfortable doing so, allow others in the room this time.

You may need the support. So may FireMan.

Plan on taking at least 12 weeks off (max allowable by FMLA).

Remember last time? 'nuff said.


Pray for your child.

If it's another girl, check her labia frequently.

Labial adhesions are a b****.

Follow your gut.
You're an awesome mom. You know what to do. Do it.

If you want to breastfeed, go for it.
If you're struggling, try to pump. Some breastmilk is better than none. Screw the lactation consultants. Pump & know how much you're getting.
If you feel like you need to stop BFing and / or pumping, do it. There is no shame.

Trust Jason when it comes to carseats.

Chances are your kid will be much larger than average, and he is the trained professional.

Deep breath, calm down.


Pray for your child.

Every kid walks & talks at their own pace.

Stop freaking out.

Trust your gut.
You're an awesome mom. You know what to do. Do it.

Don't let them in the front seat of the car unattended. Even for a minute. Even in the driveway.
They think CD players look like great places for the pennies in the change holder, remember?

Trust Jason when it comes to carseats.
Chances are your child will be larger than average.
It will look scary to check your rearview mirror and see your baby in the big kid seat.
But with Jena you checked & rechecked the safety stats, and it really was safer considering her size, remember?

When it's time for potty training, remember: clothing should be easy for your child to take off / put on.
Buy undies a little bit big (but not falling off), elastic waist pants are your friend, as are adjustable-waist pants (adjusted just a little bit bigger than they need to be (but not falling off).
Oh, and no more one-piece PJs. They're adorable, they keep munchkins warm, but they hinder nighttime potty-training, because they're difficult for small children to put on / take off by themselves.

As soon as they can reach, put doorknob covers on the doors.
As much to keep them in, as to keep the cat safe.


Pray for your child.

Trust your gut.
You're an awesome mom. You know what to do. Do it.

Enroll them in preschool if finances allow.
Challenging them intellectually is good.
Let them go at their own pace (montessori is preferred)

Make holidays a BIG DEAL. Even little ones.
It's worth it just to see their faces.

Always send an extra change of clothes, just in case.
Even if your child hasn't had a daytime accident in months.
The embarrassment you and your child feel when your babysitter sends her home in the babysitter's son's clothes (including undies!) will assure you to always, always send extra clothes.


* remember, this is a post to myself. I'm sharing it with you, but if you disagree because something didn't / doesn't / you don't think it will work for you or your family, then fine. No need to argue with me, because I accept the fact that what works for one family will not necessarily work for another.*
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