Thursday, January 31, 2013

Another child is on his mind

The other night Jason asked Jena if she wanted a baby.

We were at a restaurant eating dinner, and there was a newborn at the next table.

He says things like this more often now.

Okay, it's more like he actually says things like this now.

Previously he wouldn't have brought it up at all. If anything, avoided the subject.

And he'll make comments like "you know we'll have to clean out the cat's room"

The cat's room being our office. Which has never turned into an office, but is a room full of boxes, plus where we keep the cat's stuff. Thus "the cat's room".

As in, we'd have to make that the nursery, as we have no more bedrooms.

Never long conversations. Just little comments that tell me having another child is on his mind.

And not in a horrible, oh-my-goodness-my-wife-wants-another-kid way.

In a way that says maybe he really thinks having another kid ain't so bad after all.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Preschool: Two Years Later

Those of you who have been long-term followers may remember that I had quite a bit of anxiety when we first enrolled Jena in preschool.

And now? Two years later? I am glad we did it.

Of course, there's no way to tell how things would have turned out with one of the in-home providers either. Hindsight not allowing us to see the what-ifs, and all. But the in-home provider I really liked fell thru, and last year closed her daycare, and the other was a little too unstructured for me, so... yeah, I think we made the right choice.

Jena now goes four days a week, roughly 8 1/2 per day. Her social development has progressed enormously, although she does still have a lot of difficulty with new situations / people, and transitions. But I suppose that's just part of her personality, so... we'll deal with it and adjust, just like we all do with each other in dealing with different personality traits.

As far as life skills go (potty, dressing selves, basic chores, etc) I couldn't be happier. I had no idea they even addressed these issues in preschool, and to be honest I have no idea how I would have gone about assisting her in learning some of these things. They have practice boards for everyting - buttons, tying, zipping, etc., plus they teach them little tricks to make it easier for them which I would have never thought of.

And academically? We are thrilled. It is a montessori school, and I love that they teach to each child's level, allowing them to move forward when they are able, spending extra time when needed. Jena is progressing very nicely. She is barely over four years old and can read entire books by herself (think Dr. Suess & similar), count to 125 (I'm pretty sure she could go higher, I just think she gets bored by then, LOL), does basic addition & subtraction, and so much more.

The school proceeds thru kindergarten, and our current plan is to let her stay there thru her kindergarten year (at which point she will go 5 days per week), then move to public school for first grade.

Well, I think that about wraps it up. As I was picking her up from preschool yesterday I realized it had been a while since I had updated you on the school / child care situation, so I thought I would.

Thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Two degrees

The other night we lost electricity on our house for the first time since we moved in, over two years ago.

Winds had been howling all day, and extended into the evening. Sustained at 35-30 mph. Gusts over 60 mph.

Strong enough that I could see the panes in our windows bending ever so slightly when the gusts came along. Needless to say, that freaked me out.

Also needless to say, Jason was on shift. Stupid Murphy's Law.

Around 11:30pm, just as I was getting ready to slip into bed, the electricity went out.

Do you have any idea how dark it is in a house at 11:30pm with no light anywhere? It's dark. Pitch black dark.

It was also cold. Temps in the low 20s. Wind chills in the teens. And no more furnace.

No more 72 degrees (we keep it warm due to Jena's cold-air induced cough).

Worried that since we lived in a rural area (ie. fewer people) we would be last on the list for the electric company to fix, I sprang into action. Using the dim light from my cell phone I made my way thru the house, gathered an extra quilt and spread it on top of our bed, already covered in flannel sheets and a toasty comforter. Then I went to Jena's room and carried her into our bed (she sleeps like a rock & never woke up). Back to her room to get her comforter and spread it on top of our bed as well.

Climbed into bed, cuddled up next to her... and realized I was sweating. Maybe we don't need all 3 blankets just yet. I folded the top two down and snuggled back in to sleep.

Woke up when the lights came on at 3am. Walked thru the house checking things out, and decided to check the thermostat to see how cold it got. Didn't feel too bad.

70 degrees.

And that, folks, is why we paid extra for the nicer windows when we were renovating the house. Two years ago we got all new windows & doors as part of the renovation.

It took nearly 3 hours for the temp inside the house to drop a mere 2 degrees.

That, plus the fact that we have a wood-burning fireplace, makes me feel a lot better should we lose power during the Winter again.

Although I'd still probably bring the munchkin into bed, just to be safe.

As always, thanks for checking in.

Monday, January 28, 2013


Well, just a year after adding Chief to the family, we're beginning to think of what we want when we add another.

No, we don't want five dogs (okay, Jason doesn't want five dogs, LOL), but Tootsie & Buddy are really showing their age / health.

Tootsie has a growth on her belly that is growing rapidly. We're both thinking tumor. Due to her age & other health issues, plus considering that she doesn't appear to be suffering, we are in agreement to not have it treated. If she begins to show signs of suffering, we will most likely have her euthanized. Honestly, we didn't expect her to live this long. The primary motivator for getting Chief a year ago was that we thought she would only last another few months. Yet here we are a year later, and other than this new tumor, she's no worse off than she was then.

Buddy has also slowed down greatly this year. He's been to the vet for an injury plus an illness. He's also been exceptionally cold this Winter. To help you understand, his breed was made for the cold. He has a triple coat, which is usually thick & fluffy in the Winter.
He loves the snow. Sleeps in it. Plays in it. Eats it. Loves it. It's the weather he was bred for. In the past, even when we have brought him in for whatever reason, in less than an hour he's begging to go out. Being outside patrolling "his" land is in his blood.

But not this year. He shivers if it gets below 40 degrees. He's moving slower than normal. And when we bring him in? He's content to stay in the house all day and all night. Very unlike him. The vet finds nothing wrong with him, so it is most likely his age setting in. We don't know his exact age, but are estimating his age to be nearing the end of his approximate lifespan for his breed. And yes, he's got a lot of gray in that muzzle.

And so, with both of our big dogs showing their impending fates at the same time, talk has turned to adding another to our pack. Probably not until one of them has passed, but still, the discussion has started.

Chief is a great dog. He works well with Buddy, and shows many of the same traits. The shepherd side of him, I suppose. However... it ends up that he seems to have a good deal of hunting dog in him as well. He tracks... everything. Trees squirrels. He hunts. Something I was specifically hoping to avoid.

He's also a bit smaller than we were hoping, weighing in at around 70 lbs. Close, but we'd really like our dogs to be 80 lbs or more. We like big dogs. Especially for working dogs.

And so, I've expressed to Jason that I'd like our next pup to be either an Anatolian or a Great Pyrenees (or similar). Rescue would be preferred, of course, but since I would like to ensure certain characteristics in at least one of our dogs, I'd be willing to buy from a reputable breeder.

So, this is where we are with the dogs. It's sad, but a fact of life.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

It's like he's planning or something

I've noticed that Jason brings up the (possible, future, maybe) baby sometimes. Probably more than I do.

Usually starts with "If we have another...", but sometimes "When we have another..."

He asks me questions about how old Jena would be, what grade she would be in, what does my insurance cover, what does my short-term disability cover. He asked me how long I would take off.

It's like he's planning or something.

In his own way. Practical stuff. Money stuff. Logistics stuff.

It's never a long conversation, usually a statement or two, that's it, but... I dare say he's actually gotten used to the idea and may even be planning for a future FireBundle.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

I am pro-gun. But...

I just feel like this is something that needs to be said, and I haven't seen anyone else approach it, at least not directly, so here goes.


I am pro-gun. I believe in our Right to Bear Arms. I do not think we should make laws making it harder for law-abiding citizens to obtain guns.

I do not think that guns kill people. I think that criminals do. Sometimes crazy criminals, but criminals.

Making it harder for law-abiding citizens to obtain a firearm does nothing, since often the guns used in crimes are stolen.

Criminals do not care for the law. They don't care how many laws you enact, they will break them to accomplish their goal.

Stricter gun laws are not the answer.

Now, that being said, I cannot think of one single legitimate reason why automatic or semi-automatic weapons are legally available in this country. Not one.

Furthermore, I do not think banning semi-automatic weapons infringes on your right to bear arms. It doesn't.

The only reason "legitimate" reason I know of to own a semi-automatic weapon is for fun, because you enjoy shooting them. They're not permitted for hunting. In the face of an intruder, a single-shot firearm will protect you just fine.

And taking away something that you think is "fun" is not infringing on your constitutional right to protect yourself.

I have thought, and thought, and thought, and thought, and thought, and I just cannot come up with a reason why these firearms are permitted in the hands of anyone other than law enforcement or military personnel.

Not one.

Do I think banning semi-automatic weapons will keep mass shootings from occurring? No.

Do I think that by slowing the shots fired it will limit the number of casualties and give more people a chance to escape with their life? Yes.

Do I think that chance is worth people giving up something they think is "fun"? Absolutely.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Guest Post: What Parents Should Do When Their Kids Abuse Prescription Drugs

As my regular readers know, my family has been affected by a loved one who abused prescription drugs. So understandably I was excited to receive this guest post from Lana Brigham. Enjoy!
Even the thought of your child abusing prescription drugs is practically too much for you to bear. However, as parents, sometimes you have to deal with these issues. If you ever were to find them abusing prescription drugs, here's how to handle it.

Gauge Awareness Levels

Of course, issues can happen at any age; however, it's more likely that you're going to find a teenager abusing prescription drugs than a young elementary school child. In the latter case, you want to make sure the person really knew what he or she was doing. Older children might be abusing the drugs to get a rush, but younger ones may not really know what the drug is or what they are doing.

A Medical Visit
Now, serious internal problems can result from taking too many drugs, so you want to seek medical attention for your child right away. If the doctor is not open, going to the emergency room is a smart idea. Even if you think all of the drugs are probably out of his or her body, this is a situation with which you do not want to take chances. During the visit, you should also ask the doctor where help can be received for this type of problem; he or she may have some suggestions for you to follow.

Treatment Programs
Once the medical needs have been attended to, it's time to enroll your child in a program to help him or her get over the prescription drug abuse. This is not a situation where you should give your child another chance. Yes, part of it is showing children what they did wrong, but the other component is getting them the help they need. Find a group that is age appropriate for the youngster if possible. At certain ages, many others with the same issue might not exist. Choose a facility that has a program known for its success rate, and bring your child there for the program.

Continued Support
Do not just leave your child at the facility, and never return until he or she is going to come out. Find out when you are allowed to visit. At home, you can pray for your child's speedy recovery. When you come to visit, be supportive. Remember, this can be a really sensitive and embarrassing time for your child. This program might be an outpatient one too. In that case, ask the specialists what you can do at home to always show support and help out. When the program is over, you need to find out if any continued support is available for the youths as you want to be sure that this issue does not happen again.

Finding out that your child is abusing prescription drugs is a devastating scenario. The little one who you have always loved is entering into a really tough period in his or her life. However, with the support of you and other family members, your child will get through this situation.

Lana Brigham writes about parenting, health and more at the Delray Recovery Center.


Guest post provided by GuestPostU

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Christmas 2012 in pictures

cookies & milk set out for Santa

new blue sparkly dress courtesy of Santa Claus - just what she asked for

Daddy helping her figure out her new LeapPad
bringing new meaning to the term "life sized doll"

she decided to take down the tree... all by herself...

Monday, January 21, 2013

A bit of anxiety

A few recent events, combined with the knowledge that I might actually someday have another child, has had me flashing back to my Labor & Delivery experience.

Not the least of which is some physical symptoms that have decided to rear their ugly head, that are a direct result of the trauma my body went thru those two days.

And all of which have led to me having a bit of anxiety.

I've decided that even though my next visit to my Ob will be a routine check, and not a pre-conception evaluation or anything, as that is still a ways away, I will be asking him a few questions about his medical opinion re: me having another child, another vaginal delivery, an elective C-section, etc.

I know more than anyone that you can't plan what will happen, but I need to gather information specific to my situation, and I want his medical opinion, as a professional I trust & respect.

I know the decision is ultimately up to me, but I need to know.

I'm also considering that if we do ever get pregnant, that I may start seeing my therapist again. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm a little worried that I might completely freak out as L&D draws near.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Today is the hardest

Dear Friend;

It has been hard. So hard. I know. As much as I can know, I know.

But if my family's experience at the loss of my father-in-law is any indication, today will be the hardest day.

Today will be long. The visitation, while healing in its own right, is also grueling. Too many hours, too many people, too much standing, not enough water, need-to-pee grueling.

Too many tears, too many hugs, too many loved ones you won't remember tomorrow grueling.

I imagine you awoke early, making final preparations, rushing last minute items to the funeral home, spending a last few moments alone together as a family, getting ready, paying your own respects, before the public arrives.

It will be a long day. A very long day.

And at times it will feel like you can't take anymore, can't hug one more person, can't be there anymore.

And at other times it will feel numb, like your father isn't lying behind you in a casket.  You will shake hands, and hug people while they are crying, and for a few moments you will feel nothing.

And then a glance to your dad, or catching eyes with someone across the room, or a brief clip of music catches your ear, and the tears will come again.

It will be a very long day.

But there is tomorrow.

Tomorrow you will have the funeral service. Tomorrow you will bury your dad.

It will be quieter. Fewer people. More private. There will be time for you to speak, to say your peace, to say your good-byes.

It will still be hard, but unlike the grueling nature of today, there is peace in the quiet of tomorrow's ceremony. There is a strange sort of peace at the finality of it.

And the next day... the next day, for the first time in a long time, you will be able to breathe.

Oh, don't get me wrong. It still hurts. I wish I could tell you it gets better, it gets easier. But it doesn't. You just become used to it and learn how to move on.

But the day after next, you will be able to breathe. Finally. You may not realize it at first, but it's there, the breath in space now unknown to you.

You will move on. You will get down to business. Helping your mom navigate life insurance policies, and joint accounts, and wills. It will hurt, badly at times, but you will begin moving on.

And months from  now, maybe even years from now, there will still be times when you are overcome with emotion, when you miss your dad, when it hits you once again. There will still be days when you succumb to the tears.

But today, today is the hardest. I promise.

You can do this. You can get thru today. And then, you can find a bit of peace tomorrow, and then... then, you can breathe.

You are on my heart today, and I am praying God holds you tightly, that you feel His presence in your time of need.

God bless you.

Monday, January 14, 2013

I'm not much of a risk taker either.

I had my regular appointment with my endocrinologist, and informed him that we may start TTC in the next year or so.

He says that when we make that decision, assuming I'm still on the same meds, I'll need to stop them two full months before even TTC.

He then explains that it's more of a precaution than anything, that if we have a whoopsie and stop them immediately we'll probably be fine, but he doesn't like to take risks, so he advises his patients to stop the meds for a full 60 days before TTC to make sure all chemicals are out of the system.

This is why I like him. I'm not much of a risk taker either.

And part of me kinda likes that this gives us an additional 2 month cushion. So, we pay off the car, then I stop my meds for two months. It's like 60 days of additional prep time. I like it.

Friday, January 11, 2013

During Winter Shutdown, I...

My company has "shutdown" between Christmas & New Years'.

What I accomplished:

- purged mine, Jason's, and Jena's closets for the first time... ever
- bought new storage containers for all the Christmas decorations
- took down the Christmas decorations
- cleaned the living room multiple times (it is the most photographed room during the holidays, LOL)
- took two naps in one week, for the first time in God-knows-how-long
- took Jena to the pediatrician and nursed a bad case of the flu, followed by an ear infection
- got the dogs & chickens set up for winter (heated water dishes, bedding, etc)
- got a haircut
- cooked more meals in a week at home than I have in, well, God-knows-how-long
- played with my daughter, hung out with my husband, saw my family

What I did not accomplish:

- get / keep the entire house clean
- finish ALL the laundry for once
- inventory the food in the house
- various chores / errands that I wanted to get done

Hmmmm. When I started this list, I honestly thought the "not accomplished" list would be longer, but the "accomplished" list would be more quality items. Kinda excited that the "accomplished" is actually longer. Maybe I need to do these lists more often!

Thanks for checking in!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Water Rescue Christmas Party

doing a craft

when Santa first came into the room

as close as she would get to Santa on her own

the only way she would wait in line to see Santa

as close as she would come to sitting on Santa's lap

Monday, January 7, 2013

Because I need to know

Jason's announcement has had time to sink in.

I talk to him rationally about it one night.

How I think it could be a really good thing. The timing could be really good. If our bill-paying plan holds out, it means even if we were blessed enough to get pregnant right away, Jena would be in kindergarten (at least). Plus we'd have another 10 months to pay off our next bill, which should be paid off about a year after the car. And now I get short-term disability, so the maternity leave won't be as hard on us financially. And we know better about what to expect (in so many ways), so we can prepare better.

And I tell him since I'm a planner and I need fair warning on things, and we could possibly be TTC within the next 12 months or so, that I plan to talk to the necessary doctors at my next appointments. Just so I know what I'm getting in to.

Because I need to know.

Especially after all the complications of last time.

Saturday, January 5, 2013


A little late, I know. But here are a few shots from our Thanksgiving.

football game on, house filled with people, and she passed out before lunch!

after dinner, looking at ads and making her Christmas list

Thursday, January 3, 2013

One Word

Last year, when I was deciding on my word for 2012, I decided on "hope".

It was a good word. It was a fitting word.

Indeed, 2012 was full of hope.

However, at the end of the year, I'm gonna choose another word to describe 2012. I started the year with hope. I ended it as a year of rebirth.

In so many ways, 2012 has been a year of rebirth. And as any mother knows, birth is not always easy.

There were the major events:

- my father-in-law passed away, leaving behind his earthly body and being reborn into his heavenly body

- my nephew nearly died, and since has left behind his old ways, and has been reborn into a new reality

- a dear friend passed away, leaving behind his earthly body and being reborn into his heavenly body

and personally, for me, I feel reborn, new, ready to face the new life ahead of me.

And so for 2013 I choose the word growth.

I look forward to continued growth in many areas. Growing in my service to the Lord and to the community. Growing in our marriage. Growing in my career. And maybe, just maybe, growing our family.

In every area of my life, I look for, and choose to strive for growth.

What word did you choose?
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