Thursday, September 30, 2010

Why I Listen to Conteporary Christian Music

Because it makes me feel good.

Yes, I started listening to it because I'm a Christian, and I was a little curious. Being raised on hymns & Southern Gospel, the Contemporary Christian genre was actually frowned on in the church I grew up in.

I continued listening to it, because it made me feel good. It's uplifting & encouraging. Always positive. Always happy. Even the more serious songs have happy endings.

Oh, and they tend to talk less than the secular stations. At least the ones in my area. Which I find a big plus.

And so, dear blog readers, Christian or not, if one day you're driving to work and looking for something positive to listen to, a positive way to start your day, I encourage you to at least try a Contemporary Christian station.

In our area they can be found at 93.3 FM (Star), 90.1 (air1), or 102.3 & 104.3 (KLOVE). If you're not in the area or would prefer to listen online, follow the links above for more information on each station.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Progress!

Really starting to feel like we're making progress.

Windows were installed yesterday (replaced every window in the house).

Tile floor has been laid & grouted in FireGirl's bathroom. It's beautiful!

Fireplace insert has been installed.

And yesterday my father-in-law spent most of the afternoon & early evening playing working on the tractor, removing a lot of the underbrush that had grown up on the property.

It's so nice to finally be done with the tear down phase and start to see the build up phase coming together. Really feels like we're accomplishing something!

Got New Heels!

Okay, they're not solid black, but I'm pretty sure they'll go with pretty much anything I would wear plain old black heels with. Plus they're super-cute, they were the only pair of black heels on sale, and the only ones in my size. And I'm wearing them today.

Love!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Weighty Wake Up Call

This past weekend we attended my company's Family Day at a local amusement park.

We spent most of the time on the kiddie rides. FireGirl had a blast!

When the rides allowed a parent to accompany the child, for the most part FireMan went. I happily offered that to him, as he hasn't been able to spend very much time with FireGirl lately, due to working on our house.

Well, there was one ride that allowed both parents to ride, so I enthusiastically joined in the fun. Until they informed us that even the parents have to wear seat belts. And?

I was this close to not being able to ride. This close.

I. Was. Mortified.

The attendant had to help me get my seat belt on.

Did I mention I was mortified?

And that, dear readers, is what you call a Weighty Wake Up Call.

Monday, September 27, 2010

We. Have. PAINT!

FireGirl's bathroom is painted. Completely painted. Primed, and two coats of paint on the ceiling & all four walls.

It might seem like a small step, but it feel HUGE to us! It's beautiful. The color is called "Ocean Pearl".

I had to find a nice neutral that would go with the turtle theme we're doing in FireGirl's bathroom, the ocean theme we're doing in our bathroom, as well as look good next to the color in the adjoining hallway.
You can't tell from this pic, really, but it's got just a touch of greenish tint to it.

Love it!

FireMan will start laying the tile floor (hopefully) this afternoon, and our windows are scheduled to be installed tomorrow.


Trouble in the Culture ??

FireMan recently informed me that yet another of his coworkers has separated from his wife. I did the math.

Ten percent of his coworkers have separated or divorced within the past year.

Then I realized that not all of them were married to begin with. If you take out those already single (never married, already divorced, or widowed), then twenty percent of his married coworkers have separated or divorced within the past year.

And of course ya'll know we've had our own problems this year (things have been going well lately, thank you for asking).

And of course there're the two firefighters who are (fairly openly) cheating on their wives.

I find this high number of marital problems in one workplace scary. And troubling.

The fact that there are so many occurring, tells me that there's a high likelihood that it's something within the culture that has been created amongst themselves.

I have asked FireMan to keep his eyes open, to be vigilant, to be on guard against such things. I have asked him that if he can identify what the problem might be, that he build walls against it, and flee from it when it appears.
I don't know what it might be. They don't all work with one another, not in the same station or on the same shift. Most of them don't hang out together very much after work.

But it seems to me that there has to be something going on. Perhaps a way of thinking that needs to be changed, as opposed to any one action.

It's interesting, because when I brought up our marital issues to my therapist, she at one point had mentioned that it might be a long road ahead, because it seemed like I wasn't just fighting for one man, I was fighting the culture he's surrounded by.

I knew then she was probably right, but wow! I didn't see this coming.

Twenty percent. Within the past year. I can't get over that. It's just huge.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Visions of Myself

I have grand visions of myself. Grander than grand. And I'm great at making plans. I'm not always good at following them, but I'm a great planner. I envision myself as so many things, doing so many things, being so many things to so many people. I can see it. Achieving it, however, is often another story.

Here are a few pics that showcase how I envision I could be...





what I could do...




from my fellow bloggers, I see myself...

Running marathons like G Wise

Making beautiful, yummy food like Living Eventfully

Being as awesome as a blogger & photographer as McMama

Being as fashionable & fun as Allison

Being as passionate about music as violajack


But alas! there is just not that much time in a day! No one can do it all, as I've touched on before. And it's good to have plans, aspirations, visions of ourselves in a positive, albeit somewhat unattainable light. And it's so tempting to see ourselves as failures when we don't think we're achieving what we can or should achieve.

And then someone (a dear friend) says (writes) something so simple, yet profound, about their own life (Gracie's Momma), and we're reminded that
all we have to be, is who we already are.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Stopped by WalMart this Morning...

... to buy a shirt for work, on my way to work.

With all this crazy house stuff, and shuffling locations between our house, my parents' house, and my brothers' house, and having tried to pack light to begin with... well, I couldn't find a clean shirt suitable for work.

I'm definitely missing one of my work shirts. Already checked Mom & Dad's. Checked our house (where I was last night), and checked the car.
Which means I'm hoping it's at my brother's house, along with the missing pair of FireGirl's pajama pants.

So I put on a Tshirt, and swing by WalMart on my way to work this morning. Was planning on just getting a cheap, just-nice-enough-to-pass shirt for work, but... I actually like the shirt I found! Tried to find a pic online to show you, but funny enough, it's not on their website.

So anyway, I buy the shirt, and walk into work carrying my WalMart bag. Slip into the restroom & change before heading to my desk. And they're none the wiser, LOL.

And... I got a nice new shirt for work. For only twelve bucks! Score!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Connections (or... why I miss Facebook)

We haven't had internet service at our home since we bought it. Going on three weeks ago. And I'm really trying to not Facebook at work, so... it's been nearly two weeks since I've been on Facebook on a computer (although I do log in via Blackberry every once in a while).

The first day, I felt a modicum of anxiety: my crops will wither! my fish will die!

The second day, I thought about Facebook, but with less urgency: my crops have withered. my fish have died.

They the third or fourth day, I got real about what Facebook is for: I wonder if I have any new messages? new friend requests? crap, so-and-so asked me to add her as a friend, and I haven't been on

By the end of the first week, while I missed Facebook, I found myself, well, not caring about it really at all.

But by the end of the second week? I check Facebook on my Blackberry every chance I get. Almost obsessive about it.

And last night I found myself asking myself "why?"

Because I miss the connections. I miss hearing about what's going on in my friends' lives: reading their statuses, seeing their pictures, keeping in touch, connecting with them on some small level. I miss getting little comments back on my status updates or my pictures.
I miss the connection.

Outside of family, I have very little connection in my daily life. And with my life being superceded by home renovations lately, even those connections are brief, surface interactions.

I need connections.
I work in an office, where most of my fellow team members travel. Except for me. And by travel, I mean all. the. time. Which means that many days I am left sitting at my desk, virtually alone. Right now? There is one other person sitting at his desk, and he's across the room.

Which means I get very little "connection" with my co-workers.

And so, at this point in my inadvertant Facebook fast, I am close to starving. Starving for connections with people I care about, who care about me. Even if they are "just" Facebook connections.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Scary!

The money in our account for renovations is dwindling! Scary to look at the balance, and know we still have so far to go!

But... we're also still waiting on some checks from the bank to get here. So it's not like we're actually running out of money yet. Still... seeing that number get smaller. And smaller. And smaller. Scary!

On happier news, the concrete for our new sidewalk / front porch is getting poured as I type this. Can't wait to see it tonight!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Dear In-Laws (LONGer than I intended when starting out):

You are on the verge of being banned from watching your granddaugther unsupervised.

We've been thru this before. Remember? We've had numerous conversations about how FireGirl's diaper needs to be changed the minute you think it might be wet. You are well aware of the issues she has had with severe diaper rashes, staph infections, and fused labia. You should know by now that this is not a matter of convenience, it is a matter of your granddaughter's health.

And you've been on change-her-diaper-every-two-hours-regardless, or if you see it's wet, instructions for the past few months. So when you watched her for two days straight last week, including the overnight, I actually felt confident that she would be okay.

Then came Friday night. You had told me she didn't want you to wash "down there", so before her bath, I took off her diaper (my first diaper change since picking her up), and examined her. I was... stunned? disgusted? amazed? furious?... to find that my daughter's private area had apparently not been cleaned in two days. Her entire diaper area was bright red with a new diaper rash, her butt crack was incredibly red, and visibly painful, and then there's her labial area: so red it appeared raw, and with feces still lodged in there. Feces. Poop. For God-knows how long.

I was ready to kill. This is my baby, and you have been told. Over. And over. Are you that selfish? or that lazy? or that selfish?

After struggling to get her in the bath, struggling to get her diaper on (with "magic-feel-good cream" {neosporin + pain relief}), and seeing my baby in so much pain, I am ready to fight.

Then I remember that you had all boys. So maybe, just maybe, you honestly don't know any better, even though I'm pretty sure we've been over this a zillion times.

I call FireMan. He calls you. You tell him that you're not "comfortable" cleaning her labial area. He explains that it's not an option. You agree, and apologize. Seem genuinely sorry that you've caused her so much "discomfort" (ie. pain).

So we decide you can still take her to the singing at your church on Sunday. We pick her up last night. She's outside playing with her uncle. Of course, I check her diaper the minute we're finished hugging hello. She's wet. But not too wet. And she's been outside playing, so I think nothing of it.

Until we get inside & I ask you where her diaper bag is, and you say "does she need changing? I thought she might need one a while back". Instead of blowing up in front of our entire extended family at my nephew's birthday party, I grit my teeth & change her diaper.

I'd really like to know how long "a while" is. Ten minutes? Twenty? Sixty? How long is acceptable to knowingly keep your granddaughter sitting in her own urine? Especially considering her health issues? Especially considering you've been told a hundred times, and we literally just had this talk the day before?

How long?

I've been thinking about this all night, and day. And I've come to a decision that I hope FireMan will support me on, even though you are his parents:

if there is one more occurrence of you not changing FireGirl's diaper reasonably, or of not cleaning her properly, you will be suspended from unsupervised visits with your granddaugther

It's not personal to you, it's personal for my daughter. It's her health that's at stake, and I think I've been patient enough.

Please don't make me go there. Please.

I heart underground fencing

It's working! For all three dogs!

I'm amazed.

I hate, hate, hate that they get shocked if they cross over, although after the first couple of attempts, they now turn back if they get close to the flags, or if not, then definitely by the time their collar beeps (it beeps before administering the shock).

And... I have never felt so secure having our dogs in the yard. Not even when we had a five foot high fence around the yard at our old house.

It's probably the first time I have ever felt like our dogs were truly contained on our property, and safe.

And that, to me, makes it worth it.

Now that we feel they are secure, we allow them to roam the property, including the house, while we are there working on it. Which means they mostly stay in the house with us.

So I decided I might as well start teaching them their "off-limits" areas, even though the house is in shambles. This means the kitchen, and the spare room (because the cat food & kitty litter will be kept there). I'm debating on the dining room as well. I'd like to have that off-limits for the dogs, but with our new open floorplan, there's no visible delineation for the dining room, and it kinda melds into the hallway, which melds into the living room.
They're doing really well with the off-limits areas. Considering. Still more work to be done, but we're making progress.

Now... if I could just get Hydrant to stop trying to hunt down FireKitty...

Online, I Prefer Puppies & Rainbows

One of the mommy boards I visit regularly recently had some drama. Here's my very-generic-incredibly-brief rundown of what happened.

Poster #1: I think this.

Poster #2: How dare you think that?!? This is my experience, and because it differs from yours, I'm gonna call you out publicly on a message board! Because I have a right to think & feel what I think, but how dare you express what you think!

Third of remaining posters: {{take sides & join in the bickering}}

Third of remaining posters: {{back out of posts & refuse to respond either way}}

Third of remaining posters: {{didn't log on over the weekend & missed the drama altogether}}

I'm gonna be honest, although I don't mind the occasional intellectual debate, arguments like the one I've summarized above, which seem to happen frequently on message boards (some more than others), really irritate me, for a couple of reasons:

#1 - I get irritated any time someone attempts to put their thoughts / feelings over another.The original poster was posting regarding something that occurred in her own personal life. She was sharing her experience, but apparently used the "wrong" words to describe the event. She was not passing judgement on anyone, not commenting on anyone else's experiences, nothing. Sharing her own personal experience. And whether I agree or not, whether it's online or in person, the fact that someone would call her out for using the "wrong" word to describe something personal to her just irritates me.

#2 - My momma taught me that "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all"
Am I perfect in this statement? No. Do I try? Yes. Do I have this crazy idea that those around me should try? Yes. Do I think that constructive criticism, while it can be beneficial, should be delivered with common courtesy, and preferably in private when possible? Yes.

#3 - I prefer my internet to be full of Puppies & Rainbows
and unicorns and butterflies and kittens and anything good & happy.
I have enough drama in my real, in-person life. I don't need any added drama in my online life. And I can't imagine anyone who actually does.


Now, my confession: on this particular message board site (because it contains multiple boards, not just this mommy one), if I notice a particular user is being particularly negative all. the. time. (with me, or with others, or both)... I block them. On that site, it means that I no longer see anything they post. And I think they can't private message me either. And probably can't see my posts anymore. Which means that I can go back to my puppies & rainbows internet world.

I don't block many users. Honestly. Only those that have a pattern of being negative, and sometimes even abusive, towards other users. Not just one incident. We all have bad days, right? Over the past three years since I've belonged to these message boards, I can only think of three users that I've blocked. Which really is a testament to how awesome these boards can be.
But alas! message boards are comprised of people, and people are imperfect, so...

I may take a day or two off from the boards until I think my puppies & rainbows are back.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Our God is an awesome God

I really & truly feel that God is blessing us with this house, and that He continues to leave little blessings for us in unexpected places, to show us that we did indeed make the right decision in buying this house.

You might call it coincidence. Others might call it fate. Someone else might call it luck. I call it GOD.

Why? you ask.

Well, first, there's how we found the house. Did you know that at the time we weren't even looking. FireMan was online looking for houses for his parents, who had recently decided it was time to move. Stumbled upon the listing for our house, and showed it to me, as it was exactly what we'd always said we wanted.

Then, there's the fact that the first loan fell thru. Sure, a great disappointment at the time, but if that loan hadn't fallen thru, the bank would never have lowered the price by the $15k that they did by the time we put in our 2nd offer.

Then, there's the timing of our purchase. Sure, it was a pain in the buttocks. But looking back, the timing has worked out wonderfully for our family.

And then there's paying for the renovations, specifically for the materials. We had looked at items earlier, but refused to buy anything, lamenting the fact that we were missing such great deals. So we never actually bought anything until after we closed. But immediately after we closed.

We closed on Friday. On Saturday we hit the home improvement stores. Ended up one of our local home improvement stores was remodelling, and had a TON of stuff on clearance. And I mean a clearance like you've never seen it.

You'd like some examples? Sure.

A large laminate countertop, the exact style we had picked out, regularly $105, we paid $5
All of the hardware for our cabinets (kitchen & bathroom) - 50 cents a piece.
Outide lights, regularly $45 each, we paid $13

And the deals continue. Still. To this day. Well, at least to yesterday.

And the kicker? The reason I feel that God is behind this? It's never what we intend to buy, but it's always exactly what we want.

Like the stove FireMan found at the home improvement store near his work, which he only went to because his buddy wanted to go: regularly $800. Has a small dent in the side (which will be hidden by counters anyway), he paid $300.

Like the tile that is regularly over $1/sq ft, being on clearance for less than 60-cents per sq foot.

Or like last night when we went just to buy a gas can, and some ceiling lights for the bedrooms. And happened to see some ceiling fans on clearance. Hadn't planned on buying those yet. But look, they're only $33. Regular price? $129. Discontinued style. Actually much nicer than we had planned on purchasing. But now? much cheaper than we had planned on spending.

Things like this keep happening.

Like all three of our dogs getting loose the one night when neither of us is staying there, and we're both an hour away from the house. And the couple that happens to find them ending up being a general contractor (him), and so awesomely nice & generous as to offer his services "for a steak dinner", and a horse breeder / riding instructor (her), and when they heard we had a daughter, offered to have us bring her down "anytime" to see the horses. Have I ever mentioned that FireGirl (and her mommy) loves horses? Since then they've actually called or stopped by several times just to see how we're coming along, and to offer their help again. Of all the people who could have found our dogs, what are the chances?

Like FireMan expecting to have to put all these additional supports in the wall, then when they tear into it, they realize nope, supports are already there.

Just a million random things that have gone our way, as if by magic, that we never expected.

Praise be to God!

I Need New Shoes

Normally, I would be semi-happy about being "allowed" to shop for new shoes.

But instead, I'm irritated.

Right about a year ago, I purchased some black heels for work (and other). Usually, I get my shoes at discount stores, and am happy if they last me six months. Although the last pair of black heels I got, at a discount store, that I paid only $15 for, lasted me three years.
Well, since I wear black heels so often, I decided to "invest" in some "higher" quality shoes. Went to a well-known website, and purchased some cute name-brand heels. Got them at quite a bargain for $40. After shipping & handling, taxes, etc. I paid over $50 for my awesome new, comfortable, cute shoes.

Here's the closest pic I could find online:
Not them, but pretty close. Aren't they cute?

Well, about two months ago, I noticed I was getting blisters on my heels from wearing them. I checked the insole (not sure if that's the right word, but that's what I call it), and it had begun to wear unevenly, causing the blisters.
Not to be dismayed, and because these are my awesome, black, name-brand, paid-more-than-double-what-I-normally-would heels, I continued wearing them.
And getting blisters.
Until it became too painful to wear them.

And then I purchased some of the insoles you can put inside your shoe. The cheap ones. Five bucks. Because if I'm gonna pay much more than that, I might as well buy new shoes, right?

They were actually very comfortable, but I wore thru them in no time, and within a couple of weeks, the blisters were back.

So then I bought some slightly more expensive insoles. Ten bucks. Gel insoles. I'm wearing them today for the first time. My feet already hurt.

I'm a little ticked.

When I pay more money, I expect better quality. I know that's not always the case (obviously), but it's what I expect.

I have now invested approximately FOUR TIMES into these shoes as my previous, cheap pair. Cheap, but lasted me three years, while these are lasting me barely one. And we only got that far because I purchased insoles.

This does not make me happy.

And I'm a little upset that other than the uneven wear on the inside, they're in great condition. Heel is still very sturdy, sole is in good condition, and they're cute as ever. Just horribly painful.

And so I suppose I will purchase new shoes. I also suppose I will probably go back to my discount store, and hope they have cute black heels in stock. One of the risks of discount stores: they don't always have in stock what you want / need. But at least if I buy cheap shoes, the fact that they might fall apart after a few months doesn't really disappoint me. And if they last me three, then bonus.

Oh, and I know I could invest in some real insoles, for some more money, but if I only need them for this pair of shoes, and I can buy a whole new pair of shoes for the same as a good pair of insoles, then... I'm gonna go for the new shoes.

Thanks for checking in.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Underground Fencing Seems to be Working

For two dogs at least. I took FireDog around the fenceline again last night, and he seemed to get it. He wouldn't go near the white flags. So I took him off the leash. And he never once tried to go thru the fence. Although after a while I did notice him poking thru some brush where the white flags weren't as noticeable. But the minute he saw one, he'd turn away.

Took Spots along the fenceline for the first time. The first time he got close and his collar vibrated, he tried to reach it to bite at it. The next time he decided to keep walking, and got shocked (Eeek!). Then vibrate. Then shock. Then... he learned. He really seemed to get it, and has always been good about staying around the house anyway, so I took the leash off, and... he never once tried to leave.

Awesome.

Still need to work on Hydrant though. She's a knothead, that one. Probably take them each around once tonight, and see how she does.

{{slowly steps off of soapbox}}

So, after a day of agonizing over this decision, being sick to my stomach, googling vaccines, immunizations, exemptions, etc., searching the state of Kentucky's website...

It ends up we don't have to get those vaccines in order to send FireGirl to school.

Her preschool called me back today. She said that we do, in fact, qualify for religious exemption.

me: we do?
her: yes
me: but I thought religious exemptions were an "all or nothing" thing (which is how I read all of the information I could find online)
her: no, not exactly. If you refuse or delay certain vaccines you have to specifically write the name of that vaccine on the exemption form
me: really? awesome! but we're not not getting them because of religious reasons
her: your refusing them because as a parent you believe getting them is not in your child's best interest, right?
me: yes...
her: those "beliefs" qualify as "religious", in regards to the exemption
me: really?
her: yes. Trust me, we've been thru this many times before.
me: awesome! Thank you!
her: since your daughter has some of the vaccines, just make sure you turn in her completed Immunization Certificate, as well as your signed Religious Exemption form, and be sure to specifically name any vaccines you have refused or delayed
me: awesome! and I can just bring that on her next day of class?
her: yep
me: awesome. Thanks!

And the weight fell off of my shoulders.

Although I am no longer on my soapbox, I do have a request to the State of Kentucky (and many other states as well, I am sure):
Could you please make this information easier to find? Heck, all of your information... could you make it easier to find?

I remember when I moved to Kentucky, trying to figure out how to register for this & that, get a new license, transfer my car registration, etc, etc, etc. I spent tons of time on the internet, even called & asked just to be sure, and still ended up not having all of the info I needed. It was a mess. I was furious.
Information I needed I found on the state and/or county websites, only to find out it was either outdated, or missing some pretty important pieces. It made the whole process of moving here needlessly stressful and frustrating.

Yesterday I spent hours (literally) on the internet, looking up regulations, exemptions, visiting numerous message boards, touring the state site, as well as even anti-vaccine sites, looking for information. And no where did I find this info. Why is that?

Oh well. It's a shame that the info is so hard to find. And it's a shame that some parents will get the vaccines that they don't want for their children, so they can send them to school, because they don't know about this inclusion in the exemption. Heck, after much gut-wrenching, I had FireGirl's appointment already made. So glad I cancel it and forget this whole thing. Well, at least until next year.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Really?!? Four Weeks?!?

Waterline has been laid. All we need is for the county to come hook us up.

FireMan went to the county water office today, submitted the paperwork, copy of the permit, and paid for the hookup.

And was told it will be 4 - 8 weeks before they can hook up our water.

Something about how because we live so far out they need to get special permits from the state to blah, blah, blah. Or something like that.

Listen. I know we moved to a rural area. And yes, this is what we wanted, but...

Let me assure you, we do not live in the middle of nowhere.

Our house is four miles from downtown C_________, on a main road. A small town, sure, but a town. It is ten minutes to a bevy of restaurants & gas stations. Two major grocery stores within a ten minute drive. Precisely ten miles to a major interstate. Nine miles to the largest city in our county.

And so, yes, even though our little stretch of road is surrounded by farms & woods, I am surprised, disappointed, and filled with disbelief that we live "so far out" that it will take 4-8 weeks to get running water, because they will need special permits.

Did I mention we already drained the cistern in preparation for the hookup? I don't really get it, but I guess to lay the line they have to get into the cistern to connect to the house or something. I guess that makes since.
And even though we didn't have running water, we were at least able to drop a bucket into our ginormous cistern to get water when we needed it, water for the dogs & cats, etc. And now we don't even have that. We have no water at our house for the next 1-2 months.

I would like to cry now.

{{slowly climbs on soapbox}}

I don't think any parent should have to choose between putting their child thru what they consider to be an unacceptable medical risk, or enrolling them in school.

We, as the parents of FireGirl, chose for her to not have two vaccines, and to delay others. This is based on our own research of each individual vaccine.

Why look at each one individually? Because they're all different, that's why. They each have different benefits, including rates of protection, and different risks, including side effects and rates of side effects. So it doesn't make sense to look at all of them together, as if you can make one generalized decision.

Think about it.

If my doctor wants to prescribe Augmentin to me, as an antibiotic, would I object? No. It's reasonably effective, and I have no known reactions to it.
What if my doctor wanted to prescribe Illosone, as an antibiotic, to me? It's also an antibiotic, right? Well, yes, it is. But as an infant it almost killed me. So guess what, I'm gonna object, and refuse.

Kind of a simplistic example, but I think you get my point. Just because all vaccines are lumped together in a group called "immunizations" doesn't mean they're all equally effective, or equally safe. Therefore, it is wise that we look at them individually.

So... back to my point...

The only "legal" objections to not vaccinating your children for school, at least in my state, are religious (but this is a blanket exemption for all vaccines, and doesn't pertain to us), or medical (which does individualize, but essentially requires your child to have a pre-existing condition).

Which means that no matter how much I believe a particular vaccine is not right for my child, I have to choose between the medical risks, or enrolling them in school.

And I don't think a parent should have to make that decision. More importantly, I don't think our government should force those decisions on parents. Or anyone.

Now, before someone says "well, if you don't vaccinate then other parents will have to choose between the risks of being around your unvaccinated child or sending their kid to school" - I want to point out that if their child is vaccinated... if vaccines are so awesomely awesome that you felt it was worth the risk to give your child that vaccine... then why are you worried? Your vaccinated child should be perfectly safe, right? Isn't that why you got the vaccine? The only children in real "danger" would be those who were unvaccinated. And if that's not the case, if you're not so convinced that a vaccine will protect your child from the disease, then I must ask: why were you willing to put your child at risk for the side effects if you didn't believe it would work?Ugh.

I just finished re-reading the package insert for one of the vaccines. I'm literally sick to my stomach now.

Listen, I am not anti-vaccine. I understand that vaccines serve a purpose and there are benefits to getting vaccines. I'm not anti-medication or anti-doctor.

What I am is anti-government-telling-me-what-is-best-for-my-child.
I am anti-no-one-can-tell-me-the-long-term-ramifications-of-this-vaccine-because-hasn't-been-out-that-long (and I'm planning on FireGirl living past her teenage years, so...).
I am anti-someone-else-telling-me-what-to-do-without-the-willingness-or-capability-to-provide-(what I consider) reasonable-proof-to-back-it-up.

And I am sick to my stomach. We believe it is best for FireGirl to attend school, including the private (but still-required-to-meet-gov't-regulations-about-vaccines) preschool she just started. We also believe it is best for her to not get these two vaccines. We are intelligent, well-educated parents who have done our research and have reached these conclusions based on what is best for our daughter.

And, as someone with a degree in history, I am still trying to figure out how the government even has the right to make such stipulations to begin with. In fact, I'm pretty sure they don't. I just don't know what to do about it.

Blech.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Waterline

That's been the main focus the past two days. The trench for the line is dug, and the old cistern has been pumped dry. Today the plumber came out to get some measurements, and tomorrow the line should be laid. Then we have to have it inspected, and notify the county so they can come out and perform the actual hookup.

I can't wait to have running water.

The cable guy came out today, and said they might not be able to hook us up for cable. Apparently we really are that far off the beaten path (LOL!). After some negotiations, and calling his boss, they're supposed to come back out tomorrow.

I can't wait to get these renovations done. The stress of being homeless (ie. shuffled between family members & not seeing her parents as much as before) is beginning to show on FireGirl. I feel horrible not being with her - as guilty as much as I just miss her! - but I also know that the more time we can spend working on the house, the sooner we can get all moved in and be back to normal.

Trick or Treat Nights 2010

**dates & times listed are for community trick-or-treat nights, unless otherwise noted**


Beggars' Night (Clark County, OH)
Saturday, October 30
6pm-8pm EST

Edgewood, KY
Sunday, October 31
6pm-8pm EST

Fairfield, OH
Sunday, October 31
6pm-8pm EST

Halloween Night Out (Florence, KY)
@Florence Government Center
This Program services Toddlers to age 12 and provides a safe environment for trick or treat. Children participate in games, crafts, costume parade and are entertained by a magician, storyteller, balloon artist, hayride and mascots.
October 26, 2010
5pm-7pm EST

Lebanon, OH
Sunday, October 31
5:30pm-7:30pm EST

Mason, OH
Sunday, October 31
6pm-8pm EST

Pioneer Trick or Treat (Waynesville, OH)
@ Caesar's Creek Pioneer Village
Saturday, October 30
3pm-6pm EST

Spook-tacular Trick or Treating (Georgetown, KY)
Downtown business welcome trick-or-treaters.
October 29, 2010
1pm-5pm EST

West Chester, OH
Sunday, October 31
6pm-8pm EST

Monday, September 13, 2010

Just because I can't see God doesn't mean God isn't there

"You would think that after knowing how it feels to be invisible I would know better than to trust only what I see. I'm pretty sure this makes me an invisible hypocrite. But just because I couldn't see God didn't mean God wasn't there, anymore than I am not there when my family can't see me.
It is so tempting to believe that I am missing out. Much in the world whispers that I am... It's hard not to trust what I see. Only faith can counter that misperception. Only faith convinces me that reality is so much more than the synthetic reality I see... I will do well to keep my faith in what I can't see from being overshadowed by everything I see around me."
page 68

Sometimes in life it's so difficult to see how much we have, how much God has blessed us with, when what seems like everyone is telling us what we don't have. When tragedy strikes, it's difficult to see the good that can come out of it. When hard times come we have a hard time seeing how they might be preparing us for greater goodness. When we're lonely we have difficulty seeing that we're not alone at all.
One of the greatest mysteries of being a Christian is the faith we have in the unseen. Our belief that God is there. I love her line "...just because I couldn't see God didn't mean God wasn't there, anymore than I am not there when my family can't see me." Because those of us who have a personal relationship with God know that He's there, even when we can't see him. We just know it, much like your husband & children know you still exist, even when you're not physically with them. It's that real.
Our knowledge that God is there. Our belief that even when things are looking horrible from our perspective, that "...we know that all things work together for good to them that love God..." (Romans 8:28a) gets us thru some very difficult times, often smiling when the world doesn't see any reason for us to smile.
Faith in things unseen. How simple. How profound.

Taking Name Suggestions

For our dogs, on the blog.

I'd like to keep with the fire theme, but other than FireDog, FireDog #2, and FireDog #3, my imagination is failing me.

FireDog (male Anatolian Shepherd) I'll keep, but I need names for the 2nd (female chocolate lab) and 3rd (male chihuahua / rat terrier mix) dogs.

Also - I have two blog posts I'm working on, but they both require more thought & time than usual, so it might be a little bit of time before I get them posted. I'll try to keep you busy with randomness like this until then.

;o)

Thanks for checking in!

Wallpaper, Underground Fencing, a Waterline, and Pets

Removing wallpaper sucks. That is all.

After the dogs got out of their temporary kennel three times this past weekend, we decided to go ahead with the underground fencing. Debated between the do-it-yourself kind, or the professional installation. Considering the price difference ($500 vs $2000+), we decided to try the DIY set first.

Got it finished yesterday, and took FireDog for his first training walk around the perimeter. He did great. After the first few tries, he wanted nothing to do with those white flags.

Take him out this morning. FireMan starts the walk and notices that every time FireDog sees a white flag, he tries to turn in the other direction. So he decides to take the leash off of him & see how he does. He immediately runs thru the fenceline, yelping as he goes thru. Then, because he's scared, he runs back thru it to get back to us.

I. Hate. This.

I keep telling myself that the end result (dogs safely contained on our property) is well worth it. But I hate this learning process.

So FireMan decides to take out FireDog #2. Yeah, she walks right thru the fence like nothing. He increases the level by one. She again walks thru the fence like nothing. He takes the collar off of her & tests it. It's working. Just not phasing her. At that point I had to leave for work, but he was gonna try increasing the strength of her shock (I cringe just saying that) and see how she does. Gonna let FireDog calm down & rest until he takes him back out for more training.

But the big project of the day is digging the ditch for the waterline. Having running water will be soooooooo nice. Peeing in a bucket & going to the gym for showers is getting old.

Oh, another dog issue - FireDog #2 is cat aggressive. We have two cats.
Previously the cats were indoors, dogs outdoors, so no problems.
We were hoping to bring the dogs indoors more with the new house, but obviously trying to kill my cat is not good. So that idea's on hold.
Well, FireKitty has had major pooping issues. As in, she poops all over the house. I've taken her to the vet, exhausted my knowledge of all things cats, and consulted with several cat-ty friends. All to no avail. So we made the difficult (for me) decision to make her an indoor/outdoor cat. Oddly enough, since we've let her outside, she's not pooped in the house once, even though she still spends about half of her time inside.
Anywho... this morning, outdoor FireKitty and off-the-leash FireDog #2 saw each other for the first time. FireDog #2 was immediately on the hunt. Literally. Neither FireMan nor I could call her off. It took him physically knocking her to the ground for her to stop trying to get at FireCat, who was by then cowering under the car.

Not. Good.

Major dilemma.

Ideally we would have all five animals (three dogs, two cats) living together peacably, all of them indoor/outdoor animals now that we have so much land. But one trying to kill the other is not good. Like really not good.

Taking suggestions.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Got Noticed at Work

Wrote a letter to my direct supervisor telling him why I thought I deserved more than I was getting, and requesting a response.

Instead of responding, he met with his boss, and his boss's boss, and HR. And you know when HR gets involved it ain't good.

Had a meeting last Thursday with my boss & HR. It was very... tense. And awkward.

They basically blew me off. In a very politically-correct-making-sure-we're-not-doing-anything-illegal-even-if-it-is-unethical sort of way.

That did not make me happy.

So I talked with our Senior Vice President.

Yeah. Let's just say I got noticed.

I was off Friday thru Tuesday, so figured Wednesday I'd either have a pink slip on my desk, or...

Well, I still have a job, so...

Electrical

FireMan & his dad spent the majority of yesterday working on electrical stuff. None of the bedrooms in the house had ceiling lights, so they re-wired and cut holes in the ceiling of each room to accomodate lights. Also had to do some re-wiring to accomodate the additional lights we're putting in the kitchen area. And some of the original power switches were in really odd (to us) places, so they moved them. Like, for FireGirl's bedroom, the powerswitch wasn't in the bedroom at all, but in the main hallway. Oh, and they had to move one light switch from the wall they tore out the other day.

So, a very busy day for them.

My primary job is to prepare the walls & paint. And I've realized over the past couple of days that there's not much use in me planning to work on the house after I get off work. At least not until the lighting's done. By the time I leave work & we get dinner, the natural light is fading fast.

Speaking of natural light, I love how much we get in the house. Even though there are plenty of trees, we still get lots of light as well. I think mostly because the house sits on a knoll. In the evening the sun sets in the front of the house, casting a beautiful light through our loverly new front door. And in the mornings it rises to the back of the house, and I've enjoyed watching the pinks & yellows rise thru the trees. Love it.

Tearing down that wall really opened up the house (literally, ha!), and the natural light just floods the main part of the house beautifully. Love it!

Friday Fragments


I'm tired. This week, while exciting, has been exhausting. And I can't imagine how tired FireMan must be.

****
I miss running water. Peeing in a bucket and going to the gym to take a shower is getting old. Here's hoping we get the water line connected soon.

****
Family is awesome. Especially my brother, who is letting us stay at his house (when we stay), even though he & I have never really been close at all. But that's what family does, right? You love each other, and are there for each other when you need it.

****
Speaking of... looking forward to a hot shower & a working toilet tonight.

****
Realized I never submitted FireGirl's immunization records to the preschool. Picked them up from the pediatrician today. Hoping the school doesn't flip out because she's never had her HepB or or Chicken Pox vaccine. Would still rather not do either (but not as passionate about it as when she was itty bitty)

****
Continue to hear not-very-encouraging stories from parents whose children are in the public school system in our area. I've always been a supporter of public education, but more-and-more am beginning to feel concern over whether or not that will be best for FireGirl when the time comes.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Catching Up (LONG, but includes some drama)

We did indeed close on both houses last Friday. And moved. Were completely out of our old house by 1am Saturday.

Started renovations on Saturday. I worked on patching the innumerable holes in the walls of FireGirl's bedroom, while FireMan & his dad installed our new front door. Plus multiple trips to Home Depot and Lowe's, LOL.

Sunday I continued working on FireGirl's bedroom (seriously, there are a ridiculous number of holes in the walls). FireMan began tearing out FireGirl's bathroom (really the main bathroom, but we're treating it as "hers").

Monday FireMan continued tearing out FireGirl's bathroom, while FireGirl and I attended a family picnic. I got in a couple hours of re-patching the deeper holes.

Tuesday was FireGirl's first day of preschool. In-between dropping her off & picking her up, we continued renovations. After picking her up from preschool we headed to Home Depot to purchase bathroom fixtures.

And then... it happened.

FireGirl was cranky and kept trying to climb out of the cart, so we decided to let her out while we looked at the bathroom items they had on display in the front of the store. FireGirl loves to wash her hands. She's no more than three feet from me as I see her stand on her tippy toes trying to reach the faucets on one of the display vanities.

And she pulls it down on top of her. The whole vanity.

I'm sure it happened in seconds, but in my mind the whole thing was in slow motion, and I still don't know how I didn't get there fast enough. I was so close. How did I not stop it?

Praise Jesus! the sink fell out of the vanity top and just missed her head. The vanity itself landed on one of her legs, but I think maybe partly / mostly on my arm. So maybe I did get there in time.

It's such a blur. In my head I see it land on her leg, yet she has not one scratch, bruise or mark on her, and I have a large painful bruise on my forearm. So maybe I did get there in time.

Sorry for the rambling, I'm actually just realizing this as I'm writing.

Her medic daddy checks her out, and confirms that she is fine, just really super-scared. The people that work there were awesome with us, and once we got her calmed down they offered her popcorn, a sucker, and a balloon.

By coincidence, FireMan's parents were actually on their way to meet us at the store & pick her up so we could get some real work done at the house. So once she calmed down FireMan took her out to meet his parents.

While I was waiting for him to get back, I went back to the scene of the incident. There were two identical vanities next to each other. Well, only one now since they removed the one that fell on her. I leaned on the other one. Pulled on it. I couldn't make it budge. So my guess is that they really do secure their displays, but for whatever reason the very one she wanted to wash her hands with was the one that wasn't secured properly.

After FireMan returned we continued shopping. I was still shaken up, and kept tearing up as we walked. Then I realized my knee was killing me. Yeah, mommy's dive into the concrete floor in an effort to save her baby left a painful mark. I guess the adrenalin kept me from feeling it earlier. FireMan suggested taking me to the hospital to get checked out, but I was pretty sure it wasn't broken or anything major, so we just kept shopping.

So... back to shopping. We left Home Depot with four carts full of merchandise. Almost everything we'll need for both bathrooms, plus some tile flooring for the kitchen that was an awesome deal. Oh, and paint because their deal on paint was only for one more day. I've honestly never bought that much stuff at one setting in my life.

So... back to the house. FireMan and his dad installed the new patio doors, and continued tearing things out.

Yesterday I worked, and when I got to the house FireMan & his dad had successfully torn out the wall dividing the living room, kitchen, and fireplace room. It's awesome! We can really start seeing what it will look like. Don't have to depend on our imagination so much any more, LOL. They also had managed to tear out most of the old flooring. We ended the night with yet another visit to Home Depot.

So... that's the brief rundown of what we've done so far. I'm sure I'm forgetting a ton of things, but you get the idea.

Thanks for checking in!

Whew! It's been a while, hasn't it?

Time for a much-needed update, I'd say.

Let's see:

Friday, Sept 3 - closed on both houses, and moved. Finished moving at 1am
Saturday, Sept 4 - began renovations on the new house, and visited with my family since my sister & her family was in town from Illinois
Sunday, Sept 5 - continued renovations
Monday, Sept 4 - continued renovations & family picnic for the holiday
Tuesday, Sept 6 - continued renovations & FireGirl's first day of preschool
Wednesday, Sept 7 - FireMan continued renovations while I went back to work for the first time in five days

Sorry for being so brief, just so much going on right now.

It was really good to see my sister & her family for the holiday. Miss them so much! And I can't believe how big my nieces are getting! They're practically women!

FireGirl did great at preschool. The teacher said she was one of only two kids that didn't cry the whole day. I got some super-cute pics of her on my brother's front porch ready for her first day of school. If I ever get them downloaded I'll share them with you.

Haven't had a chance to update my other blog yet, but I'm hoping to post our renovations update over there very soon.

Thanks for checking in!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I haven't forgotten. I swear!

With everything going on with our houses, I just haven't done it. That and the fact that now all my hair-doing tools are packed away.

I'll be back. Promise.

Looks Like This is It!

We're scheduled to close on both houses tomorrow.

Closing on the sale of our current home in the morning, and the purchase of our new home in the afternoon.

Went ahead and went to the new house last night & built a small run for the dogs (until we get fencing installed), and bug-bombed the house.
Not technically supposed to, but the joys of buying a foreclosure that's been empty for months, and whose agent doesn't really care.

FireGirl will be spending the next few nights with my parents, so we can finish packing & get moved & things taken care of.

So... naturally... I had a breakdown putting her to bed last night. Her last night in this house. Last night in her nursery. And since she's getting a big-girl bed at the new house, the last time I'd ever lay her to sleep in her crib. I was a mess. For like an hour after putting her to bed.

As much as I hate this house, it's still the first home that FireMan & I shared, the house that we brought FireGirl home to, the only home she's ever known. There are a lot of good memories here.

This morning, my parents picked up FireGirl as I left for work. I had them wait at the car while I took her around and said goodbye to all the rooms, the yard, the deck, the house. Other than being concerned about the puppies (yes, they'll come to the new house with us), the cats (yes, they'll come to the new house with us), and her toys (yes, they'll be at the new house for you), she did fine and was adorably cute as she waved and said "Byyyyyyyyeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!" to each and every room. Although when it came time to say goodbye to the house and get in the car, she started crying and didn't want to leave.

I think she understands as much as a 23-month-old can, but I'm still worried about the change stressing her. Heck, it stresses me!

Tonight we have someone coming to look at maybe buying our bedroom set (please!), and I'll finish up as much packing & laundry as possible. Tomorrow is both closings and finish moving. Saturday we're planning to move the pets to the new house, and do a final walk-thru of the old house to make sure we didn't forget anything. Saturday night is our first night staying with my brother & his wife (we're staying there until the renovations get done).

PreSchool Orientation

Parents'-only orientation was Tuesday night. Lots of boring info, meet the teachers, see the classrooms, and a chance to ask questions.

It was really good. I really like all of FireGirl's teachers, and some of the things they do are so cute!

Yesterday was orientation for the kids. Basically take them in to meet the teachers & play in their classrooms so it's not so scary the first day.

FireGirl loved it! She played the entire time, and cried when it was time to leave. Of course, mommy was with her the entire time (but not right by her, I was in a corner watching), so we'll see how it goes on Tuesday.
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