Thursday, March 31, 2011

FDIC 2011

Yep, we made it.

A brief re-cap in words, and then some pics:

Water Rescue ended up going on Friday, so Jason & I hit the road early Saturday morning and went on Saturday. We (nearly) closed out the convention, then walked over to Circle Centre Mall and people-watched until our matinee movie started. Ended the evening with dinner at Rock Bottom, and then spent the night in the Hyatt. Slept in Sunday morning, stopped for a leisurely brunch outside of Indianapolis, then headed to my parents' house to pick up Jena, who spent the weekend there.

All in all, a great weekend.

Now for some pics:













Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Update on My Fat Butt


Well, with the whole IUD-expelling-itself-scare, I had to stop two of my meds cold turkey because of the risk of pregnancy. So at my last checkup, I had been three weeks off the meds.

And I'd gained two pounds.

I was pretty upset.

Then my endocrinologist said that wasn't bad at all. He said considering I had to stop them cold turkey, and they are pretty strong medications, it's natural that my body would have some backlash. And considering it was only two pounds, he's fairly confident that it was most likely just caused by water retention.

So... he was actually pretty happy, even though I wasn't. But I did leave there feeling some better.

And once I was able to finally confirm that I definitely was not pregnant, and get back on birth control, I started all of my medication back up.

Also at that appointment, I got the results of my three month bloodwork, which was taken right before I went off my meds. Everything was great! My blood sugar was normal, my vitamin D was still low, but on the very low end of normal, and my vitamin B12 was with normal levels. Thyroid within normal levels. Pulse and blood pressure remain excellent.

This is all very good news! And a very good sign that the intensive drug therapy we've been doing is working, and working well. My doctor is estimating that we should be done with the aggressive treatment by around June timing, and then will drop the stronger meds and just continue with the routine meds that I will most likely need to remain on forever to maintain my insulin levels at a normal level.

Thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hydrant has Heartworms

We took Tootsie for her yearly vet visit a couple of weeks ago.

Despite being 10 years old, she got a clean bill of health. The vet said she would have never guessed her as being as old as she was if she didn't have the vet record to prove it.

Except for one thing: Tootsie's eyes. She has a cataract in her left eye, and "significant signs of aging" in her right eye.

Her appointment was on a Saturday, and we left feeling pretty good. Until 8:15am Monday morning, when my cell phone rang. Her bloodwork came back positive for heartworms.

See, we've never had any of the dogs on heartworm preventative.

I knew it was fatal, but we also knew it was treatable.

So, when Jason told me that he never put them on preventatives (remember, they were all his dogs to begin with), but just planned to treat them if they ever tested as positive, it seemed logical.

And... now I feel like an idiot.

Neither of us realized how extensive the traditional treatment is. It's extremely hard on the animal, the treatment itself can actually kill the dog, and it's very expensive. Tootsie's cost is a bit higher than most because of her size (95 lbs), so rang in at right about $1,000.

We discussed it. At length. I had the doctor explain the treatment, and its effects on Tootsie, in detail. Then I got on the internet & looked up what I could find for myself. Then I called back and had them go over it again. All the while discussing it with Jason.

In the end, we decided to forego the traditional treatment.

Considering how invasive it is, how extreme, and how hard it is on the dog herself, we can't imagine putting her thru that for maybe two more years of life, probably three tops.

I liken it to the 85-year-old in otherwise good health who was just diagnosed with mid-stage cancer, who's deciding whether or not to go thru chemo. Sure, you get more life, but what is your quality of life? It's a tough decision, and a personal one.

Instead of the traditional treatment, we are opting for an aggressive drug therapy that can be done at home. It won't cure her like the traditional treatment, but it should greatly limit the damage the worms can do to her heart & lungs, and give her a longer lifespan than  no treatment at all, with little to no risk or side effects to her.

The vet explained that she was likely infected within the past six months, as she is not currently showing any outward symptoms. So we've studied up on the typical symptoms, what they look like at onset, how they progress, etc. Still need to learn more, but we're in the process of educating ourselves. In the event that her outward symptoms appear, and develop to where she is suffering, we will have her euthanized.

Buddy and Fopsy have since tested negative.

**************************

Since finding out her diagnosis, I have talked to just about every dog owner I know of in real life, asking them to please make sure their dogs are on heartworm preventative.

Initially, I was prepared to be flamed for not putting our dogs on it, and in some cases got the side eye.

But, in talking with other dog owners, I've found the story to be the same.

They begin by saying something like "Of course I have my dog on (insert brand name of preventative here)! I have since we got him/her!"

But the more you talk to them, almost every one ends up saying at some point, something like "but I'm not that good at remembering to give it to him/her. Geez, I don't remember the last time they got their pill"
Really? Well, not to be calloused, but that's just throwing money down the drain at that point. I'd rather do what we did and save money, than pay for the pills then not give them to the dog.
Anyway, my main point in posting all of this, and risking being flamed for our previous choice (a mistake we won't make again, by the way), is to hopefully be a lesson to my readers.

If your dog is not currently on a heartworm preventative, please get them on one NOW.  And give it to them regularly, as prescribed.

As for us? Once Tootsie finishes her drug therapy, she will be on heartworm preventative from here on out.

If me posting this saves just one pet & owner from going thru this heartwrenching decision, then it was well worth it.

Thanks for checking in.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Conclusion - IUD expulsion

On the way home from work that night I stopped at the dollar store to pick up a pregnancy test. Or ten. Okay, just one. Two-pack. You know, just in case.

I figured if I was gonna have to keep buying them, I was going cheap. Who cares about early detection? I just need an answer. Besides, the high dollar tests haven't exactly worked out for me, have they?

Got up the next morning, and peed on a stick. Again.

Three minutes later, it was staring me in the face.






NEGATIVE.



Part of me is sad, but was pretty much expecting it by that point.

I didn't cry that time. I'd already done my grieving for the-baby-that-never-was.

A larger part of me is wondering WHY this all happened. I mean, a less than 3% chance of this happening, you know? Just makes me feel like there should be a reason.

And, having the faith that I do, am convinced that God had a reason. Just wish he would clue me in.

Because right now it feels like it all just happened to put me thru one heck of an emotional roller coaster for a month.

Dangling the carrot in front of me.

You want babies? Like... really badly? Well... here's your chance! Even if your husband isn't on board, here's your chance! And he can't get upset, because you didn't do anything delibeartely to cause it, and no one would have predicted this would happen! Weeeeeeeeee!


And he's actually okay with it if you get pregnant, becauase no one could foresee this happening! Weeeeeeeee!

And then, a month of ups & downs later....  nope. Nada. No babies for you. FireMan is still insisting you go back on birth control, so....

The next morning I put on The Patch.
Yay.    {{ insert sad face here }}

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Part 4 - okay, here we go again

Okay, so I woke up around 5 o'clock the next morning having to pee like a race horse.

Went to the bathroom and forced myself to hold it while I carefully read and re-read the directions for my fancy-schmancy digital pregnancy tes.

(cue vision of me doing the pee-pee dance in my PJs while holding a pee stick in one hand, an oversized folded-like-a-map instructional paper in the other)

After being absolutely, 100% sure I understood the instructions, I very carefully followed them to a tee.

Checked my Facebook on my blackberry as I finished peeing and waited for the three minutes to pass.

Yes, if your my FB friend, I'm one of those people who FB in the bathroom.

No, I don't blog in the bathroom.

Finally. Three minutes.

And... it's another invalid test.

No, I'm not kidding.

I seriously am beginning to think that life itself is playing one big joke on me.

I call the 1-800 number on the box later, and they check the lot number. Nope, no reports of problems with that lot. Apparently, I just got a couple of flukes. I'm just that special. They'll send me a refund right out (and to their credit, they did).

So it looks like I'll be stopping at the store for another pregnancy test, yet again.

**** to be continued ****

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Part 3 - the saga continues

After work I went to WalMart and paid the money for the extra-sensitive digital pregnancy test. After all, I need to know what's going on. Bought a two-pack, because knowing my luck, I'll end up needing another one.

Tested the next morning. First morning's urine. Just like you're supposed to.

It didn't read. At all. No results either way. Blank. Invalid test.

You have got to be kidding me.

I re-read the instructions. Nope, I did everything correctly. It's just not reading. It's just an invalid result, for some reason.

Honestly, at this point, all I could do was laugh.

You have got to be kidding me.

**** to be continued ****

Friday, March 25, 2011

Part 2 - IUD expulsion

Fast forward a couple of weeks.

My next endocrinologist appointment was three weeks after my period, so I decided to test the day before my appointment.

I knew it was too soon to know for sure, but I figured if it were positive, I could tell the doctor and we could alter my treatment. If it were negative, nothing lost, we'll just test again the following week as planned.

It was negative.

I'm not gonna lie. I cried.

I was hoping this was my chance. And yes, I knew it was still too soon to tell, but I really wanted it to be positive.

I cried on the way to work that morning.

I cried again on the way to work the next day, and on the way to the doctor at lunch.

And two days later, when I got my period, it sealed the deal. I got into the shower that morning, and sobbed. My chance, gone.

This whole ordeal had opened up the dialogue of more babies, but FireMan was standing his ground, he was done. So this was my chance at an "oops". And this sealed the deal, my chance was gone. My heart ached at the idea.

And so I sobbed in the shower that morning.

And then I pulled myself up, took a deep breath, righted myself, and determined that I would get on with my life.

I have a good life. I have a precious daughter whom I love very much, and a husband who loves me too. We have our forever home. We have a good life.

Now that we have an answer, I will get on with my life.

I will still wait until my period finishes, and test, per my Ob's instructions, but really, we have our answer now, so I will get on with my life. This is it. I am not pregnant. No baby for me.

And then...


my period stopped. After only two days.

I don't know about you, but that is not the norm for me. Not even close. Not even on any form of birth control I've ever tried, not even the IUD.

My reaction was pretty much to repeat "Really?!? REALLY?!?" in disbelief over and over again.

What the heck was going on with my body?

If I'm being honest, I was starting to get angry with God. It was starting to feel like He was toying with my emotions, dangling the carrot in front of my face.

At this point we don't know what's going on. Was it an early period? or implantation bleeding? is my body just screwed up because not only did my birth control method suddenly eject itself, but I also suddenly stopped two very strong medications? and if so, is it screwed up pregnant? or screwed up not-pregnant?

Crap. There's only one way to tell.

But I already thought I had my answer, so while pregnancy test is on the grocery list, there are none in the house.

And since Kroger locks up their pregnancy tests behind the pharmacy counter, and WalMart does not, I made plans to stop at WalMart on the way home from work that night.

******** to be continued ********

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Part 1 - my IUD expelled itself

One Saturday night back in February, my IUD expelled itself.

No, really. It did. I didn't feel a thing. I had no idea it had happened.
To be fair, unlike the majority of IUD users, my periods never stopped, and I had finished my most recent one just two days earlier, so any related cramping or bleeding would have easily gone unnoticed in this case.

In fact, I was so completely clueless that it had expelled, that FireMan actually found the IUD. I'll spare you the "how".

I saw my Ob the following Monday, and even he didn't believe me.

Which just makes you feel really good, you know?
He asked how I knew it had been expelled, did I actually see it?

I told him I had it in my purse if he'd like to see it.

He declined.              Hmph.

He did an internal exam, and there are no apparent signs of damage, nor any visible signs as to why this might have happened.

After spending hours on the internet looking up statistics (and each site gives slightly different numbers), I've figured out that there is less than 0.3% chance of this happening.

Looking at all of the statistics I could find there is roughly 5% chance that the IUD will expel itself at all.
But approximately 95% of those occur within the first 12 months of having the IUD.

I'd had mine for nearly two-and-a-half years.

At first, FireMan & I were both really upset that this had happened at all.
I mean, I want more babies, but not now, the timing is all wrong, and besides, I'd just had my IUD checked in November and was assured it was just fine.

It didn't take us long though, to realize that if we somehow ended up pregnant from this, then God must just really want us to have a baby. Like now.

But... the fact is that FireMan doesn't want more babies. So the whole time I have the what-if-I'm-pregnant-how-will-he-react thing going thru my mind. And... the fact is that our marital problems all started shortly after FireGirl was born. So let's throw in some anxiety about that starting up again as well, while we're at it.

Later the same week I took a pregnancy test, just to make sure I wasn't already pregnant. You see, with an IUD, you can get pregnant from the moment it dislodges from its position in the uterus, not just from when it expels completely. And there's no telling how long it was dislodged before it actually expelled itself, so... we had to check.
It was negative.

And then... it was a waiting game.
We couldn't start a new birth control until we were 100% sure I wasn't pregnant. So... I found myself in an extended two week wait.

Especially because the IUD had already messed up my cycles, varying anywhere from 2 - 8 weeks in the past six months (one of the reasons I'd had it checked back in November to begin with). And then it expelled suddenly, so... who knew how long my cycles would be?

My ob instructed me to wait until four weeks from my last period. If I didn't start within 2 days after that, then test. If I did get my period, then wait until it was over and test anyway, just to make sure it wasn't implantation bleeding.

Oh, and I had to immediately stop two of the meds my endocrinologist put me on for my insulin disorder, because of the severity of risks involved when taking them if (possibly) pregnant.

And so began weeks of emotional torture. Highs and lows. Confusion. Frustration.

But most of all, weeks of internal struggle.

This could be my chance. Possibly my only chance to have another baby. And FireMan couldn't even possibly be upset with me, because it was all a huge fluke, an anomaly, a blip in the statistics.

But... if I were pregnant, what would happen? How upset would he be? Would our marriage make it? What would we do? How would I tell him? What then?


******** to be continued ********

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Just when I thought I'd made it too hard... (giveaway)

...we did have one right answer.

Candace over at New Adventures of the Princess & the Peanut is the only one with the correct answer!

That's right folks, the picture was that of the tips of three pregnancy tests.


Unfortunately, Candace, and you mentioned this in your comment, rules are rules and your comment was posted after the deadline. Sorry!

So all other commenters were entered in a random drawing, and... the winner is...


Marianne !!!!

commenters numbered in order of their comments




And yes, those are my pregnancy tests. All three of them. And in case you were wondering (not that any of you are, right?), the results of those three tests are (as pictured, not as taken):

invalid
negative
invalid

And I'm sure at least a few of you are wondering which of those, if any, is the final result, aren't you? Well, funny thing is, there's a pretty long, emotional (for me at least) story behind those three tests.

Oh, and just as an added teaser... I've taken at least four tests total. Maybe five. Just sayin' ....

Stay tuned....



*** Marianne - email me at kyfirewife@gmail.com with your mailing address so I can send you your gift card! ***

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Reminder: Last Day to Enter GiveAway Contest!

Don't forget to head over to this post and guess what my picture is! (please enter comments on the original post, not on this one)

All correct answers will be entered for a chance at a $25 Visa gift card.

And if you're not sure? Well, guess anyway! If no one gets it right, all commenters who have submitted a guess, will be entered!





** $25 Visa gift card paid for by KyFireWife

Big Shoes to Fill

On the way to work this morning, we passed a fire truck.

FireGirl: "Be like Daddy. I older, be like Daddy."

Me: "You wanna be like Daddy when you get older? That's awesome."

FireGirl: "I be firefire (firefighter) too?"

Me: "You want to be a firefighter too?"

FireGirl: "Yes"

Me: {{ tearing up }} "Well, that would be just fine. If you want to be a firefighter, you be a firefighter. Mommy & Daddy would be very proud of you, whatever you do."

FireGirl: {{ smiles, sighs, and looks out the window }}

She wants to be like her daddy. How adorable.

I hope she knows she's got some big shoes to fill.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Japan

Since the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit Japan on March 11, I've felt strongly like I needed to write a post about it. But the words simply escape me. So I will leave you with a prayer.

*****************

Dear Lord,


Be with the people of Japan. Care for them. Comfort them in these trying times. Hold them and tend to them. Be merciful to them. Open their hearts to You. Be merciful, O God. Mercy. Put Your hand around the survivors and protect them from further. Hold them. In the name of Your Son Jesus I ask Your Mercy on the people of Japan Father. I come to You as Your daughter, and beg Your Mercy on them. Be merciful, Father.


Amen.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

TBP #7 - my favorite quote

I guess it qualifies as a quote, it would have to be my life verse, Isaiah 40:31: "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

In youth group as a teenager, we were asked to identify a "life verse", a verse that impacts your life significantly (as if you could choose only one, ha!). I didn't really understand the concept, but I knew that Isaiah 40:31 was my favorite verse, and so I said that one.

I guess you could say it has become my life verse, over time.

It's a promise I cling to, one that I have clung to, many times in my life. It's a promise that says if we wait for the Lord, our strength will be renewed, we will rise up agin, we will move forward with endurance. If we only wait.

There are two periods of time in my life, in particular, that this verse had special meaning for me:

********
First, when I was single, unattached, and longing for my future husband, longing for babies. Longing, desperate in a heart-aching sort of way. And it seemed like it would never come. I watched friend after friend get married. I went thru a period of time when I was the only adult member of my entire extended family that was not married or in a long-term relationship (and I have a huge family, so... that's pretty significant). I was single so long I watched as my married friends got divorced, and then remarried. That's right... some of my friends got married twice while I was still waiting for number one. Not that I'd want to go thru divorce, but... it didn't seem fair somehow.

If you've never been there, it's difficult to understand, but being single can be utterly painful. Being single when you feel in your heart that you were called to be a wife & mother, but the fulfillment of that calling sometimes seems as if it will never come... that is painful. Actually, chest-hurting painful.

And so I clung to God's promise. He didn't promise me a husband, or children, but He did promise that if I would be patient, if I would WAIT on Him... my strength would be renewed, and I would rise up.

And so, as patiently as my human self could muster... I waited for the Lord to reveal His plan. And then one day, He did.

********
Secondly, following the car accident I had in my mid-twenties, the verse took on a very literal meaning.

I spent every day for four years in constant pain. Constant. Every moment of every day I was in some level of pain.

There were days that I could not walk without assistance.
There were days when my parents had to help finish dressing me.
There were days when I could not move my arms enough to put the pain medication into my mouth.

I remember, during that time, if someone asked me how I was, I would often respond with "well, I woke up this morning, got out of my bed on my own, and can walk without assistance. It's a good day." And I meant it. (Lord, help me remember that perspective on life)

I know if you didn't see me during that time, it's hard to imagine me like that now. But for me, the memory is still fairly fresh. And humbling.

And that's my very point.

During that time, when I could choose to be discouraged and angry with God for allowing this to happen, I instead chose to WAIT on the Lord.

I clung to that promise.

If I wait on the Lord, He will renew my strength. He said He would. He promised it. He didn't give a time frame, but He promised He would do it. So I waited.

If I wait on the Lord, then someday, instead of falling on the floor, curled up, weak, waiting & hoping that someone would hear me call for help, someday... I will mount up on wings like eagles, I will rise of my own accord. So I waited.

If I wait on the Lord, then someday... instead of walking all hunched over & disfigured, I will walk & run of my own accord. If I just wait for Him. And so I waited.

And then, the time came. Four years later... it was time. And now, although I will have to be cautious for the rest of my life, and yes, back spasms sometimes even now cause me to gasp not only in pain, but in fear of returning to that place, but... I waited. And I have strength. And I rise. And I walk. And I have, on occasion, even run.

********

The fact is, I have clung to the promise on numerous occasions, large & small, and I can tell you, in my experience at least, God has always kept His promise.

In fact, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who truly & honestly did what God asked (ie. waiting on Him), and didn't find that His promises were fulfilled.

********

So.. that's my favorite quote:


But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.    -- Isaiah 40:31


********

Wanna play along?

Friday, March 18, 2011

It's GiveAway Day !!!

Welcome to my very first blog giveaway!

All you have to do is guess what the picture below is!


All correct responses will be assigned a number, and the winner will be determined using MS Excel's Random Number formula.

If no one gets it correct, everyone who leaves a comment with a guess will be entered.

One entry per user.

All comments / guesses must be submitted by midnight on Tuesday, March 22nd in order to be in the running for the prize.

Oh yeah, the prize!
The winner will receive a $25 Visa gift card! Weeee!

Winner will be announced on Wednesday, March 23rd.

Hope you'll play along!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I asked Jason to give up the fire department...

... basically.

What I actually asked was for him to make me a stay-at-home-mom.

***********

Background:
we had been dating almost a year when Jason got his first full-time firefighter job offer, something he had been longing for for years. The problem was it would be over a 40% reduction in his pay. And his divorce, which happened shortly before we met, meant he no longer had a savings account (she got the entire balance in the settlement), plus a few other minor financial issues. This mean that if he took the job, he couldn't afford his current living expenses. He would have to try to sell the house in a down market & move into a tiny apartment, and sell the truck to buy a clunker.
Or... I could move in with him and we could split living expenses.

It was the most logical move. I spent most of my time there anyway. Splitting his mortgage payment was less cost for me than my rent. And we both knew we were headed for marriage anyway.

We talked it over, at length. Jason knew I wanted to be a SAHM once we had children, and also felt this was ideal when the kids were young.

This wouldn't be feasible on just the firefighting salary though, but he already had a 2nd job lined up that promised excellent pay, and said they could work with his shift schedule.

We did the math. Within 3-4 years, he should be making enough from both jobs that I could be a SAHM.
For various reasons we thought that would be the earliest we would have children anyway, so... it was perfect. He got his dream job, and I would (probably) still get to be a SAHM.

But... we both were careful to acknowledge that me agreeing to do this was risking me not being a SAHM, if things didn't work out.

Needless to say, things haven't worked out. The really good 2nd job ended up not really liking his schedule after all. So now his 2nd job is something that is convenient, and is a decent place to work, and doesn't mind his schedule at all, and it does pay into his retirement, but... the pay is awful.

**************
back to current:
I know what I asked of him is selfish.

To be fair, I didn't directly ask him to quit being a firefighter. What I said went something like this.

Make me a stay-at-home-mom. (he chuckles, and says I know he doesn't make enough money). I told him that he could make more money. If he goes back to his old line of work, there would be more than enough $$$ for me to stay home. And he can still be a volunteer firefighter, locally. He could still be a firefighter, while I could stay home.

I told him it wasn't fair. When we made the decision for him to accept the job, which was only possible because I agreed to keep working and help support the household, I knew I was risking giving up being a SAHM, but I didn't know I was risking more babies (I confirmed before we started the conversation that if I were a SAHM, he would want more babies too, his reason for not wanting more has a lot to do with daycare costs & logistics).

And he can still be a firefighter, just as a volunteer.

He said that if he goes back to the old job he would be working 70+ hours per week, and would probably travel, meaning he would be gone overnight, and did I want that?

{{ blink. blink. blink }}                  [[ fellow FireWives feel free to insert chuckle ]]

I reminded him that he already works well over 70 hours per week (this week he will work 93 hours between both jobs), and is gone at least every 3rd night. Plus holidays, which he would get off with a "normal" job.

And once the children entered school I was willing to go back to work full-time, and he could try to get on somewhere as a full-time firefighter again.

Plus, I actually know of people at my current employer, who took unpaid leaves of 2-3 years each, and work either held their jobs, or provided them with an equal level job at equal pay, keeping their seniority, when they returned (awesome, I know). So I could look into that.

Or, I told him, he doesn't have to give up being a full-time firefighter at all. Just find a better-paying 2nd job. Or put more time into the business so that it will actually make money. We both know the market is there. It's picking up, slowly. Just put more time into it, a little more effort, and start making real money at it.

He got very quiet.

I told him that I know I chose to continue working so he could be a firefighter. I don't begrudge him that. At all.
It was my choice, and I wanted him to do what he wanted.

But, true or not, it feels as if I have had to give up on my dreams completely in order to fulfill his, and he's not even trying to help me fulfill mine. And that's not fair.

********************

A few hours later, completely different topic, we were looking at the calendar trying to plan a weekend getaway.

FireMan: "Hey! I didn't realize I worked Easter this year."

Me: "Are you kidding me?!? How can that be?!? You just worked Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years' Eve?!?"

FireMan: "That's just how it is" (indeed, as a fire wife, that is just how it is).

FireMan: "Looks like I work Memorial Day too."

Me: {{ stewing silently }}

FireMan: "And Fathers' Day"

Me: "Seriously?!? Are you being serious?!?"

FireMan: "yes"

Me: "I need you to tell me what I get out of you being a firefighter. Because right now it really seems like I'm just getting screwed out of the deal."

FireMan: "sorry"



Sorry indeed.

************

I know some will see this as flameworthy. I am being selfish. I have dreamed of being a SAHM since I was young. And I want my dreams to come true. It seems like maybe it should be my turn now.

I also know that my fellow fire wives, at the very least, understand my frustration. Even if they don't agree with my stance, they get where I'm coming from.

They know what families give up so that their husbands & fathers can be firefighters. They understand the sacrifice, the frustrations, the emotions.

************

I don't know what's going to happen next. But you can be sure I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Easter Events 2010

Indiana

Connersville, IN
Easter Bunny Express
Saturday, April 23
Cost: $9.00

Greenwood, IN
Easter Egg Hunt
Saturday, April 16
10am Local Time


Indianapolis
Golden Easter Egg Hunt
Saturday, April 23

11am-1pm local time
Cost: $1


Terre Haute
Pictures with the Easter Bunny
Saturday, April 9
1pm-4pm Local Time
Cost: $3

*****************
Kentucky


Cave City, KY
Easter Eggstravaganza Weekend
Friday, April 22 thru Sunday, April 24


Edgewood, KY
Easter Egg Hunt
Saturday, April 23
2pm-3pm EST

Ft. Mitchell, KY
Pet Photos with the Easter Bunny
Saturday, April 9
11am-3pm
Kenton County Animal Shelter

Lexington, KY
Pancake Breakfast & Egg Hunt
Saturday, April 23
9am EST

************

Ohio

Akron, OH
Breakfast with the Bunny
Saturday, April 16
9am-11am EST

Easter Egg Hunt & Easter Services
Saturday, April 23
11am EST

Cincinnati, OH
Easter Celebration
Saturday, April 23

10am-2pm EST

Mentor, OH
Breakfast with the Easter Bunny
Saturday, April 23
9am-11am EST


***************



Wisconsin

Brookfield

Easter Egg Hunt
Saturday, April 23
10am Local Time


Horicon
Easter Egg Hunt
Sunday, April 10
1pm Local Time

Madison
Easter Egg Hunt
Saturday, April 16
11am Local Time

Monday, March 14, 2011

I want more babies. My husband doesn't.

This has been a hot topic around our household lately.

We discussed children, including numbers, early on in our dating relationship, realizing that this topic could be a dealbreaker.

Jason wanted two. I wanted more, maybe three or four, but also realized that I wasn't getting any younger, so felt like two was... reasonable.

After having Jena, however, we've gone in completely opposite directions.

Jason is done having kids. He is happy with one, and doesn't want any more.

I... could easily & happily be a Duggar if we could manage it. Seriously. Give me 20 kids. And counting.

This... is a problem.

We can't figure out how to resolve this issue. Basically, one of us will get what we want, while the other is left... less than happy about it.

Basically one of us gets screwed.

And this is a BIG issue, right? I mean, it's kids. Does it get any bigger than that in a marriage?

I feel like my heart is breaking for another child. The ache in my chest is so familiar from when I wanted marriage & a family and it didn't seem possible. It's the same ache.
I honestly don't feel like our family is complete. I feel like there is still a piece missing.
And I hurt for more babies.
I'm not done yet. I'm just not.

While my stance is taken in my heart, Jason's is more in his head. He's not totally opposed to at least one more child. He just doesn't see how it would work, logistically. Two kids in daycare. One being a newborn. I think he's as uncomfortable as I am with putting a newborn in a daycare center, but my parents won't be available this time around, and certainly not for two children. In fact, he's made the statement several times that he would be willing to have more children if I could be a stay-at-home-mom. Which isn't in the cards just yet.

Neither of us wants to force a decision on the other, just for our own happiness.

But neither of us wants to be the one getting screwed either.

And it's not like it's an issue you can compromise on. You can't exactly have half a kid.

Or something you can do on a trial basis.
Okay hunny, we'll have one more kid, but if you're not happy with two kids, I promise to send this one back.Nope. Doesn't work that way.

And it's not like either decision is more right or more wrong than the other, you know? Just different. We both agree that neither decision is going to be better or worse for our family. They just create different scenarios.

So how do you decide?

One of my fears is that by the time we make a decision, if we do decide to have more children, then we will have waited too long and then I won't be physically able to have anymore children.

Let's face it, I'm no spring chicken. Especially when it comes to babymaking. I am dangerously close to the so-old-that-you're-automatically-a-high-risk-pregnancy-just-because-you're-so-old line. Seriously close to that line.

And... one of the reasons we started trying to conceive so soon after our wedding date is because we both have been told by doctors in the past to expect fertility issues. We fully expected it to take longer to conceive. Had the whole when-to-revisit-the-OB, and then when-to-see-the-fertility-specialist dates all mapped out.
It is by God's grace that we conceived Jena on our 2nd cycle trying. And I am acutely aware that just because we conceived so quickly with her, doesn't mean that she's not our "miracle baby", doesn't mean that we don't have actual fertility issues that just haven't been found yet.
We haven't been promised anything, you know?

So... much like this topic in our household, this post has no conclusion, just filled with my rambling thoughts on the subject.

Thanks for checking in!

************************

because this is my #1 most viewed post (as of Jan 2013, and pretty much since it posted), I feel like I should link here to an update. So I am.
Read update on this issue here.

Friday, March 11, 2011

GiveAway Announcement

I've wanted to do a giveaway on my blog for a long time. I think it sounds like fun!

But... I don't really know how these things usually work. Seems like most of the blogs that do them have items donated from a sponsor.

I have no sponsors.

But I still think it sounds like fun.

So... I'm doing one anyway.

Next week I'll be posting a cropped portion of a picture. Any commenters who correctly guess what it is will be entered to win a $25 Visa gift card. If no one gets it correct, all commenters will be entered. Each entry will be assigned a number, and the winner will be chosen via random number generator.

Hope you'll play along!



*note* prize has been paid for directly by FireWife, and not provided by any company, group, or organization

Thursday, March 10, 2011

TBP #6 - Cars I've Driven

The first car I drove was a 1979 Plymouth Volare.

I was 16-years-old, and my school district had cut busing as a cost reduction effort. It was my Grandma's car, but she could no longer drive, so my dad bought it from her for me to drive.

It eventually died on me in a Taco Bell parking lot, an hour away from home, while my parents were out of town & my brother was away at college.

I ended up walking three blocks to the church and calling one of my cousins, who drove me home. My parents came back after they got home, and had it towed to a junkyard.

*******************************

My second car was a 1993 Chevy Corsica
My parents had recently bought a new car, and the Volare had died, so this became "my" car to drive. I eventually ended up buying it from my parents and it actually became my first car.

It was a great car, but was totalled in an auto accident in 2002. Yes, the same accident in which I was injured. Luckily for me, the "totalling" was mostly external damage. The passenger side mirror was ripped off, and the passenger side back seat door would no longer open. The driver side rear door was bent in so far that there was a gap between the top of the door and the car's frame. We stuffed plastic into the crack and duct-taped all along the door opening (classy, I know). But I was poor, and now fighting with the insurance company over mounting medical bills. So I did what I had to do.
I actually drove it totalled for nearly another year until it became so unreliable that I no longer felt safe. And that's when I bought:

******************************

a 2000 Toyota Corolla
This was the first car I ever bought on my own. I remember we'd been looking at cars for three days, but when I sat in this one, I actually got giddy. It was my car. It had to be.
Bought it using the Toyota Certified Used program, which was great. The warranty provided under that program has saved me literally thousands of dollars in repairs / part replacements. (no matter what make of car you buy, if you're buying used I highly recommended buying thru their used warrantly program, whatever it may be. it was seriously a lifesaver for me)

We still own this car. It is nearing 200,000 miles and still running fine. FireMan is the primary driver now, because...

****************************

Whoever has FireGirl drives the 2007 Toyota RAV4
When we found out we were pregnant, FireMan decided to trade in his Toyota Tundra for something more practical for a family (cue the "awwwwwwww.............").

I have to say, I miss the truck, but at the same time I love my RAV.

Also - this is the first car we bought together, and the only vehicle we own that has both of our names on the title.

********************************

FireMan also has a 1994 Ford Econoline
It's primary use is for the business. In fact, he's installed tool boxes along the walls in the back, and it also holds his pump-testing equipment.
Currently it is a personal vehicle, but we are seriously considering having it licensed and insured as a business vehicle within the year. There are pros & cons to both ways of doing it, so... final decision hasn't been made yet.

*********

Wanna play along?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Thoughts on Being a Working Mom

**note** I know this can be a touchy subject for some people. Just please realize that these are my thoughts, and even if they differ from your own, there is no judgement here, just my personal thoughts on the subject, based on my experiences as a working mom. 'Kay?

I hate being a working mom.

This doesn't mean that I hate my job, or don't want to work.

I like my job. Probably more than most people like their jobs.

It also doesn't mean that I don't want to be a mom. But nobody makes that assumption anyway, for some reason.

Mostly it means that I hate the juggle. I'm not a good juggler.

Some days I feel like I'm getting it right.

But most days I feel like instead of being really, super good at one thing, I'm just being mediocre at all of the things.

Mom. Employee. Wife. The million other roles I'm expected to play.

I also hate the assumptions.

Like being mommy-tracked at work.

Or people assuming that because you don't want to be a working mom, means you don't want to work at all. Ever.

Or people assuming that because you don't want to be a working mom, means you're judging them because they love being a working mom.

Or people assuming that you're working not to make ends meet, but because you are choosing your career over your family.

Or people assuming that you're working because you're more dedicated to your career than your family.

Or any of the other hundreds of assumptions people have about working moms.

And I hate missing out.

Like the sitter taking my daughter to the museum for the first time.

Or someone else taking my daughter to the park while I'm stuck in the office.

Or missing pre-school events because I'm the only full-time working mom in my daughter's class (true story).

Or my parents taking care of her on days when she's sick, but I also have some major items due at the office (note - if my parents weren't available, I would have stayed home).

I wish I loved being a working mom.

I wish I came home feeling so fulfilled by my job that any disappointments about not being home with my child paled by comparison.

I wish I had that perspective.

But I don't.

I do like that I am helping to provide for our family.

That without my income we would be living in much worse conditions, with no wiggle room, and wouldn't be able to provide our daughter with some of the opportunities we can now.

That my health insurance plan is really good, and allows us to be as cautious as we want to be with our daughter's care, without worries about making the bills next month because we chose to go to the doctor.

And I do like my job. I love the people I work with. They're like a second family to me.

And in a way I understand the mommy-tracking phenomenom.

Because yes, before I was a mom I was willing to work 70+ hour weeks regularly just because my boss wanted me to, even if I didn't see the need.

And now... it's not worth it. I will work it if it's needed, but not because someone else just feels like I should.

Because my family is my priority. Always has been really. But adding a child into the mix just makes it even moreso. And more pronounced. And more obvious.

So if being dedicated to my family moreso than my job, and making choices to spend time with my family instead of spending unneeded time at work just so I can keep up appearances... well, if I miss a promotion because I didn't keep up appearances, I'm pretty sure I didn't want the promotion in the first place.

Sometimes I think I'm setting a good example for my daughter by working outside the home.

Other times I worry that someday she'll be upset with me for working instead of being home with her.

I like something my mom told me, when we talked about how we want to take our daughter on an extra trip this year. The conversation turned to how if I were a SAHM we would never be able to take any vacations at all. She said vacations are good quality time. Together, as a family (ie including FireMan). She said that yes, there's something to be said for staying home with your children and giving them that quantity of time, but that there's also something to be said for working and being able to afford things like vacations, trips to local play areas, visits to the zoo, etc. That it's finding the right balance of quantity and quality. That plenty of SAHMs have the quantity, but their budget is stretched so tightly that they stay at the house pretty much every day, doing the same things day in & day out, and both mom and child are bored, and this usually leads to resentment. Of each other.

Considering she spent her time as a mother first as both a SAHM and later as a working mom... this meant a lot. And I've thought about it a lot since then.

And it causes me to want to make sure my time with my daughter is quality time. And not just more mundane routine, day in & day out. Every day.

*********************************

And those... are my thoughts on being a working mom.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sometimes, I want to be taken care of

I'm probably not the only mom that feels this week. Or person, for that matter.

Sometimes, I just want to be able to curl up in someone's arms & be comforted, and have them take care of me. Even the little things. Like bring me ice cream & blankets & whatever I want.

And lately, this feeling has been, at times, overwhelming.

Today is one of those days.

I take care of FireGirl at home.

When FireMan is home, I take care of him.

I take care of the house.

And as the only administrative specialist in an engineering division, that pretty much means that my entire job is taking care of 45 men. Every day.

Even the job that pays me requires me to take care of other people.

Sometimes, I want to be the one that's taken care of.

Like today.

Monday, March 7, 2011

How We Can Afford Vacatons

I get asked this a lot by people who know me in real life, so... why not share with my blog readers as well.

Jason and I both love to travel.

We also share a hobby that is difficult to do where we live.

But mostly, we love to travel.

Last year we went on five trips.

I know. That's a lot, right?

It's funny, because the people who ask me how we can afford trips usually make significantly more money than we do. Which makes me laugh.

You see... like most things in life... it's about priorities.

Our house is a foreclosure that we are renovating.
We bought a lot of the materials for our renovation at huge discounts, some at auctions.
All of our vehicles were purchased used. Meaning that out of three vehicles we are only paying on one.
We I clip coupons and watch sales.
We wear our clothes until they're hole-y. And sometimes still wear them after that.
We don't have cable. Not even basic.
The primary heat source in our home is a woodburning fireplace (ie free).
Almost all of our furniture (excluding Jena's) is a free hand-me-down or purchased used from a friend or family member.

One of the people who asks me this question hasn't been "able" to take their family on a vacation. Ever. Even though they say it's a priority for them.
They also make more than twice what Jason & I do.
They also live in a much larger, newer, nicer home than we do, in a nice neighborhood. Their mortgage payment is more than double ours.
They have one leased vehicle, which has to be replaced every three years.
Their other vehicle they bought brand new, fully-loaded.
They dress much nicer than we do.
They not only have cable, they have one of the premium packages.
They She clips coupons when she "has time" (ie. rarely, if ever).
The last time they moved they opted to buy all new furniture to furnish their new home instead of moving the old stuff. And not cheap stuff either.

Those are choices. Those actions are statements about your priorities.

*note* no judgement here. It's a matter of personal choice. Just stating the facts of the situation.

But really, how did we afford five trips in one year? Do firefighters get paid that much?

Um... nope. Not hardly.

In fact, the reason I moved in with Jason when I did (before we were married), was because he finally had a job offer for a full-time firefighting position. But he couldn't pay the bills with the 40+% paycut he would have to take to accept the job. So I moved in and we split expenses.

Now, his pay covers most of our basic household expenses. But not all. That leaves my income to cover the rest of the house hold expenses, plus for our "extras". Like trips.

We also utilize points for hotel stays. Our bank allows us to accumulate points for each transaction. Once you accumulate so many, you can cash them in for "prizes" (sort of). We always cash these in for stays at the same hotel chain.
Our primary credit card, which we didn't use too often until the home renovation, grants points towards the same hotel chain.
Combine the two, and we rarely pay for lodging.

But let's look at last year's trips, specifically.

In January I surprised Jason with a trip to Florida for a week, snorkelling & diving, for his birthday.
I secretly tucked away cash for over a year to pay for this trip. We used points for one hotel night, the rest of the trip we paid in cash. Four night stay.

In March he took me to Iowa to visit my sister, for my birthday.
We used points for our one hotel stay, gathered coupons for the attractions, and slept on the floor of my sister's house while there. Four night stay.


In April we went to Indiana for a fire convention.We used points for our hotel stay, wrote off his portion of the entrance fees as a business expense, and paid cash for our food. One night stay.

In May we went to the Smoky Mountains with both sets of parents.
I spent a lot of time researching lodging options, and found a deal on a cabin that cost each couple less than $40 per night. Paid cash for food. Used coupons for attractions. Two night stay.


In November we went to Columbus for our anniversary.We used points for the hotel night. I had also found a great deal on gift cards for dinner & a movie, and we actually based our destination on where we could utilize both gift cards in the same area. One night stay.

We drive to all destinations, whenever possible (all five trips last year).
We ask friends & family to take care of the pets, to avoid boarding charges.

Travelling, even on short stays, even on driving-distance trips, is important to us. So we spend a lot of time planning. A lot of time. Researching options. Looking for discounts. Even determining destinations and time of travel based on the discounts available.

And that, dear readers, is how we afford to go on trips. No, we're not rich. Nor do we go into debt to pay for them* . We determined it was a priority for us, and we plan accordingly.

It really is as simple as that.



* the one exception to the not-going-into-debt: our Bahamas trip in 2009. Jason won a cruise. Like seriously, actually won. But it had to be taken within a certain timeframe. We had not planned on such a large trip for another few years, but decided it was an opportunity we wouldn't likely have again. So we put the airfare & my cruise fees on credit card, paying both of those off within six months of the trip.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

FireGirl TALKED !!!

At school, no less!

She talks to us all. the time. Tells me stories, carries on great conversations, it's wonderful.

But with others... not so much.

She is still slightly behind in her speech, but has caught up so quickly that it's hardly noticeable. Especially since she won't talk to anyone but us anyway. Ha!

Anywho... last week I had a conference with her preschool teacher to review her progress. I specifically asked about her speech, and she said that FireGirl will talk with her, and it's very clear, but is usually one word requests or answers. FireGirl will sometimes talk with the other teacher, same result. But she rarely talks with the other children at all, and when she does it's so quiet it seems the other kids don't hear her, and instead of repeating herself, she'll just stop altogether and sometimes walk away.

Have I mentioned my child is seriously shy?

But... this week, when my father-in-law picked her up from preschool, the teacher told him to make sure he told me that she heard FireGirl talking with the other kids! Actually carrying on a real conversation!



I'm so proud.

{{ big smile }}

Thanks for checking in!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday Fragments




I really want my own laptop. Jason always takes "his" to work, and then when he's home we're busy so I rarely get to use it.

**************

We really need a good, full-length mirror at home.
I saw myself at work around 10am and realized I look rough. It ain't pretty.

***************

I have a good "guess-what-this-is" picture, and I've been thinking of doing a giveaway on my blog (nothing too fancy, I'll be paying for it out of my own pocket), so I'm thinking of combining the two. We'll see.

***************

Two months ago I had all these plans for how I was gonna update my blog appearance. I got very little done. Need. To. Do. It.

**************

I'm really tired of our house not being finished. This renovation is dragging out way too long. It's unsettling to live in a place that's unsettled.

**************

But the good news is that the renovation has been slow-going because Jason got really busy at things that pay money. So... it's a good thing. Just ready for this house to be DONE.

**************

I can't wait to start scheduling our vacation(s) for the year, but am in a circling pattern waiting for some news re: family before we put anything on the calendar.
We love to travel, and I'm getting the itch to get outta here.

**************

FDIC is coming up in a few weeks. We've gone together, just the two of us, every year since we were dating. It's our thing.
But this year a Water Rescue committee is going, and Jason happens to be on that committee, so he's kinda obligated to go with them.
Which either means that I don't go at all, or I go & maybe take Jena and we might be lucky to see Jason for a few minutes during the day.
Can't decide which is a better choice.
But have to decide soon.

**************

Our Corolla is about to hit 200,000 miles, and is starting to have some issues. Nothing major, but we'd rather be proactive than end up stuck when it dies. So we're starting to look at getting a new (or new-to-us) car. The shopping part is exciting, but the idea of adding another car payment isn't.

**************
Have a great weekend.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Reason #684 Why I Hate Being a Working Mom

Because when your child is sick, and you woke up 10 times thru the night to her cries, and you actually got out of bed eight of those times to tend to your sick child, and you've both had a really rough night, but it's the middle of budget planning - your busiest time of the work year - and you have to not only drag your butt out of bed in the morning and try to be productive at work with very little sleep and your mind your child, but you also have to get your child out of bed, even though she doesn't want to, and you have to get her ready to go to Grandma & Grandpa's house, even though she keeps telling you she doesn't want to go she wants mommy.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

TBP #5 - Guilty Pleasure

When I think of guilty pleasure, the first thing that comes to mind is definitely... White Castle!



I love White Castle hamburgers (no cheese)! When I actually get to eat there, I usually get the hamburger meal, with fries, and a red cream soda. Yum. Oh, and I actually prefer to hit the drive-thru and take them home, than to eat in the restaurant. I don't really know why. Just do.

I've had a lot of people tell me I'm nuts for liking them, but I still do!

FireMan doesn't like them, I think he's had them with me all of two times in the past five years. But FireGirl loves them. Mostly because the burgers come already "FireGirl-sized" (regular size burgers she has me cut into fourths for her).

And the question I always get asked... no, they don't upset my digestive system. Well, they never did until I was pregnant with FireGirl. I tried them twice during my pregnancy, and... it did not go well. But since then we've been okay.

So... this is my guilty pleasure. I don't get them very often, but when I do.... Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Follow Up to Gov't Union Busting Post

Since my original post on the topic, I've read numerous articles, listened to the people for these busts, watched news programs, etc. And got into a heated argument with one of my co-workers. Not either of ours finest moments.

The basic problem I have with these bills, is that anyone has yet to provide me with the math that shows this will solve states' budget woes.

Not one. I've posted it on my personal Facebook page. I've asked people directly. Not one can provide me with these numbers.

I've also asked for specific examples of public workers (any public workers) who are making such an outrageous salary and receiving such outrageous benefits that this broad, sweeping legislation needs to be passed.

Not one person can provide that to me. I've gotten several responses showing how low their pay & benefits are, but not one can show me actual data proving that public workers are compensated in this supposed outrageous manner.

Why? Because it's not true. Neither point. Passing these measures isn't going to solve budget woes. And public workers aren't making that much.

What little numbers & math have been provided have been woefully (and obviously, if you bother looking just a little beneath the surface) skewed.

It's fuzzy math. Because that's the only way they can make their case.

If you want to be anti-union, then just be anti-union. Say it, stand by it, be proud of your stance.

But for all of our sakes, including your own, please stop pretending this has anything to do with the budget. Please?

*****************************************
since I've been asking for actual numbers, here's some for you:
*****************************************

- according to the U.S. Dept of Labor - Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 12/10/2010, the average cost to employers for total compensation (salary + benefits) were $47.56/hr for private employees and only $40.10 for public employees. For just one worker, this would come out to approximately $14k per year less total compensation, on average, for public employees.

for the purpose of the study benefits included: paid leave, supplemental pay, insurance, retirement / savings, and other legally required benefits (Workers' Comp, etc)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...