Saturday, March 31, 2012

Confession: Our House is Not BabyProofed

Never really was.

I can see your shock-faces from here.

Oh sure, at our old house we put a baby gate at the top of the stairs. And we put cabinet locks on a whopping... three(?) cabinets - you know, the ones with cleaning supplies in them.

Other than that... yeah, nothing.

Nope, not even outlet covers.

Nope, didn't even put picture frames and the like out of reach.

I don't remember what age Jena was when it occurred to me that maybe we should, I'm sure it was probably around the time she was getting very mobile. But at that point she had shown exactly zero interest in outlets, and if she went to open a cabinet or reach for a glass trinket, all it took was a "no", followed by some redirection.

Seriously. I remember talking to my mom about it, after a trip to BRU, where I saw the bevy of child-proofing items you "need" to make your home safe.

And my mom reminded me that back then, they didn't have most of those items. They had outlet covers, and that was it. Instead they simply kept an eye on their children and taught them what to do or not do.

Interesting perspective.

{{ tangent - makes me wonder how much of the baby-proofing phenomenon is a spinoff of the working mom phenomenon, as there is less parental guidance at home... }}

At our new house, we have had one cabinet lock on one cabinet (again - cleaning supplies).
We did install all tamper-resistant outlets throughout the home, including tamper- and weather-resistant outlets in both bathrooms. You know, since we had to replace them all anyway. (Jason gets all the credit for this - I didn't even know they made such things until he told me)
And we at one point had doorknob covers on every exterior door. But then she just learned how to take them off, so... no real babyproofing here either.

Now we do preschooler-proofing. You know what that is, right? That means putting anything that makes a big mess on top of the fridge: bubbles, Play Doh, paint, markers, etc. And also, candy.

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this post inspired by this post

Friday, March 30, 2012

How FireMan Proposed

We had been dating for about a year, living together for around four months. We had known for a while that our relationship was headed for marriage, we both agreed on that, we just didn't agree on timing.

I wanted sooner rather than later. If we knew it was right, why wait? I had already spent four years in a committed relationship only to have the guy walk out on me unexpectedly.

FireMan wanted to wait. He had proposed to his first wife after only a few months, and he always wondered if one of the reasons their marriage didn't last is because they didn't know each other long enough before getting married.

So... what to do? We didn't know.

We went to dinner with his parents, then the two of us headed to a UDF for ice cream (my husband is an ice cream freak).

We were standing at the counter, had just ordered, when he put his arms around me.

"So... when are we getting married?"
"You have to ask me first."
{{ insert long pause }}
"Will you marry me?"
"Okay."

The clerk brought our order, and we went into the parlor to eat.

Once we finished, we climbed back into the truck.

"What should we do now?"
"I think we should go to the mall and buy a ring before you change your mind."
"Okay"

And so we did.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

One Picture


my heart

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

When I Knew I Wanted to Marry FireMan

When FireMan & I started dating, I was a bit gun-shy.

I had been in three previous relationships, and in each of them the guy had brought up marriage first, only to break up with me later.

I didn't trust it. I had spent so much time in each of those (especially in the first - four years with my college sweetheart) dreaming of being married, looking wistfully at wedding magazines, and in two of them - even looking at engagement rings.

I had been burned bad. And I didn't want to even think about marriage, weddings, or proposals.

Oh, I wanted to be married, for sure. I just had been hurt so badly before I didn't allow my mind to go there. Not really.

But one day, about three months after we started dating, I was staying at FireMan's house while he went diving with his buddies (at this point I don't remember why I was staying there, but I was). I was sitting on the couch, surfing the internet and came across one of my friends' pages on theKnot. I read it, looked at her stuff, blah, blah, blah, and then wandered thru the site.

Before I knew it, I realized I had been daydreaming about my wedding... our wedding.

And I smiled. Because it didn't scare me at all.

Not even the slightest hint of anxiety. None.

And that, is when I knew.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Two Songs






My all time favorite song is "It is Well". I don't always live up to it, but the meaning behind it touches my heart.



Another favorite is an instrumental, "Canon in D" by Johann Pachelbel, more commonly known as "Pachelbel's Canon".

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Five Foods





1. Pizza
I may disagree on toppings, but I never met a pizza I didn't like

2. Hamburgers
It's just hard to mess up a hamburger

3. Porcupine meatballs
Not made from actual porcupine.

4. Ice cream
It's just good

5. Oreos
Our house has been on an Oreo kick for a while. It started as a treat for FireGirl to have one or two in her lunch or as a special snack. Now FireMan & I consume 90% of the ones that come into the house. Not a good trend.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Six Places





1. My home

2. My parents' home

3. The forest

4. Under the ocean

5. Driving

6. My back yard

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Seven Wants


1. Restored marriage

2. Babies!

3. Balance

4. More time

5. Peace

6. Horses

7. Calm

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Eight Fears





1. Abandonment

2. Falling

3. Drowning

4. Fire

5. Raccoons

6. Clowns

7. Not being good enough

8. Something happening to my child

Monday, March 19, 2012

Great Parenting Moments


This one I feel needs a little more explanation. FireGirl doesn't like meat. Never has. She likes certain kinds of cheeseburgers, and certain kinds of meatballs, and... that's about it.

So I worry about her getting enough protein.

So yes... I ask my child to eat more cheeseburger. Please!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Nine Loves





1. God

2. FireMan

3. FireGirl

4. My family

5. My critters

6. Peace & quiet

7. Marching bands

8. Sleep

9. Scuba

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ten Secrets






1. I got Tess even though Jason didn't want me to. Not my finest moment.

2. I poop every morning around 8am. That's new since after Jena was born. And there's a story, but I can't decide how much is too much to share.

3. Having worked in mostly-female, mostly-male, and fairly evenly mixed work environments, I also prefer working with men to working with women. Less drama.

4. I have no memory of my brother & I ever getting along. Ever.

5. I have no memory of ever being a weight society, or the medical community, would consider "healthy".

6. I still miss the cat I had growing up. She died in 1998. I cried over her just the other day.

7. I don't really have any IRL friends. Not really.

8. Except Jena. She's probably my best friend. Which is kinda awesome, and kinda sad.

9. I always wanted a cow. Like as a pet, not like as for food.

10. I'm not afraid of snakes, and I'm not afraid of spiders, but keep the creepy-crawlies (silverfish, millipedes, etc) away! Freak me out.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sunday, March 11, 2012

"new" Math, "new" Reading

One of FireMan's co-workers was struggling to help his son in school. Apparently there is yet another "New Math".

The son does not understand how to do it. The dad has read the textbooks, met with the teacher, googled the subject, and watched YouTube videos explaining the new "easier" method. He still struggles to explain it to his son.

Finally, frustrated with yet another bad grade, he scheduled a conference with his son's teacher and informed her that he would be teaching his son "Old Math" - in other words, the basic arithmetic behind the math, what the math means - instead of this "New Math". And he fully expected that as long as the answer was correct, she would not mark his son down for it.

His son is doing much better now.

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My niece was in first grade, and was struggling to learn to read, really struggling. This puzzled my sister, as my niece is very bright, and had been doing very well during her preschool-aged years while they were teaching her at home.

When they finally met with the teacher about it, they discovered the school only taught sight-reading, not phonics. In other words, children are taught to read by learning to identify what words look like, but are not taught what sounds letters make, how to sound words out, etc.

This explained why my niece knew words like "lady", but could not for the life of her figure out what the word "ladybug" was. It looked different.

My sister started working on her phonics skills at home - as well as my mom & I when we would see her - within a couple of months she not only caught up to the reading level of her fellow students, she surpassed it.

Now, more than five years later, she continues to be an avid reader, reading well above her grade level.

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Stories like these make me very nervous about sending FireGirl to school in a few years.

I mean no offense if you are a fan of "New Math" or "Sight Reading", but hear me out, 'kay?

There is nothing wrong with learning new ways of doing things, or new ways of teaching things. None at all. Not everyone learns in the same way, so it is important for teachers to be able to adapt.

I have no problem with the concept of these ideas as tools, or options, to learning. Alternatives to help someone struggling, or shortcuts to be taught after the basics have been mastered.

The problem I have, is the way I have seen them implemented in the classroom, teaching them as alternatives to learning the basics.

If a child never learns the basics of math, of what addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division actually mean... then what have you really taught them?

If a child never learns what letters sound like in our language, how to sound words out... then how will they progress to more difficult words in the future? how will they learn other languages as they get older?

New concepts on teaching are fine... for the exception that is having difficulty grasping the traditional methods. But using them as shortcuts instead of teaching the mass of students the very basics of what they are actually doing, the root of their education... not okay in my book.

And lest we think this is a new problem, an example from my childhood....

I was in 2nd grade, and we were learning multiplication. I received my first bad grade, and the teacher called a conference with my parents. I don't remember the entire thing, but I do remember that somewhere during that meeting, they realized that I was struggling with memorization. So right there, during the conference, my teacher taught me that 2 x 3 is the same as 2 + 2 + 2. She taught me what multiplication was.

My grades went back up immediately. I was slower than my classmates for sure, but now I got it, now I could do the work because I knew what I was doing.

Ends up, I don't memorize things well. Didn't then, don't now. I struggled in high school, remembering formulas for chemistry & physics. I struggled in college, memorizin dates for history. For me, rote memorization of facts does not work. My brain does not work that way.

I struggled in pretty much any class that required me to memorize a list of anything.

And... now this took me till my late 20s to realize... there's nothing wrong with that.

What is wrong is our educational system thinking that if a child who is otherwise doing very well cannot memorize a list of facts, they must not be working hard enough, or must not be "getting it".

Getting what? You didn't teach me anything. You asked me to memorize a list. That isn't teaching.

On the occasions that I had a teacher gifted and patient and understanding enough to sit down with me and explain what I was actually supposed to be doing, instead of asking me to memorize lists? My grades improved every time. Every. Single. Time.

I still don't have my times tables memorized. But I can do multiplication in my head faster than most people who did.

I still don't know the years of the Civil War. But I can put it in context of what happened in our country, and abroad, before, during, and after the War.

In the end, which is more important for a student? Understanding their world, understanding what they are actually doing? or learning to take shortcuts so they can spit out the right answer?

As for me and my child... there will be no "New Math" in our house. No "Sight Reading". I will be that parent if need be, but my child will learn the basics of her world, she will learn the basics before she moves on to the shortcuts, and she will do the work before she learns to skip the work.

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

aside - FireGirl could recognize the word "stop" (from stop signs) at about 18 months. But no, I didn't tell people she could read. Soon though, as we're working on our phonics and at 3 yrs old she's learning to sound words out.

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I am so that parent. Her teachers are either gonna love me or hate me. I don't see much of a middle ground here, do you?

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this post inspired by this post

Friday, March 9, 2012

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Randoms

I could really use some more work clothes. With my weight / size fluctuating so much for the past FOUR YEARS (since my pregnancy), I've hesitated to buy entire wardrobes at each size. But I am so tired of having limited clothing choices.

Right now I have 3 pairs of pants I can wear to work, plus 1 skirt. That's not even a work week. I can't tell you how many times I've done laundry simply because I was out of work clothes.

And my work clothes pretty much double as my church clothes, so... 4 bottoms for 6 days. Ugh.

Also - all but 2 of my work shirts are short sleeved. Mostly because it was summer when I bought them, but also if it's cold I can put a jacket on in the office. It's cold in my office every day. Ugh.

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related to above - I'm still losing weight, albeit slowly, but I really think I might be at my end size. I am currently 4 lbs above my wedding weight, and 10 lbs below my pre-pregancy weight, but hardly any of my pre-pregnancy clothes fit. Very, very few.

I think my body shape has just changed so much. I'd probably have to lose another 20 lbs to fit into them, and even then it would be iffy, LOL.

Which means I might not meet my goal of fitting into my wedding dress again this year, which totally sucks. Booo!

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

Work has been a roller coaster of emotions lately. Example? Sure.

Last week I have two managers, including my direct supervisor, tell me that one of my largest single projects "doesn't matter".

Morale = plummeting

Today I had a Vice President ask me to teach him something. Later he asked my opinion about a division project, and said he will act on my suggestions because I am the expert in that area.

Morale = skyrocketing

Just two small examples. But it's been like that for a month or so. Roller coaster. Seems like every day. Stress.

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

We have way too many vehicles at our house. Five to be exact. For two drivers. Ridiculous.

To be fair, a breakdown:

- the ILs truck, which has been broken down for months, and FireMan has thus far been unable to fix. I want to declare it dead & tell them to get it off our property, but... they're his parents & they want him to fix it, so... it stays. For now.

- FireMan's work van for his business

- the SUV, our newest (by model year) & most reliable, which is driven by whomever-has-FireGirl (primarily me)

- my old car, which we planned to sell for a decent amount of $$ (13 yrs old, and blue book was still over $3,000)... until it broke down. FireMan would like to fix it, because we'll get so much more $$ out of the sale, but... I don't like have broken down vehicles around the house.

- the new (to us) car FireMan bought off of CraigsList, with the intention of it replacing my old car

I know we live in the country, but I really don't wanna be those redneck hillbillies with 63 broken down vehicles scattered around the property.

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

I'm getting my hair cut next week. I can't decide how to do it. I don't really care for it shorter.

Well, not that I don't like it, I just liked it better longer.

But everyone else seems to like it shorter. Everyone.
I hear "you look younger" a lot.

So I can't decide if I should keep it short, or just start growing it out.

Either way, I have decided the shape needs a change. It was great right when I first got it cut, but after just a week or so what little it had grown out I really didn't like.

Who knows, maybe just getting a different shaping to it will help me to like it better.

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

We're doing crazy-good with our Financial Peace plan.

Every. Single. Month when we sit down to do our finances, we're like
"we can't believe we've paid off this much!"
"we can't believe how much money we have to pay down bills!"

Every month. Same conversation.

Needless to say, I highly recommend the program.

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

We're taking the membership class at our church, er... the church we've been going to regularly for over three years.

I know, right? Three years. Definitely not rushing into anything, but we finally decided we should become members.

We actually decided this a while back, but they only offer the class every six months, and the last one we weren't able to attend due to FireMan's shift schedule.

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

For anyone not familiar with a membership class (I wasn't until my mid-20s), they review what the church's core beliefs are, core values, what they teach, etc. and give you a chance to ask questions.

At our old church it was one night.

Here it's three nights, spread over several weeks.

At the end you decide whether or not to join.

Not anticipating any issues, but it would kinda stink to find out thru this class that they believed in something that I didn't, after going there for over three years.

We had reasons for waiting. Or rather, reasons for not making it a priority.

But oh boy do I hope that doesn't happen, because that would most likely create some tension between FireMan & myself, because he loves this church, while I could easily walk away.

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I recently schedule a consult for Lasik eye surgery.

The idea of it makes me very nervous (hence the years-long procrastination), but the consult is scheduled.

Just that makes me nervous. They said just the consult will take 2-3 hours, and they'll be dilating my eyes more than is done at regular appointments, so I won't be able to see well for "several hours" afterward, and will need someone to drive me home.

Wowsa.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Storms

On Friday, March 2, 2012 multiple tornadoes tore thru the area.



Earlier that morning, my sister called me from Iowa wanting to know where I was going to be that day.
Not only is she paranoid of severe storms (especially the "T" word), but she's a trained weather spotter (it helps calm her anxiety... except when it's real).


They've changed the weather alert system recently, so when she told me we were under a Tornado Watch, I didn't pay much attention. After all, we had six Tornado Warnings last year, and only one storm was even worth being worried about.




Just after lunch, I checked the weather and realized we weren't just under a regular ole Tornado Watch, we were under a PDS (Particularly Dangerous Situation) Tornado Watch.

This was serious


red dots indicate reported tornadoes
The dangerous part of the storm was predicted to hit my area around 5pm, and last until around 9pm.
I made plans to leave work at 4pm.

 

Around 3:30pm my husband called. He had run into a local sheriff's deputy, who said a tornado had touched down in Crittendon, KY and was headed directly for us. Should arrive in 30-45 minutes.

I left work.


My parents were watching FireGirl that day. They live farther north, and have a basement (we do not).
Since the storms were predicted to last until 9pm, when my mom answered the phone I simply said
"You're keeping her"


She understood what I meant, but said she had more.
According to the news, a tornado had hit Holton, IN and was headed straight for us. Would be here in 30-45 minutes.

 

You heard that right. Two tornadoes had touched down, and both predicted paths were aimed at our home.


Then my sister called, and begged me not to leave work. The storms were moving faster than originally predicted. I didn't have time to make it home.

But I was already on the road. Halfway home. No sense in turning back now.


The roads were packed. It looked like rush hour, with one notable difference:
We were all driving as fast as we could, 15-20 mph over the speed limit the entire way, we all flew along, everyone like-minded in their driving.


About 10 minutes from home, the sirens went off.


I made it home, rushed in the door. Grabbed the cat carrier, and briefly discussed with FireMan what to do with the dogs, and how the chickens were just screwed.


Then we watched the news. And waited.


And it never came.


Both tornadoes miraculously seemed to have changed paths.


We waited. And waited.
It never came.
We watched the radar as the path of the storm headed east.


It was over.


That night, we realized the tornadoes touched down south of us, east of us, and northwest of us.

But spared us. Praise the Lord.


A day later, we found a piece of sheet metal, various small pieces of styrofoam, and multiple small pieces of shingles on our property.


Two days later we found out that a tornado was reported by a trained spotter over our area. Did not touch down.


We also found that the system that hit the area was extremely rare, in that instead of one tornado staying on the ground then losing power and dissolving, it essentially hit the ground, picked back up, dropped down again, rinse, repeat.
It also contained at least one multi-vortex tornado.


So, in effect, while the tornado that hit Crittendon changed paths, the tornado that hit Holton was simply pulled up into the clouds and stayed there while over our area, before dropping back down further east.


We are very blessed indeed.


Many others were not so lucky.


Multiple deaths across several states.
Numerous injuries.
A great number of homes destroyed.


Amazingly, as close as these strikes were, neither FireMan nor I personally know anyone who was directly affected.


Friends of friends, yes.
Family of friends, yes.

But no one we know ourselves.
At least not that we've yet discovered.


Amazing.


If you are familiar with the greater area at all, when you look at the map you can see that we were, actually, very, very lucky.


Although I'm sure it is small comfort to those hit, the fact is the tornadoes pulled off the ground before hitting any majorly populated areas, hitting farming communities instead.


I cannot imagine the loss of life we would be reading about today had any of the tornadoes hit areas such as Louisville, Lexington, or Cincinnati - all of which were in such reasonable proximity that a simple change of path would have led the storm directly to them.


Even suburban areas, such as Charleston, Madison, Lawrenceburg, Burlington, Florence, Independence, Dry Ridge, Maysville, Alexandria,  or New Richmond - all would have equalled an even greater loss of life, even greater destruction.


Yes, the community as a whole was blessed indeed.


But in the meantime, hundreds of our neighbors are in mourning, recovering from injuries, and/or starting to rebuild their lives.


To help, follow one of the links below:






As always, thanks for checking in!


And be sure to hug your loved ones a little tighter today.



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all photos sourced at wcpo.com
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