Monday, December 28, 2009

Well there isn't a lot to report this week, but I can definitely say we did not let the kids eat all the candy and cookies they wanted this weekend!

I also did not go back on my word to take back the movies that the kids found by snooping in our room before Christmas. That's right I was not a push over and let them watch one of them last night......


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas cookie baking time!!

Colton loved the creative freedom of 2 piles of dough and no retraint!

Even Marc got into the action!

Proud cookie bakers!!

The finished product!
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Monday, December 21, 2009

Funny enough I don't have anything I'm not supposed to share today! But I couldn't miss the chance at the link back to MckMama's awesome blog, which is particularly funny today.

Solstice and 1st day of winter break!

The kids woke up at 7, the parents at 8. It's really grey and overcast, so there was no seeing the sun.

There is a video game going on the TV and I'm sitting on the couch with my computer, cup o' coffee, and a yummy biscuit with apple-pear butter on it. Life is good!

One of Austin's friends will be over at 11 to play, and some other friends will be by after noon to hang for a bit. I have no other plans today, except to try to get some wrapping done, perhaps work on some laundry, and I need to find room in the refrigerator for the turkey so it can thaw.
We will probably make cookies at some point today. I have a committee meeting tonight, so I also need to type up an agenda for that.

Tomorrow we will be cleaning the carpets and getting the house ready for friends on Christmas Eve. More wrapping gifts, and probably a trip out to the store for stocking stuffers. It feels weird to have all my shopping done, and all my gifts mailed out! I am usually one of those who is rushing about the few days before Christmas trying to get it all in order.

I'm thinking ahead to some of the things I have planned for the next 2 weeks. Some of crafts, a few outings, and lots of playtime. Hopefully the kids will be able to get out to some friends' houses for play dates next week, so Marc and I can get some projects done around the house without having to play referee. There are a lot of little things that need to be done. And with the New Year looming I feel the need to clean, clear, cleanse, and clarify our lives.
To that end I want to bless my house again. I think it may help clear the mental clutter I feel from day to day. So out with the old in with the new, or in with nothing new materially and an abundance of new mentally. That's the hope anyway!

I hope everyone has an enjoyable holiday season, takes the time to look around and be thankful for the people in their lives that bring them joy, lets go of those that don't, and starts this new year with hope and light.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Food Gifts!

More from our Christmas goings on!

(if you're reading this on Facebook, go here to see the pictures!)

Teacher's Gifts!

Homemade Apple-Pear Butter
w/ Buttermilk Biscuit Mix

Wrapped up in a Tin, w/ a Tea Towel
all in a pretty bowl.

Hot Cocoa Mix for Marc's Boss
and a good friend.

Wrapped up with mini marshmallows
and Candy Canes.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

I did not bribe my kids with homemade cookies for their cooperation during our "do-it-ourselves" family photo shoot yesterday!

I also did not allow them each to have a cookie after breakfast this morning because I was soooo thrilled with how well the pictures turned out!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Not Quite the 25 Days of Christmas .....

So I got a late start (big surprise) on our December activities, but I am making an extra effort to do some very special things this holiday season with the kids. So here are some of the things we've done so far:

Christmas Tree Decorating....

Funny Talking Hand Puppet Show:

Cupcake Decorating:

Coffee Filter Snowflakes:

And watched Charlie Brown Christmas together!

I've got a lot more planned for the month ahead including lots of baking/candy making, trips to go see the lights around the metro area, some charitable giving, and of course decorating our Yule log!

*for those reading this on Facebook, follow the link to the original post to see the pictures or go look in my December 2009 album!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Lj posts continued...

Quick Kid Update

January 9,2006

Austin is hysterical. He asked about 20 questions in the span of two minutes when we told him we were moving. The first one was "back to Texas?" LOL, poor kiddo. I think he misses it just as much as we do. The next 15 centered around making sure all of his toys and our stuff would be going with us. Then he wanted to know how we would move it all since clearly our van is not big enough to fit our sofa inside! LOL, he kills me! Then he wanted to know if Lily would be moving too. Hehe! I think he is getting annoyed with her crabbiness too.

Speaking of Lily, she is now 19 lbx and very long. She has a head full of rich brown hair that has tinges of red and gold in it. Her eyes are still somewhere between green and brown, and she has two sweet little teeth on the bottom front. I am pretty sure her surly attitude is due to the top teeth working their way out, but with her one just can't be sure. She is trying to crawl, and has the rolling, scooting, commando style movement down. She would, however, prefer to pullup on furniture and walk her way around the room, or have you hold her hands and walk her through the house. She loves her brothers and finds them vastly amusing, but I swear if we aren't careful they will be the death of her! Today Colton dropped a metal truck about the size of a pack of cigarettes on her head. She has a bruise the size of a dime right in the middle of her forhead. Then latter this afternoon Austin was trying to sit her up and she reared back and smacked her cheek on the leg of the coffee table. Poor kid. This is when a parent starts to contemplate buying a helmet for the baby!

Colton is doing well. He is completely potty trained. He took to it so beautifully, and after all the struggles we had with Austin, I am thrilled. He has had a few accidents, but is even wearing underwear all night long and staying dry. I can't complain. I am not sure how the move with go for him. He really only remembers living in this apartment, and all the confusion could be hard for him. I am trying to thing of some ideas of special activities he can do while I am packing. Right now it seems like he really needs a lot of attention and playtime with mommy and daddy and over the next few weeks it is going to be hard to balance it all.
More from LJ

Twas the Night Before Christmas 2005

And we hope this finds you happy to be alive!
The Millers are writing this letter with care,
in hopes that Christmas joy soon will be there!

The children are healthy and happy as can be,
having added to their number now totaling 3.
and we bet you are all wondering how this came to be.

Nichol and Marc had settled down,
In the Pacific Northwest outside Portland town,
when fate would have it their family was too small,
and a little surprise would be given to all.

The joy of parenting two is for sure,
But what will come of adding one more?

Much to their happiness, surprise, and dismay,
a new baby would be coming and would arrive in late May.
At an ultrasound with Deni, papa and brothers present,
we new it was a girl in a quick instant!

More rapid that eagles Nichol’s belly grew,
and she wished and wished for the day she was due.

The boys were excited.
A Sister they exclaimed!
Then Austin and Colton suggested some names:
Now Rain, Now Dora, now Nemo, or Coral!
On summer, On spring, on winter and fall

From the front of list,
to the back of the book,
they liked them all!
What to choose?
What to call her?
Should we draw straws?

Like the days of summer when they fly by,
soon it was time for the baby to arrive.
So off to the birth center on May 27th we flew,
with Marc, and Austin, and Colton too!

Then in not quite a twinkling we heard with a sigh,
at 9:01pm a newborn’s cry
As Austin cut the cord amidst the midwives watchful eyes,
Colton looked on and proud parents cried.

She was perfect! Complete! From head to foot,
with the darkest of hair, the color of soot.
Born under water she was quiet and alert
and looked so wise when she opened her eyes.

Ah! Her eyes how they twinkled!
Her dimples, not many,
her checks were indeed like roses,
and her nose like a cherry.
Her sweet little mouth was tiny and wide
as she took a deep breath and let loose with a cry.

She had a sweet face and a round little belly,
ten fingers and toes we counted all twenty!
She was tiny and small, a wee little bit,
and her name was to be Lillian Elizabeth

At 7lbs ½ oz. and 20 inches long
She entered the world a voice like a song.
But in the beginning all was not right
And Lily was in the NICU for 4 nights.

Her parents were worried, her brothers confused,
yet in the end it was great news.
She was healthy and strong ready to go,
so we bundled her up and headed for home.

Our lives have changed much in the last 6 months,
and here is a run down of the most important stuff.

Marc is doing well at his job with KLA
He gets better and learns more with every day.
His boss was so happy with his devotion,
that this year brought a raise and promotion!

As a family this summer we looked for more
and sought adventure in the great outdoors!
With the Crokers we went camping on the shore.
It was so fun we wanted some more.

So up to the Cascade Mountains we did go,
with a tent, sleeping bags, and all three kids in tow.

The fall brought Austin to his first day of school.
He is learning fast and getting better at following rules.
He can spell and write his name just fine,
is learning Spanish and how to cut on a line.

Colton is enjoying the time with his mom
that he gets during the morning while brother is gone.
We play games, color, and play with play dough
and the boys are getting a long better than we could hope.

It’s amazing how fast a year can fly!
Especially while raising three kids under five!
But we relish the joy that they bring,
and while our hands are full,
that’s better than empty any day!

Now I hope you enjoyed my attempt at verse.
I’m sure you’ve read better,
and I hope you’ve read worse!
My aim was to bring a smile and a laugh,
while giving you an overview of the year past.

And now that I am done we wish you blessings so bright!
Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

More from Live Journal.....

Random thoughts of motherhood

September 15th, 2005

It is amazing what looking back through pictures can do to you. I went onto my shutterfly account looking for a picture of our tandem stroller since we were selling it to someone and spend nearly an hour looking at pictures of the boys, especially Austin, when they were babies.

It is hard to believe how quickly they grow up and away. I have been striving to spend a little one on one time each day with both of them. I feel like over the last year of pregnancy and newborn adjustment I have lost track of who they are. Austin has grown into such a strong independent little guy that I all to often forget how young he really is. I ask too much of him. I need to let him be little.

Colton is so exuberant and playful. His imagination is fun to watch. He adores his big brother and follows his every move. Points that both amuse and annoy. To night at dinner Marc was trying in vain to get Colton to take a bite of his sloppy-joe, when Austin says to him "go ahead Colty it is really tasty!" and Colton smiles at Austin and says "Ok Brother!". Marc and I just shook our heads in disbelief. The power of the big brother!

I don't remember much of Colton's babyness. I wonder why it isn't in my head. I keep thinking that I missed out. All the stress of Marc's job then, the lack of ability to deal, the postpartum hell. All of it was so much in my head that I forgot to enjoy my baby. That is sad. I am trying like hell to enjoy him now. I don't want to forget what he is like. I don't want to miss that.

I need to journal more. I need to write down all of the cute and annoying things that they do. I need to document it. So when they ask me "mommy what was I like as a child" I have so much to tell them they are able to relive it.

I am trying to savor Lily. To sip her gently like a hot perfectly brewed cup of Earl Grey. I want to examine her from nose to toes every day and note each subtle little change that occurs in my mind so I don't loose it later. I am 99% sure I won't have another child of my own. I hated most of my pregnancy with Lily, but I miss some things. I miss the knowlege of a being that is only mine. The movements, the heartbeat, the visions of what she will be like. I am already forgetting what that felt like. I miss the anticipation of labor and the strength of my body to birth a child. I feel so tired and weak now compared to how I felt then.

To be pregnant, even when you are sick with it, is to be fully alive and an active participant in the cycle of life. It is an amazing thing.

Now as I nurse Lily and wonder what it will be like in the years that follow when that connection with her is gone, I am reminded to cherish each moment she spends in my arms. I think back to what it was like to nurse the boys. To have them both in my arms being comforted by both my body and each other. It was a moment in time I never want to forget. It is hard to believe that less than a year ago Colton was still nursing. He weaned so easily when my body just couldn't handle the stress of pregnancy and breastfeeding. He was so gracious and caring.

Even now he is concerned about how I feel. He will come up pat my leg or arm and ask "mommy does that feel better?" When I am sad, down, hurting, sore, ill, or just out of sorts, he will notice and light up my world with his spectacular smile and run to give me the best of hugs.

Austin's intelligence and love of learning at such a young age is a wonder to me. I love to watch him discover his world and beg for more. It is gratifying to know that he truly wants more. I only wish I could give him the opportunity to go to school right now. But, there is a part of me that is secretly glad we can't afford it right now. I am not sure I am ready to share him yet. I want to keep those special "ah-ha" moments to myself right now.

I am so blessed. No matter what the fianances say, I am rich beyond measure. Each moment that brings new worry into my life my children are able to help me brush it off and say to myself "this too shall pass". And focus on what is really really important. Being a mother.
Just spend the last hour reading my old LiveJournal posts. It was started when we still lived in TX, and just before we moved up here to Portland.

I am so glad I recorded my thoughts. So much of what we went through, so many little joys, so many moments of sadness. All there for when my memory becomes dull. I enjoyed this trip down memory lane and I thought you guys might too, so the next few blog posts will actually be reposts from my Live Journal.

Here are a couple of my favorites:

life in the Miller Zoo

October 6th, 2004

Well today was your typical day in a monkey cage.

Except the monkeys are named Austin and Colton. I swear children must be preprogramed with a scream that is created for the sole purpose of driving their mothers insane. Fighting, pushing, crying, whining, and general chaos. ALL DAY. ARGH! And I am having another. I think I really am insane. Austin just doesn't get the idea of leaving his brother alone. And Colton goes up and whacks Austin for no apparent reason. I think it's payback for something Ausitn did and Colton just waits for the "right moment" to attack LOL.

It is days like today when I force myself to find the cute and the funny in my kids. One thing about Austin is that he is really helpful. Even though his helpfulness caused him to pull his little brother out of his high chair into a heap on the floor! I heard the scream and came running out of the bathroom (hence the reason Colton wasn't out of the chair yet) to see Colton on top of Austin crying his eyes out, and Austin crying louder!

Colton is sweet. He will come running to kiss you if you hurt yourself, and will try to comfort Austin if he is crying. He is also starting that wonderful independent streak that starts around 18 months! His favorite word is "no", which he usually is screaming at the top of his lungs at his brother. He likes to eat still, but is starting to be a little more picky (sigh) about what he will and won't eat.

At least I have a smart husband who made me take the heathens for a walk to the park when he got home today. The walk was fun and I got over my general irritation with them. On the way we saw two slugs **EeWWW***!!! that were very facinating to Austin and totally grossed me out. When we got there we met a little boy who was wearing the exact same shoes as Austin. Needless to say they were instant friends! I just hope we see him again next time we go. He and his sister were there with their nanny, and she said that they are usually there midweek at that time.

On the way back Austin got all worried about it raining on us, since the sun had gone behind some clouds, and I had chosen to leave the umbrellas at home. He is going to have to get over that! Getting rained on is part of life up here, or so I am told.

One good thing is that he is no longer worried about Mt. St. Helens. He understands that she is just "letting off steam" and we are safe. I am proud of my quick thinking and creative parenting on this one! I used my tea kettle to explain to him what was happening! Smart mama am I *grin*.

I have appointment number 2 with a 2nd midwife tomorrow. The first one went well and if I have to have another hospital birth I will go with that person. If however I can get our insurance to pick it up I really want to have this one at home. We shall see.

Ok off to bed to rest for tomorrow's events!

April, 21 2005
Lets see I am 34 wks 1 d if you go by the ultrasound. I measured just shy of 35 cm at my appointment on the 19th, and I have been so consistently measuring a week ahead it is hard for me to think I might actually go to my EDD. I hope not.
I am still a little worried about what to do with the boys when I go into labor. If it is during the day I think they will be ok at the birthcenter and my MW's assistant even said as long as I am not crowning she can help keep them entertained. And they just got a DVD player and said that we can bring movies for them to watch as well. If it is in the middle of the night I am worried about it. They may not go back to sleep once we get there, and I really feel like I need DH by my side as much as possible. I am really hoping labor and delivery will happen while my inlaws are here, but just in case got the number for the volunteer/student doula coordinator at Birthingway Midwifery College, so I can get set up to have a student doula for free. They can come in the middle of the night to the center and either be with me if DH is needed for the boys or be with the boys.
I am enjoying the movements and playing with little girl as she poke her feet out of my sides. She is so big already! Her feet are in my ribs and her head is definitely down on my cervix. She is also anterior with her back on my left side. Although she tends to spin around on her head like a top during the day.
The heartburn isn't nearly as bad now that I am taking papaya enzymes after each meal, and liquid calcium/magnesium every night before bed. I also switched prenatals to the RainbowLight brand and they are awesome! I have more energy and I don't burp them like other vits.
Ok off to go fold laundry again!

37 weeks and counting. . . . .

May 12th 2005

Well I can officially have the baby any day now and she will be ok. MW's were worried about my weight gain at my May 5th appointment as I had lost about 1/4 of a pound, but on the 10th I had gained 2 lbs so all is well.
I am anxious for her to arrive, and starting to get restless. I don't sleep so much as snooze off and on all night long. Due to my need to pee every hour and the contrax every 20mins! I hope things get going within the next week or so. My FIL will be here on the 20th so after that would be a good time so that the boys can be with Grandpa.

The boys are awesome even if they annoy me most of the time. I am thinking it is the pregnancy not the kids LOL. I was in such a foul mood yesturday that Marc kicked me out of the house right after dinner and told me not to come home until 10. So, I went to my knitting group, and then to Barnes and Noble. I felt a lot better when I got home!

Here's hoping today is a good day! We are supposed to have nice weather so I think I am going to pack up the boys and my kntting and head to the park.

MORE to come!!!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

I will give details later, but I wanted to get the pictures up at least! I hope everyone had a great holiday!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


I finally finished my shawl a few weeks ago and posted these pictures to Facebook, but I wanted to get them up to the blog just in case anyone was looking! hehe. The yarn is Shimmer in the Cumulus colorway. It is a true lace weight yarn that is luscious!

Photo 1 is before blocking.
Photo 2 is the shawl blocking on my double bed to give you a bit of a size reference.
Photo 3 is a close up of the detail in the "feathers" part of the pattern.
Photo 4 is the whole shawl after blocking over my office chair.

I so enjoyed knitting this and loved working with charts instead of written patterns. I found it to be so much easier to have a visual representation of the stitches I was making.

I am trying to decide what to make next to challenge my skills! Any suggestions???

Halloween Part 2

After a bit of food and hilarity at the Meyer's we all headed out to Trick or Treat in their neighborhood. It was great fun! The kids had a blast and took in a pretty decent haul. But the cutest part was watching all the little ones all over the place in their adorable costumes.

Trick or Treat!!!
My adorable green haired zombie kid!
My motley crew of costumed crazies!!
Bringing home the loot.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Halloween 2009-Part 1

What a fantastic time we had! It is no secret that I LOVE this holiday and especially love creating costumes for the kids. This year Colton was the only kid who let me be creative and make his outfit. Here's the result! Colton the Zombie kid!!

He requested the green hair but otherwise left it all up to me. We slashed an old shirt, added fake blood, but the best part were the realistic scar/wound tattoos that Austin and I found!

He really loved the way it all came together when we were finished.
Here is a close up of the Tattoos!

Austin was the Grim Reaper (no scythe could be found, so we settled for a sickle)

Lily asked to be a Care Bear way back at the beginning of the month, and I thought there was NO WAY I'd be able to pull that off. We got super lucky and found her costume at the Pass It On Sale in Hillsboro!

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Thursday, August 06, 2009

Is this legal??? Doesn't this equal intimidation on behalf of the government that infringes on our 1st amendment rights??

"There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to"

Let me say it again.....Doesn't this equal intimidation on behalf of the government that infringes on our 1st amendment rights??

If I send on an email that enumerates reasons why the current heathcare plan in congress won't work, or why it isn't exactly what the President keeps saying it is, or why that particular person who sent it to me doesn't like it and it makes it's way to someone who read the above statement and thinks that maybe it might be "fishy" am I know going to have my communications "flagged" by the White House? Seriously? What will they do with all of those email addresses that will most likely be in the header of a massively forward email? Or all of the people who leave comments on a blog post just like this that may be against the Presidents current plan. Or the person writing the blog itself. What is wrong with dissent? What is wrong with commenting on the affairs of our world? What is "fishy" about having a differnt point of view than the powers that be?? Isn't that why we have a bill of rights? To protect everyone's differing points of view? I'm sorry but I really don't see anything "fishy" about that.

What I do find "fishy" is that the white house is trying to undermine my 1st amendment rights by intimidation..

Is doing the morally right thing despite the consequesnces really morally right???

Many of my more liberal friends (whom I love and respect, truly I do!) have said that making sure that every one in this country should have access to healthcare and that they are willing to pay higher taxes to make sure that happens. They say it is the morally right thing to do. And when you think about it with emotions and in the terms of "little Sally with lukemia" who can't get the treatments she needs because her parents can't afford them yada yada yada, I agree it would be the morally right thing to do. But this current bill isn't about making sure that "little Sally" gets treatment. It is about undermining the private insurance industry. It is about more government control and more government regulation. It is about someone other that me being allowed to make decisions about what is the "evidenced based" care that I should recieve. So if there isn't a study that shows that treatment A is better than treatment B, and treatment B works for the "majority" of patients, then I won't have access to treatment A unless I pay out of my pocket. Someone please tell me how that is any different that what insurance companies do now?

An example of this are the prescription drug formularies that most insurance companies have now. They are a list of drugs that are "approved" for coverage. When Austin first started on allergy medications, our current insurance didn't have Zyrtec on its formulary, then alternative was Allegra. Allegra gives me migraines. Up to this point Austin's reactions to drugs, food, allergins, etc had been EXACTLY like mine. There was no way I was going to give my 2 year old a medication that gave me severe headaches. BUT because it was the "approved" drug on the formulary, I had only one other choice. I had to pay for the Zyrtec out of pocket (it was not OTC at that point) which ended up being almost $90 a month. So much for evidence based care lowering people's health care costs.

I have serious doubts about the consequences of the government being involved in life and death decisions. I still get to make those for my children and myself, despite having insurance. I honestly don't think nationalized insurance is going solve our problems. I doubt it will actually fix the access/cost of care issues. Add to that the fact that the historically it costs the government more to do anything that the private sector can do. How is that going to save us money on our health care? In fact in a recent "Time Magazine" poll the respondents believed the "legislation is likely to raise health-care costs in the long run (62%), make everything about health care more complicated (65%) and offer less freedom to choose doctors and coverage (56%)" How is this going to be better than what we have today?

People all over the political spectrum have said that Insurance is part of the problem. The way insurance is handled will never bring costs down. Costs only come down by choice by the provider (yeah right), government regulations (didn't work for energy, which is why it was de-regulated), or free market correction. With the exception of adjustments for inflation, the free market historically is a much better way to cost correct. The problem is that our health care isn't a free market. Because of heath insurance we don't really pay for the actual care we use, we pay a set amount on a monthly basis. We may have a higher co-pay from time to time, but we don't feel the pinch of real medical costs (we being the majority of Americans who have the typical hmo/ppo type plan through their employer). If people paid cash for their medical care that would change drastically! Not that I want that to happen trust me. But this leads me to another point. If soooo many people out there were having to pay out of pocket for medical care that was too expensive then why hasn't the market corrected? Perhaps because the actual number of people in this position is a lot smaller than we are lead to believe? Just a thought.

Fixing the problems with medical liability(so we can have more practicing doctors who make decisions based on what is best for the patient NOT because it will keep them from getting sued), funding clinics (to provide immediate access), and regulating prices for drugs and procedures (making care affordable) is what I have seen to be our biggest issues. (more on that later)

If you read through the basic points of the bills before the house and senate, it is all about health INSURANCE reform and not very much about health CARE reform. I want reform, but the right reform in the right way. OH and btw it is my constitutional RIGHT to have this opinion. I respect every American citizen's right to his or her own opinion, but I don't have to agree. Remember this one? Dissent is the highest form of patriotism! It is important for our Republic to continue to succeed that EVERYONE has their voice heard. Not just the popular opinion. It it equally important that when the majority of people let their views be known to our government representatives that those representatives actually listen. IF this particular health care bill gets discarded or changed to fit what "We the people" want which is fix what's broken and leave what isn't the hell alone, then I will have faith that our system is still working. If this thing passes as is, then I will have my belief that we as a country are broken reinforced. It has been broken for a long freakin' time. "We the people" will have ceased to matter and the Washington elite will have won.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Get the duct tape!!

My head IS exploding! I can't believe the stuff I'm reading, hearing, seeing in America today. People who believe that letting the government "require individuals to purchase their own health insurance" or pay extra in taxes and be placed with or without their consent on a public care option. What happened to freedom of choice???? (for a party that is all about choice this seems a bit totalitarian to me) Oh and btw that quote is directly from our President's press conference last night.
What about free enterprise and the American dream? Hard work, personal responsibility, and learning from failure. So many of America's greatest success stories come out of a multitude of failures. Milton Hershey, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, R.H. Macy. All failed multipule times before they finally succeeded to sweeten our lives, change our world, bring us light, and give us joy. All were products of a time when people actually belived in personal responsibility, hard work, creative thought, and giving it your all.

What happened to that? When did our country become a country of handouts, bailouts, and rescues? When did we stop taking care of our own problems instead of demanding that the government fix the predicament we got ourselves into?
I am saddened that the America of my youth is gone, that the America of my children's future looks like a place where the governement will own every dime they make and every dime their children make to pay back all of this debt. I'm saddened that instead of building a better tomorrow we are borrowing that prosperity for our own selfish greed today.
I sit here in my little townhouse that we barely fit in as a family, happy that we have our 1 car, happy to have a full pantry, and thrilled that my husband still has his job. Knowing we just barely make ends meet and keep this quaint little life of our rolling along. And then I see this dark cloud on the horizon that is filled with exponentially higher taxes and wonder what will give in my little world first. Which child will have to go without school pictures next year, can those jeans my oldest is wearing be patched to be handed down to my 2nd born? Can I learn to cut my husband's and children's hair myself? How many more miles can we make it on the nearly bald tires?

Sounds selfish, probably is, but I really don't care right now about the state of healthcare. I care a hell of a lot more about the state of our bank account and the past due notices that could start arriving if we have to pay out any more in taxes. I am happy with my health coverage thank you. I won't complain, because we are just fine with what we have. I have no problem with taking care of others and making sure they have a place to see a doctor, but I don't think the current solution will even come close to fixing the problem.

Why is it that a stay at home house wife can see the root of the problem? Over inflated lawsuit rewards. The sue happy public that blames doctors for everything that is wrong with them rather than taking, oh wait here's that phrase again, personal responsibility! Lack of support for preventative care, alternative care (thanks FDA), and choice in care. Out of control, unfair pricing that charges one amount for the insured and a totally different one for the uninsured. Or one price at the hospital for a certain medication and a totally different one at the pharmacy. No lie after I got the bills from my surgery in March I was livid to see that the hospital charged me over $600 of the oxicodone I received while I was there for 3 days. The same medication that I got a 3 week supply of from the pharmacy for $5 (actual out of pocket cost because we were into our deductible at that point). Herein lies the problem folks.

As for those millions supposed uninsured Americans. There are a good many of them who are uninsured by choice. There are many who don't take advantage of what IS available because no one has given them the information that it IS available for them or their children. And some don't care. Wouldn't go to a doctor even if it was completely paid for. And honestly I don't think health insurance is really the answer.

A friend of mine pointed out something really interesting to me and I would pose the same question to you. Would you pay $150 a doctors visit for well child checks if you had to pay for it out of your pocket or would you go to a different doctor (all qualifications being equal) who only charged $75? Would you pay $3 a pill for a name brand drug or would you choose the $0.75 per pill genaric? Would you go to the ER for a mild fever if you had to pay for the visit or would you take some Tylenol, drink a lot of fluids, and get some rest (pretty much all the ER doc will tell you to do)? For me I would make the choice that provided the most value to my family. If I had two options with the only difference being price, I would choose the lower price. If everyone did that the market itself would keep the costs of healthcare down. The reason the market doesn't work is because the consumers themselves are NOT paying for their purchases out of their own pockets. We cut coupons for cereal, buy in bulk, and wait for sales in all other areas of our consumer spending EXCEPT in healthcare. Why? Because insurance companies out to make money off the healthy in order to pay for the sick only charge us a flat rate that doesn't really change that much no matter what our consumption of the product is. This system doesn't allow for free market corrections in price and quality. It is a false sense of security and now we are paying the price.

So here I sit, worried, confused, feeling lied to and betrayed by a governement whose jobs we provided, but that has forgotten that the trade off is that they are supposed to listen to us.

All I can do is hope that some or a lot of people with loud enough voices can do something to stop the downward spiral I see, before it is too late and we have traded away our liberties, privacy, and rights for the false security of government run healthcare, government owned private enterprise, and government mandated insurance for everyone that costs more than it is worth.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Update for mid-May:

Its been cool and drizzly here the last couple of days, but we are supposed to have 70's and dry through memorial day. I'm looking forward to finishing my planting and cleaning up the back yard. We should have a really nice garden this year as long as I can keep up with the weeding and watering. Marc is off Friday and Monday, so there are a few projects I hope we can get done. We also want to spend at least one day either up on the mountain or out at the beach. If its warm enough I hope to smoke a brisket one day too.

The kids are doing okay. Lily is so very excited to be turning 4 next week. We will have a little family party for her with cake and ice cream on Wednesday, then on June 7th she and I are going to host a mommy and daughter tea at a local Victorian tea house with 2 of my friends and their 4 year old daughters. Lily specifically asked to have a "girls only" party. So this is what we will do. I found her a beautiful sage green frilly dress to wear on clearance at Fred Meyer for only $13! It will be a lot of fun for her. I've asked one of the mom's to bring her really nice cannon digital and take some pictures, so I will be sure to send along some when I get them from her.

Colton is having an absolute blast in school. His reading has come along nicely. He is right where he should be and we couldn't be happier. He is such a loving little boy. Today he told his sister to eat all her veggies because they would "make her pretty like mommy". He continues to astound me with his creativity and all of his gorgeous artwork. I don't have the heart to throw any of it away! At the school open house last week we had a great time seeing all of the projects Colton had hanging in the hallway and in his room. His teacher just adores him and says he makes her laugh everyday with his quirky outlook on life.

Austin is still having some rough days with paying attention and finishing his work. It is primarily with writing. We finally had to sit down with him and explain that even though he knows how to write, if he doesn't do his work and show his teacher what he knows she may think he hasn't learned it and may want to have him do 2nd grade again. He is just barely getting to grade level in writing and we aren't sure if they will hold him back or not, but I am sure that if he doesn't improve, 3rd grade will be very hard for him. It is still so hard for me to decide if he really does have an attention/learning issue or if he is just being stubborn and doesn't want to do the work.

Marc's job is keeping him really busy lately. One of his team members' wife just gave birth to their 1st child and he will be out for 2 weeks. With Marc covering that extra work, he is putting in very full days. The good news is that because they are barely able to cover the contracts with the amount of techs they have right now it doesn't look like anyone else will be laid off! Whew!!! Marc's school is going well and he is carrying a B average. He has 2 more electives and then he starts the "meat" of the management program in July. From there he has about a year until he is finished. I'm really proud of him.

I have been looking for work, but either the jobs are straight commission, require full availability, or are in areas like food service that just don't make sense to take. We are making it right now and while we do without extras it doesn't make sense for me to take time away from my family for a job I'd hate if we don't absolutely need me too. We're pretty sure we can make it until fall when Border's will be bringing people back for the holidays again, and my manager there has told me she definitely wants me back then.

Only a few more weeks left of school and I am trying to figure out what our summer is going to be like. I'd like to take at least 1 camping trip, and a few day trips to places we've not seen in Oregon before. I'd like to get a few projects done, but we shall see things never go they way I plan them in my head. The challange is going to be surviving the summer without a car and all 3 kids at home! I hope we can get to know the bus routes well and be out and about, not stuck at home!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Well here we are at the end of March already! Where has the time gone??? I can't believe how quickly we are into spring and yet it really doesn't feel like spring. If it weren't for all the blooming plum and cherry trees I would say it was still winter!

With Spring comes Colton's birthday! Wow my baby boy is going to be 6!!! We are going to invite his kinder class to join us for a party hopefully on the 11th, if Out of This World Pizza has an opening. This will be his 1st big birthday party ever! I can't wait to see how much fun he will have! (Thanks mom!)

We are almost done with the spring product sale for cub scouts, and I am soooo very glad it is almost over. So far it looks like it's been a huge success. I think the pack has sold almost $5k worth of product, earning the boys close to $1200!! At this point we have almost our whole pack going to summer camps and most of them have paid their own way via fundraising! I am so proud of how hard these boys have worked toward their goal of going to camp.

With the slow going recovery of unexpected abdominal surgery and all the other "distractions" my house is a wreck and its driving me nuts! I am literally pretending not to see the insanity, otherwise I will break "doctor's orders" and clean something. Yeah I know, everyone is shocked to hear that I am actually wanting to clean, but really it is driving me crazy!

Not to mention the fact that I really need to get my raised beds preped for planting, the leaves raked out of my flower beds, and the weeds pulled! I hate seeing the days tick by with no rain and my not being able to be outside digging in the dirt. Starting seeds inside and watching them grow is only fueling the desire to see that I have a successful garden this year! Its both about really wanting to eat fresh homegrown veggies, and about saving money. I spent less than $20 on seeds and peat pots, I'll probably spend another $20 on dirt and compost for the beds, but in the end that is cheaper than one trip to the produce section of the grocery store or the farmers market!

Now for some not so good, scarey, and possible live changing news......

Marc may not have a job come June. They had layoffs this week and lost 1 person in his group. For the tools he is responsible for there are 5 people for 3 contracts so chances are they will let at least 1 person go in the near future. I'm nervous and scared of course, but at least we know it might be coming this time instead of being blind sided like we were back in TX.

Marc and I have both decided that if it does happen we will be moving back to Florida. I can't stand the idea of starting over in yet another new place with no family or friends. The kids need family, and our family needs us. Marc's mom in particular. So, since she has the space (both inside and a giant RV in the drive) for us until we can find jobs and get a place of our own we will stay with her. It looks like if he does get laid off he will get 2 months severence which would be enough to move us and hold us over for about a month.

The scariest part will be trying to sell our house. I just don't know if we can get what we owe on it, and if we can how long it will take. There are a ton of houses for sale in our neighborhood. ****BIG SIGH*** But enough of borrowing worry from tomorrow. We will just have to take it one day at a time and prepair for the worst while hoping for the best. There is a "state of the business" meeting going on right now, so maybe Marc will get some good news.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


So out of no where on Friday I started having pain in my abdomen. At first I thought it was just gas pain, then as it got worse and I started to feel nauseous, I thought it might have been food poisoning from the veggie cream cheese I had eaten. I had to take care of some cub scout stuff, so I gritted my teeth and headed up to the grange hall to meet Wael from the district office to turn in our pack's cookie dough order. While I was waiting for him the pain got worse, and I got sick. When he got there, he ran down a few things for me to try and what to do if they didn't work. Ended up following his advice about an hour after I got home and went to the ER. By the time I got to the ER at around 8pm I could barely stand up and the pain was so bad I could barely breathe.

One of the ER nurses found a gurney for me to lay down on until they could get me a room. She started an IV so that I could have pain meds ASAP. About 10 minutes later I was back in a room and getting Torval and Delaudin by IV. After 4 doses they finally got my pain under control. I swear I have never felt such intense pain ever before in my life. At that's said after having 2 drug free childbirths!

So now that I was finally comfortable, the investigation into what was causing me so much pain could begin. First, it was off for a CAT scan of my abdomen. The ER doc thought that it could be a kidney stone, so this was the best test to look at my kidneys. About a half an hour after I got back from the scan the ER doc came in and asked me who my Gyn was. Then left. I was left wondering why on earth she wanted to know that it of info. About 15 minutes later she comes back and tells me that from the CAT scan it looks like I have a torqued ovary. Which meant that my ovary was twisted. She then tells me that I need surgery to fix it. OK I'm a little freaked out now. Mind you I'm at the hospital by myself, no clue who could watch my kids so that Marc could be with me, and not all that fond of the idea of being rushed off to surgery without being able to see my family first. So I lay there a little scared, a little out of it from all the narcotics floating around in my bloodstream, and just a little pissed that I don't know what the hell is going on.

Finally after another 30 minutes or so Dr Thum from my Gyn's office comes in to see me. She says to me that the CAT scan isn't the best diagnostic tool to use when looking at the ovaries and that she really needs me to have an ultrasound to get a better idea of what is going on with mine. So the u/s tech comes and gets me, we have a nice chat during the whole procedure and she puts my mind at ease by telling me what she sees and that it doesn't look like it's an emergency. This is confirmed when Dr. Thum comes back to tell me that my ovary isn't twisted, but that I do have a fairly large cyst that seems to be "leaking" which can cause the intense pain I have been feeling. She isn't sure it needs to be operated on yet, but wants to admit me to the hospital for pain management while they come up with a plan.

So OK at this point I'm dazed and confused since I have no idea what awaits me. I'm glad that I'm going to be admitted so I can have a real bed and sleep. Since they aren't rushing me to surgery I also get to eat something. I finally get to my room, get some pudding, and another dose of pain meds and go to sleep.
The next morning Dr Thum comes in and says that managing my pain is the best she can do for me. She doesn't think I need surgery and isn't sure how long it will take for the cyst to go away or my pain with it. She wants to keep me in the hospital until I can get off the IV pain meds and be able to take meds orally and eat without being sick. So that was the plan.

Until I started thinking about trying to manage my life while on pain meds. Not being able to drive, in a foggy haze, trying to be a mom and a wife in that situation didn't seem like a good idea of me. The more I thought about it, the more I felt that the cyst and its host ovary needed to come out. I just had this "gut" feeling that surgery was the answer here. Well Dr Thum, and the other doc from my doc's practice didn't really agree with me. I talked with Dr. Morris (I think that was her name) on Sunday and finally got her to agree to let me stay one more night in the hospital so that I could actually see MY doctor and let him make the decision. So Monday morning comes and Dr. Klotz comes in and we chat about everything that is going on. He realizes that I have a valid point. I have had a hysterectomy, I am not having any more children, and I don't need 2 ovaries to keep my hormones going and keep me from going into menopause. I also don't need to be in pain or on pain meds for an indefinite period of time. So, he checks the OR schedule and gets me set for surgery Tuesday morning.

The surgery goes well, and when Dr Klotz comes to see me afterwards he says that my instincts were right. Turns out that the cyst was actually INSIDE my ovary, and it was leaking. It was bleeding INTO ITSELF. Which means that it was only going to get bigger as it bled into itself and filled up even more. And that meant that it wasn't going away anytime soon. So I feel validated. And very glad I stuck to my guns and insisted that they fix this instead of just sending me on my way with a Rx and a smile.

I'm home now. Trying to recuperate with 3 kids under foot and a husband who can't take any more time off work. But fortunately my kids are being great, and I don't really feel too bad. Tired, sore, but mending. My incisions hurt, and my insides are bruised but they will heal and I will be back running around like crazy in no time.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Is Singulair (montelukast sodium) the cause of Austin's ADD like issues?

Austin has been taking Singulair for his EIA and chronic nasal allergies for about a year and a half now. I have been thrilled with how well it has controlled his asthma symptoms and stopped his constant cough and runny nose. Until today.

As is our usual routine, Austin went up with his brother and sister to get ready for bed. He took his medicine and then brought me the bottle to let me know he was getting low and it was time for a refill. It was then that I noticed a new little sticker on the side of the bottle that I hadn't seen before. It reads, "Call your doctor immediately if you have mental/mood changes. New/worsening feelings of sadness/fear or thoughts of suicide." I did a double take. I read it again. And I thought WTF?!?!?! This on a medicine given to kids for allergies? So I went to the web and started searching. And found and both with startling and scarey information that has recently come to light about a drug that I give my 7 year old every day!!!!

This label or warning information was supposed to be in the patient info leaflet as of March 2008. I can honestly say I DO NOT remember seeing it. And add to that why didn't my pharmacist say anything to me about the change? Why didn't my doctor? Why? Because if you read the "required communication channels and disclosure" from the FDA they weren't required to. All the drug manufacturer has to do is put the info in the leaflet. It is up to the doctors to read them every so often to make sure nothing changed. All the pharmacist is required to do is put the little sticker on the bottle that prints out with the Rx label they don't have to tell the patient or parent who picks up the Rx that there is a new sticker on it, or new information in the leaflet (which btw I never got from Rite Aid since it comes in the box the medicine bottles come in by the case). All I ever do when I get a refill is look at the bottle, make sure the dosage is the same, and that they gave me the right medicine. Once I've read all the stickers I hardly ever look at them closely again. Until today. And every day from now on.

Many of you know how we've been struggling with Austin and his lack of focus, "wiggly" bouts, and forgetfullnes at school. I haven't written much about his recent onset of irrational fears near bedtime, and his more aggressive attitude. For months now he's been complaining about not being able to sleep well, waking up a lot, and having bad dreams. All very much mind boggling to Marc and I. Now, after reading account after account on the above websites and others like them of children Austin's age having very similar symptoms after starting Singulair, I am wondering how we missed the link. I started to think back to when all the issues started last year in 1st grade and if that was about the time he started on this drug. It turns out he has been taking this since April of 07 the last few months of Kindergarten. I'm not sure if this is the cause or not, or if it is just exaserbating something that is just part of his temperment. I've been trying to find accounts that are more detailed as far as a timeline in association with the mood changes etc, but we all know how people's memories are and if it wasn't an immediate noticable change then it goes unreported. He started taking this so late in the school year of 06-07 and we had issues from the beginning in the 07-08 school year that I chalked up as a bad student/teacher pairing. Until today. Now I wonder could it have all been caused by this medicine that was supposed to make him feel better??????

I cannot begin to tell you how upset this all makes me. Needless to say I threw out the rest of his bottle of singulair and he won't be taking it anymore. I have read a ton of recovery stories that say once the kids are off the medicine all the behavior issues resolve with in about a month. That is encouraging news. I am really interested in seeing what happens. Will his focus improve? Will he go back to being the sweet kid that he was as a Kinder? Will he love school again? You have no idea how upset I am that something that was supposed to help could have possibly robbed him of nearly a year and a half of joy due to the frustrations, yelling, crying, notes home, calls from the teacher, red cards, etc. over school issues. I'm so mad I could cry.

Now the issue becomes what do I do about his seasonal allergy symptoms with spring right around the corner? And his exercise induced asthma with him playing outside more and more?
He didn't have any of these issues on Zyrtec. The medicine was working well, but he still had night coughs during high pollen/wind days and after a day of a lot of activitiy. If we remembered to do his provental daily the instances of that went down, and the only reason we started on Singulair in the 1st place was because it was touted as "freedom from inhalers" which at the time he was 5 yrs old and hated them, and was really unable to use them effectively. Well guess what. We'll go back to inhalers. Honestly this is so scarey to me. I am not sure what to do. I have lived with allergies and EIA all my life. I hate it. When my allergies are bothing me I can't think, focus, function. I don't want to see my kid going through that when school is a struggle for him to begin with. I need to take him to an allergist, but we only have 1 car and Marc's job has suddenly become a lot more demanding and less flexible. I have to figure this out. There goes another ball up in the air! Sheesh! What a mess.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Not much new going on around here. I'm finally used to Marc's new schedule of having to leave the house at 7am. Not liking it mind you but, used to it nevertheless. I do feel like I get a lot more done getting up earlier, so that is a good thing. We are all finally NOT SICK! YAY! January and February were rough months, I'm glad it's almost March.

Marc started back to school this week on Tuesday nights. I never like it when he's not home for bedtime LOL, but I keep reminding myself of the bigger picture. When he finishes his degree we have way more options open to us that he does now without it. Like moving back East, closer to family.

We had a dusting of the yucky white stuff yesturday, and I just have to say that I am really done with winter. I am really hoping things start to warm up soon. Spring here is a beautiful time of the year, and I am ready to see the flowers!

Austin is doing so-so in school. His knowledge is great. His math facts are quick and his reading is improving, its his actually focusing on the work and getting it done that we are still having issues with. Add to that the fact that ever since we have returned from Florida, he has developed this attitude that is rude and sarcastic. UGH he isn't even 8 yet! Why does he remind me of a teenager? So because he has been consistently rude and sometimes abusive to his brother and sister, continually "forgetting" his homework at school, or lying about it being done, and talking back to Marc and me with a voice and attitude that are no where near respectful, we've taken video games away indefinitely. The backtalk and attitude to Marc and me when we tell him to do something is normal and really not a huge deal to me unless it becomes a constant thing. Its a phase that is normal anyway according to my mom! But the "forgetting" his homework (yeah right!) and lying I will not stand for. Oh and picking on his sister and bringing her to tears almost daily has to stop. So he seems really motivated to fix how he treats people since we took games away. He can still play outside (weather permitting of course) and play with toys, crafts etc. But video games are a major priviledge in this house and he has to earn them back now. I totally get why all this is going on, he's powerless as a kid in so many ways, so showing power by picking on Lily is his way of trying to get some back for himself. Its just not ok. Marc and I have also figured that the last 3 months everyone has been off. Snow storm, winter break, trip to Florida, and illnesses have had our whole schedule and dynamic of kilter. Getting back to the routine and way of doing things in our house (respect for each other, kindness, truthfullness, etc) is going to help him be successful both in school and at home, and that is OUR job. So hopefully that will happen.

Colton started a new program at Beaver Acres called Kinder Plus. He stays for an extra 45 minutes each day durin which he is in a class of about 30 kids with 4 teachers and they focus soley on reading skills. He loves it! It's amazing to me how much he really loves school. He is such a different boy now. Still very loving and sweet, still sensitive and quick to cry, but much better at working out problems with his siblings and much more articulate. He also is constantly thinking and coming up with cool things to tell us. I love it!

Lily is well, Lily. Always an enigma to me. I guess I just don't get girls or 3 year olds. A couple of days ago she took Austin's soccer trophey and banged the crap out the the top of my coffee table! Grrrrr. And her taunting of her brothers is a big source of discontent in our house. She is getting better about listening and doing what we ask of her without comment, but her stubborn side still drives me crazy. The little battles over what she'll wear, if she can bring a toy into a store, or where to sit on the stinkin' couch drive me nuts, but are starting to get fewer and farther between. Thankfully we are getting closer and closer to 4 years old, and hopefully a lot of this weill fade away.

So there you go, a quick update!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Random updates

Ok so since we've been back from Florida, I've gotten strep throat, got better, got the flu, got better, had all 3 kids go through the flu, they got better, and now I'm trying to recover from 3 weeks of being in a house full of illness and get my house back in order.
I managed to get Lily's room cleaned and organized. Marc helped with the boys room, and now its on to the rest of the house. Oh and I re-ordered my pantry and can actually find everything now.
I'm still working on getting a handle on our cub scout pack. So far things are going along nicely. Everyone seems really happy with the changes and willing to put work in. Well mostly. We still only have about half of the parents actually working for the pack. I'd like to see that closer to 3/4, but beggers can't be choosers right? Our next big things are Blue and Gold Banquet and Spring Candy Sales. I have a pretty good handle on the sale, and it seems that the person we chose to handle the banquet is doing a fantastic job. I'm really happy about that. After candy comes recruitment for the spring. I really hope to boost our packs numbers by about 30% over last year. That would add about 10 new families and give us new parents to help. I am ok being committee chair if I have all the rest of the positions filled and I only have to be committee chair! Its no fun having to do so much work behind the scenes that I don't get to enjoy the activites with my son, and next year with Cole starts as a Tiger I will have to be with him and can't be doing all that I'm doing now. Fortunately, I have a lot of support from Marc and he is willing to do what ever I need him to. I have some things planned that should help the whole deal run more smoothly and keep people informed with minimum effort on my part. Lets hope it works!
Colton started a new program at school called Kinder Plus. He gets to stay for an extra 45 minutes every day with a different group of teachers that focus solely on reading. He is really loving it and actually reading words after only 2 weeks in the class. I'm very excited for this time in his life. The moment of truth when a child "gets it" and starts reading is soooooo cool.
Austin is doing much better in all aspects of school. He still has what his teacher calles his "wiggly" days, but they are fewer in number and seem to be after a long stretch out of school, like a 3 day weekend or when he comes back from being sick. His reading skills have really blossomed since starting his own reading group with one of the reading specialists at school. We are sooooooo lucky to have such great teachers and good programs in our school. I just pray that we get to keep the programs.
I'm trying to figure out a way for Lily to start some sort of preschool in the fall. She doesn't really need it on an acedemic level since she picks up so much just by being around when we work on homework with the boys, but socially she needs to learn a few things before kindergarten. She is stuck at home with me and her brothers way too much. She is very much the "baby" in our house. I think it keeps her from being assertive in some aspects and makes her over aggressive in others. Being on an even playing field with kids her own age would help this a lot. Plus she really needs to learn to follow the directions of other adults when mom and dad aren't around. She tends to dig her heals in if she doesn't like something or it isn't going her way. Normal I know, and typical for her age and such, but learning how to "do school" before kindergarten might help her there.
I'm sort of in a rut emotionally lately. Worrying about way too much, most of which I have no control over. Feeling anti-social and disconnected again. Missing my far away friends and family, and overwhelmed by the day to day chaos of raising 3 kids. Marc has been great trying his best to take some of the load off, but so much of what needs done I want to do myself and have a really hard time letting go and asking for his help. Its just me. Control Freak Extrordinaire! So much of the running of the house is stuff I truly HATE doing. Grocery shopping, meal planning (not the actual cooking part, that I love), laundry, scrubbing floors, dusting etc. I truly hate it. But I'm just ocd enough to have to have it done MY way. Crazy I know, especially when someone is offering to help! So I have to get some sort of plan and stick to it that allows others to help with the house and still gets stuff done they way I need it done. When I figure it out I'll let you know!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Ok so posting blogs w/ pictures via Picassa has it's downside, aparently I can only post 4 pics per blog, so here are some more of our day at Daytona Beach in January. If you read the previous post you know that Austin was very reluctant to go into the ocean. As you can see from this picture, once I coerced him into sticking his toe in, it did not take him long to be jumpin waves and having a ton of fun.

Now this was the way I expected to see Austin! Soaked and smiling! In the end he was very happy that he decided to go ahead and get in the waves. He loved the Florida beach, but said that he likes the Pacific just as much. Not surprising as he is definitely my water boy!

Colton also had a great time. He told me that he liked the Florida beach "way better" than the Oregon one, because the water was a lot warmer, and because we could park right on the beach and not have to hike to get to it. Colton found a star fish and some shells that were really neat.

Lily had a lot of fun. Running from waves, and digging for shells. We found a lot of cool things. Lots of little angel wing clams (scallops I have no idea), and a crab claw.

In the end this is one thing I really miss about Florida. While I love the ocean (any ocean) and will take what I can get. Sunny and warm is how a beach should be!
So even though the reason for our trip to Florida was a sad one, both Marc and I decided that we needed to take the kids to the beach. It was a beautiful day at Daytona Beach! 75 degs, clear and breezy, but compaired to the Oregon Coast it was down right tropical!

The kids seem all ready to go here, but Austin was "cold" due to the wind. It didn't dawn on me for a few minutes, but where we go to the beach in Oregon is in a cove and not as windy as it was here.

Lily, Daddy, and Colton test the water of the Atlantic with thier toes to see if it is really warmer than the Pacific.

I couldn't have timed this picture better! =D

I was really happy when a very nice older couple walked by and offered to take a picture of our whole family! Just about everywhere we go I have pictures of Marc and the kids, or myself and the kids. Pictures of all 5 of us together are rare!

Even though his dad, brother, sister and mom all told him that the water was warmer and quite a bit of fun to play in, Austin took his dear sweet time getting into the swing of things. I was soo sure that he would run right in! Goes to show that Austin has his own mind about things and will often do exactly the opposite of what I think he will do, probably just to spite me! LOL To get this picture I had to practically beg and ask him to "at least put a toe in the Atlantic Ocean" for a picture for all his grandma's and grandpa's.

Friday, January 23, 2009

In Memory of Bruce Croker

So as you know Marc's step-dad Bruce passed away on January 3rd. Because his mom requested it we were on a plane on the 4th headed to Florida for the memorial and to be there for Donna.

Bob, Tom, and John, Marc's 3 step-brothers, and Jeff, his brother, along with their wives and children were all there. As well as Bruce's sister Diane and her husband. The amount of friends, family, and members of the community that came to the service was really touching. Bruce was a real character who liked to joke around and have fun, but was one of the hardest working men I knew. I had only known him for about 9 years and even though he was a tough old bird who often came across gruff, he always treated me like a daughter. I am honored to have had him in my life and I will miss him greatly.

Bob's wife, Bonnie and I spend the Monday after we arrived putting together picture collages out of the hundreds of photos that everyone brought of Bruce. It was really helpful for me and it seems to have been helpful to everyone who was at the house that day. People would wonder through the front room where we were working and pause for a moment to look at the table full of pictures. One would jump out at them and remind them of a story about Bruce. They would tear up, snicker, or roll their eyes and share that story with us. Often they would call to someone else nearby and share that story again showing them the picture that had reminded them of it. It was a very good thing.

So many things about the rememberance and grieving process of this trip stuck out for me as unique and remarkable. 1st, Marc's dad, Noble, officiated the service. In so many families I know, including my own, the divorced parents wouldn't be able to stand being in the same room let alone even show up at one or another's funeral. 2nd Bruce's ex-wife came to the memorial! Pat was there for Donna as well as to honor Bruce. I was like, "wow, this is unreal"! I was amazed. Also, the energy around the house wasn't grim and sad all the time. Oh the tears flowed to be sure, but so did the laughter. The kids (all 11 of them) played their hearts out while the adults chatted and shared so many wonderful stories about this man whom we had lost. My favorite is one my sister-in-law shared at the memorial itself. It seems she was dating Jeff back with Donna and Bruce were still raising cows on their farm. Every time Heather would come to visit, she would go out and feed the cows. It had been a few weeks between visits once, and it was dark when she arrived. With dinner already on the table, she decided to sit and eat before going out to say hello to the cows. After she had finished a most delicious steak that Bruce had grilled, he asked her how it tasted. She couldn't say anything but "Delicious!". It was at that point that Bruce told her that the steak she had just eaten had come from her favorite of the cows in the pasture. ROFL!! I laughed so hard! And that was the biggest difference in Bruce's memorial from the ones I have attended in the past. The laughter. The love of life and fun that Bruce personified had lived on in his stories and his family.

Bruce loved so many things. Animals, Travel, the ocean, the mountains (except when trying to drive his 5th Wheel RV over them), digging for gems, or panning for gold. All of it was a thrill to him. But he loved his family most of all. Especially his grandchildren. And something that made me love him so much was that even though our children were not his blood relatives, they were still HIS grandchildren. He was Pappa to them. They loved him and he was sooo good to them. On one of our camping trips (the last time they drove across the country from Florida with the RV) we were in Joseph, OR and it was really really hot. Bruce drove 30 minutes to the closest town with a decent sized store and bought the kids a blow up pool to play in that even had a sun shield so they could get cool without getting burned. One of his greatest wishes was to get ALL of his grandkids together so he could watch them play together and enjoy them all. Well, Bruce we are soo very sad that you couldn't be there in person to watch them, but we KNOW that you were watching as all 11 of your precious grandkids played their hearts out on your farm, in the tree house that you built, and making that wish come true made my heart very happy.
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