Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Happy Birthday, Cosmo!

8 years ago today, I became a mommy.  Cosmo came into this world at 4:56pm at 10 lbs, 0 oz.  My perfect 10!  He was quite the miracle as he was overdue, large, and had a “true knot” in his cord. :)

This year, you’ve continued to increase your reading skills.  Learning hasn’t been fun for you, but now that we have figured out some of the “why” and have a way to help you, I know THIS year will be  better!

You are a brilliant young man.  I’m so very proud of you!  I can’t wait to see what this year brings you!Birthday 021

See, I told you I make an ugly cake!  At least it was tasty!!!  And it had a super cool Bionicle on top!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Cruise Control

It seems as if I’ve really given up control and I’m just coasting along.  Really, there’s so much going on these days, so many balls in the air that I’d suffocate if I stopped to think about it all. 
  • Going to school
  • job search
  • Woodsman’s interview next week
  • potential to live in separate states
  • Babysitter / Nanny search
  • Mother-in-law’s health
  • Other in-law drama
  • living on a reduced income
  • son’s ADHD
  • Christmas/birthdays
  • Once per year expenses due in December (Property taxes, timeshare, homeowners association, and MORE!)


Christmas was a great day.  Cosmo got a new (bigger) bike and a skateboard, Swing got a couple new trucks to play with and some baseball gear.  Prime rib was heavenly, and the little that remains makes for a great salad protein!
Christmas 017   Christmas 020   Christmas 012

Mostly, I’m in awe that God loved us enough to don a human body, experience a human life, and die a humiliating death.  Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Babysitter search

So We’re looking for a sitter.  I posted an ad on Care.com and have quite a few hits.  So now I’m compiling questions to ask, and I”ll make arrangements to meet some of these ladies on the Woodsman’s days off, and we’ll be good to go.

The more daunting task is to figure out the whole tax thing.  Seems to be unnecessarily complicated to follow the law.  We aren’t multi-millionaires who can pay an accountant.  We just need someone to come into our house to care for the boys because of our wonky schedules.  *sigh*

Wish us luck!  We are hoping to find someone who we can really HELP with this job.  Someone for whom it would be a perfect fit.  We aren’t even looking for the MOST experienced person… just someone who will make the boys feel safe and secure, and who will help us help them become good citizens.  Maybe we could be a stepping stone for someone who would like childcare as a career.
IF the Woodsman ends up in Alaska, we’d like to find a live-in provider.  Would be perfect for a college student.  No housing/food/utility expenses, part time work, decent enough pay.

Anyway, I’ve blathered on enough about mundane details.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Birthday, Swing!

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You are 4 years old today!  I’m so glad you are with us!  I love your happy, easy going attitude.

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You came to us Dec 21, 2005 at 3:02 pm.  You weren’t exaclty tiny… weighing in at 10lbs, 10 oz and 22.75” long.  Your sweet face was bruised up, and your eyes were swollen shut for the first few days.

This year you learned how to swing by yourself, you fell in love with baseball, you grew and grew and grew, you picked on the dog, you made baby Jesus a superhero…

You bring happiness to everyone around you every day.  We love you!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Baby Jesus Superhero

The baby Jesus from our Nativity broke this year.  I was quite bummed about that.  It would seem that Swing was displeased as well; he remedied the situation thusly:

Baby Jesus Superhero 001

So I’m doing what any mother would do… sharing this photo shamelessly, like my child is the onliest child in the world to come up with something so amusing.  Oh, he’s a dear!  Who knew baby Jesus came complete with a metallic blue mask, hotpants, and silver boots?!

Play: A Rented Christmas

I got to see my friend perform in her first play tonight!  Well, the first run of the play was last night, but you all know what I mean.  It was a cute play!  Good job Tracy!  You make a fantastic old woman!

It was also lovely to see so many other people I used to work with!  Fun night for sure.  Good to know I’m not “dead to them.”

Cosmo, cake, and ice cream

I took Cosmo to see it.  It was great to do something one one one with him.  He enjoyed it, too.  Afterwards, I took him to DQ for ice cream; I’d promised him some last night for being a big help.  As luck would have it, I also found the perfect ice cream cake for Swing’s birthday party!  It actually said “happy birthday” on it, and it was a baseball theme.  Nice!  Do you know how hard it is to find a birthday cake this time of year???  Well, I guess if you are more of a June Cleaver than I am, you might not, as you’d be baking your own perfect cakes. 

I was considering making my own version of an ice cream cake, but when I saw this, I quickly decided that was a foolhardy idea, and bought it right up.  I might have some artistic abilities, but cake baking/making/decorating really just is not one of them.  I see no need to punish my dear children with dreadful renditions of makeshift birthday cakes for the sake of my ego.  Though I’ll admit I’m envious of those of you who are talented in this regard!  I can’t even frost a plain cake and have it look remotely attractive.  I’ve tried.

Though let’s not belabor the birthday cake.  The point is that the children will be celebrated and feel special, right?  Now I just need to figure out what Swing will want for dinner, and we’ll be set!

Julie and Julia

Was a pretty good movie.  Now I want to get the Julia Child cookbook, and see what magic lies within.  I’ve always enjoyed cooking, and I’m in a bit of a culinary rut as far as dinnertime goes, so it might be nice to find some inspiration.  Though I have zero desire to blog about it. 


I think I’ve mentioned this product once before, but it’s definitely worth another mention!  It’s a VOIP phone system.  You know, a phone that doesn’t use a phone line; it works over your internet connection.  The deal is that you buy the hardware for $200 and have no additional monthly fees.  There is a “premium” service for $10 per month which allows you to forward voicemails to email and have a second phone number on the same line, etc.  It’s darn cool stuff. 

We’ve had ours for nearly a month now, and our phone number “ported over” easily.  They did all the work!  We tried Vonage about a year ago, and that was a disaster.  It was out in less than a month.  I don’t think we even got all our money back, but we didn’t care, it was THAT bad.  But Ooma… different story!  Give it a whirl if you are tired of spending $60 on a landline! 

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It’s been a while!

A lot has happened since my last post.  I took the GMAT, we heard back from Alaska, and Cosmo had his one month meds review with the ped.


I didn’t score well enough to get into Harvard Business School, but I did score well enough to get into THIS school!  Though my math scores were… not great.  Ah, well.  I haven’t been officially accepted yet.  I hope to hear this week.  I’m excited to get everything rolling and be ENROLLED!

I applied for a grant!

Wish me luck!  Friday night, the Woodsman and I were talking about the pell grant that people in college and on unemployment are receiving, but I realized I don’t qualify, as it’s not for graduate programs.  So I started to google for other grants.

I found a “career development” grant!  It was due this last tuesday!  I worked on it until the wee hours of the morning every night until I turned it in on tuesday, an hour before the cutoff time.  CRAZY!  I needed a recommendation for it, and my fantabulous former boss completed a recommendation before I even asked him to!  (it emailed him before I submitted the application, and I didn’t realize that would happen).  How fortunate am I?

I should find out in April if I receive any grant money.  I applied for assistance with Childcare.  Either the Woodsman will still be here, working most afternoons and evenings and I’ll need someone to come here (Cosmo gets out of school too late for me to take him somewhere, and daycares/sitters close up shop before my classes are out), or he won’t be here at all, and I’ll need someone to come here (same time crossover).

I’m hoping I’ll be able to find a college student or single mother who needs a place to stay and that what I can pay will be enough to be a good help for them, too! 


So Cosmo has seen some obvious improvements.  But he’s still… antsy.  He’s chewed off a 1/4” by 1” section off of his coat… you know, where the collar ends and sits right by your mouth?  Yeah.  He’s also cut holes in another 3 or so shirts since he’s been on meds, and he still won’t stand still.  He’ll hold onto something in front of him and jump (like the kitchen counter or the arm of the couch), or he’ll spin.  And spin.  His handwriting has vastly improved, and he’s much less combative.  He’s starting to see that he CAN do things, and he doesn’t feel like a lost cause, so he’s much more cooperative.  It’s all around good. 

His dose was upped to see if it won’t correct the remaining issues.  Overall, I’m glad we did it, though.  The vitamins and diet did help a little.  I’d say there was about a 15-20% improvement.  But the meds have taken the improvement level to 80%, and we’ll see if the dose change doesn’t bring him much closer to normal!


The final frontier.  The Woodsman has an interview!  He’ll be in Anchorage Jan 5 for his physical fitness test, interview, and essay.  They’ll tell him that day if he’ll continue on for the remainder of the recruitment process.  If he does, he’ll remain in Anchorage until about the 13th for other psychological and medical tests.

It’s great to know that he’s been selected to continue on; the only downside is that we still have the enigmatic cloud hanging over our family’s future.  But I’m not complaining.


I’ve yapped about everyone in the family here except for Swing.  He’s still a little charmer.  :)  Cute little imp, he is.  Though he hasn’t been sleeping well lately, and he’s been getting crabby and difficult.  He even has dark circles under his little eyes.  I’ve been giving him melatonin (pediatrician okayed) and even though bedtime isn’t a three hour struggle anymore, he’ll still wake up and be up in the middle of the night, and he’ll get up for the day quite early.  He’s almost 4 (Monday birthday!), and should be getting about 12 hours of sleep per night, but he gets closer to 8 hours total.  I try to make sure he gets a nap, but at 4 years old, naptime is waning.

***Note to self… post more often, otherwise you’ll write tooooo much!***

Friday, December 4, 2009

Cosmo and the school bus

So Cosmo got kicked off the bus today.  Suspended until we can have a conference.  I guess he “won’t stay in the safety zone until the bus leaves” in the afternoon.  This is because a 5th grade kid tackles him every afternoon on the way home.  I’ve wanted to foster some growth and independence and allow him to take action; I’ve encouraged him to tell the bus driver or the school counselor, and/or get off at the next stop (which is actually a tad closer to home). 

At any rate, the good news just keeps coming, eh?

I called the pediatrician, hoping to make his next meds evaluation appointment a little short of 30 days.  Good thing I called today, because she’s booked up to a couple days after the meds run out! 

School update

So this week, I took another practice test for the GRE, expecting to test “for real” on Wednesday.  YIKES.  The school likes to see a score of 1000 or better, and I was shy by about 40 points.  I didn’t want to take any chances.  So I took a practice test for the GMAT, and had better luck.  School likes to see 500 or better, and I scored 550.  WHEW.  I got a new study guide for the new (and slightly different) test, and scheduled my test for Wednesday morning next week.  I’m excited about school!  SO close!

Family pictures

Well, I think I finally talked (read: guilted) the Woodsman into sitting for family pictures.  We’ve done that once.  Unless you count wedding pictures, in which case its’ been twice.  At any rate, we have family pictures with Cosmo, but not with Swing.  Swing will see the picture with Cosmo as a 2 year old, and think it’s him. 

We’re going to try to use the auto timer and sit in front of the Christmas tree.  I’m a bit nervous about that… not having someone here to just snap until a got shot is got.  What I’d really love is to go outside somewhere in nature and have a friend take our picture.

I think those generally are better, more natural, and they avoid the whole studio scheduling fiasco with hour long waits and crabby kids.  You know… either your kid is being rude to someone else’s child, and the parents are giving you the evil eye, or some other kid is being a dreadful brat and his/her parent(s) are oblivious?  Yeah.  And THEN, there’s the whole photo selection (read: hardsell) process where they mock up collages with bad poses and smarmy sayings emblazoned in some girly font… yeah.  Not to mention the ease of uploading your shots to Costco or shutterfly and ordering the prints for $0.79 ea, instead of $10/sheet on sale. 

Christmas Music

I like the old carols and hymns the best.  The ones with lots of bells and trumpets, etc.  The more modern stuff is okay… but I only like it sprinkled in here and there.  You? 

I love the channels on DishNetwork.  Right now I’m listening to the little drummer boy.  Life is good.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I love Christmas decor

I’ll love it even more in about 5 years when it doesn’t get played with, LOL.  I think I’m done!  The tree is up, the Nativity is up, stockings are up, other cute little pieces are out…

Feeling encouraged

So I filed my unemployment claim today and applied for 3 jobs like the state requires.  I found TWO of the three in Lean Healthcare!  How exciting to know that my “passion” exists outside of manufacturing and hi-tech! 


Well, I haven’t talked about this much, but there’s a chance that the Woodsman might become an Alaska State Trooper.  We should know for sure in a week or so if he’ll be invited for an interview.  So we’ve been doing some contingency planning in the event that he’s fortunate enough to be offered a spot at the academy (successful completion of which is a spot on the force).

At any rate, the plan would be for me (and the boys) to stay here while I go to school, and Nate would do training and work while I finish the degree. 

Since my classes start at 4, and are about 35-40 minutes away, and Cosmo gets home at 3:30-3:40… we’re thinking we’ll need a nanny.  Someone to come here and take care of the boys.

And… Swing will start Kindergarten in a year and a half, so depending on his hours, I might need someone home for him, too.

Lots to think about there. 

This plan (assuming a move to Alaska is in our future) also minimizes the family time spent living in the bush.  Though I think living in a remote area will be good for us… it will be nice to have a shorter “required” stay before making the decision to stay remote or not.  Though I’m thinking if I’m going to work, we’ll have to live in a larger city. 

Or… we could stay here.  Either way, we’ll be doing just fine. :D

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Seems I need to finally just nail down my family nicknames.  I was hoping to find something creative that shares initials with the boys; it took forever, but the names came to me late at night.
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Also known as C.  He’ll be 8 on December 29, is currently in the 2nd grade, is a phenomenal reader and is curious about all things scientific.

Halloween 138
Also known as S.  He will be 4 on the Solstice, December 21.  He’s a lively little gent.  Very affectionate and has a way with flattery.  He has also recently learned that just because I ask or tell him to do something, doesn’t mean he HAS to. 

020 The Woodsman
Also known as “the hubs.”  My mate of 13 years, and avid outdoorsman.  When I say “avid outdoorsman,” what I mean is “one who refuses to sit for a photo without a dead animal in the shot.”  I was lucky enough to find something NOT In the field.  You’re welcome.  Though I swear I’m going to get family pictures if I have to take drastic measures.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Holidays full swing!

Dinner’s been had and the dishes are done, leftovers have been eaten, there are still sandwiches to be had… life is good.

We put up the tree today.  It’s never without consternation.  S is almost 4, and was insistent that all of the baseball type ornaments were his.  He carried this one around the house for the longest time.  I took it away several times, and he kept finding it, that little stinker!  I think next year I’ll just do it all by myself.  Perhaps I can leave a few ornaments for the boys to put on, and just do the rest of it alone.  LOL

I bought a pair of little 4.5” trees to go on either side of the front door last year.  They sure are cute! 

It doesn’t feel Christmasy yet.  Perhaps because there’s no snow?  My sense of time is still a bit off.  But I’m mostly used to not working. 

I’m pretty excited about what we’re getting the boys for Christmas and for their birthdays.  … Have I mentioned that their birthdays are Dec 21 (S) and Dec 29 (C)?  What can I say… March is good to us.  :)

I’m also fond of this online shopping business.  Though there are some things to buy in a “real” store. 

As much as we’re financially secure… this will be a tough month!  The first month of a “full” COBRA payment, property taxes, timeshare dues, homeowner’s association dues… Christmas and two birthdays!!!  Yikes!  Thank heavens for savings!  It’ll be tighter than we’re used to, but we’ll make it, by the Grace of God if nothing else!

Meds update

C missed a day of meds this week.  Boy could we tell a difference.  We won’t be letting that happen again any time soon.  I guess it’s a bit reassuring that we’re doing the right thing.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I have so very much to be thankful for today.  Though my family has faced a couple sizeable challenges in the second half of this year… we are just fine.  In fact, the challenges are blessings.


It’s not been an easy ride, but overall… we’ve learned more how our son “operates.”  I didn’t WANT to put him on meds, but now that he’s on them, I see how life is so much better for him.  He has so many more successes, is able to control his behavior more, is able to learn more at school… or be able to show his knowledge like he wasn’t able to before.  Family life is so much calmer… normal.  We are all better people.


I have an opportunity to go to school.  For free.  With an income.  Seriously?  If we’d been presented with two options… one to remain employed with a decent income, or two: to collect a decent unemployment and go to school for free to get a master’s degree and be able to change industries… we’d definitely have selected the second option.

Other things I’m grateful for:

My family.  Sounds trite… but they complete me.  My husband balances me out.  We’re good for each other.  My children teach me something new every day, and constantly offer me opportunities to increase my patience.

More family and friends.  I have the best parents ever.  Google it.  It’s there.  They taught me to love God and to work hard, and they encourage me at whatever I take on.  The only thing missing are the pom-poms.  They do have cheers.  My sister is a dear… the sweetest, kindest soul that ever lived.  My brother will come around.  I still have a relationship with my best friend since the third grade, Erika.  I’m so lucky to have her. 

My home.  We are warm.  We have hot, running water.  We have a huge backyard for the boys to play in, to barbecue, to enjoy the outdoors.  We have a beautiful park a tenth of a mile away.  It’s a pretty nice house, with amenities that aren’t needs.  Filled with furniture, tools, appliances, love.

God.  He’s taken such good care of us.  We’ve put some work in, but it’s been more than worth it, and the work wasn’t really that hard.  When I’ve had faith, I’ve never been let down.  And I don’t deserve it.

Coffee.  You might think I’m joking, but I’m not.  :)

There are so many “things” to be grateful for.  I cannot possibly list them all.  I’ve read (and cannot find to link a reference) that the poorest 10% in the US is among the wealthiest 10% of the world.  What a mind bender!  We are so blessed in this country that we don’t even comprehend the difficulties others go through every day.

On that note, I bid you all a very blessed Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Idaho Insomniac

So I find myself unable to sleep once again.  It’s too late to take anything for it if I want to be functional in the morning.  Might as well write what’s going on in my head.  I’m hoping to “move the files” as opposed to “copy the files” from my head to this computer.  Perhaps if I change their location, they’ll no longer swirl around and keep me up?

Life doesn’t feel stressful.  Not really.  Not abnormally. 

Potential causes:


Money is okay.  We’ve set ourselves up for this very circumstance.  I’m so glad we have made some of the decisions and strategic moves that we have!  This is our 4th house.  We’ve made money on the sale of each of the previous homes, and don’t owe much on this one.  We were able to put the entire balance of our mortgage to a home equity line of credit, and our interest rate is very low, and we’re able to make interest only payments while our income has been reduced. We WERE on a 10 year plan to pay it off, but we’ll be fine if we have to bump that out a couple years.


We are on the right track with C.  His behavior and the related stress have improved greatly.  I have the conference with his teacher tomorrow.  I’m pretty sure I know what that will entail, and I’m not worried about it.  Well, I was a bit antsy, because the principal had told my husband that she’d be attending.  I don’t care for her much.  Okay, I think she’s entirely void of capability and her ineptitude spans more facets than a single being could possibly count.  Perhaps one day I’ll share that story.  At any rate, I’m settled on that front as I spoke with the teacher and asked that the principal not be present.

Job Search

I had an interview today.  For a job I didn’t really want.  Though  this is my second interview since I’ve been laid off.  This is the second time I’ve been stricken with the call of the “old” profession.  I interview, see a fantastic challenge… a way to use my current skills and to learn something new… and part of me wants it.

Perhaps that’s what’s troubling my mind?  I DO want to go to school.  I DO want to change industries.  But I really did enjoy so much of my work previously.  This other job paid peanuts.  So it was a no-go.  I was underpaid by 50% at the company.  (yes, I have legitimate sources)  There’s no way I could cut that in about half to work for this place.  Even though it’s 10 minutes away.


I need to take that test.  The GRE.  It’s the final step.  Then I’ll be accepted (assuming I score over 1000).  Then the future will be a little less nebulous. 


I think the feeling of missing process engineering coupled with the relative uncertainty of school is what’s bugging me tonight.  My reasons for the career move are solid.  The career path is robust.  I guess I just have to navigate my way through the change.  I love fixing processes, bringing functions up to some “standard.”  I’ll be able to do this in healthcare.  It will just feel different. 

The Principal

So here’s the story.  When C was in kindergarten, he found a condom on the bus.  I guess he put it in his backpack and took it to the babysitter’s, who found him blowing on it.  It was out of the wrapper and unrolled when he found it.

Of course, my very first action was to call the principal.  This was not okay, and the district needed to know it happened so that it could be prevented from happening again.  Though the chances were small, the risks were there… that it had been on a body, that bad behavior was going on on the bus, any number of things. 

I shared these concerns with the principal.   She agreed they were legitimate concerns and that it shouldn’t happen again.  Her response??  “There’s nothing I can do to help you.”


She essentially told me “that’s not my job.”

Granted, I do think she meant that she had no authority over the bus department.  But I don’t care.  My thought was (and is) that the principal is the face of the school district to the parents.  The first line of contact.  Even if there was absolutely nothing she could about the BUS aspect of this occurrence, she could have talked to people for me, brought this to the attention of somebody who could have helped me, given ME names and phone numbers… any number of things. 

Instead she covered her ass.  She was more concerned about liability than about my son’s health, or the potential for this to happen to another child.

Several (bounced) emails and phone messages to her boss (director of elementary ed) later, I decide to play the media card.  Low and behold, someone decided to help me.

Interesting how her boss had a list of about 7 action items to help solve this problem and ensure it didn’t happen again.  One of which was to have the school nurses in the entire district talk to the kindergarten AND first grade classes about picking things up off the floor or ground.  Hmmmmm… the principal could have done this.  She didn’t care to even think about it.

At any rate, this was my first interaction with the “leader” of my son’s school, and it’s never improved.  There’s a bit more to the story, but this post has become a veritable epic, and I think I’ll try to sleep once again.

By the way… the pediatrician did recommend and I did take my kindergartener in to have blood drawn for an HIV test… due to the conditions provided by the school district.  Confidence NOT instilled in this parent.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Snowy Sunday

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We got to play outside today.  C (foreground), in fact, has spent most of today outside in the snow.  Hook him up with some snow gear and he’s a regular Abominable Snowman!  I’m glad, it’s good for him.  Fresh air, exercise… appreciate the warm house on the inside…

It’s a great day for coffee and a movie. 

Planet 51

Speaking of movie, we saw “Planet 51” yesterday.  It was cute.  The boys deserved a movie after running errands with me!  I had to return a couple of items at two different stores, and had to go grocery shopping, and I bought our new Ooma at Costco.  Hours of boredom.  Thank heavens for the playland at Fred Meyer!


The Ooma is a VOIP with no monthly fees.  You purchase the hardware for a couple hundred bucks, sign up for an annual “super service option” if you’d like, and then you are phone bill free.  YAY!  So once the phone number is ported over successfully, we’ll be able to cancel the landline, and we’ll get a family plan with AT&T so I can get the iPhone that I covet.

We tried Vonage; that was a disaster.  So far, a big difference between the Ooma and the Vonage is that Ooma has you sign over authority to work with the phone company for you, so you don’t have to play the middle man fighting back and forth and getting nothing done.  And since you don’t have to fight back and forth, you don’t have to talk to “offshore” “customer service.”  I know this because we let my parents be the Ooma guinea pigs.

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

5 days later…

So C’s been medicated for five days now.  So far, I think it was the right decision.  Not just because it makes my life easier, but because it makes his life better.  I could see his lack of focus before, but now that he CAN focus, it’s so clear to me how much of a problem he had before.  Now he has the potential to actually focus on his schoolwork and get it done.  He’s able to learn more.  I think his higher than average intelligence masked the level of debilitation of his ADHD.

There were a couple days this week where he still had trouble.  And all of his problematic behaviors haven’t magically disappeared at home, either.  I imagine his meds will be bumped up when we meet with the pediatrician next month.  But overall, I’m quite pleased.

I have several books on the topic, but so far, the one I’ve found to be the most useful is Parenting Children with ADHD: 10 lessons that medicine cannot teach.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Day one

This evening was relatively peaceful.  I’m pleased.  C also did well in class!  He’s not some pod person.  So far, so good.  We’ll see how the rest of the week and the rest of the month go!

I’m quite excited that C gets to go to a college basketball game with the hubs.  He’s excited, too!  It will be good for both of them.

Sprouted grain bread

So the first loaf was a huge fail.  It looked okay coming out, but apparently some of the sprouts were spoiled.  Ew.  So I need to do a bit more research on grain sprouting to know where I went wrong.  But it was very moist!  I got the recipe here: Cook.Eat.Think


I was able to get some studying done today for the GRE!  It’s my last step before being accepted to the MBA program I’m looking into.  Thank heavens the hunting season is over (for this family) and I have my hubs back!

Just because

They are adorable, no?  Mine is in the middle (S).  The other two belong to my sister.

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Monday, November 16, 2009


I should mention C’s improvements over the last week.  While he’s not “magically cured,” and even though he still has most of the bad behaviors, there HAVE been some improvements.  He’s been more inclined to help his brother, encourage him, or say nice things to and about him.  This is a pretty big deal!  Also, once he gets over his bullheadedness, he can get things done quickly!  He’s been a big help in the kitchen, and he got his room clean in a matter of minutes, PLUS he helped clean his brother’s room TWICE in one day!

So I’m hopeful that the “natural” ADHD methods are at least helping.

We still plan to fill the script.  We (I??) also plan to implement more of the dietary suggestions.  We’ll need to remove dairy out of his diet, and feed him a high protein breakfast.  He’ll be on a dairy-free-south-beach-esque diet.  This is the plan.  :)

The reasons we will still fill the script is to try to eliminate as much of the bad behaviors as possible right off.  S looks up to C and has been emulating most of the bad behaviors, and has been throwing epic tantrums, etc.  We just can’t have this.

Also, I’d like to get him on the path to success as soon as possible.  After jump starting his brain on the meds, and being on the diet/supplementation for a month or so… we’ll see how he does off the meds on Christmas break or something.

I’ll tell you, this stuff ain’t easy.  It seems as if everyone has an opinion, and all opinions are pretty polar.  “you MUST medicate your child, or you are abusing him/her!!!  Give them the opportunity only pharmaceuticals can provide!”  “If you give your child a stimulant for his behavior problems, you are poison him/her and suicide and/or crack addiction is inevitable!”  Why can’t people just see that this is a huge decision and give them the tools to make the decision that best fits the family????

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Laundry is a team sport

It’s really not so bad if you have minions to put away the folded piles you create. 

We did some chores to iTunes this morning, taking frequent dance party breaks.  Worked really well… until it came time to clean [insert horror movie muzak here] the bedrooms.  Well, at least the front of the house is presentable, right??

Though perhaps it was a mistake to clean early in the day.  That leaves HOURS until the evening time to return the house to its previous condition.  LOL.


We got snow on friday.  There’s still a little bit left.  The boys don’t care how little is out there right now, they are loving it.  This is a good thing.  Though give it a few weeks and the novelty will wane and they’ll be bored again.

I thought the snow would make me sad; as if the second change in seasons would somehow remind me that I’m not working anymore.  Not so much.  This is a good thing. 

Instead, I got to enjoy watching it fall.  Instead of dreading the longer commute to and from work, the battling to get the car going through deeply rutted intersections, getting stuck behind snow-driving neophytes who can’t go above 15 mph… no more!  I just get to watch it fall and drink coffee.  Or cocoa!

Speaking of cocoa, we get this wonderful “land o lakes” stuff at Costco.  “Flavored” cocoa: caramel, raspberry, mint, dark chocolate, etc.  It’s delish!  And full of high fructose corn syrup.  But worth it.  :)


Can you believe it’s only 40 days away?  The darkest day of the year is only 36 days away… then we get to climb back up again! 

In our family, Christmas also means BIRTHDAY.  Our boys were born 4 days before and 4 days after Christmas.  On the 21st and the 29th.  No lie.  According to the Aztecs (or Mayans, or whomever), the last day of the world is on S’s 7th birthday. 

So we have some shopping to do.  And party planning. The party planning is the hard part for me.  Mostly because my marketing department needs some development… C doesn’t have very many friends.  Add that to the Christmas holiday at school… yeah.

So wish us luck!  Life is about to get crazy!

Friday, November 13, 2009

The results are in!

So we had the follow up appt yesterday. As I thought, C was diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, and ODD (oppositional defiant disorder). Though he wasn't diagnosed with depression or anxiety. Seems as if what I've seen falls more in the "normal" range.

So we got a script for Concerta. We talked a bit about Straterra (non-stimulant, closer to an antidepressant), but it seems to be more indicated to the milder versions of ADD (not so much the hyperactive) and is generally ineffective for the ODD. So stimulants it is.

We need to get him an ekg to ensure he doesn't have an underlying heart condition, as there have been heart related deaths with the ritalin/stimulant ADHD meds (I've read 52 reported deaths somewhere, with millions of users over 50 years time...seems they think the meds exacerbate undiagnosed heart problems... like the basketball players who drop dead during a game). After he gets a clean EKG, she'll okay the script she wrote. I guess she has to hand write them every month... she can't sign us up for renewals.

So I'll go ahead and take the leap. I've spent about $100 on supplements, etc, and in 10 days have seen zero improvement. In fact, the last 3 weeks have been some of the most challenging to date. Though to his credit, he has been asking permission for more things, and saying nice and encouraging things to and about his brother more than usual. But his ODD and hyperactive stuff has been at an all time high.

At any rate, she suggested that the school counseling would be fine for now. We'll revisit in a month or so, and perhaps look at private counseling, but she wanted the school counselor to have an opportunity to work with him on the ODD type stuff.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Is it friday yet?

So the school called at about noon.  Seems C found a coat in the lost and found and decided to throw it in a mud puddle.  Now he has a coat to bring home and wash. (I sure am not going to be completing this chore.  I’ve got a pile of laundry for him to do).

I should probably explain this morning… He pulls out his new (adorable) vest and tells me how the pocket fell off when he put his hand in it.  Uuuuh, right.  That would explain how there’s 2” of torn ripstop, exposing the filling?  So he didn’t get to wear a coat.  It was 44* outisde, Cold enough for him to be uncomfortable, but nowhere’s near dangerous. 

Anyway… I’m hoping the supplementation will start to work at some point, but my optimism is waning quickly.  The ped’s office cannot call soon enough.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Supplement Junkie

I bought another $50 in supplements today.  I think I’m done buying stuff for C to take, and I’m ready to start going through the books I’ve received from Amazon.  I do need to sit down and reveiw all the ingredients.  I think I can remove his B-complex, as it’s also in one of the supplement things I bought today.

Reportedly, he had a good day at school!  Though I’d love for his attitude towards S to improve.  Dramatically.  The whole talking back/throwing things/saying mean and hurtful things when he’s being disciplined… that’s really the worst part, in my opinion.  Regardless of how calm and collected I am (or not, truth be told), or how much he expected his consequences… *sigh*

I sprouted some grains!  I had planned to bake bread from the sprouts today, but C ended up in his room (I sure hope you can join us tomorrow, buddy!), and I promised to bake the bread with him. 

I’m looking forward to learning all the dietary suggestions.  I need to take good notes!  Also need to wait until after bedtime to begin, so I can concentrate!

Education and Career Planning

I’ve been applying for healthcare jobs I don’t yet qualify for (as part of the TAA process… they want you to prove you need training), and now I’m wondering if after I get this Master’s degree I shouldn’t look into also getting a BSN?  Seems like it would open a great many new doors.  Something to keep in the back of my mind.  Not sure how long that would take though.  I have a BA, so I’m assuming I’d need probably 3 extra years to cover the science I missed?  I guess we’ll see when I get there!  I’ve also thought about PharmD, but I think that would likely take longer than the BSN… I just need to be patient already… but I suppose it’s good to have a supplemental straw-man contingency plan.  :)  I’m all about plan B!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

It ain’t getting any easier

So I got C some magnesium.  He’s now taking Flax Seed Oil, a B complex, magnesium, and fish oil.  Though I haven’t seen any real results.  In fact, the last week has been one of the worst to date.

I purchased some grains to sprout, and I think we’ll have enough sprout tomorrow to make bread with.  I’m going to continue on the “natural path” even though it seems to be NOT working AT ALL at the moment.  (I do still need to get some zinc).  At least this way when it comes time to look at meds, I’ll at least know I’ve tried other approaches first.

It seems to me that parents in “this place” need to make their own way in this medication decision.  At this rate, I’ll be surprised if we don’t medicate.  Perhaps the “natural help” can help keep the dosage lower than it might have been?  I guess we’ll see when we get there.  But I’ll tell you… this week has been rough.

He’s adorable, though, isn’t he?

Halloween 148

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

School news

This must be triple post Wednesday, eh?

I received one more response to my email questionnaire from potential employers, bringing my total responses up to three!!!  YAY! 

I pinged my TAA counselor twice, attached copies of what I've done so far, and have not heard back.  BOOOO!

I put a reminder in to my third letter of reference only to find out that she sent in her letter, but the University system somehow lost it and now she has to start over.  BOOO (But YAY that she'd already sent one in).

Now I just need to sign up for a time to take the GRE test.  I haven't been studying, and I'm sure I won't study unless I have a hard stop.  This has been true for me in just about every aspect of my existence.  Procrastination: it's a way of life.  I have to manage it with a calendar and interpersonal responsibility.  Though I do have to say, I work best under pressure.  I never turned in a paper (not a good one) that wasn't started and finished the day before it was due.

Funny thing is that really bugs my husband.  He asked if I was going to "skate through" Grad school.  Uhhh, I got straight A's in undergrad.  "yeah, but you hardly studied, and you didn't work hard."  I have to say that working full time, going to school full time, being a mom to a 3 year old and pregnant with another is plenty hard work.  I don't learn from the books.  :)  I didn't "skate."  I earned those A's and that lovely gold bar on my diploma that says SUMMA CUM LAUDE.  So there.


Well, he's been home for all of an hour and a half, and I'm thinking there's no way this natural stuff is going to work.  It's been a trying hour and a half.  I'm ready for bedtime.

The first ADHD appt

So I took both boys to the ped's office for C's appointment.  That's always a fun ride.  I ended up keeping S quiet by feeding him halloween candy from my purse.  The backpack of toys and things to keep him busy didn't work.  At least I found something, and they don't eat candy all day, every day, right???

Well, back to the topic at hand... the pediatrician asked a bunch of questions regarding C's behavior and his moods.  Then she gave us two forms, one for the parents and one for the teacher to fill out.  The results should quantify whether or not he needs further evaluation to determine if he has ADHD (inattentive, hyperactive, or both), Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Conduct Disorder, or Anxiety / Depression.  We'll return the forms to the pediatrician, they'll make an appointment with us to review the results, and make referrals from there.

Because I'm a google nut, I looked at a form online, and determined that it's highly likely that he'll be referred for further evaluation on ADHD (combined inattentive and hyperactive), Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and Anxiety/Depression.  I'm anticipating a referral to a psychologist and some more testing and counselling. 

I'm still antsy about meds.  I have ordered a bunch of books off of amazon that I hope to get in the next week or so.  Books about diet and nutrition control of ADHD, visual-spatial learners, and right brainers.  I hope there's some nuggets in there to help us out so we can avoid medication.  Though I don't want to be so bullheaded as to not give him something he needs.  There has to be balance.  I guess it comes down to not being willing to give chemicals to my son to make anyone's life EASY, but I'll give them to him to make HIS life BETTER: to make the learning process  beneficial, to improve his relationship skills long term, to increase his self confidence.  If I can do this without meds, I'll be ecstatic.  If I can't, I'll medicate him.  I just want to try "natural" methods first.

Anyway, this is where we are at with the diagnosis process.  I'm still feeling ... "iffy" about it all.  I'm anxious to have a more solid direction.  I've never been comfortable with the enigmatic.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tomorrow is D-day!

So tomorrow is the day the family has been waiting for these past couple weeks... the ADHD test. I should mention that I'm terrified.  Though I'm not sure why.  It's not like any diagnosis or partial diagnosis or anything will change anyone. 

So I've been giving C a tablespoon of flaxseed oil every morning, along with a B-complex and a supplement chaser (which includes catnip and turmeric).  I started this regimen Wednesday afternoon, and on Friday, C's teacher called and commented on how well he'd done that day, which was especially impressive as there'd been a sugar filled Halloween party that morning.  I'm hopeful the supplement routine will be helpful enough that I don't have to give him meds.

I ordered about five books from Amazon on the subject of ADHD and visual-spatial learners.  I'm excited to get them in the mail to firm up our family regimen.  From what I've read, a grain-free diet is also supposed to be beneficial for the ADHD.  I was on a grain free diet a year ago, and I've fallen off the wagon.  I'm thinking this time, the entire family will need to fall in line.  I've been researching how to make sprouted grain bread, and I need to make a trip to the hippie store to get started. 

TAA progress
So I have to contact three potential employers with a list of questions as a part of the requirements to get TAA funding for school.  I've called about 4 places and sent an email to five additional places.  So far, only one phone call has been helpful.  This part is not fun.  I'll have to ask the counselor for tips.  I've tried the approach of "Can someone spend about five minutes with me to answer some questions for a scholarship?"   All that's remaining for me to do is finishing the employer questionnaires and taking the GRE test.  Oh, and I need to study for the test.  I've not been doing so well on the study front. 

STRIKE THAT!!!  I just got one email response!  YAY!  One more survey to go!

Things I'm thankful for
I've been thinking about inserting some kind of regular feature for a while, and since I think I need to spend more time thinking about what my blessings are rather than just talking about problem solving (though honestly, I do generally enjoy solving problems... personality flaw, I guess), I am going to start ending my blog with focusing on what I am grateful for.

  1. While I don't have a job, we are doing JUST FINE.  My husband and I worked hard to plan for this sort of event, and we really have no worries or financial stress.  We do have to cut back on the "fun" spending, but we are nowhere near losing our house, we have money left over after paying bills and buying (copious amounts of) food.
  2. My boys.  Though this is probably very expected and generic, it's still true.  Parenting is a challenge.  Some days the word "challenge" is a woeful understatement.  But with increased challenge comes increased reward.  They are healthy, bright, and fun.  I get to watch them learn.  I get to be one of the few people they want and need affection from.  I'm a lucky gal.
  3. Toys.  I have plenty.  Sure, I could call them "tools," but who am I kidding?  Computers are great, but I could use one at the library.  We have two in our house.  Two digital cameras, iPods, cell phones, TVs, a Wii... the list goes on.  We are spoiled with STUFF.  Have any of you all heard that the poorest 2% in this country are among the wealthiest 5% of the world?  Our homeless are wealthier than most of the population of the world.  With access to toilets and running water, even soup kitchens and other benefits... wealthier than most of the world.  Thinking about that is so very humbling.  Sometimes I get frustrated because I just don't have a spare couple hundred to buy some new, cute outfits for the boys (blessing #2), and I have to think about what they already have, what we already have, and how so many people all over the world don't even have access to a toilet or clean water.  I'll stop the pontification now, but it's worth a few mintues to think about...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

When it rains, it pours

When I originally started this blog, I had intended to work through the difficulties of being laid off.  I think I'll expand on it now, especially seeing as there's not much to talk about regarding "living in the world of the formerly employed."  But I AM struggling with some parenting issues.  So I might as well write about those, and perhaps doing so will help me.  If I get some great advice along the way... even better!

I'm sure every being in the northern hemisphere is familiar with the term.  It's a term often used to describe just about any misbehavior on the part of a boy.  It's also a real disorder.  I had thought we were living in the gray; our son can be so difficult and challenging.  Now the school is recommending he get tested.  I guess to be perfectly honest, I've been expecting we get this request since preschool.

I'm terrified to give him meds.  I don't say this to minimize or belittle anyone who does give their child ADHD meds, but I am terrified to alter my son's brain chemistry.  He's a brilliant child.  Objectively speaking, he's brilliant.  Would meds open up his brain or dull it?  Will they make him more susceptible to addiction in the future, or will they unlock more potential?  Are meds "the easy way out" or is my pride preventing me from helping him?  I suppose all these questions are normal for most parents as they approach this diagnosis.  (For the record, I'll drop dead of a heart attack from surprise if he is NOT diagnosed as ADHD).

Mostly... today I feel like a failure.  I got my first COBRA insurance bill, parents in the neighborhood have spoken to us about our son's behavior, and I'm just generally feeling like a lump.  I failed enough professionally to be seen as expendible, it seems as if everyone hates my kid, and I'm not really rocking the housewife thing.

Dietary options
I've been researching the ADHD thing quite a bit the past month and came across Dr. Bob today.  I'm sure there are other like minded practitioners out there, but Dr Bob is the guy I found.  At any rate, he proffers a higher protein, sugar free diet with flaxseed oil.  His book was not available from my nearby Borders, so I'll oder it.  In the meantime, I've purchased the flaxseed oil and a couple other supplements he's talked about.  Can't hurt, right?  Another element of the diet/lifestyle is the elimination of trans-fats.

Prayers are appreciated
I know God is in control, and that things will work out just fine, but I'm having a hard time with the now.  Any prayers are very appreciated.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Life is back to normal!

The happy hunter is back from his trip.  Life is more normal.  Now I can have a little more time to devote to studying for the GRE, which admittedly, I've not been doing as I'd planned.  I have a lot of vocabulary cards that I haven't reviewed, and I need to review more strategy.  I have just a few items to complete in order to fully complete my application.

It's really easy to get sucked into this apathetic vortex.  Time flies by.  Game ON, Amy... Game ON.

I've found that I spend too much time on the computer.  I'm used to spending a lot of time at the computer.  But now no one is paying me to do it.  It's mostly wasted time.  The earth will still continue to spin if my latest thought isn't posted on facebook.  I developed a great schedule, but it would seem as if it hasn't been effectively implemented.  Define, measure, analyze, improve, control.  Well, I have been lazy about the last step there!


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Another day, another... unemployment claim??

It is not easy to find three jobs to apply for in a week.  Not here anyway.  Even if I branch out from my previous role... unless I want to be an apartment manager or try to sell some great new product for "an exciting startup venture" there's not much out there.  In fact, there are quite a few scams out there.  One particular job I applied for netted me four spam emails prompting me to sign up for some service in order to make it to the "next step" in the process.  Yeah, I don't have to pay $14.95 per month to sign up for your credit report scam in order to apply for a job.  You can take my social and do it yourself if it's something that needs to be done.  It's also really strange for one position to get so many emails from completely different domains.  Huh.  Yeah, I'm not stupid.

So, I qualify for the TAA benefits!  Because I was laid off once before (when I was pregnant with my first) because my job went overseas, I have an opportunity to receive education!  I'm a bit of a tricky case for them, though, as my "claim" is old (though it doesn't expire), but I'm rolling.  My current homework is to find two schools for what "I want to be when I grow up" and they'll pick the cheaper of the two.  There are only two schools offering MBAs in Healthcare here, and the program I've been looking at is the cheapest, so SCORE!  I also have to call employers and ask them a series of questions, and essentially make a case for why the government should pay for my schooling... why I'll be a more productive citizen or something.  Mostly I think they want people to REALLY want the schooling, to weed out the ones just wanting a free check.

Anyway, all's going well on the schooling front.  I'm quite excited!

Thanks to my friend, Dez!
She was going through her closet and found a bunch of shirts that will suit my needs (as stated in the previous post).  What a life saver!!!  I really am a fortunate chick!

Sick and "Single"
The hubs has been hunting and I caught a bug.  Woe is me.  Yesterday found me in bed.  My oldest went to school, and the youngest watched "The Sandlot" no less than 4 times yesterday.  Poor kid.  Today is a better day.  It will be nice for my wayward hunter to come home so I can get a bit more rest.  At least I have the energy to be a couch potato today.  Times like these make me wonder how on earth the single moms do it!  Being "single" for a week is hard enough!

My sister and her three boys were here this week!  It was exhausting and awesome!  My family only makes boys, or so it would seem.  We went to the pumpkin patch, got crayon melted all over the laundry, all sorts of fun!  Oh, I should mention that we discovered a cure for the crayon by the miracle of google:
one cup each of: borax, vinegar, laundry detergent (we used Ecos), and shout.  It was a miracle.

At any rate, things are moving along.  My domestic tasks have been neglected due to visitors and illness, but they'll be caught up here in no time!  Now to complete my school application tasks and my TAA homework!  Cheerio!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My wardrobe isn't suitable

Now that the season has made it's final descent into the cooler trend, I've realized that my wardrobe isn't all that suitable for stay-at-home mommyhood.  Slacks and button down shirts are  GREAT for the office, but not so much to make PB&J and clean the floors.  The pity of it is that I have less disposable income to go out and remedy the situation.  I don't want to wear sweatpants all day, everyday, but I do need to dress down into more of the "sporty" realm.  Jeans and cotton tops.  Or something.  Another element of my identity to change...

The days are getting shorter.  I can't help but think back to how I used to go in to work while it was dark, and it would be dark when it was time to go home.  But NOW, I get to see daylight.  Real daylight.  I have the ultimate window office.  With a nice front and back patio.  :)  Plus, my coffee is far superior (all hail the keurig).

More good news!  My parents recently installed an Ooma.  It's a voip device that you pay $250 for the hardware, and there are no monthly fees.  We'll see how their phone number porting works, and if it's easy enough, we'll do it.  That will be another bill down!  And I'm thinking it would justify the expense of an iPhone???  would be cheaper than a landline and cell bill overall...will have to wait and see.

Friday, October 9, 2009

I think I'm IN!

I had my TAA orientation this week, and I think I'm going to have my schooling paid for!  YAY!!  My job went overseas 8 years ago, and because of that, I received two years worth of education benefits that can never expire.  I still need to meet with a counsellor to determine if I have a solid plan, and that the program I'm about to enter is a good one, etc.  I'm pretty hopeful.  The program is at a State University and has a 98% placement rate within 90 days in a high demand/ high growth industry!  Healtcare!  Wish me luck!  I'm still leaving the possibility that I don't acutally qualify open in my head.  I really don't want to be disappointed with this!

In the meantime, I'm still plugging along with the old job search. 

The holidays are coming
A friend recently wrote about holiday baking.  Now I'm all excited about the idea of baking.  I'll actually have TIME to bake this year!  I won't be battling the snow packed roads and traffic for an hour and a half every evening to pick up the boys from the sitter and school.  (Several inches of packed snow and ice on the roads really impacts the intersections)!  My weekends won't be consumed with getting chores done.  I can make fudge, gingersnaps, sugar cookies... MORE!  I can give treats away to people who have a love/hate relationship with receiving such goodies.  I can go out in the snow with my little guy and come inside to a yummy smelling house!  I won't have to rely on candles to accomplish the yummy smelling house!  Oh, to enjoy the coffee while watching a Pixar DVD with my favorite cuddle bug and a cup of coffee (and/or cocoa).

Life is good. 

Monday, October 5, 2009

Wait, it's October??

News flash!  We are well into October.  You have got to be kidding me!  I was thinking about this earlier today.  The change in seasons came way way too quickly.  It feels off.  I'm thinking that's because time passes differently when one is not employed.  Well, I suppose it passes exactly the same, but it feels different.  So October is surprising.  Though I'm loving the cooler weather.

I got the boys cozied up witn a couple new hats and gloves.  This stuff must be procured early in the season. I've learned this lesson.  Do not wait for the sale.  Don't do it.  There will be nothing to choose from.  Not one item in the right size, all the good colors will be gone in your size, etc.  Just not worth the $4.86 you'd save.  Trust me.  I've been there.

I also did the math and realized that I spent 20% of my life with my former employer.  No wonder it was difficult to fully process that I was no longer necessary there.  So much of my identity was wrapped up in that place.  Though they gave my my degree and my six sigma education as well as various and sundry experiences, and none of that stayed within the card-keyed doors. 

Chasing the dream... School
Tomorrow is the day I go to see if the Government will apologize to me via education benefits for making it easy for my job to be deported 8 years ago.  Wish me luck!  I'm still chasing down the education trail.  Full on!

Refer news
In other good news, I am now the proud owner of a pretty LG refrigerator.  Seven year warranty on the compressor.  This is a good thing.  Though I suppose it means the thing will go out in eight years.  Perhaps we should start saving for the replacement now???  I'll tell you, though, it's so nice to have shelves and drawers, and not have to sift through a cooler to find the mustard.  We are so spoiled by technology!

I've been taking the Aleve for my gout.  Gout is a sexy word for "gooey arthritis."  It's hot.  You should see me walk in the mornings.  Sight to behold.  Someting you can't un-see.  At any rate, I now have heartburn.  From the Aleve.  The only other times I've had heartburn have been during my pregnancies.  I know what you are thinking, and that's not funny.  Nor is it creative.  It's the Aleve.  Need to get better at the whole "take this with food" deal.

Coming this month:
The hubs goes hunting again.  And the sis comes to visit.  Fun to be had by all!  I'm excited to to the pumpkin patch with 5 boys (she has three... my family only produces the XY flavor).  I'm hoping for a lot of photo ops with the kiddos, and imbibing in the Bux for the girls.  :D  Anyone want to join us for apple pies?

Friday, October 2, 2009


The fridge is no longer buzzing. This would be because it is no longer functioning at all, so it's been unplugged. So we now have a 36" cooler on the back porch containing the important groceries. When is Monday??? Oy. I'll tell you, I'll be so thankful to have a fridge again. Seriously, am I THAT spoiled that 3 days without one is a "hardship?"

So, today was good. Movie was cute, popcorn was tasty, Cole had a friend over, and his mom seems like a great lady. The neighborhood park is really as fantastic as I'd hoped! It's a great social tool, and a nice, close, safe place for kids to play.

I'm not even all that tired. Nice. I hope to sleep tonight, though! Perhaps I'm not so tired because I haven't done much in the way of chores??? I did mop. And empty/load/empty/load the dishwasher.

Anyway, that's more than enough droll detail on my "to do" list. :)

I'm looking forward to Monday for the fridge, and Tuesday because I'll have lunch with work friends and go on to get some answers regarding education benefits. Should be a good week. I'm also hoping the weather dries up a bit this weekend so I can take some pictures of the boys in the fall colors while it lasts! Wish me luck!

Murphey lives!

It was inevitable.  A four digit purchase was so clear in the crystal ball, wasn't it?  That's how it happens.  A major job/life change equals an appliance going out.  [C sub l = n < 1000] <-- For my geek buddies. So we purchased a new refrigerator today.  Yay.  That $1200 was burning a hole in my pocket.  I didn't have any other plans for it.  Like to live off of it if we have to in the near future.

Ah, well, if that's the worst thing that happens this year, we're in good shape.

Here's how the conversation with the hubs went last night:

Me: Dear, The freezer is out.  I had to move everything to the deep freezer in the garage.  You know how we thought it didn't get shut all the way last week?  I think it's a bigger problem than that.  Hear that buzzing every minute or so?  I'm pretty sure it's the compressor.  I think we should just cut our losses, suck it up, save a hundred bucks on a service call and get a new one.
Him: Well, we won't know that FOR SURE if we don't have a tech come out.
Me: We've needed a tech annually for seven years on this thing, it's a frigidaire like the freezer we replaced a year ago, and the compressor failure was just like this one
Him: I don't want to have to spend a thousand bucks if we don't have to, let's call a tech.

Wasn't worth an argument.  He did have a very valid point.  He called a tech who told him over the phone it was the compressor and that we should save our money on a service call and go replace the thing.  (It's $100 for a service call and about $700-800 to replace the compressor).  So we were both right, I guess.

Note to self: consider appliance repair as a fall back occupation

Good news, bad news:
The good news: we have a pretty titanium LG job with a 7 year warranty on the compressor.  :)  I think I got a pretty good price on it!  One day I'll do a Product Rage Review on Fridgidaire products.  The bad news: the next open delivery date is Monday, so I have three full days (plus whatever the partial is on monday) to listen to the buzzing every minute.

Sleep is for the weak.
So I'm typing here with my iTunes playing loud enough to distract me from the buzzing but not so loud as to disturb the fam.  It's 1:21 am right now.  I took a whole benadryl.  Used to be that half of one knocked me out.  The Trazodone hasn't worked fantastically well, so I thought I'd give the OTC remedies another try.  Silly, silly me.  Interesting how Tom Petty is "Running Down a Dream." and I can't even find the map.

There was something else floating through the lazy susan of my midnight mind... it's gone away.  I am pretty sure the only way to retrieve the thought is to futile-ly attempt sleep again.

The kiddos
My guys are the best things ever.  For serious.  The youngest picked me some weeds, like three year olds do so well.  He's so proud of himself when he does this.  His round little cheeks practically hide his adorable hazel eyes.  He notices that one dandelion stem is bent and the "flower" looks unwell.  He quickly runs to the closet and retrieves a small strip of scotch tape and "fixes" it.  (I can hear my small audience's "aaaaws" over the 'net). 

My eldest is quite seriously VERY smart.  He's a brilliant kid.  I spent about an hour with him reading his "Book of knowledge" from Usborne (a super-duper publisher, by the way... check them out) about blood, the heart and lungs.  We followed the links listed in the book to see some great video clips and illustrations and descriptions.  He was so enthralled.  Then he got tired of reading.  LOL.  I had been buying him standard kids' reading fare: Henry Higgins and Ramona, the stuff I loved when I was young.  He isn't interested.  He wants facts.  I didn't know kids came in that flavor. 

Just had to brag them up a bit.  :)  Tomorrow we go to the movies!  MMmmmm, popcorn!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Chill out!

So last week the temps were in the 80's.  This week we are in the 40's to 50's.  Crazy!  Straight from summer to late fall!  There was actually a chance of snow today. Can you believe that?  From shorts to coats!  Where on earth did the nice, slow change of seasons go??  Oh, right, that phenomenon just doesn't happen in North Idaho! 

My schedule is working out famously.  I am loving having Outlook back so I can organize the family's calendar and tasks (including chores).

I'm so excited that the park is finally done!  The fence was taken down about a week ago.  It's about a tenth of a mile away from our front door.  I love walking there with the boys.  And occasionally, the man-child can go on his own.  I need to take more pictures.

I've been taking the youngest to swimming lessons.  It's been great.  His older brother was born a fish.  This child... not so much.  The lessons have been so good for him.  He's gone from clinging to me in terror to making himself "go" while holding a noodle, and ducking his head under water to go under a rope!

I've been studying for the GRE.  I am not as good at those analogies as I thought I was.  Holy moly.  So I've been studying vocabulary words.  Why isn't this stuff easier?  It's about the only thing I can do right now, anyway.  I have another seminar next week to further pursue education benefits, and if that doesn't pan out, I'm going to appeal the earlier decision.  I found my job description on their site.  "Management Analyst."  It shows the field as "stable" with 10 job openings per year in the entire state.  I'm hoping this is evidence enough to approve training benefits, though I'm going to pursue the Trade Act stuff first. 

As Tom Petty so aptly put it... "the waiting is the hardest part."

Friday, September 25, 2009

I'm the winner!

Gosh, it's been a few days.

I had an opportunity to drive by myself for a few hours this week.  It was cathartic.  It's good for a person to have some time alone to do nothing.  To do nothing but think.

I came to the conclusion (which I've known, but have not OWNED) that I WON.  With this whole layoff deal.  Intellectually I've known that it's a good thing for me, but the actualization came this week.  It's nice.  The pride is still a bit bruised, but the black and blue is all gone, and it's just a light yellow now. 

Life at home is peaceful.  Well, when the boys aren't fighting, but let's face it: they are going to fight, and they fight when I'm working too... but the slower pace is nice.  No more rushing around to pick up the kids and throw something on the table.  I have the schedule pretty well lined up, and it's easy enough to move things around when needed, which is how I like my schedules to be.  Life is good.

Well, I went to the CAT (commissioner approved training) seminar thing, and though I don't know if I'm approved to be able to go to school and collect unemployment benefits yet, I did find out that I probably still qualify for TAA benefits (schooling from NAFTA stuff since a previous job went overseas).  I'm still chasing it all down.  I have an orientation seminar for that in about 10 days.  And I can appeal the previous denial for WIA.  So many acronyms for basically the same thing.  I do plan to appeal.  I have no idea how they determined I was in a demand occcupation when my occupation wasn't anywhere to be found.  Yes, I do have a degree in organizational managment, however... that's a very broad field, and my experience is very specific to quality and process.  I'm just NOT going to qualify for a retail manager, or some department manager without other experience.  Besides, high tech and manufacturing are so male dominated.  I'm really just worn out trying to be some female poineer there.  I don't think I can do it anymore.  Not if I want to keep my sanity.

Which brings me back to my driving thoughts.  Doggone it, I'm highly intelligent and very capable.  I had to scrap my way to getting the bare bones of my job done.  It is not easy telling other brilliant people whom you respect that there are problems with the way they are doing things (or not doing them).  It takes a special personality to get compliance from such people.  I had those skills.  They were underappreciated.  They became invisible over time.  Then I became invisible.  Then I believed I wasn't important, wasn't capable, wasn't valuable.  I cannot let that happen again.

There are only so many times a person can "charge the hill" and be defeated before they stop trying to charge the hill.  The process is hastened when those who are supposed to help you along (those sitting in offices with windows and doors, and whom sign your annual review) are the very ones blocking your way or telling you NO.

I realized something else.  The foundation of quality is measurement.  We all do this, whether we realize it or not.  We measure. Height, weight, cost of groceries, gas, medical expenses.  Even if we don't chart and graph these things, we are cognizant of them, and it drives our behavior. 

Now I'm not exacltly a svelte woman.  And when I'm not working hard to lose weight, I don't weigh myself.  Why?  because I don't want to be confronted with the truth.  Same could be said for people with debt problems.  They don't sit down and look at their numbers and spending habits... no one wants to face this stuff.  It's not fun.  It doesn't make us feel good.  And we can't possibly NOT feel good, right?

One of my roles was to measure processes in order to improve them.  Now, one process in particular had a lot of opportunity for improvement, if you catch my drift.  So I'd worked with IT to implement a very simple and automated way to measure volume and lead time.  How many times an activity is performed and how long the activity takes are two fundamental process measurements.  It was ready for the button to be pushed, and at the last minute, the dude in charge (who also happened to be my boss, who understands process excellence, and who was supposed to be responsible to make my job easy... remove barriers and all that) said NO.  Suddenly he wasn't on board.

A different MANager took the same approach.  Forecast accuracy.  How well did we do forecasting sales?  How much excess and obsolete inventory were we carrying because of over forecast?  How many times did we have unhappy customers because we underforecast and had no raw materials?  How many times did they have to wait longer than promised to get their goods?  A direct quote: We don't want to measure that stuff, it will make us look bad.

So THIS is why my efforts have not been as successful as they should have been.  It's not that managers weren't interested in improvement.  It's that the preliminary measurements "made them look bad."  We can't have THAT in the era of the quarterly layoff cycle, now can we? 

Heaven forbid we do the right thing just because it's the right thing to do.

I'm excited at the prospect of changing industries.  Not that a different industry is without it's own demons, but at least the healthcare industry is on record for wanting to improve processes and reduce costs.  Who knows, perhaps I'll have an opportunity to participate in some REAL, meaningful change.  Be a part of history.  For the better.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Life is easier with an IT department

I got a super duper wireless printer.  It was going to solve all my problems, and be able to fax!  I installed it on my mom's computer, though I had some trouble with it.  My IT genius cousin stopped in thursday on his way from Missoula to Seattle.  He worked some magic.  Then I get MY pretty red computer from the fabulous Mr. FedEx.  I spent nearly 4 hours trying to hook up!  I couldn't even get it to print through a USB connection.

Life is easier when you have IT people to help with this stuff.  Alas.  I'm my own IT department now.  I guess I have an opportunity to learn.  To learn patience, that is!

The schedule
My scheduling is coming along nicely.  I'm using some ideas from flylady.net.  And now that I have outlook again, it's easier to do.  Funny how we become so accustomed to particular tools.  I've carved out GRE study time, mapped out weekly chores.  Life is coming along.

The severance
Well.  It was deposited.  Half of it, anyway.  And yes, I'm accounting for taxes.  Unless they are taking 75% taxes out these days.  I'll get on it tomorrow.  And here I thought I was done with the company.

Apparently I didn't receive some forms.  So I have to fill out some papers and send them in so we have insurance.  We got a bill from the pediatrician.  I suppose we should be grateful for that, otherwise it might have been too late! Now if only I could get my scanner/printer to work as intended, I'll be able to accomplish this.

aaaah, I have my music back!  That is all.  God bless Steve Jobs.

Gosh, it's a lot of work configuring computers!  I still have a lot to do!  Need to archive some items to my new (red!!) portable hard drive, see if IT can crack my old machine again and retrieve my contacts.  I could have sworn I asked for them, but I didn't receive them in the mail.  I'm hoping they are still retrievable.  INVALUABLE information there!!!

My next big step is to see if I qualify for the CAT benefits, so I can go to school without worrying about a job search.  Though I've heard that I might still be able to receive TAA benefits from when my job before last went overseas... can't hurt to ask, right???

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Keep on plugging on

So, after thought and discussion, the hubs and I have decided to continue to pursue the school track.  We'll sacrifice however we have to in order to get me through another two years.  I'm praying we are on the right course!  Now I just need to crack open the GRE study guides and schedule a test date!  Hey, perhaps if I DO find a job, they'd be willing to work with my school schedule???

I received my severance deposit on friday.  It's half what it should be.  Ugh.  Hopefully it's no problem to get it fixed.  Otherwise, I guess the waiver would be void.

My computer came to my doorstep this morning!  Thank you Mr. Fed Ex Man!  It's pretty and red, and I have a lot of work to do to put information on it and get stuff configured just how I like it. 

I'm settling into my new identity.  Though I spent too much time on the computer today, though that's to be expected... I guess.  New computer and all.

I suppose I don't have anything profound to say.  Not that I often spout profundities... but a litany of daily tasks isn't good for anything but solving others' insomnia. 

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Alas, my application for WIA (workforce investment act) has been denied due to my job function that I left being in high demand.  Too bad they don't also help point you to exactly where those openings are... I see only one in my area, and it's for an employer with a very bad reputation.  So, I'm off to see about Commissioner Approved Training next week.  We'll see.  Not exactly sure what the differences are between the two programs, but I'm going to do what I can.  I'd really like to change industries.

Though I did have a good phone interview this morning for a company located 500 miles away.  Too bad it's not closer.  It seems like a great position with a good challenge.  We'll see what happens with it.

It's interesting how we can plan all we want, but "things" don't just bend to suit our plans.  God has a plan.  I just have to be patient, and it will be clear soon enough.  He's taken good care of us thus far!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I came here with something to say

And now it's completely gone.  Void.  My mind is a vacuum, a vortex of veritable blackness.  Perhaps it will come to me.

Clean Carpets
I cleaned the carpets today.  I cleaned the carpets six weeks ago.  You'd never know it.  Where does it COME from?  Are there carpet gremlins that come out at night?  Must be.  I've learned to do a run with the soap, and then another run with plain water.  Uck.  Feels better now!

Ah HA!  Teamwork and "Skills"
Teamwork.  This is what I wanted to talk about.  Teamwork and skills.  Though I bet "skills" aren't what you THINK they are.

We had a little joke at work about "skills."  Us girls have a set of skills located just below our shoulders and above the belly button.  These skills allow us to be proficient in note taking, setting up meetings and projectors, etc.  Yes, I was highly skilled.  Okay, the double entendre releived the annoyance a bit, and allowed us to make lots of inappropriate jokes.

Funny though the joke may be, it has more than a ring of truth to it.  I can't tell you how many times I was invited to meetings so I could set up the projector and take notes.  Not because my OTHER skills were needed.  Not to create a visual representation of a process or to find some form of waste.  Not so I could provide input on robust methodologies to measure products or processes.  Not because the other meething attendees all had broken hands.  Because I was the girl in the area.  Uniquely qualified for these tasks.

Highly skilled.

Which brings me to "teamwork."  I'm pretty proud of the relationship I have with my husband.  We have a great balance, and we pitch in and get things done.  He stayed home with the boys for a couple of years.  There were ways in which that was hard for him.  Sometimes people would make nasty comments to him.  Because he's THE MAN, and should be out winning all the bread.  Well, it just worked better for us that way at the time.  He did the laundry, vacuumed the floor, made dinner, did dishes.  I also helped him, though he did the lion's share of the work. 

Granted, I'm ALWAYS the one who cleans the carpet.  But he's ALWAYS the one to mow the lawn and change the oil in our vehicles.  It all works out.  But we don't have much work that's HIS or HERS.  And now that I am the one home, he still helps with the housework.  He's making homemade refried beans today.  I didn't even ask.  I'm wildly in love.

Why can't this be true in the workplace?  Why on earth is it so hard for the men to learn how to plug a projector into the outlet and focus it onto the wall?  Why is his hand less capable of typing in notes?  Granted, there WILL be situations where a facilitator skilled in taking and formatting notes is important, but by and large, why do you need a set of breasts in the room to get that task done?  And why is it that men are less apt to hone that particular skill??  Pitch in and get it done, so the D cup can work on her process map. 

Now the question remains: how does an employment candidate determine the level of cooperation and teamwork when it comes to the "woman's work" ??  Perhaps I should add a section to my resume!
Does not:
  • wash windows
  • fetch coffee
  • sharpen pencils
  • drop off dry cleaning
  • buy your wife's birthday gift

Monday, September 14, 2009


Who knew kids got migraines?  I didn't!  Until today.  At first I thought my son was doing a bang-up job vying for an academy award in order to get out of running laps for pushing his brother.  Until he laid down and really slept.  And screamed and writhed and got ILL.  Though migraine wasn't what flashed through my head while driving the 1.5 miles to the urgent care clinic.  Thank God it's not meningitis!  Poor kid.  That sums up my excitement for the day!

House cleaning
I also got all of the light diffuser bowls (alabaster bulb cover things) through the dishwasher.  First time in 4 years (I am NOT proud of that).  Oh my.  Ick.  AND... there HAS to be a better way to secure those things into a fixture other than the three screw design.  My right finger and thumb are quite raw.  I also repotted some plants, and washed the boys' bedding.

Unemployment /education progress
Made plans to meet a buddy at a WIA presentation.  We'll see about getting in to school! 

I also applied for a job close to my family.  Wonder if I have to go to an interview and/or take it if offered a position?  I'm fuzzy on the rules.  You HAVE to apply for jobs in your field.  You don't have to apply for jobs that are too far away, or have unfavorable conditions or pay.  hmmm.  Added that little item to my growing list of compliance questions.  But at least I'm one down for the week, right?  This is my waiting week.  Though I get my severance this coming friday.  It doesn't count as pay because benefits are not accrued.  All the unemployment logistics you never knew you were interested in!

I'm excited that my friend and her family are coming up for a short visit!  It will be so nice!  She's a homeschooling mom, so she's looking to do something "field trip-ish" while here.  I need to check out the options of things to do and still be home in time for the eldest's arrival.

So things are coming together.  So nice how that all works out, eh?  :)  I'm happy!  TA TA!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Park

So I took the boys to the park today.  Got to play with the camera a bit.  Evidently (my shout out to a work buddy), I have a lot to learn!  Looking forward to learning more about how to use light and glass to capture moments in time.  I got a lot of shots.  A few pretty good ones.  But the boys were moving so fast in the shade that quite a few weren't as good as they could have been.  First "run" with it, so I'm still happy.

Speaking of parks, the one by our house should be done pretty darn soon.  We're all excited about that.

Today was a good day!  It's kind of strange to not go grocery shopping on the weekend.  Gives a different feel to Saturday and Sunday without having to battle people for an hour or two and unload groceries.  Kinda nice.  :) 

I looked at a couple jobs online, and just couldn't apply for them.  Not just yet.  Can't wait to go to the WIA seminar this week and see if I can get approved.  If not, I'll step up the job hunt game.  But I'm really looking forward to going to school now.  Honestly, if I'd been given a choice to be laid off with the ability to go to school vs. continuing my job, I'd have chosen the layoff.  I'm pretty sure of it.

My friend and her family will be here this week!  It will be a fun couple of days!  I can't wait to see them and show off our town!  Maybe the park will be done in the next three days???  LOL, probably not, but that would sure be fun!