Monday, March 9, 2015

Monday morning ramblings....

It's been a handful of days, I'm feeling better.  As I think I've mentioned before, keeping track of my good days has been a saving grace and I'm glad I decided to do it.

The kids had another 2 days off last week due to the ice, not that I'm complaining because I really do love to have them home.  Spring has apparently sprung here in southwest Tennessee as it is supposed to steadily warm up through the week and rain.  Rain, rain, followed by some more rain, and finally more than likely....wait for it....more rain!  I thought it was "April showers bring May flowers" not in southwest Tennessee where it rains more between December and March than the rest of the year.  We did see a little actual snow this winter season which was pretty darn great.  It was back to school this morning but the good news is that they've only got 3 full school weeks until Spring Break.  Then, 6 weeks until this school year ends.

Time moved forward Sunday morning....such an odd practice this moving the clock around, I've never really understood it.  Many people say they lose an hour of sleep and it takes its toll on them, since I don't sleep as regularly as others it really doesn't effect me in that way.  What I don't like about it is that when it's time to wake the kids for school it's still dark outside and yet when it's time for dinner it's still light.  It also makes bedtime a little bit more of a challenge in the summer months when it's light until after 8 PM and you have a little one you'd really like to keep on the schedule of a 9 PM bedtime.  Levi is 5 now, not quite a little one but still young enough that staying up 'til midnight is so not in this Mama's plan!  I will be a little more giving and allow him 9:30 I suppose and of course his much looked forward to 10 on Friday nights, it makes him feel like such a big deal.

When the fuel pump had to be replaced on my truck, Craig noticed that the striker plate on the driver's side door was about to give way.  There was a hole in the panel behind the striker and the door was not lining up properly which was weakening the stability of the striker.  Tuesday afternoon it gave way.  I was at the elementary picking Levi up and as we loaded to head off to the other schools, the door would not close.  I had to stick my arm out the window and hold the door so I could drive to pick up Abby, then Scott, then home.  It was seriously not fun at all.  Craig replaced the door pins so it would line up but there is still the issue of the hole behind the striker plate.  Thankfully I did find a local man who is a welder through the magic of Facebook who came to take a look at it and gave us a fair estimate, he should be here today to fix it.  He did say it may be Tuesday before he can get to it, I'm hoping it is in fact today.  The door at least latches since the pins were replaced but it does not close tight, just barely latched and when you are driving a vehicle like that you become painfully aware of every little bump in the road that could potentially swing the door open as you drive.  I'm extremely grateful that Craig was able to get it to at least latch.  Another reason to add to my ever growing list of reasons to honestly appreciate this man I lucked into.

In case I have not made it abundantly clear, I love Craig.

I've got to go grocery shopping today, I'm thinking I'd better do it before the young man comes to fix the door as he said it could take 2 hours or more to do and he had said if he can make it today it would be around noon.  Perhaps I should go get that done now....oop, Tanya just called so not yet LOL

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Reminding myself to be grateful and patient....

I've had a couple of rough days, I've tried to not be down and dreary and it's not worked too well.  I've done "OK" because it has worked at least a little.  As I've mentioned, having posts to look back on for inspiration has helped immensely.  Something happened the other night that has really messed with my head.  It was so real, my head says that it actually happened....the other party involved swears that I was dreaming.  There is no reason this person would lie to me and I know that without any head will not let it go.  The joys of being crazy, right?

Yesterday afternoon the latch on the driver's side door of my truck broke so I drove from the elementary school to the middle school to the high school then home with my arm out the window holding the door closed.  Such fun!  Yes, that is a sarcastic statement.  Craig went out and got it to partially latch so this morning I had to climb in from the passenger side in order to take the kids to school.  Scott had to get out in a pouring rain so I could get out and walk Levi to class.  I drove with my heart in my throat that the door was going to swing open at any moment and that was a trip I don't fancy repeating....hooray this afternoon I get to do it again!  Perhaps I will ask if Craig can borrow the Jeep from his Dad to go get the kids, I'm not certain I can handle doing that again today.  You become excruciatingly aware of every single bump in the road that could possibly jar the door open.  All that aside, I can be grateful that Craig got it to at least partially latch because that was much better than having to hold it closed and drive at the same time so there is that.

I started walking laps around a local park with another Mom from the Pre-K class and that's been nice.  She's a shade taller than me (almost everyone is) so her strides are a chore to match.  We're not able to walk today because it is pouring rain and she's not feeling well this morning and tomorrow is iffy because of this strange weather we are having.  It was about 60 degrees yesterday, today is supposed to be about 66 with rain all day.  The temperature is supposed to drop steadily after that and the rain is to change to freezing rain then sleet and possibly snow (ha yeah right) through the night.  Tomorrow's expected high is 28 degrees with a low of 7!  What in the world?!?  Of course the kids are already asking if I think school will be cancelled!  I don't blame them, any day to be able to sleep in a little bit is a good day and one to be looked forward to and cherished.

I need to remind myself that it's OK to have a bad day now and then.  I need to remember that my survival rate so far is 100%....I've never NOT gotten through it.  I will remember that I have so much to be truly thankful for:  my children, Craig, the fact that we are not hungry or without shelter, and the fact that regardless of how iffy my health can be, I am here and able to go on.  My crazy mind is only part of who I am, my heart matters more.

Love to you and yours, dear readers.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Such a dingbat and other early morning thoughts....

I half opened my eyes this morning and saw 4:54 on the clock so I got up and made my coffee....halfway through the cup I saw that it was 4:14!  My advice?  Always just close your eyes and wait for the alarm to sound!  Ha ha 

Yesterday morning we had some ice everywhere and since school was on time I went out to warm up the truck and give the ice on the windows a chance to melt a little bit.  I slipped on the steps and was just thankful I didn't actually fall even if I did twist myself unnaturally to avoid it.  When I returned from dropping the kids off at school, Max was on the steps waiting to be let in.  As I reached to open the door he charged back up the steps and knocked me over and down so this morning my back is killing me!  I can't be angry with him for it, it was pretty cold yesterday morning and I was in a hurry to get into the warm myself so, oh well.

The other day I had an associate actually email me with a complaint about my posts on Facebook being "nauseating" because I post about being happy....I have to say it threw me for a loop.  It is not my intention to make anyone feel badly or upset or nauseated.  I simply choose to express my gratitude for all that is right with my life as opposed to accentuating every little thing that goes wrong or a little differently than planned.  My life is certainly not perfect by many standards yet it somehow always works out and I choose to be grateful for that instead of angry that it cannot be whatever 'perfect' is.  I have a wonderful family here that I love and that love me, just as I am.  I wake each day with the chance to be well and do good.  I fall asleep at night (sometimes I fall asleep, at least) or end my days without thinking back to any regrets.  We're not cold.  We're not hungry.  We're not lonely.  What more could I really ask for?  I'm bothered by all the time I spent not fully appreciating these things, I can do nothing to change that time so all I can do is handle things differently.  The saying comes to mind that you cannot do things in the same manner all the time and expect different results.  If you are ungrateful and angry, you will always have reason to be.  If you choose to be happy in the little things, bigger things present themselves.  My apologies to those that offends.  Do not mistake me, I will continue to be grateful and express that in whatever ways I see fit.  If that offends, by all means do not follow me.  I will not be angry or upset.  I will feel slightly sad that you choose to be angry and upset but that is your choice to make, not mine.  It will take its toll on your life, not mine.  This is my path, not yours.  This is how I choose to walk it and although I would love your company on it, I will not demand you travel with me.

It has been so cold recently!  Aah Winter.  The kids and I were talking about the lake the other day and had to laugh about it because it has been so cold that it really is almost too much to imagine ever swimming in the lake again.  It won't be long, a few more months, and we will be at the lake nearly every evening.  I saw a Robin yesterday so Spring cannot be far off!  Although, truthfully, all season last year the lake was far too cold for my old bones to enjoy.  I do get colder much more easily than anyone else in the family, though, so there's that.  The children enjoy the evening trips to the lake in the summer and I live to give them opportunities to simply enjoy their lives.  They really do grow up far too quickly and as the saying goes, you can't fence time.

It's nearly time to drag the children from their warm beds and toss some breakfast at them so I will close for now.

Have a wonderful day!


Monday, February 16, 2015

Well that was interesting....

I bought a new keyboard for my computer a week ago and never hooked it up because even though some letters had rubbed off the old one, I liked it.  Well, Scott came out here a little while ago and hooked in the new one and I hate, really, I dislike this thing.  The old one is a wide set chiclet style keyboard with a large backspace key, this one is shorter with the boxy keys and the backspace is the same size as the letters and the enter key is enormous so forget erasing mistakes easily, you'll enter them first!  Hate it.  Gonna hook the old one back up!

So, the "snow" we were supposed to get?  HA  Freezing rain and rain and then freezing rain is what we got.  Everything out there is covered in ice.  This is what it looked like around 1:30 this afternoon...

We lost power at 3 which did not come back on until 7:30 so it got down to 45 degrees in here and let me tell you I thought I would die!  It wasn't so much the cold it was the 4 1/2 hours without coffee!  After 3 hours of it Abby bundled up in blankets and hunkered down in her room, Scott took an oil lamp into his room to read and I bundled Levi in blankets and held him while he took a nap waiting for the power to come back on.  

Craig is still down with whatever it is that he has, stubborn love of my life won't go to a doctor so there is no way to know what it is until it either goes away or gets so bad he can no longer ignore it.  I've been giving him his allergy medicine every morning and giving him head cold medicine every 4 hours.  He's pretty much been confined to the bed for the last 2 days with the pain and pressure in his head and sinuses.  Hopefully tomorrow will be better, if not I will have to flex the I SAID SO muscle and drag him out to a doctor.

Thankfully school is cancelled tomorrow!  I can barely believe it, I mean it is totally necessary but I never thought this new superintendent would concede a day or that if his hand was forced and he had to I figured it would be 6:15 in the morning before the call came in that it was cancelled.  Kudos to the Hardin County School Board.

It's been a trying day with a sick Pooh bear and Ally going nuts because Daddy is sick and Max didn't show up until 5 this evening and the power being out for so long.  I am so thankful that the power wasn't out all night tonight, too.  I am thankful that we were all here together at home.  

Now, I'm going to go curl up next to my sneezing sniffling sweetheart and be thankful that I am able to take care of him when he's sick and know that if the tables were turned and it was me that was down he would do the same.  Please do not let me be next!  Poor guy is utterly miserable with this mess and I just want him to feel better already!


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Baby it's cold outside....

I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day.  I sure did!  I had a lunch date with my 2 handsome sons and Craig amazed me with some powerful words.  Craig is not a holiday person at all, never has been.  He shocked me last year when February 15th came and he apologized to me for not realizing the day before had been Valentine's Day.  Imagine my shock this year when he took my face in his hands and told me how much he loves me, how much our years together mean to him and how he looks forward to the years ahead of us.  He thanked me for the children I have given him and said that he can only hope to be the father they deserve.  Needless to say, I was in tears.  He never ceases to steal my breath and make my heart skip.  I have to mention again that I am a truly blessed individual!  I have so much to be grateful for and I pray I never forget to be exactly that, grateful.

So, weather reports have called for freezing rain, ice, sleet and possibly snow between this evening and Tuesday morning.  I would much rather have just snow and tons of it!  Some locals are nervous, fearing an actual ice storm like one they had here 21 years ago which by all accounts was the worst the area had ever seen.  I certainly hope nothing like that happens!  At the moment it is sunny and 31 with a windchill of 26.  It is only supposed to go down to 23 tonight with 90% chance of precipitation. Tomorrow is supposed to be 32 with 100% chance of precipitation.  Of course the weather reports here change faster than the actual weather does!  Reckon we'll see what will be when it is LOL

Craig is down today with a nasty head cold or sinus infection, we've not figured out which it is yet.  He had an intense headache out of no where last night and then this morning sinus congestion and pain.  My poor Pooh.

As I mentioned, Scott had his endoscopy Wednesday morning in Memphis.  We made it there and back thanks to Paul's GPS that we borrowed.  (We went to Nashville Tuesday to look at a car for Craig and then Memphis Wednesday so I felt like I lived in the truck for those 2 days.)  During the endoscopy it was detected that Scott's stomach lining was red and swollen so a biopsy was done on both his stomach and his esophagus.  They placed a Bravo pH monitor in his esophagus as well and he had to carry a recorder with him for 2 days.  Because of the endoscopy and the monitor he had to go without his medicine from Tuesday evening to Friday morning and that was horrible for him to say the very least about it.  The endoscopy concluded that Scott has a hiatal hernia and his stomach is literally crawling up his throat.  Surgery is necessary they say but it would do no good to do it when he still has the possibility of a growth spurt ahead of him.  The Dr.s office called yesterday with the wonderful news that the biopsies were unremarkable.  The swelling and redness in the lining of his stomach was attributed to chronic gastritis, more than likely caused by the intense prolonged stress of his life before he came to live with us in Tennessee.  We should have the results from the pH monitor in a week or two.  

I've got a date with Levi to play some video games together so I'm going to close for now.  Have a wonderful day y'all!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

A little while later....

Levi loved his birthday present, he's not been able to go out and play with it very much because it's been cold and then he got a cold.  Spring will be here before you know it (I hope, at least) and he'll be out there chasing it every day.

As I said he got a cold and we kept him home from school for 2 days because of it.  Friday morning when we did arrive at school, one of his teachers informed me that I might just want to keep him home another day because Thursday there were 10 kids out of his class for the day and 2 more had been sent home either because of strep or the stomach virus, so I did in fact just bring him back home.  That is a lot of children to be missing from one Pre-K classroom!  I'd read last week that the schools in the county just west of us were all closed Thursday and Friday because of so many students and teachers being out sick.  Another Mom mentioned to me that at least one other county had decided to close for the same reason.  Hopefully we are able to avoid all that mess, coughing and sneezing is enough for me.  I positively hate the stomach virus and if I never get it and my family never gets it again it would suit me just fine.  It's horrible to spend a solid 24 hours camped out in the bathroom.

I hadn't realized it's been more than a week since I've updated, I'm sorry about that.  With Tax Season opening up I was tied up in a tax forum answering questions.  No, I'm not a Tax Professional or even an expert but I'm pretty darned good answering questions or finding answers where others cannot.

The fuel pump went out on my Blazer Thursday morning and that was a pain in the butt.  I went out to let it warm up before we left and it started just fine, it ran out there for about 5 minutes before we climbed in to head out.  I backed up so I could turn around and head down the driveway and when I put it back in DRIVE, she died.  I figured she just hadn't warmed up enough, called her a cold natured B and tried to start it again with no luck.  PANIC!  I had to wake Craig and have him go out in the cold and take a guess about what could be wrong.  He called his dad to come take the kids to school and diagnosed that he was fairly sure it was the fuel pump.  As expensive as they are I was hoping that was the only problem we had to face.  Later, he went and got his dad's tractor to pull my truck down our hill and then up his parents' hill so he could fix it....we have no flat area up here on our hill except that one spot where I park and that is not big enough to work on a vehicle, and all the tools are down on their hill because of that.  It took all the daylight hours left in Thursday to get the old fuel pump off because it was very, very cold out and because of the positioning of it in the vehicle.  Paul let us keep his Jeep up here to take the kids to school Friday morning.  I cannot describe the joy and relief I felt Friday afternoon when Craig drove up in my Blazer, I had to go out and hug my truck!  After I hugged and thanked Craig, of course.  We've been very lucky with my Blazer, I have to say.  It's a 2001 we bought used in January of last year and that fuel pump is the first thing we've ever had to fix on it.  

Oh goodness, I have got to take a minute to do a product endorsement....I don't really endorse too many products so when I do, pay attention LOL  I have debated for close to 2 years about getting a Keurig coffee brewer.  The expense of it has been the biggest drawback that has made me consider it for so long.  Recently the price on them has dropped a little because they've introduced the new 2.0 version.  Friday morning I went to pick up something for dinner just in case my truck was not fixed by the end of the day and decided to just go ahead and buy the K40 Elite model Keurig brewer.

I can tell you without a moment's hesitation that I could not be happier with this thing!  It's fast and makes a perfect cup of coffee every time.  Or tea, or hot chocolate....those are the items I used to help justify paying so much for a coffee machine LOL I am the only person at home that drinks coffee so spending that much for just me was not going to happen.  Knowing that they have tea K cups for Scott and hot chocolate K cups for Abby and Levi helped me seal the deal on it.  It makes some noise initially when you turn it on but nothing unbearable.  It takes just a couple of minutes from powering it on to being able to brew your cup, then once you do put in your K cup and choose your size it's literally a minute until you're enjoying a fresh, hot beverage.  These last 2 mornings waking up early and not having to pry open my eyes to fit the filter into the basket and measure grounds into the basket and wait another 8 minutes for coffee have been so good it feels like a dream.  (Good Lord, talk about "middle class problems"!)  I am seriously loving this thing!  I also got the 2 year protection plan on it just in case anything should go wrong.  I bought one of the reusable K cup style filters as well so that I can buy my regular ground coffee and use that to make it so I'm not going broke buying specific K cups....and I would in fact go broke, I drink an insane amount of coffee every day!

While we are talking about endorsements, I have to also give a nod to Mount Baker Vapor for supplying awesome e-juice for my vapor pen at literally the best prices on the market.  I urge you, if you are considering that it's time to quit smoking but are nervous about the cold turkey method, a good vapor pen is an awesome choice.  I knew I needed to quit but I also knew that I enjoyed smoking and that I was not going to be able to just put the cigarettes down and walk away after so many years together.  I'd tried the disposable e-cigs and was just not impressed and the battery powered reusables were very expensive.  In June '14 I found a company offering a small reusable starter kit for dirt cheap and I said OK this is it, I'm going to try it.  I haven't smoked a tobacco cigarette since!  I use a Kanger EVOD battery 
with a SmokTech T-Dux 2.0 tank with dual coils
and I couldn't be more content.  I decided back in the beginning that I enjoyed Butterscotch flavor better than most of the others and I've had trouble finding that at our local shop because apparently it is used to make other, more popular flavors.  When our local shop stopped carrying their usual brand, for a short time they had samples of Mt. Baker brand and it was great but they opted not to carry it.  I found them online and was shocked at their low prices, then the shipping time was phenomenal on top of that.  I bought a month's worth for both Craig and myself for less than 2 weeks worth at the local shop and that includes the cost of shipping.  You can't beat saving money, especially when you aren't sacrificing quality.  These are high quality e-juice liquids and there are tons of flavors to choose from.  Craig enjoys cinnamon (odd to me because he smoked menthol cigarettes) and Mt. Baker has one called "Cin City" and with an extra flavor shot it is exactly what he likes best.  I ordered a small bottle of Black Licorice and of Butter Toffee yesterday to sample and see how I like them, can't wait for them to arrive.  There are options to choose how much nicotine you want from 0 nicotine to the strongest 24mg.  There are blend options for the PG/VG content, if you like more throat hit feeling you choose higher PG, if that isn't as important as the amount of "smoke" you exhale you'd choose higher VG.  Throat hit is important to me because I smoked full flavor cigarettes for so long so I choose a higher PG.  Mt. Baker has an 80/20 blend that is just perfect.  I have to tell you, even though I knew I needed to quit smoking I was having a really hard time with it.  I tried the patches and that worked for 15 days before I couldn't fight the urge or the angry any longer.  My second attempt with them lasted about 2 days.  I tried the lozenges and that first one got spit out and they've been in the cabinet since, they were horrible.  I always went back to tobacco.  Fighting asthma and getting pneumonia twice a year and bronchitis at least 3 times a year, I needed to QUIT!  Finding this vapor pen set up that I have and the brand of vapor we use was a gift from the universe saying "Put down the tobacco Mary there is a better way!"  It has been almost 8 months now since I smoked my last tobacco cigarette on June 18th, 2014 and I have been sick 1 time and only 1 time....a head cold back in December.  Any time before this if I got a head cold, within 2 days it would sink into my chest and become either bronchitis or pneumonia but that didn't happen.  I simply had a runny/stuffy nose for a few days and a little cough from the post nasal drip.  I normally had to use my rescue inhaler several times a day, since June I think I've used it maybe 3 times and that is a huge maybe.  Instead of smelling like a walking ashtray I now smell like my shower soap and shampoo like I'm supposed to.  Instead of the kids avoiding me because I'm outside smoking a cigarette, I can sit in here in the warm and all they smell is the scent of Butterscotch from my pen or Cinnamon from Craig's.  I call it my cigarette and Scott has gotten onto me about that because it drives him crazy to hear me say cigarette so I'm trying really hard to remember to call it my vapor pen.  Scott is old enough to have witnessed and remember me being rushed to the hospital on more than one occasion because of severe asthma attacks, no one could be happier with my decision to quit.

I won't tell you that it has been 100% perfect, that would be a lie.  There were times that I thought "to heck with it, I want a cigarette!" but I started to think about how much better I feel without them, and how sincerely disappointed the kids would feel to see me smoking one, and how much money I had already saved by not buying them and I continued to use my pen.  I don't regret it.  I am proud to say that I do not smoke.  The first time I went to the doctor after I quit and she asked, "Do you smoke?" I told her I was unsure how to answer that as I'd given up tobacco for the vapor pen and she looked at me and smiled and said, "I never thought I'd hear you say that, Mary!  So the answer is no.  No, you do not smoke.  How does that feel to say that?  Say it, say 'I do not smoke' and see how that feels."  It sounded foreign coming out of my mouth.  No, I do not smoke.  I love it and wouldn't change it.  My lung function has improved more than 35% of what it was since I made the switch, too and that is something amazing.

Well, my dear you, I have filled you with much information this day so I think I will close now and bid you a wonderful rest of your day!


Thursday, January 22, 2015

You lift me up, up, up, up to heaven


This little angel is my Levi born at 3:53 AM on Friday, January 22nd, 2010.  This picture was taken just about 8 hours after he was born and look how photogenic.
This is Levi now, my big Pre-Kindergarten guy.

Let me clarify this before I continue, I love each of my four children equally, they are my reason for being.  There is no way I could imagine life without a single one of them, they each have their own influence on my life.  With that said, let me say that Levi completely changed my life forever.

Levi is my last baby, I had my tubes tied the morning after he was born.  I knew from the very shocking moment I found I was pregnant that this would be my last time, I was 36 years old and my youngest at that point was about to turn 7.  Because of my age and because a genetic heart problem had been identified in me in recent years, this pregnancy was heavily monitored.  He was growing on schedule and thankfully his heart was developing normally and showing no signs of this defect.  I had an uneventful pregnancy until the last 2 months before my due date when I began having contractions at regular intervals, that is when I was wrought with worry (Abby was born 10 weeks prematurely!).  I needn't have fretted, I made it to 36 weeks before he was born.  From his first breath this child has been the embodiment of love and complete joy.  He is the friendliest, most loving child.  He is curious and eager to really learn about things not just hear quick facts.  He is sensitive, you must approach him knowing that whatever you are feeling he will pick up on it immediately.  He is intelligent with the ability to absorb new things and integrate them easily.  Being pregnant with him and in those first months of his life I learned just how tender and loving my older children are.  They were considerate of my need for rest and they all wanted their turn holding, loving, and feeding their new brother.  My heart felt many days so full of love that it could burst at any moment.

As he has grown from my baby bump into a living, breathing baby boy, to a toddler, to this now adorable little boy he has adored his daddy above all.  He has developed quite a vocabulary for such a young child, not only does he understand many words and phrases he can actually use them in context.  He looks up to his big brother.  He loves his sisters even if he doesn't always understand them and their moods.  I tell him it will teach him better patience for when he is a boyfriend and then a husband if that is what he wants to be when he gets older.  He laughs at that and says. "I don't know about all that because girls are really weird sometimes but I do want to be a Daddy just like mine!"  That swells my heart right into my soul.  Not only am I lucky to have great kids, the kids and I are lucky to have this man to love, honor, and cherish.  To love and lead us through life.

My cup overfloweth.

So my darling Levi, I wish you a very happy birthday and I thank you sincerely for being you!