Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New Family Member!

We've been wanting to add a puppy to our already fur-friendly family for a bit now. The kids absolutely adore animals and I haven't met a furball I haven't fallen in love with yet. I was trying to exercise some responsibility by telling myself to wait until after Christmas. This way, we'd not have vet checkups and training to pay for and attend. I wanted to wait to get either a Great Dane or a red Doxie.

That didn't happen. I saw an ad on Freecycle for free pitbull puppies.  I'm not a huge fan of pitbulls. Though I haven't met one I haven't liked. I do believe that any domestic canine is true to its training and treatment. I don't believe that all pitbulls are bad. I don't believe that all are attackers. And so I, stupidly, asked for a picture. That was my first mistake.

I instantly fell in love with the little brindils and reds. They were absolutely adorable. Even their mama, two years old, was a beauty. I contimplated Jeff's reaction to returning home this weekend to a puppy in the house. I tried to judge the reaction of the boys' faces when I asked them if they wanted to pick one out to bring home. The boys' faces won.

I know puppies are a lot of hard work. I know it's almost as if having an infant all over again. I know they chew things and use the bathroom in the most inconvenient of places. I know they whine and cry. I know they must be taught right from wrong. I know that puppies are work, just like children. But, I didn't care.

I told the kids to get their shoes on. Even through countless, "Where are we going?" I never said a word. They were begging me, pleading with me....Mom, where are we going?? And they tried to guess...Busch Gardens? The Zoo? Grocery Shopping??? WHERE??!

We get to the lady's house and she brings out a a big bin. She sat it down on the sidewalk in front of her home. Jonas leaned over and peeked and his eyes were as big as saucers. "MOM!! Puppies!! Are we getting one?!" Aden was speechless but wore a big, huge grin on his face. Nyla was just in awe. I don't think she's seen so many squirmy baby canines in her life.

I told them to go ahead and choose one, but that we needed a girl because Bo, our Doxie, didn't care for male dogs. (That and I didn't want to deal with the battle of testetosterone that would surely ensue if we got a male puppy.)  And so, the woman pulled out three females for us to choose from: one red and two brindels. The one brindil had been a lot smaller than the other two as she was only on puppy food for a day or so. We placed her back in the bin. She obviously needed a few more days with her mama.  The other brindil immediately took to us and so that was it!

This puppy whined the whole way to the pet store. She cried and whimpered and whined. Poor thing. We purchased her a bed, a crate, a collar, a few toys, some good puppy food as she was being fed puppy chow, and some training treats. It totaled to a lot more than I had anticipated. But, at least she has her necessities. On Saturday, I will take her to the puppy clinic to get her first round of shots and a checkup. I'm curious to see her actual age. The human mama told me she was six and a half weeks, but I'm thinking she isn't that old yet.

It may be a bit too early to tell, but she seems to be pretty smart. She's catching on to going outside to potty. She knows her name. She is even taking to her crate suprisingly well. Overall, I'm pleased.

When I emailed Jeff pictures of her, I didn't say anything about her being ours. Instead, I just emailed the pic and that was that. He responded with, "What is that?" And I said, "You can't tell?" He retorted with, "Is it in our house?!" I jokingly replied by saying, "I don't know, is it?" At first I thought he was upset, but then he emailed saying he could never be mad at me.

He is an animal lover just like me. I know once he sees her and watches her play with Bo, he will fall deeply in love with her too.  She leaps with what seems like so much effort and growls this infectiously silly growl.

The big suprise here is that the boys are actually being responsible with her. Which, I am completely thankful for no matter how long (or short) it lasts. They take her out to potty and tell her good girl. They help clean up accidents. They have been picking up things on the floor so the puppy won't eat it. They've been correcting her when she chews or bites on them or their clothing. They are really knocking my socks off with their eagerness to help raise and train this pup. I am in awe, truly.

I leave you tonight with her picture, so that you too can fall in love with all of her beauty.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Out With It!

Throughout Jeff and I's 12 years of marriage, three children, and only four moves with the military, we have accumulated a lot of "stuff." We are far from the show "Hoarders." But, we are pretty bad. I am constantly drowning in laundry. Constantly. It is NEVER, EVER, EVER, done.
We have comforters, sheets, and towels that are in new to poor shape. I keep them around because I'll never know when we'll need a rag for washing the car, or extra bedding, or whatever. Somehow, I always find every single towel, comforter, and sheet in the laundry room. Whether they are dirty or not, someone puts them in the dirty clothes.

We have clothes out the wazoo. And it's not just your normal three kids amount of clothing. I have clothes for each kid that they've 1. Just grown out of, 2. About to grow into, 3. Will grow into one day, 4. Saving for special occassion, 5. Looked super cute in as an infant, and finally 6. Currently fit them. And, the boys, for some odd reason, tend to bring down every single ounce of clothing they own, whether it fits them or not, whether they've worn it or not. Quite, frankly, I'm sick of it all.

I'm sick of the mountains of laundry. I look at it, daily, and get so frustrated that there's ALWAYS so much laundry. It really wears me down. It wears me out. It makes me angry. I spend way too much time and energy on something as simple as laundry. It's got to stop.

So here is my plan:

1. I'm throwing out all of the children's bedding. ALL OF IT. Gone. In the trash. Rubish. It's outta here.

2. I'm buying each child one comforter and two sets of sheets. So even if two of the three kids has dirty bedding, that's only 3 loads of laundry max.

3. I'm throwing out all of Jeff and I's bedding but two comforters and two sets of sheets. That's all we should need, right?

4. I'm going through the kids clothes and making them try on Everything. If it doesn't's getting thrown out. If it has a hole in the knees - it's getting thrown away. If it has a get the point. I'm done saving clothes for play, what if, and maybe we'll need.

 5. I'm throwing away every single towel that has a stain, rip, or tiny tear. Mom got us new towels and we bought new towels last year. Everything that isn't in those two categories is getting thrown away (or at least donated to the local animal shelter).

6. If Jeff and I's clothes don't fit, right this second, it's going in the trash. I won't fit in the skirts I wore in high school. I'll never wear that little black dress again. The size ten jeans I wore straight out of bootcamp is never going to find their way past my 33 year old thighs again. And sorry Jeff, that pair of green cords with the holey crotch has got to go. The shirt we have five duplicates that have the sleeves cut out, Honey, they are all gone. You don't wear them. They look tacky. No one wants to see your armpit hair anyway.

And though this seems like a no-brainer to some. Let me explain. We have three children and are a military family. Children, grow like weeds. The clothes I bought my son, Jonas, no more than three months ago, no longer fit. It is expensive to clothe children these days. It is expensive to clothe children during any era. We probably do save a pretty penny by saving clothing from one sibling to the next, accepting hand-me-downs from friends and family (which I deeply appreciate).  I go through clothes, and sort them out. I place them in bins and trash bags and put them up. But somehow, someway, everything finds their way to the laundry room. And I'm simply just done.

I want to spend my time with my family making happy memories. I don't want to spend it fighting with the boys over what is dirty and what is not, what doesn't fit, what doesn't, and why their bringing every piece of clothing they own down to be washed. I want neat closets. No, I need, neat closets. I need this never-ending laundry to be DONE.

Monday, October 19, 2009

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H1N1 History, Facts, and Prevention

pLast week, my son who is nine years old brought home from school an H1N1 vaccination permission slip form. He can receive the vax for free at his elementary school. I told him my concerns over the vaccination. I expressed to him that my job as his parent is to keep him safe, even if it happens to be from the government. His concern is that he will be suspended for not receiving the vax. The school district, nor the state, has issued a mandate for the vax. I suppose if they did, I'd be one home-schooling mamacita. However, his concern is purely based on rumors.

Now, before anyone goes hostile on me, let me explain. I'm not normally against vaccinations in general. My children are up to date on their mandatory vaccinations. I'm not one of those crunchy moms who think that vaccinations are associated with Asperger's syndrome. (There is no research to prove it. Besides, the courts just ruled on it over the summer as such.) Being crunchy is not bad at all. I'm just not one of them. I'm also not a conspiracy-theorist. I don't think dental fillings are tracking devices. I don't think 9/11 was an inside job. I am not one of those folks that pick apart every news article to read between the lines.

With that said, let us look at the proof of the H1N1 and why, we as parents, should not be vaccinating our children.

1. The CDC reports that there are, on average, 36,000 flu related deaths in the United States alone. They look at death certificates that have respiratory or circulatory listed as cause of death.
2. To date (October 17, 2009) the WHO says that 4,735 deaths have occurred WORLD WIDE due to H1N1 related deaths. Of those deaths, 3,406 were here in the United States, 86 of which were children.
3. Causes of death with H1N1 related flu - most common is respiratory failure, followed by pneumonia, high fever (brain damage), dehydration, electrolyte imbalance.
The WHO declared a Pandemic for the H1N1 which sent a bunch of folks into hysterics. The word pandemic means: "Widespread; general" What it doesn't mean is death, plague, or anything else that requires alarm. All it means is that the H1N1 is found a lot of places around the world. Cancer, the common cold, strep throat, and many, many other incurable diseases are also pandemic but we do not receive vaccinations for them. Yes, H1N1 is an incurable disease.
1. The first Swine Flu pandemic occurred in 1918. 50 to 100 million people worldwide died from this outbreak. It is still not clear whether the outbreak came from the pigs themselves or from humans. The swine population tested positive for this new flu strain directly after a seasonal human flu virus swept the country.
2. The second outbreak occurred February 1976 at Fort Dix. One person died, four other hospitalized. The swine flu never made it outside Fort Dix. Another influenza strain, "H3N2," which is not a swine flu strain, was spreading and caused panic. Public health officials declared it an Pandemic and suggested to President Ford that the public be vaccinated. The H3N2 was detected from January to March 1976. October 1, 1976, swine flu immunizations began. Because three elderly died shortly after receiving the vaccination, the public became outraged and thought the vaccine to kill folks. However, of the 1100 cases of Guillian-Barre Syndrome was recorded but roughly 530 of them were linked to the vaccination. But if you look at the numbers, the vaccine killed more people that the flu did.
3. In 1988 a pregnant woman died from the H1N1 after her husband had visited a swine exhibition. She developed pneumonia. Her baby was successfully delivered before she died. Roughly 19 of the 25 people who visited the exhibit tested positive for the virus but never got sick beyond mild flu like symptoms. There was no community outbreak.
4. In 1998 swine flu was found in four states. Within the year, the virus had spread throughout the swine population. The strain found here was a mixture of bird and human flu. This hybrid virus is what is found in today's outbreak of H1N1.
5. August 20, 2007 the virus was found in the swine population in the Philippines. It had a less than 10% mortality rate, but the government still placed the meat on code red.
6. Six of the eight gene segments of the 2009 H1N1 Pandemic rose from the 1998 H1N1 virus. It is considered a triple hybrid (avian, human, and swine flu), not just a swine flu virus. Ironically, it is the pigs that have caught the virus from humans. The swine population first came in contact with this strain after a worker from Mexico came down with the illness. The vaccine protects against the H1N1 that is NOT transmitted from or to pigs, but from person to person.
Other Noteworthy Research
1. Deborah Burger, a registered nurse and President of the California Nurses Association is quoted as saying, "What sort of gets lost in all of this in this rush to mandate these vaccines, is the employers right now aren't even doing the basics to protect the nurses and the patients," in this article from ABC news.

Dr. Rosenfield, a doctor who appears every Sunday on Fox News, is an advocate for the H1N1 but he says he's even confused. He goes on to say, "No one doctor has enough patients who've had the flu that can tell you what it does or doesn't do. And that's true for the vaccine. All I can do is report to you the FDA, WHO, and other establishments have found out about the flu." He goes on to say, "Everyday you read about deaths, they still aren't as many as the regular flu."

3. The pharmaceutical company Baxter is in charge of the vaccinations, even though they are involved in a very large scandal where their vaccines were tainted with live avian flu virus. Baxter sent live bird flu virus to 18 countries. And I'm expected to get a shot for the H1N1 that was researched, produced, and distributed by this company?!

4. Dr. Rima E Laibow MD of the Health Freedom and the Natural Solutions Foundation is urging people to not receive the H1N1 vax. In her most recent newsletter she states, "WHO has declared a Level 6 Pandemic and issued vaccination guidance which is legally binding on 194 nations declaring vaccination is necessary. We believe accepting the untested, unnecessary and unsafe vaccine OR running the risk of incarceration is unacceptable."

5. According to the WHO, there is still no evidence that the H1N1 has mutated away from the original H1N1 found in Mexico and US back in April.

1. Wash your hands. Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and hot water for at least two minutes. And wash them several times throughout the day. This isn't your mom telling you to wash your hands before dinner or after restroom use. This is wash your hands periodically throughout the day: after talking on the phone, before and after eating, after restroom use, after handling money, after shaking hands with someone, after touching something like a grocery store door or shopping cart. If you use hand sanitizer use an ALCOHOL based one. The non-alcohol based hand sanitizers do absolutely nothing to sanitize your hands.
2. Keep your hands out of your mouth. Your hands are the gateway to germs. It touches and picks up every germ imaginable. Keep your hands clean and out of your mouth, away from your eyes, and out of your nose.
3. Disinfect household surfaces. This can be done with diluted household bleach solution or a household disinfectant such as Lysol. Spray or wipe down toilets, sinks, doorknobs, telephones, television remotes, computer keyboards, tabletops, chairs, etc.
4. DO NOT send your kid to daycare or school or the store or out to play with a fever. A fever, no matter how insignificant, means there is infection in the body. Regardless if little Timmy only has a temperature of 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit with no other symptoms, it does not mean that he should go to school, attend karate, make that touchdown pass, or visit his friends. It does mean he should stay at home, where whatever infection he has, is contained and not infecting other children or places where others may pick up whatever he has. By sending a child with a fever into the public, not only is the child able to transmit whatever infection he has, but he is also more susceptible to contracting whatever other infection is out there.
5. Cover your mouth. By covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, you are containing the little droplets of saliva that may have infection, whether it is the common cold or the H1N1 virus. Don't cough into your elbow. Don't sneeze into your chest. Cover your mouth with your hand or a tissue preferably, then wash or sanitize your hands directly after and throw the tissue in the trash.
6. Deal with your stress. It is a proven fact that if one is stressed, one will get sick. Learn to manage stress in a healthy manner.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Lights Out

Do you remember when we were in Kindergarten, our teacher, to gain our attention, would shut the lights out? Those of us who were shouting across the room suddenly became silent. We were made to put our heads down, in quiet contemplation of the rules we were breaking. It was a noticeable queue to all of us four and five year old that we had broken those rules and were given the time to reflect. Now, I don't know that all of us reflected. Timmy Noshoes at table five continued to pick his nose and eat it. You'll have that though.

When did we start to air our dirty laundry on public forums in sentence form for whomever interested to read? And when did we start to become so interested in peeking into the lives of others?

Once an act of shame and disgrace, infidelity is now a ratings booster for night time and prime time television. Shootings become daily headlines in local news. Our government is in dire straits trying to boost their own agendas when it comes to health care and give our newborn babies $500 in savings accounts (as if that's really going to boost our economy...$500 isn't enough for a down payment on anything today, let alone in 18 years from now).

People Tweet their latest demise and post their Face book status to peek interest in the numerous friends that they really don't have anyway. And then there's people like me who blog their opinions for anyone or no one to really read or respond to.

We can look at porn, technologically cheat on our loved ones, get addicted to video games, view what the government doesn't want you to see, look at what you may have missed while playing World of Warcraft, and read about pretty far fetched government conspiracy theories.

It's getting out of hand. I'm scared for my children to grow up in a world so technologically advanced. Where we Tweet our communications instead of picking up the phone calling someone. Where our dentists send out text messages as reminders for our next appointment and even our school districts give automated notices. I get spammed by local politicians running for office and I'm not even registered to vote in this state!! We send forwards of decade old jokes and pictures of massive dogs licking tiny newborn kittens to say, "Hey, friend. I'm thinking of you."

My son recently turned eleven. His list of birthday wishes included: a laptop, a cell phone, a Wii, a PSP, a DSi, and other Internet capable products. I held my ground. I put my foot down. Absolutely, positively noway. My kids aren't even allowed on the Internet!! It bothered me, immensely that his homework assignments, in sixth grade, require him to research on the Internet for class projects. It sent chills up my spine that my son has an email address within his public school system. Who said this was OK? I did not give permission. I was not asked if this was OK. In the day and age of sexual predators turning up everywhere we thought was once safe for our children to be, WHO authorized MY son to have an email account?? Because it wasn't me. And it wasn't my husband.

What happened to the library? Good ol' Encyclopedia Britannica? The Card Catalog? Study groups? I am a firm believer in learning how to do things efficiently the hard way before learning the short cuts. My children will know how to do those things. They will know how to wash dishes by hand before loading a dishwasher. They will know how to write things out longhand before clacking away at a laptop.

I think what we need is a good ol' fashioned "Lights Out." And, heaven forbid, we ever did have a world wide blackout, how many of you would be panicked without your technology?

Mission Possible

A lot has happened to me in the last few months. Well, since August 4, 2009. That's the day my step-father, Jack, passed away. I blogged on a military spouse site all my heart aching pain. All the things I should have said. All the things I did say. All the things I felt, said, and heard. All the waking nights, I tearfully blogged until I got through the moment.

Then the grief started taking over my life. I started to forget things. Simple things. Like what I was doing or saying. My kids started to get away with just about anything short of murder. I wasn't sleeping. I wasn't able to concentrate on anything. I couldn't even say the words outloud for fear that I'd break down. I questioned my faith. I questioned life in general. I was so deep inside myself that I got lost. I was just there...going through the motions...getting through each day...putting one foot in front of the other. I wasn't living my life.

My husband and I had a talk last week. More like, I did the talking. He did the listening. Which is fine, I needed to be heard. I had to tell someone. I had to let him know that this is not the life I want to live. I want to do more than just exist. I I experience things. Good things. Bad things. I need to feel alive.

It's more than just needing a purpose in life. I don't want to look back in ten, twenty, or even fifty years and wonder where my life went. I don't want to sit back and watch it go by without me. I need to live as if it's my last glorious day on this earth. I cannot put off anything until tomorrow. I must do it today. I must accomplish my goals. I must be the best damn person I know how to be. I am more than just a Navy wife and a mom. I want to take up my passion for photography. I don't care if I don't make any money from it. I love it. I'm good at it. And I enjoy it. Why not?! I want to go on family vacations. I want to cherish the moments of my children's youth, rather than looking forward to the next age or stage or milestone. I need to do more than sit in my house. I need to feel alive. I want to experience everything I

And so, that's what this blog is my life...Mission Possible..