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Friday, October 31, 2008

Still More Dr. Visits....

Today was our once every two week visit to the Dr. for Daniels burn. Once again I had hoped it would be our last. But it wasn't. Things never work out that easy for us!

He still needs to go in every two weeks for a while, and I guess plastic surgery may still be required.

This whole thing really has gone much better than it could of. It could of been a much worse case scenario, and I am very grateful it wasn't. I am just ready to not have to keep cleaning, treating and wrapping his whole mid-section every single day and to not have to keep going to Dr. visits. Actually Husband has gone to all the plastic surgeon ones alone with him, but it is a drive and lots of time.

So I will update again the 17th of November when he goes in again.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

It Really Is The Small Things....


If you don't get satisfaction from doing something on a small scale, you wont get any more satisfaction doing it on a global scale. Nothing, multiplied by five billion, is still nothing.~

Mother Teresa

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pumpkin Family

We(or I should say Dear Husband) finally finished carving our pumpkins last night. One for each kiddo.


From left to right: Daniel's Lion, Andrew's Spooky Face(done by Andrew himself) Austin's Cute Kitten, and Matthew's Extra Frightening Spooky Face!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Isn't That Romantic?? NOT!!!


Well, today we celebrate 19 years of a mostly happy marriage. Of course we had to do it in a style well known to us....in the emergency room!! Yup, in the ER, where we have spent many a Christmas, Easter, Valentines Day, you name it.
I got woken up at three AM by Dear Husband who was in excruciating pain in a cold sweat looking as white as a ghost. My first fear was a heart attack, but by the time we arrived at the hospital the pain had settled to an obvious location for kidney stones. After some good IV drugs and Xrays they sent us home in hopes of it passing on its own in the next day or so.
They gave us a prescription for some good pain pills, hopefully he is over the worse of it as I am sure they aren't as strong as the IV drugs. Those should wear off in the next couple of hours.
So, I guess a movie and dinner are out for tonite?

Monday, October 27, 2008

They Said It Wouldn't Last...


And it's been 19 years in about 2 hours and 40 minutes from now!!
When we got married several friends and even my own mother said we would be lucky to make it three months, I hope they're eating those words now!
I can see why they thought that, we were young, stupid, and eloped after only dating a few weeks. Of course we had planned a long engagement and big wedding, but family on both sides drove me up the wall with requests, complaints, you name it, that one day while my then fiancee was at work I called the local wedding chapel and made arrangements to wed that night!
He had kept saying we should elope, but like most girls I wanted the dress, the cake, the whole thing. But one day I got fed up and without him even being aware gathered a few friends and arranged for our elopement. He not knowing what was going on was late getting home and I was nearly in tears, that I had been stood up on my wedding night(I did admit to being young and stupid, remember?) Luckily he barely made it before the chapel closed shop for the night and we got married, in a business suit rather than the beautiful white dress I dreamed of, but it was official, we were husband and wife now!
We've been through richer and poorer. Started off poor, did well for a few years and are now struggling again. We've been through sickness and health between our own health and that of our kids and parents. We've survived one child's severe special needs and drug addiction. We're surviving raising grand kids while still raising our own. We have had more than our fair shares of ups and downs in this game of life, but 19 years later we're still here, together.
I wish I would have bet money when the rest of them were, I'd be a rich woman!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

What If Everybody Did?

A post by one of my blogging friends inspired me this morning. Lets face it there are many, many problems in our world today. From where we are headed as a society and our morals, to world hunger, environmental issues, the AIDS crisis and more. It is quite overwhelming to know where to begin to remedy all of these problems.

Most of us are so overwhelmed we do nothing. Why bother? What difference can I make? What ever I do is so small it wont matter.

I recall a book one of my sons read for school years ago called What If Everybody Did? It was a humorous short story about things such as what if everybody threw their wrappers on the ground? Then it shows the streets littered over our heads with paper. The story gave many more humorous examples of what a mess our world would be if everybody was as inconsiderate.

What if we thought of that saying in opposite terms? What if everybody fed just one hungry person today? What if everyone visited just one lonely person? What if everyone mentored just one young person? What if everyone picked up a piece of litter from their neighborhood?

Sure picking up one piece of trash today isn't going to end pollution, but What If Everybody Did? Giving a sandwich to one homeless person isn't going to end world hunger, but What If Everybody Did?

Alone we may not be able to do much, but if we all did something, just one thing each think how much that would be all put together?

Here are some quotes for meditation that I shared with my friend:

We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.
We can do no great things, only small things with great love.
Good works are links that form a chain of love.
If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one. ~
All quotes by Mother Teresa

Friday, October 24, 2008

To Help.....Or Not To Help?


What do you do when you see a homeless person panhandling for money? Do you give them money? Do you want to but are afraid they will use it on drugs or alcohol rather than food?


This was a conversation that took place on a message board I frequent the other day. The answers varied. Some always give money, some never do, some do sometimes, and there were many who had creative ways to help without handing over cash. Some of these are ideas I have used myself in the past when I worked downtown where there were many homeless men and women:


Give gift card or gift certificates for local restaurants.


Give gift cards or certificates for local groceries.


Keep some non-perishables in your car, brief case, bag, etc..to hand out.


Keep cards of local shelters and food pantries on hand to pass out to the needy.


One of my favorites; offer to go with them for a meal! Sometimes a person just wants to know they are valued and cared for and would love to talk with someone who will listen and not judge.


While it is true some people are on the streets by choice( I personally know a few!) there are many who aren't. It may be hard to tell who is who without knowing them. Sometimes a person may be where they are due to being so mentally ill without proper treatment that they just aren't capable of making proper life choices. Some may have lost their homes and or families due to a tragedy in their lives. Some may be substance abusers and maybe you feel they don't deserve our help or sympathy, and I have to admit this is the group I have the hardest time with, but truth be told substance abuse does become a brain disorder at some point leaving the victim not always able to make proper choices just like the mentally ill.


I don't feel it is my job to judge who deserves help and who doesn't. It's not my place to ask the person what placed them in this situation. It is my job to just offer love, compassion and concrete help.


There are other ways to help the more needy of the homeless. Carry extra jackets, sweaters, blankets that you'd otherwise donate and pass them out on cold nights(or days for that matter) You'd be surprised how grateful the recipient may be! Just visit with them, talk with them, show them they matter!


There is much you can do without putting yourself in harms way or giving money that could potentially be misused. I like to live by the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have done unto yourself! Can't go too wrong following that advice!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hiking with Kids....


I have always loved being physically active and particularly enjoy hiking. For me half the fun is getting my heart rate up and breaking a good sweat. Physically challenging myself is a big natural high for me! But, sadly while fun for me, NOT so fun for the kids!


Our hikes with the kids started off more like forced marches! I couldn't understand why they seemed disappointed when we'd get ready to go instead of being excited like I was. What was wrong with them? Nothing! It was me who had the problem!


So, I slowly have learned how to slow down and enjoy being with my family and enjoying the beautiful nature God created for us to enjoy!


Here are some tips for enjoying hiking and nature with kids:

Bring/use the proper equipment for us that means not only proper shoes and clothing for the trails we will be hitting, but with a toddler it means picking the right stroller or pack. We are a little adventurous and while our Jeep stroller is great on dirt paths, it is just to difficult for rocks or goat paths:

We find this pack much more convenient(well, I do, I don't know if my husband who totes the chubby toddler would agree)

Make sure you investigate and buy the best you can afford as it needs to be sturdy and comfortable for both baby and the person toting him/her.

Always bring water and a snack or food even if you're going just a short distance. You never know when you might get lost, even in your own backyard so to speak!(See yesterdays post, it happened to us!) We aren't always so diligent on this one, but I plan on becoming so after yesterdays experience, plus sometimes the activity and calories you burn make you quite hungry unexpectedly. Even if it's just a Cliff Bar or Granola, bring something. Please be sure to not leave wrappers behind! If you take it in, bring it out! While at it, pick up after others who weren't so considerate.

Slow down and enjoy! Don't do what I did and let it become a forced march! This should be enjoyable for all of you! Take time to let the kids climb a rock or two, smell the flowers, look for animal tracks and just enjoy nature.

Be extra careful to plan to return before dusk. It is no fun trying to find your way back in the dark, worse yet it can be downright dangerous. This is when most of the animals start to come out to hunt!

Stay on the marked trail! While it may be fun to go off the beaten path, it is not always safe, especially when hiking with small children. If you are looking for a good trail in your area check out Local Hikes. Not only is this site great for finding local trails, it tells you whether dogs are welcome, the difficulty level of the hike and more! We use this site quite often!

IF you have pet and/or babies please bring a plastic bag and pick up your dog "messes" and dirty diapers and take it with you!

Most of all, have fun! Have the kids find or make hiking sticks to take with them, print up an animal track identification sheet and have them search for and identify tracks. Take pictures, have the kids make a nature journal, have a nature scavenger hunt. Save the forced marches for another time, this is time with your family!

Newsworthy??

Does anybody else feel as frustrated and annoyed watching the news as I do? Is it really news worth watching anymore? Right now isn't as bad as usual thanks to election season and the economy there is some "real" news being broadcast, but normally??

Lets see normally most of the thirty minute nightly news consists of whether Brittany Spears was wearing underpants or not(or was that Lindsay Lohan?) how many DUI's either of these "ladies" had, who broke up with who, and who got a new tattoo.

Even now amongst all the election coverage, searching the news headlines on Yahoo today I came up with some idiot who left his money in an unzipped bag and it weathered a storm, and got chewed up and cr*pped on by rats and yet he still expects the bank to reimburse him!!?? Oh, and by the way it appears they are! Then we have a Miss Teen(can't recall whether it was USA or a state level) who got her crown taken away for not paying for a meal and some other mis-doings. WHO CARES??

How many children died or were orphaned in Africa or elsewhere due to AIDS today? How many children or adults died of lack of clean water or food? How many Iraqi or American soldiers did we lose today? Sure you can find the answers to these if you take it upon yourself to search the web, but to turn on your local news and get anything newsworthy is a whole other story!

Here in S. California a biggie is car chases. It doesn't really matter whether it is high speed or even low speed it is BIG news and happens fairly often. So anything that might actually be of interest is put aside to watch hours and hours of a car chase! UGH!!

Okay, I'm done....I could go on, but wont. I just want to see some real news. I don't care what the so called celebrities are wearing or doing, and I really am quite bored with car chases. I want to know what is going on in my local and national government, and a bit of what is going on in the rest of the world. If it weren't for National Geographic specials and documentary makers and my own curiosity I wouldn't have a clue!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My Big Back Yard

After a taking a long hiatus of our hiking adventures due to Daniel's burn, we decided it was time to get going again! But with it getting dark earlier and earlier each day, driving to our hiking destination seemed out of the question. So we headed out our door and into our own back yard. Well, technically it's the neighbors back yards!

After a short walk up our dirt road we turn onto a little path that the bikers and horse riders like to take and this is our immediate view:



A little walk up that trail and there is a dried out creek bed... we just hike up that aways:


It gets pretty rocky and rough at parts...

But they made for some great photo stops.


Here is where the creek ends and it opens up into a meadow-like area. Normally we'd make a right here and get back on the bike/horse trail and head home, but our tour guide missed the turn!
And we go LOST!! After walking down this ditch for a while we thought we were near the trail and had to whack our way through brush and stickers trying to find our way. We weren't as close as we thought and ended up on quite the adventure with hungry whinny kids who thought we'd never get home alive!

Eventually our tour guide did redeem himself by finding the trail and getting us home on time to enjoy dinner and the treats the kids had waiting at home!
While disappointed we can't hit the trails I love so much, I really shouldn't complain, how many people here in Southern California have all of this in their own back yards?
Tomorrow I will post about a few things I've learned about hiking with kids. Most of this learned by our own successes and failures on the trail!

Pumpkins!!

I am SO excited! We have pumpkins! This is the first time I ever tried growing them. We just plopped the seeds straight in the ground and a few months later...PUMPKINS!!

I was hoping they'd be bigger, and more of them(we got a whopping three) but it's enough to motivate me to try again next year.

Monday, October 20, 2008

It's About Parental Rights



I may surprise many of my friends on both sides of this issue when I admit that until very recently I struggled with how I was going to vote on Prop. 8 this November.


See, I have had many gay friends throughout my life, and I do feel they should be allowed a "civil union" with rights to carry health insurance for their loved one or be present in the hospital as family. So, I was really wondering how voting "No" would in any way affect me or my family negatively.


Well, the answer came in the form of this video I snagged from a blog I visit often:






I have a very serious issue any time mine or anothers parental rights are in any way violated. To me it's not so much a matter of whether homosexuality should or shouldn't be taught in the schools, it's an issue of the parents rights to parental notification.

Back when I was a youth, I remember my mom having to sign for me to take sex-ed. and even evolution. Now it seems parents have no rights what so ever to be notified of what their children are being taught and exposed to in school. One of many reasons I homeschool my own! We talk about these issues in our daily lives. We talk about all sides of an issue whether it be sex or science or anything else. That is NOT what public school educators do! In my home we talk about creation, but we also talk about evolution. We study in depths many world religions and have friends of many different religions for our children to talk to if they so wish or have questions I cannot answer. In public school, Islam is a REQUIRED subject to be studied(at least here in Ca.) but only Islam. I wouldn't have an issue if it was part of a curriculum on world religions, including a study on many religions not just one. If not, fine, but allow a parent to choose to opt their child out of the class!! Notify parents when these sensitive subjects will be taught!

So, my concern seems to be a valid concern that if gay marriage is a legal marriage in Ca. then it will be taught in grades as young as kindergarten, with no parental notification. I am totally OKAY allowing equal rights for all until it infringes upon mine to parent my own children!

Parents, this is a serious issue. This isn't just about Prop. 8. Parents really need to take their rights back from the government in regards to their precious children! It seems that once your children cross the threshold of those public school doors you lose all rights for the time they are there! This should not be allowed to happen. It only has because many aren't aware it's happening(or happened) so no one is making any noise over it!!

Search the Internet and see for yourself what is going on! There have been cases of children being told to sign confidentiality agreements in regards to sensitive topics at school promising not to tell their parents. NOT okay!!

Like other things we will be voting for this election, vote your own conscience, but make sure it's an informed vote. Don't listen to just the commercials of those endorsing either side of the issue, search the web, inform yourself.

We seem to be freely giving up more and more of our rights everyday, or having them taken and not even noticing until it's too late when it is affecting YOU or your own family personally. Equal rights aren't so equal when someone elses are taken away.

China's One Child Policy

As someone who has dreamed of adopting from China for sometime now I watched with great interest last night; China's Lost Girls, A National Geographic Special.

It was exciting getting to watch couples meet their daughters for the first time and embrace that long prayed for and dreamed of child of their own. But this movie left me with more concerns and questions then answers.

I had never really thought of the long term effects of the so called one child policy and the value of boys over girls. As the film toured China it was very obvious the boy/girl ratio. There are FAR many more boys than girls in China. What is going to happen when those boys are ready to wed and have their own families? Already they are seeing an increase in kidnapping of girls for the purpose of marriage.

One thing that troubled me as a prospective adoptive parent who desires an older child is what happens to the girls who aren't adopted by a certain age? When I first inquired about adopting from China, the agency told me it would be unlikely we would find an older child(I'm talking 4-6 years old, although I am willing to adopt much older as well) without extreme disabilities. When I asked why we were told the healthy children ALL get adopted at a young age. But watching this film, it didn't appear that way. They showed an orphanage with some healthy appearing children who they said would most likely spend their lives there without finding a home and family. So this leaves me wondering why they aren't available to adopt? What will happen to them?

Who determines the value of a life? Parents in China want boys, so they are valued and girls are literally thrown away. Here in America it seems these precious girls are highly valued, so long as they are cute, smiling babies. Not so valued once they reach a certain age? I don't get it. To me ALL life should be equally valued. American children need loving homes as much as Chinese children. Older children need love as much as precious babies. Girls are certainly valued or should be as much as boys. Whose values are we basing our judgments and value system on anyway?


Sunday, October 19, 2008

New Look!

I wanted a new look for my blog and spent a good part of the day googling "free blogger templates" and was growing more and more frustrated as they were all so generic looking, and nothing really appealed to me. Finally I came across this site: Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates.

If you are looking for a new look and don't want to spend money for someone else to design it for you, check this site out!

I am quite happy with my new look. Give me a few days to get all of my links and other sidebar goodies back up and running.

So....what do YOU think of my new look?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Maybe Next Time....

Yet another appointment with the plastic surgeon for Daniels burn today, and while we were hoping and praying it would be the last, it wont be....

I guess it is all looking well, just not completely healed yet. Next appointment is on Halloween. Will update more then. Hopefully next time will be the last time.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ships Ahoy!

Here are the photos taken on the aircraft carrier.


Future Pilot?


Yikes!
Enlisted quarters
Officers Quarters, college pays!

Re-fueling
My sister hard at work
This is cool!










Quite a fun adventure!

Aloha!

My very lucky 17 year old son just got back from a short trip to Hawaii followed by a week long cruise aboard a Navy aircraft carrier. His aunt is in the Navy and had the opportunity to bring my son along on a "Tiger Cruise." This was great for him as it gave him the opportunity to experience first hand what Navy life is like. We were hoping this would help him determine whether indeed he really does want to enlist next year or not.

While he had a great time, he did decide that he will go to college first and if he still wants to go in after, he will go in as an officer and a helicopter pilot! We are happy with this news.

This post will be of his trip to Hawaii, followed by a second post containing the photos aboard the aircraft carrier.
Not a bad looking kid huh?











Son and his aunt(my sister)