Saturday, January 26, 2008

On Pins & Needles

Right now, Jeff is over with a friend of ours, who is a general contractor, doing an inspection on a house that we're trying to buy. Generally the inspection happens after you have an agreement, but this is a foreclosure & we want to know what we're getting in to in regards to what exactly we're going to have to fix. We know about a few things: new smoke detectors, new light switch plates, new carpet, a stove & a dishwasher, new garage door openers, and new ceiling panels in the basement. But, this house is worth SO much more, that we're willing to take on the responsibilities. We've already been pre-approved for a loan, but the bank that owns the house is being picky, so we have to get all our ducks in a row first. And just praying that someone else doesn't get their paperwork in before we do.
I'm trying not to get my hopes up about this house, but it's wonderful!!! I can't wait to post & say it's ours. We told Emma that if we buy this house (but in reality, any house) that she'll be going to a new school next year. I love her school, but it's a 20 minute drive out of town. It's a Charter school that's gone through many changes in the past 3 years. It's no longer a Charter, for one. We've had 3 different Principals in 3 years, the class sizes have gone from 12 kids to 25, there was even a scare that all the Elementary kids would be put into the same area as the junior high & high school kids (it goes from DK-12th grade) to save on heating! I love the teachers, I love the support that Emma gets there (she has speech & is in the resource room for reading) but with the cost of gas going through the roof, and us still only having 1 car, it's getting progressively more difficult to have her going there. If she went to one of the local public schools she could ride the bus (which she has been bugging me to do since she did it in Kindergarten), and her day wouldn't be as long. Yes, I'm worried that her education won't be as good, but I haven't been to the local schools, so I can't say it won't be. My biggest concern for her was back before K, when she was really behind, and the K system the local schools had in place just weren't what I wanted. But we still have a lot of time to go & check out what the schools are like now. Emma's mostly upset about leaving her friends. But, I told her, we're still going to live in the same town, and her friends will be able to come over & vice versa, even if she goes to a different school. I know it sucks switching schools, I did it a ton when I was younger, but it builds character. :)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Evan

Yesterday was my brother Evan's 20th birthday. Unfortunately, since we live about 2200 miles away from each other, it's hard to celebrate. Plus he's in college & has a girlfriend so that equals: we never hear from him. LOL BUT, I still wanted to wish him a happy birthday!!

This is Evan & his beautiful girlfriend Kelsey last summer at Tahoe. He's trying to act normal.

And this is his true self coming out. :) I think that's also known as the "Schmechel Stare" cause I think we all have it.

Anyhow, I hope your day was fabulous little brother!!!

Jeff & I are going to live forever

Fighting with your spouse can make you live longer: study

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Fighting with your spouse can actually be good for your health with people who bottle it all up found to die earlier, a new study shows.

Researchers at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and its Psychology Department released preliminary findings after 17 years of following 192 couples.

The couples fell into four categories: where both partners expressed anger when they felt unfairly attacked, where neither partner expressed their anger, and one category each for where the wife suppressed her feelings and where the husband did so.

"I would say that if you don't express your feelings to your partner and tell them what the problem is when you're unfairly attacked, then you're in trouble," said Ernest Harburg, lead author of the study, in an interview.

The study found that those who kept their anger in were twice as likely to die earlier than those who don't.

There were 13 deaths in the group of 26 pairs where both partners suppressed their emotions, as opposed to only 41 deaths in the remaining 166 pairs.

"When couples get together, one of their main jobs is reconciliation about conflict," Harburg said.

"Usually nobody is trained to do this. If they have good parents, they can imitate, that's fine, but usually the couple is ignorant about the process of resolving conflict."

Harburg said resentment was the real threat -- and suppressing anger led to resentment.

He said it is the resentment that interacts with any medical vulnerabilities a person might have, increasing their chances of succumbing to that medical problem.

"It's healthy to recognize that you're being attacked unfairly and it's even more healthy to speak up and to talk about it and try to resolve the problem if you want to live longer," said Harburg.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Ok, I haven't had to work outside the home pretty much since 2000. I did a stint when Jeff was on his second deployment but other than that, I've been extremely fortunate that we're able to make it on only 1 income. For that, I give homage to my wonderful husband who works so hard for us. :) And even when I WAS working, I only had 1 child, and it was only for 5 months. There were a couple times when I had to call in to work & say I wasn't coming in because Emma was sick, and I couldn't drop her off at daycare.

Fast forward to now, where I'm back in college, albeit only 3 days a week, and only one of those classes is during the day. NOW when one of my kids gets sick, I'm not missing work, I'm missing class. This can get complicated since one of my instructors has basically said: if you're not dying, it's not excusable. So I'm just hoping my explanation will be enough.

Sarah woke up Sunday night breathing funky. She was already congested from a cold, plus she had pink eye. Poor thing was miserable. But, this was scary, since I'd never heard her like this before, nor any of my kids. I don't have a pulse oximeter at home, so I couldn't get any readings as to whether or not she was getting enough oxygen. So, off to the ER we went, at midnight. Her O2 readings were normal, but she still sounded bad. The doc on call heard her do her weird breathing thing once & immediately said, that's stridor, she's got croup. ::sigh:: I kinda figured that's what it was, but since none of my kids had ever had that, I couldn't be sure. They give her a dose of decadron & a breathing treatment. The treatment she tolerated well, the nasty tasting medicine, not so much. They suctioned out her nose with an industrial strength snot-sucker (that thing's awesome, I want one), and said to wait & see how she reacted. We tried to rest, but something I don't think they realized (or didn't care) but both of those medications WIRE CHILDREN UP. So, instead of resting at 1am, she was all over the place, wanting to climb & explore. I was exhausted, and was trying to keep her from climbing up & grabbing the chest tubes off the shelf. I finally got her to calm down by laying down on the itty bitty ER bed with her. They decided that she sounded good, and at 2:15am we were sent home. With instructions that if she got worse, or didn't get better, to come back. Plus eye drops for her pink eye.

It was FREEZING as we were walking to the car, so before collapsing into bed when we got home, I took a sneak peek at to see what the temp was: a big fat 0, with a wind chill of -11. Welcome to Michigan. LOL

She's been doing ok this week, but this morning has a juicy cough, a nasty green nose, and was up half the night with the stridor thing again. When I got back from class, I sat with her in the steamy bathroom for about 20 minutes. Jeff was worried about her being upstairs, so we brought her down to the couch where she slept all night so we could hear her if she started to struggle again. So no school for her or me today.

So, back to the title of my post: empathy. I've always had empathy for working parents. My mother was one. And for most of my life, she was a single working parent. Which meant that when I was sick, she had to call in to work. And I remember being sick on a number of occasions. And I was only 1 kid. So with 3, when I start working, or even now while in college, this should be interesting. Definitely something new to deal with.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Let's Play a new Game

It's called: How many days in a row can we be stuck all together in the house without smacking each other with wooden spoons?? Argh, we just had a 3 day weekend, and we wake up this morning, all ready to go to school (me included), to find that 7 inches of snow fell on the ground, thus rendering the entire Mount Pleasant area unsafe. According to the schools. This is really ticking me off. Not because we end up being home together, but because this could all be avoided if the Road Commission had money. They decided this new year, that they couldn't afford to pay the people who plow the roads to work before 7am, or something like that. So, if it snows during the night, 95% of the roads don't start getting cleared until 7am. And that's only the main roads, of which there are 2 in our town. The rest are left for us to slip & slide along, and maybe by noon or 2 pm they'll have salt on them to help the snow melt. And if you're trying to get to someplace out of town (like Morey Public Academy) you're screwed. The road we travel to get there is barely plowed as it is, even if they've had all day.
I know the schools probably account for allowing a few snow days during the year, this being Michigan & all, and they're not naive. But, I think this is detrimental to our kids! If this continues, they'll be getting out of school in July. They're already in school until mid-June to begin with, as the state passed a law last year that said no publicly funded school can start until after Labor Day. They're missing school, and teachers have to jumble around their schedule to make sure they get everything in.
But the sad part is, I know that the problems with the roads aren't just during the winter: the roads themselves are a shambles. Potholes everywhere, the lines on the roads are so faded, I can barely tell where my lane ends, which is FUN when there's snow on the ground and you can't see the road anyhow. I know that reflectors on the lines aren't really viable since snowplows would scrape them up, but I also know that on Highway 50 to Lake Tahoe, they have reflectors that are embedded in the asphalt. They dug little divots in the road & stuck little reflectors in them, so the plows don't hit them. This would be great on freeways, when there's no lights along the road, and you can barely see. At least you'd be able to look at the lines in the road & know if you're in your lane or not.

Monday, January 21, 2008

For a great cause

An online friend of mine's daughter Rylee and her friend Maija have created a business, selling home-made, all-natural soaps & candles, with proceeds going towards Down syndrome awareness. Rylee's little sister Mayson, and Maija's little sister Isabella are their inspiration!! These girls are only 9 years old! Please go & check out their site & help out a great cause!!

Maybell's Soaps & Candles

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Let's haze the freshman

I'm officially a college freshman...again. Only 10 years apart, but hey, what can you do? I was supposed to start my classes yesterday, but we had some severe weather on Monday night, and a bolt of lightning hit a substation that services the campus, and they had no power until 6pm last night. So, my first class will be tonight. From 7-10pm. Oh, the joys of night classes. It's an Intro to Special Education class. My major is going to be Special Ed, with a minor in Early Childhood Education.

It's kind of exciting starting classes again. It should be interesting to say the least. My other class is a Computers in Society class. Jeff took it a couple years ago; he said it was cake. The final exam is making a document in Word. But, apparently the professor I have is the "She-witch" of the campus. Not very nice, derogatory towards her students, and you have a hard time understanding her. So, we shall see how it goes. Can I hold my tongue long enough to pass the class?? I don't know if I have more "guts" than the average college freshman, but I do NOT generally stand by while someone is being rude to me. If her reputation is true, then we might end up having a few "Professor discussions". I don't know how old this woman is, but if she's the same age as me or younger...yeah I might have a problem with her attitude. Sorry, not going to sit idly by & let someone try to bully me, even if they have a freaking Master's Degree.

Thankfully since one of my classes is a weeknight, that means I only have to get childcare for about 5 1/2 hours a week. It's mostly just for Katie anyhow, since Sarah will be at preschool during 90% of my class on Tues/Thurs. Jeff has a night class this semester, too. So, we'll have to juggle our schedules a bit, but it should be exciting!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Can't wait for this book


Well, the new year is here. It didn't come with a bang for our family, which was nice. We've had quite enough excitement around here, thank-you-very-much. Jeff & I didn't go out, we stayed in, playing Wow, because we're geeks. Emma asked if she could stay up til midnight, which has always been a goal of hers, though I don't know why. But, she did it! And she was plenty wide awake enough to give us a bit of a fight when we told her a mere 30 minutes later that she had to go to bed.

I was very happy that 2007 ended on such a quiet note. The last month or so of 2007 was enough of a whirlwind. I had started a couple posts to blog about the absurdity of our lives since Thanksgiving: having strep, twice; looong 15 hour car rides home with sick kids, having to stop every couple of hours to suck snot our of their noses so they could sleep; flight cancellations; flight delays; the 1st Class plane ride from hell; lost luggage; lost carseats; kids getting hurt at airports; not to mention the everyday puking & pooping. It was enough craziness to think that it just couldn't be real. I was almost ready to look around for hidden camera & people hiding behind bushes. I told Jeff it was like there was some huge cosmic joke being played on us, only I couldn't see the punchline.

There are so many things that have happened that I probably should have blogged about, but didn't. Not because I didn't want to, but because I was pretty wrapped up in my own despair & misery. A little girl on a DS board I go to was diagnosed with Leukemia. A mom of a little boy from the same board passed away from cancer. I'm slowly emerging from this fog that I've been in for awhile. So hopefully 2008 will bring about a resurgence of sorts for my blog.