Friday, December 30, 2011

End of 2011

Amy over at Keeping up with the Schultz Family had a fun 2011 wrap up post and I thought it would be fun to play along for my 300th post.  If you want to use the list go visit her and leave a note so others can check out your list too.

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?
I got my first ever pedicure.  I know it's terrible, I am over 30 and never had a pedicure in my life.  My husband treated me to one at a day spa for Mother's Day and it was fab!!!

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Not a resolution kind of girl, but it was a great year anyway!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Man, everyone and their cousin was pregnant this year.  Of those who already gave birth my sorority friend Wendy, one of Dustin's co-workers, some old friends from high school.  There are many on the way in the coming months including Brandi, my sorority friends Robin and Amanda, two more of Dustin's co-workers, and I'm sure there are more that I am currently forgetting.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Nope this was a good year in which I lost no one close to me, thank God!

5. What countries did you visit?
None.  For states I visited Colorado, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Nebraska, and Iowa.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
A new job for my husband so we can move closer to family!

7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
The Japan earthquake and Tsunami happened on Dustin's birthday, and it was obviously horrible for those people.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I finished Austin's quilt, that's right it's done, post to follow soon!!!  On the Austin front we conquered potty training and lost the binky which were huge!

9. What was your biggest failure?
I was contacted by a lady who wanted me to demo some scrapbooking software and then host a giveaway here at Sarann Rap.  I could never get the software to finish downloading to my computer, so I failed and never did host the giveaway.  Boo!

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I had a bone contusion on my left knee, but not sure if it was a new injury or that I re-aggravated an old injury.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A portable DVD player for my car.  We took a 2,600+ mile road trip to my in-laws for Thanksgiving and it was a lifesaver in the car for my two-year-old.  I just realized I never did a blog about how the trip went, sheesh!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
I think for this one I feel compelled to go with no one specific, but say volunteer firefighters.  I hear a lot of people giving props to our troops, which don't get me wrong I love my freedom and appreciate them risking their lives for me, but I think volunteer firefighters really put their life on the line in similar ways and get very little credit.  They aren't making any kind of salary, except possibly a small stipend, and have to devote tons of personal time to training.  It's a huge sacrifice for their families and they play such a vital role in communities that are too small to afford paid firefighters.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
The members of Congress who are trying to enforce the "cut it or shut it" thinking.  Despite what some people think there are very good people who work for the Federal Government and when they string us out and threaten to shut down the government it effects people and wastes so much more money.  They have the Federal Agencies so afraid and on edge that they are not hiring, even for jobs that are necessary and we haven't seen an applicable job announcement now since August.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Gas, food, travel

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Switching Austin to the Learning Center and seeing all the developmental progress he made since being in a learning environment instead of just daycare.

16. What song will always remind you of 2011?
I think my favorite song of the year was "Little Lion Man" by Mumford and Sons.  LLM also makes me think of President Obama, but I'm not trying to get political with that statement, just saying it makes me think of him and as a sign of the times which is relevant to the year.

Another song that got played the heck out of around here was Hot Chelle Rae's "Tonight, Tonight" so I will thinking of that song for 2011.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer?
(a) happier (b) fatter (just a couple of pounds) (c) richer (but still not financially rich)

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Baking- I would get so busy with life and I didn't bake much so we would eat more store bought processed snacks.  I will do better this year!

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Wasting time on Facebook, but everybody needs a little mindless down time, right?

20. How did you spend Christmas?
It was a great Christmas at home.

21. Did you fall in love in 2011?
I have been in love since 2003 with my husband, and 2008 with my son!

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Survivor- both seasons were awesome!

23. Do you hate anyone now that you did not hate this time last year?
Hate is such a strong word!!! There are people I dislike more, but I can't say I honestly hate them.

24. What was the best book you read?
I am a blog reader, no time for books for me.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
It's not really a discovery, but it was great to see Soundgarden back together, Chris Cornell never sounded better!!!

26. What did you want and get?
My Christmas present- a Canon T3i Digital SLR, love it!!!

27. What did you want and not get?
A new job for Dustin and a chance to move closer to family.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
I love, love, loved Bridesmaids, what a funny movie.  Plus I got to have a ladies outing which was much needed and fun!

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
We were in San Diego, California on our anniversary celebration trip and we went to the beach and to old town for dinner where we ate at the Old Town Mexican Cafe then walked around.  I turned 33, and every year keeps getting better!

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I'm beginning to sound like a broken record- a new job and chance to move.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
Business casual work attire- mostly Carhartts and a nice shirt.

32. What kept you sane?
My family, they love me and I love them.  Nothing else really matters!

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I'm not a big celebrity follower, I don't know, maybe Gabby Giffords for her strength and courage.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
I'm not going back there again, see #13.

35. Who did you miss?
My family.  I saw them all at some point this year, but I dislike living so far on a regular basis.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
I'm having a hard time coming up with new people that I met.  I live in a tiny little community and rarely meet someone new after 7 years.  I did have fun in April when I went to Colorado for my Sorority- Sigma Alpha's 20th Anniversary at CSU Celebration and got to meet with the girls who are currently active in the sorority.

Also, I feel like I already knew them from Brandi's blog, but I got to meet her husband Mike and daughter Marlee face-to-face for the first time this spring when they came to our house to visit.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011?
 It's ongoing, but cease the moment.  Life passes by so quickly and you only have this brief moment to take advantage and make the things happen that make you happy. 

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
 From "Circle" by Harry Chapin
It seems like I've been here before;
I can't remember when;
But I have this funny feeling;
That we'll all be together again.
No straight lines make up my life;
And all my roads have bends;
There's no clear-cut beginnings;
And so far no dead-ends.

Thursday, December 29, 2011


1. What's the oldest piece of clothing in your closet?

Hmmm, I guess I would have to go with a sweater that I crocheted in high school for 4-H.  I never wear it and keep it for sentimental reasons.  I was just thinking about it when Linda at Craftaholics Anonymous posted a tutorial about making a sweater pillow.  In my guest room closet I have about 4 western shirts that I sewed in high school that I never wear now, but also hold sentimental value because I made them and wore them during that phase of my life.

2. How many random blog readers have you met?

I'm not sure what classifies as "met", like in real life face-to-face?  If so only one of my readers, Brandi, who I met and became friends with a long time ago back in college before I became a blogger.  I have a few blog readers on Facebook, some of them I became acquainted with through the WebMD parenting and pregnancy boards.   I haven't met them in person, but in some cases I feel like I know them better than my real life face-to-face friends.

One of my nieces and a cousin have checked in on my blog a time or two as well and I of course have seen them face-to-face.  Come to think of it, I think my sisters have checked in a time or two, although they have never left a comment.

I guess you never really know who all visits your blog if they don't leave comments, so who knows if there is anyone else that I have met.

3. Do you let your kids stay up till midnight on New Years Eve? (Or, if you don't have kiddos yet, did you get to stay up until midnight as a child?)

Austin is only two, so no he hasn't stayed up until midnight on New Years Eve.  Last year we put him to bed at regular time and then we played board games and had a fun evening just the two of us at home.  We are going to my brothers house who has three older kids this year, so I don't know if Austin will feel compelled to stay up with them, or most likely I think he will get tired and want to go to sleep, maybe just a little later than usual.  

4. What are the gas prices where you live?


5. What is one resolution that you know you should do but are too afraid to try?

I'm not a big resolution person.  I figure I always know what I should strive to be doing to make myself a better person and don't need one day on the calendar to inspire me.  I can't really think of anything at the moment that I am afraid to try, I am a pretty daring person and not afraid to challenge myself.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas weekend

We had a great Christmas weekend.  Saturday we attempted to go sledding.  Dustin and I had fun, but Austin was a party pooper.  He was mostly over the HFMD, but still not 100% and on one of the initial runs that he did I forgot to make sure that he had a good grip on the sled so he ended up wiping out and got snow all over his face and neck. 



Saturday night we went to our local churches version of midnight Mass at 7:00pm.  Austin was a bit squirrely, but did well overall.  Afterwards we drove around looking at Christmas lights on our way home.


Sunday morning was so awesome, my dream Christmas.  Austin had a BLAST opening gifts and stuck with it this year until all were opened.  Then all day he took turns playing with everything and really enjoyed himself.  The weather was nice enough in the afternoon to go out in the backyard and play with his new T-ball set.  Beside the T-ball he got a Tough Trike, Candy Land game, and tub toys from Santa, a sports ball set with a football, baseball, basket ball and soccer ball, a play tent, books, a Diego doll, new jammies and a new penguin.  The only down side was with all the commotion he did not nap, but at least he went down easily that night.  We had a huge turkey dinner that was so yummy!





Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thursday ramble

Here it is Thursday again. 

I was so on the Christmas train and everything was going well until Austin got sick last weekend and now everything is on hold and I'm having a hard time getting back into the spirit.  We did get a final diagnosis yesterday after one of his Learning Center buddies went to his doctor and was diagnosed with hands, foot and mouth disease.  We took Austin back in yesterday after hearing that news and sure enough, he has the spots on his feet and hands now.  The doctor prescribed some mouth wash that numbs so we squirted that in Austin's mouth last night and he was able to eat a serving of mac n cheese, which was such an improvement.  He was also finally happy again last night and ran around our living room with energy that we haven't seen in a while.  And on top of that last night he woke up crying at midnight, but then slept from then until 9:30 this morning.  Let me tell you, I feel so much better after an almost full night of sleep after three nights of waking every 1-2 hours!

I finally found my office keys.  On Tuesday I was tired at work from being up all night and I went to take a walk to get fresh air.  On a whim I checked out the keys for the car I drove to Santa Fe and sure enough they were nestled under the drivers seat.  I'm sure at least 20 people have driven that car since I have, but no one found them in that whole month. 

Tomorrow is our annual Christmas brunch at work.  We report for work at 8:00 like usual and then at 9:30 go to the community center where we have brunch and exchange gifts, then we are dismissed for the rest of the day. 

We are heading down to Phoenix for New Years weekend to spend time with my brother and his kids.  I actually just typed something out about that weekend, but then realized that my niece sometimes reads my blog and I talked about the gift they are getting so I deleted it so I don't ruin her surprise.

We were hoping to have friends over for Christmas dinner, but since Austin has this disease we will be dining alone since we don't want to expose any of our friends' kids.  I am going to do a turkey dinner since we traveled for Thanksgiving, but I bought a turkey with my vouchers they give out at the grocery store for purchases.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Wacky weekend

This was a super busy weekend with a bunch of activities all lined out.  It started out good, but then Austin got sick and all things fell apart after that.

Saturday morning we got up and Dustin made breakfast.  Then I took Austin to the grocery store while Dustin cleaned up the house for my cookie party.  The grocery trip was great because they were having their annual holiday festival where they have the school string ensemble playing Christmas tunes, Santa for the kids and free samples in all the departments.  We lucked out and got to Santa when there were no other kids around so we got to take our time and ease into it.  Austin talked to Santa for a bit before he was OK with sitting on his lap, but a far better experience then last year.

When we got home it was time to watch the New Mexico Bowl featuring Wyoming and Temple.  It was horrible, Wyo got slaughtered and it was not even close or pretty.  
When Austin woke from his nap we headed out for the Tribal Community Christmas Party.  It's a huge event for the tribe and employees that includes dinner, activities, and Santa where he gives each child a gift.  We made it through dinner, but Austin hardly ate anything and was whiny.  Then before the got to Santa he was out right crying and asking to go home.  After some negotiating we decided it was best to skip out and head home.  He had also felt warm after he woke up from his nap and his temp was around 99 at that time.  

He slept good Saturday night, but Sunday he was pretty irritable and still had no appetite.  He went down for a nap, but woke up crying after about 40 minutes.  I decided that I had better cancel the cookie baking party so I alerted everyone through Facebook and called some to let them know.  We hung out all afternoon and he was pretty cranky.  

That night he was up about every hour-two hours screaming.  I had to take him in the living room and put on his favorite dinosaur video to get his mind off of screaming each time.  Monday morning I took him to the doctor first thing.  It was the first time Austin has seen the new doctor and it did not go well.  Since he was in a lot of pain he was very combative and uncooperative.  I had to hold him down while the doctor looked at his ears, then we both had to pin him down and pry his mouth open to look at his throat.  The doctor was unable to do a swab test of the throat, but said he could see that it was very red and that his right ear was red, so he was going to put him on antibiotics anyway. 

We started those right away, but he still had a super rough night.  At least the screaming was tamed down to where I could just go in and rock him back to sleep when he woke up.  Dustin kept him home from school today so he could continue to rest.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thursday thoughts

Here it is Thursday, December 15, only 10 more days until Christmas!  Are you excited or overwhelmed at this point?  I am mostly done and ready.  I mean I still have some stuff to do, but all shopping is done, Christmas cards are mailed, and most things are shipped that needed to be shipped.  I just have to focus on wrapping presents and cleaning my house for the big Christmas cookie shindig this weekend!  Here are some other thoughts:
  • Austin is starting to say really funny things now.  I know I already forgot some since I have been busy, but yesterday I go to the Learning Center to pick him up and I go in and he comes up and gives me a hug.  I pick him up and am holding him while we wait for the other little guy that I drive home to finish putting away his toys.  Austin looks out the window and points to my car and says excitedly "look Mommy is here." 
  • I have been in Christmas music mode and I had a Veggie Tales Christmas CD in my car.  It has 25 songs on it, but the vast majority are very traditional Christian songs and really not very kiddish even though it is Veggie Tales.  Since the boys I drive are from Atheist families I thought I should try to get some more neutral songs.  I downloaded a collection of 20 Christmas kids songs from Itunes that had both religious and fun themed songs.  I tried playing them, but they have been bored with those songs, so I tried my Tran-Siberian Orchestra- Christmas Eve Sarajevo 12/24 and they LOVED IT!  We listened to it about five times on the way to school this morning.
  • I thought I lost my most beloved Christmas ornament.  I went through the main tote with ornaments and it was not there even though the other ornament that is like it was in there.  When I was 11 I was in a horrible car accident that I nearly died in.  I had broken ribs, a broken femur and lacerated forehead.  We were on our way to visit my Mom in the hospital who had surgery the day before and someone crossed the highway without stopping at the stop sign so we t-boned them.  Earlier that day at Religious Education class, the Sister from our church gave me an angel Christmas ornament to give to my Mom.  I had put it in the ash tray of the car and it survived the crash.  The matching ornament has the three wise men on it and was given to me by the same Sister when I was recovering in the hospital. My Mom thought I should have the angel since it was with me in the car accident and I have had it on my tree every year since. Luckily when I went through the tote that had other household decorations the angel was laying in the bottom.
  • I have misplaced my work keys and it is driving me nuts because I can't remember where I had them last.  November was a crazy month for me since I was sick a good portion of it, I traveled to Santa Fe, NM for work and then we went on our big road trip to Iowa for Thanksgiving.  So my memory is pretty much wiped from before all that.  It kind of seems like I remember putting them away before my trip, but have not found them in any of my logical places.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

So many things to write about...

... and yet so many other things to get done.  Here are some photos of what we have been up too:
Working on a gingerbread house kit.
We went to the tribes hunt luncheon on the mountain yesterday.  Austin had fun going in and out of the fence and later playing in the snow.

And finished!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Cookie Baking Party

So I started my annual cookie baking party about when I moved here, so about 7 years ago.  I took at least one year off when I was pregnant.  It was inspired by my older sister who used to have cookie parties in college.  The first year I did it I was pretty broke and tried to get everyone to bring an ingredient for the sugar cookies, like a bag of flour, a bag of sugar, etc.  A few people who said they were going to come did not and one person who did come brought margarine, which I know it's picky of me, but I like real butter for baking. Also I found it's really hard and time consuming to mix the doughs when everyone is there so I like to have at least two double batches of sugar cookie dough pre-made in the fridge. So after that year I decided to just make the dough and frostings with my own ingredients.

So, I make sugar cookie dough, and buttercream and powdered sugar frosting ahead of time.  I set up my kitchen as the baking station, so we roll dough on my island and use the counters for mixing/pans, etc.  Then baked cookies go into my dining room where I have the frostings, sprinkles, and my cake decorating gear for beautification.  People can bring their own sprinkles or special cookie cutters as well and usually I end up with the left over sprinkles.  One year I had a coworker come who was Jewish and she brought her Hanukkah cutters.
Cutting/baking in the kitchen, cider is in the crockpot on the counter.

Decorating in the dining room.
I serve appetizers and usually either put them on my hutch buffet, or set up a folding table in the living room.  Every year I make a smokey cheese ball, and it is now a staple and people would be disappointed if I didn't.  Other appetizers have included mushroom caps, crostini with tapenade, bruschetta, bread sticks with marinara, bread bowl with spinach dip and veggie dippers, and potato skins.  I also serve my mother-in-laws yummy spiced apple cider and have soda, milk, water, coffee, and tea to drink as well.

Two parties ago I had a lot of people show up and we didn't have many cookies per person to take home so I also added an exchange element where I ask people to bring 3-4 dozen other kinds of cookies, or candies and trade so everyone takes home a plate of delicious goodies.

Things that I have found to be helpful logistically:
  • Have plenty of aprons for guests
  • Borrow extra folding tables for places to put the decorated cookies to dry
  • Have some cookies baked before the party so some guests can start decorating while others start baking, otherwise you end up with a jam and not enough for people to do.


Oh Friday how I love you!  I am ready for a fun date night tonight as we drop Austin off at a friends house and attend my employee Christmas party, here I come prime rib!  Tomorrow morning after I pick up my bountiful basket we are heading to the big city to finish our Christmas shopping and catch Puss in Boots.  Then that evening we will go to the local Christmas festival and parade of lights.

If you are in the holiday spirit head over to My Little Life for some Christmas 5QF fun:

1. What is your favorite Christmas cookie?
I love a lot of cookies, but there is nothing like a beautifully decorated sugar cookie.  Since I love them so much each year I host a cookie baking party where we bake and decorate beautiful works of edible art while visiting and munching on yummy appetizers and sipping hot cider.  My party will be on Sunday, December 18th and I can hardly wait!

2. What's your favorite holiday movie & why?
Hands down my favorite is "A Christmas Story" LOVE IT!  Especially now that I have an adorable round-faced, blued eyed, sweetheart of my own.  

Of course I don't feel that guns should be given as a Christmas gift, which I know my father-in-law already has plans to load Austin up with a small arsenal of his own, but I hope that we can encourage those gifts to be held to a month later as birthday gifts.

3. Is there a gift that you bought for your kids that you wish you hadn't after they opened it?

 Austin is only two, so no not really yet.  I guess along those lines there are a few toys I have purchased that ended up being duds, so along those lines there are a few, but I can't think of a specific example at the moment.

4. What is the messiest room in your house right at this moment?

Our office, it's my sewing/craft room and a catch all for paperwork and stuff.  I need to go through and clean it up and especially go and organize the closet that is about to explode.

5. What is the furthest you have driven for the holidays?

 We live FAR from our families, so we put on the miles.  Its about 1,360 miles from our house to Dustin's parents house.  I remember the first Christmas we made that trip we could only take off a week.  We were so exhausted that we vowed to only do that trip again if we could take two weeks to do it.  

We just went back there for Thanksgiving and did it in a week and a half and it was tight, but manageable.  I pray that we are able to find a new job and move closer in 2012!

Also, for Christmas now we have decided to stay home and start our own family traditions, so no more crazy trips in the dead of winter for us!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Advent Calendar

My advent calendar is up and so is the Nativity set, so now I can share a photo.

I got the idea/pattern from

I wanted it to have more of a religious tone so I used Nativity stickers for the tags:

Each pocket holds a Ghirardelli chocolate and one of the tags.  After you remove the chocolate you hang the tag from the button.

I originally tried to hang it from the Santas that are on either side of the entertainment center, but when I filled the pockets with chocolate it was too heavy and they came crashing to the floor.  I bought some little hooks with screws and put them into the entertainment center, which is holding beautifully.

I like that with this design I can change it up by making new tags or changing the ribbons between the pockets.

Photo Card

Candy Cane Stripes Christmas
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View the entire collection of cards.

Friday, December 2, 2011


I know my post from yesterday was pretty heavy, so I'm participating in 5QF for some lighthearted fun today.  Head over to Mama M.'s to play along.

1. What is your favorite Christmas decoration in your house?
That for some reason is a tough one, I suppose it would be the tree since it is full of sentimental ornaments, and we go cut down a tree from the forest where my husband works.  On the other hand I also really enjoy my Christmas cards as I hang them from a ribbon and enjoy the photos and sentiment that they bring.  I hope in this E world that Christmas cards don't go by the wayside.

2. Do you finish your Christmas shopping early or are you a last minute type?
I used to be a Christmas Eve at the mall type of girl, but since I moved to 20 miles past the middle of nowhere, that doesn't work.  I usually have my shopping done by at least two weeks out to allow time for mailing/delivery.  We are planning our big final ho-rah shopping trip for December 10, but I do already have a lot done now from online and black Friday. 

3. When do you turn on your heat?
This seems like a strange question as it's usually a response to when it gets cold, which can vary.  Usually it's some time in October, but we can fluctuate between heat and AC depending on how the weather behaves.

4. Do you ever wish your blog was private?
Hmmm, another strange one.  If I wanted my blog to be private what would be the point?  At that point it's a journal, so no, I blog to blog.  Honestly though I suppose sometimes there are things I would like to write about that skip since I don't want to offend anyone, and you never know who reads your blog.

5. Do you put your deodorant on before of after you put on your shirt?
My routine is exit the shower, dry off, DO, contacts, brush teeth, then into bedroom to get dressed.  DO before shirt, check!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

12 Years

This post may will trigger emotions, so read at your own risk...

Today I am thinking about my sweet nephew Joseph Trey.  Today I should be making a call to wish him the happiest 12th birthday and it should be a day of celebration.  It's hard for me to picture a 12 year old Joseph, in my mind he is always that precious tiny baby I held 12 years ago today.

My day started very early that morning with a phone call to wake me.  As I came to alertness it hit me that it must be "the call" to let me know that Joseph was born.  When I answered however it was my other brother Doug's voice on the other end.  My thoughts of joy were immediately replaced with panic and fear since I knew that it would only be Doug if things went wrong.  I asked if the baby had been born and he said "yes, but" and I interrupted and said "did Kristen not make it?" and he said no she's ok, so then I asked "the baby?" and he said the cord was wrapped around the his neck and he did not make it.

My immediate response was to throw on clothes and head to my brother George's house.  My roommate at the time was now awake and I told her what had happened.  She offered to drive me over, but I declined since I had no concept of what was going to happen, or when I would return.  I got in my truck and drove over.

When I got there my Mom was there and the two older boys were still in bed asleep.  George and Kristen were still at the hospital.  All that I remember from that point was thinking that their house was totally prepped for Joseph, his name was on the fridge with magnets, the nursery was all set up, the boy's "big brother" ribbons were set out on the table and then thinking about if it would be appropriate to take down or hide some of that.  I opted not to.  I'm glad that I didn't because they left those fridge magnets up for quite some time.

The boys woke up on the early side and I remember going in there and telling JP who was about 22 months at the time "you sure are an early bird" and to that he started saying "tweet, tweet, tweet".  Mom and I got the boys up and going.  George and Kristen came home later that morning and were understandably distraught.  They went into their room and rested while we entertained the boys.

Eventually when other family arrived and George came back out he said we could go and see Joseph at the hospital, so Mom and I went.  I remember walking in and the nurses knew right away where to direct us.  I'm sure they mostly get to be around happy people who are ecstatic about bringing life into the world and it's incredibly hard when a baby is lost.  They took us into his private room where they had him swaddled in a blanket in a bassinet.  He was so perfect, it seemed like he should just open his eyes.  Mom and I took turns holding him for a while.  It was so hard to lay him back in the bassinet and walk away, I can't imagine how George and Kristen were able to do that.

So today I remember baby Joe and try to imagine what he would be like today.  He had a head full of dark hair at birth, but the other four boys have some variation of blond, so I wonder if his would have lightened up. The other four boys have some variation of brown eyes, from dark brown to hazel, so I wonder if he would have had brown eyes, or would they have been blue since my brother's eyes are blue and Kristen's siblings each have blue eyed kids.  It's hard to imagine, and think about how differently things would have been had he made it.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Our Thanksgiving trip Christmas card out-takes, why is it so hard to get a good photo of three of us?

So I'm torn, I would really like to order them now, but I don't really love any of these.  I'm trying to decide if I should wait until this weekend when we go cut down our Christmas tree and try to get a better one, or go with the slide photo and add an inset photo of just Austin, what do you think?  I think I need some of my photographer blog buddies to fly here ASAP!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


We are back safe and sound from our awesome, whirlwind trip.  It will take me a while to share memories and photos from the whole trip, but I wanted to check in and let you know that it is coming.  I wish that I would have had my computer with us so I could write everything as it was happening, but we weren't able to pick it up from Geek Squad until tonight.  For now I am off to bed as I am back to work tomorrow.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


So as you know I was gone all this week to Santa Fe for the conference.  Dustin is such a trooper, he had the week from hell while I was gone and managed to keep it all together.  He had a huge project going at work that had to be done this week.  They got a bunch of equipment to do a drill seeding project, that is where seeds are planted by drilling them into the ground instead of plowing it up first.  They were planting a variety of native seeds to help improve the area for wildlife and livestock grazing.

The first bad thing to happen was he was supposed to have a crew of four to assist him, but one of his assistants is 20 weeks pregnant, so limited on what she can do, another guy who he was counting on to be a big help, and a lady from the other agency sponsoring the work.  Early in the week the guy pulled a muscle in his back and is now out on sick leave, so that put more of the work back on Dustin's shoulders.  On Wednesday he went out by himself to try and complete the work.  One of the tasks also included throwing out by hand a certain type of seed that cannot be drill seeded.  He started throwing it out with his right hand, but eventually got tired so he switched to his left hand.  Part way in he thought about the fact that his wedding ring was fitting a little loose lately and decided to take it off.  When he went to do that he saw that it was already gone, he flung it out with the seed!

He of course was devastated, and trying to come up with a plan to find it ASAP, like by this Saturday since we are leaving on Sunday and there is a good chance a big snow will set in up there and cover the area until next spring.  He had a field trip already planned for Thursday, so could not search then.  Friday he got a metal detector and set out hoping to find it quickly.  The search was not going so well and he was getting to the point that he needed to work on wrapping up his equipment and head back to town.  Then one of the District Archaeologists, who is also a good friend of ours, showed up to finish up her part of the project.  She asked if Dustin found the ring yet and he said no, but he would come back on Saturday to look.  She said she wanted to look around a bit, so he showed her the area.  Now as you  may, or may not know, Archaeologists are trained to look for small human artifacts on the ground, so it's no wonder that eagle eyes was able to spot it!!!  We owe her big time, I am still amazed that she found it!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Back for a second

I am back from Santa Fe and wanted to check in quickly before we head our for our Thanksgiving family trip.

The trip was great, I wish that I would have taken along a camera so I could share photos.  I drove across northern Arizona to northern New Mexico and then down, and it is just some amazing and wild country.  I saw such cool rock formations.

The resort was fabulous, very fancy.  Although it comes at a price, I went to eat dinner with some colleagues one night at the resort and my dinner was $38, and it was nothing special.  And if you wanted internet it was $10/day so I did not even take my computer.  When I got there I saw they had a business center, so I went to check it out because every other hotel I've ever stayed at had free internet access in their business center, but nope, they had a credit card swiper and you got the first 10 minutes free, but after that it was $0.50/minute.  The first time I tried to check my email and Facebook I got charged $1.50, but the second time I had to fork over $5.00 and I didn't even have time to get to my blogs!

The conference was great.  I spoke with one of the coordinators and she said they thought they might have 100-150 people participate, but they ended up having over 350.  There were people there from all over the country.  I was a bit taken back during the very first session that I went to, it was given by a woman from the mid-west who I had never met before, but during her presentation she showed a picture of me teaching my kids.  In the big picture I don't mind if EPA folks use my photos, but it just seemed kind of weird that I wasn't asked for permission in this case and it made me wonder how many times my photos have been used with out me knowing it.  In between one of the sessions a man came up to me and introduced himself and said he saw a talk that I gave at conference 2 years ago and wanted to tell me that he appreciated what I had to say and that I got some of the cultural significance related to the topic I was speaking about.  He also remembered Austin as that is the conference that I took Austin to when he was about 9 months old and he was a handful!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Appointments, appointments

As I mentioned yesterday I booked two appointments today to take advantage of the Veteran's Day Holiday.  This morning Austin and I drove over for his very first dentist appointment.  Overall I would say it went well, the dentist said he did great for his first visit.  He loved the waiting room and all the fun toys they had in there.  Then we went back, which he was unhappy about until he saw their huge fish tank.  The Hygienist let him feed the fish which he loved.  He got to pick out a toothbrush and the flavor of the tooth polish.  She showed him each of her tools- the suction thing, the water squirter and the tooth polisher.  Then we tried to lay him on the bench and he was not having it even though they had a movie screen above it with The Lion King playing.  So I sat on the bench and held him in my lap, but he kept his mouth open and let her polish his teeth and then apply fluoride.  She asked him if he would let her take a picture of his teeth, but he was having nothing to do with the x-ray room so we skipped it. 

The dentist came in and was a little rushed and loud which I think intimidated Austin and he clammed up.  We had to resort to holding him down and forcing his mouth open so the dentist could check out his teeth. Everything was great and the dentist said his mouth was very clean and healthy so we should keep up what we are doing.  He did mention that he could tell Austin uses a binky and that we should try to limit that as much as possible as after the age of three their bones harden up and they stay permanently out of alignment if they continue to suck on a binky or thumb.  After Austin picked out a rubber duck prize we went to Walmart and did some shopping before heading home.

This afternoon I went to talk to the doctor about my MRI results.  Turns out that my meniscus, ligaments and muscles are all fine.  The injury is that I have a bone contusion, which are slow healing and could be from when I fell while pregnant three years ago.  It rubs against my patella and causes the crepitis.  He said I also still have a small cyst on the back of my knee that is no problem as long as it is not painful.  If it swells again they can drain it to relieve the pain.  For now I just need to get a knee brace that has extra patella support to wear when I hike or exercise and avoid contact sports and skiing.  I am so happy that I don't need surgery on it!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


It's Friday, eleven, eleven, eleven!

Have some fun and head over to Mama M.'s to play along:

1. What's the last thing you spent too much money on?

A tank of gas!!!  Probably enough said, but I miss the days of my youth when gas was less than a dollar a gallon!!!

2. What celeb chef would you want to make you dinner?

I'm not big on the celebrity cooking shows, so I don't really know many to chose from.  I did watch an episode of Dr. Oz the other day when I was home sick and he had Paula Deen on there and she seemed like a lady who could cook, so there you go, some nice deep fried southern food!

3. Where do you hide things when visitors pop over or do you let them see the real deal?

Depends on what the item is, toys get shoved in the end tables or toy box, that is probably the first thing to get stashed.  The other day we were supposed to have a showing of our house and I shoved the dish drying rack, which ends up being a catch all for a collection of random kitchen items that have no where else better to go, from the counter to under the sink with all of the miscellaneous things in it.  Office clutter goes in the desk drawers.  I think that is pretty much it, those are my main clutter zones.

4. Who is your oldest living family member?
Well, on my Mom's side she is pretty much the oldest as most of her family has passed now.  I guess it depends on how distant the relative is because she does have an Aunt, my Great-Aunt Bernie who just had a birthday this week and she turned 88.  
On my Dad's side, my Dad's older brother, my Uncle John is the oldest living member.  I can't exactly remember how old, but he is in his late 80's.  My Dad was one of eleven kids and sadly only three are left. 

5. What is your favorite DQ treat and/or Sonic drink combo (ie: cherry vanilla dr. pepper)?
I don't really do Sonic, one has never been close or convenient, so I don't have a flavor there.  I once in a blue moon go to DQ and if I want an ice cream treat I go with either a cookies n cream, or a chocolate chip cookie dough blizzard.   If I am thirsty I go with a cherry slush, or whatever they are calling them these days since they seem to change the name every time I go there.  

Thursday thoughts

Here it is Thursday already!  I guess time flies when you only work a two day week.  On Tuesday I tried to come to work, but my boss sent me home because I was still coughing like crazy.  I snuck back yesterday and am here today even though I am still coughing because I have NO sick leave left after taking off when Austin was sick and now for me.  I think I am over the illness otherwise, but just can't kick this cough and I am sick of it!  

Tomorrow I have the Veteran's Day Holiday off.  I will be taking Austin in for his first dentist appointment.  No problems yet, just having them checked.  We are driving 58 miles so that he can go to a pediatric dentist, I hope it all goes well.  I will also be visiting with my doctor in the afternoon as I called yesterday to get my MRI results and was told "she wants you to come in so you can talk about your options."  That is never what you want to hear when you call in for test results!

Here is what else is on my mind in bullet form:
  • Did I mention that Dustin got a deer last weekend?  He didn't get a buck, but got a good sized doe.  He took it in to have jerky and sausage made.  I'm apprehensive because deer meat usually makes me sick to my stomach, so I hope that whatever seasonings they use help kick the gamey-ness that always gets to me.  
  • I am heading off to Santa Fe next week for work.  In one way I am excited because it will be nice to get away and I am staying here, but then the mom in me worries and feels guilty for leaving.  I used to travel for work a lot before I had Austin, but now try to travel as little as I can possibly get away with.
  • I started to work on my Advent calendar last night.  I got all the pocket pieces cut out.  I will be working on the quilt again now, but I wanted to have these pieces ready so I can work on it while I am in Santa Fe.
  • My husband's Grandmother is planning on coming to my In-laws for Thanksgiving dinner.  She is the only one left in that generation, so it is extra special when we get to see her and spend time with her.