Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

Take a moment today and remember all those who serve (past and present) who protect our freedom every day!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Shy's Surgery

I feel like I am so far behind in blogging, I don't even know where to begin. I hate that feeling...


Shy is doing well with her surgery. As well as can be expected I guess. Both of her back legs are a lot worse than the vet initially thought. He started off doing a cruciate repair to her back right leg, and ended up having to remove the majority of her meniscus as well. The vet is also concerned about her back left leg, since she is showing signs of this same injury in that leg, as well as having problems supporting her weight on it without the use of her right leg.

She is pitiful, I know. This picture was taken the day after her surgery when we brought her home. They kept her overnight, and since she is terrified of absolutely everything, I think the whole experience pretty much traumatized her.

The incision, with her staples. Staples that she has managed to rip out, get replaced and then rip out again. I don't think she's doing it on purpose, by chewing them or anything. I just don't think that her jumping up on the beds (which she isn't allowed to do) the day after surgery helped.

Her surgery was Tuesday, she came home Wednesday and by Friday she had lost a staple. I took her back Saturday to have it replaced, she went Monday for a check up and her K Laser therapy, and today that same staple is out as well as the one below it. I guess tomorrow I will call to see if they want to replace it again or wait until she goes back again next Monday for her check up.

It's going to be a slow recovery process for her. It will be up to 3 weeks before she starts to lower her leg to the ground, 3-6 weeks before she bears any weight on it, and up to 12 weeks before she is completely healed. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that her other leg holds up, although I'm already hearing the "popping" sound coming from it as well.

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Day of Pier Fishing

This past week, my brother, sister-in-law and nephew were in town. My brother loves to go fishing here, but it can be pricey to go deep sea fishing. We decided to head to the state park with the boys to do some fishing from the pier. That way my nephew and stepson (both 9) could fish, while the two younger ones could shark watch from the pier and play on the beach.

You can see in this picture my nephew lost one of his shoes.... off the pier.... 5 minutes after we arrived.... and 30 seconds after my brother told him to stop climbing on the railing or he was going to lose his shoes. But I went down to the beach and rescued it!

We ended up seeing a decent amount of sharks. Three at a time, each probably about 4 feet long. I wish I had been able to get some pictures of them, but I was too busy pointing them out. My degree is in Marine Science, so the highlight of the day for me was most definitely the sharks.

Of course, after while the little ones got antsy, so I took them down to play by the water. We were right by the pier so we could wave to Daddy. I can't even tell you the number of people who came to tell us we should move because of the sharks. We were in ankle deep water. Really? By no means will I EVER put my children in harms way, but I think I am fairly shark savvy and I'm preeeeety sure we were safe where we were.

Now I know sharks LOVE to frequent piers. Duh, they're getting fed. The fishermen are baiting the fish, and the fish in turn are bait for the sharks. Obviously the sharks go where the food supply is. But in my 4 1/2 years as a marine science student, I can assure you, if you have ever been in the ocean, at least knee deep, you have had a shark near you. You just didn't know it. I can't count the number of times I have been in the water, both shallow and deep, not a pier in sight, and had a shark so close to me I could reach out and touch it. It happens, you are in their turf.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying go and swim with them, that nothing will happen. Obviously it can. And I know people meant well, but looking at me like I'm insane for letting me kids play by the pier in ankle deep water was a little much.  But anyway....

 My husband and stepson.

Andrew wanted to fish too.

My nephew caught a blow fish.

Jaxson was hungry....

and Andrew was ready to go home and take a nap....

but not until he got one last peek at the water.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Our Happy New Edition

The other day I posted about the loss of two of our pets. The original post can be found here.  It was a very hard thing for our family, especially Jaxson. That's why we decided to rescue another cat from the shelter.

When we first walked up to the cats, Jaxson immediately went to a small, gray cat named Shadow. My husband and I observed for a few minutes, and it really seemed like the cat was just as drawn to Jaxson as he was to it. I wanted to make sure we took home the pet that was right for us, meaning it had to get along well with small children as well as large dogs. I asked the gentlemen who was working to rule out some cats that would not do well in a home with the dogs and kids. He narrowed it down to 4 cats for us, one of them was Shadow. We asked Jaxson to choose a cat, and Shadow it was. We were able to  take the cat into a room to see how they interacted. All seemed well so Shadow came home with us.

To be honest, I was hesitant. Shadow had been adopted previously, and the family brought her back saying they couldn't afford her. I was afraid maybe the cat had been a problem in some way, maybe scratching furniture or something. She definitely proved me wrong, she has been amazing. She wasn't fazed by the dogs at all, does well with the children, and is very loving (which was important to my husband). She has very quickly fit right in to the family.

Jaxson has renamed her "Happy" and so far, the name definitely fits.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Sad Goodbyes

This is a very bittersweet post for me. On the down side, we said sad goodbyes to beloved pets, but welcomed a new shelter rescue. I will write about the new edition in a separate post.

One of our cats, Hershey, has been missing for about 3-4 weeks now. I don't like to think about the endless number of possibilities that could have happened. Granted, he definitely wasn't the friendliest cat. For awhile we weren't even sure if he was male or female. Still, he was a member of the family and we definitely miss him. 

We sad a sad goodbye to our other cat Gabby, on April 3rd. We found out on March 22 that she had Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma . It was very hard for me, as I had rescued her from the shelter in 2002 while I was in college.

(Here she is after one (or both) of the boys decorated her with popcorn.)

It all started when my husband and I noticed a foul odor in her mouth. It was awful. We had changed her food, and I assumed it had something to do with that. I purchased some treats that help with tartar and bad breath but it didn't help. Then one morning, I woke up and she was drooling uncontrollably and her tongue was protruding from her mouth. I took her to the vet, and they noticed a sore in her mouth under her tongue. The vet seemed pretty sure it was the oral cancer, but did say there was a possibility it was an infection from a scratch, cut, etc. She put her on an antibiotic to see if it cleared up. It didn't. So on March 20th, I took her for a biopsy. The vet called with the results on the 22nd, and it was cancer. She was already on pain medication from the biopsy and we had to continue that and try to feed her soft food for as long as she could comfortably eat.  

After about a week, she completely stopped eating. Then she completely stopped drinking. She wanted to, bless her heart. The tumor was under her tongue, causing it to swell and stick out of her mouth, so the only way she was able to drink water was in the bath tub. She was able to "bite" at a small, steady stream of water, but was unable to lap any water up, the way cats normally do. She eventually was unable to drink at all, she would just sit and stare at the running water.  Her tongue had also turned white, I thought from dehydration, but the vet said it was just dead tissue.We knew then it was time to euthanize her, I couldn't bear to think she was going to die of hunger or thirst.

This is the picture my husband took at the vet's office when he took her to put her to sleep. I obviously didn't want to be the one to take her.  I know she looks awful in the picture, but this was after I had brushed her and cut the mated fur off of her. Her mouth bled, pretty much non stop, so she had a constant clump of bloody fur on her chest. Gross, I know. 

Jaxson asks where Gabby is, every. single. day. He's too young to have any concept of death, so all he understands is that she is sick and at the doctor. We decided for his birthday in July we would get him a cat since he misses Gabby so much.  I wanted to wait until closer to his birthday, but last weekend we went to "just look", as my husband said, and ended up bringing home a new family member. I will post about that tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

In our house, it seems like anytime we get a little (and I do mean a little) bit of money in the bank, something happens and drains our account once more. Does this happen to anyone else, or just us??

I graduated college in December of 2005 and even though I had a full time job, it seemed like I had an endless amount of time on my hands. I was used to attending classes every day from 8:30 am until 2:30 pm, then working 3-9 and full shifts on weekends. So I started volunteering at the local animal shelter. And ended up bringing home this:

An adorable pit bull puppy, about 3-4 months old, named Shysie. And don't judge her just because she is a pit bull. She has the most gentle soul of any dog that I have ever met. And that is despite her past abuse. When I rescued her, she had burns on her back and tail. The pads of her feet were blistered and bleeding to the point that she couldn't put her full weight on her front legs. She still has some places where the fur never grew back. And she was TERRIFIED. I have never seen a dog so scared of EVERYTHING.

I couldn't take her for walks because she was terrified of parked cars. She would lie down in the road and refuse to go past them. I couldn't take her to the dog park because she was afraid of small dogs and the people. She would run and hide under the picnic tables if a small dog approached her or a human being tried to touch her.

It took several years for her to warm up to people she saw on a regular basis. And by warm up to them, I mean not pee all over the floor when they walked in the door. She even learned to not be afraid of small dogs. Here she is taking  a nap on the couch with my friend's chihuahua.

Now, almost 7 years later, I am happy to say she has overcome the majority of her fears and is a loving well-balanced dog.

Anyway, back to the original point of my post, money. I have noticed over the past few years that when Shy plays hard or runs a lot, she limps slightly the next day. Well that limp got worse and worse, until she has limped almost constantly over the past week or so. I took her to the vet, and she has a torn cruciate ligament in her knee. The vet explained that pit bulls, bull dogs and mastiffs are prone to these injuries. In fact, his pit bull currently has the same injury and he will be performing surgery on his dog soon as well. He also explained that these surgeries are not cheap. In fact, they are about $1,500 not cheap. And the even better news? The ligament in her left leg is doing the same thing, and will eventually require surgery as well. *Sigh*

Her surgery is scheduled for next Tuesday and she is on anti-inflammatory and pain medication until then. I will post updates on the surgery and recovery process as well. Wish us luck!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Jaxson's First Day

Today was Jaxson's first day at his Tot's Morning Out program at a local church. He was super excited to go.

Don't let this picture fool you. While he was excited to go, he is cheesing because his father was falling over backwards as he was taking the picture. How he still managed to get a good picture was just luck, although I'm sure my husband will call it skill.

Jaxson has never been in any sort of daycare setting so I wasn't sure how he would feel about being "left". I walked him into the classroom, then stood out in the hallway for a few seconds. He wasn't even concerned with where I was, he was just watching the other kids, taking everything in. I didn't want to say bye since I was afraid that would upset him. When I returned 3 hours later, the teacher said he did really well. He was sitting at a table with 3 other children working puzzles. He also did NOT want to leave. I literally had to drag him, well carry him actually, kicking and screaming out of the classroom and into the car. At least I know it won't be an issue on Monday when it's time for him to go back to "school".

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Little Artist

While I was cooking dinner last night, I gave Andrew some crayons and a picture to color to occupy him. (Jaxson had the iPod Touch and was watching Sponge Bob movies.) For awhile, they were both perfectly content. Then, as dinner was ALMOST finished, I heard something scraping against the wall. I asked Jaxson, "Are you coloring on the wall?!?!"..... "Yes!" was the immediate answer. I ran around the corner and found......


Poor Andrew was still where I left him, as happy as can be, completely oblivious to his brother's antics. As usual.

Thank god, the markers were washable.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Recipe Review: Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken

I absolutely adore my slow cooker. What else is easier than dumping in some ingredients, turning it on, and then a few hours later.... dinner is done! This recipe seriously couldn't be easier. And it's SO GOOD!  I found the recipe on Pinterest, and the original source can be found here.

I modified my recipe slightly, but the original recipe calls for:

  • 24 oz jar salsa
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1.25 oz package of taco seasoning
  • 2 jalapeno peppers chopped (optional)
  • 6 chicken breasts

I only had an 18 oz jar of salsa, so I mixed that with a can of crushed tomatoes and added an extra half packet (that I already had opened) of taco seasoning. Stir this together with the lime juice, cilantro and jalapenos. I omitted the cilantro, since my husband doesn't like it. I also did not add the jalapeno so the kids would be able to eat it as well.

Once mixed, I layered the salsa mixture and the chicken into the slow cooker.

I covered and cooked the chicken on low for about 5 1/2 hours. The last hour I uncovered and turned on high. The salsa mixture was a little watery so I wanted some of the liquid to cook out. It turned out great. The chicken was so tender it literally fell apart as I was removing it from the slow cooker.

As a side dish, I prepared some rice with taco seasoning. I chopped and sauteed some green, yellow and red bell peppers to add in.

I served mine with some sliced avocado and sour cream. It was delicious!


Friday, May 25, 2012

Picasso's in Training

I was at Target the other day looking for craft ideas for the boys. I found some washable finger paint from Crayola and decided to give it a try.

I was a little nervous, I wasn't sure just how "washable" it would actually be. I removed the boys clothing just in case and laid down a towel.

Jaxson was very careful not to get it anywhere other than on the paper.

Andrew on the other hand, was more interested in painting his belly.

I was pleasantly surprised at how neat Jaxson was with the paint. I figured he would want to paint the walls and furniture.

Once they were finished we headed into the bathroom to wash hands. Or in Andrew's case, his whole body. But the paint came off so easily! The boys loved it, and I love that it wiped right off of Andrew's highchair, and his arms, and his belly and his legs.... you get the idea. It was such a hit, that Jaxson wanted to paint again first thing this morning.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Never Ending...

Is it just me, or does one remodeling/redecorating project turn into at least 7? We have done so much work to our home over the past 2 years or so, and I thought we were in the homestretch. I suppose we are, in the sense that several of the big projects are completed, but now my attention is being drawn to all of the little projects that I never even thought about before. I think I am going to have to go room by room and make a list of projects that still need completed. In the meantime, here are the major projects that we have managed to cross off our list, along with a few that still remain:

  • Convert Sun Room into new Master Bedroom
  • Convert Old Master into Devin's room
  • Replace Hardwood Floors through out house
  • Remove existing Hardwood floors in bedrooms and replace with carpet
  • Replace Roof
  • Paint each bedroom
  • Remove weird partition above kitchen cabinets and open up the wall above  the cabinets
  • Paint Kitchen Cabinets
  • Install Wainscoting around Kitchen Island
  • Install crown molding through out house

I could keep going, but maybe I should just list it room by room in separate posts. I wish I had known I would be starting a blog, I would have taken before and after pictures. But I do have some "during" pictures of the bedrooms that I can share.

Old Master now Devin's room.

 This wall was added, to close off the room from the new hallway extension. We added the closet to this wall as well.

Jaxson checking out the new carpet.

Andrew's room, painted yellow. Not much was done to this room, just a new wall color, painted the trim white, installed a new ceiling fan, door and closet doors.

After the carpet installation. I promise the room isn't bright yellow, I took these pictures with my camera phone, so they aren't the best quality. Again, Jaxson had to check out the new carpet.

Playing on the carpet while Mommy and Daddy put the new furniture together.

Andrew's crib bedding

Jaxson's room, painted bright green.

I love the color of his room, it's so vibrant without being blindingly bright.

 It took me FOREVER to find dinosaur bedding that would still fit a crib mattress. We have since converted his crib into a toddler bed, but still use the same mattress. I literally found ONE dinosaur crib set, but didn't like the colors. It was dark brown, dark red and yellow. Very dull. I bought it, hoping it would be better in person and it wasn't. Luckily I never opened it and was able to return it once I found this set. 

Since this is rather long, I will show the picture of our master bedroom in a separate post.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Friday was my stepson's field day so all of us piled into the car for the 3 hour trip to cheer him on. As luck would have it, I had to take Jaxson to the doctor that morning. (His feet have been peeling and he says they hurt.) We got some ointment, came home to get Daddy and Andrew and took off. Traffic was horrible, should have known since it's Bike Week here. We ended up getting to Devin's school about an hour after field day ended. Awesome.

I felt bad dragging Jaxson and Andrew on a 6 hour trip for nothing, so we stopped at Chuck E Cheese on the way home. Just FYI, it takes FOREVER for 4 kids to spend 100 tokens. (Yes, I included Manny in that count.) Poor Andrew (who refuses to sleep anywhere except his own bed) was beyond exhausted.  He and I ended up sitting in the car, watching The Wiggles, and waiting on the other boys to finish up and pick their prizes.

This car was by far, Andrew's favorite ride seat. He loved it, as long as I didn't insert a token and make it move. Even though he was STARVING, he refused to leave this, even for food. For him, that's a big deal. He's an eater.

He tolerated the movement when Devin and Jaxson joined him. But just once.

At least the other two thoroughly enjoyed themselves:

Another tip: Join Chuck E Cheese's email club to receive coupons. I did this in the parking lot before we went inside and ended up saving $10 off of our package PLUS 20 free tokens. They also send coupons around your child's birthday.