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Monday, April 4, 2011

10 Things about He and I

Life has thrown us a curve-ball and left me unable to concentrate well over the past two weeks. So, instead of writing my analytical essay on Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been (a very good short story by the way) like I should be doing  I am instead going to write a long overdue post. I have been reading a few of these "10 things about he and I" posts and I find them fun and interesting so I though I would give it a go.

10 Things About He and I

Mark and I at the wedding of two good friends


1) We met at a Halloween party in 2004. I was a fairy. Mark was dressed as the 'ghost of Halloween past.' He had on a white tee shirt and safety pined to it were dozens of pictures of him dressed up in Halloween costumes throughout the years. I still have the picture.
Unfortunately I do not have a picture of Mark from the night we met. This is me (on the right) with a friend


2) After only two and a half months of dating we took our first trip to Durango to celebrate Valentines day. (We had to go in mid January because he was leaving in February for a multi-week business trip to Uganda.) We stayed at a wonderful place called Blue Lake Ranch. I loved it so much that I told him, on that trip, that it was going to be the place where we would get married. (see #7)
 
At Mesa Verde


3) Mark took me on my first backpacking trip to Goose Creek Wilderness. The trip was a planned four and a half mile hike in and a four and a half mile hike out. Mark refused to take a map. We got lost. The three day trip turned out to be a 24 mile hike round trip. The good side? We ended up finding the most beautiful remote canyon and the perfect campsite.
The picture does not do it justice


4)We moved to Seattle together after dating for less than nine months. I have never had more fun than the two years we lived there with my now brother-in-law. I miss Seattle.
Our wonderful Seattle house. Anyone want to buy it...


5)We are spontaneous. After a night of libations and talk of boats we bought a boat together with two friends and named her the 'Happy Ending." Turns out the ending was not so happy and we ended up just giving her to the mechanic who could not seem to get her working for more than one day at a time.
The 'Happy Ending' herself

6) Mark proposed twice. Yes twice. The fist time was a cruel joke played on me while on my weekend birthday trip to Whitby Island. I cried. Mark felt so bad that  the next time he asked he meant it. Following in his fathers footsteps he proposed on Christmas day 2007.
The second proposal


7) We got married on October 13 2008, at Blue Lake Ranch. We rented out the entire ranch for a weekend invited all of our friends and family down and celebrated for three full days. To this day I can not imaging a better wedding.
The wedding site


8) Once we were married and settled we tossed around the idea of becoming foster parents. After a month of debating it we went through the massive amount of training and started taking foster placements in the fall of 2009. We had no idea that this decision would make us a family. On December 27 2009, a little boy names Miles came to live with us. On April 12 of 2010, we adopted this wonderful little boy and became (officially) a family of four.
Miles the day he came to us as a foster child
Miles today


9) We make a great team. On October 9 2010, after a week of active labor we welcomed our daughter Cora Beth into the world. There is no doubt that I would not have been able to labor that long if Mark was not there to support and love me.`
Our darling girl

10) We continually support and encourage each other to follow our dreams. Whether it is growing a business or making connections in the community and going back to school. We have and will always do what we have to to make each others dreams come true.
Our last family photo. Christmas 2010

Monday, March 7, 2011

On Moving, Ranting, and a Random video

We have made the decision, set a date and have a little over two months to pack up our house and move. This move is not just another move rather it is a an experiment in reducing and downsizing. We are moving from a suburban house with five bedroom and 3,000+ square feet to a three bedroom 1,400 square foot bungalow closer to the city. Intimidating but exciting. I love the challenge of organizing such a house and I love that the house is ours. I have been living in rented homes for the past four years and the idea of living again in a place where I can paint or remodel a bathroom without having to ask permission sounds glorious.

Although I have the moving process down to a T, as we have done it six times in seven years, I have come to hate the preparation phase. The phase where you begin to de-clutter and wash walls: I loath it. Don't get me wrong I pride myself in keeping a neat home, but when one gets down on their hands and knees you can easily see the massive amount of finger pints on the walls, doors, fridge, well... lets face it; fingerprints are everywhere. The hours it takes to go through every room with a magic eraser is not a task I look forward too (hence why I am complaining about it instead of doing it). Plus the only free time I have is during Cora's nap time and then I really should be tagging items for the Just Between Friends consignment sale, studying for school or working on the Art Show and Silent Auction. I need more hours in the day.

Sigh.

Sometimes I feel like no matter how hard I try I never get everything done that I need to. I have to constantly remind myself that the important things do get done and those that don't weren't that important to begin with. I am exhausted, but show me a mom who isn't. I listen to all the 18 year olds in my class talk about being exhausted from staying up late, partying and only getting three hours of sleep. I remember those days yet I still shake my head. I want to go up to them, grab them by their shoulders and say 'Just wait. You think you are tired now, wait until sleep depravation is forced on you for 17 months.' I mean at least they get a night of fun out of being tired. And to be honest, I don't wish a difficult baby on these kids. I was once like them too. I partied. I stayed out all night. But now I am a mother. A mother who frantically worries about minuet details such as getting finger prints off walls, whether our plastic is BPA free or if I give my kids to much mac and cheese (at least its Annies!).

So yes, this post has no point and no cohesive element what-so-ever, but I now feel a little better about life and can get back to scrubbing walls, rummaging through our plastic-ware and buying more mac and cheese.

video
 The cherry on top? A video of my daughter jumping face first onto the floor. Enjoy.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Cora's Big Week!


Well, really more like 10 days, but who is counting...



Showing off her first hair cut
Cora got her first hair cut.  It was nothing more than just a trim of the bangs (I decided she will be a little girl with bangs) but I have to say that it is my best work yet.  At least she did not end up with a shaved head like Miles did a few years ago.
Success at long last
Another first: Cora was babysat for the first time!  This is a huge step and it taking place was vital for me to begin school again. We left her and Miles with my parents-in-law for a few short hours while Mark and I went to ACC to attend to financial aid issues. It was a complete success.  Bill was able to calm a crying Cora and even sang her to sleep.  
I am very happy that we waited until Cora was ready and did not rush the process of having another person care for her. I left the house confident and comfortable that she was able to handle the stress of separation as we have been working with Bill and Dotti for months getting her used to multiple caregivers.  Yeah to everyone involved!!
A proud girl posing by her potty
We have also began the long process of potty training with a very successful first three days. She has gone #1 and #2 at least once every day and is now in pull-ups part time.  I am very proud of my big girl and amazed at how fast she is growing. I  have a difficult time believing that so many firsts have occurred this year and January has not even ended.
Cora in her new undies eating her pee-pee cookie treat.
It half makes me sad. 





Back With A Purpose

Well, the day has come, after three years of diligently preparing I have taken the next step and began the formal education that will eventually lead me to a masters in midwifery.  It is such a relief to have the financial and class planning aspects out of the way, I now have room to breath and  focus completely on my studies. 

I finally feel the relief.

I have to admit that it feels as bit awkward to be the non-traditional student in the classroom. I feel overly mature and responsible which, I must admit, are traits I am not exactly accustomed to. I am happy however that I did choose to take one of my three classes (my just-for-fun creative writing class) in the classic classroom format.  It is nice to be out of the house alone and with purpose.  It also gives me the opportunity to meet face to face with the variety of people involved in the nursing program. Building relationships can never hurt when the nursing program is selective entry.

That brings me to one of my biggest concerns: the selective entry process. This last week I attended an open house for the nursing program lead by the program director who went over the entire entry process including the program qualifications.  It sounds as if the school's decision to change the nursing program from wait-list to competitive entry (a fairly recent change) has had a huge affect and increased the amount of applicants therefor increasing competition.  I get the feeling that you must have a near 4.0 average and very high test scores to even have a chance. This information is sure to make this year a very stressful year indeed.

Anyway, I am very excited to be this much closer to my end goal.  After years of talk, research, and decisions I am moving forward with the support of a wonderful family and friends with whom I could not make my goals a reality.  A huge thank you to everyone who has given me support, direction, advise, offered childcare or help with studies.  I am truly a very blessed person to be surrounded by such inspiring and helpful people.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Three Minute Fiction

I have decided to enter NPR's short story contest.  I have no idea when I will find the time or what I will write about but this is something I have thought about doing over the past few years and I finally find the story constraints agreeable. So, here goes nothing. I am taking the plunge and putting my writing out for others to judge, and by others I mean NYU creative writing graduate students.

Yikes!

Anyone have any topic ideas??  I sure could use them.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Preschool Art Show

A few of the wonderful moms at Stony Creek Preschool, program director Carol Pehrson and I are organizing an All-Student Art Show and Silent Auction as a fundraiser to benefit this non-profit preschool. I truly appreciate everything that this school has done for my child and believe wholeheartedly in their mission to provide children with hand-on real life experiences as a basic part of their education. I also strongly believe that the arts play a vital roll in the early development of children and am honored to have my child in a program that agrees and encourages each child's artistic development.

That said, Stony Creek Preschool is in need of donations. The school has recently found a permanent home in a group of temporary classrooms on the Stony Creek Elementary School campus right smack in the middle of  an asphalt slab.  In the summer months it get extremely hot and the children have no shade to play or rest in.

Not exactly ideal.

We are asking for the help of local businesses and people who would like to donate an item to be auctioned off at the silent auction or provide a cash gift.   The money raised from the event would go towards purchasing a shade structure for the pre school playground as well as into a fund used for field trips and family days.  Every dollar benefits the students directly and all donations are tax deductible.

Helping local children and a tax break!  Does it get any better?

Why yes it does...

This event is a gala event with hundreds of people attending.  If you do donate and would like some free local advertising we would be more than happy to provide handouts, business cards or hang signs. Anything to promote local commerce in our community.

If you are interested in helping out this wonderful school but dont know where to begin, here is a list of items that have been donated in the past or are current items that will be donated:

Indoor skydiving packages
Bronco memorabilia
Spa packages
Grocery store gift certificates
Loose leaf teas
Ski and lodging packages
Train rides
Restaurant gift certificates
Rockies tickets

These are just ideas as we are always looking for new businesses and items.

If you would like to get involved please post a comment or e-mail me directly at Jenn@5280doula.com I can pick up any donated items or money and provide you with the non-profit tax I.D. number.

Thank you for reading and please feel free to pass this post on to anyone who may want to help.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Years and our household flu epidemic


A sick boy wishing he could go out and play in the newly fallen snow.

Here I am sitting on a birth / yoga ball slowly bouncing a sick sleeping baby in her carrier while attempting to attend to this sty of a house.  It is a cruel reminder of the early months (or first 9 months) of mommy-hood and the self sacrifice it takes. I have spent the last five days doing nothing but caring for two sick kids and one sick husband, all of whom came down with the flu.  I remain healthy due to my steel-strength immune system that I credit to teaching preschool.

Our first flu victim was Miles, who last week began acting lethargic. I didn't think much of it until the following two days when he began running a fever around 103 degrees and slept all day. Now, I am aware that fevers are not a big deal and that the body does in fact benefit from them, so that being said, we decided to take him to the pediatrician because he stopped drinking and keeping fluids down.

Anyway, after a quick trip to the doc Miles was prescribed Tamiflu for treatment (which knocked out the H1N1 that he got last year in less then 24 hours) and so thus began our most current issue with his Medicaid.

...Digressive background: Miles came to us from foster care and we finalized our adoption in April of 2010 and as part of the adoption agreement Miles is provided with federally-funded, state-administered  healthcare (thank you Mark, for the exact terminology). A well received blessing as those of you self-employed families know how expensive health insurance is!
New Years 2009. Just three short days after Miles came to us as our foster son.
...and now back on topic. Once we received the prescription we called around and found a Rite Aid that had the liquid Tamiflu in store (a lot easier said then done) then my wonderful husband took even more time off work to go get the prescription filled.

An hour and a half later I got a call from him.  

He informed me that Miles' insurance was denying prescription coverage.  Argh! Miles' case does not go under review for another sixteen months so there is no way the change could be legitimate and since we have not yet gotten in contact with Medicaid (holiday weekend) we are hoping to get this straightened out very soon.  But my sweet talking husband did well and the wonderful lady at the Rite Aid pharmacy took pity on us and gave us the hundred dollar medicine for free.  What a kind lady she is.

So this brings us to the night of New Years Eve: Miles is sick, Cora's temp is rising and Mark is starting to cough. 

Wonderful. 
Miles passed out on the 'Papa chair'
     

Despite the massive amount of germs being either coughed or sneezed out the celebration commenced. Mark and I were determined to make it up till midnight, unlike last year. I had braved the icy (or not-so-icy) roads to procure a tasty bottle of Prosecco and had pictured us staying up till midnight, waking Miles at his request, then toasting the new year as we while watching the ball fall. In reality it all came true - except that we watched the 'live from NY' version at 10.00.  Miles, although excited to have actually been awoken for the ball drop, was in a very poor state and could barely keep his eyes open, Cora's fever jumped to 103.4' and Mark chased his Prosecco with Nyquil.  We were all in bed by 11.00pm. So much for still being young and hip.


Me and Cora with her first box juice

Mark and Nar celebrating another year survived

Mark and Cora
Mark and Miles. Yes he is awake.

Miles trying to be excited with his apple juice
 Despite it all it was a great night.  We survived and are now fairing far better. I just hope that this night is not a foretelling of the upcoming year.

Happy New Years Everyone!