Sunday, January 31, 2010

Goodbye January...

The best part of saying goodbye to January is Spring is that much closer. It's been cold and mostly gray with a couple super cold sunny days. Yesterday was so sunny it almost felt warm outside though it was only in the high 20's. I took the pups to the park as they hadn't been in a good, long time. To say they were excited would be an understatement! Look at all this jumping that was going on. Zoe was in rare form, leaping, jumping, twisting!!

Charlie got in a few good jumps too. I guess I got most of the pictures of him rather than Zoe but just take my word for it, she was awesome!

These next two pictures are so funny. Different dogs, same pose. What are the odds I could capture these silly poses at different times?

They were both nice and tired when we were done! Only 28 degrees but look at those tongues!

This is what the field looked like when we were out there. It was really icy in places and in other spots there was just a little ice and some green grass underneath.

It was an interesting week last week. On Tuesday I went to the Dr. about my foot pain. The Dr. wanted me to have an x-ray but felt pretty certain he knew what was wrong and just wanted the x-ray to be sure. He diagnosed the pain as "gout". Geez, really? Gout? He explained it was an inflamatory arthritis in a joint in my foot. I said let's just call it arthritis then, ok? Not gout! Gout sounds like something old folks got back in the 1800's! "Yes, little Johnny, Granny's got a case of The Gout!" There's really no "cure" but he prescribed a prescription pain pill that is effective for "gout". The pain was already subsiding as I was at the Dr.'s and after taking just one of the pills that day, by the next morning most of the pain was gone and I could walk again. The foot is still a little swollen but it's much easier to walk. I haven't heard back on the x-ray yet but I guess it's a pretty safe bet that nothing is broken.

When I got home from the Dr. that evening I was looking out back and spotted these beauties. I don't see them very often, maybe once every year or two and then usually only once. The area they are in is completely surrounded by houses so they were walking around the neighborhood during the daylight hours this time. They stayed out on this pond (which is solidly frozen right now) for about 1/2 hour or so, eating the dried pond grasses.

If you look closely at this picture, beyond the deer, you will notice the winter home of our resident woodchucks. It's a pretty nice looking structure. The deer seemed pretty interested in it. Maybe there was some good dried grass on the top or something. They hung around it for quite some time.

In this picture she was getting closer to the house but was behind some brush. She was really camouflaged.

The next bit of news I'm still processing. Wednesday afternoon the Principal asked that all staff attend the staff meeting on Thursday morning which is just usually attended by the teachers. She rarely does this so I was already anticipating bad news. All the buzz lately has been about cuts. Michigan schools' economy is finally catching up with the rest of what's going on in the State. With companies closing the tax base is lower which directly affects school funding. The news was not good. Especially for special education para-educators, of which I am one. The first cut will be 23-27 para's. I am number 18 from the bottom of the list so I will be in this first cut. The only thing that would save my job would be some miracle of funding either from the State or Federal level, which I don't anticipate. It seems that Special Education will be taking a big hit. Next year they hope to cut $800,000 from the budget, then the next year it will be $1.3 million with an additional 20% cut the year after that. My teacher says she will try to do what she can to help save my job but I don't think there is much that can be done. Special Ed operates on a seniority list and it is what it is. So, we'll see what happens. We should know more in about a month or so and I'm sure the information will continue to trickle down to us from time to time. The weird thing about schools and their funding though is it can change from month to month. But I'm sure of one thing, there will be cuts and I'm not planning to have a job next school year. If I do it will be a bonus.

Here's my girl in a quiet moment. Watching me, always watching.

And here's my other little girl! Look how she's growing up already!! She looks so alert and almost has a little smirk on her face!! I'm so happy to be going back for another visit in just two short weeks! Can't wait!

Stop growing for a couple weeks Quinn! At least until Mimi gets back there! Otherwise the new outfit I bought you won't fit! Shhhhh, don't tell Daddy. He doesn't think you need any more new clothes! Silly Daddy! We'll just keep this information between us girls! xoxo

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Back to Reality...

I flew back to Michigan yesterday at about the same time Tyler was flying to Phoenix with a connecting flight to Honolulu. I flew back to gray skies (now raining today) and he flew back to glorious sunshine and warmth! I'd say he's definitely getting the better deal, weather wise!

It was hard to leave the new little family yesterday. Kissing that little bundle of joy goodbye was hard too.

Andy's parents arrived Friday night and it was nice visiting with them, even if only for a few hours, discussing our newest family member and all her cute facial expressions. I swear she is almost smiling though her Daddy keeps telling me "it's just gas". Mimi knows better!

They will be visiting them for a few days so Amber & Andy will still have a little help. By the time all the company that is coming leaves they will probably be thankful for the calm and quiet. The first few weeks are full of excitement but also exhausting.

Mommy and Quinn. (love this picture)

Granddaddy H, Amber, Quinn and Mimi

Proud Uncles Scott and Tyler

I snuck this headband on her during a nap. How cute is she??

Back here on the home front, the pups were overjoyed to see their main caretaker return home. They wiggled and whined for a good 15 minutes and then followed me from room to room for the rest of the day. They are still close by, though not quite as close, where they can keep at least one eye on me. Yesterday afternoon H and I took them to the high school field where Charlie has continued his newest annoying behavior: immediately running off the moment we get there. Oh, he comes back eventually but it's so annoying to be ignored when you ask him to come back! H was particularly annoyed at both Charlie and then me, for not being a better dog trainer, I assume. Guess we'll be working on our recall skills soon.

The evening was spent quietly, catching up on little things around the house and a little sleep. I tried to watch a couple shows I had recorded but kept falling asleep. Baby wrangling is tiring work!! Today I will try to catch up on a few more chores and try to get organized so I can return to work tomorrow.

This week I'm going to try to get a Dr.'s appointment. Two weeks ago at bowling the top of my left foot started hurting and it has only gotten worse since then. It feels as if I dropped a large can or something on the top of my foot (and no, I didn't), like it's bruised. Walking only aggravates it and since my job involves a lot of walking I think I need to find out what the heck is going on. Plus I'm tired of living on Advil 24/7. That's the only thing that makes it feel better. Some have speculated that I might have broken a small bone or something. Guess we will find out soon enough though I'm not sure what I will be able to do about that either! It's a pain, literally and figuratively, not to be able to walk properly and without pain.

Getting old is hell. I don't like it one little bit.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Visiting Quinn...

We are on Day 3 of our visit to Quinn (and Amber & Andy, of course). Everyone is enjoying her so much. She's still getting used to us but she's tolerating all the different holding styles and rocking methods.

Mommy and Daddy still aren't getting much rest but last night was a little better. If we can get 3 or 4 hours out of her, that's amazing! She seems to like sleeping during the day more than at night which isn't unusual.

Uncle Scott is enjoying holding Quinn but he's ready to hand her back if she fusses too much.

Uncle Tyler enjoys holding her too but worries if she fusses too much. She looks so tiny in his arms!

Here's the little sweetheart right before her bath.

Quinn and her Mimi (that's me)

Granddaddy H and Quinn

The boys went into DC yesterday for a little culture, visiting a couple museums. It was raining most of the day so it's good that they were mostly inside. Today is beautiful and sunny. They've taken the metro into DC again today to visit another museum.

Quinn has her first Dr.'s appointment later today. We are all keeping our fingers crossed that she has gained back some of the weight she lost the first few days.

Other than baby news, there's not much more to report. I've pretty much stayed here at the house except for a quick trip to the grocery store for supplies to make dinner. Tonight will be the last dinner here for the boys as they leave for Baltimore and the airport tomorrow afternoon. I'm still here a few more days which turned out to be a good thing since Andy has to return to work tomorrow.

More baby news later...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

More Quinn...

Quinn is doing well. She's got a strong cry when she's angry but seems to settle down quickly. Mommy and Daddy are learning quickly what to do to calm her down. Now that her little face isn't so puffy her look is changing. Simply adorable!

I'm counting down the hours until we get to meet her in person!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Welcome Quinn!!

Welcome to the world, Quinn Annalaine. She made her grand entrance on Monday, January 11, 2010 at 8:51 p.m. She weighs 8 pounds, 6 ounces and measured 21-1/2 inches long!

Amber checked into the hospital at 6:30 that morning and the process began. Finally around 7:30 last night, with no further progress being made, the decision was made to perform a C-section. Not exactly what we all had hoped for but it seems it happens more often than not.

Mommy, Daddy and Baby are all doing well and spending lots of quality time together. Amber still sounds a little groggy, hasn't been able to eat yet and is exhausted but happy just the same.

Daddy is sending lots of cute pictures and this adorable video! Too previous for words. I can't wait until this weekend when we will get to meet the little darling in person!

Life is good.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


We are now in serious countdown mode. Hopefully within the next 24 hours Amber & Andy will become parents and H and I will become Grandparents! How exciting is that news?

Amber and Andy will go into the hospital early tomorrow morning and the process will begin. The due date of January 7 came and went with little progress so now modern medicine will have to help out here. I am hoping and praying for a speedy delivery with not too much pain and no fainting (yes, Andy, I'm talkin' about you)! It will be hard to think about anything else tomorrow while I'm at work. I can't wait to hear that it's all over and a healthy baby girl has been welcomed into the world. And I can't wait to hear what they decided to name her. It's been a well-kept secret for a few weeks now. Guess they don't want any input from well-meaning family members.

Then all we have to go do is get through this week so that H and the boys and I can travel to Virginia next Saturday for our first meeting with the new family member. We are all so looking forward to that! The pups will stay home with our trusted house/pup sitter Beth. I know the fur kids will be well taken care of with her at the house.

Friday night was position night at bowling. We were in 3rd place and bowled the fourth place team. They had one team member missing and so did we. Unfortunately H and I both had to collect for High Game since we had both won it last time and that always distracts me from bowling. How we managed to take 2 games still amazes me. Really their last bowler blew the last game for them. He missed a spare, missing 1 pin. If he had gotten that it would have been all over as we only won by 4 pins! So now we are tied for 2nd place. We decided to pre-bowl this morning but I don't think we will do very well. Our best bowler, Bill, didn't hit his average once so that won't help us much. Oh well, it's only a game, right?

Saturday afternoon H and I and the boys went to see Sherlock Holmes. It was a pretty good movie and we enjoyed it.

Today I spent a good deal of time making dog food and dog cookies so the pups will have enough to eat while we are gone. The guys are only staying in VA for 4 days but I'm staying all week so I needed to make sure there was plenty of food made to last until I get back.

Not too much else is going on around here. It's been brutally cold and we've had a bit more snow. It was soft and fluffy when I took the pups to the high school field today. Charlie has been quite a stinker the last few times I've taken him. He hears some sound he doesn't like and takes off running and not just a short distance but far away from me. I call and call him but he doesn't even look back. Finally after a few minutes he turns around and heads back to me. It's really annoying to be ignored by him. I guess I'll have to put him on a long line so I don't have that problem.

Look how happy Zoe looks! She was having a blast out there today in that soft, powdery snow.

The hot water heater replacement went smoothly last Sunday. H turned our house water off at 12:15 and by 2:45 it was back on and a few hours later we had hot water again. Thank goodness he is so handy and thank goodness the stupid thing didn't crack and leak 50 gallons of water all over the basement floor. No if he could only get the furnace to work right. The stupid thing has been giving us trouble for a couple months now. It will work fine and then all of a sudden won't come on. You can feel it getting colder and colder and then have to go down to the basement to reset the thing. Just now he went down to reset it but it's not coming back on and I can feel it getting colder and colder in here. Not good. Especially in the dead of winter! Brrr! I just don't want it to break down while we are gone next weekend and have no heat in the house. That would be a disaster!

I'll be posting pictures of the new baby, what's-her-name, as soon as I get some!

Sunday, January 3, 2010


8... That's what my car thermometer thingy said yesterday afternoon at 4:00 when the pups and I were returning from a very brief session at the high school field!

The frisbees were hard and frozen (probably from sitting in my car overnight) and there were many stops and starts by the pups to pick the ice from between their toes! At least they were able to get a little fresh air but it was very little.

Some kind neighbor has used his snowblower to clean off this pond so the neighborhood kids can go ice skating, though I haven't seen any kids use it, yet!

I have used my new "Set It and Forget It" Crockpot twice now. Once to make some chili last week and then again yesterday to make a nice "pot" of chicken rice soup. It was much needed last night when the temp dropped to 3.

We spent much of the afternoon and evening taking down the tree and putting all the Christmas decorations away. On one trip down to the basement storage room I noticed water on the floor, heading to the floor drain (thankfully). A quick check of the water heater closet confirmed my suspicions of a leaky water heater. What a way to start off a new year. I spent the rest of the evening praying the stupid thing wouldn't burst and flood the basement. Thankfully this morning it was still a slow leak. By 9:00 H and Tyler were out the door on their way to Home Depot to purchase a new water heater. Thankfully Home Depot also rents trucks to transport said water heater at a minimal cost of $20.

It is now noon and all the water in the house has been turned off, all the pipes drained, the old water heater is being drained and will soon be removed. Then the fun really begins with installing the new one which includes the dreaded welding (or whatever you call it) of water pipes and praying for no leaks. Not sure when we will have our water back on. Hopefully in time for dinner and showers tonight since H and I have to go to work tomorrow. It's always something when you own a home. Always. I guess we were lucky the thing has lasted this long. It's probably original to the house which makes it about 18 years old? About a year ago I thought we had sprung a leak in it. But then I realized I had just turned on the basement sink, walked away, and left the dang thing running! Oops. Again, thanks to the floor drain the only damage was really the laminant countertop edging which soaked up water and popped off the outer edge. Could have been so much worse.

The sun was out yesterday and it's out again today. So even though it's still absolutely freezing outside, it isn't as depressing as absolutely freezing AND gray. We are supposed to have frigid temps for a week or two. It's January. It's January in Michigan and it will almost always be very cold.

Frigid temps go away, Zoe & Charlie want to go out and play!!

It's good to have all the Christmas stuff put away. Well, not put away because we can't use the storage room yet, but at least it's off the main floor and in the basement. It's feels good to get things cleared out and cleaned up. Maybe I'll have the dining room table cleaned off in the next few days. As soon as two certain someone's finish wrapping those Christmas presents.