Thanksgiving Break….and continuing to try and be thankful despite it all

I got the entire last week off for Thankgiving and endured the bitter while enjoying the sweet. We moved out over the first weekend of my break. As a matter of a fact, it has been 10 days since we started moving out and we are still not entirely finished. With no moving truck, two packrats, and a baby, there just doesn’t seem to be enough time to do it all. Of course, we also left on Wednesday for Ventura to spend Thanksgiving with our friends Donny and Angela and their family. We returned home on Saturday and then celebrated an early birthday for me on Sunday with my family.

So what is the bitter? Unfortunately during this week between these three events, a succession of other events took place to really add stress in our lives. Firstly, two days after we moved into our new place, a complaining neighbor informed us that our condominium allows only one dog per home. This was not known to the leasing agency who leased us the condo, but nonetheless we knew we could help them from getting sued if we tried to find another option. And so as we continued to move out, we had to start looking for another place to live.

Next, when I was taking Smokey out of the back of the truck, I somehow hit his foot on something (maybe the wire leash?) and hurt his toe pretty badly–I  think its just his nail that was bent back and pulled off the quick a bit, but not entirely sure. It was bleeding and he has been limping for a week now. We are so broke from the 5,000 dollars in previous doggy bills (the very bills which influenced us to move out in the first place) that we were afraid to even imagine how much xrays and drugs would cost to help him this time. We are just babying him and praying that he heals on his own.

And if that wasn’t enough, I accidentally threw my brandnew invisalign aligners in the trash at a local coffee shop and had to dig them out. In my attempt to sanitize them afterward by soaking them in scalding hot water, I warped them. I then attempted to cut the warped part out to salvage them and immediately scheduled an emergency appointment with my orthodontist. There I found that  they were still wearable and I would have to simply endure the lifted shape and murky color for the next two weeks until I am able to fit into the next step aligners.

Then when I took my car into the shop to have a flat tire repaired, I was informed that all my tires were worn out and needed to be replaced. The estimated quote? 700 and something dollars. The guy at Express Tire lied to us and tried to manipulate us into believing his schpeal  about how the “v-rate tires  were necessary for your high performance vehicle.”  When Mike shopped else where he found a much better deat for me at Sears. I could get a deal for 400. Regardless, it is 400 dollars I don’t have and so I am having to put it on the card. 

 Lastly, when we finally did find a new place to move into we find that we will have to live without power the first 4 days because that is the soonest they can get the power guys there to push the damn power button on. Grrrrrrr.

Okay, just for complaining sake, I’ll finish this off with a bang. Mike and Kanan are sick. Yesterday, after my first day back to work, I came home and took care of Kanan who felt so terrible he did not want to be put down. I took out my trusty sling and carried the snotty nosed kid everywhere with me as I cleaned and organized the house. Then I fed him dinner, gave him a bath, and put him to bed. Immediately afterward I shoved my dinner down my throat so that I would have time to make my lunch and dinner for the following day while Mike rested on the couch. Afterward, I raced to Rite Aid to buy saline spray and pain meds for the baby and some Airborne for Mike. Finally, after I dragged myself into the house, I finished the night by taking the boys out for their last walk of the day so they could use the rest room. I had to carry Smokey most of the way because of his injured foot. When I finally rested my head on that pillow last night, I was so exhausted, I couldn’t wait to sleep. But poor Kanan was conjested and couldn’t breathe easily. And so he woke up 3 times between 12 and 530. At the 130am waking, it took me an hour to get him back to sleep. I don’t even know how I taught today. It is amazing how much one can function on such little sleep.

Okay so now what should I be thankful for?

1. That we even have cars to move our things and so much crap, I complain about how long it takes to move it.

2. That we have a roof over our heads and found another one so quickly.

3. That we even have credit cards to pay for things we need but cannot afford.

4. That we have a RV to use for travel or a second home when we don’t have power for 4 days.

5. That we have friends and family in Ventura to visit on Thanksgiving and friends and family who visit me in return for my birthday.

6. That my invisalign braces survived all the torture through which I put them.

7. The I finally have earned the much respected and sought after title of “Super Mom” according to Mike.

Kanan is 8 months Old!

kanan-7-months-4-weeks-and-ggs-anniversary-and-vegas-030.jpgIt is so hard to come to terms with Kanan turning 8 months old. It seems like just yesterday…..well you know the rest; it is a line every mother says a thousand times in her life. I think I have already said it a dozen times thus far. Regardless, my little baby is a soon-to-be-toddler. Just yesterday he started “cruising” along the furniture and around the inside of his pack-n-play when we put him in it. It is not a whole lot. I don’t even think he realized that he has done it, but he has. I’ll give it a couple more days until he realizes what he can do and then that is all he will want to do all day (phew!) For pics of this month click HERE! Videos of this month are mixed in with the pics.

Kanan weighs 20 lbs. He is still 28 1/2 inches long. He is eating pureed meats now including chicken and beef. He loves beef (red meat lover just like his mother) but needs to mix his chicken with fruit in order for him to tolerate it. He is using his pincer grasp kanan-7-months-third-week-020.jpgnow as well and so I am including some finger foods with every meal for him to practice with. Sometimes he gets it into his mouth and sometimes he just fusses for me to do it. He loves, Loves, LOVES  bite size pieces of cheese (my little mouse)  and he also likes Gerber Graduates freeze dried bananas and strawberries. He also practices drinking from a sippy cup during his meals with me and does drink it successfully but not of course without dumping a lot of it all over himself and his highchair tray (I have to take the plug out because he can’t figure out how to get the water out with it in just yet).

 Kanan is also taking a bath in the regular bathtub now just like a big boy (as you can see in the pic above). We fill the bathtub up to a little below his waist and he has a great time crawling around, sucking on his water toys, and trying to stand up in the tub. It is definitely a lot of work for me because I am constantly grabbing him when he tries to stand because I don’t want him slipping. But his graduation to the big boy bathtub has made him much happier with bath-time. He squeals and laughs and even in his grumpiest moments transforms into the happiest baby on the block when it is bath-time.

This last weekend, Mike and I went on our first trip away from Kanan. Kanan’s Grammy Joella and Grandpa Don came all the way down from Reno to babysit and Kanan didn’t even register that we were gone the entire trip! The little booger! He had a wonderful time with his grandparents and of course, they fell in love with him even more. They said that he was “mild-mannered, relaxed, and a good, happy baby.” I guess they didn’t notice that he has twinkle toes like his father!

Over all we have had a wonderful month. We are waiting on teeth still, but that is the only milestone on which Kanan seems behind. But we are late teethers and early walkers in our family, so it looks like he is just keeping it in the family way.

We are moving here in a week and will have to make some adjustments with our smaller place, but we feel Kanan will do just fine in the transition. And we will be living one-block away from the sand so Kanan’s new backyard will be the ocean! And he is going to see it everyday because without a backyard, we will have to take the boys out for walks everyday. I guess I’ll finally get a chance to lose that last 5 lbs that have been hanging on me like a codependent friend. Good Riddance!

Halloween Shmalloween

halloween-night-2007-011.jpgThis day has been sour from early this morning. First, I spent a good 15 minutes arguing with two of my students in first period about why a certain character in a story was not round.

Then I don’t even make it into my driveway before my neighbors approach me. They are nice girls but they come over way too much and don’t get the hint when I want them to go. So they come inside and of course, don’t go back home for 2 hours. Even though I’m cleaning the house or putting Kanan down for a nap or talking with future renters who are checking the house out, they stay. To top it off, Kanan is in the grumpiest mood I have seen in a long time. Nothing is making the kid happy.  I don’t know if it is teething or a tummy ache or what.

Mike then decides he is too tired for us to go to my sister’s neighborhood to trick or treat. So I decide to atleast put Kanan in his costume and take some photos. Kanan hates the costume and starts crying hysterically the second I start putting it on him. Every photo of him is of him crying . Luckily he is cute, so even a crying skunk is better than no skunk pictures. So after I take the costume off of Kanan, and start getting him ready for bed, he miraculously cheers up, but Mike passes out on the floor. After 45 minutes of sleeping on thhalloween-night-2007-008.jpge floor of Kanan’s room, he gets up long enough to give Kanan and a kiss and then disappears. After I finally get Kanan in bed and sleepy, I come out of the bedroom starving and hoping Mike is starting something for dinner since we went to the grocery store last night and bought a bunch of groceries and even meal planned. There is no one around. I go into our bedroom and he is asleep. He didn’t even eat dinner.

So here I am on Halloween night. No trick or treating, no fun dressing up, everyone is in bed but me. There are not even trick or treaters knocking on my door for treats to cheer me up. The neighborhood is dead. I guess everyone left for the neighborhoods with the big candy bars or something. Anyway, I’m eating a microwavable burrito and feeling sorry for myself.  Grrrrrrrrrrrr.

Certainly a Red October

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  Our family got a little rambunctious in the aftermath of the wildfires last week and finished the crazy week with a bang. This weekend was the first time most of us were able to get out of our homes and breathe the air in a whole week and so one can imagine why we got a bit crazy. First of all, I impulsively chopped my hair and made bangs—-by myself. Did such a lousy job, I had to schedule an emergency appointment with a hairdresser to fix my mess. She salvaged what was left and believe it or not, I actually don’t regret it. I suppose having trappedinsidebecauseofsmokemania can lead to some good things.

       Secondly, Kanan and his cousins got together with his Aunt Barbie, Grandma and Grandpa, and of courspumpkin-patch-family-fun-oct-2007-006.jpge Mike and I on Saturday and went to the Pumpkin Patch. Kanan had a great time watching his cousins go on the rides and do the crazy bungee trampoline ride. He got a little fussy from not napping as early as he normally does. We had to use the binky a bit toward the end of the pumpkin patch experience though. But he got a second wind and then didn’t want to go down for a nap when we got home. He ended up staying up 6 whole hours before falling asleep! And believe it or not, he was in a great mood for most of it. Unfortunately, Mike and I didn’t bring money to buy a pumpkin so we might have to just make a run to the grocery store to get one this week.

      When Kanan showed us that he was definitely not wanting to take a nap, we let him play with his cousins and he had such a great time. He crawled and climbed and played with their big blow up hammers and was all smiles. He just loves his cousins Tristen, Harley, and Zane.

pumpkin-patch-family-fun-oct-2007-069.jpg      When we did arrive home, we discovered that Smokey and Bandido got  a little stir-crazy being trapped in the house for 5 hours. They got into the bathroom, discovered a brand-new 4-pack package of toilet-paper and just had a ball, tearing it apart and spreading the chewed up sheets all over the bathroom. Their punishment? They were locked in our other 2ftx4ft bathroom for 30 minutes. And when I opened the door to let them out, Smokey jumped out but grumpy Bandido just stayed there. He didn’t even care.  I was cracking up laughing. When I took this picture here, Bandido didn’t want to be a part of it. Only Smokey was silly enough to stay for photographs. Ha ha, sucker.

 All in all, it was a fun weekend and we are all happy to be safe and sound. Check out the rest of the pics of our weekend HERE!

Smokey and Bandido Update

2005_0924theboys0001.jpgHow unthoughtful of me to post such a tragic story about the boys and then never write an update to let you know your thoughts and prayers were heard. Thank you all so much for your thoughts and prayers. The boys are alive and well! They were pretty grumpy and in pain for a while there, but starting this week they have really come around. Smokey is back to his playful self—jumping on us when he is excited and wanting attention. Bandido is still moody, but he is always like that. Yet he is actually cheering up a bit too and comes to us for cuddling when he is in the mood, of course. His wound on his behind abscessed unfortunately and got so bad, we had to schedule him for another surgery, but while we were at JC Pennies getting our family pictures taken, his abscess decided to burst! Disgusting, right? And to make the situation all the more crazy, in effect, the other customers thought he was a girl dog and asked if he was in heat, ha ha. I guess  getting neutered didn’t help him in that department. Regardless, we cancelled the surgery and the veterinarian said he was healing up nicely.

Kanan is Moving….and it is no longer just horizontally

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Still a couple of weeks to go before Kanan is 8 months old, but he is not letting his young age bring him down, unless it is falling down. The day after Kanan’s 7 month birthday, Kanan decided he was not satisfied with the simple crawling he had mastered over the previous 2 weeks. No, this boy was ready to walk and so he attempted the first step in that direction—pulling himself up! Ever since he did it the first time on my knee the little boy has been on a mission. Anything and everything is now an opportunity for him to pull himself up. Pampers boxes, ottomons, coffee tables, rocking chair, Mom’s knees, Dad’s guitar—-you name it, Kanan will figure out how to pull himself up with it. One problem though has come as a consequence to his new found freedom. Falling. The little boy is a crawling, pulling up catastrophe waiting to happen. I try to prevent him from falling as much as I can, but he seems to slip in a few falls each day no matter how hard I try. Luckily, a simple hug and a kiss normally helps him forget and he is back at it in a few short moments. Check him out in action here on Youtube. And stay tuned for Kanan’s 8 month update in a couple of weeks.

And for those who are curious—1) This was either before or after his nap, so the binky is there because he enjoys sucking during those times. 2) Shortly after making this video, Kanan discovered the monitor plugged into the wall and started playing with it. I have since moved the monitor to a more discrete area and plugged up the outlets with those childproof plugs.

Please pray for Smokey and Bandito

smokey-and-the-bandit.JPGAs some of you may know, our little family suffered from a tragic event last Monday. Some gang members in our neighborhood broke our fence and sent in 3 blue nose pitbulls, trained in dog fights,  to kill our two little Corgies, Smokey and Bandito.

I came home from work Monday afternoon to find our two boys being mauled by these three dogs. My instinct at first was to scream out for help of course, but also to try and stop them. When I ran toward them, one of the pitbulls charged after me, and it was then that I realized I couldn’t risk my life for these dogs. How I wished I had a gun, but I didn’t. So instead I just screamed as loud as I could for someone to help them and cried hysterically as I watched the pitbulls continue to maul the boys. They were not dogs, but a pack of wolves. Thank god my neighbors ran into my backyard and began to hit the pitbulls with sticks. In the meantime, I somehow managed to answer a phone call from Mike as the phone was in my hand and screamed for him to get home to help. My neighbor’s son called the police.

There was so much blood it looked like a murder scene. Smokey was able to get away first while my neighbors hit the dogs and he ran into the house and out the front door toward the car in desperation, leaving a river of blood as a trail. The blood poured out of his left hind leg like a faucet and I was certain he would die. One neighbor helped me throw Smokey into the car and wrap him towels. We then found Bandito, who finally got away. He was hiding behind some bushes in my front yard. We threw him in the car too and my other neighbor jumped in my car so we could take them to the hospital. Mike arrived at this time, just in time to watch another neighbor jump into our backyard and drag away two of the pitbulls and take them 3 houses down. One of my students heard my screams and ran into my yard, grabbing the third pitbull. He apologized to me and said he would tell the owners.

 While our two dogs were being operated on at the hospital, we had 5-7 police officers on our property taking our statements and interviewing neighbors. They took pictures of the scene and told us we could prosecute. Unfortunately, however, after their investigation and interviews with neighbors, they could not gather enough evidence to pinpoint exactly who broke into our yard to let the dogs in. Neighbors heard people do it, heard them chant for the dogs to “kill them” and heard one of them scream to the others to get the dogs out when our neighbor Rosa yelled that she was calling the police. Unfortunately, only one pitbull was found and detained. The one my student dragged out. The other two, that were dragged out by a man Mike has not been able to identify yet are missing. Of course, the neighbor three doors down says there were no dogs there nor that he had anything to do with this. One of my students said she heard from another student on campus that the dogs were sold by the owners. Until neighbors give up the information as to who exactly broke our fence and let these killing machines in, we will not be able to do anything. Because the only ones who can be punished are the gang members who let them in.  The pitbulls can be detained, but cannot be euthenized because they did not hurt a human. Apparently charging after me wasn’t enough.

We have spent $5,000 so far on the two dogs. The majority of the money going toward saving Smokey who was going to die if we didn’t pay for a specific surgery that would identify the source of his internal bleeding. Smokey suffered from multiple bite wounds of course and those are stapeled and stiched, but additionally his major artery in his leg was severed as well as a major vein. That vein was the source of his internal bleeding and doctor’s said it was a miracle they were able to find that vein. He has also had one blood transfusion and will probably need another one soon because his blood count is continuing to drop at this point, which could signify his body is giving up. Additionally, if his leg doesn’t figure out how to recirculate the blood because of the damaged artery, he will have to have his leg amputated. We will find out more on Saturday. He is on a lot of medication and half of his body is shaved. All we can do now is wait.

Bandito is badly hurt but will live. He has multiple bite wounds all over his body. The pitbulls also tore out his anus. His worst bite wound is on his belly. It is about 3 inches deep and 4 inches long. He has staples and stiches in many places. The wounds are so deep, he has tubes that look like bones sticking out of them in 3 different places which are supposed to help drain the blood and pus that is collecting in them. Smokey also has these tubes in a few places.

Please keep our little family and of course, our boys in your thoughts and prayers. They mean a lot to our family and we will not be the same without them.

Kanan is 7 Months Old!

kanan-and-mike.jpgKanan is on the move! The little boy is a crawling machine now and is picking up the pace everyday a little bit more. Watch the video of the first crawling steps he took last week Here!

In the meantime, he weighs 19 pounds and is 28 inches long. He has stopped nursing and is full time on formula now. I tried holding on to our first morning nursing session, but he told me he was ready to stop last weekend when he stopped after just a minute of nursing and reached out for the bottle sitting on the table. He is also eating solids for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in addition to the 32 ounces of formula he drinks.

He loves his Daddy and just giggles and laughs anytime they are together. He also has fallen in love with his reflection in the mirror and laughs and smiles and touches it and tries to taste it. He loves to chase balls around the house and to suck on his feet. Of course now that he is crawling, the tops of his feet and toes are dirty, which looks really funny and I’m sure tastes funny too. He has stopped needing the late night 1030pm feeding I have been giving him before I go to bed and now sleeps from 730pm to when I wake him up in the morning before I go to work. Yesterday, Mike begged me to let the baby sleep and he would feed him because he desperately wanted to catch up on rest as he hasn’t been feeling very well. Well the little booger slept until 9 am!

He continues to babble and has progressed to much more difficult phonemes including “g” and “k.” He loves to say “lalalalala” when he is happy and when he is mad, he screams out “nanananananana.” Could he be trying to say “no?”

The next milestones to come are still in processessing. He continues to teeth, but nothing has cut through his gums. He is trying to grab small objects with his pincer grasp but hasn’t figured out the coordination to succeed at that yet. And he is attempting to stand from crawling position but can’t get passed “downward dog” position (any yoga people out there know what I’m talking about.)Check out the pictures from this month HERE

To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate?

Ahhh….the controversial vaccination debate. It sure is becoming popular now to be worried about vaccinations. Truth be told, I have no idea what to think. I mean I understand why vaccinations are good. They have saved many people from dying of infectious diseases that have become epidemics in the past.  I’ve read some literature from both sides of the debate and neither has convinced me. At the same time that vaccinations have become more wide spread and commercially available, our food has become overprocessed and pasterized and pumped full of hormones and pesticides so who is to say those are not the things that are causing our problems? Some people tell me that research has shown that kids who are not vaccinated have less incidences of such ailments as ADHD or Autism or even SIDS. But the people who are more likely to not vaccinate are the same ones who are more likely to buy raw, organic or whole foods, so which one is it that saved their kids? Not being vaccinated? Or their better diets? Secondly, why would the FDA approve of something that would cause a civilization to deteriorate because of a terrible handicap like Autism? So I just stick to the recommendations to vaccinate Kanan, but trust me, that doesn’t come without doubt and even a little bit of guilt. Because despite my scepticism, I do feel that the FDA are a corrupt, money hungry and not to mention idiodic administration because they bully fruit and vegetable companies who advertise the many health benefits of their produce into keeping their mouths shut because the FDA doesn’t want to lose money on the drugs they are selling that supposadly cure the same condition. So who is to say they wouldn’t just ignore the research that suggests that maybe vaccinations are not the wisest of decisions.

Gahhh…I could go on, but I would still get to the same place I am now. I just don’t know.  Part of me has thought to only get the vaccinations for the really bad stuff, but I don’t know which ones are worse or more contagious than others. Another part of me thought to just wait and have Kanan vaccinated when he was older, but the fact that we travel to third world countries made me worried we put Kanan at risk when we ourselves were safe from our vaccinations. So the only happy medium I could come to  in order to cover my rear-end in the possible case that vaccinations are causing my son harm, after each vaccination and check up, I take him to a homeopathic healer to get him “cleared” for the negative effects of the vaccines.

There is a pretty convincing science behind this Doctor’s healing. He runs a practice in Orange County called Velocity Wellness Center. He has helped me with a number of my ailments and to be honest, I have seen him work wonders on Kanan when Kanan has been acting strange. He has a website under the same name of his company so check it out if you are interested. Basically the philosophy of his practice is that the body and mind/brain are connected by the spinal cord. Which is true. We are all energy. Which is also true. Through meridians on our body, we can get the mind and brain/mind healed by making the meridians channel its energy better so that the energy that flows from our brain to our body and back is running full charge. Additionally, our energy is in turn, better alligned with the energy around us. Sounds hocus pocus, but if you have studied physics at all, it would make perfect sense. And again, I’ve seen it work. I rarely even see a regular doctor anymore.  

So what do you do? Do you vaccinate? Do you not?

I’m Popping the Cork out of the Champaigne Right Now!

I just recieved a letter in the mail from the district office. The Board of Education has approved my change in status from probationary to TENURED! To all those teachers out there, you understand why I am so jazzed. This means that my job is secure within the district. I don’t have to sign any more contracts or worry about whether or not I will have a job the year afterward. Now, every year, it is expected that I will remain teaching within the district. At this point I have proven that I am a “tenured” teacher and the district wants me for good. Finally financial stability and security in knowing that no matter what happens with the ups and downs of real estate in Mike’s job, our little family will always have my income to depend on and ride us through the tough times. I’m so happy!