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Monday, December 27, 2010

The Holidays Are Now Over

Which means the closing of another year.  Each year between Christmas and probably the first week after the New Year, I always sit back and reflect on the past year, and contemplate the upcoming one.  Unfortunately I have not blogged much this year for various reasons, but I'll try to blog and highlight the ups -and some downs- of the past year.

First and foremost, due to Jeff receiving a full month paid vacation from working at eBay for 5 years, we were able to drive across country to visit my family in Virginia, Indiana and Illinois. Seeing my family was great, and I was able to spend time with friends and family who I have dearly missed.  And while visiting was wonderful and I was able to share some of my childhood experiences with the girls, it truly made me realize and appreciate living here in Utah. While I will always have fond memories of growing up in Virginia, I can't go back to live there ever again.  I don't belong there anymore. In a sense, I felt detached in a way from the whole experience. I'm not saying the trip was negative in anyway or we didn't have fun or we regretted it, but it really gave me a sense of confirmation that I belong here in Utah. The trip also made me evaluate myself as a person and as a parent.  I admittedly crossed the line a few times when losing my temper, and I saw myself in a light that I never wanted to see myself in. I have resolved to be a better parent, and I have noticed some change and success with this. But it has been an emotionally trying year in that regards, but I can say that I have improved my demeanor, but I still have a long way to go. One of the brighter sides of our road trip is that Jeff and I had A LOT to talk about on the drive to VA and on the way home.. in a sense I think it brought us closer together as a couple.  And of course, because it's sooo rare that a picture of the two of us is taken (I think more pictures of Bigfoot exist than pictures of the two of us together), I'm sharing a picture of us from his work Christmas party:
Aren't we adorable?!
The other highlight was getting pregnant for the third time in July.. of course we didn't confirm the pregnancy until August! The miracle and blessing of being able to get pregnant is still just as fresh and marvelous with Oscar as it was with Zoe and of course Ruthie too. This past year or so, I've had family and friends who have lost their pregnancies at various stages, and even one friend who lost her child just mere days after the baby was born. There's no words to describe the sorrow and heartbreak of these situations.. while I've never experienced the losses they've gone through, that doesn't mean my heart still didn't break when hearing about each loss. Each one of the women are all fantastic mothers, and it's really not fair they've had to deal with the losses they've dealt with. I admire each and every one of them for their resolve. I'm grateful for every kick, poke and yes even the muscle pulling and popping because I know what the alternative means.  This pregnancy has been a double blessing, because I have been able to finally get answers for all of the inexplicable aches and pains and weird falls and other episodes that I've experienced for most of my life with the diagnosis of my Rheumatoid Arthritis. I've got a friend who has it, and I contacted her and she gave me an emotional boost and some advice as well as the title of a book that she recommends reading; I'm going to have to buy it soon.

I'm also grateful for Jeff finally agreeing to cloth diaper Oscar; in fact we got the diapers in the mail on Christmas Eve!  As weird as it sounds for being grateful for extra loads of laundry, I really feel like this is the best thing that I can do for him as well as the environment. My only regret is not having the resolve and education to do it with Zoe and Ruthie; but at least I'll be able to do it for him.  Jeff really is an amazingly supportive husband and friend; there's not enough words or sentences for me to express how grateful I truly am for him being in my life. He has made me a better person, just by accepting me for who I am and of course instilling good habits in me.. although it did take me 6 years of us being together for me to stop biting my fingernails. *wink*  Here's the box of diapers...
In addition to the blue and green diapers, I also have red and yellow. And one crazy lime green one.
This past year too the girls have grown and changed so much! Zoe's now five, and it's kind of scary/thrilling knowing she's going to start school next year! We had her birthday party at the Sandy Living Aquarium, and she LOVED it, and in addition, I'm so grateful to all of our friends and family who took the time out of their schedules to come and make the party more exciting for us.  Ruthie has also grown in leaps and bounds, and her personality of sweet, spunky and a bit sassy is starting to show. While it is at times trying, I'm glad that she's developing her own personality. The girls started sharing a room not too long after we got back home from our trip, and they both LOVE it! The girls will pick on each other and tease each other, but they really and truly do love each other.. and I'm so glad that they are able to share that experience with each other. Both girls are extremely smart! Ruthie's learning how to count; and when I mean count I mean she'll see a number of items, and she'll stop saying numbers when she's run out of things to count.. no recitation of numbers just for the sake here! Ruthie's also recognizing most letters of the alphabet. She's a bit later than Zoe on this -who knew the entire alphabet by sight 2 months after her second birthday- but it's still great! I need to sit down with her and figure out exactly which letters she recognizes and which ones she doesn't, but I'm pretty sure she recognizes most of the alphabet. And of course, Zoe's learned how to recite the numbers from 1 all the way to 100! When we're in the car for longish drives, and she's still awake, she'll start reciting the numbers.  She gets stuck on 40, 50, and 60 but with hints she'll get through them just fine.  And another thing she's taken up doing is ADDITION. She'll sit in the car and stare at her fingers and then randomly say something like, "Does 2 and 5 make 7?" and then we'll say yes and then ask her other ways to make the number that she asked about.  We're trying to teach her how to read, but because I'm not sure how I learned, and Jeff's not consistent with sitting down with her and trying to teach her how to read phonetically, it's slow going.  But she does know how to read a handful of words, and she's recently become very interested in asking how words are spelled... in fact last week when we were planning our grocery list, she got a pencil and a paper and made a list all on her own! She also can recognize both uppercase and lowercase letters. Zoe aside from not really being able to read has pretty much already exceeded the requirements of kindergarten in the sense of the goals they are supposed to reach by the end of the year; so it'll be interesting at the very least when she's tested for entrance into Kindergarten next August. Here's the girls on Christmas by the way.. it's the most recent picture of the two of them together:
They are fairies!

Next week will mark the one year anniversary of us having Casey. I can't even begin to express how.. interesting it's been with him in our lives.  It's certainly enriched it for sure!  He's a GREAT dog.. even when he gets stuck on the roof at my inlaws' house or runs up the street and comes home with a rawhide bone he didn't have before -for the record he only did that ONCE-. We don't have a fenced in yard... but that doesn't matter. We can let him out by himself and he won't run off -well he's done that twice in the last couple of weeks but he always came home after calling for him- and he ALWAYS stays in the yard when we're outside. He'll find himself a patch of ground and lay out and just watch and observe, and of course he'll play if we got his stuffed duck or a few tennis balls outside.  He NEVER dug in the garden, and with the exception of digging a very small hole once this summer to bury a milkbone, he doesn't dig up the yard or anything. I think the truest test of his character was back in November, when he somehow sustained a 5-7 inch gash on his back/side that went all the way down to his muscle. We're unsure how it happened, but we think he was trying to get under the chain link at my inlaws' house, and it went unnoticed because their female had tended to it by licking it and it had started to close up and scab over. We didn't realize anything had happened until the next day (Monday) when Ruthie had leaped on him and reopened the wound.. and shockingly all he did was cry out in pain, look at her and walked off.  I didn't think anything of it, until Zoe said "Mommy, Casey stinks." and then about a minute later "Casey has something on his fur."  Looking at it from about 12 feet away it looked like he had rolled in poop -something he's never actually done, but there's always a first time for everything- and it wasn't until I saw the pink flesh of his muscle that I knew something was wrong. I told Jeff he had to come home IMMEDIATELY and I took a picture and sent it to him via picture messaging. One stressful trip to the vet and $400 later, he was put under for surgery, stitched up and given a good bill of health. What was alarming though was the rate of necrosis.. the vet said that it was consistent with a week old stab wound.. despite the fact that the injury happened within the previous 12-16 hours of him getting medical attention.  He is probably the best dog to have around kids, because the girls are constantly pulling and laying and just generally rough with them and he hasn't ever really snapped or bit them.. and I think most people say that about their dogs, but when the dog has a big gash on them and a kid that weighs about 30 pounds comes flying and flopping on them, even the most mild mannered dog will retaliate by snapping at them or even biting them.  The vet was shocked when we told her what his reaction was.. or lack of one really.  Jeff and his dad inspected the chain link fence that he was trying to get under, and they found a VERY sharp piece of fence that we think he cut himself on. When the weather gets better, they will be going and clipping the fence to make sure it doesn't happen again with Casey or any other dog.  I'd insert a picture.. but I'll spare you from regurgitating your last meal/snack that you ate; it looked pretty bad.

And I feel horrible about slacking on the pregnancy belly pictures.. honestly I haven't been feeling well enough to do it, but I FINALLY had Jeff take on on Christmas! Hope you enjoy! and of course, I'll be taking more.
I promise I'm not grumpy, just EXTREMELY tired. This pic was taken on Christmas after all! I'm 24 weeks and 5 days along in this picture.
Anyway, hope you enjoyed the update with pictures! Hope you guys had a good holiday and that you'll have a GREAT New Year!

Friday, December 3, 2010

My Appointment, Ultrasound and Other Things

Well, as you all saw in my last post, we're having a boy!  We're both excited, and of course our family is excited for us as well.. although Jeff's excited because as he put it, "[I] won't nag [him] to have anymore kids." Oscar looks great internally and the ultrasound technician said that his heartbeat was really strong, which is a relief. It was so great to see his profile and try to imagine what he's going to look like once he's born; I think he's definitely going to favor Jeff! I especially hope he has the red hair that Jeff had when he was born as well as my three youngest nephews had at birth.

As for my last OB appointment on November 18th, it went well. I weighed in at 114.6 pounds which means I gained a bit over a pound since my previous visit and my bloodpressure was fine.  Unfortunately, there was a mixup with clerical work, so the referral to the Rheumetologist was never sent or received back in October, but Dr J (my OB) was proactive and personally sent the fax herself. And since I was due for my Quad Screening blood test, she went ahead and also did a full run on my thyroid.  After I left the lab, I went ahead and called the Rheumetologist office, and after persisting they check their faxes, they confirmed that they recieved the referral, and I called back the next day and set the appointment to be seen on November 30th, which was this past Tuesday. They also requested that I personally bring in the results from my thyroid tests, so I was able to get those the day I had my ultrasound; thankfully my thyroid is in normal range and I passed the Quad Screening tests with no problem.

The visit went well, I gave a through personal medical rundown of everything I ever had -I got Cat Scratch Disease when I was a junior in high school.. something that's really rare so I must be special- and all my various aches and pains.. talked about when I sprained my ankle when I was 13 -jumping and slipping off a pile of logs, I won't do THAT ever again- and of course my family history. I mentioned in the paperwork that my dad has Rheumatoid Athritis, and apparently my grandfather had Muscular Dystrophy in his eyelids. He did a full examination and concluded that I have Trochanteric Bursitis, or in other words I've got bursitis in my hips. He told me he felt that my chances of having Rheumatoid Arthritis were very slim, however because of my family history with one parent having it, he went ahead and ran the two blood tests they do for RA.  I didn't really think much of it, and figured the bursitis was the reason why I've been having pain and whatnot, along with pregnancy, although it's not really normal to have the ammout of hip pain I've been experiencing in the first and second trimesters, it's supposed to hit later.

Well, I got a call today and was told by the nurse that one of the "Tests came back positive for RA, but there were no other findings." which basically means I DO have it; however due to various factors, I have not had the onset of clinical symptoms. Dr G told me that generally speaking with RA, pregnancy actually suppresses the symptoms, and talking with a friend of mine with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) is also suppressed by pregnancy; I guess it's something that's shared with all auto immune diseases; which is why there's studies currently being conducted to test the effectiveness of using pregnancy hormones to control the symptoms.

I'm not going to lie, there was a bit of a nasty shock when I hung the call up, and I did have the momentary urge to cry, but it passed, and I started to think positive. I've had the symptoms for years.. some which include depression and anxiety along with sensitivity to cold, and tiredness and of course body and joint pain.  It's a relief to know that I do NOT have clinical depression; that the occasional depression I do have is really a symptom, not the actual thing I have. It's nice to know that I finally do have the answers, and I genuinely do have a lot of things going for me. I'm young, it's apparently been caught early enough that I do not have the onset of clinical symptoms of swollen, red hot joints -which is why he initially thought I didn't have it, since I don't have this yet- and I'm short and I have never had issues with excessive weight gain.  I've fluctuated up and down, but it's always been in the range of normal for my body type and height.

Obviously there's not much they can do for me now, I can only just manage the pain when it gets bad with tylenol, and I avoid doing that unless it interferes with getting to sleep. My plan is to of course follow up with Dr G after I have Oscar, and to avoid the heavy medications for as long as I can. My dad was diagnosis with it at 29, and he has yet to start any of the RA medications because he exercises regularly, has a good diet and of course maintains a healthy weight, something that I plan on doing as well.

I'm fairly optimistic about this, I really am. I realize now too that it's a great thing that I got pregnant again, because I honestly don't think I would have been proactive enough to go to a GP doctor and saying "Hey I've got joint pain, can we set me up to see a Rheumetologist?" and who knows how long it would have been before we found out.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Five years today...

At 12:19 pm, after 14 hours of labor -most of which I slept through- I gave birth to my firstborn, Zoe Elizabeth Hayford. I don't know if I've ever mentioned it before, but her name has some significance to Jeff and I.  We both selected Zoe due to the fact that we've never heard of anyone using the name, except that Jeff did have a teacher that named his daughter Zoe.  We had the name picked out before we found out that she was a girl; however, it took us several weeks to decide on her middle name, until one day we were driving home from somewhere, and I asked Jeff, "How about Elizabeth?" and he asked where I got the name from, and I replied, "It was my imaginary friend's name." Apparently, I had named my imaginary friend Elizabeth when I was about 2 or so.. to this day I have no clue where I picked up the name from.

Zoe was unplanned; but she was NOT unwanted. Due to being diagnosed with Endometrosis at the age of 16, I went the next three years assuming that I wasn't going to ever be able to get pregnant without medical intervention, and even then that was far reached; there was the remote and very real possibility that I was never going to even have children at all.  I discovered that I was pregnant with her when I was approximately 10-12 weeks along.. and that's a long time to realize something was off, but a side effect of having Endometrosis is that your periods are extremely irregular.

Her birth was a tremendous blessing for me, because I knew that without any help from any doctors, I defied the odds and was able to conceive naturally. Never have I taken the ability to have children granted. While I love my kids with equality, Zoe's most special in the sense she was truly a miracle, especially after what I was told.

In addition she was also born on Thanksgiving, and also on my inlaws' 34th wedding anniversary. Nothing can beat the birth of a grandchild as an anniversary present!

So without further ado.. this is what she looked like 5 years ago:
She was 20.25" long. Doesn't look too happy does she?

And here's what she looks like today.. and when I say today, I mean within the last 15 minutes.

Happy birthday Zoe!  I can't believe you're five, time has surely flown by!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Hot Parenting Topic: Potty Training & of Course, DIAPERS!

Zoe and Ruthie are currently both potty trained, and so I'm just going to write a brief paragraph with the experience with both girls.

Zoe was potty trained in March of last year at 3 years and 4 months.  We decided with buying a new house, we needed to cut costs where we could, and we told Zoe since we were buying a house, we couldn't afford to buy her diapers anymore, and for her to pick out a pack of panties.  She had a very concerned look on her face, and she picked her panties and she was potty trained pretty much the next day, with very few accidents.  She was okay for a few months, and then for about a 3 or months period period last year where she was driving us insane with having accidents all day every day. We cured her of t hat by forcing her to go bare butt for about 2-3 hours while her panties were in the washing machine and dryer. While I may get some backlash for doing this particular method, please keep in mind that nobody other than our family was home, and we did not publicly announce this; in fact I think this is the first time I'm mentioning it to anyone else.  We had to retrain her after our trip home from Virginia, but fortunately it was just a day or two, versus the months of accidents that we dealt with previously.

Ruthie was actually just potty trained in June of this year at 2 years, 4 months.  It took Ruthie about a week of having accidents and the like before she finally caught on.  She caught on to pooping really quick but had a hard time with peeing, until I finally pointed to the approximate area of her bladder, and told her when it feels ticklish, that it was time to go sit on the potty and she got it! We had issues this summer about her having accidents out of laziness, but that was stopped when we were out helping my father in law at a jobsite, and she walked away in a semi secluded area, and sat down on some concrete stairs and peed without even telling us she had to potty.  I wasn't about to put her back in the carseat with a wet butt, so I dug around in the trunk of the car, and fashioned a loincloth of sorts from a clean kitchen towel and ducttape. She was so embarrassed, and refused to make eye contact with anyone.  It was just us four plus Jeff's dad that saw her in it, but it was enough and we've not had problems since then, aside from nighttime accidents; which quite frankly are unavoidable, Zoe occasionally still has them as well.

Quite frankly, Jeff and I both feel that we could have potty trained Zoe much sooner. I'm not saying my kid's MENSA material, but she's above average in intelligence. We could have had her potty trained much sooner than we did; in fact she randomly used her potty at 20 months, but I never really pushed the issue since we had WAY too many other things going on at that time, and we were just in a stressful living situation, but we moved out of that place when Zoe was just over 2 so moving into our last apartment would have been a good place to do it, and we tried, but the bribery method DID NOT work for Zoe, she was simply too smart for it.  Not saying that the kids that the bribery method works on are not smart.. she just figured out pretty quick what we were trying to do.

The intital reason why I decided to potty train Ruthie when I did was primarily because I had done a really rough estimate on how much we had spent on diapers over the course of Zoe and Ruthie's life in, and I bugged out at the cost. (My estimate was really rough, and I most likely underestimated the cost) I announced on facebook that we were potty training her due to the cost, and someone suggested I use coupons to buy diapers... I realize that I was a bit thoughtless in my response implying that couponing was a waste of time -I still need to figure out how to apologize to her- but I should have said that at that point, it would be easier for me to go ahead and potty train her; since she had already shown interest in potty training and "being a big girl".  And I think at 2+ years old, she's ready for potty training, intellectually and physically.  Granted she's kind of on the small side and has to use a stool to get on the potty, but she has the physical control to hold it in to get to the bathroom without having an accident, and that's more important than meeting 'a height requirement'.

Anyway, lots of hot topics have come up with this pregnancy. We don't know what we're having yet -we'll know in three weeks- but we've had the circumcision discussion (I'll share on that later after we find out what we're having and only if we're having a boy); please do me and everyone else a favor and don't mention your thoughts on it, I don't want or need a lecture; of course this is generalized and not to anyone in particular. We already see eye to eye on hospital birthing, vaccinations and parenting, so those aren't going to be brought up again. However, the current topic of discussion is diapering. I want to cloth diaper, Jeff's not sold on it at all.  For me it's mostly about cost.. I'm okay with saving money at the flip of convenience of tossing diapers out, and there is an environmental factor involved as well; for me anyway. However, we're not Al Gore butt kissers, but we do think that hybrid cars and electric cars are a great idea -the technology isn't old enough for us to make the leap- we use the energy saving bulbs, we recycle more than we throw out garbage, and almost all of our appliances are HE or energy efficient.. With the exception of our fridge, stove and dishwashing machine; those came with the house and when they break we will for sure will be replacing them with HE appliances. And we do believe in Global Warming.

Anyway, after watching a quick video today about the cost of cloth versus disposables, I decided to revisit the cost of diapering.  However, it's not as clear-cut as one variable for disposable diapering and one for cloth diapering (well, for me there's only one way to cloth, but still)  There's THREE for disposables, and one for cloth diapering.  Why you ask.. aren't all diapers equal? Those who have had kids recently will say NO.  Some diapers are VERY superior over others, and it's obvious.  Here's how my diapering needs will break down assuming the following things:

~The baby goes through 8 diapers a day for the first year of it's life.
~The baby goes through 6 diapers a day for the remaining time they are in diapers.

If it's a girl: (scenario A)
Huggies diapers for newborn size; these are what the hospitals use, and quite frankly I LOVE the brand.  They aren't cost efficient in the long run (and while I admit coupons would help, I do not have the patience for it so it's not for me, I give a big applaud to people who can do it and do it successfully), so when the baby is out of newborn sized diapers we'll be using the Walmart brand of diapers called Parent's Choice.  Assuming the baby is potty trained at 2.5 years (being generous, and I draw the line at that point) and we use Target brand wipes -LOVE THEM- diapering a baby girl from birth to 2.5 years will cost us $1,150 (I am rounding up a bit.. less than $3); this is factoring in sales tax as well.

If it's a boy: (scenario B)
Target wipes again, and Huggies newborns again. Talking with both of my SILs, I've come to the conclusion that Parent's Choice diapers are absolutely horrible for boys, and if I ABSOLUTELY use them, I need to prepare for more changes, so I added 3 extra diaper changes a day.  We also have to factor that boys take longer to potty train, so assuming he's potty trained at 2.75 years (I'm giving an extra three months here).. and assuming that 3 extra a day is enough, it will cost us $1,540 (rounding up, less than $2); again tax is factored.

If it's a boy: (scenario C)
Target wipes again, and Huggies newborns again. And again, Huggies are too cost prohibitive to use in the long run; however my SILs BOTH swear by Kirkland brand diapers from Costco.  They both say they are VERY comparable to Huggies, and are more affordable.  If we go this route, and still assuming 2.75 years for potty training PLUS 3 years of having a Costco membership ($50 a year, and I could split it or mooch, but I don't want to) It will cost us $1,850 (rounding up, less than $4); and of course tax is included.

Cloth Diapering:
This doesn't change on the gender of the baby.  One of my favorite sites that discuss cloth diapering and reviewing cloth diapers is done by a mom of two little boys, plus a friend of mine with her two daughters does not have issues; they are for the most part equal for both genders.  I draw the line at using 'rewashable wipes' so, again I will be using Target brand wipes, and because I think buying newborn cloth diapers is not a smart thing to do, I will continue to use Huggie newborn diapers; however instead of using them for 2 months, I will only use them for one month; and quite frankly who wants to deal with trying to wash the sticky newborn poo off of cloth diapers? There's a few more things involved with cloth diapering than just buying the diapers.. you also need to buy two pail liners -one to wash, one to use-, two traveling wetbags -again one to wash one to use- plus, you cannot use commercial soaps to wash them because of the fillers and stuff they add to the detergents; they cause buildup that will prevent the diapers from being absorbent and they also will void the warranty of most diapers, so I plan on buying separate soap for the cloth diapers.  To be exact, I plan on using exclusively BumGenius diapers (version 4.0, with snaps, they are all in one size, so they cover a child from 8 lbs all the way up to 32 lbs I think) and the soap I plan on buying is called Rockin' Green soap... unscented; using a scented soap will violate the warranty.  And what's nice too is that they've got a hard water formula which is PERFECT, and they even sell a magnetic scoop that would stick to the washing machine, so I won't have to use my measuring spoon from the kitchen!  The cost of supplies (including the wipes and disposable newborn diapers) is going to be... $719.96.  There's a possibility the baby may be big enough to fit in the diapers right from birth, so we may be able to avoid using disposables after leaving the hospital and that'll save us about $60.

I won't have to pay salestax OR shipping so that helps out a TON.  What's great too is that the site I plan on buying the diapers from has a 30 day, full money back guarantee, so if I decide that it's NOT for me, then I can go ahead and get my money back.  I'll just be out of the money on the liners, wetbags and soap.. which I would use anyway.  There's a possibility that I may end up switching to using it full time anyway.. but that's still very up in the air. I haven't been able to figure out how much the extra laundry is going to affect my electric and gas bill, but since we pay a flat rate of $43 a month for water, and we NEVER go anywhere near the threshold to be charged more -it happened once this summer from watering the garden and lawn and it was only over by $6 bucks- it's not going to affect my water bill at all. And because we have High Efficient (HE) washer and dryer, it's not going to have a tremendous impact on our gas or electricity bill, but I plan on figuring it out for our electric bill at the very least.. we have also have a HE water heater and a very HE furnace, so that helps too and generally speaking we're not a high energy consuming family as it is.

To put it simply cloth diapering will save... but how much?
Scenario A (girl):  $426.28
Scenario B (boy, using Parent's Choice):  $818.43
Scenario C (boy, using Kirkland brand): $1,256.72

Using cloth diapers for a girl.. the difference is highly debatable.. but if we have a boy, That's a lot of money.  Jeff and I very fortunate in the financial department in terms of not having any debt besides our mortgage, so not pinching pennies and nickling and diming every little thing isn't going to spiral us into foreclosure or anything like that. Of course, $425 is still quite a bit of money, even of the time period of 2.5 years.  There's going to be variables involved like if the baby is potty trained sooner than I estimated for (highly unlikely, maybe by 2 months if it's a girl) or even later than I expected (more likely in the event if it's a boy) and of course that would drive the cost up higher.  And I did my calculations based on current prices.. what's not to say that they'll go higher? One of my SILs said that Kirkland brand diapers recently went up in price, and I know when we started diapering Zoe, the price of Parent Choice diapers have gone up by $1.  The prices on cloth diapers are pretty set.

For Jeff, his biggest concern is with my.. well laziness when it comes to doing laundry and even dishes. I'm honest, I HATE doing dishes and I HATE doing laundry.  I'm not exactly Suzy Homemaker here.. and quite honestly any type of cleaning is the bane of my existence. I do LOVE cooking, I just hate the cleaning up.. the preparation and cooking is usually soothing for me (If I'm not short on time). And I've been told I'm a really decent cook (thanks Mom and Dad!) too. Due to the time constraints on the 30 day back money guarantee -from time of arrival not of usage- I have to wait until the baby is ready for cloth diapers to buy them- I can't just buy them and store them.. so my personal goal is to get into a good washing cycle for both dishes and laundry. I'm not going to share my personal goal, but if I can be consistent with it for the next 24-26 weeks that I have left of my pregnancy, I think Jeff would be more willing to try it out. Hopefully too, we can get to the bottom of my medical issues that I've been having, I'll possibly be more motivated to clean and whatnot more.  Whatever I got, if it's an Auto-immune disease with depression as a side affect (most of them do), or just some form of clincal depression; having depression lowers your motivation to do well.. anything really.  Hopefully I'll have answers sometime soon regarding that.

At least one of you may be thinking "Well, why not try X brand? They may be cheaper!" and to that I reply with.. nothing beats the cost of Parent's Choice diapers.  With the girls we never had a ton of issues with pee leaks and while they did have blowouts -one of the bonuses of using cloth, you rarely get blowouts- that's unavoidable with all disposable diapers. We tried Luvs, we tried the Target brand diapers, as well as the generic brands from the locally owned grocery stores.. they all suck for us, and if they were leaky and gross with girls, it's gonna be worse with boys; my SIL confirmed this for me today.

Pampers... well I refuse to use them on principle, because there's been issues with a very small percentage of babies getting chemical burns due to the reformulating they did recently on the absorbency stuff that's in them.. and they refuse to own up to the possibility of their products causing the burns.. instead they are blaming parental negligence -newsflash, a dry diaper that's been on a child for less than 10 minutes should NOT remove the top layers of a child's skin, that's by no means negligent- wrong sizing (like putting your child in a diaper that might be one size too small is going to cause a chemical burn), diet (debatable due to allergies and acidity of the food you feed your kid), medication (debatable due to side affects) and other weird factors they've cooked up. While I concede that less than 5% (it might even be less than 1%) of the babies that were in Pampers were getting chemical burns.. do I really want to run that risk of putting my child through that pain and trauma... it's not just a no, it's a HELL NO. (I make no excuses for using that phrase, hope you aren't offended) If you use the diapers and have not seen any issue with your baby's behind.. then that's fantastic... but the unknowing for me is enough to avoid it, plus their refusal to take any sort of responsibility for their product is what really does me in.. it's more of an ethical issue than anything else.

If you want links or further information on what I've posted or even the exact breakdown of my spreadsheet, feel free to let me know, I'll just email it to you.  I know this was a lot to read, so if you finished, that's GREAT!  I spent a ton of time figuring this stuff out, and I just wanted to share.  Keep in mind this is just an estimate based on my personal preferences and the experience of my close relatives in the state of Salt Lake County, Utah.  If you prefer to use a different brand, and/or you don't live in Utah, the cost WILL vary because of sales tax and just the price differences between brands.

Friday, October 22, 2010

My Appointment on 10/21/2010

So I saw my doctor again yesterday. I was planning to discuss the whole due date thing, but right before my appointment, I grabbed my old phone that I had taken a picture of my postive pregnancy test with, and noticed the time stamp as August 11th, not the 5th or the 6th like I thought. So, it's possible her estimation is correct, but I still stand by what I saw with baby's limbs and whatnot. I'm not going to worry about it anymore (see further down why) and didn't bring it up at my appointment. I will however still go by my initial due date estimation for my personal records; I see nothing wrong with doing that, teehee.

Anyway, I was weighed (of course) and I now weigh 113.1 pounds.. I was 111.4 at my last appointment so I've gained two pounds. The weight gain has to be from my expanding uterus, as well as my breasts.. I don't know what it is about this pregnancy, but my breasts have doubled in size since getting pregnant; if not more! This never happened when I was pregnant with Zoe or Ruthie; I didn't experience growth until my last trimester. I'm scared to know how big they're going to be by the time the baby's born! My blood pressure was 121/58. I ride low with my blood pressure; this is quite normal, although that is much different than what it was at my last appointment, 90/64. I think the difference was due to yesterday being a bit stressful, and I was engaging in a serious conversation with a friend of mine right before my appointment. That, and I was wearing a long sleeve shirt, and she did my pressure over it, so it's possible that affected my reading somewhat.

Dr. J came in and we checked the baby's heartbeat with the doppler.. it took her a few seconds to find the heartbeat, but we were able to hear it.. a little woosh-woosh. She said the heart rate was perfect, and then she of course asked how I've been feeling. I'm less fatigued, but I still have a noticable level of fatigue which I think is normal, considering I've got 2 kids already.. who wouldn't be tired running around after them and doing stuff for them all day? I told her that I'm not as down and sad as I was in my first trimester so that of course is good.

However, I did mention that I've been experiencing joint pain while laying in bed at night, and it was causing difficulty with me falling asleep; which is true but it doesn't happen every single night. I told her that I've been having pain in my shoulders hips and knees, and some of the time the pain isn't on the side that I'm laying on, but it's the opposite side.. which I find to be really odd. She asked if it's a problem that started with this pregnancy, and I told her no; I've been experiencing joint pain off and on for sometime now.. the worst situations are when I wake up with stiff hips and then I try walking, I will sometimes fall over because of my hip giving out from under me.. this actually has happened a few times; usually when I'm trying to walk downstairs or even right when I get out of bed; thankfully it hasn't happened in the last few months that I can recall, although I have had some weird episodes involving my knees recently. So, now she wants me to see a Rhuematologist, to rule out the potential of having Rhuematoid Arthritis. Keep in mind, while in the sense that it's the same as 'normal' arthritis in the sense it affects your joints, RA is a systemic autoimmune disease.. it will eventually affect the whole body, and it can trigger at any time; it's not exclusively something that is onset by age. I knew it ran on my dad's side of the family and I told my doctor this; however, after talking with my dad, I found out that it's primarily through his mother's side of the family; and my dad actually has it. I had to call Dr J's office this morning to let them know the local Rhumetologists will not see a patient or even allow appointments to be set without a referral and so I told the receptionists to leave a note that I spoke with my dad and that he has it, and so Dr J can put it in my file.

Of course, it's entirely possible that it's not RA, but it could be my thyroid instead; the symptoms tend to mimic each other, so it's just a matter of eliminating one over the other; although they can occur at the same time. I know from talking with both of my parents it runs on both sides of the family; I have one aunt from my mom's side of the family with hypothyroidism and a few aunts from my dad's side of the family; and it's possible that my sister has it; she's planning on going to an Endocrinologist sometime in the next month to see why despite a healthy diet and regular healthy exercise she's not losing weight like she should. However, due to the pregnancy hormones and their affect on the thyroid hormones, I was told at my last appointment that I have to wait until my second trimester. I reminded her again of it, and because I'm having my quad screening test done next month (blood draw), she's going to go ahead and order that the thyroid testing gets done with the same batch of blood. While some joint pain is normal during pregnancy, I don't think it should be occurring this early; nor should I be falling over from joint pain when I'm not pregnant.

Other than that, everything has been doing better! I've started experiencing round ligament pain -joy- and I've been feeling more energetic, but still not quite where I was before.. not that I had a ton of energy to begin with.

And yes, I'm finally starting to show! I'll have to have Jeff take some pics this weekend.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Baby's First picture!

Here's the baby!  It's little head is to the left, and you can see it's hand right above the head.  Then to the right you can see it's legs.  During the ultrasound, it was alternating kicking it's legs; it would kick one and then bring it up and then kick the other and bring it up, and it was also rocking back and forth and waving it's arms around.. totally looked like it was kickboxing!  It also looks like there's some boy parts; however, it could be the umbilical cord... I've got baby boy fever or something!

The doctor put my due date back to April 23rd, however I think my estimation of April 13th is still correct.  Mostly beacuse the baby's legs were stretched out further than they would have been if it was only 9 weeks old and if her date is correct, then I would have gotten a positive pregnancy test at THREE weeks instead of five, which basically means one week after conception.. which I don't think can happen.  You miss your period 2 weeks after conception, not one, and I took the test the day my period was due.  I wasn't going to argue my point, because... yeah.

Here's the difference between nine weeks and eleven weeks.  At nine weeks, the baby's arms are still really stubby and short, so there's really no way that the baby's hand would be that far away from the body if they were stubby 9 week arms.  Plus, as you can sort of see, the top (left leg) is in mid extension, and that's not possible if I was 9 weeks, cuz they can't stretch that far!  Nor do they have knees.

Anyway, I guess we'll see what happens when I have my mid pregnancy ultrasound!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My Pregnancy So Far

Well, today I'm exactly 10 weeks pregnant.  So here's the summary of how it's been so far.

No morning/afternoon/evening sickness.  However I have strong aversions to certain smells, and certain foods.  The idea of eating tortillas for example.. totally grosses me out like nothing else.  I've been craving red meat, cookies, spicy foods and sour/salty stuff.

No, I'm not showing yet.  The only thing that's changed about me physically is that I've been breaking on my face more than usual, getting the gross under-the-skin-with-no-head pimples and my bra size went from a normal B cup to a D cup in about 4 weeks.  And they are growing.  As of 6.5 weeks, if I express, I'm already making colostrum which would account for the rapid growth in bra size.  I also had cramping during weeks 5 and 6, but I didn't have any bleeding so I wasn't worried at all.  I was also only cramping when my bladder was super full.

As weird as this sounds, I've already felt the baby move.  At least once.  It was kind of a rocking sensation with a soft little poke, and lasted about 10 minutes.  I contribute this to several factors... I'm extremely sensitive to what goes on in my body.. for example I feel my intestines digest on a regular basis -not painful just weird-, I think the baby is situated high in my uterus, and my bladder was exceptionally full at the time, so I think it was pushing my uterus up higher and since we were driving in the car at the time and I had my seatbelt on, the belt was putting pressure on my uterus so.. yeah.  I know I'm not crazy, since this is my 3rd pregnancy and I've been through the motions already.  With Zoe and Ruthie though, I didn't feel them move until around 13-14 weeks, which makes me wonder if I'm carrying multiples or something.  I was getting this sensation of something hard next to the movement that wasn't moving as well, but it could have been my bladder and so.. yeah who the heck knows.

Physically, emotionally and mentally, this pregnancy is really taking it's toll on me.  I'm so tired all the time, which is not good since I'm a stay at home mom to two kids, and up to 4 times a week, I've got a third here.  Fortunately, I won't be watching her much longer, so hopefully that'll help a bit.  I've been more prone to outbursts, and I haven't been handling my emotions as well as I should.  I feel bad beacuse the girls are having issues with handling their feelings and expression themselves, and I realize it's my fault but... I can't seem to help it.  I've been all over the place emotionally and I realize I'm probably suffering from some type of pregnancy induced rage or something.  Which makes me really think I'm having a boy, since I was not like this with my first two pregnancies.

It especially sucks, because I had to switch to a new doctor... something I really didn't want to do, but I'm having to be realistic.  The OB I was seeing when I was pregnant with Ruthie is super awesome and amazing... he's an Osteopathic doctor, and I loved that.  Unfortunately, he no longer delivers at the hospital I had Ruthie at, and the hospital he does deliver at is 30 minutes away, assuming we hit every green light on the way, and I go into labor at 2 in the morning where there's no traffic on the roads... which is highly unlikely.  So, today I had to find a new doctor.. who's an MD -which is fine I guess- and who's a she.  Totally okay with that I guess, it'll be interesting to have a female OB/Gyn.  The other thing too is that she's just barely coming into practice.. according to her fact sheet on our insurance website, she finished her residency earlier this year.  Which is I think a good thing.. some people prefer experience, but I prefer someone who's fresh out of med school, and who's got the up and up in what's new in medicine.  Plus, I think doctors that are newer in the field tend to be less stuck in antiquated thoughts and mindsets.  I guess on the bright side of seeing this new doctor, I get in two days sooner than I would have otherwise.. I get seen on the 21st instead of the 23rd.

Well, that's my update.. I'm 1/4 the way done with my pregnancy.. yay!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Some Math For Ya

the Five Hayfords!
(Well, we hope there's only one in there!)  
ETA: 04/13/11

Oh, and of course we can't forget Casey.  I LOVE this picture of him!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


They say pet ownership is rewarding.  Studies have shown that people live longer, have a reduction in stress and therapy animals really help wonders with sick and disabled patients.

They apparently never had their dog end up on a roof.

Now, I know you're laughing right now, and going "How did THAT happen?"

Well, let me tell you.  Now, I don't profess myself to be a dog whisperer or psychic, so I can't tell you what was going on through Casey's head when he did this.  But my inlaws have a deck in their back yard, and it USED to be two levels.. the second level being on the roof that's slightly higher than this portion.. you can see it in the top middle, or at least the metal flashing.  Anyways, a few years back, they had the back part of the roof replaced, and due to the unstable nature of the top level deck -it was a DDIY or Don't Do It Yourself- and they had it taken down.  Except they didn't have the stairs taken down.  There's a window on the back of the house, and I guess it's a great fire escape route from the second floor.  Anyways, The Sunday before last, Zoe got Casey to come up through the roof and got yelled at because he probably wanted to come in the house through the window.  Well, we let the dogs in and I think rather than wait for someone to open the back door, he decided he was going to go through the window and get in the house himself.  But that didn't work.

We think at this point, Casey got confused and went down the wrong way, and obviously started panicking when he realized there were no stairs to get down the side of the house and get all four paws planted on the ground again.  So, this is a picture of Jeff trying to get him to move forward one foot to get ahold of his collar and drag him down to the edge so he can go ahead and pick him up off the roof (Jeff's standing on something the roof isn't actually that low).  But that wasn't working.  So I ran upstairs, expecting Tim -the youngest boy of Jeff's family of 6 siblings- to be home, but he wasn't.  Luckily, one of his friends was still there and he was nice enough to hop out the window and help Jeff get Casey down by grabbing his collar and shoving him forward a foot and holding him there while Jeff got him off the rest of the way.

Moral of the story?  Dogs don't belong on roofs.  We'll see if Casey does this again.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

And They Aren't Even Teenagers Yet...

... and already Zoe's making signs like this:

Yeah, that's correct.  It's a picture of Jeff (left) and me.  And there's NO above our heads.  Apparently, no parents are allowed in their room*.  The N is a bit lopsided, but it's very clearly a NO.

Amazing.. Zoe's nine years away from being a teenager, and already this.

Well, we always knew she was advanced for her age.

*BTW, she still actually lets us in; however her door has to be shut during the day for some reason.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Home Sweet Home.. and States Visited.. Revised

visited 15 states (30%)
Create your own visited map of The United States

I can't begin to even say how happy we all are to be home.  Over the course of the next week, I plan on blogging about the trip.. it'll include pictures, stories and maybe even a video or two.

We expanded our 'states visited' list from 5 to 15!  Only 35 more to go... LOL

Friday, April 16, 2010

Days Four and Five!

Well, after Wentzville, MO, we drove through the southern tip of Illinois for a bit, and then we drove through the southern tip of Indiana for a bit more, and then onto Lexington, KY where we stopped for the night.  While we were driving into St Louis, I managed to get some pictures of the Gateway Arch!  It's really impressive; well to me at least, I'm sure locals are unimpressed with it.  I don't know what bridge we're on though, but driving through, you can see that there's a TON of bridges on the river(s).  The picture was taken on a bridge, and you can see at least two or three in the picture!  It was amazing.  I discovered later that you can actually go into the arch, but we didn't know that at the time, and honestly I'm not sure we would have stopped and gone in even if we did know.

When we got into Kentucky, we actually crossed the state line via bridge going over the Ohio River.  Of course, because Kentucky is famous for the Kentucky Derby, we saw a ton of horses.  Our stay in Lexington was quite uneventful; for me and the girls that is.  Jeff said at around 3:00 in the morning, he heard yelling and screaming coming out of the office -our room was right above it- and heard what could only be described a drunk lady calling the lady in the office racial slurs, and got called some names back in return.  I guess there was something going on in the city, because if it weren't for online reservations, we would  not have been able to get a room.  Jeff said when he checked in, the guy behind him got turned away because there weren't any more vacancies!

Our drive out of Kentucky was uneventful leaving Sunday morning.  It wasn't until we got into West Virginia that it started to get... interesting.  It was okay until we got around Charleston -the capital city for those of you who are geography flunkies- and for some nutty reason, our GPS decided to tell us to get OFF of I-64 and onto I-79 to US 19, and then had us ride onto these state roads.  Not too sure what they are really called, but it was the worst/scariest 30 miles of our life.  They were these two lane roads; meaning it had one lane going one way and one lane going the other way.  The speed limit was 55, and the roads were crazy... uphill, downhill, aroundhill...  Jeff said it was very nerve wracking and he was strongly reminded of his days of driving in Honduras.  The only thing that was different was the fact that the roads in West VA were paved, whereas in Honduras they aren't.  When we finally got back onto the interestate, we stopped off at a rest stop and took a potty break, because I know we ALL needed it!  During our stop, we made arrangements to stay with my aunt and uncle in Waynesboro.  We were planning to stay the night in Lexington, VA.. but we were fortunate enough to be able to cancel our reservation, save 70 bucks!  We crossed the state line into Virginia, and we stopped in Covington to eat dinner before we rolled into my aunt and uncles' driveway around 8 pm.  Then we stayed up until 1:30 in the morning yapping like my family likes to do::wink::

We left Waynesboro after Uncle Pablo was kind enough to make us a quick pancake breakfast and we finally rolled into Virginia Beach around 3:30 pm on Monday afternoon.  I was planning on blogging about our first week here, but it's taken so long to write this blog, I'll have to save it for another time.

We're having fun though, I promise!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

We Made It!

 Just letting my readers know that we made it safely to Virginia Beach!  We're staying with my dad and we've managed to get lost a few times in the city already, saw some family and friends!  I won't blog the rest of the drive here, since the laptop is currently teathered to my cellular phone to get an internet connection, and it's slow as beans, but we're going back over to my mom's house to hang out all day, and they have a computer connected to the internet the real way, so I'll probably do a blog or two with picutres from her house.

But we're here and safe!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Days Two & Three

Well, we stayed in Laramie, WY our first day, as you may have read previously.  Anyway, we did make it a point to go over and drive to see Hayford Avenue.  However, we discovered based on the enormous size of all the houses on Hayford Ave, you have to have a ton of money to live on it.  Some of the houses had to be more than 4,000 square feet and upwards of 6,000 square feet.  It was amazing.  We wanted to go and poke around at the history center, but we discovered it was inside of the meetinghouse, and no one was there to let us in, so we skipped out on that.

Anyway, the ride from Laramie, WY to Lincoln, NE was quite uneventful.  We didn't run into any horrible traffic like we did on Wednesday.... thank goodness.  We stopped off in Kearney, NE to get gas, and then as we headed east out of the city, we saw the Great Platte River Archway monument.  Unfortunately I didn't get a super impressive picture, but it's still pretty awesome looking.

We left Lincoln this morning, and our ride was uneventful.  I managed to convince Jeff to stop off at a craft type store on the outskirts of Kansas City, since I fell in love with some awesome fabric, and one of 18 stores in the US that carries this line of fabric happened to be in Kansas City, at a store called Urban Arts + Crafts.  I already had 10 fat quarters of the line and was happily able to buy 4 more quarter of yards.  SCORE!  We continued on until we stopped for the night here in Wentzville, MO. It's a decent sized city from what we can tell.

We also decided to stretch our drive to an extra day.  Jeff's been getting burned out with driving, and the girls are getting crankier and crankier.  I'm not sure where we'll be stopping tomorrow; Jeff thinks somewhere around Lexington, KY.  We're roughly 16.5 hours away from Virginia Beach -around 960 miles or so- and instead of driving for two 8 hour stretches, we'll be able to drive for three 5 hour stretches, and actually enjoy ourselves and the drive.  And maybe I'll be able to convince Jeff we'll be able to stop at some of the antique malls that seem to be so abundant in this part of the country.

Like Jeff said, it's supposed to be a vacation; not a stressful drive.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Day One of Road Trip

Well, after having to wait two extra days to do bad weather and closure of the interstate, we're finally at our motel here in Laramie, WY.  We were going to stay in Cheyene, but sometime after we left Rock Springs, we got locked in bad traffic due to a lane closure for ONE HOUR.  It was bad enough that the eighteen wheeler truck drivers were actually getting out of their trucks, walking around and chatting with each other.  Eventually we were on our way and got here safe and sound.

We decided since tomorrow we're only going to have to drive for about 6 hours, we're gonna spend an hour or two here in Laramie to see if we can learn some information for family history.  Apparently, there's a street here called Hayford Avenue, and so of course, we'll have to visit.  Apparently, Jeff's great-great-great grandfather was a judge here back in the day when Laramie was a town of out-laws, and he cracked down on the crime.  In addition, he was also the first postmaster, and was the editor of a newspaper among other things; we'll hopefully find out more tomorrow.

Anyways, here's some pictures of things we saw today.

Welcome to Wyoming sign!  We also saw a TON of semi trucks; I guess when you cross state lines you have to check your cargo in at a way point.  The line of semis was LONG.

This is a picture of Rawlins.  It looked so quaint and awesome from the interstate.  Especially since there was a HUGE church that was clearly visible from the interstate.

And of course windmills.  Lots and lots of windmills.  It was amazing!

Anyway,  time for  me to tuck in!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

States We've Visited

And when I mean we, I've mean me and Jeff.  And I'm not talking about Airport layovers!  I figured since we leave for our trip two weeks from tomorrow, I'd create a 'before' map.  And of course, I'll create one after we get home from our trip!

visited 5 states (10%)
Create your own visited map of The United States

Obviously, we've both been in Utah.. which is the state we live in.  We've been to Nevada together, since we've gone to a Collective Soul concert in Wendover.  We've also been to Virginia together twice, and while we were there for the first time together, we went to Maryland in the car -and sat at the border going into VA to get some pictures- and then we went to this awesome Mexican restaurant in North Carolina.  So.. yeah.  We're obviously going to be going through more together as a family!

It's gonna be fun, I can't wait!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

T Minus Three Weeks....

Until we leave to Virginia, and have we done anything to prepare for the trip? NOPE!  Unless you count buying four of these duffel bags.  We actually have two colors; two in this yellow and two in gray.  I don't know where the other three are, which kind of defeats the purpose of using them for our trip; I hope we can find them before it's time to pack!

We've got a long list of things we need to do.  I guess I can type up the checklist here, since I'll be able to refer back to it later.

Contact the post office to stop our mail.  This also means I have to stop buying stuff online as of next Thursday.  Less packages waiting for us the better.

Clean the house.  This is actually going to be one of the last things that get done, because if I clean it all spic and span, it's just going to get dirty again before we leave.  I would like to come home to a clean house.

Figure out what to take.  Obviously clothes, shoes, my makeup, and toilet paper.  Yes, that's right, toilet paper.  You never know when you go to that rest stop if they'll have toilet paper in the stall.  Figured I'd be proactive and take my own TP, and besides, it's better than using that thinner than tissue paper stuff they call toilet paper.  I also plan to sew myself one of these cute little bags:  It's called "Weekend Away Travel Bag" and it can be found in a great book by Heather Ross called "Weekend Sewing".  It's got a lot of nifty patterns and the like for things such as purses, clothing and various other things.  In case you didn't know, Heather Ross is a well known and highly sought after designer of fabric.  She's got amazing talent and... eh hem, I guess I better get back to the blog on hand, I can rave about her on my creative blog.  Oh, obviously we'll have to take toiletries such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, and pull ups for Zoe -we are NOT stopping every 20 minutes for her to go potty- and diapers and wipes for Ruthie.

Make reservations.  We're staying at Super 8s across the country -well in Nebraska and Missouri anyway- and we need to obviously reserve our room so all four of us aren't sleeping on a twin bed or something.

Well, that's all I can think of for the check list at the moment.  I know I'm taking my sewing machine, and I need to get a sewing box/basket so I can take my thread and other things I may need to sew.  I promised my mom I'd help her sew new drapes for her living room.  I wish I could take my Juki, but it's so big and heavy, and I don't have anything to transport it in unless I buy a Rubbermaid container for it.  I'll have to settle taking my BabyLock Xscape, which is conveniently a travel sized machine and it came with a travel bag.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

So... It's Official!

We are for sure taking our road trip!  I think we're expecting to leave around the first weekend of April.  More to follow, but here's the rough route we're planning on taking:  to Virginia and this is the route we're taking home.  It's going to be exciting, and from the looks of it we'll be meeting some folks along the journey.  Plus, we're planning to go up and down the Eastern Seaboard a bit too, so hopefully we'll be able to meet more people that way!

I'm super excited.. and I think Jeff's not as excited as I am, but I do think he's looking forward to the trip.  More details to follow!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Road Trip Versus Flying

So, last month marked Jeff's fifth year working at eBay.  He is now eligible for a one month -well more like 4 work weeks off- paid sabbatical.  A few years back, he promised that I quit nagging him for yearly trips to Virginia to see my family, he would be willing to take his sabbatical off to go visit my family for the whole month.  Roughly.  We haven't picked a time of the year to go yet; however we're thinking to shoot from mid-April to mid-May.  Not too hot, not too cold.. just right.

So at this point, we're now at a crossroad so to speak.  Do we fly and spend $1,200 on plane tickets, plus another $700 or so for a car rental and get there in about 8 hours?  Or do we take one of our vehicles -most likely the Mazda for comfort- and it'll take us a few days to get to Virginia, yet we'll be able to stop along the way and see some friends?  Sure, we'd have to factor in gas, food expenses as well as possibly accommodations,  however, it'll be a better experience.

If we drive, we'd most likely drive from Salt Lake and then stop in Denver to visit with some friends and stay the night.  That's roughly an 8.5 hour drive.  Then we'd leave Denver and stop someplace in Kansas -possibly Kansas City or thereabouts- and stay there for the night.  And then at that point, it'll be a straight shot from Kansas to Atlanta, GA where we'd most likely stay a few days to visit with a dear friend of mine, and after we leave Atlanta, it's a straight shot up the coast to Virginia Beach.  I know for a fact that's roughly a 6-9 hour drive, depending on traffic and whatnot.  I know while in Virginia, we'd most likely go visit some family in the western part of the state, and then we'd even hit Washington DC to visit the capital.

On the drive home, I know we'd drive up from Virginia to Indiana and stay with my sister and her boyfriend, and then from there up to the Chicago area in Illinois and then come home from there.  Not sure how much time that route would take us, but I'd imagine probably quicker to get home than to leave.

One thing we're considering as a long term investment if we drive would be to purchase a compact tent trailer.  That way if we don't have a place to stay, we'd at least be able to pull up into a camping ground area and stay the night there rather than spending money for motel or hotel rooms.  This would not only be beneficial for road tripping, but also for fishing and camping together as a family after we get home.

It's too soon to make concrete plans; however I know there will be alot of expenses into driving.. we'd have to get our car tuned up before leaving, and then we'd have to tune it up before coming home.  We'd have to make sure we have a spare, we'd have to definitely upgrade our GPS's software to have more up to date maps and a laptop with wireless internet capabilities.  I guess it's a good thing that we have Allstate as our insurance company, since they are nationwide, and we'll have coverage while we drive.  And hopefully, I'll have my driver's license at that point, and Jeff will be confident enough to let me drive so we can switch driving and he won't have to drive the whole entire time.

We'll have to have a backup contingency plan in case things, but I think it'll be doable.

It's just a matter of weighing the pros and cons and deciding which way we'd want to go.  Either way, I'm excited!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Presenting... Casey Hayford!

No, we did not adopt a new baby.. but we did adopt a dog!  It was unexpected, but I'm so glad we did.

Every Saturday, we always go to lunch.  We budget for Saturday lunches, and so it's been a tradition since.. forever really.  We'll usually go out to fast food, or sometimes buffet places, depending on how hungry Jeff and I are.  If I really had to name the place we go the most, it's Souper Salad.  Anyways, we went to lunch at Blimpies, and then went down to Draper to hit Michaels, I needed to purchase some jewelry making tools.  And of course, I ended up getting more than tools and instead of spending around $10 like I planned, I ended up spending around $27, because then I had to get a little caddy, and then Jeff saw these cute little beads with letters on them and suggested the girls would like personalized bracelets, then of course I had to get some filler beads, and then I had to get some elastic string to make them... yeah I love when stuff like that happens.

Well, Michaels is actually right next door to Petco in this particular shopping area, so while we were walking in, Zoe somehow recognized it as a pet store, and asked if we could go in to look around.  Jeff, being a softie said sure and so after we were done in Michaels, we went into Petco.  The Utah Humane shelter was doing an adoption thing there that day, so they had some extra cats and seven dogs there to adopt.  Three large dogs, three Chihuahuas, and then a medium sized dog.  Well, apparently one of the dogs had issues with men; to be more specific, tall men with facial hair.. which fits Jeff's descriptions.  He was going crazy when he saw Jeff, barking and growling at him so Jeff had to walk away for the dog to calm down enough for me to get a look at all the other dogs.  The other two larger dogs were good, except that the chow/lab mix was around a year old and seemed too high energy for us and the other large dog was a pit bull mix.. and seemed sweet enough, but we're not really a pit bull family.  Jeff absolutely hates Chihuahuas because of Grandma's dogs she had, they were ill tempered and nasty and I think they ruined the breed for him.  So that left.. Casey. 

Jeff said he noticed that Casey was just watching him as he walked away and was just staring at him, and he did it with respect, and I think at that point Jeff got attached to him.  Eventually we were drawn back over, and dispite the other dog's aggression towards him, we managed to indicate we wanted to see Casey closer and walk him around the store.  Casey was in a cage on top of another dog -the one that didn't like Jeff- and instead of waiting for her to pick him up, he JUMPED out of the cage and straight for Jeff.  We walked him around the store, and Ruthie just took an instant liking to him.  Normally it takes her a bit to warm up to dogs -she's been exposed to Newton and Oreo, the dogs at John and Wendy's house- but it was almost instantaneous with Casey.  Everytime he'd stop and sniff something, Ruthie would hug his butt, something he did not mind at all.

Anyway, we ended up going back and telling the gal that we wanted him, and so we filled -and by we, I mean me- out the paperwork and then we bought the basics, dishes, collar, leash, food, and brought him home.  I have to clarify, it's been a long time coming.  Ever since we bought the house, Zoe's been asking for a dog.  She's been drawing pictures like this for months:

What is that you ask?  Well let me tell you.  This is what we like to call "Emotional Blackmail".  That's our house.  With a dog door.  Then that's Zoe with pigtails, and the smaller, four legged creature is a dog.  That's right, a DOG.  This was the first of many pictures like this.  It started coming to a head about two weeks ago, when Zoe said to Ruthie, "Lets go upstairs Ruthie and play Animal Shelter."  At that point, we knew she was wanting one BAD.  And that's what lead us up to getting Casey.

Anyway, Casey is a great dog for us.  He's a medium sized dog, so he's between 25-50 lbs (we haven't weighed him yet) and he's half Beagle, half Lab.  He's gold and white, and he's pretty straight down the middle in terms of which breed he favors physically.  He's also a shorter dog, and since he's 2.5 years old, we know he's not going to get any bigger.  He's great with children, and he's also not an 'in your face' dog unless he has to go outside, then he comes over and licks you and noses you and starts a low whine.. which for the most part is the only noise he makes.  He also does this rumbly throaty sound too if he's happy.  Anyways, here's Casey!

He's such a handsome dog, and it's pretty clear from the beginning that he's Jeff's dog.  We were thinking of changing his name, but he responds so well to Casey we're going to keep it.