Monday, July 27, 2015

#MicroblogMondays: Micro-Vacay

Hey Humble Readers...

For the first time in two years, my Beloved and I are heading out for a little getaway.  He has a mock interview, through the CPA program to help improve his interview skills, in the Big-City-to-the-South tomorrow morning.  We'll get to spend the rest of the day, and most of the day Wednesday, just being together without the wee-lings. 

I'm excited to get away, to do some window shopping, and to eat at my favourite restaurant in the Big-City.  Heck, even getting to stay in a hotel is a treat.  We are both leaving our computers and tablets at home, and are going to focus on just being 'us' for a couple of days. 

It's money we probably shouldn't spend, but I see nothing but good coming from a chance to recharge and reconnect. 

This was posted as a part of Mel's #MicroblogMondays.  Click here to learn more, to connect with other microbloggers, and to join in. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Pretty [Stormy] Prairie Weekend

Hey Humble Readers...

I hope you all had a good weekend.  Ours was busy, and definitely eventful.  Here are some views from this afternoon. 

We were at an Ent family reunion campout over the weekend, about a half hour to the south of the Shire.  Our little hobbit clan went out to the campground for the day yesterday, and then came home to sleep.  (In true hobbit fashion, I prefer the comfort of my bed to that of a tent or even a primo camper like my in-laws all have.  I also prefer being able to take a hot shower too.)  And then we went back out again this morning. 

Ginny bundled up in Gramma's
jacket around the campfire
It was great to see so much of my Beloved's family.  There are a lot of my Beloved's cousins, and I only see them once every couple of years, so it's hard to keep everyone straight.  The wee-lings had a great time playing with their cousins (actually their first cousins, once removed), and getting spoiled by all the aunties and uncles. 

Pip with one of his auntie-cousins
at the campfire.
The major excitement came in when a major storm hit on Saturday afternoon.  We were expecting a bit of rain, possibly even some hail if it worked up to a thunderstorm.  At about 3 o'clock, the wind started to howl and suddenly tarps, camper awnings, tablecloths, lawn chairs, food, everything went flying.  We were in full on frantic mode as we were all trying to save a much as we could and run for cover.  Turns out that we were under a tornado warning.  Lovely. 

Lovely rainbow on Saturday night.
When the storm hit hard, and everyone was dashing around lowering awnings, wrangling things that were blowing away, I grabbed the wee-lings and headed for our car.  I knew it was bad when the car was rocking back and forth in the wind, and I couldn't see the vehicles parked on either side of us, less than three feet away.  I kept the wee-lings distracted by playing their favourite song from my playlist (Little Red Wagon by Miranda Lambert) over and over. 

Thankfully, there was no major damage done to any of the campers (one awning took a hit), and even more thankfully no one was hurt.  After a very long 20 minutes, the wind eased a bit and the rain slowed enough for my Beloved to come out from his brother's camper to get us.  We spent another 15 minutes all crammed into the camper before we could head back out and clean up.  And man was it ever a mess.  There were a lot of jokes about finding chip bowls and playing cards two towns away. 

We were blessed with some great sunshine after the storm, and the rest of our time together was pretty tame.  We all got sunburned (me most of all), ate a lot of great food, and had a lot of fun.  The kids stayed up way past their bedtime, got immensely dirty, and had an awesome time.  And so did we. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Wee-lings

Hey Humble Readers,

First and foremost, thank you so much for your comments on yesterday's post.  It's lovely to know that you all are still out there. 

I've been pondering what to write next, but there is so much I'm not sure where to begin.  It's been a long time since you all have seen any pics of my beautiful wee-lings... so maybe we'll start there. 
Ginny and Pip at Vacation Bible School
Ginny is 4 now (4 and a half, Mummy!) and is eagerly anticipating the beginning of kindergarten in the fall.  She still has some of the beautiful curls she had as a baby, but most of her hair is straight now with just a bit of a wave.   She's still sucking her thumb (when she's bored or tired), which drives me batty, but she can also read pretty much anything at a first grade level, which makes me super proud.  Ginny did her first dance class this past spring and enjoyed herself immensely.  When I asked her if she wanted to do dance again or something different in the fall, she said "Sports, Mummy!" very emphatically.  I guess I'm going to be looking into soccer or something for her.  She loves board games (Trouble, Candyland, Reversi/Othello, and my Beloved is teaching her to play chess) and card games (Go Fish, Memory, and Old Maid).  Ginny is very much a Daddy's girl, counting down the days between weekends, when Daddy can spend the whole day with her. 

Wearing Daddy's shoes
 She and I went to her kindergarten orientation back in May and ever since she's been asking when she can go back.  The process of registering her for school was more stressful than I imagined it would be.  Which school district, public or Catholic, or would we go with the semi-private Christian school?  Which offers full day kindergarten?  Which offers bussing for the kindergarten students?  Because there are no schools within walking distance of the hobbit-hole, and because we only have the one vehicle, those last two questions were particularly important.  The big thing with all these questions was that we had to make our decision last December, because registration started the first day back after Christmas break, and it can be very difficult to get into the school of your choice here if you aren't one of the first in line.  Ultimately, we chose a Catholic school, because it does full day kindergarten with bussing (her bus stop will be just across the street from our condo) and she will get a bit of faith-based education. So, on the first Monday of January, there I was in a line outside her school with a bunch of other moms, bundled up to my eyeballs in the winter weather, at 7:00am.  She'll be going to school Wednesdays and Fridays, and alternating Mondays.  How is my wee, sweet honey bear big enough for this???
At the Zoo in May
Pippin turned 3 in May, and he's such a big boy now.  He's a couple of inches shorter than Ginny, but weighs almost the exact same.  Such a solid little guy.  He's doing moderately well with potty training, wearing big boy underwear during the day (when we're at home), and pull ups for naptime and bedtime, although he usually wakes up dry.  He still naps every day, usually 2 hours, but sometimes up to 3.5 hours.  His eczema has eased considerably, with only a few small spots on his wrists and elbows, but he has had horrible seasonal allergies this year. 
Lunch at the Zoo
Pip's speech difficulties linger, but they are much more age appropriate now.  He was in speech therapy for a little over 6 months, and made great improvements.  He talks non-stop now, and most adults can understand the majority of what he says.  His speech pathologist thinks that he'll have most of his letter sounds sorted out by the time he starts school.  And if an adult mimics his way of saying things, he will try to correct them, which is super cute.  Sadly, he has recently become a rather picky eater.  It began with mushrooms making him gag.  Now there isn't a dinnertime that isn't fraught with frustration, bribery, and wheedling.  He'll eat breakfast and lunch no problem, but dinner is always a challenge.  Meat is still hit or miss with him, but he does like most vegetables.  I really think he just gets bored with eating and doesn't want to take the time to finish, so instead says he's full or that he doesn't like it.  Hopefully, it's just a phase. 
Waiting for the parade to start
They do play well together, most of the time.  I have recently found that they do much better when I'm out of the room, which is tricky in our small home, but I am trying to figure out ways to be away from them and still get stuff done.  As much as I'm not sure that I'm ready for Ginny to start school in the fall, I am looking forward to having more one on one time with Pip. 

I was surprised by a surge of baby-fever a few weeks ago, and it struck me that my wee-lings are no longer babies.  I don't really want another child, and it's certainly too late now to be thinking that, but I do miss when they were small enough to be in my arms, when they weren't quite so independent.  Parenting really is a bittersweet thing. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Pushing the Reset Button

Hello out there in the blogosphere...

I'm not sure if any of my Humble Readers are still around.  Not likely, given my absurdly long absence, but if you're here, I'd like to say hi and give a small update. 

2014 was not a very good year for this little hobbit clan.  Sadly, 2015 hasn't shown a whole lot of improvement. 

After being laid off in April of 2014, my Beloved is still working at his 'temporary' job with a former employer.  I am thankful that we have this income, but I continue to pray for the right job to open up for him.  He is getting more and more frustrated with his job every day... it only pays him 2/3 of what he should be making given his experience and education, no benefits, and worst of all he feels like he's sacrificing his professional reputation and personal integrity at an alarming regularity.  He's been continuing his CGA/CPA studies, but still has two years to go before he gets his designation.  He has applied and interviewed for a large number of positions, but nothing has panned out thus far.  It is getting harder and harder to believe that there will be something out there for him in the near future. 

I was working nights, for about 10 months, at my old bookstore.  It was only 9pm-1am, four or five days a week, but the toll it took on my health was pretty spectacular.  I have gained back almost all the weight I lost two years ago, my blood pressure was ridiculously high, and worst of all, I felt a serious disconnect from our wee-lings, as I was half asleep most days. 

I left the bookstore for a multitude of reasons, but primarily because I felt like I wasn't being the mummy I should be.  It was a hard decision, and financially it means that my Beloved has to work overtime every week, but my health is slowly improving and I feel like I'm finding my feet again with the wee-lings. 

I have struggled with a lot of things this past year, but in particular I felt that I have lost touch with two things that had been parts of how I defined myself all my life.  I am struggling to read... I've lost that easy ability to lose myself in the written word.  Books have been my solace throughout all the dark times of my life, but I don't have that comfort now.  At least not in the way that I used to.  And I have been struggling to write... anything.  Blog posts (obviously), journaling, and certainly anything resembling a creative outlet have dried up. 

And so, I am taking a tentative step... back into the blogosphere, back to the library, and back into my workout clothes.  I'm hoping I still have a voice (and maybe a reader or two), that I can find some willpower to pull my health off the back burner, and that I can find the courage to sit before a blank page and find the words to fill it. 

To that end, or at least to the end of getting back into the blogosphere, I am contemplating a platform change.  I have been on Blogger for a lot of years, but I am wondering if there is something out there that is user friendly, cheap (as in free, at least for now), and not a huge pain in the butt to transfer to.  Do you have any suggestions?  What has worked for you? 

Hoping to chat with you all again soon. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

No More Radio Silence

Hey Humble Readers...

If you are here now, you are probably very aware that I needed to take an extended break away from the blogosphere.  Honestly, I was in a bit of a downward spiral and I didn't feel motivated to share how low I was feeling.

Spring and summer were very challenging for our little hobbit/ent clan.  Here's a bullet point list of what has gone on over the last few months...
  • my Beloved was laid off in late April and we were without any income for a month and a half.
  • He got a temporary gig working for the company he worked for a few years ago, helping their accounting department get out of a serious backlog.  He's still there, as the woman who was promoted to replace him two years ago has had to go on medical leave.  HOWEVER, this is not a permanent gig (as his boss likes to remind him), it does not pay what we need him to make and there are no medical benefits.  He is still applying for positions, and interviewing whenever something comes up.  We are still concerned that we may end up having to leave the Shire and move to one of the larger centers to the north or south of us.  Not really wanting to do that, but we know we will go where we have to in order to support our family. 
  • Just before my Beloved started his temp position, he drove the wee-lings and I to K-town.  He drove back that same weekend (10 hours each way) and the wee-lings and I stayed for a couple of weeks visiting my mom and her boyfriend.  It was a very difficult trip, with lots of conflict between me and Mom's boyfriend, hereafter called the Cactus.  It has put a strain on my relationship with my mom now too, and I miss what used to be. 
  • I have had to go back to work.  I'm back at the bookstore where I used to be a manager, working four nights a week, from 9pm-1am doing stocking/inventory stuff.  The work itself isn't hard, but the change in my sleep patterns has had a negative affect on my health (blood sugars aren't anywhere near where they should be, and my blood pressure is through the roof).  Working nights and caring for two wee-lings during the day is challenging, to say the least.  I know that a lot of women do it, and do it well.  Apparently, I'm not one of those women. 
  • Three weeks ago, my Beloved and the wee-lings went to the wee-town south of here to visit my MIL, while I stayed home to work on a project that needed quiet and focus.  While they were there, my Beloved and Pippin (out for a drive to get little mister to take a nap) ended up in a car accident.  Thankfully, no one was injured, but Tilly the Toyota was totalled.  The last few weeks have been a constant battle with the insurance, car rental company, and the car dealership where we ended up getting our new car.  Can I just take a moment here and express that this was my very worst nightmare come to life?  The thought of them far away from me and hurt or worse puts me into a panic. 
  • One of my very good friends was diagnosed with cancer... it's treatable thankfully, but means major surgery for her and is scary no matter how confident the doctors are. 
  • And last but not least, my little balcony garden that I was so very proud of took a major beating during a hail storm in the same week as the car accident, and has turned into a withered mess.  I still have a few cherry tomatoes ripening, but other than that it's a washout.  No big batches of basil for pesto this year... and the carrots didn't grow more than an inch. 
We were hopeful for a position here in town that my Beloved interviewed for a couple of weeks ago, but in the end, it went to someone with a bit more education that my Beloved.  It was definitely the best interview/interaction he's had so far, and we are praying that the right position is just around the corner. 

The insurance payout on the car was actually a bit of a windfall, in that it paid what was still owing on the Prius, and left us with a few thousand dollars.  In the end, we decided to put that money on our ever increasing credit card balance, and take advantage of the excellent interest rates available through the dealership for a car loan.  The majority of my little income is going to our credit card balance as well, so it feels like we might be making a few small steps forward. 

The wee-lings have managed the stress this summer rather well, I think. 

Ginny had a regression in the potty training department while we were in K-town (another stressor between my mom and I), but has since done very well, with no more poop accidents and only a couple of wet accidents while she had a cold and wasn't feeling well.  She's still in pull-ups at night, but I'm hoping to tackle that in the coming months.  Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Pip's vocabulary had a major explosion at the end of June, and while he's still in speech therapy, I am seeing some real progress.  He's starting to use multi-word phrases and sentences, and his words are becoming more and more understandable.  He's also showing some interest in the potty, and so we may make a first attempt to potty train him in the next few weeks.  We also transitioned the wee-lings into a set of bunkbeds (Pip out of the crib)... that was a frustrating couple of weeks, but they seem to be adjusting now. 

I hope you are all well, and that you had a much better summer than we did.  I hope to be back with good news soon.