Friday, June 25, 2010

Thank you

This is a post I've been meaning to write for a few weeks now but I've put it off because I don't feel up to the task.  Its hard to think that mere words can convey the depth of my gratitude to all those who have helped me or inspired me to finally graduate.  But, they need to be said so here goes.

First of all I have to thank my Aunt Colleen.  She, and others, might be surprised to find herself on this list but she was truly my inspiration to go back to school.  Colleen herself gained her teaching credentials just a few years ago and when I saw her do it I thought to myself, well, if she can go back to college then certainly I can too.  So, Colleen, a big fat THANK YOU for providing me the inspiration to get back on the horse and finish.  Without your example, I truly don't think I would have ever had the courage to go back.  Also, thanks for watching Conor.  :)

Next I have to thank my Dad and Diana who not only provided moral support and unwavering encouragement (they also stroked my ego when I got good grades) but they financed all of my schooling prior to my return to PSU.  Meaning they paid for 2 years of Community College credits that were spread over at least 5 years, at least 2 D's and definitely 1 F.  They also paid for parking passes, textbooks, and took vacation days to watch Conor when I was in a pinch.  Because of their financial support my student debt level is HALF of what it could have (should have) been.  So, D & D, THANK YOU!  Not only for always believing that I could do it, but showing your belief in such tangible ways. 

I also owe a huge debt (ha ha, get it?) of gratitude to Mom and Art.  Mom especially always squealed when I did well in school and, silly as it sounds, it felt really good to be squealed over.  Mom also provided countless free babysitting hours, picked Conor up at school when he was sick and they couldn't get a hold of me and always told me how proud she was of me.  Additionally, and no small potatoes either, Mom and Art paid for day care for Conor for the entire 18 months I was in school.  On top of that, they wrote the checks to me and then I paid day care so I got the tax write off.  Serious big deal here.  So, Mom and Art, THANK YOU for providing a safe place for Conor to go while I went and schooled myself.  Poor Art was probably thinking, hey!  I've only been in the family two years, why do I get stuck footing the bill!  :) (just kidding)

Papa.  I have to thank Papa for always knowing I could do this even though I didn't end up finishing until 9 years after he died.  I like to think that he's up in Heaven and tickled pink.

And finally, and most importantly, Morgan.  (oh no, I'm tearing up, I'm not sure I can get through this.  Ok, deeep breath)  Morgan, who has sacrificed so, so, SO much allowing me to not work so that I could stay home with Conor and go to school.  He has stood, unwaveringly, by my side every. darn. step of the way, and even when he was laid off and money was tight, tight, tight, he never asked me to quit school.  Even when I was frustrated and discouraged and probably pretty insane, he never once even insinuated that I should quit or that my lack of employment was too much.  His steadfast support has been remarkable and I can't believe how lucky I am.  He didn't even blink when I told him I wanted to go back to school.  He just looked at me, smiled and said "Ok, babe, you can do it."  Just like that.  Amazing.  When I say I couldn't have done this without him, I mean I literally could not have done this without him.  I wouldn't have gone back, I wouldn't have persevered, I wouldn't have finished.  I owe it all to Morgan, every last little bit of it.  So, Morgan, thank you is just the tip of the iceberg.  Those two words don't describe the immeasurable ways you have supported me, loved me and kept me from losing my sh*t over the last two years.  I love you so much I can hardly stand it.

And, if I didn't mention you by name, please know that the support of my friends and family has been so...amazing...remarkable...I need a better thesaurus because I don't have the words.  Real, real good is what I'm sayin'.  So, to you, thanks.  I mean it.


No, there is no objectivity here.  I have the cutest nieces and nephew in the ENTIRE FREAKING WORLD.

JT, born August 2005.  I fell in love with this little munchkin the first darn second I saw him.
(Seriously?  I couldn't be bothered to pull up my bra strap?  Also, I LOVED this tank top.  Wonder what happened to it.?)
Anny Lynn, born May 2007.  We were fortunate enough to be in Tucson when she was born.  I think Anna was probably less than 12 hours old when this picture was taken.  She was so teeny and so adorable and stole my heart.  Also, I was about 3 days pregnant with Conor.  Who knew?
(MERCY!  Look how tan I was!  There are not a lot of times when I miss AZ but, holy beautiful tan, Batman!)
The newest edition, Harper Mae, born June 2010.  Hands down the teeniest, tiniest little girl I've ever seen.  This one made my heart pound, my uterus contract and sent her un-born cousin into a fit of feverish kicks.
(Please forgive the grainy cell phone picture and the alarming whiteness of my arm.)

All kidding aside, I'm pretty darn lucky to be Auntie to three such adorable, charming, wonderful little kiddos.  Its going to be so much fun for Conor and Finley to grow up alongside their cousins.  I can't wait for the fun!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mission: Accomplished

When I decided to go back to school it was out of desperation.  I had been laid off halfway through my pregnancy but was certain that I would love being a stay at home mom.  In fact, during extremely stressful days on the job, I would always remind myself that someday I would have kids and I would stay home with them and work would be a thing of the past.

HA!  Every mom who has ever stayed home for a day with their child just laughed at me and my naivete. 

I had always wanted to be a teacher but had convinced myself that more important than doing what made me happy was making MONEY!  The big bucks.  We all know that the teaching profession does not have a stop on the road riches.  I found my way into real estate finance, found moderate success and the potential to make the big bucks and settled in for the long haul.  But I hated it.  Ugh.  I really, really, really hated it. 

About two months after Conor was born I knew I was not cut out to be a stay at home mom.  I knew I wanted to go back to work but just as surely I knew I couldn't go back into the mortgage industry.  I just...couldn't.  In fact, even now, three years after being (mercifully) laid off, my stomach flips over and my palms sweat at the mere thought of mortgages.

I"m not really sure how the thought came about to go back to school and finally persue my dream of teaching.  But on April 25, 2008 I applied for financial aid and began the process of becoming a college student.

It wasn't easy.  In fact, I don't know what kept me going.  Applications were lost, transcripts were misplaced, Portland State admitted me, then un-admitted me, then made me pay $50 to re-admit me.  I had NO idea what I was doing.  I was afraid of being the oldest person on campus.  I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to keep up, I was afraid that people would think I was SO uncool that I would be laughed off campus.  I wasn't sure if I was supposed to carry a backpack or a bookbag or nothing?  Was I supposed to just lug my books around?  Did people even use books anymore?  What if I couldn't find my class?  WHAT IF I COULDN'T DO IT?

Well, I did it.  And I did it with honors which was a silly idea I had entertained before I even enrolled for my first term.  And sometimes the thought that I did it, that I completed something BIG, takes my breath away.  And it doesn't have anything to do with being a mom, or being pregnant, or being over 30.  It has everything to do with taking the one, terrifying first step on April 25, 2008 and then taking that last deep-breath-heave-a-sigh-of-relief last step on June 13, 2010.  All of a sudden, I'm not afraid to try anymore.  And that, friends, is my real accomplishment.

Monday, June 21, 2010

It's So Loud

I've written a post before about yelling in our house and how much I HATE it. But it almost seems inevitable sometimes. Like when Conor drops his snack on the floor and Tucker immediately bolts for it and I yell at Tucker, "Tucker, STOP!" And I yell at Conor "Conor! Pick up your snack!" And I'm not yelling to be mean or really because I'm angry its just that, in that moment, it seems like yelling is the only way to get everything to slow down a bit. To just get everyone to STOP for just a moment before proceeding with our regularly scheduled life.

So I wonder, is that type of yelling, this yelling only to quickly get Conor or Tucker's attention, really the same as yelling yelling?

I like to think that its somehow different, that somehow Conor knows I'm not upset with him, I'm only trying to get his attention as quickly as possible to avert a major (or minor) crisis.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Time. Out.

We have a time out chair in the playroom next to the desk which suffers from lack of use.  Most often if a time out is necessary Conor has to go to his bedroom and sit on his bed and I shut the door.  Its the door shutting that really gets him and usually sends him into fits of sad, sad tears.  Honestly, I don't really care what he does in his bedroom as long as he stays there.  He hasn't realized this yet and will sit forlornly on the bed until I come to get him.

The thing about the bedroom time out, as opposed to the chair in the corner time out, is just how much better we both feel once he comes out.  Those two minutes (ok, sometimes significantly more than two minutes) alone give him a chance to calm down (bedroom time outs are almost always the result of eons on whining and way too many warnings) and give me a chance to collect my thoughts and remind myself that he's two.  He's two and there's not much I can do about it except let him live until he is no longer two.

So, bedroom time outs continue and we both live another day.

Friday, June 18, 2010

3D, Baby!

I had another ultrasound yesterday which I almost cancelled at the last minute.  They wanted to check, once again,  on Finley's placenta/umbilical cord thing and I felt like they were making a mountain out of a molehill and just didn't really want them to look for problems on my insides.  The chances of finding anything abnormal were extremely slim but if they didn't see exactly what they wanted they then wanted to continuously monitor me and ugh...just, no.  No.

In the end, my more rational, less soap-box-standing side won out and I'm so glad.  Its always fun to see pcitures of our little girl and this time was even better because they used the 3D scan on her.  Check out the cuteness!

Finley is there on the left, her hands are in her mouth and the upper right is my (her?) placenta.  Good times!  She's using it as a pillow and it must be very comfortable because other than some slight shifting, she hasn't really moved in months.

And, ironically, they still weren't able to see what they were looking for, however, using some superior doctor genius smarts, they looked at one picture that showed the insertion of umbilical cord into placenta and another picture that showed placement of umbilical cord into placenta and, GUESS WHAT?  Its all totally fine!  Hmmm, its almost like they were looking for problems.  Thanks, Doc!

The very best news of all?  My midwife said that I'm full term and Finley could come any time now.  She also cleared me to have accupuncture/accupressure in order to jump start labor if I want to.  (I want to.)  So, the next few days are going to be filled with me scouring the internet for natural ways to jump start labor. 

Wish us luck!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Strawberry Fields Forever

A whole bunch of pictures can say it better than I ever could. Beautiful day at the beautiful strawberry patch.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Oh, the horror!

**When I say that in my head I sound like I am from Jersey or something.  Oh, the horra!**

I was grocery shopping the other day and bought beer for Morgan.  The checker kindly asked for my ID even though I OBVIOUSLY look over 21.  Sometimes when they do that I feel like I should tip them.   Anyway...I hand it to her and she types the number in and...

Checker:  Oops!  I typed in the wrong number.  (Pause)  Oh, that's weird, it still worked.
Me:  (Absentmindedly) Hmm. that's strange.  What number did you type in?
Checker:  I typed in the right birth month and day but I typed in 1989 instead of 1979.
Me:  Oh, strange, that shouldn't wor...(cruel realization dawning)...OH. MY. GAAAAAH---That would work!  (Beginning to hyperventilate)  That would work!  1989 would work?  (DOOOOOOM!).

So that was fun.  Turns out that mere children born in 1989 are able to buy beer.

The real cruelty was that I couldn't even drink the damn beer.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Dear Finley,

Please come out.  Please?


Ok then, please let me know when you WILL be coming out.  Like, maybe an email or something.

A text?  Carrier pigeon?  No?



Dear Conor,

Please resume sleeping through the night.  Please?


Ok then, please call out Daddy's name when you wake up.  Mommy really needs her sleep.  Like, really, really.


Hmmm...I see a problem here.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Potty Training

We began potty training on Friday using a system called Three Day Potty Training which had come highly recommended from two friends of mine.  Both assured me that their sons were potty trained within three days and that the system was nearly fool proof.

Well, friends, this particular fool has proved them wrong!  After 4 days and one successful pee-pee in the potty and 2 dozen accidents and another 2 dozen freakouts over sitting on the potty, we've decided to give it a rest.

Poor Conor practically refuses to even walk by the bathroom now and my once happy and cheerful child has turned into a sullen, recalcitrant, clingy shadow of his former self and I think its time to call this one.

We'll try again in a few months and hopefully have more success.  Perhaps some naked time in the backyard this summer will encourage him to do his business in the potty instead of in his Lightening McQueen underroos.

Not to end on such a sad-sack note, Conor's a soccer star!  We bought him a soccer ball a few weeks ago when he could barely kick a ball and stay on his feet.  He and Morgan play a lot in the backyard and this weekend we watched him run while kicking the ball.  Quite a feat of coordination for a not quite two and half year old.

And anyway, I hear soccer stars don't NEED to pee-pee on the potty.  So we're gooood.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The End of the Road

We heard back from Portland Fire and Rescue this weekend and unfortunately Morgan was not selected to proceed to a Firefighter Trainee.  I wanted to thank everyone who has been so, so, SO supportive of Morgan as he decided to go after this dream.

There are good things in store for our family even if they don't include firefighting.  We are so proud of Morgan for all he has accomplished and love, love, love him for all he does for our family.  Morgan is our rock, our anchor and the lifeline that Conor and I cling to.  We are the luckiest people in the world to have such a man in our family.

Love you, Babe!

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I had my 35 week checkup this week and so far it looks like little Miss Finley is doing well.  A couple of brief highlights.

*I'm measuring a bit on the small side at 32cm instead of the expected 35cm.  This is good news as it could potentially mean I might give birth to a petite little thing instead of another gargantuan monster like before.  It also could mean absolutely nothing.
*I DIDN'T GAIN ANY WEIGHT!  This probably had more to do with the return on morning sickness and indigestion than any strict dietary guidelines on my part.
*I'm scheduled for yet ANOTHER ultrasound in two weeks.  Apparently there is still some concern that the whole umbilical cord/placenta thing is not sufficiently resolved, so back I go.  Best case scenario:  everything is fine and labor and delivery can proceed normally.  Worst case scenario: umbilical cord insertion into the placenta is sub par and Finley and I will require continuous fetal monitoring while I am in labor.  Worse worst case scenario: my already low-lying placenta could be determined to be too near my cervix for safe vaginal delivery and I have to schedule a c-section.  The ultrasound will also give me an estimate of her weight which, again, could mean absolutely nothing.

I had my very last class session of my undergraduate education on Tuesday and have one final available online today and another one available online next week.  Soon I will be all finished and Finley is encouraged to come as soon as possible after that.  My fingers are crossed as I am tired and ready to have this baby!  Because, you know, nothing like a newborn and a rowdy toddler to provide tons of sleep time!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


The results of the Chief's Selection Interview were supposed to be announced today.  At 7:24 yesterday morning I was online trying to find out if a list had been published.  While the list wasn't yet available, the website did indicate that the list would be published on June 1st so I figured I needed to wait a few hours and give the administrative staff a little time to get it up.  Here is what I found later in the day:


All trainee candidates who successfully passed the written test and the physical agility test are on PF&R's current eligibility list.

- Please do not call the Recruiter to ask about the list's ranking -- there is no rank assigned to Trainee Candidates.
- The results of the Chiefs' Selection Interviews should be mailed within the next two weeks.

Your patience is appreciated.

Updated 06/01/10


Hmm, not exactly the "list" we were hoping for.  So, it looks like it will be another two weeks before we know what the course of the rest of our lives will look like.  No big deal, right?  I'm ALWAYS super patient.

What does this even mean?  Anyone?  Anyone?


And so we wait.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Memorial Day to Remember

Why yes, it does appear that I've changed the name of this blog again! I might make this a monthly occurrence.

We went camping on this glorious Memorial Day Weekend. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and I wasn't 8 and a half months pregnant. Oh wait, the opposite is true in all three instances.

Yeah, it rained while we were camping which is only the very worst thing that can happen while one is camping. I should say that I really do enjoy camping with the only caveat being I like a formal campground. You know, one where you pull your car into your camping spot and there is a nice paved area with a log telling you right where to park. And the ground is already flattened from hundreds of campers and tents before you. And the bathroom (even if it is only an outhouse) has had the muck and sewage and (let's be real here) poop pumped sometime within the last 18 months. And maybe, if I'm real lucky, there will be a shower available.

What I don't like is camping where there are none of these things. Where we went camping there were none of these things. But! The one thing this wonderous place did have? Peacocks! Hundreds of them! Beautiful, be-plumaged peacocks! With feathers! And REALLY FREAKING LOUD SQUALKING ALL THE LIVE LONG DAY!

Really, I should have known better when we pulled up to the "campground" and the first thing we saw was a band of gypsies (one wearing a damn elfin hat for crying out loud), followed by the peacocks, and the first thing we heard was "Are y'all here for the hootenanny?"

So we pull up to our "assigned spot" and we find a mud pit. Morgan called our trip Mud Fest 2010 because the mud was quite literally everywhere. Yucky, sticky, suck your shoes off mud. Fortunately we went a little away from the people we were supposed to be camping with and ended up finding a nice grassy spot that was wet (oh, indeed it was wet) but at least not muddy.

Overall though, the three of us had a nice time.  Once I got over the fact that it was not camping as I had expected we managed to have fun.  Morgan and Conor even got in a little fishing.
Some time was spent sittin' on logs and contemplating the good life.
Even I managed a smile (this is as we are packing up to come home).

So, moral of the story.  Camping is only fun in proper campgrounds.  Camping is only fun when it hasn't rained for 21 of the last 28 days.  Camping is only fun if it cannot be nicknamed Mud Fest 2010.  Camping is only fun when peacocks are not involved. Oh, and camping is only fun when these two are involved.