Thursday, May 26, 2011

We Love You Bob

As you may know, Harris received a beautiful Betta fish for his birthday from a good friend back in December. We knew he liked Bob, he would say hi from time to time, and Stella would say hi to him every day as well. We enjoyed caring for him, with his lively personality and flashy fins. We made sure he was well fed and that his 1 gallon bowl was clean. That was my main job. Every week, I would do a bowl clean. It was pretty easy to tell when it was time to clean it, and I enjoyed the job.

1 week, it was bowl cleaning time (on the calendar) but the water didn't look especially dirty. I decided to wait a few days. It was sunny outside. We did some gardening, and enjoyed our time outdoors. Little did we know that the combination of a few warm days outside, resulting in a warm house, coupled with a delayed water change would result in something so terrible. Bob became sick. He was bloated and constipated. His fins looked less-than perky. After about a day, he wasn't swimming so straight. Mindi jumped online to try to figure out what was wrong with our fish. We were able to pretty much self diagnosis him with Dropsy, a bacterial infection directly linked to water quality. You can imagine I am pretty much flogging myself emotionally right now. How could I have been so lazy? How could I have been so inconsiderate? This little fish was depending on me for a healthy living environment! I am a Pisces... can you tell? We knew we had to do something to help Bob or he would die. I went to PetCo to try to find a fish medicine. I came home with a heater for his bowl after realizing that his ambient temperature was far to low for a Betta (on average 67, while the optimal temperature for a Betta is 78), and a bottle of medication that I thought would help him. A day passed and he looked worse. I did more online research, and then rushed him to the PetSmart. The fish lady examined him and offered me the right kind of medication. She was optimistic, and so we were as well. We treated him for the full recommended week. He did look better, but not even close to healthy. I started another round of medication. Today was the last round of week 2. He looked horrible, It seemed as though his Dropsy was cured, but his belly was all distended because, believe it or not, he was constipated. We researched how to relive that and had no luck with the recommended treatments. I realized that the chance of a cure was slim. I knew it was time to help him in a different way. He was suffering. I am sure that there may be some folks out there that are half-chuckling with the thought that fish don't have feelings. Think what you want people. They can feel pain. I digress. I did some more research. Research on the most humane way to euthanize a fish. I found a wealth of amazing and thought provoking information. We chose this method, rated the second most human method of euthanization second only to the anesthetics that only vets use. I did the legwork to prepare the scene. I asked Mindi to do it for me, and I left the house like a coward. I cried on the way to the grocery store. I whimpered to the nice checkout lady who "felt my pain", and I nearly fainted on my way back to the car. Bob is no longer in pain. Taking a life is profound, even if it is "just a fish". We love you Bob.

If any of you ever find yourself in a similar situation, in that you feel that your fish would be better off not suffering, please follow the links above. On a quick side note, do NOT EVER flush a live fish, freeze a live fish, crush a live fish, or boil a live fish. That is inhumane.


I hope that you all give your pets an extra belly rub or scratch behind the ears tonight. Tap the tank and tell them that you love them, or give them a bubble making scuba diver to keep them company. We talked with Harris about it tonight and we will all bury Bob together in the morning.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

No, The Sickies Will Never End...

Friday afternoon there was a Marathon Fundraiser at Harris' school. He was very excited to participate, and there was a fantastic theme! It was called the Earn Your Stripes! Marathon. All of the kids wore white shirts, and every time they would complete a lap, they would get a painted stripe on their white shirt. In the end, they all looked like zebras, and man, what a great incentive that was for the kids! As you will note below, there are no pictures of Harris' Zebra shirt. He woke up that morning with a fever of 104 degrees. We gave him Ibuprofen. It helped the fever, but obviously, we had mixed feelings about bringing him to the marathon. he had trained so hard, and was so excited about the marathon, and the ice cream afterwards. We gave him 3 options.
1. Stay home.
2. Go to the Marathon to cheer on his friends and eat ice cream.
3. Go to the Marathon and run.

I knew he was in no mood or shape to run, and so I was not surprised when he picked number 2. With a sigh of frustration at the overall situation, Mindi and I agreed to keep him away from the other kids, and to be on guard for whatever happened. We went, he got his number, and for a moment, I saw the pride in his eyes.



The pride was quickly replaced by misery, and he asked to go home before the Marathon even started. I felt so bad for him, and we went home. By that evening, his fever peaked at 104.9. He was complaining of on again/ off again leg and foot pain. He has been battling fever all weekend.


Tonight the fever hit the highest we had ever seen it go. Just 30 minutes after his Acetaminophen was "scheduled" to wear off, he weakly called for Mindi. His temperature read 106.1. We both jumped into hyper speed. In a whirlwind, Mindi administered another dose of Ibuprofen, I got him cold cloths and water, and she started up the bath. I swooped him up from his bed and jumped in the tub with him. I didn't even take my clothes off.


I eventually got him turned around and practically laying in the water on his back while I sponged tepid water over his torso and forehead. Finally, the Ibuprofen and bath did the trick and his fever came down to 102. I will be taking him to the Dr. tomorrow (Monday). Cross your fingers his temperature doesn't skyrocket again.
Have any of you dealt with ridiculously high fevers before?


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Liberate Your Hair

Did you know that, when you open up that bottle of tropical flower scented shampoo that  has the (apparent) power to give you some jollies in the shower when you rub your head to a fro-like lather, that not only are you getting your hot, steamy groove on, you are also getting your potential premature aging, headaches, flushing, dizziness, mental depression, nausea, vomiting, narcosis, coma, eye damage, depression, labored breathing, diarrhea, severe skin irritation, hyperactivity, irritability, inability to cope, and carcinogens on? Yeh- SEXY! Give it to me baby! Oh, wait...

I am not going to go into every potential ingredient and it's nasty side effects, but instead I will offer you this link:
http://www.discoverhealthandwealth.com/toxic-ingredients.html
Which is one of MANY links out there that has information about the chemicals we use every day.

So what now? Well, I am certainly not the type of person to offer a problem without a potential solution. What is this solution?

Baking Soda and Apple Cider Vinegar.

It might sound a little too much like Grandma's pantry for some of you, but I like it because it is simple. I like to K.I.S.S. or, in wiki terms, "Keep it simple stupid!" Seriously, do we need 30 ingredients in a product that is meant to get the dirt out of our hair?

Now, some of you out there may have heard this concept referred to as the "No Poo" method. Please feel free to follow the wiki link to read about it in depth.

Mindi and I have been cleaning our hair with baking soda and apple cider vinegar for about 3 months. Our hair is soft, shiny, and clean. Want to try it? Do this:

*Fill a jar with about 1/4 baking soda and 3/4 water. Need a jar? Eat some pickles. Label it with the date somehow- stickers work well.
*Stick it in your cupboard/pantry/vanity/medicine cabinet for about 2 weeks (this helps it rinse out more easily come shower time).
*In a separate squirt bottle (preferred) or jar (manageable) mix 1:3 apple cider vinegar and water.
*Shake the baking soda jar vigorously and put contents into a squirt bottle of some sort, or just use from the jar (I prefer the bottle).
*Wet your hair and apply baking soda wash. It will feel slightly gritty. Rub a dub dub. Make sure you get all your hair. Rinse.
*Apply the apple cider vinegar rinse. Use whatever amount feels right to you. Let it sit in your hair while you wash your junk, then rinse.

Notes:
*Try not to get either the baking soda or vinegar in your eyes- ouch-ish
*You can use the baking soda left on your hands to lightly exfoliate your face
*I only use the vinegar rinse about 1 time per week
*Your hair will only smell like vinegar until it dries
*As with any new hair care regimen, allow at least 2 weeks for your hair to become accustomed to the new method before you judge the outcome.

If you are not in the mood to eat this much granola, but you are interested in avoiding potential premature aging, headaches, flushing, dizziness, mental depression, nausea, vomiting, narcosis, coma, eye damage, depression, labored breathing, diarrhea, severe skin irritation, hyperactivity, irritability, inability to cope, and carcinogens, then when you are reading the back of the label of the lotion at Whole Foods (or wherever you shop for natural skin care), make sure that the ingredients list doesn't end with "fragrance". The ingredients list could be short and filled with enticing botanical names, but if it ends with "fragrance" then all bets are off. "Fragrance" is present in most deodorants, shampoos, sunscreens, skin care, body care, and baby products. Many of the compounds in fragrance are carcinogenic or otherwise toxic. "Fragrance on a label can indicate the presence of up to 4,000 separate ingredients. Most of all of them are synthetic." -Home Safe Home.

I managed to convert Mindi, and she can be a tough nut to crack! I feel better about what I am exposing myself to, what I am sending down the drain to our waterways, and I feel great that I can buy a huge bag of Baking Soda the size of my daughter at Costco for less than 5 bucks.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What are Yours?

Thanks to everyone that took the time to click that little pink button and voted for my blog! The voting has ended, and thanks to you, my humble little blog has made it into the Circle of Moms Top 25 LGBT Blogs! I received an email from the site, asking for a mini-interview, and I need your help! One of the questions is, appropriately, "What are your 3 favorite posts?". Well now, jeez! That is a hard question! I like most of my posts... I could look to the right side of the blog at the most popular posts of my blog. Looks like #1 is a naked picture of me... mmmm, yeh I feel proud that I put it up, but is it my favorite? Well, actually... I do like it a lot, but I am not sure that is the post they want me to highlight! Then I look down the list and see the gdiapers posts. I know those are helpful to many, but they are also not my favorites. Do you have a favorite blog post of mine? Is there 1 or 2 posts that come to mind for you that really stuck with you? If there are, I would love to know! You don;t have to remember the post title, I can figure that out, but if you would let me know what the post was about, that would totally rock my world! Thanks everyone!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Will the Sickies ever end?

2 kids, massive colds, followed by massive pink eye, followed by massive barfing and fevers... 5 days of school missed... 3 Little Gym classes missed, 2 playdates missed, 1 emergency room trip, 1 dial-a-nurse consultation, 3 doctor's appointments... all in the last 2 weeks. Kat, I am making no promises for this Friday's playdate. I am so desperate to have these children well.

Oh hey, off subject- did you guys vote for the blog today? Go click that cute little pink button to the right and vote once a day until May13th (Friday!)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Art Gallery Wall

I love my new Art Gallery wall. And, would you believe me if I told you that the ENTIRE PROJECT cost me a total of $15!! Yes, holy crap. $15! I will preface this by saying that I already had a few frames. The frames that I had were ones that had simply never been re-hung after our move from a year and a half ago, and 5 of the frames came from an estate sale for about 10 cents a piece that have been sitting in my craft room for over a year.


It has taken me a long time to get my ass in gear and make our house a home, but I am finally getting on my way! I started out by hanging a picture that I wanted to be a focal point. After that, I spray painted all of the frames black using spray paint that I had in the garage. I sprayed some with a flat finish, and some with gloss. The $15 that I spent was for the majority of the larger (approximately 9"x12") frames, and they were all purchased at the dollar store. Yes, the dollar store! They were the perfect size for all of the artwork that Harris would come home with, since it was mostly created on 8.5"x11" paper. I also picked up a few smaller frames as well.
After all of the frames were dry, I made templates using newspaper to lay out the wall. I did this by using newspaper and tracing the outside of the frame. I cut out the shape, and then set it on the back of the frame in order to find the hanger location. After marking the hanger, I started taping the templates to the wall until I liked the layout.
templates on the wall!

Ready for Hanging!
 Here is a closeup of how simple it is to find the correct location for the nail! Make a hole, and stick the nail there! After you have all of your nails in, simply pull the taped template from the wall, and you are ready to hang your art!



We are open door bathroom folk here at my house, so now, I have this fantastic view whenever I am sitting on the loo!
 

Here are some of my favorite pieces that are hanging on the wall! These first 3 are also Harris' favorite, as he says goodnight to them every night!
Stella silhouette

Harris Silhouette

Bob the Fish Silhouette
 These 3 Silhouettes were very easy to make. I took a side shot picture of Harris, Stella, and our fish Bob. Then, on the computer, I simply cropped the pictures, changed them to black and white, and cranked up the contrast. I set them to print at a certain size- in this case 4x6, and then set the photo atop a piece of black construction paper. If I had had black cardtock, I probably would have used that. I used some paperclips to keep the pages together, and then used an exacto blade to cut around the head. I glued the black head to a colored paper and stuck it in the frame. It was soooo easy. If you make one of these, and your picture will be hanging in a sunny room, definately do not use construction paper, as it will fade waaay too easily.

The next picture is what I refer to as "The Sears Portrait Gone Wrong". Everyone hangs the crisp looking, plastic-smiled snapshots, with the whole family wearing matching sweaters and not a single hair out of place. When I took the 2 kids to Sears to have some pictures taken, I was not prepared to be in any photos. Aparently Harris was not either. I was seated next the little stage, and Harris practically lept off the platform. Bless that photographer lady, as she snapped the perfect shot! I bought it without a second thought, and wouldn't you know it, THAT is the one that is on my wall!
Sears portrait gone wrong
 These 2 little frames hold the keys to all of our past homes together. I saw this idea on a fantastic blog called Young House Love
 I really love having this bit of history on our walls. I used little scrapbook dots to stick the keys to the paper. You could use hot glue if you wanted. I then wrote a little diddy about each key.

This shot is of one of the 3 sets on the hallway walls. That is my wee Stella in the background in Harris' room.


This is an embroidered love note that I made for Mindi. It is actually an excerpt from my diary, reborn with fabric and thread. I mounted it to a corkboard with sewing pins.

The most notable piece to me on this wall is the frame around the thermostat. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em right?!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Things That Make Me Happy Today

Looking at my new light from IKEA:

Enjoying a new succulent that is now keeping my cube light company: 

My driftwood in the fireplace:


My latest project, the art gallery wall:


Anything making you happy today?

Friday, May 6, 2011

I Couldn't Have Said it Better Myself

I read many blogs, I read this one religiously, sucking up every word she says with vigor and intensity. It might sound a bit exaggerated, the way I just described it, but it is the best way for me to say it. The main focus of her blog is that of Gardening and Homesteading, including fantastic recipes, chicken keeping, and vegetable growing. She is also, like myself and many of my readers, a mom. She wrote an incredible post about her top 10 things that she would like for Mother's Day. While my list would be ridiculously similar, her #1 was so well written that I felt I would be doing everyone a disservice by NOT acknowledging it's importance, and sharing it with those that may not (yet) read her blog. Here  it is, her #1 Thing she wants for mother's day.

1. Time - Yes, the one thing every mom wants more of is time. Day-by-day we drive time away, running between school and soccer and the grocery store and work. We wash it away in countless loads of whites and darks and delicates, and pack it away with sack lunches and overnight bags and permission slips. It is lost with keys and cell phones and wallets and is never found, not inside purses or diaper bags or upstairs on the nightstand. Even when we make time for ourself it leaks out and around the edges, little crumbs of time spilled as we multi-task our lives away and feel guilt for what we just don't have time for.

So, in case you missed all the links above, here it is again. Go check her out at http://www.nwedible.com/!

And a happy Mother's day to you!


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

His Eyes are Blue, My Eyes are Too...

But hey, guess what else they are? Pink. Yes, pink. As in Pink Eye. As in goopy pink/red goodness. As in burning, itchy, weeping yumminess. Harris has always been prone to eye infections for some reason. We typically are able to remedy them with some good old fashioned warm compresses, mega hand washing, and love. Lots and lots of love. And kisses. Can't forget the kisses.

On Saturday, the whole family was working on a cold. It had been hanging around for a while. We weren't surprised when Harris started showing signs of an eye infection. What we weren't prepared for was the gooey floodgates to open. Bloodshot eyes, swollen lids- the works. He cried all night Sunday. At about mindnight, Mindi offered to sleep with him in his bed (pretty unheard of for us). He turned her down (pretty unheard of for him) and told us he wanted to see a doctor and get eye drops (unheard of is an understatement here...) So, we said ok, and carted off the local emergency room with the goal of getting a script for eye drops that would help him feel better. Oh yeh, and a diagnosis.


He was really cute, He was so polite to the lady at the front desk. That's my little man! He made me proud. We had a pep talk while we were driving about how it would be great if he didn't freeze up when the doctor came in to see us. He has tendency to retreat, and I really needed him to actually talk to her about how he was feeling.

intrigued by the pulse meter

puppy was a great companion


He was super tired (it was about 2:30am at this point)
At about 2:30am, we had seen the doctor, gotten his diagnosis of an upper respiratory infection and pink eye, and were simply waiting for the nurse to come back with the prescription. I had brought a blanket from home which he loved. Puppy and blanket made him feel right at home. He was awesome.

Monday morning, I woke up with a burning right eye. Damn. DAMN! Stella had a little goo as well so I landed a quickie appointment for us yesterday afternoon. We left with a script for us. Luckily for Stella, her eyes are obviously fighting back the infection, and she is doing great. I, on the other hand, have been enjoying a healthy dose of eye drops along with my son.

Moral of the story? Wash your hands more, and don't underestimate just how good your kid can be when you simply ask them to be!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Productivity

This year, the Seattle Spring has been nothing short of ghastly. Rain, rain, wind, rain, drizzle, rain, cold. We are running a good 6 weeks behind on our average gardening schedule (so I hear from our local gardening experts) and we are ITCHING to get the ball rolling on our garden! Luckily, we have managed to get a bit of a gardening fix already by planting peas, radish, carrot, spinach, and lettuce, not to mention the wonderful gifts that we received from friends of shallots, asparagus crowns, cabbage, and raspberry canes!

Don't get too close or that snake 'll getcha!
When we moved into our house, we realized that the previous owners had a strange fetish for small ceramic garden animals. Every time I till a bed, one or two pop up from the soil. This snake is one, that I thought was too funny to get rid of, and the frog below has become a little friend for Harris...
Ribbit



Blueberry

Since it was so nice on Saturday, and Mindi had to work, I made a spur of the moment decision to get shit done...if you will. I packed the two kids into the minivan at 8:30am, and drove over to home depot. With 1 toddler strapped to my back, and 1 preschooler in tow, I managed to navigate myself through the home depot, completing my goal of finding, carting, and buying 3 bags of soil, 48 bolts, a tape measure, and 8 (count em!) 2"x10"x 12ft pieces of lumber. Granted, I (rightfully so) lassoed a nice hd employee to help me get the lumber down, cut, and out to my car, but let me tell you, the looks that I got from men and women alike, when they saw all that lumber following a donkey pushing a cart and hauling 2 children, were priceless- every one of them! After I got the car loaded, and the children buckled, I drove home and right up onto my lawn. I let the kids out to run for 30 minutes while I lugged the wood to the back yard, where it would eventually become 4 beautiful planter boxes! After I got the wood out of the car, I loaded the kids back in, and went with the kids to the Little Gym for Harris' class. After class, I fed the kids their lunch that I had packed that morning as we drove home. We got back, I slipped the children into bed for naptime, and proceeded to assemble the raised garden beds. 1 extra trip to Home Depot and 2 hours later, we had 4 beautiful planters built, the kids woke up, and I called it a day! It was nice to hear from the wifey that she was proud of all that I had accomplished! I hadn't really even thought of it before she said that!
This is what Harris did when I explained that they were "garden beds". He decided to lay down!
Now I have these 4 beautiful planter boxes calling out for nice rich soil! I hope you had a great weekend, and don't forget to vote for my blog until May 13th! Vote once a day by clicking the button to the right! Oh, hey! By the way! Who nominated my blog? Please do tell!

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