Jun 28, 2012

36 Weeks!

Okay, so this is a few weeks late.  But lots of life was happening way too fast around 36 weeks so I never got my belly pic up.  Here it is for all those friends and family who don't facebook.  Among my greatest accomplishements, I'd like to list "38 weeks pregnant and still very able to shave my legs in a stand up shower." 

Jun 27, 2012


My due date is in two weeks and HO-LY Hannah!  The nesting has hit hard and heavy...and I'm LOVING it!  I'm a little crazy about organization anyway so I think these preggo hormones just kick it into absolute insanity!  Actually, my hubby and I are the dynamic duo of organizing.  He finished the bathroom linnen closet and put up all the extra shelving I've been needing in the upstairs closets and then I went to town. 

Between yesterday and today I have organized:
Ella's crafts
Ella's learning supplies
Tupperware cupboard
Top of Fridge
Mail Center counter
The pantry
Two junk drawers
The linnen closet
Josiah's closet
Ella's closet
Guest/office closet
Ella's play rooom
Ella's toy baskets downstairs
I have numerous bags o goodies to hand off to friends and family
I made a big ol' run to goodwill (where I incidentally found a great pair of chacos for $6!)
And I've totally kept up with laundry more than I ever usually do.
Remember the show FRIENDS?  Well I AM Monica.  Remember how she had that ONE closet that was a total disaster and it was her deep dark secret and she wouldn't let anyone open it?  Well I've got one too.  It's not a deep dark secret but it does haunt me. 

Even with this big old house, we don't have a basement or garage.  So one of our 6 bedrooms is utilized as storage and let me just say....it is a DISASTER AREA.  It is my off season and decoration storage, my toy rotation storage, my clothes the kids have yet to grown into storage, my need to Ebay or craigslist storage, my holding tank for clothes to be handed down to others, my holding tank for all the baby supplies from Ella that have been sitting for this long awaited second.  Someday....someday.  But not today...or anytime soon really. 

I'm feeling good right now.

Jun 26, 2012


I met him almost 12 years ago, on our first date.  It was undeniably love at first sight...despite the fact that he peed on me.  How could I hold that against this tiny little 8 week old ball of golden retriever fluff?

2000-Just 8 weeks old at Jason's Orono Apartment
 Jason had gotten him the week before and we often joke that he used his adorable puppy to reel me in by introducing me to him on our first date.  I can't say that it hurt his cause  ;)  Just look at that face!

2001 - Maybe 12 weeks old at J's parents.

Well, if you can't already tell where this is going...a week ago Friday we said good-bye to our beloved Hunter.  It's taken me a bit to write about it.  But it's been cathartic. 
2002 - the year J graduated from college
We began seing signs of limping in May of 2011 and he was diagnosed with a rare nerve sheath tumor in September of 2011.  He was given 6months to a year to live at that point.  We got to have him around for 9 months after that.  And let me tell you, a little more than 8 of those months were awesome.  He responded well to medicine and didn't show signs of pain.  The only difference was that his right front leg slowly got weaker so he gimped on it a bit and eventually would run three legged when chasing his beloved sticks and tennis balls.  But as recently as April he hiked a mountain with us, no problem and we constantly got comments from people that could not believe he was 11 years old! 
2003 - shortly after we were married, at our first home in OOB
In the last few months, it was very clear he was losing muscle mass in the affected leg and he began to limp more, and run less.  Instead of walking the road out back, he would only walk our short road to our neighbors.  Then he would only go for his nightly walk to the mailbox with his daddy.  Next he would only go to the end of the driveway, then stop, lay there and wait for his dad to return. We tried increasing his meds, but there was no improvement.  Sure he didn't go for long walks anymore, but he was still his happy Hunter self, still ate great, still basked in the sun with us when we were outside and chewed on his sticks.     
2004 - at my mom's for the 6 weeks we were in Florida for staff training with Cru.  We got him a haircut because we thought he be more comfortable in the summer...but they cut him WAY too short.  You could tell he didnt' like it...as if he was embarrassed !
We had been told that the tumor would grow and spread to his spinal chord, eventually affecting all of his limbs, but we didn't know when or what that would look like.  Honestly, we weren't prepared for the speed at which it progressed in the last 10 days.  He had a vet re-check and the vet was amazed at his mobility and spirits having such a diagnosis.  He told us to just keep doing what we were doing.
2005 - at our new house in Old Town.  One of our favorite pics of him.
Then that next week...last week...Wed, Thurs, Fri, to be exact, he went down hill as fast as an avalanche.  At the beginning of the week we could see his right rear leg was now considerably weaker and he was gimping on that too.  Then his left rear leg... 
2006 - a camping trip to Debsconeg Lake.  He LOVED his sticks and clearly no challenge was too big for him :)
Wednesday, when Ella and I went out shopping, we came home to no Hunter greeting us at the door with wagging tail and whining voice.  That just doesn't happen.  I went into our bedroom and found him lying in the exact same spot I left him. (head half under the bed, splayed on the cool hardwood floor per his norm) He hadn't budged.  Not good.  I encouraged him to get up and realized he couldn't do it himself.  He just couldn't get his weak legs under him, they would keep splaying out.  I helped him up and once he got his feet under him then he gimped around on his own pretty well, went potty, ate etc.
2006 - Also Debsconeg.  Our campsite was on an island and Hunter never minded a canoe ride with us.
Thursday Jason woke up sick and stayed home from work.  I think this was a blessing in disguise.  I had been telling him Hunter wasn't doing as well.  But I'm the one home with him all day and by the time J gets home, Hunter is so excited to see him, Jason doesn't get to see what I see all day.  I took Ella and C to the library.  On the way home I picked up six carpet runners to place throughout the house... because I was sure he just needed a little more traction than our slippery wood and tile and he'd be just fine for a while longer.  I also picked up a comfy harness for him to wear so we could assist him with getting up and down.  (I look back now and think that even though I went out and bought all this stuff...in my heart I really knew.) 

2006 - Camping on the union river.  My alltime favorite of Hunter.  Lip stuck and all :)
When I returned the look on Jason's face was unmistakable.  He saw it too.  "It's really not good."  He said.
2007 - Our 4 Year anniversary trip to a remote cabin 4 hours into the Northern Maine Woods.  A happy boy.
The girls went down for a nap and Jason and I just sat with Hunter, having those tough conversations of "is it really time?".  Those conversations that we thought were at least months off still, were happening way too soon for us.  We had planned a trip to camp for Father's Day weekend and we both wanted to bring him there for one last hurrah.  He LOVED camp.  The water, the sticks, the people, the dirt.  And maybe next week it would be time.  "Yes.  That's a good plan," we decided.
2007 - On our way to our 4 year anniversary cabin.  He LOVED riding in J's truck, wind in his face!
However, it became apparant as the hours passed that that would be a selfish plan.  It was unreal how quickly it all went.  By that evening he would not get up unless one of us went over to him and helped him and made him walk (to go outside or eat).  If he did get really excited about a visitor or a treat, the adrenaline would kick in and he'd try so hard to get up, and could make it up himself, but it was painful to watch his struggle.  It was so clear he wanted to, and his brain was sending the signals...his limbs just weren't getting them because  the tumor blocks the nerve signals.  Once when Jason took him out to go potty he fell over.  We called our vet and our specialist and consulted and they confirmed what we were foolishly hoping was not true.  This was the end.  It was not going to get better, only worse.  Jason made the appointment.  We made it for Friday at 2pm.  We wanted to be able to spend time with him.

Early 2008 - ice fishing.  In his glory.
Thursday night we sat with him, cuddled him, gave him SOOO many yummy treats and Jason went and bought him a Rib-Eye steak, grilled it up and that's what he had for his puppy dinner.    Friday morning he had leftover beer can chicken for breakfast, a ton more treats and lots and lots of love.

Dec 2008 - Ella is less than a week old.  We never had to worry about Hunter around her.  He was SO, SO gentle.  He was curious and he welcomed her without one hiccup in his stride.

By Friday morning he could not get up by himself at all.  He could not walk.  When he needed something he would give us a gentle whine and look up at us with those sweet, sweet eyes.  Jason would carry him to where he needed to go and hold him up to eat, drink or potty.  That is how smart he was.  That is how good he was.  It was a gorgeous day, perfect temperature, blue sky dotted with puffy white clouds.  A beautiful day for "a trip up to Heaven" we agreed with Ella.  We carried him outside to lay in the shade.  We set up the camera tri-pod for one last family picture.  Although he doesn't look all that bad, he'd actually kind of propped up between us.  He was still all there, all Hunter in mind and spirit, his body just wasn't working anymore. 

2009 - Yet another move...to Southern Maine and he took it all in stride.  Wells beach.  Handsome boy.
Ella and I said our good-bye's around 11:30 and then I took Ella to my mom's for a visit we'd planned a while back.  It was hard for me not to be there.  It was hard for me to be strong for Ella and answer all her questions.  But it was best. 
2009 - Beautiful hike up Mt. Major.
I've known Hunter from the begining, he's always been a part of my life and I love him like I've loved no other dog.   He lived with solely with Jason for the first 2 1/2 years of his life while we dated and then were engaged. But that dog graciously...no enthusiastically welcomed me into their life and he quickly became mine as well.  But he was always first and foremost Jason's dog.  Jason got him when he was 7 weeks old and he bonded to Jason as if he was his own mother.  It was Jason and him in the beginning and it was Jason and him at the very end. 
2009 - sharing Ella's blanket at our Sanford apartment.
When we all reunited at the house around 2:30 Jason said it was the hardest thing he's ever done in his life.  Then he hugged us tightly with tears in his eyes and firmly told us that nothing better even happen to Ella or I.  I know we can't guarantee those things in life and so does he, but I knew what he meant. 

Fall 2009 - He was so kind with Ella.  Even if she had his beloved ball.  He would never try to take it.  Just wait expectantly, eagerly, patiently.
Events like these cause us to confront mortality.  It's not a subject many choose to dwell on.  But it's good.  It makes us savor each moment more...think about how we treat others...think about our priorities...say we're sorry to those we need to...hug a little longer...be a little more grateful...treasure our loved ones that much more.  May we not let that perspective dwindle over time.
2010 - trying out my new DSLR on Hunter puppu at our Sanford apartment a few months before the move into our current home.
We headed up to camp that same day.  It felt a little weird, but we decided it would be a good distraction.  It was good for our souls to be by the water and it did get our minds off things.  Jason took time to go fishing by himself.  That's been his solace and coping mechanism ever since he was little and he would escape into the woods or off fishing when things were too much for him at home.  It helped again this time.
2010 - Seriously, what a good boy.  Even when being used as a jungle gym.  Our current home.
I wasn't prepared for how I would feel when we got home from camp... and then that first day Jason went back to work.  Everything was a constant reminder.  Hunter's bed, bowls, toys, medicines, treats staring me in the face at every turn.  It's amazing how much my daily routine had come to revolve around him and each time I instinctively looked for him to let him out, feed him, get his meds, etc. etc. it was a fresh reminder that I would no longer have to do those things.  I cried a lot that day.
2011 - Valentine's Day, getting a good tummy rub from his fave toddler.
And just this week as I was cleaning the house I realized how dange sentimental I am.  I had the hardest time sweeping, knowing that was the last of the Hunter hair I'd ever collect.  I could barely bring myself to wipe his nose prints off my windows knowing he'd never make them there again.  SO sentimental...maybe it's just pregnancy hormones.  No, probably not.
2011 - looking for a little halloween candy love from Curious George (one month after his diagnosis)
Ella is doing well.  Some sweet, sweet conversations have risen out of this.  Her questions, thoughts and perceptions never cease to amaze me...and bring tears to my eyes.  More on that, what we're doing to remember him and perhaps some other thoughts to come in future posts.  

Fall 2011 - lazy day by the lake at J's parents
Good-bye sweet friend.
Thank-you for loving us no matter what.  Thank-you for being the best companion we have ever known.  Thank-you for being the best boy to our Ella.  I'm so sad that our little Josiah won't be welcomed home by you, won't get a chance to know you and to love on you. 
Thank-you for so graciously putting up with all the moves we carted you around on :o)
Fall 2011 - still feeling his oats.
We'll miss those eyes.  That nose.  Your scratchable belly and gently wagging tail. 
The way you couldn't even contain your wiggling body and whining voice when we came home...even after 12 years. 
 The way you LOVED your sticks and tennis balls. 
Fall 2011 - family picture
The way you clung to your daddy.  And how, near the end, you would NOT stop bugging him each night until he took your for a walk.  It didn't have to be a long walk.  Just a jaunt to the mailbox and back, only the two of you, then you're little heart would be content and settled.  It was as if you knew and were saying, "C'mon dad.  We don't have much time left, and I need my one on one with you each day.  Let's go." 
April 2012 - Hiked Bonegbeg Mt. with us no problem.  Happy Boy.
 The way you'd nudge our hand to pet you...even if it had a hot cup of coffee in it. 
 The way you loved to have your chest scratched...endlessly... and how you'd paw at our hand and groan when we stopped.
Your snuggles.
 Everything about you...which is so much that it is not even listable or describable. 
June 15 2012 - The last day with our Love.  One last family picture and bask in the shade on a beautiful day..
 Golden's are an amazing breed, but you Hunter, were truly one in a million.

Jun 22, 2012

Life Lessons for the Little

We're having a MASSIVE yardsale at our church to benefit our upcoming missions trip to Romania.  I informed Ella of this and she got super excited.  The next thing she said was this,

"Mom.  I need money.  Can you give me some money?  Mom, you really need to give me some money."  A little while later, exaserbated, "Mom.  You haven't given me any money yet!"

Ummmmm, no suh!  No child of mine is going to grow up with a world view/attitude/sense of entitlement like this.  People say that the younger generations have no sense of responsibility.  Well, let me just let you in on my theory on that...IT'S BECAUSE THEIR PARENTS NEVER INSTILLED IT IN THEM.  Time for a little life lesson my love. 

ME: Ella, let's have a chat.  Let's have a little chat about where money comes from.  How does daddy get money for our family?
ELLA:  He goes to work every day.  (This is one of those, "Praise the Lord, we're doing something right!" moments.) 
ME:  That's right honey.  So what do you think you could do to get some money?
ELLA:  (Scrunches her face up and says with a questions mark) Go to work?
ME:  Well, kind of.  You could do some extra chores to get some money.
(Ella then folds her arms, turns on heel, lets out a loud groan and stomps out of the room.  OY!) 
ME:  That's your choice if you don't want to, but you won't have any money for the yardsale.
ELLA:  (a few minutes later...comes back into the room)  Like what kind of chores?

I explained she wouldn't get money for normal things on her responsibility chart like picking up toys, getting dressed on her own, brushing teeth etc.  But that we could think of extra things and she could get .25 cents for each chore. 

I made a picture list and she now has 4 chores she can earn a quarter for each time she does them
1.)  Water veggie garden if it needs it.
2.)  Help Set and Clear table.
3.)  Help unload dishwasher.
4.)  Help with laundry (one full load meaning...load it up, put soap in, start it, switch it to dryer, take it out of drying into laundry basket.)

The child has already earned .75 cents and is LOVING it!  It's not mean.  It's not cruel.  It's not too much for a three and a half year old.  It teaches her about responsibility, choices and consequences, work ethic, life not to mention it gives her a sense of accomplishment and pride.  Today was a good parenting day!

Jun 20, 2012

Crazy For Cloth!

Look what came in the mail today!!!

Ohmygoodness my shipment of cloth diapers and accessories arrived today and I am SO EXCITED!  It's been a rough weekorso (I'll blog on that when I'm ready) and I really needed this. 

Back when we first had Ella I blogged all about the cloth prefolds and wraps we were using.  I did all the research and found the best deals.  Well, I've been at it again!

I'm still going to use the un-dyed Indian prefolds with prowrap covers and snappi fasteners around the house and especially for the first few months.  But then...I'm upgrading baby!

Once again, I'll share the BEST deal I've found. 
See that picture?  It contains 20 OS (one size) AIO (all-in-one) pocket diapers, 20 three layer microfiber inserts, 10 three layer bamboo inserts, and two wet bags with double zippered pockets.  And it's all BRAND NEW.   If you know anything about cloth you probably think I paid a FORTUNE for that stash.  Nopers.  Wanna know what I paid? 
Mmmm Hmmm that's right. 

Where'd I get 'em?
Judge me if you will, it's a foreign company.  But I can't afford the other stuff.  Afraid it's not as high a quality?  I was too.  So I researched and asked and researched and researched and by all accounts people like them as well as if not BETTER than pricey brands like fuzzibunz, bum genius etc.  Many people who say they've used both say that these actually hold up BETTER.  Whoah!

So here's the scoop. 
-The wet bags are like $4.59 each.
-The diapers are anywhere from $5-$9 a piece depending on the kind & print you get. 
-The more you order, the cheaper they get.  I ordered 20 so they came in at $4.20 a piece!  And did I mention that they each come with one microfiber insert?
-You have to order 20 pcs or more to get free shipping, or else shipping is way high.  

And lastly, let's review, lest you forgot from my post over three years ago, ALL the reasons to cloth diaper.
#1)  Say GOOD-BYE to poop blow outs.  Seriously.
#2)  Less chemicals on yo baby.
#3)  More breathable, less diaper rashes.
#4)  Save a TON O MONEY! 
(disposables for 3 years $2,500-$4,000 depending on what diapers you buy and how much you change your babe)
(cloth, an average of $900 and that's including the cost of doing three loads of diapers a week.  I know I spent WAY less than that for the diapers and accessories alone for TWO babies...and I doubt I'd come close to that even with washing!)
#5) SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT (did you know it's estimated that it takes 250-500 years - infinity for ONE disposable diaper to bio-degrade!  Many sources say that the plastic parts of diapers will never biodegrade.  And we don't even really know, because no one has ever seen it happen!  Think of how many babies....how many diapers....are going into landfills!!!  It's estimated that 18-20 billion enter landfills EACH YEAR in the US alone!)

Your Welcome! 

Jun 12, 2012


Ella started gymnastics about 5 months ago.   She's in a "shining stars" toddler class where I go with her.  She had no clue at the begining and now has learned so much and is really great!  She does a summersault/no handed flip into bed every night now :)

Tonight was the culmination of her classes...the gymnastics show.  Never in a million years did I think she'd be up for strutting her stuff in front of a gazillion people...but she kept insisting she wanted to partake.  And partake she did.  She was FIRST and she did awesome!  We celebrated with Panera and ice cream after and have one tuckered little girl getting to sleep late for at least the third time this week.  Oy!  It was worth it.
Here's what she looked like BEFORE we left for the show.  She's sporting a little leotard outfit borrowed from a friend and she even let me put her hair in pig tails.  This is her "TADA" pose.  So awesome.

By the time we drove to the gym the pig tails were gonners.  And before the show started she was having nothing to do with the cute little outfit.  Knowing my daughter, I brought her tri-star gymnastics T-shirt and a pair of pink shorts.  So she looked NOTHING like these pictures whilst strutting her stuff...but man was she still adorable!

Jun 11, 2012

Good Men

I am convinced that Good men are becoming harder and harder to find these days.  But just in case you haven't seen one lately...here's a picture of one.  The very definition perhaps.
I'm blessed to be surrounded my so many good men in my group of friends and I'm SOOOO thankful that one of 'em is mine.  Of course it's not by completey by chance that I caught this one (pun intended).  I had high standards and some non-negotiables.  But God saw to it that he thought I was pretty cute too :)  And almost 12 years after meeting Jason, I find myself continually surprised by JUST how good he is.  You'd think it not come as a suprise each time anymore....guess I'm just slow to learn...or he just keeps getting better with age :)

In fact, this past week he spoke love to me in pretty much EVERY single one of my love languages.  He brought home suprise flowers Friday.  He took care of Ella while I had dinner with a friend and as I was heading out the door he told me to enjoy myself, take my time and not feel the need to rush home... and "oh by the way why don't you go shopping for yourself, here's a little money to spend".  If that's not enough, when I returned home, the dishes were done and he had swept AND mopped the entire downstairs!  OH. MY. GOSH.  Nothing hotter.  There I said it. 

Another recent example...  I've always had a really hard time when Jason goes away for weekends, weeks, months.  It's true I often lose him to fishing or work trips.  It's the nights that get me.  I have such a hard time sleeping, worrying about safety and such.  And no sleep at night makes for REALLY long days!  Recently some things have happened with family members that have just unsettled me even more...to the point where I was having trouble sleeping even when Jason was right by my side.  He came home from work the next day and told me he'd set up a meeting to see about getting a security system installed.  Days later the rep came out and Jason basically said, "Where do I sign," without a second thought.

I hemmed and hawed about the money (which wasn't as bad as I'd thought actually) and tried to convince him (and myself) that I could just suck it up.  I asked him if he thought we needed it and if it would give him peace of mind.  I knew he was doing this JUST for me.  His response is what blessed my soul.  He imparted more love to me in a few sentences than a lifetime of expensive gifts ever could.  He told me that he didn't need it for himself, but he needed it for me.  He told me that the safety of his family has no price tag and that HE would sleep better at night and rest easy when he was away knowing that I felt safe and I had peace of mind.

Men (not that any read my blog) take notice!  This is the heart of a good man.  A real man.  A man truly living out these verses:  "Husbands, love your wifes, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her....In this same way husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies.  He who loves his wife loves himself."  Ephesians 5:25,28  

Speaking of my hubby going away.  He recently went on his "last hurrah" long fishing trip before the babe arrives. He loves to fish the pristine, catch and release only, bike two miles on a dirt road to get to, waters of Rangely.  So he went up for a few days.  And...he'll hate me for this...but while I'm tooting his horn about other things...I might as well go ahead and do it about fishing too.  Hardly anyone else was able to catch much of anything....except for him.  He's perfected this certain type of fly-fishing and he caught tons and tons of fish...nice ones too.  At one point he said he was catching fish non-stop for two hours and actually decided to stop because he needed a break.  MY husband needing a break from fishing is a hard thing to imagine!  Here are some of the fishies.  And HERE is a link to his blog for the more technical fishy folk.