Saturday, October 30, 2010

PHOTOBOMB: September/October

This is long overdue...Klaw is now 7 months old and getting cuter by the minute.
Yeah, I went a little crazy with the photo-editing...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Playing Catch-Up

Klaw is out of the hospital & no longer sick, thank goodness!  However, he managed to get me sick in the process.  Ugh.  I'm fairly pathetic and miserable when I'm sick, as a general rule.  Throw in a complete lack of sleep due to a VERY ACTIVE BABY, and I didn't know which way was up.  I'm finally better, too, even though I still feel like I'm about a day behind on sleep.

Since Klaw is male, intact, & a baby, the standard of care after a urinary tract infection is to evidently get a renal ultrasound followed by a VCUG.  I declined the VCUG because, without any other issues, I felt like doing something invasive was overkill for one UTI.  We did go back to CHKD for the renal u/s today & if anything abnormal shows up, we'll obviously go forward from there.  Fingers crossed, nothing is out of the ordinary.

I know this is short, but I'm way behind on a lot of stuff...and I apologize for the lack of pictures.  My camera has been messed up since May and it's only gotten worse.  Chris will be home soon and life will be a little bit easier!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things...

1 - Pseudoephedrine - No, I'm not a tweeker.  It's the only decongestant that actually works.  In fact, I'm pretty angry that meth addicts have made it so that we have to jump through hoops to obtain this magical, sinusitis relieving medication.

2 - Whole Foods App for iPhone - This app is awesome.  I can search for recipes by diet (vegetarian, vegan, low-fat, gluten free, etc), meal (breakfast, appetizer, dinner, etc) and by category (one-pot, budget, quick & easy).  I can then make a grocery list based on the recipe and edit that list as I see fit by adding or removing items.  It also gives me the ability to email the recipe to other people.

3 - Chris Bra' - Yep, I'm thankful for my husband.  He flew home this weekend and spent each night in the hospital with Klaw so that I could get some sleep at home.

4 - Half-caf coffee - Yes, I know this is a repeat but it has earned the recognition.

5 - Health Insurance - Even with insurance, Klaw's medical bills are stacking up (especially since the deductible started over Oct 01).  Even with a stable income, we would be hard pressed to afford his bills if we did not have Tricare covering the bulk of the costs.  This experience is making me more compassionate towards people who support a national health insurance program.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

'Cause it was so much fun in September...

-quote from Chris Bra'

Klaw is back in the hospital.  He has what started out as normal cold symptoms.  About 24 hours after he first started showing signs, he became too congested to drink from his bottle so I had to take him to the CHKD emergency room.  As was expected, he was admitted and we got a room around 6:30am Friday morning.  He's on d10 fluids to keep him hydrated & nourished.  His initial flu screening came back negative but the fact that they suspected the flu got us a private room.  SCORE!  His first urine screening showed a large amount of e. Coli, so they are going to start him on antibiotics & retest his urine.  If the second urine screen is different (not an overabundance of e. Coli), they can assume the first test was contaminated and stop the antibiotics.

Dr. Proud is concerned that he may fall into the group of Fatty Acid Oxidation Disorder kids who have compromised immune systems, so we will be testing his immunoglobulin levels before he leaves the hospital.  There is a once-a-month injection he can receive to help boost his immune system should he need it.  As with everything, there are risks and benefits.  Since this is the first time it has been brought up, I don't have much more to share at this point.  Hopefully, it will be a moot issue and nothing is wrong with his immune system.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

When the Watchdog Goes Awry: The CPSC’s Misguided Assault on Slings

When the Watchdog Goes Awry: The CPSC’s Misguided Assault on Slings

This is International Babywearing Week. If you know me, you know how much I enjoy wearing Klaw. He has loved being wrapped up and worn since birth. It has provided constant cuddles and almost instantaneous relaxation for Klaw during fussy moments. I am constantly complimented about how happy Klaw is and how comfortable he is in new situations and with new people. I give some of the credit to babywearing. He is a confident & secure baby. He knows Chris or I will be there to care for him; there is no reason for him to be fearful. Klaw is absolutely giddy with excitement whenever he sees us bring out one of the carriers. He loves being worn, cuddled, snuggled, whatever you want to call it. Not only is it a beautiful experience to share with our son, but it is a huge help. I can wear him while doing housework and I don't have to worry about him getting bored or getting into something. When we are out & about, Klaw isn't stuck in a carseat precariously placed on a buggy or on the floor. He's in the middle of the action...eye level with the big people. He is engaged with the environment and has a clear view of Mom &/or Dad so he can gauge our emotions; if we're comfortable, he knows it's safe.

The practice of babywearing has been around for thousands of years and now the CPSC is threatening it in the United States without just cause.

Babywearing is safe. Babywearing is life-saving.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Livin' Like No One Else!!! Baby Steps

Finally, I think it's safe to get back to the subject of Financial Freedom.

So, fast forward a little bit - we sold Chris's beloved SportTrac, he started driving the Granny Grand Am, and we moved to the great state of Washington.  Chris was attached to his first boat...SSBN 730 Henry M. Jackson (blue crew).  I got a job as a nanny for two families.  We found a nice little pet-friendly apartment (Callie & Mocha are with us).  During my commute to &/or from my nannying job, I started listening to Dave Ramsey again (I hadn't listened since I lived in Charleston).  I also started trying to get Chris to listen to it...but he was/is/always shall be bored out of his mind with talk radio.

The more I listened to Dave, the more insistent I was that we really needed to become debt free.  Chris did not agree with getting "gazelle intense" and putting debt freedom before everything else.  He had already given up his beloved this became the source of more than a few arguments.  Luckily, it wasn't long before Chris had to go to sea for the first time.  I used that opportunity to start paying off debt on my own without anyone arguing with me.  I didn't care if I ate PB&J sandwiches every day!

Eventually, Chris noticed that he was one of the few husbands who came home to more money than he left with.  I'll just say that it wasn't (isn't?) all that uncommon for many wives to spend a lot of money when the husbands are away.  I was able to start the debt snowball during one of his deployments.  Imagine his surprise when he came home to find some debts paid off and significant headway made on others.  This was what it took to get Chris on least somewhat.  He is a hard sell, sometimes.

Now, we weren't following the Dave Ramsey plan 100%, myself included.  I was just sold hook, line & sinker on the debt snowball method.  It made sense to me and it definitely worked.  Getting out of debt requires a change in behavior more than it requires a calculator.  We committed to the debt snowball and didn't increase our lifestyle as he moved up in the Navy & received various pay raises.  This allowed us to get a good handle on paying our debt off.

I had promised Chris he could get another truck once we reached some financial stability and we both felt like we had made it there when we paid off the American Express card (we had previously closed the account because our rate jumped & they refuse to lower it).  *Remember - I said we were not following the plan 100%* Chris traded in the Granny Grand Am and we bought a brand new Ford F-150 FX4 SuperCrew.  We negotiated well and the payments did not significantly change our financial status at all.  I do believe I said, "I will never buy another new car," after this purchase.  (foreshadowing)

So, to summarize, our 3 years in Washington helped us both get mostly on board for getting out of debt.  We didn't significantly change our lifestyle, we just didn't increase it as our income increased.  We didn't get on a budget, we didn't sacrifice anything, but we did, for the first time, have a common financial goal as a couple.  Money was no longer a source of arguments in our house.

Our next move would take us to the beautiful and ridiculously expensive Monterey Peninsula...and the next phase of our debt free journey.

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