Isaac's Eyes

I'm sure all of you who have met Isaac have noticed the slight problem with his left eye - how it has a tendency to turn in when he's focusing on something close to his face. I finally had an opportunity to take him to a pediatric ophthalmologist last Friday and we now know what the problem is.

Isaac's appointment went well, though I'm sure if you ask him, he'll tell you all about how he DID NOT like the 'white stuff' they put in his eyes (they had to dilate his pupils). We found out that the problem is actually a form of farsightedness caused by muscles in the inner corners of both of his eyes, not just the left one. These muscles are too tight and unfortunately the problem can't be fixed with glasses or time (he was really hoping he would get some cool glasses like his brother Austin!). He is scheduled for surgery to correct the problem on November 29th, a quick out-patient procedure. He's going to go in at 6:30 am, so we'll probably spend the night before in a hotel near the clinic. He shouldn't need any special treatment after the surgery and the doctor has assured me that except for a little bit of blood in the whites of Isaac's eyes (which will diminish slowly), he'll be just fine to run around and play as usual shortly after the surgery. The doctor also said that Isaac's condition is not too unusual and he usually does 12 to 15 of these corrective procedures a month. I'm glad we're getting this done now, before the issue really begins to affect Isaac's learning process.

For those of you who got my email, this post is really just the same email re-posted. I put it up here for those of you that I don't have an email for, or who might only keep in touch with me over Facebook.

I'll keep everyone posted on how things go.



Our Saturday, in pictures...

I finally got all my tack together, so we went to visit Polor on Saturday.  I'm so ready to bring him home!

He wanted to ride all day.

Michael and I traded off with Polor.  He did really well for his first time in an English saddle.

Blaze is 29 years old!

Despite some issues with the new tack, Polor was very good with Michael.

Gus got to ride Blaze after Austin.  He fell in love too!

I think he's decided that maybe these horse things aren't too bad after all.

Isaac had a difficult morning, but wouldn't get up on a horse.  He had a lot of fun petting them once he finished this melt-down session (he had to go into time-out right after this pic).

We had a really good day.  Polor was wonderful, even though it turned out he had an allergic reaction to something on his saddle pad.  It took us a while to figure it out, and even though it wasn't easy, Polor behaved very well despite the difficulties.  Three weeks until he comes home!

**Yes, I know I'm the only one wearing a helmet!  If the boys had been on any horse other than Blaze, they would have had my helmet.  We'll bring theirs next time as I've always made it a point to wear one.  Michael needs to find one that will fit him.  We'll plan better next time.


What's up?

Okay, I know I haven't blogged in quite a while, so I'll try to give an update of the big points from the past several months.

Of course, as you can see from one of the posts below, Sparky died on March 31st. Still not over it and never really will be. He was a very unique cat and we all miss him terribly.

Michael started working for ONG toward the beginning of May (sorry, can't remember exactly when!).  He's really enjoying the position and is excited about growing into the company.

After careful consideration of our finances and the housing market, we've decided to stay in Stillwater for another year.  We'd hoped to find a CNG truck to commute in but that didn't work out so well.  As soon as we started looking, they all disappeared.  So for the moment we're just relying on one vehicle and a borrowed car from Dad.  We're still looking for a CNG truck, but we're also considering hybrids or diesel cars - something with good mpg.

June was a really tough work month for me.  The office I'm in is already pretty small, but for one reason or another it shrank down to three geologists for the month - at the same time that we got an unexpected flood of jobs.  Lots of long hours and worked-weekends later, it turned out to be a good month professionally.  I'll be seeing the results of all my hard work throughout the next year.  Feels pretty good.

I've mentioned the chickens before, right?  I think so, if not, we have chickens!  Raised from chicks, we've had them since the end of February.  A mixture of Wyandottes and Araucanas.  Nice looking birds, there are eight hens and one rooster - which we didn't order but received with the rest of the chicks (if he gets mean, he's gonna get eaten).  Anyway, one of my hens started laying about a month ago and now it looks like several others are laying as well!  Wyandottes lay brown eggs and Araucanas lay tinted eggs (green so far), so our egg carton is very colorful.  We're just now getting to the point that we no longer have to buy eggs.  These are a bit smaller than store bought eggs, but as the hens get older the eggs should increase in size.  The smallest eggs are about half the size of a "Grade A Large" egg.  The largest eggs we've gotten, while the size of the store bought ones, are consistently double-yolked.  There is a REALLY big egg in there from last night - larger than anything they've given us yet.  Can't wait to break it open!

My really big news is that I NOW HAVE A HORSE!!!  LC Polor Express is an eight year old, 15.1 hand Arabian gelding.  As you can see below, I've included a few pictures of him.  If any of you have known me for any amount of time, you'll know that I've always been a horse nut - now I have a chance to satisfy that urge.  Polor will come home on Labor Day.  Its been too hot to do anything but lay in front of the fans inside, so I'm okay with not having him home yet.  I've visited him a few times and will be going again this Saturday - looks like the weather should be reasonable then, though I'm keeping an eye on it.  I'll have someone take a few pics of me riding when I go.

He has high withers and a narrow body - makes him a perfect fit for me!

The rider is the husband of the woman who sold Polor to me.

Look at those kind eyes!  He's a sweetie.

My main reason for getting Polor (other than the fact that I just love horses) is that I want to get into endurance riding.  I'll be doing my first 25 mile Limited Distance ride with him this fall, and maybe by this time next year I'll be able to move up to a 50 mile Endurance Ride.  It just depends on how well I'm going to be able to juggle work, family, and training.

A final big piece of news is that I'm being sent to Vienna, Austria at the end of August for a geological field trip - in the Alps!  Michael asked if I was going to bring any rocks back - of course I am!  They'll be all 'Alpy' - I have to add them to my collection!  :)

That's about it in a nutshell.  I'm sure I'll remember some other things later, and I'll have a big post (with pics) after my trip.


Still kicking...

I'm still alive everyone - just been really busy!  I'll get back to posting soon.




Well, its a nice quiet Monday after a very busy weekend!  I'm kinda glad to be in at work today rather than at home...

Gus's birthday was a couple weeks ago and due to schedules we waited until this past weekend to hold his birthday party.  He likes to have friends come for a sleep over.  We've done this before, down in FW, but it was never as much of a success as this one was.  Gus decided to do a camp out (because we're out on 80 acres its got PLENTY of room!) so we built a fire pit for the bonfire, put up tents, and had a wienie and marshmallow roast.  In between the boys running out to play at the camp site, they were back at the house having nerf gun battles.  Wow, we're going to be finding those darts for the next three months!  What originally started out as him having two or three friends over turned into eight boys between the ages of 10 and 13...eeek!  It was hectic, but everyone had plenty of fun.  My sadness for the weekend?  Most of the boys were as tall as me, sigh.  Its all downhill from here I guess.  ;)

Chickie update:  all fifteen chicks are still alive!  I'm beginning to think my flock is going to be fifteen full grown chickens.  Not that I want any of them to die, but I kinda thought it must be harder to raise them from chicks.  Of course, they aren't even a week old yet, so I can't really claim success at this point!  I think where the mortality will come into play will be when we start to transition them to living out in the coop and their chicken tractor.  I think we'll find out how predator proof the tractor is pretty quick.

No pics for you today, sorry.  I do like to include them where I can.  Stay tuned on Thursday for a special blog day and post.




Gus: "Take a picture of my chick, Mom!"
Chick:  "I'm a very serious bird. Cheeping, eating and pooping... very serious things..."

Gus:  "Okay, now take a picture of ME Mom, while I'm holding the chick.  Ignore the cheetos goo on my lips..."

Austin:  "Now its my turn, get my chick Mom."
Racing stripe chick:  "Sigh, so sleepy... bullying my fellow chicks, its so hard."

Austin:  "Now me and my chick, but I do it better than Gus!"
Racing stripe chick:  "CHEEEP!!"

Mommy:  "Is that yogurt around your mouth?  I really hope so..."

Mommy:  "Okay Austin, hold your chick up again."
Racing stripe chick:  "chp, sleepy, chp, chp..."

Isaac:  "Mommy, take a picture of MY chick!  See my chick?!  Take a picture Mommy!"

Gus:  "Mom, take a picture of this chick I just picked up, its different!  This is the one Isaac dropped on its head this morning!"
Chick:  "Oiy, such a headache!"

Eight of our very active fifteen chicks - even the potentially brain damaged one is very active.
By the way, how would one tell if a chicken is brain damaged?  Hmmm...

More chicks, with marbles in the water so they don't accidentally drown themselves.
Don't know if they really would drown, but I didn't want to find out that badly.


Just living...

Well, it looks like I haven't been doing very well on keeping up with everyone on here.  So much for my resolution to write more!  Ah well...  If anyone has any topic suggestions I'm game!

There really hasn't been a whole lot worth blogging about.  I'm just living right now.

By the end of this week I'll have something for you though - chicks!  We're going to get our first batch of chicks to raise for eggs this week.  Michael has a little home set up for them already and now we just need to wait for them to arrive.  I've ordered 15 chicks in the belief that not all of them will survive to adulthood - heaven help me if they all survive!  Hopefully we'll only end up with hens (that's what I've ordered) but I've heard that cockerels will sometimes be included.  I guess if there are a few males we'll have fresh chicken to fry up - yum.

I've been working my butt off lately.  Good thing I love my job or I'd be miserable with the kind of time I'm dedicating.  With my long commutes from Stillwater (67 miles one way) my days run about 12 hours on average.  I'm often out of the office to visit with clients as well, which is nice in a way, but makes the day a bit longer.  I'll be visiting a client tomorrow morning in OKC, then on Thursday I'm off to see a client in Tulsa, which is a two hour drive from OKC.  That's a long day - one hour in from home, two hours to Tulsa, meet a client, take 'em to lunch, two hours back to OKC, then an hour drive back home.  Ugh, I'm tired just thinking about it!  Its all good though.  I'm really trying to cultivate a market for our business in Tulsa so I'm just doing what it takes to get our foot in the door.

If you've seen my previous post, I don't really have much of an update on Max.  The racing season hasn't yet started but I do know that they've got him up at the track in Tulsa (he was down in TX).  I'm just waiting to see how he does on his first race of the season.

Gus just turned 12 last week, can you believe it?!  He's been getting into Boy Scouts with his Grandpa lately and really enjoying it.  The troops are run better up here than they were down in FW - what a soap opera down there!  None of that nonsense up here, so the boys can really get into earning badges and completing levels. They already had their first camp-out a couple weekends ago.  I was really glad I was at home in my cozy house while Michael, Gus, Austin and Grandpa were freezing their butts off in Yale!  They didn't last the whole weekend but still had fun despite the weather.

Austin is getting into scouting as well, though he is currently a Webelo (last level of Cub Scouts).  He'll be old enough for Boy Scouts this summer.  The Cub Scouts have their own camp-out coming up later this spring and all the boys are really excited.

Isaac has been driving Michael to distraction, just by being his irritating sweet self.  I can't imagine why Michael can't find the time to search for jobs, clean the house, make meals, etc., with such a wonderful helper around.  ;)

I took the pictures below with my phone from my office window when a storm passed through OKC.  Enjoy...


Recent pics from my iPhone

Its so great to always have a camera on hand with my iPhone.  The vast majority of the pics I take now are done with my iPhone because usually I just want to capture a quick shot of the current action (or cuteness).

Its amazing that this little turd can look so innocent at times.  I guess that's why we keep him around...  ;)

The view from my office window this morning.  For a January day, its quite warm.  It was in the 50's on my drive in and we're expecting a high in the 70's this afternoon.  Hopefully the strong winds from the south will last until my drive home - they have to help me offset the extra gas I had to use battling them to get to work this morning!


2011 in a nutshell...

...actually was worse than both 2009 and 2010. Strange to think that. You might wonder about my attitude on the past year. It would seem it should be positive because, for example, I finally got a job and finally got out of Texas. All's good, right? I think the best I could say about 2011 is that it was the year that will set me up for success in the next few years, but it was a hell of a ride getting through it.

2009 was good until September of that year, when I lost my job. I was numb yet hopeful (and secretly happy to be home with Isaac) through the rest of the year. I'd received a severance package, so we were still doing fine financially, Michael got a job, and I was able to start taking unemployment.

In 2010 I was still hopeful about the prospect of finding a job, though that hope was beginning to wane when I finally got a temporary position in Dallas for the summer. Things were getting a bit tight financially, but Michael's work was steady and my unemployment benefits were hanging in there. My job prospects waxed and waned, but I still had hope.

2011 finally started and the job prospects were looking even better. I had some good interviews and some serious disappointments, but finally by the end of May I'd secured a job with my current company. Don't get me wrong, I truly love the position and the company - I'm not complaining at all about that point! In fact, my career is getting better by the month. However, in 2011 we finally ran out of any form of financial cushion period - its very scary. We can't sell the house in Fort Worth (completely underwater there), moving was extremely expensive and we were unable to find a rental closer than 65 miles from where I work. That means I'm spending gobs of $$ just to get to work every day. On top of that I've gone through two tires (one on each vehicle). The expenses involved were not that bad, except when you throw the house expenses in. The property management company we got to handle the FW house has been a money pit - literally. Our wallets have been breathing fumes for a while because of that company and I was really scared that we wouldn't be able to provide even an adequate Christmas for the boys. Luckily that worked itself out. In all, we seemed to be making poor decisions right and left, and having to pay the consequences all year.

I don't mean to complain or sound negative, but except for my job and career, 2011 really sucked. There were other reasons as well, but the financial aspect really put the pinch on it all. 2012 is already looking much rosier. I know it will involve another move, but I believe we're more prepared for it now than we were before. Plus, most of the issues with renting out the house in FW have now been resolved - can't wait until we can sell that place and at least break even on it.

2012 is the year that we'll finally settle into a place and really make it home. No more moving until Gus and Austin have made it through high school. If we do move, it will be within the same school district. The boys will have a chance to make some good, lasting friendships, right when it really matters.

We hope to find a place with some land and start up our dreams of having a bit of a homestead. I can finally get a horse (or three!). The boys and I want to get chickens and Michael and I want to get goats. I'm so ready to put in a garden for tomatoes! Maybe even plant some fruit trees. Definitely start digging our way out of the deep cavern of debt. This may all be a bit too ambitious for one year, but its good to feel hope surging again. It had faded to nothing like the frost on a sun-lit window. I think 2012 will be the year of working toward balance in all aspects of my life.

I hope your 2012 is as good for you as I hope it to be for me. (with raised glass) To balance...  (clink!)