Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Smoke Follows Beauty

I think this is the last of my reunion nostalgia posts - I won't subject you to much more. Of course, once I get back from reunion, you'll have to hear all about this year's event!

One of the downsides of camping is the campfire smoke. It stings your eyes, it makes you cough, it clings to your hair and clothes. And you can't get away from it. If you're sitting around the campfire, sooner or later the wind will shift and blow smoke in your face.

In our family, when you cough or complain about the smoke in your face, someone is sure to throw at you - "Smoke follows beauty!"

What are you supposed to say then? Protest that you're not pretty enough for the smoke to follow? You just have to laugh and put up with it until someone else becomes beautiful enough to attract the smoke. ;)

Monday, June 29, 2009

More Memories

+ = ???

Still on the topic of reunion memories... one of my favorites:
A few years back, we were sitting around the campfire at reunion and somehow it came up that if you put a full can of soda (unopened) in a fire, it will explode. My grandma (in her early 70s at the time) was astonished by this, and suddenly declared that we had to try it!

This was mostly adults in this group... most of the kids were not around. But we all decided that we needed to try exploding soda in the campfire. So we took a can of soda and chucked it into the fire. Then we were all smart enough to move back quite a ways. After a few minutes of waiting, sure enough, the can exploded! It was a loud bang, and the can shot into the air!

We were all amazed at the big reaction, and decided we needed to do it again. Grandma was especially egging us on - she loved it! We probably went through most of a couple of 6-packs of soda because we thought it was so funny. Finally, we'd exploded enough cans of soda that the liquid was putting out the fire. So we decided it was time to put out the fire for real and go to bed.

It wasn't until the next morning that we went out to the fire pit and discovered that the exploding cans of soda had shot soda everywhere around the fire pit. And while we had been smart enough to move ourselves back away from the campfire, no one had thought to move the camp chairs - they were all covered in sticky soda residue! That took a lot of clean-up... especially at a campground with no running water.

One of my favorite memories of reunion - and the best part is that my 70+ grandma was the ringleader in the whole thing!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Looking forward to vacation...

I'm feeling excited because we will be at my family reunion in less than a week and I'm really looking forward to it. I've heard people moan and groan about having to attend family reunions in the past, and I never understand that. I LOVE attending the family reunion.

I suppose that's because I grew up with it every year and it was always a big part of our family vacation time. This particular reunion has been going on for 60+ years, and for at least the last 50 years it has been held at the same location every year. So I grew up always knowing that for 4th of July weekend, we would be camping at Iron Springs (in the mountains of Utah, near Flaming Gorge if you know anything about the area...). When I was a kid, we would go up and camp for a week or two around the reunion. All of my immediate family (from my grandparents on down) camps in a small area together. It was a chance to see all the close cousins and hang out with them. We had all kinds of time to just run around in the woods, go fishing, explore the cave, play in the meadow... idyllic, really.

When night fell, my cousins and I would play hide and seek in the dark. Now as a mother, I can't imagine letting my kids run around in the forest at night deliberately trying to lose all their companions. But maybe when they're older. And of course, at night there would be a huge campfire with the obligatory hot dogs and marshmallows for roasting. The fire is always needed, because Iron Springs is high enough in the mountains that it is cold at night. Snow is not unheard of at the reunion.

I really enjoyed mornings the most. You crawl out of your warm tent into the crisp, cool morning. I usually was one of the first ones awake, so I could enjoy the peace. Sitting by the fire in the camp chair, seeing everyone as they started to stir and come out to start the day. And Sunday morning at reunion is always the best, because that's dutch oven potatoes day. We always make big dutch ovens filled with potatoes and sausage and eggs and everyone in the immediate family gathers for breakfast together. Bad for the arteries, but the tradition is good for my heart.

On Saturday is the full family reunion... I don't even remember how many generations are included, but it's a few back from my grandparents. We generally have 250 (sometimes more) for the Saturday reunion. Not all of those people are camping at Iron Springs, but a high percentage are. Really, it's Wardles as far as the eye can see during that weekend. On Saturday morning, we get together for breakfast (that's the part that I am in charge of this year). Since some people sleep in and others are coming up just for the day and haven't made it up the mountain quite yet, there's only (ONLY!) about 150 people for breakfast. Then it's time for the Country Store. Everyone brings little items that they can sell for a few dollars or cents... the kids always love the penny candy. And there are always some big-ticket items like nice quilts or handmade furniture that you can buy drawing tickets to win. Then there are games and crafts for the kids while the adults wander around and socialize with everyone. Then it's time for lunch - a big potluck meal... it seems like we always have about 20 varieties of potato salad and another 20 types of baked beans! I always make my famous marinated tomatoes. I have been told that they are incredible and people get very disappointed if I show up without them. Being allergic to tomatoes, I have never actually tasted this dish!

Lunch time also means that it's time for the traditional afternoon storm. I'm not even kidding about this - EVERY year we have lunch at 1:00. And EVERY year at about 12:30 the clouds start rolling in and it starts to rain about the time we have the prayer over the food. Everyone just eats in the rain. It's what we do... heaven forbid we should break tradition and move the group meal earlier or later to avoid that afternoon storm!

After lunch it's time for the family meeting and talent show. The talent show is excruciating! My grandmother is always trying to get us up there to perform, and we are always stubbornly resisting. In fact, almost everyone in the family resists performing and actively dislikes watching the talent show. But a small part of the family really gets into it. This part of the family brings generators to run their electric keyboards and karaoke machines so they can perform for us all. *sigh* When it is (mercifully) over, it's time for the drawing for the big-ticket items. I never win. Finally, the business meeting, where we get the stats on the current reunion and make plans for next year. (That's where I got roped into planning breakfast for 150.)

We don't camp for reunion these days. We have all these little kids - plus Aaron doesn't really enjoy camping. Especially at a campground with no electricity, running water, or flush toilets. So we stay in town and drive the 30 minutes back and forth to the campground each day. It works, even though I miss the camping sometimes. But I am grateful to Aaron that he has been willing to attend every family reunion with me, even though he is not a fan of the outdoors. This year will be my 34th family reunion - I've never missed one!

So I know that this turned into a huge and rambling post, but I just have so many great memories of reunion. (And many more I didn't have any more room to share!) I can't wait for Thursday!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday

So I remember that my grandma used to tell me that rainwater was the best hair conditioner. I have never tried it, due to the easy availability of conditioner in little bottles at the store.

But yesterday, as I walked out of my office to catch the bus home, the skies opened up in a downpour. So as I walked to the bus stop, I got thoroughly soaked. I learned that rubber flip-flops get VERY slippery in the rain - in fact, I had to take them off and walk barefoot (in downtown Denver - yuck!). I caught the bus and dripped all the way home. Luckily, I was wearing a t-shirt under a nicer shirt for work, so I was able to take off the top shirt and be a LITTLE less wet.

But anyway, back to my original point... this morning, my hair was really soft. I can only attribute it to the rainwater rinse. So apparently rainwater does make a good hair conditioner... but I think I will stick with the stuff in the bottle. It's just easier that way.

So this post went off on a bit of a tangent, but there are a few tips you could pull out of it:
  • Tip #1: Keep an umbrella handy.
  • Tip #2: Use rainwater as hair conditioner.
  • Tip #3: Don't wear flip-flops in the rain.
  • Tip #4: Always wear layers.

Or, you could just check back on the next Works for Me Wednesday when hopefully I'll have real tips again! =)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

100 Bible Stories, 100 Bible Songs

Another book review blog for Thomas Nelson...


This time around I've been reviewing 100 Bible Stories, 100 Bible Songs by Stephen Elkins. It's a collection of Bible stories (Old and New Testament) for children. The book also came with 2 CDs of songs related to the Bible stories.

My Reactions

This is another children's book that has been a hit with my children. It's definitely intended for a younger audience, as all the illustrations are brightly colored and a little cartoon-like. I'd guess up to about age 8 or 9.

I think the author did a great job of writing the Bible stories in language that is understandable for little kids, without sounding like it's talking down to them. Each story is condensed and simplified so that it is a single page. But if you were to want to get more detail on the story, the scriptural reference is always provided. Then on the facing page, there are three sentences that lay out the "moral of the story" and a little life lesson that applies to the reader. (Example, "God created everything. God made Adam and Eve. God made me too!")

My kids love the book. Every night at bedtime they want to hear some stories from the book. We read through the stories once in order, and now they just open the book at random to pick a story to hear again. Since they're all Bible stories, any page they pick is a good one.

The CDs are good, too. There's a song that accompanies each story in the book. Some are hymns, some are songs you'd sing at camp. My kids like to listen to the CDs as they fall asleep after storytime.

Overall, another nice selection from Thomas Nelson!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Wonderful weekend

It was a good weekend for our family. It started off with a great girls' night out for me! Even though Aaron had been home with the kids all day on Friday, he didn't blink an eye when I asked how he felt about me going straight from work to Nicole's house to hang out with the girls for a few hours instead of coming home to help with the kids. I went and had a great time. And even though I got home about an hour later than planned, he was just fine with it. I've said it before, but he is a really great guy!

It was a bit of a domestic weekend... I did more cooking than usual. (If you're interested in the recipes, I posted them on Katie's Recipe Swap blog, where I'm a contributor.) I made a Wahoo Green Sauce to go with shrimp and rice bowls. It turned out that I made way more than I needed, so I also served the green sauce on steak roll-ups and baked chicken over the weekend. It's delicious on everything we tried! I also found a great recipe for artisan bread (the kind that's dense and chewy with a crunchy crust) so I baked bread from scratch. It was actually pretty easy. Aaron and I liked it a lot... the kids not so much. They wanted the store-bread instead.

In the midst of all the cooking, I also managed to get out storage shed almost completely cleaned out. The house... no. The laundry... no, not that either. Maybe next weekend.

Instead, the kids and I got presents ready for Aaron's Father's Day. The first one was kind of cheesy - based on an idea that a friend sent me:

But he can take the cheesy picture out and use the frame his kids made for him! It's in a frame with little rocks glued all over the outside edges. As a rock collector who actively encourages our kids to like rocks, too, I thought it was very appropriate!

We also got Aaron some books, a gift certificate to have his car detailed (after taking it on a few family road trips, it is badly needed and seemed much appreciated) and a GREAT new tie. Those of you who saw Aaron at church on Sunday may have seen him bravely wearing the paper tie covered with colorful sparkles, pom-poms, and googly eyes that Haley made for her daddy (with help from Melissa).

When Haley asked him to wear it to church, he was a good sport and a great dad and wore it out in public. I have a picture, but I have been forbidden to post it on the blog! (Of course, he didn't say I couldn't e-mail it out, so I can send it along if you want to see, just let me know ;) )

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Temple Memory

Today in Relief Society our lesson was on the temple. Several ladies shared precious memories they had of visits to the temple. I had a wonderful memory as well, but the topic wasn't quite right for the lesson. But since it's come to mind, I thought I would share it here.

When I was pregnant (back between Preston and Brekken), Aaron and I went to the temple to do some family names. These were names that needed every ordinance, so we spent an entire day there. We started the day by each doing around 20 baptisms and confirmations, then initiatories for all those names, then we planned to do a session with one of the names we were working with that day.

Being pregnant, I got tired and cranky easily. I hadn't thought to bring a little snack and this particular temple (Vernal) didn't have a cafeteria. So by the time I was getting to the end of my list of initiatories, I was really not in the right spirit. I was hungry and nauseous and exhausted and I just wanted to go home. Even as I was waiting to do the 2nd-to-last initiatory, I was thinking to myself that I was going to find Aaron after the last two names were done and tell him we were going home before the endowment session.

Then I began the initiatory for Sarah Matilda France. Suddenly, I had the most overwhelming feeling of happiness. I was THRILLED to be there and in every fiber of my being, I felt energized and happy. I floated through that ordinance. When it came time to do the last name, the feeling was gone. I still had little remnants of happiness fizzing in my blood from the experience, but it wasn't the same. I just knew in my heart that the happiness I'd felt was not really mine, but belonged to Sarah Matilda France.

After feeling that, I knew I had to go to the endowment session with her name. Which is a good thing, because the initiatories had taken long enough that it was time for the session to start, Aaron was already there, and the temple president was there holding the session waiting just for me! Thank goodness I wasn't trying to leave without attending that session. Throughout the session I felt that same happiness and excitement. It helped me thoroughly enjoy the session in spite of my own physical discomforts.

As soon as we were done, I lost that feeling again and I crashed - we went back to my parents' house and I needed a LONG nap. But I will always remember the incredible joy I felt when I did temple work on behalf of my ancestor Sarah Matilda France.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Blessings from Heaven

A little bit of back-story on this post... My sister-in-law's nephew was born recently with a rare leukemia-like disorder and they have been going through a lot trying to figure out what's going on with him, how to help him, etc. A very scary situation with your newborn baby! They recently sent out this update and story about everything. I was so touched by it that I wanted to share:

Dear Family and Friends,

First of all, we love you and thank you so much for your prayers and fasting, and faith. We cannot express how grateful we are to you for those kind acts. It means more than you could know. Hopefully this email will give you a taste of the miracles we feel have come about.

Brigham was in Primary Children's Hospital from Wednesday (June 3rd) to Sunday (June 7th) to try this new Chemo medicine, Gleevec. The medicine didn't settle in Brigham's tummy at first and he threw half of it up for two days right after we gave it to him. Then, the third day he took the whole dose without any problems. That day his potassium went a little high. So they watched him for another day and he was just fine!! He has done so well with the medicine. It couldn't have gone better. He didn't show any signs of Tumor lysis syndrome which is what they were watching him for. (That is when you break down too many cells, too fast and your kidneys can't tolerate it.) So, we were very blessed.

Doug, Brigham, and I were invited to attend the Devotional Luncheon on the 9th of June. The devotional speaker happened to be President Henry B. Eyering! So, we had the opportunity to eat lunch with him and the University President, and their wives, and a few other guests. We went around the table and introduced ourselves and then had the opportunity to ask President Eyering some questions. I only had one question on my mind. So, I was the first to raise my hand (very timidly, I might add) and said, “I’m a little hesitant to ask this, but my son has a rare leukemia-like disorder and I was wondering if you could possibly give him a blessing?” (I had a hard time saying this because I was pretty choked up). His response was immediate, “Absolutely. We will find a way to do it. Brigham is already special to me. You couldn’t have asked a better question.”

The luncheon continued with delicious food and more questions were asked by many people. Immediately following the blessing we were invited to step into an adjacent room. President Eyering stood up to address his other guests and told them, “I must leave you now. I need to give the baby a blessing.” He explained that he had learned from President Monson that he would leave a thousand people to give one person a blessing. He said “I must do this NOW” and excused himself.

The blessing was an immense comfort. We know that if we have faith, Brigham will eventually be healed and this disorder will not cause his little body any pain. After the blessing President Eyering held him for a brief moment and Brigham was smiling SO BIG! Sister Eyering pulled me into a big hug and told me that she would pray for us. President Eyering told Brigham over and over and over, “I love you, Brigham; I love you, Brigham; I love you, Brigham.” It was a very special experience.

We have had two Doctor’s appointments since with our Oncologist here in Rexburg. Brigham’s blood counts are beginning to normalize!!! His white blood cells, which were extremely high, are now normal. His red blood cells and platelets, which have been very low, are slowly climbing. We have noticed a huge improvement in Brigham. First, his bumps and spots are all going away! Then he is the happiest baby! He doesn’t seem as irritated with little things anymore. It’s like there is no more discomfort in his body and he is now able to be a normal, very smiley, happy baby!

We know that the power of the Priesthood is real. We know that Heavenly Father watches over all of us. We know that prayers are answered and we have faith that we will continue to be blessed. We thank you again. I hope that this email will help you to see how thankful we are for your faith and prayers. We hope that you will build your faith and testimony from these experiences from our little Brigham. We love all of you and thank you!!!!

Love,Sharlene, Doug, and Brigham.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Not Working For Me Wednesday

So on Wednesday's I usually try to post a quick tip that works to make my life easier... something that works for me. This Wednesday, I can't think of any such tips. Instead, I'm venting about something that is really NOT working for me...

This would be our van. Look closely inside the red circles - can you see the strings hooked to our windshield wipers? When we were on our vacation, the windshield wipers got caught by a big gust of wind and blown clear to one side. Apparently this did something to the connection between the wipers' motor and the wipers themselves, as we can hear the wiper motor working, but it doesn't move the wipers at all.
So we were driving through the rain and just dealing with it. Annoying (especially to Aaron since he was driving), but manageable. But once we got into the mountains - even though it's June for Pete's sake! - it started to snow on us. Snow sticks to the windshield and without wipers, you really can't get it out of the way and see where you're going!
Well, the saying is that necessity is the mother of invention. I guess that's what happened here. We had to take the cat with us on this trip because he was too ill to be left home with the other cats. So we had a leash to hook to his collar. We also use a leash to hook to Brekken's bottle or small toys when we're in the van. That way when he throws them on the floor - as he always does - I can reel them in and hand them back. Fun game! (For Brekken, anyway.)
So we had the brainstorm - could we use the leashes on the windshield wipers? Turns out, you can. We hooked a leash to each wiper and threaded it back through the windows. When we had to pull the wipers up, Aaron pulled on his leash. When we needed to pull the wipers back down, I pulled on mine.
I'm going to pause now and wait for the laughter to die out as you picture this...
I know, it's ridiculous. But it did work and got us through the bad weather! The part that doesn't work for me is that my dad wasn't able to fix it while we were there visiting, so the emergency leash system is still in place for the time being. Anyone know a good mechanic who won't charge us an arm and a leg?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Vacation Pictures

Haley took control of the camera for most of our vacation - and she took some great pictures! Especially at our family reunion. If I had been the one going around with the camera, people would have been holding hands in front of their faces, leaning out of the picture, you know, all those things we do when we don't want to be in a photo. But since it was a cute little girl with the camera, everyone smiled and posed for pictures.

We went to visit the Oquirrh Mountain temple during the open house. Aaron's parents (on the left, holding Preston) and my parents (on the right, holding Haley) came with us.
The Schurz family had a reunion. As always at any Schurz gathering, the guitars came out.

Haley asked Grandpa to teach her to play. She thinks she's quite the expert now.
Once the camera was on Haley, she soon started pulling out her modeling poses again.
Brekken wasn't interested in the camera, but the camera case was apparently quite tasty.
All the Schurz siblings. From left to right... Uncle Joe, Uncle Steve, Uncle Rulon, Aunt Bonnie, and my dad (Don).
Once we got home from vacation, Haley insisted that I get out my guitar. She wants to practice what Grandpa showed her.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Quick update

So in the last four days, we have driven about 1,100 miles (with 3 kids and a sick cat), attended a temple open house, wedding reception, baby shower, and family reunion, and helped my parents pack up and move most of their belongings to storage (because the contractors are coming in today to start the repairs from their flood damage).

So now we're home and can hopefully recover from our exhausting "vacation" time. In spite of the busy schedule (and my sprained back from helping with the moving), we had a good time. I got some good pictures, too, which I will post as soon as I can manage to upload them from the camera.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Out of town...

We'll be out of town for a few days visiting family, attending a temple open house, going to baby showers, wedding receptions, and family reunions... there's a lot going on! I'll update the blog when we get back. =)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday

PROBLEM: My kids love to eat Lunchables, but I don't love spending $2.50 apiece on a little tray of lunchmeat, cheese, and crackers.

SOLUTION: For the cost of a couple of Lunchables, I can buy ingredients to make my own for a week or more. I just cut up some lunchmeat and cheese, put it on a plate with some crackers, and voila, homemade Lunchables. The kids are just as happy as with the real thing; happier, really, because they can have these a lot more often!

So this week homemade Lunchables are what's working for me. To see what works for others, head over to http://www.wearethatfamily.com/ for more WFMW ideas!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Jungle Jack's The Wackiest, Wildest, and Weirdest Animals in the World

Here's another book review blog for Thomas Nelson...

The Wackiest, Wildest, and Weirdest Animals in the World (by Jack Hanna) arrived at my door this weekend. It's a collection of information about unusual animals in the world and has some fun facts about them. There's also a DVD with bloopers from Jack Hanna's animal shows.

My Reactions
This is a children's book and it definitely appeals to children. As soon as I pulled it out of the box, my kids were excited by the cover art and begging to read it right away. We sat down right then and started reading it together. There were 30 animals featured in the book and we enjoyed reading the stories and unusual facts about them. The kids really liked the pictures and the information. My daughter is still quoting facts about the blue-footed booby at random moments! My son has been pretending to be a great white shark and an anteater since reading the book. They also really enjoyed watching the DVD.

Overall, I would say this book was definitely a hit! I would recommend it for kids from around 3 - 10.

Monday, June 8, 2009

I am Supermom!

Okay, not really. In fact, I usually feel VERY far from Supermom. But did you ever have one of those days when everything just went right?

My Saturday didn't start out like anything special... got the kids up and dressed and eating - believe me, some Saturdays that's about all we hve accomplished by the time Aaron gets home from work! But today was different... and I'm giving the credit to Sandra Lee from Food Network.

The kids were playing and Brekken napping while I checked my Facebook page and had Food Network in the background. Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee was on and she was making pulled pork sanwiches in the slow cooker. It looked good. It occurred to me, I have a slow cooker and a pork roast in the freezer. So I moved away from the computer and put together pulled pork for dinner. While I was right there, I felt motivated to do a load of dishes and followed up with a load of laundry.

By then the kids were bored and wanting a project, so I pulled out a picture frame and some beads and they made a picture frame for Grandpa's birthday present.

Lunch went smoother than usual, with everyone actually eating without arguing or refusing their food. Then we finished up another project I'd been working on. You know how my kids love to draw on chalkboards. But the one in the backyard can't be used if it's rainy or too hot (it's in the full sun). So we took plain boards and covered them with chalkboard paint, too. On Saturday I mounted them on the covered front porch, so they can be used when the weather is less ideal. I have to tell you, I love using my drill (and yes, it's mine, not Aaron's) - it makes me feel so handy!

Mounting the chalkboards payed off immediately. They were all occupied with drawing on the new boards - even Brekken. So then I had a chance to create the baby gifts I'm making for my sister and sister-in-law. (Lissa and Sarah - if you're reading, close the page now!)

I made diaper wreaths with little baby gifts attached all over the wreaths. It was actually pretty fun and easy to put them together, and I think they turned out well!

All of this and I managed to finish up with enough time left to get a shower (long enough to wash my hair and shave my legs in the SAME SHOWER!) and get the kids dinner before Aaron came home. Turns out that Haley LOVED the pulled pork. She had seconds and even ate the leftovers for lunch the next day. Aaron and I loved it too, it turned out really well.

And then for the topper to my day, Aaron watched the kids while I went over to Rosa's for a Girls' Night. We ate chocolate fondue and talked for hours and it was a blast! And when I got home, Preston was already asleep and Haley was at least in bed, if not already asleep.

It was a great day. I got everything done that I needed to. My kids didn't fight and whine during the day (probably because I kept them busy all day). I even cleaned house and made a home-cooked dinner. Ah, if only days like this came along more often!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday

PROBLEM: My kids love to draw with sidewalk chalk. But due to Preston's habit of running out into the street at random moments, I don't like to let them go out in the front yard to draw on the sidewalk or driveway. I'm always worried that Preston will get into the road before I can catch him. And even though we live on a mostly quiet street, we do have a few neighbors who like to drive down to get their mail and go too fast for comfort.

SOLUTION: In our backyard, we have an old picnic table. If you know Aaron, you probably know that he doesn't enjoy the outdoors... so the picnic table is almost never used. Trying to convince Aaron to go have dinner at the picnic table and enjoy the evening outside pretty much never works. So I came up with another use for the picnic table.

I bought chalkboard paint at the Home Depot - around $4 for a spray can of paint. I covered the picnic table with the chalkboard paint and now the kids can draw with their sidewalk chalk while safely contained in the backyard! And if I should ever convince Aaron to come eat outside, we can just throw a tablecloth over the chalky picnic table.

So that's what's working for me. To see what works for others, head over to http://www.wearethatfamily.com/ for more WFMW ideas!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

My Name is Tara, and I'm a Blog-aholic

I realized today that I'm addicted to blogs, both writing them and reading them. If I go a few days without posting something on my blog, I get antsy, thinking: "There must be something I can post about. What's going on in my life? What jokes have I heard? What are other people blogging about?" And then I think of something to write about and stick it out there for the "entertainment" of those of you who are reading this. Really, it's all about what's entertaining me, but I appreciate you reading it so I have an excuse to keep posting more. =)

And reading blogs... definitely addicted to that. When I started reading blogs, I was really just checking in on Mandy's every couple of months. Then I started looking at blogs by Melissa H. and Rosa and Melissa S. Then I discovered that all of these blogs had links to other interesting blogs. So I started following some of them. And I discovered some other blogs out there (usually by complete strangers) that are fun to read or have good ideas so I had to follow them, too.

So what made me suddenly realize that I was a blog addict was that I was adding a new blog to my reader (so I can be alerted when something new is posted - heaven forbid I should miss something new!) and I realized how many I am following. I've gone from a year ago when I just looked at one once in a while to now that I have 22 blogs that I check up on every day... plus several others that I just check in on from time to time. It's no wonder that I never have time to actually eat during my lunch break - that time is reserved for blogs!

Is there a 12-Step Program for Blog-aholics? Maybe I could create a blog about that...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Update on George - in case you were interested...

George got to come home yesterday. He is improved enough that they thought he would be better off with us than at the vet. So he is eating a drinking a little and acting a bit better. Tomorrow we get to learn how to administer subcutaneous fluids... which he will need a few times a week for the rest of his life.

As much as I was upset about losing George, I do have to wonder about the expense and effort of this for the rest of his life. But at the same time, I just cannot have him put down when he is acting so much better and the vet says he could have anywhere from a few weeks to several months of good-quality life.

So... I guess we're going to learn some veterinary skills. And George will be getting more well-travelled. We have several trips coming up that we can't/really don't want to cancel. But we don't feel like we can leave George to fend for himself with the other kitties - even though it's just a couple of days each time. So George will be travelling with us. We'll see how that goes!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Sad day...

We're sad at our house today. Our kitty George (blue George, as opposed to his brother silver George) is 11 years old, which is getting up there for a cat. He's always been very healthy, but over the weekend he suddenly went downhill. He started throwing up, was very lethargic, wouldn't eat or drink, and lost almost 3 pounds in a matter of 3 days... when you have a cat who only weighs 7 pounds to start with, 3 pounds is a lot to lose.

When we took him to the vet on Monday, we discovered that he had developed hyperthroid and kidney disease. Apparently, cats with kidney disease rarely show any symptoms until it hits a critical level, at which point they crater abruptly. So George is in almost complete kidney failure and they're trying to give him enough fluids and IV therapy to turn things around enough for him to come home again.

Unfortunately, the diagnosis of kidney disease is fatal, it's just a matter of how long he has any quality of life. Still waiting to hear from the vet on what they're thinking on that...

It probably seems silly to be all upset like this over a cat, but for me, I've had the cat longer than I've had my husband! Aaron just loves all cats, so it's upsetting for him. And of course the kids have known George all their lives, so Haley and Preston are quite upset and missing him a lot.