Tuesday, September 25, 2012

My world

So if problem neighbors was not enough I was blessed with more to shoulder.  Several of our neighbors were evacuated due to flash floods last Friday, they all lived behind and below us and it looks like the pond from the edge of my property (on the green belt land) might have emptied into their housing area.  I feel really bad for them and said many times I am so glad we bought on a hill so at least we do not have to worry about flooding.
Well Saturday Richard got up and we did not have hot water so he went to check the water heater that is located in the sub basement, what he found was about two feet of water that had risen to cover the pilot light of the furnace and water heater.  Luckily we already had a sump pump down there, it came with the house since I guess the crawl space flooded once before. 
After we pumped out the water we still could not get the water heater to light, everyone told us to let it dry out so we set a fan to blow on it and left it overnight, when it still would not light the next day Richard pulled it apart and noticed it was really rusted so we figured ok we need a new part, maybe 50.00 of course we could not get it until Monday but we could make due.
To condense the story Richard could not get the part without the make and model, when he went back under the house to get that,,,,more water, and water heater to old to get parts for so has to be replaced.  There is a leak coming into my house from the well, so we did not flood from the rain it is our well flooding into our sub basement and along the way something broke, most likely a pipe so now I have NO water into the house.
After calling around we are guessing it will cost us somewhere around 3,000.00 to fix, if we do not fix it soon it will ruin our foundation and we have not even closed on the house yet.
I already had a headache that was making me sick, now I am trying to figure out how we are going to take care of this.  We used all out savings the month Richard was off work, the VA is still not paying us, so they now owe us 5 months worth of back pay, more than enough but they will not tell us when it will come.
Stress Stress Stress that is how I feel, it is like something new happens every time I get over one mess.
Our contract on the house states as is, with the exception of the deck and leak into the garage, the sellers have one more month to fix it or we will not close, we already pushed closing back three months because we are waiting on VA.  If I do not fix it soon the VA will not loan on it, it just goes round an round.
We will take out a loan to fix, we will survive, but somedays I just wonder if it is all worth it.
Oh and lets not forget the whole week I have been trying to keep Conner out of the hospital, his lungs sound crappy, we have his neubulizer and medication left from last year so we hope that is enough to help him get better.
Anyway I am sure this to shall pass and we will have all made it, but when it is happening it really sucks!
If my headache would subside I think I might be able to make a plan.

Monday, September 3, 2012

recylcled record bracelets

Staci's slumber party guests will be making bracelets out of old records next weekend, we had a trial run yesterday to see how it would work.
They are a easy and fun project kids can do with minimal supervision.  We started with old records, I bought these at a local thrift store for .50cents.
Place record on pizza pan and draw half circles around side of record (mine are hard to see).

 Put in oven at 200degrees until the record is soft, (I recommend using your oven fan and opening a window to let out fumes). Mine took about 3 to 5 minutes to soften.

 Pull out and cut half circles out, if record hardens while your cutting (they harden fast) just put back in oven for a few minutes.

 once you have cut your shapes out bend them to fit wrist.
 You can use a soup can to help shape them since they will be hot, if they are not small enough or you don't like shape just put back in oven to soften and start again.

I trimmed the back side of mine so the edges would not be sharp.

Then the girls decorated with a variety of things, you could use anything to decorate them, we used glitter glue, ribbon and beads, but I am also buying charms and decals for Staci's party so the possibilities are limitless.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Richard update

Richard and I flew to Seattle last week for some follow up tests, the VA was nice enough to fly us and pay for our hotel room leaving us to only pay for food and some of the cab rides.  This was pretty nice of them since they are still saying they have not processed him so technically he does not have VA benefits right now.  That is a mess and really makes me angry since they are the ones who held up his retirement and everyone kept saying it would be worth it because he would have his VA rating when he retired....LIES, but that is another story.
He had another angiogram and we saw two of the doctors from his neurological team.  The best they can determine right now is the stroke was caused by previous high blood pressure that damaged some arteries and made them weak.  The bleed was in a very strange place, his young age and the fact that his blood pressure has been well controlled for the past year puzzled them, but six teams of doctors could find no other explination so that is where we are at.  He will have a second CT scan in a couple months after all the blood has been absorbed to make sure there is no tumor, they are pretty sure there is not but want to be safe, I appriciate that.
He returned to work this week, the company was nice enough to allow him to work out of the Wasilla store for the next six months rather than have him drive to Anchorage everyday, his driving is restricted while they make sure he will not have anymore siezures.  He is on antiseizure meds and has restarted his blood pressure medications.  He is going to have an evaluation with a speech therapist just to make sure he does not need any therapy.
If you see him you would never believe he just had a stroke, but there are some things we notice.  He has lost some memory, funny things like he cannot remember some shows we have seen several times,  I guess that is nice for him when he wants to watch TV.  A bit more frustrating, he said it took him several minutes to remember how to do a certain report at work that he did everyday several times a day, he also could not remember how to write a check today, in fairness he rarely writes checks and he did figure it out.  He was having some trouble coming up with some words right after it happened but that seems to have stopped, he passed every test at the doctor with no problems at all.
I am so grateful, this could have been far worse than it ended up.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Please Pray for us

Richard began complaining of a headache on Thursday, I should have made him go to the doctor because he never has headaches.  Friday he took off work, I knew something was wrong then because he never does that, but he said he did not have any other stroke type symptoms and there has been a virus that includes head ache going around, so he tried to get some rest and said he was feeling a bit better.
Yesterday we took the kids and drove up over a mountain pass that is so popular, but it is a pretty narrow high dirt road with many drop offs and a considerable way from town.
When we got home I was talking to our son on the phone for his birthday and Richard went to lay down , about 15 minutes later I heard the weirdest sound coming from our bedroom.  I walked to the door and saw Richard slumped over on our bed making this horrible noise, I thought he was having a stroke and trying to call me but unable to make the words come out, so I hung up on Levi and called 911, once I got into the room I could see he was having some sort of seizure.  He would not respond to me at all and he was turning purple, foaming at the mouth and nose, clenching his body, the 911 operator had me get him from the bed to the floor (not an easy task) and do CPR.  I noticed  his color was getting better but he was still not responding and his breathing was very deep and labored.
The paramedics came and he was coming out of it, he was able to stand on his own and his color was better, but he had no idea who or where he was, we got him to the hospital, I followed in the truck and he said about half way there he came to and was very confused as to why he was not longer in the bedroom.
At the hospital they did a CT scan and found some bleeding on his brain, so he needed to be transferred to Anchorage to see a neurosurgeon, they loaded him back in an ambulance and I ran home to get him some stuff he would need then headed out.
I had no idea where the hospital was, but figured there would be signs, I was wrong, there are no signs, I drove all around trying to find my way, crying, worried,  convinced of the worst ect. When I got it together enough to get directions from my phone I made it there and he was fine, sitting up in bed talking to the doctor.
It turns out they are pretty sure the brain is still bleeding, so they need to stop it, the only doctor here who can do it is on vacation, so he had to be flown to Seattle.
I could go on the life flight with him, the VA would pay for that, but they notified me they do not pay for my accommodations when we get there, there is a motel type place for families of Veterans I might be able to get into on Monday, the hospital will not let me stay there because he is in ICU.  If he is sent back home on a commercial flight we would have to pay for mine out of pocket, I had no clothes with me ect. I still planned on going until they told us he would most likely be there  7 to 14 days after surgery for observation.
We do not really know anyone to stay with the girls and animals for that long, and so on.  I was so worried and torn, should I go or stay.  They were giving Richard medication to bring his blood pressure down, because the higher it was the biggest risk he had of more damage, I noticed he was getting upset the more upset I got the higher his BP went even with the medication, he rose 10 points in 15 minutes after meds.  He kept telling me to stay and take care of the kids, I was worried about him and them and not knowing what to do to a point I was pretty sure I was haivng a nervous breakdown, the chaplain came and talked to us, that was pretty helpful and then a nurse who deals with this type of brain trauma came in and talked to us, she assured me he was doing well and would be in good hands, so I agreed to stay here, his blood pressure went down and they took him on the plane.  He promised to call or text me non stop, I promised to not have a break down. ( am  not sure I can keep my promise )
I am scared, I am alone here, and for the first time wondering if this move was the right choice, we are so far from everyone we know, when he was still active duty I had a whole Army family to turn to, I knew who I was supposed to call, I knew what I was supposed to do, now I just feel very lost, very alone and more and more scared.
He made it to the hospital I talked to him twice today, right now they are moving him to a room and running more test to try and figure out why the bleeding is happening, keeping him on pain killers and bp meds to control the amount of bleeding, it is hard to talk to him on the pain killers, it is pretty strong, but I don't care I will talk to him anyway and time I can.  It is just hard to get complete information, I hope to talk to his doctor soon and have more concrete information.
As I know more I will let everyone know what is happening.
In the meantime Please pray for us, Please pray he will be ok, I really still need him.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Girls Day

I am lucky during the summer if I go into work early or stay late to make sure all my billable notes are done I can take off after half a day on Friday.  I try to take that afternoon and do something fun with the girls, today we decided to go check out some of the fun boutiques and consignment shops here.

We started off at a great boutique everyone had been telling me about, it is quite large but crammed full of all kinds of great stuff, antiques, clothes, shoes, accessories, jewelery, they have it all, and they give all their shoppers pink cotton candy (I don't like cotton candy but the girls did.)
We had fun window shopping there, it is a special occasion store for sure, one you would go to for a special gift, I thought a bit expensive for everyday shopping.
We hit the perfect shopping day at our second consignment stop, a section of stuff originally marked down to 1.00 but today it was 5 for 1.00, I got these super cute ballet flats
and the girls picked out an aborcrombie shirt, some earrings, a wallet, and something? for our 1.00, I love that each item was 20cents!!! we found some other cute shirts fairly inexpensive as well, so we were happy.
We made our way to a couple of the new/used book stores after, I am lucky my kids all love to read, I can hardly keep the girls in books, we found some good deals on some books to keep us going for summer and then headed off to our favorite coffee/smoothie shop.  They were closed so instead we bought our own fruit and ice cream and made our own super yummy smoothies at home.
It was a really fun day just hanging out with the girls and the whole afternoon cost me less than 30.00 and we made some fun memories.
I am so glad my girls still want to hang out with me even as they hit their teen age years, now if their sister and my sister and Mom were just here it would have been the perfect girls afternoon.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Alaska Job

I have been working at a local behavioral health clinic, it is great since I am able to use my education, the office is only 5 minutes away and I am able to see new areas almost everyday.
The clinic I work for treats children ages 5 to 18 in my department (22 for other areas) with SED's (severe emotional disorders).  The issues these kids have vary from needing help developing social skills, to much more serious problems.  Some have been brought by their parents most of who are great people who want what is best for thier kids, some have much more tragic stories, many are in foster care, lots of trauma in thier backgrounds.
I work in the school based area, so during the school year we do lots of work in the schools with these kids, but for now we are in our summer program. 
The summer program is great, we get all the kids together in the afternoons and take them on field trips.  We do lots of hiking, parks, lakes etc. we like to get them outdoors.  It is great for me since this is our first summer here, I am able to check out lots of areas and get fun ideas for family weekends.
Hatchers Pass is one of my favorite hikes, I have done it twice with work, the last time my client was a seven year old boy so we stopped and "paned" for gold, he really did find a few flakes and was so excited to take them home to show his Mom.
We spent one day hiking next to a river in Palmer, a couple of us and our "kids" (I had a 8 year old boy that day) even hiked down the side of the mountain so we could play at the river for awhile, getting down was not bad, getting back up took some effort.
Today I had one of the girls I really like working with, Friday is free time so we get to choose what to do, we walked to Wasilla Lake, it is a mile each way, so a nice walk.  She and one of her friends who joined us spent the afternoon, the girls caught leeches in the lake, big nasty looking ones, needless to say my girls will not be swimming in the lake, even though it is full of swimmers when we drive by.
Even without swimming it is a gorgeous lake to walk along the shore of.
I split my time at work between kids who are in the 7 to 9 age group and teen girls who are 12 to 18, I like the change, it is nice to work with a variety of kids and the different age groups keeps it interesting.
So far I like the company and the people I work with, they are flexible and that is so important with all I have going on, school, my own kids, home, Richard, all the work the new house needs and so on.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Our first visitor

My brother Clint came for a visit last weekend on his way to Bethel (also in Alaska), he was our first visitor so we were pretty excited to see him.  He arrived on a Saturday, so Rich, Staci, Conner and I (Cheyenne was spending the day with a friend) spent the day in Ancorage while we waited for his flight.  We did some shopping, stocked up on some stuff from Cosco and then took a nice hike in a park by the airport.  The great thing about parks here is they are full of trails so you can park and walk while enjoying the gorgeous scenery. 

Conner loved being out in the sunshine, the rest of us thought it was pretty nice as well.
After we picked up Clint we headed over to the Mooses tooth, the pizza place everyone had been raving about that we had wanted to try, it is popular, we had to wait 45 min for a table.  The pizza was very good but not really great, the price was a pleasant surprise, much less than we expected to pay.
I had a couple options for outing the next day, but Clint was exausted from the move and it was raining so he caught up on some sleep while the girls and I did some errands, then Clint and Richard headed out to find someplace to try out Richards new retirement gift (a new 45) and of course they had to take a shotgun for fun as well.
I worked on Monday while Clint ran errands picking up stuff he wanted to take with him and hung out with my girls, then Tuesday I took off work and the girls and I took him to the airpor.t and hit the mall for some shopping.
It was really great to have him here, and I love that he is only an hour plane ride away from me (there is no road to drive there) knowing he is close makes it seem like we are not so far away from everyone, because while we really really love it here, it is hard to be far from family.
We are looking forward to many more friends and family making their way up for a visit.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Reindeer Farm

I wanted to do something quick, and fun last weekend, after checking out the local web site we decided on the reindeer farm.  The web site said they did not have a military discount, but when we arrived they gave us one anyway, very nice I thought. 
I thought we would get to see them from the other side of a fence, but we actually got to walk into the pens.  There were babies, less than a week old, and the older ones are very tame, they run right up to you.
We found out some interesting things.  The difference between a reindeer and a caribou it only that a reindeer is tame and a caribou is in the wild.  They have four stomaches, both male and females have antlers, but the males get an extra point in the middle.
The males on the farm are "fixed" it keeps them tame, but when they do that it changes the hormones and their antlers grow different like the one below.

It was a fun outing, the farm is nice, we will return this winter for a sleigh ride.  What better place to take a sleugh ride pulled by reindeer than Alaska.

Monday, April 16, 2012


Our new house backs up to what we would call BLM land, here they call it Green Belt, either way it means no one can ever build there.  We did not know this when we bought the house, but had we known it would have been a huge selling point.
Moose are abundant here, they are everywhere, in our back yard and in the green belt live a mom and her baby, Staci named them Lucy and Brownie, they come to visit often so we have a lot of fun watching them from our window or the safety of the deck.
You can see little Brownie in this picture, Lucy was just off to the side and we needed to leave, since they were right by the truck Richard had to carefully walk down and start it in the hope it would scare them off (it worked) so the baby and I could come out of the house.
They are really interesting to watch, one morning we had five total all over our yard, they ate for awhile and then laid down under the trees, they could see me watching them and did not appear at all concerned with me, however I was being careful to stay far away and just watch them.
We also have two squirrels we can watch chase each other from tree to tree, Staci also named them, Bob and Emily, they give us much morning amusement.
A turkey wandered through yesterday, I did not know we had wild turkey here, turns out we don't it was one of the neighbors pets come to visit, I guess that would explain why it walked right up to Richard without any reservations.

Monday, April 9, 2012


We made it across Canada, it took four days, a pretty major snow storm and $1500 more than we had hoped (still within our Army move budget). 
I have been into Canada twice before but this was a whole new experience, we saw the little out of the way towns that are not tourist attractions, in fact several of them looked like gost towns, fairly deserted, building closed down and boarded up.
It appears the recessions has hurt them as well as us, with gas prices so high (about 7 a gallon there) people are traveling the Alcan/Alaskan Hwy less and less.
Hotels, food, everything is very expensive there, just to take the four of us out for hamburgers one night was 75.  We quickly learned to buy lunch at the grocery store and stop at a park for sandwiches etc. along the way, leaving a better budget for dinner.
Even at the high cost of food, gas and lodging it was a fun trip for us, I am lucky that the kids, Conner included travel well,t he girls read most of the way or we played the who can see what animal first game....I won :)
I suppose they are all memories that I hope the girls will think fondly of when they get older.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

No news

We had expected to be out of here by now, we were told we would have orders as early as the end of December but January for sure.  Not only do we not have orders, we have no idea what is going on, it seems the VA does not agree with the Army on something in Richards medical file so there is sits while they say they are figuring it out.  No one will give us any answers, several people have said why are you still here, we are just playing a never ending waiting game.
It is frustrating, Richard cant put in for new jobs because he does not know when we can leave, I am not sure what to plan for the kids school, and we are at risk of loosing our new house since we do not have a for sure date and the sellers are of anxious to be done.
So I am angry and tired and there is no end in sight.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

more ups and downs

Life has certainly been up and down the last couple months.  We continue to wait for answers from the VA/Army about retirement, basically all we get is a run around so life is up in the air and I feel like I have no control over it at all.  A feeling I really hate.
Christmas Eve we found out one of my dear friends was diagnosed with lung cancer and given a very short time to live.  Her mom and I were friends in Nevada, turned out in this small world that Steve had known her for years before I met him and since she lived in Colorado we got close while I lived there.  She lives in Grand Junction and helped so much with my kids when they would go visit their Dad, I always felt more comfortable about them going because I knew she was there to help. 
She had some serious feelings for Steve and I hoped they would get together, she cared deeply for my kids and they loved her and they are already part of her family, her mom is "Nanny" to the kids so I thought it would be perfect.  Instead I got a call from her brother telling me she was in the hospital and not expected to live long, my heart just broke, she is a caring, generous person who has been through a lot of heart ache and trials in the last year and I thought she was catching a break instead this....
She is fighting and we have so small glimmers of hope that may give her a little more time, I pray and pray for her but sometimes I wonder is anyone listening.